Winter Is Coming

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.
Charles Darwin

Winter is coming, love the motto from The Game of Thrones and it’s mine as well. Not just in the sense that it actually is, but that it’s good to be prepared. Living in Chester with gas at 4.30 a gallon, at times, yes they get away with that and I could go into a turrets’ type swearing fit if I focus on it too long. It really pisses me off to no end, but I get I am powerless, and so I fight what I can. At this age, I am really working on what I allow my blood pressure to spike over and there isn’t a thing I can do about it. I fill up if I need to and I fill up here if I have to. I also store water, incase pipes freeze, and I keep 2 gallons of milk for backup. I backup my computers as well as my refrigerator. I always keep ground coffee on hand. I keep the laundry caught up and we don’t run out of much. We have had storms knock out power for days. I don’t sweat it. I prepare, I adjust. I think the difference between a hoarder and a survivalist prepper is simple, organization. I am a hoarder with a little bit of organization. I don’t know if it’s going to be a bad winter with no electricity and tons of snow and frozen pipes or roads washed out or floods or fires, we have been through all of that in these woods in the last 23 years. The barn we lived in flooded twice and we were wearing muck boots in the barn with water up to our mid calf. Yep, we lived in a real barn, plywood over dirt floors so the water was muddy and it was a mess and we stacked all of our stuff upstairs. It dried out fast because everything was made out of raw untreated wood and we had a monster wood stove in it and we heated it up and it dried right out. We have lived through uncountable power outages the longest lasting 14 days with no real issues but boredom. We did it without a generator. I made ice blocks, it was winter, I cooked on the wood stove. We do OK, because in our daily lives, we make fire, boil water for dishes, dry out clothes and cook on the wood stove at times. Wood stoves handle a lot of the necessary. That is whi we stock cords of wood, keeping on hand fuel not just to warm us, but to cook, boil, dry. Today I am dumping and refilling 60 gallons of water stores. 30 for washing and 30 for drinking, I reuse my laundry detergent containers for the wash-up water. I store it all inside because it freezes outside. It really bugs Ian to have them inside, but every time he works on the plumbing, we spring another leak, then he turns off the water without warning and guess what I have, gallons of it. It’s a bone of contention, he makes leaks, I store water, we accept this. He’s not plumber, although a hundred other great and accomplished things and if I am being honest his plumbing has held good and true for a while now. I store water because pipes break. I keep supplies on hand because roads close and storms come. Is there going to be a global nuclear war, pandemic, sun flares, economic collapse, EMP etc… please! How would I know? I live in Chester and I live with Ian and that’s enough information to know shit will happen.
I also have a small issue with “it’s better to have a onion and not need one, than to need an onion and not have one, or pasta, or pesto, or laundry detergent or whatever word one would like to exchange for onion. Growing up in my grandmother’s home in the Sunset district, in my early years, I don’t recall deprivation or hunger. My grandmother made me poached eggs and melted cheese on toast with toasted onion sprinkles and roasted everything with gravy and always all the fixing. There was always gravy and I had salami and cheese on wonder bread with mayonnaise and mustard sandwiches packed every day for my early elementary years. Sandwiches which I still make for my self this day, when I am missing her, when I feel lonely, when my feelings are hurt and need comforting. I can’t climb up on her lap, but she’s a little nearer when I eat the foods she prepared for me. My grandmother was one of San Francisco’s first female butchers and she was in the Union. I remember everyone was proud of her for it and it was a big deal, so I think it’s a big deal too. At age 6 I was eating steak tar tar atop San Francisco French bread that was smeared with cold sweet butter that she would bring home from work for us. I remember her leg of lambs and roast beefs. She knew how to cook and eat and she taught me. When she died, I was 8, she was 50, after that, not all the time, but maybe close to half the time, there would be hunger, cold and deprivation. Sometimes the cupboards were just bare. I learned how to get creative with noodles and catchup and make cans of soup go farther and shoplifting, I learned how to pilfer my dinner, if needed, by age 10. A skill I used till I was 15 when I could go to work legally. It was also no accident I worked at restaurants, they feed you. I adapted and I learned. I also was responsible for my younger siblings at times, possessing no skills or tools, I shared all I knew or the food I had. Today I can make, at any given time, a full 5-course meal including meals my grandmother prepared, I have 2 leg of lambs waiting to be cooked her way with rosemary and garlic. These lambs we raised and slaughtered, We have chickens and we have enough eggs to share with our children. I keep a very well stocked pantry. My family gives me extreme hell for it, “Do you know how many of these we have?  Are you aware there are 6 of these? “, Shouted across the room from Ian or Tristan. Last month Ryon let me have it about too many mustards. I think,“Like I ought to be ashamed, like it’s too many purses, yeh, I am aware of it and I wish it were 12.” .  Once Ian said in couples therapy, his main resentment against me was that I bought and stored too much food. Deep sigh of relief out of me, “Oh that’s all, “. Thank God. “Well get used to it, I thought to myself,  I store food to feed my family I am not changing that, ever. The line is drawn, not something I am going to work on or bring Oprah’s hoarding guy in to help Kim. I definitely made a big line in the sand. I have never hard lined him over any issues, it’s always been I will work on it, I will adjust, I will compromise. Not this time. “I will store food, you will need to move if you can’t accept it.”, I said bluntly. We never had that conversation again. Truth is I’d rather feel their disapproval than that feeling of being really hungry and knowing cupboards and refrigerator are bare and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it and watch them suffer in hunger too.

 

I saw my both my son’s homes last Spring. I went to their homes and like a good busy body mother, I looked in their cabinets and fridges, packed with healthy, organic foods, herbal teas, vitamins. I had a moment where I felt like maybe I gave them something good.
Winter is coming, I have known that since I was eight. I am as ready as I will ever be.

 

Kim James Photo, Honey Lake

Kim James Photo, Honey Lake

Kim James Photo, Our House

Kim James Photo, Our House

Kim James Photo, Our House

Kim James Fine Art Photographer

Kim James Photo, Honey Lake

Kim James Photo, Honey Lake

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

*

*