The Children Love It!

One of Oklahoma’s notorious ice storms has hit and covered the state. It has a beauty to it but it can be deadly, both to the unprepared and to the prepared. In 2007, a bad ice storm hit leaving us without electric for 14 days. Fortunately, we have a generator and was able to get gas to run it.

Adults went into action getting out candles and stored water. Chickens and rabbits still had to be fed and watered so the children bundled up and took care of the rabbits and John took care of the chickens.

Fortunately our heat and cooking is from propane so we were quite comfortable. Sarah put on a large pot of Hunter’s Stew. I settled in with a real book I recently ordered on disaster preparedness of all things! This storm along with the pandemic showed me some of the holes in my preparedness plan.

When the lights went out, the atmosphere became a different place. Think Little House on the Prairie. My 8 year old grandson announced he wants to live without electric when he grows up. The rest of the children, ages 15 through 6 decided to play the board game, The Settlers of Catan. Normally homeschooling, their local school was out, so they enjoyed the day off too. No requests to watch television or play with electronics, just children gathered around the kitchen table playing a game of strategy. Without lights or electronics, choices for activities become simpler. Life slows down naturally.

Our day without electricity ended pretty quick, thanks to our local electric co-op linemen. I want to keep the peacefulness just a little longer.

One Season Ends, a New One Begins

The last few weeks have been a blur of canning and freezing as the end of the garden season comes to an end. Besides the usual diced and whole tomatoes, salsa, tomato and spaghetti sauce, I’ve tried ketchup and tomato preserves. The tomato preserves are surprisingly delicious. Another new experiment this year was Jalapeno Jelly. The mixture of spicy and sweet has proved to be addictive. Okra was a big producer this year so we’ve froze it both battered and plain. Okra is a wonderful addition to soups. My mother always made okra cooked in tomatoes, bacon and onions which is quite yummy so I’ve canned okra and tomatoes. However, my brother and I are the only ones who like it this way. It has to be battered and fried for everyone else!

The night before last we were warned of a possible hard frost. It was all hands on deck to try and save as much as possible of the last of the tomatoes, both green and red, and a mountain of Banana, Hungarian, Bell and Jalapeno peppers. The harvest filled a deep wheelbarrow. We were happy to split it up and share with relatives and neighbors.

To get out of the house and the kitchen, I took a little trail ride with John to see his latest tiny cabin on stilts (hunting stand). Bow season for deer hunting has started and it soon will be muzzleloader or primitive arms season. This is a very big deal in our family as I’ve talked about before in This is not just sport but food for our family. John never harvests anything that is not food.

John designed his cabin to avoid climbing and hunting from a tree stand which can be quite dangerous. Now he has a comfortable place to sit with a propane heater when it’s cold, drink his coffee and even fall asleep without falling out of a tree. He invited me to climb up and inspect. He even has carpet on the floor! The pictures at the top right was my view out of the windows. Very peaceful with only the sound of birds. All summer with the hustle and bustle of family life and a big household I’ve been dreaming of a quiet place to get away where I could be alone with God and pray.

I think I found the place.