The Poor Knitter’s Guide to Hurricane Survival

If ever the European version could save me, it’s now.

Whenever a hurricane is approaching we have these “spaghetti” models that show the track of the storm, where it will go, how fast it will arrive. I think there are 10 different models. The odd ball out is always the European model. For some reason their track goes completely different from many of the others. This storm heading for us has the European model just skirting the edges of us, its eye wall just off shore, skimming the edges of the coast and then who knows where it will go.

All of the other models have it pitted right at our front door, coming at us with a bludgeoning slowness.

So, I’ll say it again. If ever the European version could save me, it’s now.

We are doing what we can to prepare. Now, when you’re on a budget, a hurricane can be expensive. REALLY expensive. And I couldn’t figure out why. People are rushing about buying as much water as they can. Buy water! Well, I plan to be using the water I use every day, right out of the tap. No, not AFTER the storm, but now.

It’s the same water I use everyday to make coffee and cook with, so why wouldn’t I just save all the tap water I can?

Go buy yourself a box of Ziplock bags, 25 count, gallon size. (The cost is about $2.50). Fill the bags with water from the tap, make sure they are nice and sealed, lay them flat, then place them in your freezer. Now, they say you need two to three gallons per person, per day. So, you’ll have as much water for as many people as you want, depending on how many bags you fill, ending up with nearly 25 gallons of water….for $2.50. But! Put half of those bags in the freezer, leave the other half in the fridge.

The next purchase (if dealing with a hurricane on a budget) is to invest the money in a Coleman stove, or some other very small, portable gas burning stove. We bought ours before our last hurricane two years ago for $35, and that was with 5 cans of propane (the cans look like hairspray cans, not the big giant Rhino ones you see at Home Depot). We were without power for 3 days then, had food from the fridge every night, made pots and pots of coffee in my French Press (See? You don’t need electricity with a French Press…..just boiling water!) and we only used 2 cans of propane.

Next! DO NOT BUY ANY MORE FOOD! Remember those bags of water you put in the freezer? Well, once they’re frozen, treat them like giant ice cubes surrounding your frozen foods. Once the power goes out, don’t open the freezer! Not for ANYTHING! It will act as a cooler. It’s airtight, it’s self contained. LEAVE IT ALONE! It will stay cold for at least two days. But, you won’t have to wait that long to eat. Once the power goes out and the storm has moved on, start by eating everything in the refrigerator.

Leftovers are first. Anything you have on hand from two nights before, eat first. Then go for produce and vegetables you may have. This ain’t Top Chef….or maybe it is. Four ingredient challenge! GO!

Still no power after the first day? Head to your freezer and pull out uncooked meats first. Processed foods can last longer. But, if you have ground beef in there? Pull that out and brown it up. Even if you just have it “loose meat” style with a random onion and some salt and pepper, you’ve got food. Again, we’re not talking about making it “special,” we’re talking about surviving. (Food Network! Take note! I want “Cooking Disaster,” a competition show on how to cook food during a natural disaster. I’ve got dibs. I claim it as mine).

Still no power after day three? Hit your pantry. Canned goods are the LAST in your stash you eat. All you have is a can of beans? Well, that’s better than some people eat on any given day, so eat the beans, be grateful for them, and ENJOY them.

And that really is the best that you can do. Mother Nature has more power than you, baby. Always has, always will.

This storm really does terrify me. It really does. Oh, yes, we do this hurricane thing in Florida on an almost biannual, if not annual basis….but, this one is a monster. The size is one thing, its winds at 150 are another thing. The speed is what is fears us. This lumbering giant is trolling along at 9 miles an hour. That means we expect to see high winds and flooding for at LEAST 24 hours. Usually these storms come in raging, angry, kicking shit over and heading on out, maybe only bitch smacking us for about 8 hours. But, 24? Yes….this is going to be nasty.

Even the most sound of structures can only take so much pummeling.

Yes. I am scared of this storm.

So, Phillip and I plan to sit here before the television and wait for the power to go out, because that will be when the storm is at its strongest, then pull the mattress out of the bedroom, put it here in the living room, light some prayer candles (I have tons of them, so no need to buy candles, and praying will do us a a world of good anyway).

We figured the living was the most central spot in our apartment, the safest.

And if our budget allows, we’ll have a couple of beers, play cribbage, and be able to do our best to forget the madness around us….

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  1. You are right. I’m north of you. Stay safe!

    I’m filling up a five gallon bucket from Lowe’s, and will fill up the freshly scrubbed bathtub. Compared to most third world countries, we are in great shape. Eating down the fresh and frozen stuff. Apples and tangerines will keep awhile without chilling. Checked the pantry for crackers, peanut butter, applesauce and breakfast bars (yep, we have canned tuna, sardines and baked beans too).Got flashlights, batteries and candles. Oh, and plenty of fiber to spin and yarn to knit.

  2. Hi Buddy. I had no idea you were in Florida. I grew up in Dade City, just north of Tampa, so my heart is with you. I live in Western KY now, and all other things aside, I’d still rather be in Florida, hurricanes and all. Much better than random tornadoes. Stay safe, knit lots. I love your ideas for filling up on water and the pattern to eat your food. All great ways that say you are used to this and will be fine.

  3. I am banking on the European model for ya! Sounds like you’ve got this covered. When we get blizzards, I kinda do the same kinda things. Knit, as long as you can. And keep us posted – please.

  4. My darling knitter, here’s the thing, common sense is no longer common. I pray for your safety and your happiness. Where I live we prepare for blizzards and snow storm and bloody forest fires.. Same thing, pay attention and process accordingly. May you and your beloved Phillip be safe from harm and safe from fear. You’all are in my prayers

  5. Excellent plan. As usual wonderful writing. Above all, protect yourselves and your babies. We are praying for your safety as well as everyone affected by the storm.
    I had not heard of the frozen water in the baggies for both freezer & fridge before but that’s a great idea. I may borrow that should we get an ice storm this winter.

  6. Suggestion for the windows perhaps? If you can get your hands on some cardboard boxes, flatten them down and put them on the inside of the windows? You don’t have the money for plywood to cover them, but when that wind starts blowing, the cardboard will help cut down on getting showered with broken glass, maybe? I know with that high of winds, it won’t keep them intact if something comes flying your way, but it might help keep you safe? Just a suggestion. Hope it’s not as bad as predicted. Take care, Zanna

  7. First, let me say I feel for you all down south. I lived through a hurricane in 2003 in the most unlikely of places, Prince Edward Island, Canada. It’s so cold up there even frostbite wears mittens. I don’t know how one of those storms snuck all the way up there. Now I’m in Maine and I don’t have to evacuate, board up my windows, tuck the sheep into a dugout or anything else weird. That said, your storm will give me a raging headache. I am okay, I’m not going to complain. Your emergency storm preparation is exactly what I would expect from someone who knits. We got every emergency you can cough up Mother Nature!!! Give me some needles, a little yarn, and good old MN can shoot out whatever she wants. Just stay safe down there.

  8. One of the best moves I ever made was moving from Louisiana to Iowa. A Katrina surviver here. Up until that storm, hurricanes meant hunkering down and riding it out, but all is well at the end of the storm. Not Katrina, it was a storm of nightmares. So please, if it is as bad as they say it is, it will be worse, so get out of there. Money’s tight, I get it. Pack up a tent and go camping for a few days. If you have renter’s /home insurance, a mandatory evac is usually covered and you can get the $$$ back (at least with Alstate). Stay or go….just be safe.

  9. Oh, I know that feeling well, battening down all the hatches, filling sandbags from the beach, checking out the water and food supplies. I don’t usually panic-buy, but a couple of years ago I bought 96 rolls of toilet paper, which we still have in stash. (After camping in Alaska for 6 weeks and using ferns for TP, I’m determined to never run out.) We have invested in some 5-gallon water storage bottles over the years and fill those with tap water. Scouring and bleaching the bath tub and filling it up is a good strategy, too. You can always use that water to flush the toilet. Great idea to freeze water in ziplocs, too – our freezer is usually pretty full (because we only shop every couple weeks), but that would fill up the spaces and could be drunk afterwards. It’s usually the bathroom that is the safest room – or an interior closet far away from windows. I’m praying that y’all won’t be hit hard and will stay safe.

  10. I’ve done the same thing by keeping water in 2 lifer soda bottles. I’m too high up for hurricanes to do damage but I’ve had my water turned off and the bottles saved me.

  11. You’re in Florida?! And by the look of it, between me and Disney. I was going to fill ziplock bags, but apparently I’m not good at making sure the seal is tight and ended up having my own little indoor flood. Love your blog, keep up the good work.

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