Prepper Diary January 30: It’s Bitterly Cold, Making it the Best Time to Plan our Garden

Spam and eggs cooking on our wood stove.
Spam and eggs cooking on our wood stove.

I woke up early yesterday morning to alarms blaring.  Not the burglar alarm, but the alarm on three different uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), including the one that runs our modem, WiFi, and home security system.  I stumbled out of bed and, flashlight in hand, shut down the equipment, and silenced all the beeping.  Peeking out the window and noticed that it was snowing.

I took advantage of being awake at the early hour to throw a couple more logs on the fire and then promptly went back to bed.  If the power is out, you might as well sleep in.

As I fell back asleep, I thought to myself, “At least all my batteries are charged.”

Eventually, I had to get up.  I was thinking that with snow and no electric, it would be a quiet day and I could do some more reading.  Around 11, I carried a cast iron skillet down to the wood stove to make Spam and eggs, which is what I consider a good prepper breakfast.  My wife and I made careful plans to open the refrigerator quickly so we could get everything we needed as fast as possible.  While the door was open and we were each grabbing our assigned items, there was a beep and the power cut back on.  We laughed and made breakfast on the wood stove anyhow.

Even though the expiration date on the Spam was 2019, it was fine.

Winter Weather Returns

After a few days of surprisingly pleasant weather, the wind, snow, cold days, and colder nights have returned.  Worried about the possibility of our water supply freezing up again, we both showered, the laundry is done, and we have 30 gallons of water stored in five-gallon containers, plus a couple cases of bottled water. 

The good news is that even if the water supply line freezes, we should have three days (or more) of water stored in our tank if we don’t do laundry.  For now, we are following the “If it’s yellow its mellow if its brown flush it down” rule.  Hopefully, things will melt so quickly that we’ll never even know if the supply line froe. 

I’m just happy that our current batch of dry firewood is dryer than the last and burns pretty well.  That should help us keep plenty warm as we approach the single digits.

More Seeds and Gardening Plans

The seeds I ordered from Red Fox Organics arrived already and look good.  Thirty-five heirloom fruit and vegetable varieties for just $30 is hard to beat

I am seeing more and more news stories about seed suppliers running out of seeds, especially heirloom seeds that breed true if you save their seeds.  Always wanting to be on the early part of the wave rather than trapped under it when it crashes, I bought four different kinds of beans (some to eat green, some to dry), two different squash seeds, and a couple of other vegetables from Jackie Clay’s Seed Treasures.  Most of what I purchased can be eaten fresh yet stores well.  These will complement the seeds in the Red Fox kit, which didn’t have any winter squash or dried beans. If you have not heard of Jackie Clay, you really need to subscribe to Backwoods Home magazine and catch up on some of her past homesteading articles.

Our Garden Plans

There is no better time to plan your garden the in the middle of a cold spell, so my wife and I discussed the garden and our plans in greater detail.  She is interested in building a big compost pile, monitoring the sun through the seasons, and taking our time to plan how we will garden… in 2022.  (She is more of a planner than I am, for sure.  Actually, we both plan, but she likes to ruminate, re-think, revise, and do what-ifs. I prefer to implement and adjust on the fly.) 

Upon further discussion, the plan is that I will put up the fence, build some raised beds and let her plant whenever she wants.  Delaying the actual planting until this fall or even next spring will give me more time to get all the work done.  There is no doubt that we will be plenty busy this year, even if we don’t plant anything.  I do hope we plant some fruit trees and berry bushes.  I’d like to get some of those in the ground sooner rather than later since they can take a few years to start producing.

The fencing will include an electric fence outside the woven wire fence to protect our bee hives from black bears. My research indicates that this is about the only way to keep a curious and hungry black bear out of your hives. I will also build the chicken coop and their run contiguous to the garden, allowing once fence to protect both. The chickens will not have access to the garden but can be let into it when we want to.

Food to Fight Inflation

As I have said before, growing your own food is a good way to combat inflation and increase your self-sufficiency.  We don’t have enough room to raise sufficient food to completely provide for ourselves, but we do want to supplement our bought food to fight inflation and to stretch out the consumption of our stored food in a survival situation.  If the SHTF and we end up with an influx of people, we will use the added manpower to expand the garden.  That’s one advantage of an electric fence, once you invest in the charger, expanding the fence is relatively quick and easy.