Despite my best intentions to stop griping about the weather, we are digging out from under a winter storm that brought 60 km/hr winds and dangerous roads to the whole region. In today's high-tech world it is easy to feel confident out travelling. Armed with a cell phone, most people don't worry about venturing out in wild weather. Here at our house we have been reminded that nature is boss.
I've talked about Husband being away right now. He is staying in a hotel about an hour and a half drive from the job. On Wednesday night, after a very windy day, he left work and was called: a co-worker is stuck, can you pull him out? Before Husband even got to the co-worker he pulled out a farmer and his wife that lived nearby. When he found his co-worker he also pulled him out of the snow. The roads were drifted so bad that snow was packing in around the engine of the truck. Within an hour and a half Husband had pulled out more vehicles and become stuck himself, along with his co-worker, and along with the rest of the crew of men. An hour and a half later a tractor arrived, pulling out vehicle after vehicle. In fact, tractors were plowing everywhere attempting to open roads that people were stuck on. By 10 pm the crew of men were all "unstuck" and safely invited into a farmer's home. They were fed a hot meal and provided a warm bed. Between the extended family and a couple different homes, everyone slept inside and was safe from the storm.
During the whole ordeal cell phones kept everyone communicating and no one got lost or left behind. But Mother Nature got to flex her muscles and remind us that being able to call for help does not mean help can get to you. Tractors were getting stuck in the snow while plowing--road graders were getting stuck!--and it was very lucky that the whole lot of them didn't end up having to sleep in their vehicles. Husband was soaked from pulling people out and had a bag of cheezies with him to eat. It would have been a cold, uncomfortable night and a very long day today. Instead, he slept in a bed and woke up to a home-cooked meal...which brings me to my point: How comfortable are we helping strangers? Would we let them into our homes? Feed them? Let them sleep over? It's a wonderful feeling to know there are people left that will do all of the above. Makes me think about karma, or how "what goes around comes around". Husband never passes a vehicle in trouble without stopping to help. That night he was helped. We live in a part of the world where tsunamis and earthquakes and famines are only on the news, but we still have to be prepared for what nature can throw us: namely cold weather and bad roads. I bet I am not ignored the next time I hound Husband about keeping warm emergency clothing in his truck!
In my vehicle I keep: booster cables, gas line anti-freeze, warm socks, mitts, toque, and a homemade jean blanket that I use in summer on the beach, in winter "just in case". When it is very cold I either wear or bring along snow boots. Now that I have children I don't set out on the highway if it is too cold, or I make sure I have diapers etc in case we have to stay over. After this storm I will be adding candles and matches to my winter kit.
Having so many people stranded in this storm made me think also of what I keep in my pantry and freezer. Because we are such a distance from town I keep extra, especially during the winter. In the summer I rely on my garden as well. At any time I probably could host an extra 10-15 people for a meal. It is more likely, though, that we could simply be snowed in with bad roads in every direction (we've sure had enough of that this year!). In that case, I will continue what I've been doing: extra non-perishables and frozen vegetables, ingredients on-hand to bake bread/cookies, in case we are without fresh food for awhile.
Do you stockpile food for the winter? Have you got any tips on keeping busy while stuck in a storm?