The Coming Storm

Metal and plastic lantern bird feeder, red

Made from real lanterns (the globe is hard plastic), these charmers light up the yard! At Lehman’s in Kidron and at Lehmans.com.

Even without the relentless warnings I would know a storm was coming. The air is damp and heavy. The sun peeks out from time-to-time but the light is weak and watery as though it isn’t willing to try too hard.

Birds are scuttling about, filling up on the seed from the feeders, while the squirrels haul off the last of the acorns.

I’m preparing too. Wood will be carried in from the outside pile and one final load of laundry washed. I will check the fuel levels in the hurricane lamps and make sure to have a box of matches at the ready. We run off grid as well as on grid, so a storm poses no hardship. I will confess however that, as a Nor’easter barrels up the coast, I am mighty glad not to live in Buffalo.

Full to bursting, my pantry is ready for anything the weather can throw at us.

Full to bursting, my pantry is ready for anything the weather can throw at us.

It’s a good time for a storm with the pantry stocked with canned meat, vegetables and fruit preserves and the wood piled high. I remember well losing power for many, many days and being glad to have a tidy home, clean clothes and a well-stocked pantry.

This is such a good time for baking. The austerity of being snowbound is softened by the luxury of home-baked bread and chocolate chip cookies. And soup! Now there’s an idea. I can make a big pot of soup and keep it warm on the wood cookstove.

Stainless steel 8 qt stockpot

Find this 8 quart, sturdy, even-heating stockpot at Lehman’s in Kidron or at Lehmans.com. For conventional or wood ranges.

Making the turkey soup is so easy. A quart of canned turkey, a bunch of carrots from the root cellar, two jars of stock I canned last year and then this and that; frozen peas and canned green beans, some celery and herbs that have been drying for months, all are tossed in. At the final moment I’ll toss in some noodles perhaps or make up a bunch of biscuits or dumplings in the big soup pot.

I am so not a recipe girl. Handfuls and pinches, a bit more and quite a lot are measurements that work for me. My favorite recipe is this: A coming storm, a warm home, good food and my family gathered round. It’s my recipe for a good day.

Kathy Harrison

About Kathy Harrison

Kathy Harrison is the author of Just in Case, Another Place at the Table, and One Small Boat. She is a national spokesperson for both foster parenting and family preparedness and has appeared on The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and National Public Radio. She lives with her family in western Massachusetts.