Prepper Diary December 17: The Winter Storm Strikes

Winter Landscape with Trees. Image by Ina Hoekstra from Pixabay.
Winter Landscape with Trees. Image by Ina Hoekstra from Pixabay.

We are weathering the first winter storm of the season just fine.  The wood fires are keeping us warm and cheerful and we haven’t lost power.  Of course, there’s no getting down the mountain road, and if you do, then getting back up is the challenge.  Even with four wheel drive, I think we’ll just stick it out until it melts.

We do have some good news to report:  The closing on our old house took place as scheduled.  The deed has been filed with the register of deeds and we have canceled our old insurance policy and ensured that all the utilities are out of our name.  We truly enjoyed living there, but with the kids all grown up and moved out, it was too large and too expensive, not to mention too close to the city.  We are happy to be out of there and even happier to cut our living expenses in half. 

Still, there are some downsides of living way out in the country.  For example, not one of the estimated delivery dates provided by the USPS has been accurate yet.  Things seem to arrive two days late, and that’s to the PO Box, not our house, where there is no mail service.

Rental Truck Return

We returned the rental truck earlier in the week, and the nearest Enterprise Rent-A-Car office was more than an hour away and in another state.  We knew this ahead of time, of course, and planned for it.  Since my wife had to follow me there so I could get a ride back home, we made a day out of it.

It wasn’t a bad excursion as we visited what to us was a new city.  It gave us a chance to get the curtain rods and some other home improvement items my wife wanted at Lowes, visit a book store so I could get some fresh reading material, eat lunch at Chik-Fil-A, and do some shopping at Sam’s Club where we made a good start at re-stocking our freezer.  We had brought a cooler with us to keep things cold on the way home, and it was so loaded with meat I could barely lift it. I am happy to report that we have a prodigious amount of bacon on hand, three or four kinds of sausages, some rib eye steaks, London broil, and many pounds of chicken. This is on top of he ground beef and buffalo that made the trip with us.

For this prepper, happiness is a freezer full of protein.

Regional Differences

I also bought a three-pack of Libby’s corned beef at Sam’s Club, something I had not seen in their stores before.  My wife kind of rolled her eyes but didn’t stop me from buying it.

It is interesting the regional differences in store layout and contents, which I have seen in both Sam’s Club and Walmart.  While I did not notice any price differences at Sam’s, the food selections were slightly different. For example, this Sam’s Club actually had big packages of country ham, which had best buy dates of November 2021 and do not require refrigeration. I’ve seen individually wrapped country ham slices in grocery stores in the South, but never several pounds worth at a time, and never at Sam’s Club.  I guess it was a Christmas special.  We did not buy any, but I admit to being tempted.  I have fond memories of being served country ham by my great aunt Helen in rural Virginia when I was a kid.  That and watermelon rind pickles were two things we ate there that were not commonly available elsewhere.

More Fireplace Fun

I have been reading up on our wood stove, which I have identified as a Fisher Grandpa Bear originally made in the 1970s.  Find it still going strong 40 years later is impressive!  I have no idea where the original owner of this house obtained this old stove, but installing it was one of his better decisions.

The Fisher stoves actually have a wiki and a forum, and after perusing both, I have decided that I may add a baffle to increase the stove’s efficiency and prevent so much heat from going up the chimney.  I have also learned is that it really performs best with at least five or six logs in the fire box.  I am now adding twice as many as I used to when I restock it, and both the burn time and heat output is increasing.

Prior to the arrival of the winter storm, I carried in 72 logs for the fireplace and the stove into the house.  That is in part why my phone reported I climbed 14 flights climbed yesterday after climbing 20 a couple days earlier.  I don’t know if doing this a couple times a week is why I had to tighten my belt a notch to keep my drawers up, but I’ll take it!

Eat Like a Prepper

Moving all our stored food was a reminder how much food we have and just how old some of it is.  To address this, we have implemented “Eat like a prepper” meals, of which we will have at least one per week.

Our most recent was a pouch of Tasty Bite Madras Indian Lentils, which we had bought years ago at Costco, served over rice.  I don’t know exactly how old they were, but the pouch had a 2013 expiration date!  More than hours later and we have suffered no ill effects from eating the expired food, but I did think the spiciness of the food had degraded somewhat, meaning it wasn’t as spicy as I recall.

This would be a typical dinner for us in a SHTF scenario as we store a great deal of rice.  The combination of a legume (lentils) and grain (rice) provides the building blocks for complete nutrition. 

If you enjoyed today’s Prepper Diary entry, check out the last one, Prepper Diary December 14: Struggling to Stay Warm Without Overheating