Thursday, September 11, 2014

Preparing for winter in 2014

The word is, that this years winter in the United states is going to be brutal compared to what we have been getting the last several years. It is suppose to hit us a lot earlier as well. My sources say the end of September or early October.
According to the newest edition of North America’s oldest continuously published periodical, a decline in solar activity combined with ocean-atmosphere patterns in the Pacific and Atlantic will result in below-normal temperatures and above-normal snowfall during most of the winter across much of the United States.

“This winter is shaping up to be a rough one,” says Janice Stillman, editor of The Old Farmer’s Almanac. “Sweaters and snow shovels should be unpacked early and kept close by throughout the season. The good news is that the extra precipitation—which will fall as rain or snow depending where you are—will help with any drought issues left over from the summer.”
Where I currently live we tend to lose power during every storm and with no fireplace or wood burning stove, an alternate heat and cooking source is a must for our survival. This article will touch base on some basic things you will need to consider storing so you and your family will make it through the winter comfortably.

Milk, Eggs and Bread Oh My!

We have all seen how crazy people get at the idea that the store might run out of bread, milk and eggs during natural disasters or a threat of severe weather. This winter is no exception. The cost on these items will sky rocket the closer we get to it. People will begin to panic and possibly start raiding stores in some areas.  My suggestion would be to start purchasing powdered milk and eggs now so you will have plenty later and won’t have to fight a mob. (Wonderful information on powdered milk can be found here.) Also, store up on shelf stable foods such as soups, beans or anything that might help keep you warm that can be cooked using an alternative heat source. ie….grill, camp stove, campfire etc.

Milk- Below are several links to powdered milk that has been researched and has good reviews in regards to taste. I would also recommend purchasing some chocolate powder to make chocolate milk for the little ones or yourself if you want a change. Comfort foods and drinks can play an important role in an uncomfortable, unfamiliar situation.
Eggs are one of those things a lot of people do not keep tabs on when it comes to how many eggs their family uses per month. For this reason alone we keep powdered eggs in our pantry and our food storage. They come in great when baking and for breakfast when I am out or when the electric goes out. There is no refrigeration involved what so ever so it’s one less thing to worry about in a winter storm. Toss in some real bacon crumble (salad topper) with the eggs and grab that box of hash brown mix off the shelf and voila, you have a hot breakfast with or without electric.

Ova Easy Eggs- In my opinion is one of the best out there when it comes to crystallized eggs. By far the healthiest when it comes to nutritional value. (Review and Facts) OvaEasy Eggs are made with technology that keeps the egg’s nutrition and flavor intact.  They gently evaporate the egg in a low temperature procedure which causes the water to evaporate leaving the whole egg crystals, hence the name, Egg Crystals.  To reconstitute these Egg Crystals, just add water! They really do taste just like fresh scrambled eggs!

Bread-  How ever much you think will last your family for at least a week then buy some and store it in the freezer or be prepared to bake some.

Water Is a Must Store Item……not an option.
There are several ways of storing water quickly that you can choose from. The most common is to buy gallon jugs, bottles of water, or wash and refill juice or soda bottles. I have also seen some really neat stack able water containers. (I have not personally used them so if you have please comment below and let us know if they are worth it.)
Listed below are a few other great examples.

61blEE49LzL._SL1500_The Water Reservoir holds up to a 100 Gallons of water cleanly in your bath tub and comes with a siphon hose.

711Rfl33tSL._SL1500_Another popular way to store large amounts of water is with a 55 gallon water barrel. They often come with a complete Kit so you are able to extract the clean water from the barrel.

Alternate Heat/Cooking Sources are Important
Especially if you live in areas that are extremely cold. Some of the more obvious things you probably already have are extra blankets, sleeping bags, warm shoes batteries/flashlights etc… A few things you may not of thought of might be….

sheep_wool_productsWool Socks, wool cap/beanie, and/or gloves: Wool will help trap the heat in where it escapes the most. Your head, hands and feet so that your body stays warm.

big-buddyMr. Heater: If you have a fireplace,wood stove or generator then you are good to go my friend, but if not then you should consider at least one or two alternate sources of heat for your family. Based off of friends advice and much research we purchased a Mr. Heater as our alternate source for now. It can be run off two small portable camping propane tanks. (Like the ones used on a Coleman camp cook stove.) Or a bigger Grill style tank. (make sure to purchase the longer hose and adapter for the bigger tanks.) The Big Buddy 18,000 BTU/HR capacity can heat up to 400 sq ft. The Big Buddy combines radiant heat with convection heat air flow for maximum heating efficiency. Multi-position heat settings control comfort level. Built-in low oxygen sensor and tip over switch ensure safe, reliable confident operation. It has an easy-carry handle with built-in blower fan to circulate heated air for higher heating efficiency. Blower fan operates on 4D-cell batteries or with optional 6-volt A/C adapter. As with grilling it is very important to make sure all of the propane is out of the hose once you turn it off.

(Updated Note: I received some excellent advice on my Facebook page to help improve owning these heaters. He recommended to also invest in deep cycle batteries, a small power inverter and small solar panel. With those we should be good to go for heat. Thanks for the advice my fellow prepper!)
71bmSDIoeHL._SL1500_Heat Inserts/ Body Warmer: These are great because they can be tucked in almost anywhere at any time for warm up hands, feet, toes, or pockets.

gas-electric-burners-200x-NO-150x150Alternative Cooking Sources are very important as well so that you are able to cook what ever is in the fridge once the power is out. Stock up on some charcoal and propane for those grills!! For some wonderful ideas on alternate cooking sources please click here.

Rock Salt to melt ice on the stairs and other important areas out side of your home is a very important thing to consider adding to your garage. Rock salt is very cheap and well worth it compared to the cost of a broken bone, physical therapy or a trip to the emergency room. We also keep a small container of this in the back of our vehicle during winter in case we ever need to get out of a bad situation. For a detailed list of some items you might want to add to your EDC Car Kit, click here.)

51CTFOC6J+LCommunication is important. Always keep your phones, tablets and lap tops charged with an extra battery back up. A solar charger is a wonderful addition to your preps in case you lose power for more than a day or two. If your able to drive out of your area then you can always take advantage of outlets restaurants provide to customers. It is always wise to have an emergency weather radio for updates on the conditions in your area. The one we have chosen to use is the Ambient Weather WR112 Emergency Solar Hand Crank Weather Radio, flash light, smart phone charger, with weather alert siren.

Medications: Have a supply of ever family members medications in one spot along with a print out of each persons medical history and their doctors information. This is very important in case you get trapped inside for several weeks or have to evacuate your home. The last thing you want to do is search for your medicines and hope you got everything if you have 20 minutes to get out of dodge.

Depending on where you live, this is a *very basic* list of things you should consider having around before winter strikes this year. Every person will have different needs, but if you cover Water, Food, Heat, Communication and a way to cook then you should be able to make it just fine until power comes back on. Have an evacuation plan ready to go and practiced with your family just in case you need to leave your home for a short time. Remember, being prepared is what saves your life….not the government.

Keepin It Spicy,
Jalapeño Gal, aka Cari Schofield
Please Visit/Join My Site at Jalapeño Gals Way of Living