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Preparing for Winter Emergencies

Each Thursday there will be a new post on a different issue associated with the needs and unique challenges of living on a homestead (big or small, urban or rural) during the winter. I am a teaming up with several other bloggers to bring you this series.

Today’s topic is “Prepping for winter emergencies.” The participating blogs for this week include:

After reading my post, please take a few minutes to visit these other blogs and learn about what they do to prepare for a winter emergency on their homestead.

It was the Christmas of 1979 and I was 12 years old. It was shaping up to be the best Christmas ever. We woke up to a very cold morning, it was actually freezing which was a rarity on Padre Island.

I remember my dad mumbling something about the pipes but our focus was on the gifts. We got the most amazing family gifts that year…a VHS player and a microwave. Not just any microwave one that you could cook a turkey in. Don’t believe me?  Check out the covers on these microwave cookbooks. 

After opening gifts, my mom, sister and I went to work in the kitchen. Oh, so excited to have a turkey done in just a short time instead of cooking for hours. While we worked on the rest of the meal, the microwave cooked the turkey to absolute….horribleness. It was somewhat burnt and dry on the outside and kind of raw towards the middle. My mom salvaged what she could and put it in the oven, the real oven, all the while wondering out loud why it didn’t work.

When the turkey pieces were ready we put all the food on the table and I sat down. That’s when I saw it. A large raindrop dropped on the table. Then another one and another. And all of the sudden, water started gushing from the chandelier right onto all the food!

After about an hour of chaos, my dad drove us to the only hotel on Padre Island at that time – well, the only nice one – and we stayed there for a couple of days.

Apparently, that muttering about the pipes was that the pipes froze overnight and my dad decided to unfreeze them by pouring boiling water over all the outside pipes. Combine that with the heat in the house from the heater, the stove top and oven, 4 children running around like wild ones and you get water running through pipes that had actually burst overnight.

After that, my dad a was a little “particular” about wrapping the pipes when there was a freeze in the forecast.

So, what can we learn from this “emergency”?

~ Don’t try to cook your Christmas turkey in the microwave – even if a perfectly cooked turkey is on the cover of the owner’s manual.

~ If there’s a freeze in the forecast, wrap your exterior pipes. You can do this with old t-shirts or blankets. You can also purchase insulation specifically for pipes, like these.

~ Never, ever, ever pour boiling water on frozen pipes. I found some sites that said you can, but I’ve seen the result and it isn’t pretty.

~ Keep the water flowing. Running water is harder to freeze than still water, so when it’s going to freeze leave the water faucets dripping. Or put a running water hose on the roof so you can make ice sculptures like my kids did in 2011.

~ As tempting as it is to spend all your money on Christmas, keep some back just in case. Had my dad not kept some cash available I don’t know what we would have done. Remember this is before debit cards and wide spread credit card use. You know, in the days when we really thought we could cook a turkey in the microwave just because the owner’s manual said we could.

There’s many other things you can do, and should do, to prepare for winter emergencies. You should have food put away in case you can’t get to the store for a few days. You should also have a cooking source such as a propane or gas stove (we have our camping stove). You need water, for drinking and for flushing toilets. You need a well stocked first aid kit. Most of all, you need a plan. The more north you live, the more of a plan you need.

If you don’t have a winter emergency plan, why don’t you sit down this week and make one up. It’ doesn’t have to be perfect or cover every single thing that could happen. Just begin to plan for the things that probably will happen.

Have you ever cooked a turkey in the microwave? What other kinds of winter emergencies do yo plan for?

This post is linked to Barn Hop 

Thanks for sharing with your friends!

Jody s

Monday 25th of November 2013

Great idea for a series! It's interesting to read the different perspectives from all the bloggers. I very much hope i will never find myself trying to microwave a turkey! Thanks for sharing on The Barn Hop.