Preparing for winter and hard times

We’re making our preparations for winter. Yesterday we bought a truckload of firewood from a different man who brought us twice as much for the same price as last year’s firewood guy. And the wood is good quality – last year’s was too green and I ended up using much of it for borders around my raised beds.

The plan is to put off turning on the heat for as long as possible by firing up the woodstove every night. With the fan pushing the heat to the back of the house, our thermostat went up five degrees last night and we didn’t use much wood. This morning the temp in the house is 66. Tonight the low is supposed to be around 38. We dress warmly in the house and make use of throws and quilts if we’re sitting on the couch or at the computer. So until we get into some serious cold, we’ll be able to put off turning on the gas heat. If it came down to it, we could move the futon into this room and shut off the right side of the house.

It’s important to plan for these things. I’m a lurker on several discussion lists where the people are very, very serious about it. I feel okay about my preparations, but I realize that I could do more. For example, I have stored water in gallon glass juice bottles in the studio, but I don’t have enough. If it really came down to an absolute crisis, I could boil water from my rain barrels on the woodstove, though.

I could improve my food storage. I have a lot of grains, beans, and dried foods, but water is always the key. I could do better on my canning if I would break down and buy that pressure canner – that way I could can anything that I grow or barter for.

Here’s the thing – I’m really an amateur in this area, mainly because like most people, I don’t want to dwell on the negative. So I piddle about with it enough to make me feel a little more empowered so that I feel better. But so many people have given this absolutely no thought at all, and don’t want to. Not only that, they have children! I don’t know, I think that if I had children I would be totally obsessed with peak oil.

Perhaps part of my concern stems from growing up with parents who grew up during the first Great Depression. My mother didn’t have electricity or indoor plumbing, but she was lucky enough to have an college-educated agriculture teacher for a father and they produced all their own food. They got along better than most people in her area because they understood that food is the priority. I learned a lot from listening to my mother and grandmother.

I wish that either of our presidential candidates understood the food crisis. It’s about more than higher prices. It’s about power concentrated in the wrong places.

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