Friday, October 9, 2009

In Preparation

"How often do you/your family use candles instead of electric lights? Do you heat the house with wood?" *AJ from Texas
This question goes perfectly with what my family has been discussing lately--but first, I'll answer:
During this time of year(especially winter) Almost everyday. We often use candles instead of lights during the evening, especially while we're eating a meal. There's something about that rich glow that makes the family meal table more special.
We've made it through the past winter without central heating (only a few electric space heaters) and that worked out well--Although we've talked of using the fireplace for heat this year, we still have to have it cleaned. Until then, we'll go without central heat in the following months.
We had a family discussion about preparation, and I wanted to share a few things we talked about!
We're always on the lookout for books, and enjoy having many on different subjects! My Dad mentioned this: "If the libraries shut down or closed for most of the week, would we have sufficient reading material at home?"
This also convicted me to not put so much dependency on the digital world...I'll admit, I have many more digital photos on the computer, than photos that are printed! It's interesting, the physical communication/escape (hand-written letters & recipes, pictures, "visiting" a friend, reading books) can all be accomplished online. Just a thought!
*What if your electricity went out for 3 days? How would you prepare meals and does this affect your well/tap water supply?
*Do you have enough candles or kerosene lamps at home for each room?
I know we've all had "power outages" at one time or another :) No matter how long or short it goes on for, whether you panic or get excited, Its just all-around comforting to feel (somewhat) prepared.
We have well water, so unfortunately if the power goes out....the water stops. You know that feeling of suddenly becoming extremely

So we're keeping jugs of water in the cabinet for reserve.
I didn't go too far into this topic, but I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Natural Decor

Braiding the Goldenrod blooms...

After braiding with Goldenrod into a wreath, my sister hung it upon the door. Afterwards, we went out to the field to pick more flowers :)


My curious cat loves to help...

Looking for more areas to harvest flowers....

My sister picked a beautiful bouquet...

When we came inside, I caught my Mother on her way outside. She inspires me daily as she delights in her role as Help meet, Mother & Friend

After braiding the tall grass, my sister arranged the flowers together...

Into a lovely wreath!

"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things." Philippians 4:8


Anonymous said...

That is wonderful Mia, I love your blog and read some everyday.
You seem like a beautiful, talented girl inside and out.
What a breathtaking role-model you are to me and many others. :D

Have a beautiful day, and keep up the good work.

Regan Family Farm said...

A friend just mentioned to me, that IF YOU KNOW a storm is approaching, (and you're on well water) fill the tubs and sinks in the house. It would at least help initially.
As for using candles, I would love to begin making the switch, but I wonder about safety with little ones, going from room to you each carry a candle to your room at night? Your parents are an encouragement to me!

Mia said...

Dear (Anonymous)
Thank you so much for your kind comment!!
Dear Mrs Regan,
That's a great idea :)
I asked my Mother about it, and what we used to do is always have an adult or older child carry the candles or lamps through the house.
My parents, sister and I will have candles in our rooms, but my brother has a large flashlight :)
Usually we have a kerosene lamp on a high shelf--enought to give light, but cannot be knocked over.
Thank you!!


Sunny said...

We live out in the country so during the winter months we tend to stock up on water and other neceessities. Last winter we had a huge ice storm and was without power for 7 days. We have a gas stove so we could cook, bottled water, and wood stove for heat. My husband carried water from a brook that runs on our property so we could flush. We felt like pioneers.
Your wreath is lovely.
Sunny :)

Kate said...

Living in the great north east, here is a tip about fireplaces to be used as heat.

Fireplaces don't start drawing smoke well and don't start throwing heat well until the bricks are warmed and STAY WARM. With a fireplace going, it could take up to 8 hours before it puts out a sufficient heat. Also, without a blower, the heat won't go too far.

Make sure to burn only dried hardwood wood that's been felled and dead for at least a year. Pine will cause quick creosote build-up in the chimney and cause a chimney fire. If you use the fireplace often throughout the winter, it is a good idea to get the chimney cleaned again about halfway through the winter season.

Stay Warm,


Kate said...

You can buy a hanging oil lamp from Lehman's for under $30.00. It's a great way to put light in a room without the worry of a little one or pet knocking it over.

Don't put any candle or lantern on a rickity "candle stand." Don't leave candles or lanterns unattended (such as don't have one lit in a bedroom when everyone's in the living room). If you need one lit for overnight, make sure it isn't an open flame and on a fire-resistant surface and away from anything that could catch from the heat or wayward flame. If you have cats, keep them out of that room if you can.

Mia, since you live in the country now, perhaps inquire around about a natural spring nearby. Otherwise, it might be a good idea to drill or dig another well and put in a good old fashioned hand pump.

If you don't have a gas stove in the kitchen to cook on, can you hearth cook? I wish I lived closer to you so I could show you. Remember, in open fire cooking and hearth cooking you cook more with coals than flame.

Toilets can be "flushed" with a bucket of water (but don't "flush" after every use). That only works 3 or 4 times, though, so for long term outtages, it's best to start out-housing it. We have a couple of chamber pots to use in the house. The contents can be buried or tossed in the woods in the wintertime if the ground is too covered in snow to bury anything.

Hope these tips help!


Jenna said...

We heat with (mostly) wood in the doesn't heat our whole farmhouse, so we wear double layers, slippers, shawls etc. It works out fine...

Mia, I LOVE your shawl:) I'm assuming that you found it at the thrift store?!


Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

Wow, you guys are amazing. So feminine and beautiful. I love the picture of your mother.

Shelley said...

Hi Mia,I love candle light and have one burning on my stove this very moment. I live in a older mobile home and we heat with one propane gas space heater. We use electric blankets on the beds in the winter and cover with quilts and crocheted afghans while relaxing in the living area of our home. Mostly crochet by my hands,something I love to do in the cooler months. I have had to live very simply and ruffed it(as some would say)very many times in life. Washing clothes by hand,hauling water,cooking outdoors,bathing children outdoors...and so on and so on....what I have found now that I am 50 years old is that these things we not so much a burden but just a way of life and means of getting by for my family as we were not so rich(smile) grown children look back and have only fond memories and none for the worst. I to do not regret having less than more for I feel it taught us great values in life...and God is always so gracious to provide our true needs...bless you dear...

Anonymous said...

I love candles! I was wondering if you would do some posts about siblings and parents, with pictures! :)

Julian said...

lovely! thanks for all your beautiful pictures, and thoughts for today, gives one something to think about. I am truly looking forward to hearing from you.

Trish said...

love the flowers! They are beautiful! candle light is one of our favorite adventures in a power outage but not a routine practice :)


Anonymous said...

Mia we live in Northern MN and got our first snow this morning. Central heat or good ole woodburning stove is a must here! I don't think a space heater will work when its -32 outside! The wind is howling and blowing like crazy today and its snowing again! Time for the soup pot to come out!I love your blog! Kelly's friend Kerry said...

There is something very special and intimate about candle light and wood stoves, I am a big believer in both!

Andrea said...

Beautiful, Mia! I have thought of using candles in the evening. It would be lovely, I think.

God has so blessed you with warmth and a wonderful family.



Manuela@Pleasures of Homemaking said...

The wreaths are beautiful! I've often found kerosene lamps at the thriftstore. We have a few of those in case the electricity goes out for a long period of time. We also have some really big flashlights and lots of batteries. We bought a kerosene heater to use in case of emergency for heat as we don't have a fireplace. The last big ice storm in Atlanta was bad. The electricity took weeks to come back on and it was freezing cold!


Miss Jen said...

Beautiful~ Indeed, Mia!
Candles are SO special!!!
I always dream of having a
candle holder that has a
handle on it... just
like in Sense and Sensibility!

Love~ Jen

Anonymous said...

My family is very much a candle family! We have about 7-15 candles just in our lving room, lol! I love your blog by the way! Its very nice!

Linda said...

We're not allowed to have a fireplace in this house (which is a rental) but we do have some candles and kerosene lamps for when power fails.

To be honest, living in Holland, power hardly ever goes out, at least not for more than half an hour.. we have those things for emergencies, because they're SO much more expensive than electric lights.. I think kerosene is about 10 times as expensive as electricity, so once in a while for fun.. and then keeping them on hand for any emergency ;)

Greetings from the netherlands!

Anonymous said...

Hello Dear Mia,
I think your family is so very wise to think about preparedness!! I hear our Governor on the radio, asking are you prepared?? Thought and a little time is all it takes. The Governor , like you is thinking of a 3 day supply of whatever our daily needs are. Thank you so much for helping us to consider this ,in such a lovely way too!!! I love the wreaths!!!!!!!!!! You ladies are sweet gifts to me!! Thank you for your testimony of God's grace and mercy in your life. tammyp

AJ from Texas said...

Hello Mia ~ Thank you for answering my question. What an interesting and inspiring discussion this has become. *smiles* Sounds like you and your family are well on your way to being prepared for winter. I like to use candles as well. Oh yes, there is something "special" about candlelight. We live in Southwest Texas and our winters aren't too cold. But to keep the chill out of the house, there seems to always be something on the stove (boiling water for tea or soup simmering) and sure does warm up the house a bit. Also, keeping the curtains open during the day to let the sunlight in helps. And then as soon as the sun sets close the curtains. Thanks again for your continuous inspiration and beautiful words. God Bless You and Your Family.

Bonnie said...

Hi Mia!
This is my first time to comment (I think), and first, I love your blog. I feel so refreshed after a visit.
Second, someone mentioned Lehmans Hardware a few comments back, and I wanted to throw in my $0.02 worth about how wonderful they are. We live a little over an hour away from the store, and it's nearly an all day excursion when we go.
They are definitely worth checking into with your families desire for old fashioned ways, etc.

Clara Van Nattan said...

Mia, recently my little family and I went on a road trip, and much of our time spent away made me think of you - this is because we went on something like a pioneering trip... not that we travelled by horse and carriage, but we spent most of our days in towns that recreate the 1800s. I know this era interests you, so I wanted to encourage you to head on over to my blog and check out the pictures I was priveleged to be able to take on our trip! :) Mrs Van Nattan

McKenzie Elizabeth said...

Hello Mia!
Our family has a well and we are going to have a hand pump installed soon. My momma has bought several oil lamps and lots of candles.

I enjoyed reading...


Jeanne said...

Mia, We too use Oil lamps. I have several of them and also battery lanterns for the young ones so that they think that they have an oil lantern. We also switched to Wood heat. We purchased a used wood stove and It heats up the whole house and it's 2500 sq ft and 2 levels. The stairs for our house are in the center of the home and the wood stove in front of it, and the heat rises. I would sugest to your father this. It's a very sound investment as compared to the electric and gas heat. Durring storms people give up hard woods and we store it until seasoned to use. I love eating by our lamps too.

Caroline said...

We are probably not at all prepared to be without electricity for more than a day or 2. My mother always thinks of those things and keeps a supply of water on hand in case they lose power (they have well water). They also bought a gas stove after going without electricity for a week after Hurricane Fran. As long as they have gas in their tank, they can cook. They also keep kerosene in several lanterns. You would think that maybe I would have learned from them to be a little more prepared, but living in the city, I really don't think about it much. Thanks for bringing up a great subject.

(Caroline's mom)

Mia said...

Dear Ladies,
Thank you for your wonderful suggestions and insight!
We have a gas stove and water heater, so we don't have to worry about those!
I haven't learned how to cook on an open hearth (yet!wish you could show me too!) but I have used a wood burning stove/oven :)


Anonymous said...

Thank you for commenting on my blog, Mia. I love all your pictures. You look like you live a beautiful life! Stay in touch, sister. God bless!


Anonymous said...

Living in Northern Minnesota, Our power goes out a lot! So we have a wood burning stove, that I can also cook on and bake with a dutch oven.
We have a well,so we need to get a hand pump installed. I have a stock pile of food in our root celler and pantry.
We have 5 Gallon jugs filled with water in our basement. We heat with our wood burning stove during the winter.
We got snow on Oct 10th! The girls and I are wearing our winter coats already!
Mia, Your wreath is so beautiful!
I'd like to learn how to make a wreath like yours.
Rhonda from Northern Minnesota

Hannah said...

Hi Mia,
We heat our 4000 sq foot 291 yr old home with wood only. We have a woodstove at either end of the house downstairs, in the kitchen and living room. I love the woodstoves and the heat they give off. I use the warmth to raise my bread more quickly, simmer a pot of stew all day, heat the kettle for tea and of course it is where we are gathered around doing lessons on the chilliest of days. We also set up a clothes rack or two nearby and hang laundry to dry. It is cold six months out of the year here.
If you can locate a beekeeper nearby you will probably be able to buy beeswax very cheaply to make your own candles.
We have bees and keep chickens and ducks and try to can or freeze as much food as possible. We also buy in bulk our grains and have three wells on the property, though if the electric went out, we'd have to suffer through the hard water minus a water softener.
We live on a hill and would love to make use of the wind around here for power eventually.
I love all the ideas being shared. A simple life is a lovely one, I agree.

Patty said...

Hello Mia,
I am just so wowed and inspired by you and your family. I love the idea of using only candlelight at dinner time. I am going to start this with my family. We are a very very digital family, and it's caused us to be quite separate and distant though there are 6 of us in a 3 bedroom house. Time to start drawing closer together and learning to live without the digital stuff so much. I hadn't really thought about preparedness, but thinking back, my Mom always was. I need to really think about what we can do to be better prepared. I think it would help with a sense of security in a way. Well, just wanted to tell you I love your blog and how you inspired me.


Thandi said...

Hi there., I came on to tell you I gave you the Kreativ Blogger award.You can read about it on my blog!

Della said...

I was discussing this with my mother a while back and we talked about how almost no one is self sufficient. First off, so few people own enough land to grow their own food so you don't have to depend on the grocery store. Most wouldn't know what to do if the power went out for a week. I'm afraid people, in general, are spoiled and take for granted that modern conviences will always be there to bail us out. Last winter, our unit gave out and,boy it was cold and we didn't have the money to fix it. We had a gas fireplace, but I'm seriously looking into a glass front woodburning stove (mom and dad have one and it'll run you out it gets so toasty) But we made it through with three little ceramic space heaters that we rotated from room to room and our fireplace...oh yeah, and a whole lot of prayer on my part. Times of need and struggle tend to bring us closer to our Lord, so Lord help me to embrace the hard times...amen? It was nice to not be paying a sky high gas bill as well :) Really enjoy your blog and am so inspired by you. Keep on for the Lord, in the end, He's all that matters.

Homemade Mamas said...

We just wanted to let you know that we just found your lovely blog and were especially thrilled to find your brown sugar recipe! Who knew it was so easy?

We linked to you through our blog! Thank you so much for the wonderful idea!

. said...

These pictures are amazing.
You are an inspiration.