Background - We are in a temporary place. A temporary home and a temporary country. Our main job currently is to work through a massive rehabilitation process for a loved one that became ill and sustained much damage.
Here, in our temporary country and temporary home, we've managed to be gathered into, or gather, a smallish community that supports and helps one another. This is great, but is not an intentional community life. There are however many miracles in our current circumstances.
So, a while ago my husband and myself took stock in terms of our ability to sustain emergencies ... protests, strikes, food shortages, water shortages, electricity disappearing and all kinds of things. Keep in mind our patient .. electrical bed, electrical mattress, a stack of washing, hot water, specially prepared foods, etc etc.
Our temporary place is in a warm part of the earth and the one thing that we did not think of, was cold ... because it does not get cold here. This stock-taking process resulted in us upping our stocks of store-able food, investing in a collapsible greenhouse, getting more good seeds and planting up a storm, checking our water stocks carefully and upping security in and around the house. So, we felt quite prepared to be able to handle most emergencies, given that we have a very ill person and a small team of nurses around the clock, so, we are vulnerable.
So, what happened is that this place froze up for 4 days - up to -18C. None of the systems are designed to sustain cold weather as it is not necessary and everything burst, broke or cracked. Water pipes are out in the open and not sunk into the ground. Electricity and water meters are outside, water tanks are up on roofs and every system imaginable was simply frozen solid, including vehicles. Here is what happened in the first half day:
First, all water disappeared off of the store shelves.
All perishable food disappeared off of the shelves .. everything that did not need heat to be prepared - cheese, milk, yogurt, fruit .. whatever, and the stocks of prepackaged food started shrinking fast.
All candles disappeared off of the shelves.
There was not a stick of firewood to be had.
The gas pumps could not dispense .. frozen and breaking or no electricity to pump.
All spares for plumbing and repairs disappeared off of the shelves.
With our initial planning, here's what we experienced:
Water - We were fine, as we have a pool for water to clean stuff and an underground cistern for water to drink - and colloidal silver and mms to keep us free of water borne critters.
Heat - With the incredible cold, we got in some wood immediately but had to drive to a neighboring rural area to get it. We discovered that our ´designer´fireplace is not quite what we imagined it to be and we had to make it work. So, we had heat which was critical for our sick patient as well as the tools to adjust this designer fireplace which was not meant to be actually used with anything more than a log for a mood fire.
Food - We were fine, as we could harvest our first food for fresh supplies and had laid in sufficient stocks as well as a stock of gas for a gas stove.
Spares - We were fine as we had planned a method of getting water out of the cistern without a pump and we had the pool although I had to chop that open. It was frozen. We could live without any electrically driven systems as we had alternative non-electrical stuff for our patient. Whereas other people were running around like crazy to change out pumps and tubes and stuff, we're still living a simplified way and will get to repairing what is necessary when we want to. (The damage is extensive, pool pump, water pump, water pressure vessel all cracked and we've not checked the swamp cooler.)
So, the first night of the big freeze arrived and every single person in our small community turned up to check on us and our patient. One family brought a spare gas heater, the other came with a stack of blankets, the other came with the last cookies out of their oven and so on. And because we had prepared, we could pay back in water which we had, some fresh food, we could share our wood and in one case, a bit of petrol gas as the gas pumps could not dispense. Not many people or businesses have generators as this is a warm area and electrical power is usually reliable.
So, our planning paid off in spades. But what we could not have done without, was water, wood, tools and the energetic ability to handle all of this. Now that everything is defrosted, we estimate that we could have survived quite well for about a month.
A few major lessons for me ... Keep it absolutely simple - do not have a generator where a bucket can do the job! Make the plan, know your plan and work the plan! Keep the emotions, energy and the spirits high! Work together and have something spare for the neighbors and your community.
So, a few further things that we are going to do to be prepared for emergencies:
Plant more food and put it up using older techniques of bottling, fermenting, salting and drying working up to at least 3 month's supply.
Keep wood and utensils on hand for cooking without electricity or gas!
Keep our water sources immaculate and ready for use!
Love our community and give as much as we can! (I detest baking but I'm gonna bake some cookies and keep cookies on hand for everyone).
Simplify where we can.
The most important lesson is to keep it simple. This will leave time to play some guitar, bang on some drums, sing some and even dance.
Appreciation, Compassion, Forgiveness, Humility, Understanding, Valor
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