Snowing again on the Plains

We provide games for our cattle.  At the moment, King of the Mountain is very popular with steers! Photo courtesy of Big Boss, 02-24-13.

We provide games for our cattle. At the moment, King of the Mountain is very popular with steers! Photo courtesy of Big Boss, 02-24-13.


We haven’t had a lot of snow this morning. Yet.  I’m hearing from friends in the Panhandle of Texas and blizzard conditions are being reported.

Believe me when I say that you don’t want to get caught out on the road in the middle of a blizzard here on the plains.  We may not have as much snow as say….Aspen, CO or anywhere in Minnesota.  We make up for it in high winds.  And those high winds can wreak havoc in the wide open spaces with just 1″ of snow!  Ask me how I know…

My first year on the farm was spent listening to the Old Timers.  They had tales about everything…”It was so dry that…..” or “Be careful when you pick corn.  Rattlesnakes love the cool ground created by the irrigation water AND you can get lost.  And suffocate.”  or “Keep emergency supplies on hand and extra food. And water.” or “Keep an eye on the sky in April.  Anything can happen.”  or “Watch the cattle.  When you see them romping around and stirring up dust, that means weather is about to change.”

So I listened and took notes.  And then filled my pantry with extra “stuff”. I learned from my mother-in-law, whose pantry was ALWAYS in order and amply supplied.  Of course it took me  three or four years to get the hang of it and sometimes I let things slip.  Like the winter of ’81. Our two oldest sons were in school and I had a new baby.  Going to the grocery store was last on my list at that point.  So I hit Granny’s Grocery Store more than once! Back then, I made the 40 miles trip for groceries every 2 weeks, with a full list in hand based on menus I had put together before I made our menus out. Do I sound a bit….intense?  I was.  But I had a strict budget to adhere to so there wasn’t any playing around with new recipes and making a quick dash to the grocery store for needed ingredients.  Either I had the diced olives or the new recipe didn’t get off the paper.

All of that has eased up a bit but the pantry is still an important item here because of erratic weather and yes, even gas prices.

What do I keep down there? Let me think.  How do I keep this short enough but hit the important stuff??!!

1. The Basics…flour, sugar, rice, powdered milk, dry beans, salt: you can go a long ways on just those ingredients if you have to. Personally, coffee is right up there with the flour.  For me.  Must have the coffee!

2. Bottled water, water tablets for purifying, water purification system on a small scale like the pitchers with filters.

3. Bleach..plain old, unscented bleach.  It’s invaluable for sanitation efforts.

4. Kerosene lamps along with extra kerosene fuel and wicks.

5. Weather radio with extra batteries.  Mine can also be powered with a crank system.  It also has an emergency flashing light and flash light feature.

6. Packages of dry soups, pasta, instant pudding, drink powders, paper goods of all sorts.

7. First Aid supplies.  I keep 2 plastic bins of band aids, alcohol, cotton pads, antibiotic creams, cough medicine, aspirin, etc.  Think about what your family uses and buy 2 instead of one the next time you hit the store. Then stash that extra item. And think through your everyday routine….like what you need to wash your hair.  Water, shampoo,  hair dryer..but what if you can’t waste water on hair.  Would dry shampoo be a good option? Or no electricity for drying hair…old fashioned hair rollers and air-drying? I carry one disposable  toothbrush in my purse and keep one downstairs, just in case.  It requires no water and no toothpaste. Handy little item!

8. Fire extinguishers and fire alarms with extra batteries.  Be sure to rotate your batteries too as they have expiration dates also!

If you don’t have a whole storage room to dedicate to pantry supplies, do you have a closet that could be cleared out for that purpose?  Or even storage under a bed?

Those items are just the beginnings of being prepared for ugly weather.   Even if you live in a large city, you need to be ready for anything.  Look at the folks who got hit by Hurricane Sandy.  New Orleans speaks for itself.  And here in Kansas, a whole town was wiped out by a tornado.

Start thinking about this if you haven’t already.  And share your thoughts on other important items for your emergency pantry.  I know you have some.  Thoughts that is.  🙂

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