I also had a tiny little cellar that was empty and I had never been in it! When we bought this house I considered it an unused wine cellar and it was set up that way. It was dusty and the steps were steep. I wasn't going down there!
As I started to consider building up supplies so that we are much better prepared I realised I had an asset that was wasted. So I made it my goal in 2015 to clean up, add shelves and fill this cellar. And I did it! Like everything else I did it a little bit at a time and week by week. By the end of the year it was well stocked. I bought specials and mostly saved in one area to build up another... and took every opportunity to add to it. You can read about it in my 2015 series Pantries and Preparedness.
In 2016 I knew I wasn't done. Last year I still added to it. We went further and bought a generator, a new BBQ and spare gas bottles, we worked on our emergency fund and tried to learn more and more.
As it turned out all year we had demonstrations all around us to remind us why we were preparing.
In our own state we had massive storms, floods, hail that destroyed crops, the entire state went off the grid in a massive power failure, several more blackouts that lasted days in some towns, banks had glitches and online banking and ATM's didn't work, phone networks had breakdowns and phones and internet didn't work...
Meanwhile I had friends in the path of a hurricane and some that were facing huge price hikes that were crippling. And several friends who's husbands came home one day and with no warning at all had no job. Or car. Or phone. Just like that.
In our own city we had the big blackout and massive storm and roads blocked from flooding. While I had been trying to learn more about preparedness it turned out I got a practical real life crash course!
Because we had been working on this we were able to listen to the battery operated radio and hear what was going on, what had happened and that was really helpful. Without a battery operated radio you could be completely in the dark in more ways than one!
That is because phones also went out. I thought if I keep things charged they will work. Not so. The towers that transmit mobile phone signals are run on.... you guessed it ... electricity! They have a battery back up but it didn't last and soon phones didn't work. I didn't know that!
In our city trains are electric. So the trains stopped. People went to fill up their cars with fuel and the fuel wont pump without electricity. People got stuck in lifts and even on the trains as the doors are ELECTRIC. The shops soon shut as the cash registers are .... electric. Most just closed.
But before they closed every battery, torch (flashlight) candle, match sold out and so did basic foods etc. If you don't have these things before a crisis you are pretty much going to have to go without. They also took weeks to be restocked.
People couldn't get home, there were cars that had run out of fuel and then there were no traffic lights! And then the railway crossing signals and gates also failed and got stuck shut.
In a short time everything stopped.
We even had a hospital that had no power and peoples life support stopped. Hospitals have back up generators and the generator didn't work either.
To say it was a mess and frightening how unprepared we are is an understatement.
No power means no money, no shops, no fuel, no food, no communication.
It was an eye opener. More and more things depend on electricity than even a few years ago.
We did ok. We had fuel and we started up our generator. I cooked dinner on the BBQ and we had hot water heated up there as well. We stayed in, the generator kept the fridge and freezer ok. We were fine.
I couldn't reach Lucy as her mobile network went out but I could reach her husband so I found out they were ok.
As things happened I wrote them down. Since then we added a lot more to our preparedness.
I have come to think of being prepared as better than money in the bank. When something big happens you are on your own. In a mass event no one is coming to help you as the demand is just too high. It might be days or weeks or more before there is assistance.
Rachel routinely cooks over a fire as she has no electricity.
This is her having a cook up!
I had to share her picture as these kind of things are skills that are really good to have!
This year we are still trying to improve our position and learn more. And if I can influence you to look at your preparedness then I will be very happy as it could make a world of difference to your family.
This was my recent side of the road find (repainted) and it is now part of my pantry.
You wouldn't know it as it is in the lounge room but it holds back up supplies.
She also has a free ebook. If you would like to build up your pantry this year download this book and study it. It is called Yes you Can have a well stocked Pantry. I printed mine and refer to it often.
We want to have a pantry that will keep our family fed for quite some time. At first I aimed for a week, then a month and then three months. Many families aim for a year.
But that is not all. We are going to think about first aid supplies, what to keep in your car, alternative ways to cook and heat water and many other areas that make us much more able to manage when things go wrong.
Each week we will have a different topic. I am not an expert. I am a homemaker trying to be prepared. Together we can make a lot of progress this year!
Some subjects I am working on right now and are coming up first are:
Things you can do to be more prepared that cost zero.
How to be prepared when you don't have much space.
Making an action plan which you can use if you are blessed with a warning.
How to fit more into your pantry.
Learning the skills you need now and not trying to learn them in a crisis situation.
This week think about why you want to build up your pantry and how it could help you in so many circumstances. Think about what are the greatest threats where you live? I would prepare for the most common things in your area first. I feel ours are power outages and storms followed by job losses.
It is not doom and gloom is it wonderful. It is making hay while the sun shines! It is why the Proverbs woman was not afraid of the winter. She had brought in food from far away places and was the guardian of her home. She knew there would be good times and times of having to stay indoors, shortages etc. Think back then how hard she worked to achieve this kind of security!
What are you preparing for you your area? Have you experienced something that made you decide to be prepared in the future?
I have already found out that little by little and week by week a year makes a world of difference so let me know if you want to join in. 2017 will be a year that puts us in a much better position and we will have fun doing it!