It’s a cool, wet fall morning in the middle United States and the election looms large. Some say this will be a challenging time, at best, no matter who wins. It’s concerning. To manage the uncertainty, I try to focus on something I can control, create, learn, or express. I learned this from my mother who, when my mind was spinning, would say, “Do your laundry. You will feel good to get something done.” Here are several ideas, and a recipe for delicious caramel sauce which also never hurts!
My new generator, with a plug for the furnace! ~ I’ve never been an alarmist or even a prepper as good friends of ours describe themselves. Even in the last weeks of 1999 when supplies of all kinds were flying off store shelves, I just stored a few extra gallons of water in the basement and waited for the clocks to roll over without concern. This season has been different. The election is less than a week away, COVID-19 is racing around the world, winter is coming, and my water pipes actually froze solid in the ground two years ago which, let me tell you, is not a good situation.
I decided to buy a generator. (This met two of the categories: learn something and control something. Very satisfying.) And I made a super cool discovery in the process.
For the average power outage, we have enough fire wood for a wood burning fireplace; candles, flashlights and batteries; extra blankets, a way to close off rooms to create smaller spaces, and one of those nifty terracotta pots-and-candles mini heaters. For an extended power outage, though, I decided a generator (either stand-alone or portable) might make sense.
I decided on a portable generator that can, with some careful on/off planning, run the refrigerator, computer, TV, and furnace for several hours before I have to refill the fuel. It turns out, I can use my good old furnace to heat the entire house on just 700 watts with the simple addition of a plug!
I don’t know why a good electrician hasn’t told me about this before. Space heaters draw double the power for one room that this furnace needs for the whole house. Wonderful! It’s a simple matter of plugging it in to the new little generator.
So, for me, “Control something” step one was figuring out a heat and power solution for the coming fall and winter. Are there other things you can check off a health-and-safety to-do list?
Take a look at your family’s food plan. Are there unhealthy fats, sugars, salts, and processed foods that can be cut down for the well-being of all? Are there some pantry basics that you can afford to stock up on in case there is another time of shortage as we had in March on the horizon? Is everyone taking a good Vitamin B Complex each day? Do you have some clean water in tightly sealed, BPA-free containers?
Check your fire extinguishers. It’s a small thing to do and well worth the minimal effort. I pulled mine out thinking it was probably about time and, sure enough, the last time they were tested was … 2014!
Do you have any emergency cash on hand? Tuck it away in a safe place. Web sources say $20 bills are best.
Easy exercises and meditation can renew mind and body when done on a regular schedule, as can journalling answers to these questions: 3 things I’m grateful for, 3 things that would make this day great, and at least 1 daily affirmation “I am …” Then reflect at the end of the day: 3 amazing things that happened today and what could I have done to make this day better.
Make sure there are batteries, flashlights, candles, and matches in easily accessible places. Our family thoroughly enjoys “pioneer nights” when the power goes out. It’s nice to know our emergency lighting is ready in familiar places.
Is your household budget up to date? Think of it as a path toward peace and freedom, not a discouraging chore! 🙂
Tomorrow, I’ll post Create something, Learn something, Express something. For today, here’s a recipe for delicious caramel sauce. I like it as a dip for fresh, crisp apple wedges.
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 3/4 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup (note: this recipe originally came from www.blessthismessplease.com, which calls for light corn syrup instead)
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
- Add the brown sugar, golden syrup, and sweetened condensed milk, stirring thoroughly to combine.
- Stir constantly until brown sugar is no longer grainy and the mixture comes to a light bubbly boil. The longer you cook it on medium heat, stirring constantly, seriously, constantly so the mixture doesn’t scorch, the thicker it will become. It will thicken a bit more as it cools, too.
- Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Stir to combine.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with apple slices and pretzels, or drizzle over ice cream.