© Chicken Coop Chatter
Farmers know what it is to be prepared for about any scenario, whatever the weather or natural disaster may come their way, they are prepared as best as they can be and within human ability. We can't control the events but we can definitely prepare ahead for them.
Growing up, we had the pantry and cellar stocked with homegrown garden produce, the freezer full of homegrown Beef, Chicken, Pork and if hunting season was good, there was always Venison. Flour and dry goods were always stocked so even the most meager meals could be made. We did not rely upon grocery stores that quickly deplete as people rush to buy essentials ahead of pending storms.
There was always flashlights, batteries, hurricane or kerosene lamps, long burning candles and the wood pile was stacked high from season to season, to provide heat and a means of cooking. The barns were full of our own harvested hay and grain to feed the animals, without worry of running low if a disaster were to strike.
This was a way of life, not as you see today; a planned or regimental preparation set up by government or Homeland Security. Their roots were deep and many with ancestors that crossed the plains knew the hardships that they too may encounter on a different plain.
We had two stoves in our kitchen. A wood burning cast iron cook stove and an electric range, so if there were power outages, which could be frequent, we still had a way to keep warm and to cook. I remember many winter days with deep snow that made it difficult to reach the barns and chicken coops, but we managed to forge through even the worst of the weather to make sure the animals were fed, milked and eggs gathered.
We had a few board games to entertain us with candle or lamp light, and we would sit near the fire for warmth. But always the animals were tended to before our own needs or entertainment. If weather was too bad for the animals to be outdoors, they were kept in the barns and coops until the weather cleared. Very often during the day, we played in the barns where it was warm even if the weather was too cold to play outdoors.
One of my fondest memories was walking into the barns on a bitter cold day and finding warmth away from the winter winds. The chickens were content to stay in the coops with their straw bedding and warm perches. I never recall the loss of any of the animals in any kind of weather conditions, even though there were times we had to rescue a lamb, calf or even a full grown cow that may have gotten mired in a muddy ditch or snow to their bellies. The young were brought indoors and set before the cast iron cook stove to warm them as we waited for storms to pass so they could be released back to their mothers. It was not unusual to have nursing bottles with warm milk for those babies and time spent hand feeding each of them to maintain their health and vigor.
Preparations for the animals was a priority, along with the preparations for the household. If repairs needed to be made they were done as needed. We could not afford for maintenance to go unchecked or for disaster to hit before those repairs were done and risk loss of the animals that we relied on for food and a meager income.
We did not have the warm boots and clothing that can be purchased in today's market place. We made do with what we had and layered our clothing to stay warm and dry. Blankets were our means of warmth at bedtime, and we relied on the heat from the lower floor of our house to heat the upper floor, but many mornings, it was cold stepping out onto an icy cold floor with bare feet. We would quickly dress and run down the stairs to the warmth of the wood heating stove or wood burning kitchen stove, where we would find hot oatmeal or Cream of Wheat cooking or waiting in the warming oven, for us to eat, until we ventured out for the animals or to head out for school, which was never closed during any weather event or disaster unless it were to be compromised from the storm.
Today we continue the practice of preparing for the weather and disasters, though we may have more options of foods to store and clothing for all seasons; more options for keeping our animals warm and safe and larger varieties of foods and goods, we still follow the same principles of times gone by, preparing well ahead of any storm or disaster.
If you haven't grown up prepared for natural storms or earth events, it's not too late to learn what you need to do to be prepared whether in an apartment, dorm room in the city or a fancy house in the country. Having clothing for all seasons, blankets for warmth, non electric heat and lights, and the pantry or cupboards stocked, extra feed for the animals, and all outbuildings in good repair, for winter shelter, will bring you the peace of mind that pioneers and farmers alike have continued throughout the generations.
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