Old Man Winter
Thursday, October 17, 2019
It is inevitable this time of year to start feeling a bit nippy, want to grab an extra jacket or sweater and want to stay in bed just a few minutes longer as the days start getting shorter again and weather starts getting cooler and you start hearing the leaves crunching underneath you, especially if you’re in the Northern hemisphere.
It seems every year we’re caught by surprise. In our region the weather greatly changed from 90 degrees Fahrenheit and dropped to a cool 40 in the morning and high in the upper 60’s.
They say that the seasons come and go but you can just about always count them to come. In 1816 for instance there was a “Year Without a Summer” and there may have other years with drastic change but according to various sources including Wikipedia and the Farmer’s almana that year was especially drastic as show fell in June in the New England area. There were massive crop failures and people going hungry and even snow in the middle of June and there were varying degrees of temperatures still.
I found it especially interesting that some sheep had their fleeces short but then some farmers tried to tie it back on the sheep to prevent them from being too cold and freezing to death but it didn’t work anyways. This came from the New England Historical Society website.
Later in August there was more cold and some people shared crops with neighbors and people ate what they could.
Many experts still debate what caused the phenomenon for that year. But one thing for sure is that in life you have to prepare for uncertainty and the unexpected. The old saying is “Expect the unexpected”.
Had there been more preparation and even modern methods of food transportation and preservation perhaps it wouldn’t have been as drastic.
That’s why to be a smart and savvy individual we’re going to focus on a few tips on preparing for the worst. Most people live paycheck to paycheck and are just trying to get by and make rent and aren’t big-ballers making lots of income. They have mouths to feed, bills to pay and also trying to make it on their own with college expenses, car loans, and debt.
That’s why it’s crucial right now to get a little and save a little before the bad season comes in. We never know what the future holds and have to sometimes tighten our belts a little now so that when hard times do come we have a little cushion to get us through. It’s like chess and thinking ahead several steps or like the grasshopper that parties all summer and spring while the industrial ant from the Aesop’s Fables keeps working to build a stash for winter. Winter basically always follows autumn and you can’t stop the tides and forces of time.
Here’s a few recommendations:
- Do a financial checkup again as the weather starts getting cold. Do you have money saved if your furnace goes out or you have unexpected colds and cash for a doctor visit? What if you lose your job or work in the winter months or any months at all? Most people say to save 6 to 8 months of pay but we recommend at least a year if possible because sometimes the economy really slows down and and you sometimes have a streak of bad luck. Start early and young to save.
- Do a inventory check up? Do you have headache medicine for when you don’t feel like driving to the store due to a migraine? What about if you stumble and trip and hurt your back or legs? Are you prepared to take care of yourself as the weather changes and there’s ice and leaves and slippery rain? Do you have any extra prescriptions as needed?
- Do you have a “root cellar” or basement of canned or pickled goods or harvest time jams and vegetables and such so that you can survive an especially bad winter and can’t get to the store?
In olden days people used to have a slightly most underground structure to keep root type vegetables like carrots, potatoes, yams, turnips, beets, perhaps pumpkin to last long throughout the winter and have wooden shelves or use sawdust or woodchips in the cellar to help slow decay and are rot resistant. Many people use an earth-based, dark, slightly humid and ventilated shelter to help keep these vegetables for quite some time into the winter months.
- Do you have equipment like flashlights or glow sticks, candles if there’s a power outage or electrical failure if a tree or snow hits? This year Montana or the Dakotas got a lot of snow in early October and it was surprising to see considering many regions were having a 90 degree heat spell. Did you check light bulbs in your house? Have you checked your carbon monoxide detectors?
- Is your vehicle ready for winter? Do you have tire pressure checked, windows clean, wipers working, defrosters unobstructed. Have you checked to make sure your heat is working and windows rolling up and down correctly? Do you have an emergency kit or jumper cables in the car or batteries checked? Don’t wait for the dead of winter to check! Now is the time. It is also a good idea to keep some flashers in your car, a small flashlight and gloves in your car and even a gas canister to run to the gas station if somehow you forgot to gas up.
- Have you checked that all your clothes and mittens and long johns are ready to go and no holes? You have shoes and boots and that matching pair of gloves? One solo glove is not going to do you good if you have to shovel snow off your car window. And do you also have a brush for doing so for your car?
- Did you get your final few short hair cuts ready for winter in because some people tend to let their hair run a bit longer in the winter months?
- Have you checked your caulk around your house to see cracks and crevices? Made sure the windows are able to be shuttered tight? Have you checked central air heaters work in your house and that your water heater is at the right temperature and all other temperature controls are at the correct temperatures to prevent pipe freezes and your showers from getting cut short because the hot water runs out?
The weather will get progressively cold and the light from the sun will get less. But with these and a few other considerations you can be happily prepared if the unexpected strikes and you end up in the worst case scenario.
We will expand in a later article hopefully soon. Do you have any other great preparation tips? Comment below and we will include some ideas on that also next time.