Enjoy “Awful” Weather

Enjoying Winter Outside

Dress in Layers, wear sturdy, insulted boots, and soak up Vitamin D with a brief “sun bath” even on cold winter days.

The woman giving our local television station’s weather report issued a dire warning. “It’s going to be below zero tomorrow with strong wind. It will feel like 30 below zero out. Stay inside”, she advised!

A gorgeous sunrise launched the next morning. It was a cold six below zero out but with only slight wind. Birds and squirrels arrived at the feeder, snatched a few seeds and flew or scampered off to enjoy breakfast in a sunny spot sheltered from the breeze.

Rarely do we have weather so bad that everyone must stay indoors. Certainly some days are more pleasant than others but at Winding Pathways we go outside, even if briefly, whether it’s frigid or broiling out -mainly to tend our animals. We mimic wildlife.

When August’s heat and humidity envelop Iowa we follow the pattern of the cottontail that lives in our yard. He and we are out in the evening and early morning. In mid-day we shun the sun and enjoy our maple’s cool shade.  On blustery winter days we layer up and explore our yard, even if for just a short time. Modern clothing is amazingly effective keeping us comfortable as long as we do like our chickadees and find a sunny place out of the wind. We don’t fool around with tornadoes. If one’s approaching we heed the weather caster’s advice and stay in the basement. But, as soon as it passes we’re out in the yard.

Take temperature extremes seriously. Unusually hot or cold weather can cause serious physical problems, even death, but a prudent person who takes precautions and uses common sense will enjoy fresh air even in extreme weather.


“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves,” John Muir.

Prepare for a Storm: Hurricane Season is Here – Blizzards Will Follow

Dealing with a two week power failure in relative comfort

photo of emergency food boxes

Each year natural disasters shut down gas, electric, and water services to millions of homes. More than ever, people’s lives are being disrupted by storms, earthquakes, and fires. But few are ready to weather a week or two without utilities.

A weird accident many years ago helped the Patterson family prepare for future outages. On a pleasant summer afternoon a worker’s cutting torch accidentally ignited a huge Styrofoam dome covering our town’s sewage treatment plant. Black toxic smoke welled up from raging flames and spread over the homes and businesses of thousands of people. Disaster sirens wailed as the police department ordered everyone to leave town quickly.

With smoke thickening around our home we tossed camping gear, food, and a jug of water in the trunk, put the kids in the back seat and headed for clean air. An hour later we pitched the tent in the yard of a friend who lived miles away. The next morning with the fire out, the air cleared and authorities let citizens come home.

Fortunately our disaster impacted a small area for a short time. It happened during warm weather and didn’t harm homes, roads, or utility infrastructure. That’s unusual. Increasingly common are monstrous winter and summer storms, wildfires, and even earthquakes that destroy buildings and knock out utilities for days or weeks.

While predicting where and when a disaster will strike is impossible, certainly millions of people will experience one in coming months and have their lives disrupted. Prudent people will have prepared for a disaster by assembling a kit of items that can be used in the home when utilities go down or quickly tossed in the car if evacuation is ordered.

Enduring a week or two without utilities isn’t fun, but having the basic items in permanent storage keeps life relatively comfortable. The Patterson family keeps enough of the following basics ready to ride out a two-week power disruption:

  • Food. Dehydrated meals that keep almost forever, weigh little and are quite tasty.
  • Water. 20 gallons in plastic containers plus water purification tablets and a water filter.
  • Communications. Solar cell phone charger, a tiny radio with extra batteries and a written list of relatives and important contacts.
  • Camp stove, matches, flashlights, paper towels, bleach and warm packs.
  • Medications and toiletries
  • Camping equipment

We store all items, except sleeping bags and a tent, in bins where they can be quickly reached.

For a detailed list of items to pack for emergencies and tips about storage, subscribe now!

Already a member? Log in.