By the time you read this the Stock Up! Market will have passed, the Saturday Market will be finished and our gardens will be winding down. Hopefully you were able to put away some of the season’s bounty to keep you through the winter. Canned tomatoes, dried tomato slices and frozen pesto are bursting out in our house.
We at the Food Program work hard to encourage an increase in the amount of food grown on Galiano each year, but the reality is most of our food arrives on island via the ferry. We all have to cope with winter weather, and sudden and possibly extended power outages can affect our food supply. But if you have a well-stocked pantry and have ample firewood, it’s not an emergency, just an adventure.
If you know a storm is coming, there are some simple things to do to get ready. Fill the bathtub with water, wash the dishes (beginning a power outage with a clean kitchen makes it easier to cope!) Start a soup or stew you can keep warm on your woodstove after the power goes out. Keep a supply of simple-to-prepare foods in your pantry, things such as: pasta, baked beans, canned or dried soup, granola bars. Boil water and fill a large thermos so you don’t have to heat the water every time you want a cup of tea! In the morning, remove milk and any other supplies you might need for the day and put them in a cooler so you don’t have to keep opening the fridge when you need something.
A chest freezer is good for up to three days if it’s full and left closed. Long before the power goes out, fill empty space with jugs of water. This makes the freezer more efficient. The jugs keep the freezer frozen longer when the power goes out, can be used to turn your refrigerator into a giant icebox if the power failure is prolonged and provide you with clean drinking water. Covering the freezer with blankets also helps to maintain the temperature.
If you are prepared with at least a week’s worth of food, and ideally much longer, then you have the ability to care for yourself and your family during any adventure. Once the necessities are in place, it gives you the time and peace of mind to build snow forts or curl up in front of the wood stove with a good book.