Living Without Electricity, A Hands-On Experience

Living Without Electricity   A Hands On ExperienceI turned off our electricity for 48 hours this week as one of my challenges for National Preparedness Month.  And once again, just like with my Living Without Running Water experiment, I learned a lot!

If you joined me in the challenge or have experiences of you own, I’d love to hear them!  I’m by no means an expert in this area.  In fact, this is the first time in my adult life that I have lived without electricity for any extended period of time.  So, while I believe my experience will be helpful to those similar to me, I’m also sure there are many of you with quite a bit more experience, thoughts and ideas.  I’d love to hear them!

An Important Note: The Food in my Fridge / Freezer

I shut off all the breakers in our house except those to our fridge and the freezer in our garage.  I did not want to risk losing any food for the sake of an experiment.

However, if I were to experience a real power outage, I do have a plan:

I would move 3 days worth of food to a fantastic cooler that we have.  We take this cooler camping and it keeps our food frozen / cold for up to 5 days.  I would also include two 1/2 gallon containers of frozen water (I have these in the freezer in our garage).  The cooler would stay in our cold storage in our basement and be opened as seldom as possible.

I would then move the rest of the food from my indoor fridge / freezer to the large freezer in my garage.  The idea being to get it as pack as I could so that the food all stays cold / frozen for as long as possible.  There are an additional eight 1/2 gallon containers of frozen water in that freezer as well that will help with that goal.

After three days, I would open the freezer again and move just what I needed for the next three days to the cooler.  I would continue this until either the food was bad or the power was back on.

What I Learned:

My Kids Are Too Reliant On Electronics!

When I told my kids that we had no water a few weeks ago, they panicked over not being able to drink, bathe and brush teeth.  When I told them this week that our electricity had gone out,  their first comment was:

“Well, so that means…(big pause)….we just have to…(another big pause)…play?”

Yes kiddos!  No TV.  I’m not re-charging the iPad.  No CD player for dancing. You will need to just play!

I actually think I do relatively well with limiting my kids electronic time.  Of course, I have my days where I use it as a baby sitter.  But for the most part, it is very limited, both in amount and in type.  They are only allowed to watch / play “educational” shows / games for the most part.  In addition, their use of electronics is tied directly to their responsibilities / chores.  They earn fake money for their chores and can use that money to buy media time. They have “kids play time” each day as well as “mommy play time” and “quiet room time.”

But that comment was a bit of an eye opener!  They found it overwhelming to imagine “just playing” all day long.  They were overwhelmed by it!  I will be working a bit harder on fixing that!  I want to raise fun, creative children who enjoy spending time together using their imaginations.

All in all, they ended up just fine and had a fun two days.   When it came down to it, I was actually more stressed than they were.  Which brings me to my 2nd point:

Modern conveniences allow us to get so much more done!

Living without electricity (and water a few weeks ago), was stressful for me!  I was more on edge and grumpy with my kids.  I will still trying to do everything I normally do, but it was taking me more time.  Dinner, blogging, cleaning, etc….all the “normal” life stuff took longer and it stressed me out!  So, again, I am grateful for my modern conveniences!

But I want to be prepared for the stress that a real disaster / power outage / water shortage would bring.  Stress is a real thing and can affect family life dramatically.  I want to be able to stay as calm and happy as possible in such a situation.  My kids will need me to!  I believe that the more prepared I am, the less stressful things will feel and the calmer I will be able to be.  So, my motivation to be just a bit better prepared was increased!

I need more battery clocks!

This is kinda funny, but all of our clocks are electronic: the microwave, the range, alarm clocks etc.  I found myself constantly wondering what time it was!

I should store batteries and flashlights together.

I keep all of our “power out” supplies in a hall closet upstairs.  But I don’t keep batteries in our flashlights b/c that drains the batteries.  I just add the batteries when we need to use the flashlight.  But I store the batteries downstairs!  That would be a problem if the power went out after dark and I had to make my way in the dark all the way downstairs to get the batteries.  So, I moved the batteries up into the closet with the flashlights.  I also put one flashlight (with batteries in it) in my top dresser drawer.  That way I could quickly jump out of bed and have light if needed (for whatever reason).

Manuals Are a Good Thing to Have

I found that even though I’d read (or at least scanned) the instructions to all my various “power out” supplies, I couldn’t really remember how to use them properly.  I was glad I’d kept all the manuals.  They are actually all in a gallon plastic Ziploc right near the rest of the supplies (behind the lantern in the picture above).  I used them to learn how to power our solar lantern, use our small generator for my computer / internet router, and some of our goal zero supplies. 

One I would definitely suggesting having there is the manual to your garage door.  Many have a battery back up that would allow you to still open them during a power outage.  But if the outage is extended or you don’t have a battery backup on your door, you will need to know how to disconnect the door from the powered carriage, but keep it on the track. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get your car out!  Your manual will have instructions for how to do this.

Test Products Beforehand!

 

I have two Goal Zero Light a Life lights.  These are extremely high powered lights that I had planned to use instead of candles etc. during a power outage.  Goal Zero products are solar powered and I like these light b/c they are SUPER bright.  I would be able to charge them during the day and use them at night indefinitely.  Well, I opened them up and got them out of their box after the power was out only to realize that they didn’t include the necessary battery to power them, so I had no way to use them.  I had assumed the batteries came with the lights, but they didn’t which made them useless!  Needless to say, I will be buying the battery soon!

I’m Glad We Have Satellite Internet.

We were able to use our small generator to power our router and my computer which allowed me to have internet access and still run my business.  Even in a true widespread power outage, it is unlikely that the power would be out nationwide / worldwide.  I have people who follow this blog, email me and purchase from me from all over the US, including Hawaii and Alaska as well as Canada.  The work I do brings in a significant portion of our income.  If the power outage were to last for more than a day or two,  I would need to be able to continue to work.

In addition, having internet access would allow us to communicate with worried friends and family even once the cell towers back up batteries ran out of power.

I’d like a solar generator

The small generator we have now is battery powered.  I’d have no way to charge it during a power outage.  Once it ran out of “juice,” that would be it.  No more computer / internet.

So, I’d like to get a solar generator.  Of course I’d love a really expensive one that could actually power my appliances, but for now, I’d settle on this one:  Goal Zero Escape 150 Adventure Kit.  It comes with a the 150 (a rechargeable battery), the light I love as well as a solar panel to re-charge the battery.  I will likely get two eventually so we could use one while the other was charging. It would power my computer, our router, our phones, a small CD player etc.

Print Things!

Are there things you use regularly that are on your computer that you don’t have printed?  For example, I needed my recipes.  I didn’t want to turn on my computer and waste precious power just for something I could have had in a printed form.

My Kids Loved Having Their Own Flashlights

These were crazy inexpensive…so much that I almost didn’t buy them, but I’m glad I did.  My kids loved having their own right around their neck.  Kinda silly, but something I learned!

I’d Like More Solar Powered Batteries

We have a few AA sized ones and the Goal Zero pack to charge them, but I’d like to get something that can charge large D sized batteries (for our flashlights).

If the Power Were to Really Go Out, I’d Bathe Right Away.

We have two water heaters and we had a hot water supply for the entire first day and even into the 2nd, but it did eventually run out as the water in the heaters cooled.  Those with only 1 water heater would run out sooner.  I prefer warm showers, so if the power were out, but we still had running water, I’d shower immediately so that my chance of having to take a cold shower were put off as long as possible!

The disposal Won’t Work in a Power Outage.

Duh, right?  Well, that was something I’d never thought of and dumped food scraps in our sink just like we always do!  Fishing them out after the sink was full of water b/c it couldn’t drain was pretty gross.  Next time, I will remember that and we will immediately start putting food scraps in the trash instead.

My Powerless Cooking Skills Need Work!

Seriously!  Why is the Sun Oven so tough for me?  I can get it to preheat just fine.  It got up to 400 degrees within just about 30 minutes.  But then I put the food in and it started fogging up the window and dropped to about 225 within just  a few minutes.  It never did come back up.  I think some of it may have had to do with the pan I used too.  I need to get more small dark pans.  We still ate our dinner and it was fine….just took a lot longer to cook.  But darn it, that happens to me every time!

I also cooked up some instant brown rice on our camp stove and it turned out great!  I did an experiment as well.  I wanted to see if I could hydrate the instant brown rice without heat.  It totally works!  I added 1 1/2 cups of water to 2 cups of rice and stirred it occasionally over about 90 minutes.  It hydrated just fine, but was cold.   But at least I know I could use it without any heat if I needed to!

I also remembered that I had bought a Volcano stove about a year ago.  I’ve never used it.  I’d actually forgotten about it and so I didn’t plan to use it during this outage.  But I’ve heard incredible things, so I need to use / practice that some more.

But I am good at Dutch Oven cooking!  My Dad taught me that growing up and it is something I’ve always loved.  We had great chicken & black bean tacos as well as some mighty fine cobbler!  I was going to post the recipes here, but I think I’ll save it for another (not quite so long) post!

In addition, I plan to practice outdoor cooking a bit more.  I think fall is the ideal time: not too hot or too cold, so expect a few posts from me as I learn & experiment!

I need some powerless appliances

I needed a food processor for our dutch oven dinner, and I have to admit I cheated.  I didn’t realize before hand that some of the ingredients would need to be blended.  So, I just flipped that breaker on and used my electric food processor, but I’d love to get some powerless appliances  like a food processor or blender.  I do have a powerless wheat grinder.  (-:

We Need A Game Plan For Our Powerless Cooking

I would like to create a list of at least one month’s worth of meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) that I could make with entirely shelf stable ingredients as well as without power.  I plan to start working on this and will share what I come up with here!

We Need More Fuel

As part of the “game plan” I mentioned above, I will be better planning exactly how much fuel we should store.  We have the Volcano Stove, a propane gas grill, dutch ovens, a camp stove, the Sun Oven, and will soon have a fire pit.  So, we will store:

  • Charcoal (Volcano stove, Dutch Ovens)
  • Propane (Volcano stove, gas grill, camp stove)
  • Firewood (Volcano stove, fire pit)
  • Quickfire Pucks (Volcano stove, fire pit, and the Quickfire stove if I decide to get one)

How About You?

I’d love to hear from all of you!  Did you take my challenge as part of National Preparedness Month?  Or have you ever lived without electricty for a period of time?  What did you learn?  Do you have additional tips for my readers and I?

 

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21 comments on “Living Without Electricity, A Hands-On Experience

  1. Batgirl on said:

    I think what I’ve found amazing about this blog and the comments on it, is that people have forgotten history? or maybe just didn’t care to learn? Electricity and piped in water are just a little more than 100 years old. Thousands of years of civilization (many very complex) survived without either of those things. And the surprise people have at the idea of living without these things and that it causes stress at all is puzzling to me. But I love that people are learning how to adapt and teaching others. Good luck with your endeavors to learn these skills.

  2. I’ve always admired my grandmother who knew just what to do when the power went out, which it did a lot more often when I was a kid. Now it hardly ever goes out, so there are never any “practice drills” for the population at large. It’s a good thing in a way, since so many people are dependent on power for medical reasons, but it’s also bad in a way for the rest of us because we aren’t ready at all for outages. This is such a great experiment, but I think my husband would veto any attempts at a similar experiment around our house!! I have given it a lot of thought, though, since I live in a hurricane prone area. One of the major things I do before a hurricane hits is wash all of our clothes!!! Can’t use the washing machine if the power is out, and I’d hate to have to schlep all of our dirty clothes to the laundromat, (power frequently goes out and then back on sporadically after hurricanes, so you can find businesses with it on somewhere) so if everything is clean before hand then hopefully power will be back on before we run out!! I bought a washing plunger thingy and mop bucket with a wringer, which would enable me to hand wash a few things at a time, but I haven’t had to use it yet. (And hopefully never will!!!) ;)

  3. Get a inverter and hook it up to your car battery in a emergency most refrigerators will run on less than 600 watts. Run your car 20minutes after removing the inverter so you can start your car

  4. I just read your article on going with out electric power. You said you were going to buy two escape 150. I have one they claim to power computers. That may not be true. It depends on the watts of your computer charger uses. I found out they wont charge my daughters computer or mine. They require more watts than the escape 150 will putout. You would be better off getting a yeti 400. Better yet get a deep cycle and a pure sinwave inverter and save a lot more money. Most people aren’t aware these batterys need to run once a month or they setup, not work

  5. David Todd on said:

    Well hello everyone I have tried being off grid an if you don’t ween ur self off the electric products then it makes it all so more the difficult . I am using a wood/coal stove for heating and cooking in the cold seasons. If I need to I can cook outside on a homemade firepit/barbecue.i replaced the dryer with outside clothes line.i replaced the washer with a homemade plastic barrel with a handle to turn it . The hot water builds up pressure and cleans the clothes pretty good. If I need any other power I used homemade solar panels with cells I bought off eBay. The freezer is unplugged since we can our excess. And if we need something it’s either canned
    , dehydrated and stored Orestes fresh I have a link that all can get these how to files and they are all free all we ask is visit the advertisers. The link:

    Http://alternativegreenenergy.yolasite.com

  6. What is the name of the fantastic cooler and where did you get and how much did you pay?
    Writers always seem to forget that readers will want to check them out whatever was mentioned.

  7. It is so great that you’re doing this and sharing your results with us. I haven’t been able to subject myself to such a test for just adults, much less with children, but you might inspire me to try a test run. You especially made me think about all the emergency preparation items we have which we’ve never used, as they’re just for emergencies. One thing I have…but have never tested…is a portable hot water heater that uses the same #20 propane tanks as my gas grill. They can be found on Amazon.com or camping web sites and really aren’t that expensive and don’t take up much storage space. I’m hoping that that will give us enough hot water for dishes and ‘”bird baths”. Now I’m going to start unboxing my emergency items and give them a test run.

  8. A Hunnicutt on said:

    Living without power AND water is not a “test” here….. it is a way of life.
    When I moved to the Philippines in 1998, power outages lasting 8 to 10 hours were a weekly experience. During the rainy season, we would go days where the power would only be on for a short period then off again. When the power goes, so goes the water.

    I quickly learned the lesson of Candles vs Batteries. I ran out and bought those emergency lights that come on the moment the power is cut, only to find that they don’t last long, and take forever to recharge. Battery powered flashlights and camp lanterns have the same problem, not to mention the cost of batteries.

    I created some wonderful candle holders out little tin foil loaf pans and now have them (along with a Bic lighter) stashed in every room of the house.

    Electric appliances where also few and far between when I first got here. My 110v stuff would work on the 220v power without a transformer. So I bought every manual item I saw. Hand can opener, hand crank meat grinder, hand crank mixer. Needless to say my kitchen now looks like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting, but it works.

    We bought 1.5 horse power gas generator, and had it wired into the kitchen and my office. It works well, but I have to ask a neighbor to come over and start it for me because I can’t pull the crank. Need to get one with a battery starter on it.

    When the power goes out nationwide, there is NO internet OR Phone service!! If the suppliers of the service can not get power to there transmission points everything goes black. Let’s not forget that the water goes when the power is out too. The pumping stations here need power to keep the pressure up, so you have no water.

    Loosing the water supply here is so common that most neighborhoods have a central well with an old fashion hand pump. Yes, you must boil it before drinking, but it is better than nothing. We keep several 5 gallon bottles of water on hand at all times for drinking, but use pump water for other things. (Flushing the toilet is high on the “other things” list) :)

    Cooking was a challenge. If you do not have a cast iron dutch oven, GET ONE. Most homes here use propane gas (in large cylinders) to cook. Cheap pots and pans can not stand up to the high heat of these open flame burners, and my dutch oven works great. (Note: for the camp fire, I use an old camera tripod to suspend it over the fire. Works great and is collapsible and light weight.) My prep kit now contains a homemade cookbook for dutch oven recipes.

    In short, having grown up with all the modern stuff at home, then moving to the PI, I became a preper not by choice, but by need. We can now go weeks without power or water, and suffer very little.

  9. As far as clocks go get a solar powered watch. Citizen makes a line called ECO Drive. The face of the watch is a solar cell that recharges the battery. It goes to sleep if in the dark for several days. I had one I misplaced when moving. I found it a year later while looking for something else, isn’t that always the way. As soon as the light hit the face of the watch it woke up. The hands spun around to the correct time and the calendar moved to the correct day.

  10. Great work, as usual. I really need to do this test myself. Preparing is something we all should be doing and I for one am glad a month is highlighted to open the eyes of others. Here’s a great deal this is going on right now that is helpful for both new and well-stocked preparers: http://ultimatesurvivalbundle.com/moreinfo

    Everything in this bundle should be printed out for the day we hope doesn’t come.

  11. Linda C. on said:

    It is easy for us to do the no power weekend because that is what we do every weekend we are at hunt camp from Sept until Jan and since that is also our first bug out location after bugging in at home if needed here is what we have set up.
    First the entire camper is set up on 12 volt batteries and redundant propane gas system. If the batteries get too low the gas kicks in to run the refrigerator and water heater, During the week our bank of standing solar panels charge up a large bank of batteries we have set up in a plastic garden shed next to the camper. It is enough to keep the refrigerator running while we are not there and trickle charge our electric hunting cart we use to move around the property. We turn off the water heater except for the few hours prior to needing it as it is a small on demand type heater. The water pump also runs on the batteries and only comes on when water is needed. We have a gas generator when our usage will over tax the batteries or when we have not had enough sunny days and running it for even two hours during the day will completely recharge the battery bank and give us plenty of juice to use for what ever lights, water pump and heater , furnace fans during the night and even our tv for evening view time. The furnace and stove are gas with the furnace needing the 12 volt batteries for the fans.
    Since this camper is pretty much in place we have it hooked up to a home made septic tank and we have a large 100 lb propane tank on sight. We still have and use two smaller 20 lbs tanks attached to the camper which will last us about 6-8 weekends during the coldest weekends with the heat on at 72 all weekend and set at 50 during the week. The large tank is mainly our back up as we fill up the 20 lbs as needed right now. We also have 4 20 lb tanks at home we can bring with us when bugging out. We have 50 gallons of gasoline in a metal drum with a hand pump at the house we use (rotate out) for lawn mower, power washers etc we can bring to camp as well for the generator. We would also bring the second generator we have to power the house during power outages as a back up. We have a trailer hitch lift that allow us to move a full drum up to the truck bed. So we can also move our rain barrels from home to camp when ever needed.
    Right now we have no well on the property but our neighbors at the camp do and that is where we go to get our water (in 55 gal drums) that we put into our camper tank for now. They have a back up generator and hand pump as a power loss back up. We also have a small battery pump and hand pumps to get water out ot the drums into the camper.
    For food although the frig and freezer are small in the camper we can keep enough there for at least 2 months of weekend meals at a time. I keep only needed items cold in the frig. I keep eggs oiled and out on the counter. I use shelf stable milk for drinking and powdered milk for cooking. We do bring in fresh bread and such that in a Bug out scenario would have to be replaced with the bread maker from home. We have a list of small appliances that are either manual or can run off the 12 volt outlets: toaster oven, Foreman grill, coffee maker, etc, I did get my first Thrive box of vegetables this past week so I took it down and we did try the broccoli, peas and carrots with our Friday and Saturday dinners. The broccoli parts where very small and took quite a while to get to the right tenderness even with cooking. The peas and carrots did much better. The peas plumped up the fastest and had a great texture. The carrots were also small to our liking but worked well in the meal. In a long term Bug out scenario we would switch to other means of cooking. We have a number of grills, cook boxes, dutch ovens, a brick fire pit with cooking grate, etc. at camp. I just got us a battery recharger that is suppose to charge regular batteries, we will see. We already had 3 chargers for re-chargable batteries we use for all of our flash lights, hunting trail cameras and other battery devices. We have a number of solar power outside lights that are on motion sensors for workable light and many of the little $ store stake lights we have set out as markers for a little extra light needed around the camp. Our digital weather station is on a solar panel and we have a set of solar panels on top of the camper that the cords run inside so that we can charge our laptop, tablets and phones during the day while at camp or we can just use the inside outlets to use the larger battery bank. At home we have a number of oil lamps, plenty of battery lights and a generator to take care of the main house needs for heat (during the winter with an ice storm) and keeping the refrigerators and freezers running (all four of them) for at least a full week with our gas reserves. Cooking we would move to the outside propane grills and burners with the 80 lbs of propane. Water would be from the 220 gallons of rain barrels and other fresh water storage.

  12. My next project is to create and use a thermal oven

  13. GREAT article! We have been without electricity many times for days or even weeks in both winter and summer due to either ice storms or tornadoes.

    One thing that I like are the solar lights outside in my garden. They work just fine in the house when needed and will recharge each day to work for about 8 hours each night.

    As for bathing, getting a camp shower works well. Just put the water in it and set it in the sun to have hot water for a quick shower. My brother and I were talking about this a couple of days ago and he mentioned that at boy scout camp when he was growing up, they had a 400 or 500 gallon old propane tank that was painted black which was used for the hot water. (you can find decommissioned propane tanks around Amish communities for sale) He said it was nice and hot unless there were a couple of days with no sun. I found this summer that our cold water input hose for the camper which is white, allowed the water to get so hot that even if it was just cold water, it was too hot to shower in the afternoons in the camper! Oye! Never ran out of hot water though! :)

    When we had 48 inches of snow while living in upstate NY in our 5th wheel and lost power for 3 days, we immediately turned all of the heat down to 50 in the br and 55 in the coach saving propane and battery power. We were able to cook on the stove which was propane. We have a stack of books which were used and piled all of our blankets on our bed along with the dogs and slept so well!!!! Our batteries lasted well this way, but we could have hooked up the truck to recharge the batteries. We didn’t have a generator.

    In houses that we have had, we had wood burning fireplaces. When the electricity went out due to ice storms, we aired up our air mattresses and lived in the room where the fireplace was located–usually with friends and neighbors who didn’t have heat. I cooked in my cast iron cookware on the fireplace which worked just fine. The fireplace also had enough heat that it kept the pipes from freezing.

    In the summer, after an EF-5 tornado in April but it was in the mid 90 degree range, I ran first thing to the store across the road and grabbed bags of ice which I placed in my mother-in-law’s freezer and a styro cooler for items that didn’t fit in the freezer.

    In our house I always had 2-liter water bottles in the freezer to keep the freezer full so it was more efficient and to have water if they thawed. I always have deep freezes because the cold stays in those better than upright freezers. We cooked and ate everything in the fridge first, then the freezer in the fridge then started on the deep freeze. If it was getting to the point where it was thawing and I would lose the food, I had a big bar b que and fed the neighbors! I would rather do that than waste it. That happened in the big flood. We were fine but the town was surrounded by water and couldn’t get in or out. Lots of good outdoor cookin!

    I always have waterless hand sanitizer by each sink in the house in case of water problems and there have been several over the years! I also have the 5 gallon jugs of water which I just get out and upend into a ceramic holder made for those that I used when living in the desert.

    Since it was hot, we used a little trick that I read about from the 1930′s during the dust bowl when it was so hot and dry. They moved their beds outside and then took their sheet and soaked it and then wrung it out and put over them and ran a fan if there was electric–if not, sleeping outside or where there is a breeze works too. It really is quite comfortable! For little ones, just put the sheet on the railings of the bed and run the fan so it hits the sheet. We had several tornadoes which caused outages and usually around July 4th when it was in the mid to upper 90′s and humid. The wet sheets worked just fine. You could also put the wet sheet under and cover with a dry one.

    Just a few hints from times when we have had to “learn by fire”. :) Luckily, I grew up camping in tents and such as our family was not wealthy so I learned a LOT from my dad who was an Explorer Scout leader and hunted and trapped.

  14. The fact that living without electricity caused stress is significant. In the prover ial SHTF situation, we’ll all have to get used to how much extra time and energy it takes to accomplish ordinary daily tasks.
    As for the Sun Oven, why not put the food in so it heats as the oven heats?

  15. I turned my power off 30+ years ago and never turned it back on. With what I’ve learned I could write a book.

  16. 2003 we had two wildfires converge nearby. My house was saved by wonderful firefighters but the water pipes to our tank melted and the elec was out for about 2 weeks. We did have a small gas generator to help out with parts of things like TV for news and my modem and computer for more info. Cooking was good because I have propane appliances.
    I learned much. A landline phone works often when nothing else does. I was there to tell my evac-ed neighbors that their houses were still standing.
    Since then I have gotten a whole house gas generator and enough fuel for running for at least 100 hours. I have purchased and used 2 sun ovens, a Royal Berkey water filter, 2 large Kelly Kettles, etc. I have 3 hand crank grain grinders and a hand crank blender and a small hand crank food processor. And have added much more to my emergency equipment in general.
    It is actually pretty fun!

  17. This past year, we had a winter storm that knocked out our power for 5 days! Thankfully, it was so cold we didn’t have a problem with food storage(but your idea with the freezer is great!). However, we don’t have fireplaces or gas heaters, so heating posed an issue the first day. We have a large porch with a roof that overhangs the ground on 1 end(so we can back up & unload the car in the rain), so we wrapped the whole thing in sheets of plastic & tarps & built an impromtu fire pit, we didn’t even need jackets! Also, we just cooked on top of the fire pit, no special anything needed, but do make sure you wrap any of the rubbery handles of your pans with aluminum foil to keep them from burning off, trust me, I learned that the hard way! Also, we have a large pot(for tamales), so we boiled water, dumped it in the tub, added some cold, and had baths with no problem! We also washed a few clothes this way, since the lights went out the day before laundry day!

  18. Good article and excellent insights. During an ice storm, when we lived up north, we were without power for nearly two weeks. Being country folk, we were prepared and got along quite nicely dipping water from our old hand-dug well. It was then that we realized the wisdom of purchasing a gasoline powered generator and/or solar panels to recharge 12v batteries. Speaking of generators. Just a friendly point of clarification.

    You use the phrase, “The small generator we have now is battery powered.” A generator creates or ‘generates’ electricity, a battery stores electricity. Batteries are not generators and generators are not batteries. If a battery ‘generated’ electricity it would never need to be recharged or replaced. Maybe it should be called ‘power source’?

  19. Oh wow, good for you for doing this. Very nice list of things you’ll need to improve. I’m going to go through your checklist and double check that we’re okay on most of them. I definitely need a solar battery charger, though, that I know for certain.

  20. Gertrude Ezell on said:

    I’ve found some decent, in-expensive flashlights that are great for kids or general all around use at Lowe’s in a 12 pack which include batteries for about $12.

    Also, I’ve found pure beeswax candles are a great way for lighting that does not bother people with allergies or breathing problems.

    I got all 3 of my boys their own individual buckets of K’nex toys and this is one of those “treat” toys – great for days like this and it works on fine motor skills!

It’s Your Turn:

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts, and encourage you to share your experience and insights in the comments box below.

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