Jun 4, 2014

Post Electricity-Outage Musings

by Sharon Archer

Torches - including a wind-up/solar one

Now and again something happens which brings me up short about the things I take for granted.  The other morning it was another power failure.  Notice I said another power failure!  We live out of town and down a long dirt road so we do get them frequently enough that we're semi-prepared for them.

Candles - do you like the Santas!
It was pitch black when I woke - no light from the digital clock radio.  I found my torch and investigated. Standard clock said it was nearly 6am. Checked the fuse box to make sure the safety switch hadn't been tripped.

Rang the power company and learned
  • yes, there was a power outage in my area
  • the cause was unknown
  • if I had an emergency, I should ring this number and
  • power was expected to be re-instated by 9 am.
Fortunately, we're quite well set up for power outages.  Torches live beside the bed and on the side board, candles in the cupboard below.  We have a small camp stove to boil water for a cup of tea (got my priorities!)

And if the power's out for too long we can resort to the generator for the basics - like water because we're on tank water.
Raided the pantry

So, really, no biggie. But it go me thinking... if  it wasn't short term, how well would we survive?

Which naturally sent me to Google!  And I found some absolutely amazing sites written by people who have obviously considered this in detail.  They even have a name - preppers.

Here are a couple of links you might like to look at...

There are loads of tips - useful for calamities as well as everyday.  For instance, keep some ice cubes in a plastic bag in your freezer.  If the food in there has been thawed and re-frozen, you'll know because your bag of cubes with have turned into a solid block of ice.  Like a "canary" for your freezer!
A teabag or two...

Anyway, after I'd explored these sites, I was off to my pantry to see what was there.  Quite a bit of tinned food and dry food.

Lots of tea bags (those priorities!  Plus they were on special a couple of weeks ago!)

Got some treats - just a couple (ahem) of blocks of dark chocolate!  Good for energy and full of anti-oxidants!
Anti-oxidant supply!

And then (tongue only slightly in cheek) there's that excellent vegetable gardening thing I blogged about last month!  At least, I know the slugs will be well feed in the event of a power failure!

How would your pantry manage if you had no power or couldn't get to the shops for a couple of weeks?  Love to hear your thoughts on must-have items or any tips you have!

PS I'll be on the road in Outback New South Wales when this posts so my internet might be a bit indifferent, but I'm hoping it will let me in to chat as much as possible!


  1. Hi Sharon

    I think we might cope OK we do have lots of things in the pantry that would keep us going although it would have to be cold I don't have a little stove to heat anything up on and having a cup of tea or coffee would be hard although I am sure I could manage that is of course until my kindle went flat but then I do have lots of books but lighting would be a problem we really need to get a torch and some candles in LOL. Enjoy your trip

    Have Fun

    1. Helen, that's a good point about the e-reader going flat! That's the thing with our love of gadgetry, isn't it - the reliance on a power source. So I think there's always going to be a place for good old hardcopy books! I can see a candle supply and maybe a torch being added to a shopping list in your near future! And the candle supply really does do double duty - note my Santa candles for Xmas, for instance!

      Having a lovely trip, thanks! AND I have connection... though maybe I shouldn't count that chicken until this comment is posted!

  2. I reckon we'd last for a month with all the crap in our pantry. It might not be gourmet and there might well be some odd things being served up but we'd last in the short term. We have a generator like you too, Sharon, so we'd be able to keep our fridges and pump running as long as we could access fuel. And with our tanks we have a huge supply of water.

    My husband bought our daughter for Xmas just gone a survival pack for the Zombie apocalypse (she considers it when not if....) and there are some very handy things in there including a whopping great machete that I can't believe Oz Post didn't notify national security about!! Or maybe they did and we're on some kind of watch list :-/

    1. LOL on your pantry contents, Amy! Yes, I think we all have some things that struck us as a "good idea at the time"! Maybe from watching a cooking show with wildly exotic ingredients in a delish looking recipe!

      Ooo, a Zombie apocalypse survival kit! Shouldn't every home have one! LOL Eeek on the machete though!

  3. We'd do just fine for a few weeks, I think. I appear to be a bit of a food hoarder- but, like Amy, it would be weird and wonderful concoctions of things that don't traditionally go together-. When Christchurch had the earthquake a few years ago I stocked up a cupboard with emergency things- and then most of them went well passed their use by date, so I'm a bit reluctant to buy a whole load more. Perhaps I should. Be prepared and all that. Thanks for the timely reminder!

    1. Louisa, the Boy Scouts motto of "Be prepared" is a good one, isn't it! I know what you mean about the use-by-dates though. :( Actually, I'm preparing lunch for our hostess today with some things we bought for our Simpson Desert trip last year because the date is getting close on the dehydrated mince. I'm doing a spaghetti Bolognese... I have warned our lovely hostess and given her every opportunity to find an urgent need to be elsewhere! But she's game!

  4. It looks like your'e very well prepared, Sharon!

    We had a very big earthquake here last year and ever since then we've had a very comprehensive emergency kit that we keep in the shed outside. It has everything in it from a wind-up torch/radio/phone charger to food for the pooch! The kids all have torches by their bed and we've invested in phones that will work even in a blackout so we're feeling reasonably prepared now. I hope we never have to use any of it :)

    1. Certainly got plenty of chocolate and teabags, Barbara! ;)

      That earthquake must have been a scary time for you all. Though, there's nothing like an event like that to make us think about getting prepared, is there? So it sounds like you've taken great steps for the next time something happens. Mmm, going on to my list is to get a wind-up phone charger! Good tip!

  5. Sharon, we have the exact same problems out here in the sounds. Power failures are regular, and occasionally the road is blocked by slips which once took days to clear. Living so far from a supermarket my pantry and freezer are always full with the essentials, - tea being no 1 as well, closely followed by choccie biscuits. We would have plenty to eat and as we're on tank supply that is fed from underground stream that's ok - unless an earthquake were to tear all the pipes to pieces and destroy our tanks. thankfully it didn't do any damage in last year's big one.
    I think people like you and I will be better prepared than our town friends because we're already sort of used to dealing with minor crises, and they're so reliant on local bodies to get water flowing.
    After reading Amy's blog I'm wondering about a machete too. Not sure what I'd use it for but I could do the Rambo thing and swing around the trees looking fierce - or more like an idiot.

    1. Sue, I had a chuckle at the image of you doing the Rambo thing with a machete! Just mind your legs on the through swing, okay?!

      Yep, tea and choccie (biscuits or blocks)! We've got our priorities spot on, haven't we! LOL

  6. Oh, we'd be toast, Sharon. I mean we have a camp stove with those gas cylinder things (bought way back when the Pashabulker storm wiped out the power for 24 hours), but heavens only knows where it is. Probably in the garage somewhere, but without a working torch (or batteries) in the house it'd be a little difficult to find. But I figure with the nearest biggest shopping centre only a 15 minute stroll away, I'd be able to get supplies. As long as those electronic doors could be opened that is. ;-) Yeah, I'm a goner in the Zombie Apocalpyse.

  7. Michelle, I think we'd all be goners in the Zombie Apocalypse - except our Rachel Bailey who is a dab hand at Zombies and Plants! She'd have her pot plants sorting out those zombies in double quick time!

    I can highly recommend a wind-up torch! That way you don't even need to think about batteries. The problem with emergencies is they have an annoying habit of happening at anti-social hours so that shopping centre, though only 15 minutes away, might not be an option!