The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Tuesday 5 May 2015

Pantries and Preparedness. Be ever watchful.

Of all the wonderful blogs I follow and helpful information I come across nothing has as good advice on preparedness and prudence as my Bible. I am continuously amazed.
This has been hitting home with me lately more than ever.
There are so many preparedness gems, some I have mentioned already, like the Proverbs woman not being afraid of the winter as she is prepared!!
Also I look at a woman looking well to the ways of her household to totally include being sensible and prepared.

But a theme mentioned many times is being watchful. Being sober and watchful. It is another thing that has layers like an onion! Being watchful includes many levels including things like are we on the right track? Are we being deceived? Are we keeping our priorities straight? A whole list of things that we need to be continually watchful about.

But being watchful is also many practical things. Since scripture covers so many practical avenues of life from planting a field, knowing what to make to sell, preparing for the winter, observing the seasons, being like ants who work quietly away... there are a lot of practical things about being watchful.

How does this help us with preparedness?

In many ways! We already talk about being watchful with the price cycles of groceries, of sales and mark downs, of opportunities to stock up and build up the pantry. Wendy posts once a week the best specials in the catalogues! (she just has today in fact) This is being watchful. This helps us manage our budgets and get good food on the table.

I have talked about knowing every lemon tree in a ten mile radius! lol. I probably do! But being aware of all the things available to us is being watchful. We are watching for opportunities. Picking things in the right season is being watchful so that we don't miss the perfect moment to strike!

When we need to make a big purchase like a new fridge and we know when there is a big sale, that is being watchful.

But the other day I had a moment that was an eye opener. Chloe and I went into the city. We pulled up at traffic lights and before us a scene unfolded and it was like slow motion where you are just amazed and frozen. The traffic in front of us just had the go ahead to turn right. And at that moment there was a girl... she had ear phones on and was holding her phone up in front of her face and she walked straight in front of the wall of cars coming right at her! She took seven or eight steps out right into the middle. Cars were honking, slamming on breaks.... and she never knew. No idea. When a cars bumper bar was right up next to her she looked up. She had no idea where she was. She saw and heard nothing. It was such a close call and her survival was all thanks to the drivers.  We were gobsmacked.
When I told Andy this he said he sees this every day. They don't know where they are. They don't look up. They are in a total world of their own. If someone is shouting at them they don't know, if a dog is barking at them they don't know... and what easy targets.

So this is about as far from watchful as you can get! To not know your surroundings, be able to hear a warning, be alert... and I thought about this. I wonder if that girl would know much of world events, if it is going to be a storm tomorrow?   I just thought about awareness and how our safety depends on it on so many levels!

I read a while ago that in self defence one of the biggest things we can do is have "situational awareness."  Police and military are trained in it. The basics of it are just sensible. To know what is going on around us. To be alert and observe. To notice. These things are actually skills. And they can save our lives.  Even the most simple thing like being aware it is late and dark so don't walk through the park is situational awareness!  This is a really interesting subject and you can increase your skills in this and become watchful and observant. This really can be a life saver. It is a really interesting subject and there are easy ways to improve your skills.

Not everything of course is something we can see coming. But many things can be seen coming! We have a great advantage that now there might be several days warning that a cyclone or terrible weather event is coming. This is an advantage but only if we know about it!  When cyclone Tracy destroyed Darwin it was observed that all the birds left and went inland. Some people would have observed that. Probably many never noticed. But before weather warnings and satellites that's all people had, signs in nature that something was coming.

Making sure we hear and see warnings is a major help in preparedness. Having an action plan for those times is a huge help. Debbie said the other day that they had no power for three days and that candles, batteries etc sold out of the stores. She was affected by the massive storms over Sydney and NSW. This was forecast so there was some warning. Debbie had gas to cook with, a good pantry and everything they needed. People were killed driving through water over roads. And it has happened again since too. In this situation following the warnings, heeding advice (not to drive through water) having candles, torches and food in the house were all life saving things.

Andy had to go early in the Adelaide Hills over the weekend. I was able to tell him there was a traffic warning about fog and ice. These things make a difference! Warnings are helpful. They save lives.
If there is a storm coming do you know about it?
If you are travelling do you know the dangers of where you are going? The different laws? The different health risks?
If a product is being recalled because of health risks or contamination would you know?
If the power goes out can you still follow the government advice in an emergency? And follow updates?
 Having some warning where it is available is worth a lot. A little time to take action can make the hugest difference.

I know ignorance can be bliss at times. But it is risky!

The bigger picture of being watchful is what is going on in the world. I always used to ask the girls why were the three wise men wise? Why were they called the three wise men? They were wise becasue the knew when they saw a new star over Bethlehem that Jesus was going to be born. HOW did they know this? Because they knew their scripture!

Lately I am amazed bu the things happeneing in the world that I have been reading about all my life thinking oh that probably won't happen in my life time. And many things are happening! I wouldn't know what was going on at all if I didn't know my scripture.

Be watchful. Be ever watchful. Be sober and watchful.
It could save your life. It could save your family. It will help with being prepared. It will help with your priorities and planning.

Do not be like the headphone girl and walk straight into trouble.
"the prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty." Prov 27.12

How can we use the advantages we have to be aware of what is happening? Many places have alerts you can sign up for. Our state sends texts in extreme emergencies. But there are many ways of keeping an eye on things that we could consider taking advantage of.
How can we be more watchful and use this for our families safety and also for gathering the things we need, saving money and doing well?

My little progress report is i have been stocking up on matches, batteries and candles due to what Debbie said last week.  (thanks Debbie)  These things sold out in the stores. I thought I would add to my supplies! Also I realised that a torch next to the cellar door might be a wise move since it is pitch black down there when there is no power! So I added a torch to keep right there at all times.

When I use candles or tea lights I pop them inside jars. I feel much safer with them this way and I am mentioning it as several people have said something about candles and safety. We have a battery lantern that gives out a lot of light as well.

I hope your pantry is growing and that being watchful helps you build it up as well as keep you safe!
Week by week every little thing adds up! xxx


  1. Oh, Annabel. This is such an excellent post. I was reading an article the other day in "Reader's Digest" (I think? or the newspaper?) about falls. One of the ways to we can prevent falls is by being watchful, looking where we're going, what's ahead of us ON THE GROUND, not even really looking straight ahead of us even. I thought the entire article applied (as your post does!) to the spiritual realm as well.

    I want to be that Proverbs "watchful" 31 woman, Annabel. Thank you for these timely words.

    And as a redhead, I am DYING to have a box of those REDHEAD MATCHES! I saw a box like them on a blog years ago and Googled them... only to find them in Australia! HAHAHA! I have a few matchboxes I've collected and that is one I want, whether or not it has matches inside! LOL!

    Hugs and a great week to you. YOU INSPIRE ME!

    1. Thank you Kelley! I would happily send you some Redhead matches... there are a range of red head matches and lighters etc. I think we are not allowed to mail flammables .... I will check though rather than cause an international incident!
      Oh ... I could send you the box though, with out the matches? If that is worthwhile? Can do that!
      Thanks re the sensible advice re falls. yes! So many accidents would be prevented with watchfulness. Very good point! xxx

  2. Dear Annabel, You know this is one of my biggest weaknesses, that I often don't know world or local news. We have no tv by choice but listen to the ABC radio if we are in the car. One of us is usually in the car most days, but their are still somethings that we miss.
    One of the best ideas is for us all to maybe try a night to see if we have sufficient lighting/power preparation. Sometimes what we think we have when it comes to use isn't enough.
    Only last week with the terrible rain storm that hit Brisbane people were killed and stranded for hours on end on the Freeways with them being grid locked for four hours.
    One of the areas that I need to work on is new underwear for us all, and to check our supply of warm socks and tights. If you get a weather situation, very often it's difficult to get things washed and dried, so it's another area of comfort for us all.
    Thanks for the wonderful series that you have got going.
    Love to everyone, Helen

    1. Dear Helen, I did some googling... you could sign up for alerts coming to your phone for free. Given the amount of storms and serious ones QLD has this would be good. Go to Brisbane city council Early Warning Alert Registration. There may be a better one, I think your local council will know. Once you know then turn on the radio in the house. Then you will be kept undated and advised. That at least takes care of weather events.
      I saw what you said about people that on purpose drove through water. No amount of warnings stopped this, I saw they were warning and warning people not to drive through deep water as recently this is how people dies. And it happened again sadly. If we possibly can we are better to stay home. I know people can get caught in it but if we can stay home we are safer.
      Thank you Helen, week by week we are making improvements! xxx

  3. Hello again....but for my first time here.

    Preparedness is one of those things I take for granted a little. Until I need to use it. To have the things on hand that are needed when they are needed makes such a huge difference to how stressful a situation is.

    A small but simple example of this was recently demonstrated in the huge storms we were recently lashed with. I like to be prepared for lots of foreseeable situations. My husband pokes fun at a lot of my 'in case' things. He claims I am a hoarder, with multiples of things that are unnecessary. But when our roof got leaky, it was handy to have more than one bucket. When our garage got flooded it was handy to have so many old towels. When he wanted a cup of tea and the power was out he didn't even think about the fact that our stove is gas until I reminded him. So I watched him turn the knob and press the ignition switch....the ignition switch is electric. He came so close to getting a hot cup of tea. Fortunately for him I have 'hoarded' matches so that we could light the stove manually. And could use candles from the much mocked drawer full of candles.

    Another example is that a few days ago I discovered my freezer is dying....oh no, there is a lot of 'preparedness' food in there. The repairman couldn't get here for two days. But everything pretty much stayed frozen because I have filled the empty spaces with bottles of frozen water which was enough to keep the freezer cold for that period of time and to keep my stockpiled food frozen. A simple thing that saved me hundreds of dollars just by being aware, as you say, of what could happen and of how it could be simply alleviated.

    Speaking of preparedness, I had best go and prepare some food for my cherubs. LOL.

    Love Lorax

    1. Lorax I am so happy to have you here! Excited actually! You live a real life of prepared for eventualities and are very observant too.So WELCOME... see the "welcome: mat...(visualize)
      Your neck of the woods has sure had its share of intense weather lately. All these things would have been such a help.
      Your mention of the freezer situation is very worth highlighting IF we have it full and if not we keep the gaps full of water bottles and containers and refrain from opening it then there is a couple of days right there that most freezers will keep everything frozen solid. Thus saving all of it being ruined. We then check and feel everything on the edges and top to check its solid when the power is back. Anything slightly softened we would then use or cook in the next couple of days. Mostly everything has been solid though. Also for those who's power is out even longer it still gives you more time to cook and use up (on gas) and when water is also cut that ice becomes drinking water if needed. its a really sensible back up plan. Frozen assets!
      So glad to see you, happy dance! xxx

    2. Thank you for my warm welcome. It's like coming 'home'.

    3. Big happy smiles here for Lorax's presence :)

  4. An apt post Annabel, especially after the weather up here last week.

    We saw the news interview of the lady who was pushed out of the car by her husband - he couldn't get out himself. She said that they didn't see the water, this is what my friend said on Monday. She didn't see it and she got stuck in the flood waters. While there she could feel the power of the water and she was on a suburban street.

    I am still finding it hard to believe that my friend didn't see the level of the water but then I also feel that she is not totally aware of what is happening around her. I was driving her around on Monday and noticed the colour of some liquid amber leaves, you couldn't miss them they were red and when I mentioned them to her she hadn't seen them. Perhaps it was that she was still in shock after Friday night but I have my doubts given some other indicators I have seen over the last few weeks I have been helping her.

    I have been in some tricky situations and it was only because I was aware of what was happening that I managed to get out of them - thankfully before anything had happened but it was frightening both times.

    Another time my old VW broke down on a major highway (pre mobile 'phone days) anyway I limped along until I was fairly close to a RACV 'phone and called for help - the advice was to go back to the car and lock myself in - had to tell the operator that my car didn't lock - they were there quick smart. When it came to getting back home I had a problem but worked that out with getting them to drop me off at the police station and calling some family friends.

    Sometimes we do end up in a situation that we haven't planned for and we just need to remain calm and deal with it as best we can at the time.

    As for not being aware of what is going on due to the use of technology when we lived in Melbourne there were quite a few deaths due to people walking in front of trains - the boom gates were down and the bells were ringing but they just never heard a thing.

    I have a couple of things that I always do when out and about in the car - if at night I try and park under a street light and I always check my car before I get into it. I check to make sure I do not have a flat tyre and I also check the back seat of the car to make sure that there is no one in it.

    When I shop I always put it in the boot of the car so that it isn't visible to anyone who may be checking out cars to see what they can steal.

    I do not like underground carparks so always park at the lightest place - it might mean a walk but I do not mind.

    Helen I did the underwear earlier this year - decided that we didn't have enough if we lost power for a length of time.

    Lorax wonderful to see you here. Men are such babies sometimes.

    I am a cloud watcher - they change shape depending on what is happening. The ants move up to higher ground when the rain is coming. There are other signs but we just need to be aware of them and not rely on the weather man - sometimes his timing is out like it was last week.


    1. Some wonderful thoughts Lynette. Yes never leaving valuables in a visible place in the car is a good one. Also parking under a light or in a highly visible place. THAT is sensible.
      I agree sometimes the weather forecast is just wrong. Mum says "dont they have a window??" lol as if they looked out of it they would change what they just said!
      Also the idea to get dropped at a police station when waiting somewhere unfamiliar is a smart one.
      Much of it was what used to be called "having your wits about you" but as you mentioned people being able to not see and not hear a train well having you wits about you is something that needs bringing back!
      Thank you for so many good tips!
      It was tragic about the lady and her husband, I read that one. Very sad. As you said some things happen very quickly.
      There is a lot to be said for watching nature. My pa was good on that and he had a barometer and always knew what was coming!

  5. Evening Annabel
    A lovely blog tonight. Preparedness certainly has been playing on my mind lately. It is the only reason I can keep going with little or no pay. I have a torch in my bedside drawer and it has been amazing how many times we use it.
    I will be glad when I have had a few weeks of pay and then I can restock the pantry and replace some of the used items.
    Well I need to iron and prepare the clothes for tomorrow so God Bless and enjoy what is left of the week xxxxx

    1. Dear Mel,
      I hope your trial is going well and its a good week! And that in a few weeks you will be back to building things up again! It has been so good that past work you did on this helped you get through this time. That is what it is for and how wise you were to put so much into it.
      I have a torch next to me too. And I take one when I go away but a little baby one.
      You have a good rest of the week too and good news I hope! Love

  6. Hi Annabel

    Just wanted to let you know that there are emergency apps that can be downloaded for free to your phones. They are specific for the locations you put in and can go for as far as you set them for. This helps if there is an accident in the area, bushfires, floods etc.

    The one I currently have is Emergency Aus

    I will come back later when I have read more of your blog but just thought you would like to know


    1. Thanks Aly I will look at this and see what apps would be good for here too. That is a great tip. xxx

  7. Wise words about being watchful and prudent. These are conversations my husband and I have often. Ignorance is bliss... until something unfortunate happens. I would rather be prepared! Have a lovely week. (P.S. I just scored some recycled coffee jars and will be making mixes this week. Thanks for the inspiration!)

    1. Thank you Jes. I just got really big old coffee jars given to me too! I am up to same thing. A lady Mum knows saves them and said she has heaps if I would like them. Well yes! They are a very large size too. Very happy so I can get lots of mixes going. I hope I might see your mixes and jars on your blog! xxx

  8. Being watchful and aware are two such important elements in our pantry building. Learning from the experiences of others is another important element and when we act on what we are discerning and learning we are indeed following in the footsteps of the Proverbs 31 Woman. Great Post Annabel!!!

    1. Thank you so much Patsi. I found you by being watchful. I was watching for really good and reliable sources of information (and encouragement) on pantries and preparing. You were one of the first blogs I investigated! And now its part of my day to see what you have been up to! xxx

  9. Awesome post, Annabel.

    As you stated, the Bible is full of wisdom on working hard to be prepared and on knowing the signs. Old timers used to plant by the signs; know the upcoming weather by the signs; prepare by the signs. Much too often today, people are like the girl with the headphones walking straight into danger ignorantly.

    Keeping abreast of world events, monetary markets, and reading a variety of news helps us stay informed. Knowing that God tells us to prepare, be wise, watch the signs and act, and to be filled with wisdom from His word, will keep us diligent and on the right path.

    I keep several sewing kits prepared in case the electricity is out and I don't have access to my sewing machines. I would love a treadle machine, but I have no room to put it. I might, in the future, eliminate some unnecessary items in order to make room for that.

    We store light sticks; windproof and waterproof matches; several LED lanterns; regular candles; and I have LED candles placed in almost every room in the house. Several of these we use as night lights as I have set them on the timer for various times during the night. I purchase batteries from Sam's Club and stock a lot of them in the 'emergency supply' storage closet. It is not inexpensive to use batteries and LED candles, but it is by far safer for us with two very large and young Golden Retrievers and young grandchildren. Also, we are older and having the LED candles come on at a specific time during the night helps protect us from falling in the dark. Since I tripped in the dark a year ago over our large male Golden Retriever and fractured my hip/pelvis joint, we have both been very aware of the fact we are aging and need lights. Since the LED candles don't need electricity it isn't a concern for their function if the electricity is out.

    We have a total of four backup cooking sources should the electricity go out and one of them, also, provides heat to the house. I inherited my MIL old and seasoned cast iron cookware which I keep on top of the wood cook stove in the dining room ready to use should it be needed.

    Stores sell out here almost immediately, also, when a disaster occurs. People seem to think the stores have an endless supply of 'whatever' to purchase and they can wait until the last minute. When they get to the stores and find empty shelves, anger results and, sometimes, violence. Having a nice deep pantry of all types of supplies eliminates the need to venture out in the midst of chaos and confusion.

    We store a minimum of 30 gallons of water and rotate it regularly. We, also, have a stainless steel Berkey water filter. It filters gallons of water quickly and eliminates bacteria.

    Since we grind our grains, such as wheat berries, oat groats, spelt berries, etc., we have a manual back-up grain grinder. Normally, I use our Nutrimill which is quick, easy, and does an excellent job. If we didn't have electricity I would not be able to use that. I grind grains ahead and store in glass canning jars in the freezer, just in case of a short electrical outage. In addition, it saves me time by only having to grind once or twice a month. Grains store for years and years when properly stored; flour is very short term storage.

    Items that seem to fly off the shelves at stores when a emergency event or disaster is forecast are: Toilet tissue, paper towels, water, junk food, bread, and milk. Dry goods, canned milk, jugs of water, and paper supplies store long term and can easily be gathered and part of deep storage. I have calculated how much of each item we would need for three months and we store that amount. It is a lot less stressful to have items needed on hand, than to hope the store has them when needed.

    I love to read everyone's comments. Your blog is such a wonderful sharing place and I know I am inspired by your posts and other's comments. Thank you.

    1. Dear Glenda,
      When I was little I leaned to sew on Nan's treadle sewing machine. I loved it. At first I couldnt reach the treadle and sew at the same time so it was one or the other! Later I also learned to spin wool, also from Nan, with that same treadle action. Something is soothing like a rocking chair about that action too.
      I love hearing how well prepare you are. Thank you as you are well ahead of me and your knowledge is a big help.
      It is a very good point about sewing when the power is out. I am fine with being able to carry on with embroidery or crochet if no powers... I can crochet in bad light too. Because many people would be desperate over no TV and I wouldnt mind a bit. Plenty of things to do without power.
      Your lights for the night time are a good idea. You cannot have another fall. It is such a set back getting over a fracture. So that is a really good idea. Prevention is a good thing.
      I do not want to be in a frantic crush at a store in the last minute either. It has to be safer to be at home at that point.
      Many thanks Glenda your home sounds so well set up for everything! Love

  10. When Hurricane Katrina came to our neck of the woods a few years ago, I was amazed and appalled by all the people who totally disregarded all the warnings. We were warned for DAYS before it happened. My family gathered everything we needed and ran from the storm. We had all our clothes washed the first day we heard the story.

    I can't even tell you how many stories I heard of people who were washing their clothes when the storm hit land. All I could do was shake my head. They had warning.

    And something I learned from Katrina. It is good to always have half a tank of gas in your vehicle. I try to fill my tank whenever it gets to half a tank now. We couldn't buy gasoline for the vehicles at any price for over a week after the storm. Those who had half a tank or more did fine. And in our family, if we had half a tank in both vehicles, then my husband could still get to work even if his vehicle ran out of gas, because I had it in mine. Katrina made me watchful of the amount of gas in my vehicle at all times. I don't want to face any of that unprepared ever again. :)

    Great article. Watchfulness is a great blessing.

    1. Cristy that is an amazing example! All this way away I know of Hurricane Katrina. What a famous storm. And yes even we knew when it was coming and the warnings were dire. Who would ignore that?!
      Like the verse I quoted some people listen and act and others take no notice. I am so glad you acted and that your family was fine.
      It is a good reminder about the fuel in the car. This is the second time I have heard this reminder in the last week. Im going to make a point of always doing this.
      The warnings and satellite pictures are a help to us but as you say only for the people that act on them!
      I hope you dont ever have to go through a storm again like that one! Many thanks

    2. Well, thank you for hoping we never have to go through a storm like that, but we live near the coast. It is part of the territory. So it's better to be prepared for things that come with the territory than just hope and pray they never come back.

  11. We are heading into tornado, storm and hurricane season here in the SE USA. It is best to be ready but so many just ignore what needs to be done. We are working on getting together 72 hour buckets so that we can take care of ourselves in a disaster.

    1. Dear Lana, After all the Hurricanes it seems amazing that people still dont prepare! Cristy above said the same thing. Well I am glad you do. I hope there are not bad storms but it has seemed like there have been a lot and we have many on our East coast, which is also the side that gets the worst of it.
      When you get your 72 hour kits done tell us what you included as that would be really interesting. Thanks Lana, Love

  12. What a great post Annabel, and so topical for us where we are just now. As Lynette and Lorax mentioned, our East coast storm season has been prolonged and intense this year. My daughter was at a school musical rehearsal when the latest storm hit on Friday night (the one of which Lynette speaks). It was just heavy, pounding, unrelenting rain for hours and hours on end, due to a slow moving storm cell. Usually the storm cells move quickly and pass quickly. But this one just stayed put. I don't recall ever seeing rainfall quite like it. I was driving through familiar roads that were already flooded with water from swollen stormwater drains at 3:30. By 4:30, roads were cut, cars abandoned, and arterial roads gridlocked. It took many people from 4pm till midnight to make a one hour trip home from the city. My husband and I were ringing people who we knew lived further afield, to invite them to stay overnight with us if they needed to. So another tip is to have additional bedding available for emergencies. We had three friends stay overnight, and were able to offer them warm, dry, comfortable bedding on mattresses on the floor, and plump, clean pillows and pillowcases, as well as a hot meal, a hot shower and pyjamas to wear. Due to stubbornly keeping a clothes dryer even though they're expensive to run sometimes, I was also able to wash their clothing, dry it and have it ready for them to wear home the next day. There are occasions when an indoor clothes horse just ain't gonna cut it! My hubby complains sometimes that the spare mattresses get in the way in the garage, and like Lorax's wonders why we have multiple pillows, quilts, quilt covers and so on. But now and again, he sees the light. Mimi xxx

    1. That storm really sounds quite scary! Especially like in your case when you are in one place trying to get to your daughter in another.
      You are quite right, extra pillows, blankets etc are all part of emergency preparedness. I dont have a dryer but Mum does and in a pinch I can use it as her place is 100 yards or so away. Although now you have said this the next time I see a free dryer I might snaffle it.
      It was lovely you helped friends out. What a night you must have had!
      These times you know how good it is to be warm and dry, have food in the house and everything you need to see it out!
      The insurance companies must be having a few claims! Wow. All those flooded cars just for a start!
      I hope this is the end of the severe storms but I am not counting on it. I really have learned so much so far about pantries and all the aspects. Each week Im improving and I am enjoying it too.Its a good project. Better than money in the bank I think.
      Have a good day... the week is almost over already. Many thanks

  13. I second keeping your gas tank at least half full. I may have shared this here before, but we did not know that our van's gas gauge stopped reading appropriately, meaning it said we had gas, but we actually ran out. The special warning light never came on to warn us we were low, either. We were on a very busy highway with our three young children in the van...we also did not have our cell phone charged or with us because it was supposed to be a very short routine trip. It was frightful for all of us. In our area, folks don't stop to help each other anymore, so we were really stuck. Thankfully someone finally did stop and let us use their cell to call for help.

    Now we always keep our phone charged, we take it even on short trips, and we fill up our van when it is just below half way. It's good to keep it like that in the winter, too, so the tank doesn't freeze.


    1. Marie what a scary thing! I have known of someone who had to sleep in the car all night with a new baby in a situation a bit like yours and it was terrible. I am so glad someone did help you in the end. But yes fuel, phone etc can turn out to be life savers. Not everyone would stop and help a person on the side of the road here either and it would be worse at night.... no one might stop.
      Good reminder for us all! Thanks Marie! xxx

  14. Hi Annabel,
    I've always thought that I'm a bit of an 'over-preparer', but there have been so many times that I am glad I am. In my handbag I have a swiss army knife, bandaids, spare pens, panadol, spare coins, amongst other things. I always check the weather report in the morning, as even when it looks sunny, it can still be cold. In the car I have a first aid kit, spare water, blankets etc. I also have a spare older-style landline phone in the cupboard that plugs into the phone line but doesn't require electricity.You just never know.
    I love your words about being aware and watchful. Also for the reminder to stock up on candles, torches and batteries. I have always thought that I could just use the torch on my mobile phone, but after the recent storms, I realised that I could be unable to charge it.
    Stephanie .xx

    1. I think you're just being sensible Stephanie.Truly it is all smart stuff.
      I have learned that if you get any kind of warning power could go out, put your phone on the charger and other devices also. Have a car charger so that if the power is out for ages you can charge your phone in your car. Also in extended outages your phone is important (although you smartly have an old style phone also) but mostly people need to conserve the charge and therefore candles and torches help you to do that. a torch in the car is good also for this reason.
      I have been stocking up! You go through more batteries and candles than you think. The longest we went without power was two days. That was enough! But I keep hearing of people in both Aust and overseas out for times like eight days and two weeks. Eek! Hence me getting some more supplies as they are the first to sell out. xxx

  15. I love reading your posts, Annabel, and the comments. I live in a senior independent-type apartment (I will be a young 80 next month). With very limited storage I'm unsure what to keep on hand especially if electricity goes out. What can I use to heat water, food etc? Ideas?

    Also, what are coffee jars?

    1. I love your name young77! And thank you for your kind words!
      Coffee jars, or these ones, are jars that have had a particular brand of coffee in them and saved, washed and reused. When someone has so much of the same brand coffee you end up with a nice row of matching jars. Mums friend must drink Moconna coffee, I think that is the brand and she must buy it in giant jars! I am happy to say yes to them as they are large, have lids and thick glass. Very handy for storage and the mixes I want to make.
      For our emergency cooking and boiling water etc we have a gas BBQ/cooktop outside under our patio. So if electricity goes out we can cook or heat water on that. You can buy a portable gas cooker like people take camping. But I think these are safer outside if you have an outdoor space. Other people have an indoor wood fireplace with a space on top to use a kettle or a saucepan. I am not sure if you might have an outdoor area you could keep a little BBQ.
      Keep a battery operated radio, torches (flash lights) and a battery operated lantern for light and spare batteries. Also bottled water and foods that can be eaten cold if you have no way to heat them up. This keeps you going but it is true having hot water makes life so much better!
      If you know the power is going out for a day or so you can fill a thermos of hot water and make hot drinks from that. You get a full day from water in a thermos.
      You have a big Birthday coming up! From your picture you sure do look a young 79! xxx

    2. Thanks for your reply! I am going to talk to my apt. mgr. re an emergency grill for the outdoor common area. I like the idea of a thermos and a friend suggested a chafing dish with a heat disk (?) under it like caterers use. I definitely will be setting up my emergency kit. Thanks again. The pic was taken two years ago for FB!! : ) I am very blessed with good health!

  16. Annabel, another great post with reminders and information we can all use! That was a very scary thing to watch the "ear-phone girl". How sad!

    Just the other day, I found my car flashlight and it was low on battery power. I replaced the batteries and put that on my list to get soon. I also carry a blanket, coat, gloves, water, etc in my car and have used those things and snacks many times. Long travels to cities, you just never know what might happen. And, yes, I've been teased that there is no room in my trunk but that's ok because I know I can manage. My son once used my car, ran out of gas and had to wait over an hour for help, on a busy freeway and in 90+ degree temps. He found the water and used it! :) And later said thank you for having extras in the car!

    I was reminded about several things today that I need to do! So, thank you for this reminder, Annabel!

    Have a wonderful rest of the week/weekend! Teri :)

    1. Thanks Teri! Your car preparations are really good. We recently added pure wool blankets. Chloe attended a fire information afternoon as bush fires affect the farm and area. They said a wool blanket in your car is the best thing if you are caught when a fire is passing. Plus it is handy for if the car breaks down or for many reasons really. And water is so important. I have one bottle of water in my car but I think I will add to that. And add a torch.
      It is Friday morning here... I am trying to get lots done today to finish the week well! Have a wonderful weekend to you too and thank you so much. xxx

  17. Only to happy to help Annabel, I have now stocked up on batteries too so if it happens again we can listen to the radio to see what is happening and which roads are closed. That was what I missed when we had no power

    1. It was really helpful Debbie. What really happened and sold out first is really good to know. I have really increased my battery supply plus torches. Andy has a battery radio (his fishing radio!) and a battery lantern. I can see it would be easy to run out quickly of all these things after 24 hours or so. Thanks to you now I think we would be right for days.
      I hope you dont have to go through it again though! xxx

  18. We have wind-up torches that are brilliant so we don't need to worry about batteries. I have one in the kitchen, one in the lounge, one in our bedroom, one in the car and two in our camping gear. We also have a wind-up radio. The torches came from Kmart and were $5 each, we've had them for years and they are still going strong. We use the radio primarily when we're camping just to catch up with what's happening in the world, and during summer to listen for bush fire alerts.

    Wayne is looking at solar chargers for our mobile phones, computers and camera batteries at the moment, he's hoping to get at least one before we go on holiday. They're not very expensive at all and will save worrying about keeping batteries fresh or recharged. One thing we are never short of here in Australia is sunshine and it could be used at home in a blackout if necessary.

    We have a dual battery system with an inverter in the Patrol (to give us power when we are camping and to run the car fridge/freezer) so if the power goes out for any length of time, we can use the car fridge/freezer for food and have power for small appliances we might need to use. We just need to run the car for a little while each day to keep the batteries charged.

    Even simple things like gumboots and water/wind proof jackets can save you by keeping you dry and warm. I have gumboots, wouldn't be without them. I slip them on at home to nip out to the clothesline in winter, to work in the garden, to wash the cars, mow the lawn and so on. I wear them when we're away in the morning when the ground is wet with dew, on tracks if they are muddy, to wade through creeks, around the campfire at night with thick socks to keep my feet warm. Another simple item that works in all situations.

    We didn't get these things to be prepared for emergencies as such, but they are things we would have anyway that will help to keep us safe and comfortable during an emergency.

    I am grateful to live in Australia. Our weather may seem extreme compared to some parts of the world, but our extremes are usually liveable and if we are prepared and stay sensible we can survive them with a little effort on our parts.

    1. Dear Cath, Youre tips are very practical and remind me a bit of what mum said on this the other day. She said "a lot of people dont even have a shovel you know" and then we went on to basic tools and things that are necessities at times. Not having them leaves you disadvantaged!
      The battery system with the inverter that you have.... as soon as Andy gets home I am asking if he knows about this! What a good thing. Looking into that one. Also the solar charger for phone etc batteries. Maybe, if you can, let us know more about this on Cheapskates as this would be great information to have. We saw a caravan recently and they had a solar panel running the TV and everything. I think I need to catch up with technology.
      Thank you very much Cath, have a lovely weekend (it raining here nicely on the garden!) Love

  19. Fantastic post as usual Annabel.

    You mention so many things that many would not even consider, and thankfully people like you are trying to raise awareness.

    I think we are too spoiled these days having everything that toots and whistles, so much so that if a disaster happens, there is a mad panic as many don't know what to do. Years ago there were none of the conveniences we have today, and they didn't get bombarded with media reports of this and that happening, but they knew what to do to survive. It would have been really tough, but they didn't know of anything else. Survival was their number one concern.

    No electricity meant you did everything the hard way, like washing clothes, cooking on a wood stove, lighting with lamps etc (Just a warning about burning candles, they have toxic chemicals in them and unless you buy ones that are made from the safe ingredients, you are breathing in toxins. Or you could make your own). I think led lights are a great invention and they can be set up around the home for lighting and can run from a small battery if needed. There were no refrigerators to keep things cool; they had to do what they could to prevent things from spoiling. There was also water to consider in the olden days; usually it had to be carted to the house for use. No wonder they were so fit and trim back then. Milk was from a home cow, eggs from chooks/chickens, meat was from their stock and what they could hunt for food. They would barter with neighbours, and grow what they could. Transport was on foot or by horse. Life was hard for them.

    Thinking back and getting off track a little, living in the country on a farm out west, we didn’t get electricity until 1974. I was 12. I have many memories from my childhood like my dad going out at 4pm to start up the generator, bathing in the bath with a tiny bit of water that the whole family went through. We only bathed once or twice a week! Mum milked a cow; we had poultry for eggs and meat, and farmed mostly grain, with some sheep and cattle. Washing was done on an old wringer washing machine, before that I remember mum boiling the copper to wash with. We had a couple of wood stoves in the kitchen, and on one of these the iron would sit. There were fireplaces in each room for warmth if needed, and no air conditioning in the old farm house, we didn’t need it. There were plenty of ways to keep cool. Water came from our underground tanks that my grandfather made. Mum made all of my clothes when I was younger, but every now and then I would get hand me downs from neighbours or someone from church. I thought it was Christmas lol! Mum always had a veggie garden and still does today. Once a week on Sunday, we went to town to attend church, visit grandparents and do grocery shopping. You know what? Those were the best times of my life. Life was so simple then…

    I listen to ABC radio all the time; they are the best for disaster alerts. For instance this morning there was an explosion at the local power house, and it was reported more or less straight away and they interviewed a person from the CFS to find out the details. Having said that I think too much media is stressful and depressing. Seeing so much suffering and gloom going on in the world can be very overwhelming. Years ago we didn't hear about such things.

    Sometimes I turn everything off and just be still. “The quieter you become the more you can hear.” Ram Dass.

    May God Bless You,

    Lots of love,
    Tania xx

    1. What a wonderful post Tania. You brought back memories for me. When I was a teenager we holidayed at a station in the south east. There was no power and we lived like you described. We loved it! I am sure it was more work for Mum ie heating the water on the wood stove etc but we loved the fire, we never missed TV for one minute, it was great. There was a cow and Mum would boil and skim the milk. And I think many skills learned there are good to have.
      You are exactly right many people havent any clue on how to do things manually or manage and improvise. Probably people who camp out and are used to being a bit self sufficient would do better than most.
      It is really interesting!
      Tania it is raining here now (3.30 Fri) and steadily like it has set in... I hope you are getting it too!
      Have a lovely weekend and thank you for this I loved it! Love

  20. We too live in the SE and within 300 miles of the Gulf Coast and within 200 of the Atlantic coast. Hurricanes often affect us, especially from the Gulf as they cross land about this point, not to mention tornado threats. We've lost power several times for a couple days due to these storms, hence we now have a propane heater and a gas stove (no electronic ignition on either). I keep several gallons of water stocked in PET or PETE juice bottles under my cabinet in the kitchen. We have buckets positioned under drip spots about the outdoors and when we've plenty of warning, I fill the tubs with water as well. Since our well pump is electric we'd be without water if power went out. I've been campaigning for an old fashioned well with a pulley and bucket system but no good so far, lol.

    I find I get very anxious if too much news programs are on tv but I do check weather forecasts on my computer and look at headlines

    Besides weather disasters though I want to mention the recent economic crisis we went through in the US (the recession that wasn't one). I began to see signs of this early on, well before the news picked up on it. First there was a friend in the home building business who was struggling hard and eventually went out of business. I noted that restaurant parking lots were less full, that store buildings closed down (especially small businesses) and noted in the news how many thousands of jobs were being lost. Just listening to the unemployment figures weekly was enough to make me look at my husband and say "What's going on here?" It was during that time we finished paying off the last of our debt load and I reverted back to some of my hard times methods of stretching meals. Over the next few years we went without any increase in income and prices that rose over 50% annually for six or more years. We even at one point did get a raise with the loss of a paid benefit that actually DECREASED our salary in the end. It was a struggle, but had I not been paying attention to the signs of a coming economic struggle and my husband paid attention to my asking the questions I did as I saw those signs we'd have had a lot harder time managing...might even have lost our home as so many others did. Instead we'd paid off the house and our struggle was greatly lessened.

    1. Dear Terri,
      This is a wonderful comment! Thank you so much. It is very interesting.
      You were very observant to see the signs of a recession before they were saying and also act on it. You were being watchful!
      I would really like to ask you how you see things now from you observations in current times? I know there is a lot of debt and Aust has that too. Well, it seems most of the world does, look at Greece.
      Anyway I would love to know what you think about how things are now.
      You went through a tough time. Im glad you prepared. All those costs going up so much and wages staying the same or less... we have had that with utilities and food.
      Too much news makes me anxious too and yet I want to know whats going on and be prepared and be watchful so its a fine balance!
      Thank you so much for this awesome comment, Love

  21. I hope Terri writes you back. I just wanted to mention putting that flashlight in some sort of thing that will hold it on the wall next to the basement door. So it will be right there when an emergency does come. The lights may be out already! :-) Anna

    1. Thank you Anna! That is a good idea. It is no use to me down there unless I can see! Can you imagine that?! It is scary enough going down those steps in daylight.
      Teri answered me via her blog. She says she is still seeing some construction work around where they live... but she was unsure of employment figures and said also approaching an election there is a lot of "polishing things up" to make things look good! But I am hearing a lot of worrying things and so I just think lets be prepared and prudent!
      Thank you so much for your comment! xxx


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