Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Winter Storm Preparedness

another shot of the snowy road Saturday afternoon

In general, we're pretty prepared (food, water, generator, etc), but as always happens after a storm, we've found some areas where we could improve.

We know we have several headlamps, but we couldn't find any of them. So we need to find them and keep them in a specific location, so we can actually find them when we need them. And we need to buy a couple more as backup. We also need to buy batteries for flashlights and lanterns and make sure we replace them as they get used since flashlights and lanterns are useless without good batteries.

We need a second snow shovel to make snow removal go faster.

We used our Christmas money to buy a snow plow for our lawn tractor, but neglected to buy chains as well. We didn't think we really needed them, but we do, as we discovered when Mr M tried to drive up the lawn from the garden shed to the driveway. Oops. The tractor was useless without chains.

We didn't lose power, but we did run the generator for awhile just in case and to run out the old gas. Even with fuel stabilizer it was running a bit rough since we haven't used it for a couple years.

There was really only one problem we encountered: we need to make sure there's propane in the house tank and not go two years in between fills (we usually go about 16-18 months in between). I forgot about it and when I went to check the gauge at the beginning of the storm, I found it pointing to empty. Big oops. We had to wait for the roads to clear to call for a refill, and even then they can't get to us for at least a week with all the catchup they have to do. Hopefully we didn't let the tank get so empty that they have to re-pressurize it or whatever they have to do when that happens (our propane company likes to refill the tank when it's between 15 and 20% full to avoid potential problems). We'll find out next week.

Luckily only our oven and gas fireplace use propane, so we've just had to get creative with our Instant Pot and microwave for cooking all our meals. The Instant Pot can pressure cook, saute, slow cook, etc. I've used it to make potatoes and scrambled eggs for breakfast, quesadillas for lunch, soup for dinner, and even fudge and cheesecake for dessert. It really is very versatile! If I'm feeling super ambitious I might even post the fudge and cheesecake recipes one of these days :)

We haven't been able to run the gas fireplace, which is unfortunate since we like having it on when the weather is icky, but since we didn't lose power we weren't depending on it for heat, so it was ok.

What's the worst problem you've faced during a winter storm?

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