"Commentary from the Countryside"
Thoughts on current events,
history, homesteading, preparedness, real food, and anything else I find interesting, from a cranky, middle-aged woman's common-sense perspective.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


I didn't actually begin this blog as a way to allow others to learn from my mistakes, though it often seems to be how it works out.  Now I'm getting another lesson in working through tough times.
Yeah, it's cold.

Being laid off has been an exercise in learning mental toughness and focus.  I waver from thankfulness that I'm not going into that hostile, stressful workplace, to despair at finding a good job where I can simply give honest work for an honest wage without all the drama.  I've found myself wanting to just putz around the house, baking, sleeping, and spending many hours on my addiction of putting together jigsaw puzzles, instead of tackling the hard projects such as working out a budget and repairing broken things.   It's as though I simply wanted to be a child and play instead of taking care of business.  Well now I'm reaping the consequences of irresponsibly wanting to hide under a blanket for a while.  Yesterday the propane tank ran dry.

Yes, we're living in a house without a furnace, stove, or hot water right now, just because I neglected to keep tabs on the tank and call for a refill when needed.  We have a couple of little electric heaters going, and a fire in the fireplace, so it's tolerable for the short term.  But the lack of central heat with no real back up is depressing, and makes me wonder how we would handle it over the long term.  What if the supply of propane was disrupted, and no one could get a tank refill?  What could we use to keep our houses warm and our water hot?

So what's the lesson?  Well, there's no time off from being a grown-up.  There's still details to attend to even if I'd rather do a puzzle.  It's also clear that a disruption in "normalcy" requires mental preparation as well as physical.  Secondly, I need to look harder at changing my options.  Hard to do without a job, but I need to explore alternate heating methods, or at least ways of keeping more of the heat in the house.  As any of us work to make our homesteads more self-sufficient moving away from dependence on fossil fuels is going to be key.

It hasn't all been bleak; had to go out and run some errands the other day, and meet a friend in the town of Vassar.  I had along a package that had to get mailed that day, or I would have to start over with the work involved.  I arrived at the Vassar Post Office just as the clerk turned out the lights.  But she heard my cry of despair as I tugged on the locked door, and mercifully opened it and mailed my package for me.  Wow!  Kudos to a government worker that wasn't worried about the time clock and helped out a stranger.


  1. Cat,
    Glad to hear the postmaster mailed your package for you!
    Sheri (Claygirl)

  2. Sorry about your job situation. It sounds like you really need to install a wood stove, which would give you hot water and heat. Depending on what your property is like, you can scrounge for wood when you are out. Or even get free crate wood or pallets for burning when times are tough. I know this from experience.

  3. God is amazing. He can use something that seems not that great to point us in the direction we need to go. We are also in the process of trying to acquire a second source for heat. We have natural gas but if there is a disruption we have NO source of heat since our little heater quit working last year. The barter system can sometimes be a way to get what you need without spending anything. Also Freecycle I think it is but I've never tried them. Saying a prayer for you and your family.

  4. Thanks, Missy. I do watch freecycle but it's not very active in this area. I have been bartering for eggs and hope to expand on that.

  5. katlupe, that is one thing I was able to do while working. My fieldwork often took me past factories and I was able to pick up quite a few pallets, which I cut up to use in the fireplace. Nothing beats free wood!