She’s rational about storm rations

Terrace columnist Claudette Sandecki spends three days at home cocooned by a blizzard

This is my third day cocooned at home by a blizzard which has at times limited visibility to two neighbours on either side. Meanwhile though my feet cannot roam my thoughts do.

Shovelling a footpath to the mailbox and on to the snowplowed street this forenoon I realized this is perfect weather for finding a new address if one were inclined to move.

Instead of selecting a property in summer for its leafy trees and sunny lawn, it would be more useful to view the lot following a mid-winter storm that levels not only the driveway but much of the yard in knee deep snow packed by wind to resemble concrete.

We found this lot in May lumpy with rocks from fist size up. We bulldozed and hauled the rocks away. They never returned.

But snow never misses a season.

The kicker is probably by January 16 our first monsoon of the year will melt all the snow and my driveway will be a shallow sea navigable only by waterproof Wellingtons.

I could restock groceries in several ways – a trip to town by taxi, by bus, with friends.

But I refuse to bend to a three-day storm. I’ve weathered worse storms longer.

So it’s “storm rations’ for a day or two: milk frozen months ago for just such an occasion. Defrosted, it’s smooth in coffee and the taste is perfect. But when hot oatmeal touches the milk, it curdles. My tongue tells me it’s fine; my eyes say otherwise. Because I’ve run out of fresh berries, I’m down to oranges and apples, just as when I was a prairie farm kid.

Online I’ve put a hold on several library books I’ll pick up when next in town. Currently I’m reading “Rurally Screwed” by Jessie Knadler, a Montana born New York journalist who wrote articles for women’s magazines before marrying a Baltimore horseman and moving to 80 acres in Lexington, Virginia.

Her husband used a skid steer to trench a waterline to their barn, plant fruit trees, and build fences for neighbours.

From the Internet I learned a skid steer was first designed in 1958, perfected through the years, and now everyone calls it a Bobcat.

Another library book I enjoyed reading from cover to cover was “The Urban Hermit”, a humorously written memoir by Sam Macdonald.

An unemployed Yale graduate living in Boston, Macdonald was weighed down by massive debts –student loans, income taxes, credit cards as well as thousands borrowed from his parents for car repairs – and 340 pounds.

To save all the money he could he limited himself to 800 calories per day, spending no more than $8 weekly for groceries. He bought lentils, eggs, canned tuna, bread, and rice. A year into his diet, he added black beans for variety. He boiled the lentils, beans and eggs adding only salt. Sometimes he went several days without realizing he hadn’t eaten. To take his mind off hunger pains he walked miles daily, exercise that cost only shoe repairs.

At 169 pounds he had no more debts.

He concluded lentils are tasteless.

But he proved lentils have as much protein as steak. A half cup of uncooked lentils has 340 calories, the energy equivalent of an average meal along with a glass of milk and a piece of fruit like an apple; there is no reason for families on social assistance to go to bed hungry and malnourished if someone will only cook the lentils and serve them.

A 900 gram package of red split lentils costs $2.99 at the Wholesale Club. Cooked and added to soups or main dishes, they economically satisfy hunger and nutritional needs.

Columnist Claudette Sandecki keeps her storm cellar stocked in Thornhill, B.C.