Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Results Are In

My family didn't end up doing the entire weekend. Perhaps we aimed for too long of a test for our first try. Or perhaps we are TOOOOOOOOO firmly engrained into our soft little technologically advanced lives. Of course, in the event of an actual emergency, there would be no 'turning back'.

As planned, after dinner friday night, my husband shut off the breakers for our home's electricity and the water to the toilet (not the entire house as that would affect our neighbor, but we understood NOT to use the taps). We lit our oil lamps and set out a flashlight for each member of the family to use as needed.

The children entertained themselves for almost an hour just running around the house with their flashlights. We then set up a preschool game - Garanimals 123, that I recently got at Walmart. Our 1 1/2 year old can play too! We played just the one game, but with the kiddoes, it takes awhile. Daddy then did a little math with Isaiah on the white board, while I read some board books to Reya. Then we let the kids just color on the white board for a bit. Then we read them two bible stories out of our Read and Learn Bible and put them to bed. They were pretty excited about this adventure. But bedtime went as smoothly as it does most nights.

We did realize that without all the electrical background noise, the children could hear us MUCH more clearly in their room. So we went out to the table in the other room to talk and play cribbage as they fell asleep. After this we sat on the couch and my husband read one of his favorite books, Star Trek Federation, to me until I got too loopy to retain anything he said. We then talked for a little bit and went to bed at a semi decent time, ie. our ACTUAL bedtime, instead of hours later.

As usual the kids woke up before everyone else. Without the baseboard heater in the living room running, and the many computers in the office, the house got VERY COLD over the night. So the kids bundled in blankets on the couch while I prepared their hot breakfast. I made them oatmeal in the cast iron skillet on our propane stove. I opened a quart of apple butter and poured about half of it into the oatmeal to flavor it for us to enjoy. (I LOVE apple butter).

The kids and I went and sat at the table in the other room, with the window open, providing what light could be found on a rainy Northwest day. We read Proverbs 29 and talked about any verses that caught our attention. Then prayed and ate our breakfast. After that we were all much warmer.

Then the kids colored in their coloring books, while I read a book a friend lent to me, The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Romance. I REALLY enjoyed this. I often lament that since having children I RARELY find time to read. I wonder how much of my time spent on the computer, could actually be spent delving into an exciting novel or even the occasional uplifting and educational book.

My husband woke after a while and chose to have an MRE for breakfast. He shared it with the kids as it comes with many snacks and a milkshake.

Then I put a pot of water on the propane stove to boil, for morning face washing, and for doing the dishes.

As this was boiling, we discussed our plans for a visitor today, my husband's mother. I lamented that the carpet was not vacuumed, and we both noted that the fridge was getting a little on the warm side. So we agreed to turn the power back on to prep for her visit.

I did use the boiled water in a bowl with soap to wash my dishes... but I admit I used the tap water to rinse them all. I know some use another bowl or sink of hot water to rinse. I just wonder how efficient this is after several dishes are rinsed. IF you have any suggestions how to rinse dishes without using the tap please share them! My husband vacuumed.

We then welcomed our visitor and had an enjoyable time, going out to lunch and stopping by the produce store on the way home. BUT we were tired. It was nap time for the kids, and this is usually my opportunity, especially when preggo, to get some extra shut eye also. We turned the electricity off again, and put the kids down. I rested on the couch, while my husband read more of the Star Trek Federation aloud. But I fell asleep after a couple of chapters.

And my husband was all alone, with nothing to do. He tried to stick it out, but being raised a computer geek who has spent every free moment on his comp since his youth..... I can hardly blame him for folding. I woke to the hum of the fridge and fans and computers and fish tanks. And somewhere in this he got an emergency call to return to work.

So our Off the Grid test came to a close.


What worked well....

* I was very satisfied with our food choices and methods of cooking them. The propane stove is a cinch to use, and the cast iron took just a little time for me to get comfortable with as well. Although we did not eat many meals, I had plans for tonights dinner, and could easily have made several delicious meals with little planning if needed.
* I really, truly enjoyed the closeness and activities with the family. Turning off the computers and TV forced us to entertain each other and enjoy each other. While it was a little awkward and took thought, I loved it. I LOVE my family. I think that THIS aspect was and is very good for our family.
* While the oil lamps are not as bright as electric light bulbs, our eyes easily adjusted to them, and we were able to use a battery operated lantern to read by.
* I was amazed at how much "FREE TIME" we had.

What didn't work or work well....
* I underestimated how much water would be needed to flush the toilet. I had a few buckets of water set aside for this purpose, about 16 gallons. But we went through about 12 just in about 14 hours! This was with us waiting for the toilet to REALLY NEED to be flushed.
* We will need to consider purchasing more games, reading chapter books as a family and thinking of more activities to entertain or occupy us in the future.

My overall opinion about our experiment.....

There is a selfish part of me that says, it is too much work, and on the boring side.

But mostly..... I think it is exactly what my family needs, or what I need. It is alot more work. But it is not hard work, and it is not without rewards, delicious food, and the knowledge that you earned what you are enjoying.
And there is so much more family interaction. In just the few hours we had time to play games with our children, read to our children, do SCHOOL with our children, in a loving, fun, NON RUSHED atmosphere.
I ponder often about the lives of those who lived before us, most especially those who accomplished great things. I cannot for the life of me remember WHO it was, but this summer I saw a home where one of our founding fathers was born. It had two rooms, a wood stove, and was surrounded by fields and trees. There was no electricity. There was no running water. They were BORN in that home. They were raised and SCHOOLED in that home, by their mama and their daddy. They developed a work ethic and moral resolve. And they were well learned, eloquent, and became great and accomplished men. Perhaps MANY of our founding fathers, and biblical fathers lived lives very similar to this, and they accomplished far more than I have, and far more than ..... most people.

It isn't that I want to cut my family off from technology or claim it is evil and wholly wrong. But I find more and more that I am in agreeance with what I first thought was a hippy mentality voiced in Star Trek Insurrection, "We believe when you create a machine to do the work of a man, you take something away from the man."

It seems to find more relevance in my heart today.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Testing Testing - Our First Off The Grid Test

So.... we've been making lists, gathering food and equipment, and considering the needs for that day when for some unknown reason we must fend for ourselves.

We have come a long way.  We have learned many new skills along the way, such as bread-making with homemade starters and cooking with cast iron.  We have purchased equipment that allows us to cook and heat our home and even take a hot shower, without using electricity or water from the tap.

This weekend, we will test our preparedness.

Friday night my husband will come home from work and turn off the breaker.  We would shut off the water at the valve also, but since we live in a duplex right now this would affect our neighbor.  So we will just have to avoid the use of the taps, and not flush the toilet with the handle.

What I foresee using and doing this weekend...

* To combat the winter darkness in the evenings we will use our oil lamps and possibly a few well placed candles.  Having never done this test, I am interested in learning HOW MUCH oil will be used for one evening of light.  I honestly have no idea.

* To prepare our food and heat water we will use our propane camp stove.  We have it set up permanently in our back room for all our canning anyways and have practiced cooking various meals on it lately as well.  The cast iron works very well on it, as well as my large stainless steel pots.

* For personal hygiene we will be able to heat water on our stove and or use our Zodi hot water shower pump.  It reminds me very much of old fire extinguishers with a pump and spray nozzle.

* For entertainment we will read books, play board games and card games.  For the kids we sometimes do something special, like have glow sticks, break them and run around like wild monkeys spraying them all over the house.  The glow doesn't last too long, around 30-60 mins.  But it is fun, and beautiful and the kids LOVE IT.  Obviously in the event of a real emergency this would not be our priority, but it helps to make things less frightening and more enjoyable for the young ones.

* For food, we will eat only from our storage.  This includes our home canned chili, taco soup, turkey soup, pumpkin bread, cheese, peanut butter, jam, any store bought bread we have left, and our stores of rice, beans, oats, sugar and flour.

* I may try to make homemade bread with starter.  My cast iron dutch oven and biscuit pan is INCONVENIENTLY packed away in a closet.  So if I really feel the urge to make bread for our off the grid test, I'll have to gird myself with strength and go digging them out.

Where our plans fall short...

* While planning for this weekend I realized that we didn't really have a plan in place for our refrigerator.  My husband and I spoke about this last night and are going to try to keep a couple of blocks of ice or gallon water bottles frozen in the freezer to put into the ice chest with food from our fridge in the event of an actual long term power outage.  We have an excellent quality Igloo Ice Chest, which will keep cold if properly packed for 3 or 4 days.  This isn't a long term solution, but would buy us time and allow us to use more of the food we have on hand before it went bad.  For this test, we will leave the power on for the fridge and NOT use any of the food in it, pretending that it has gone bad and is not available to us.

* For such a short term test, I doubt we will be doing any laundry.  I do have plans to make a hand powered washing machine with a 5 gallon bucket and a plunger.  And at this time we do not have a wringer or a drying rack.

I'm not sure what problems we may run into, issues that we did not foresee or plan for.  That is part of why we do these tests!  Having lived the easy life of electricity, running water, and HOT water to boot, we have grown sooooo soft and it can be difficult to imagine how to care for our needs if these simple systems failed for any reason.  Many who live further out of town don't have as much difficulty imagining, as each winter storm can bring about frozen or broken pipes, downed power lines, closed roads and compromised lines of communication.

I look forward to our test.  And I will post on Monday how our weekend went, what worked well, and what did not.  Hopefully there is more that works WELL!  But regardless, I love that my husband and I are testing what we have BEFORE we need it.  I'd sure hate to find out where our planning failed when there was an emergency and no possibility of reprieve.

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Very Own Emotional Roller Coaster

Today I am emotional.  I'm not sure why.  But it isn't pretty.

I had a screaming fight with my husband, when he actually just needed a listening ear to air out his griefs.

I sobbed in front of my children.  I huffed angrily about my daily duties.

I recognize that I am VERY pregnant.  But I hate using those "raging hormones" to excuse poor behavior.  Am I just tired?  Am I just uncomfortable walking, sitting, attempting against all hope to tie my shoes???

Or is there something else bothering me?

Fortunately... I had some dishes to do.  And I found a kids movie that they haven't watched in a long while.  So in the midst of my daily grind, I found blessed alone and quiet time.  Yes.... I have discovered that dishes CAN be "ME" time.

And I prayed.  What is my problem?  Why am I being "that" person?  I can imagine, easily, the wagging tongues if others knew about my shameful behavior.

Many would say, I am such a poor, put upon wife.  So much expected of me.  So many duties on just these two soft shoulders.  Never having my NEED for partying and fun and freeeeeeeedom from all my terrible obligations.  My slave driving husband managing to rule the roost and have his steak too.

And others would say, I am a fake.  I put on this little facade of the perfect little wife.  Submissive to my husband and taking such great care of children and home, and serving the Lord.  But in reality, I am just a manipulative, lying woman, whose flawed, weak will is showing itself AGAIN.

I break a little at this point, imagining all these pointing fingers at me and my family.  It is so impossible to please everyone.

But I remember too.... I don't need to please everyone.  Because IT IS IMPOSSIBLE.

And it is not fruitful.

After all..... in the end of our lives we will stand and answer to One and ONLY One.

So I remind myself.... what does HE think?

I ask again, "What is the problem?"

What's going on in my life right now?  Not much.  I've been canning exciting new recipes, doing school with the kids.  Really it is just the normal daily stuff here.

Oh wait....

There is a baby on the way.


We're house hunting this weekend.

But those are purely happy thoughts right??

But I remember, that my baby girl who is now almost 2 was born in THIS house.  And somehow, amidst my complaining about how little it was, and I didn't like the neighborhood and didn't trust my neighbors at all, this house has become our home.

My son learned to walk on these floors.  He learned to run and jump and flip light switches.

My children filled these walls with their artwork and their laughter.

I've been reminded often lately that little children like routines, and do not respond well to change.  They do not like change.  They HATE change.  It is frightening to them.  Even when it is good.

My baby girl is very upset that soon a new baby will be coming into our family and nursing beside her.  Even though I have assured her that the baby will love her, and she will love that baby, just as Isaiah loves her and she loves him.... She is afraid of change.

And I too.... am afraid.

I have prayed and hoped and dreamed of the day we would move out of this one bedroom in the ghetto.... and prayed and dreamed and hoped of our lives spent in a big garden and under fruit trees and gathered in our kitchen that holds more that 1.5 people...

But I am also afraid of it.

I have grown so comfortable here.  I fear the labor involved, I fear the debt... but mostly I fear ... the unknown.  What if it didn't turn out like my dreams at all?  What if the roof leaks, the carpet stinks, the basement floods, the garden doesn't grow, my fruit trees die?

My fears REALLY take off once they get a listening ear.

But God has already given me verse after verse in the last few weeks and months about my future home.

And I recall them now....

But the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year.  - Deuteronomy 11:11-12

Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers. And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you. You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock. - Deuteronomy 7:12-14

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. - 1 Corinthians 15:58

And the verse I come back to again and again...

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. - Romans 8:28

The Lord promises good to me and my household as we follow and cling to HIM.  And our belief in HIS promises is what makes us righteous and pleasing in HIS sight...

Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." - Galatians 3:6


“And now, O Lord GOD, You are God, and Your words are true, and You have promised this goodness to Your servant." - 2 Samuel 7:28

I realize..... I don't feel so fearful now.  I feel pretty good.

And Blessed.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Canning Dried Beans

In my efforts to be frugal I have tried switching to dried beans many times. They last longer, can be bought in bulk and stored easily, and are SOOOO much cheaper.

But I just couldn't prepare them right. Seems so simple. Soak them. Cook them. Season and Voila! You have a healthy and filling meal or side dish. But they kept turning out hard, sometimes flavorless, and every single time, caused MAJOR problems with the families digestion. It turns out there are some tips to help with these problems. When soaking your beans, add a little baking soda and DO NOT add salt until they are already softened.

But then you still have the problems of having to plan the night before for the next days dinner, to set out and soak your beans, and have them ready for HOURS of cooking the next day. In an emergency or even a camping or a REALLY HUNGRY FAMILY situation.... they are a pain.

I came across this article Cooking Beans and Canning Meat, by Marie H. on Following some of the comments that followed I did further research to verify safe procedures of canning beans. But I still GREATLY appreciated the article because it made me realize that there IS an easy way to use dried beans, AND make them easy to use, and easy to digest!

So last night I canned some dried pinto beans. I have several varieties and just grabbed the beans closest to me.


Soak Beans for one or two hours.
Prepare your jars, lids, canner.
Boil additional water (to fill your jars).

You can add salt and other seasonings to your jars, as you desire.
When your soaking time is finished or nearly so, take out your jars and put in your desired seasonings. (For this batch I just added 1 tbsp salt to each quart jar).

Drain or scoop out beans with a spoon that will drain out the water. Fill your jars half way with beans. Fill the remainder of the jar with boiling water leaving 1 inch headspace.
Wipe rims and put on your lids and rings.

Process pints for 75 mins and quarts 90 mins at 10 lbs pressure (double check your areas altitude in case higher pressure is required).

Here is a before processing and after processing photo from my batch.

They look great to me and I am excited to try them out. I will post an update when I use them!


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Saturday, January 8, 2011

All In A Day's Work

Yes.... all in one day. My husband was SUPER AWESOME and treated me to ice cream in the middle and it gave me a second wind.

Cheddar Cheese, Jack Cheese, Cream Cheese
Apple Butter - From The Ball Blue Book
Brandied Blackberries - Can you imagine, I could NOT find a recipe.
Blackberry Syrup
I will sleep good tonight. :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Am I A .... Prepper????

From Thanksgiving to Christmas, my little family has been busy.

Like many others this year, we attempted to contain our spending. Our gifts were mostly baked goods. Little gift packages of a mixture of cookies, oreo truffles, pumpkin pie playdough, canned pumpkin bread, canned butter and dry soup mix, were handed out to friends and family. These were received even more joyously than I expected. Apparently canned goods CAN be exciting to people besides those with with severe addictions to food preservation (ie. ME).

Yes I have discovered in myself a strange and insatiable desire to can, dehydrate, and freeze food. I look at my recipes and think, can i make that from scratch all by myself? What would I need? And how can I do it in bulk?

Some of these desires are explainable.

It is cost efficient to buy in bulk.
It is cost efficient to preserve what you labor or pay for, so it is not wasted.
It is healthier and safer for your family, preparing your own foods and knowing each ingredient included.
If I prepare foods ahead of time, it will save time and effort later.

But I am aware that some reasons are harder to explain. Not because they don't make sense, but because some are loath to admit any veracity to them.

If my breadwinner is unexpectedly out of breadwinning, we will have food.
If due to road closures, poor weather, earthquakes, large meteorites (lol), crop failures, labor strikes, what have you and the stores' shelves are empty, we will have food.
If there is no electricity, we will have food.

The sight of my pantry fills me with joy.
It is beautiful.

And it isn't just about food.

As in the above situations... there are other needs that must be met for the care and well being of my family.

If my breadwinner is unexpectedly out of breadwinning, If due to road closures, poor weather, earthquakes, large meteorites (lol), crop failures, labor strikes, what have you and the stores' shelves are empty, If there is no electricity...
We will still need to keep warm by the use of alternative heat methods, blankets, warm winter gear.
We will still have hygiene needs such as bathing in hot water, washing ourselves with soaps and shampoos, maintaining friendly odors with deodorants, toothpaste, and lotions.
We will still need ways to cook our food and provide some light to our homes.
We will still need to care for injuries until emergency services can arrive or we can get to a medical facility,

I have heard it said that food and supply storage is 1. unnecessary, and 2. unchristian.

As I consider these statements, I am forced to admit a new and interesting title that now describes WHO I AM.

I am a Prepper.

Wierd huh?

I just thought it was part of my learning process, learning how to take care of my family, learning how to save money, learning how to be healthy, learning how to utilize the environment and protect the environment to the best of my ability. I actually just thought it was a logical progression of my attempts to be a wife and mother who lives up to the obligations given by the Lord.

I think the above statements of our "needs" are self explanatory and I do not need to address the necessity of providing a first aid kit and food for my family to protect against the possibility of a winter storm, or the loss of an income, or a hurricane or an earthquake.

So that leaves me to answer this concern that 'prepping' is unchristian, fearful, untrusting that God will take care of his children. But is that the case? Is it 'untrusting' of us, to follow the leading of the Lord to PREPARE for what the future may hold?

Because the truth of it is, the Word DOES tell us to PREPARE, STOCK, PLAN AHEAD.
Proverbs 6:6-11
Go to the ant, you sluggard!
Consider her ways and be wise,
Which, having no captain,
Overseer or ruler,
Provides her supplies in the summer,
And gathers her food in the harvest.
How long will you slumber, O sluggard?
When will you rise from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to sleep—
So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler,
And your need like an armed man.

Proverbs 19:15
Laziness casts one into a deep sleep,
And an idle person will suffer hunger.

Proverbs 21: 20
In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.

Proverbs 22:3
“A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”

Proverbs 24:30-34
I went by the field of the lazy man,
And by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding;
And there it was, all overgrown with thorns;
Its surface was covered with nettles;
Its stone wall was broken down.
When I saw it, I considered it well;
I looked on it and received instruction:
A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest;
So shall your poverty come like a prowler,
And your need like an armed man.

Proverbs 28:19
He who tills his land will have plenty of bread,
But he who follows frivolity will have poverty enough!

Ecclesiastes 10:18
Because of laziness the building decays,
And through idleness of hands the house leaks.

2 Thessalonians 3:6-11
But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he[a] received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.
For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.
For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies.

And lastly.....

Genesis 41:17-36
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph: “Behold, in my dream I stood on the bank of the river. Suddenly seven cows came up out of the river, fine looking and fat; and they fed in the meadow. Then behold, seven other cows came up after them, poor and very ugly and gaunt, such ugliness as I have never seen in all the land of Egypt. And the gaunt and ugly cows ate up the first seven, the fat cows. When they had eaten them up, no one would have known that they had eaten them, for they were just as ugly as at the beginning. So I awoke. Also I saw in my dream, and suddenly seven heads came up on one stalk, full and good. Then behold, seven heads, withered, thin, and blighted by the east wind, sprang up after them. And the thin heads devoured the seven good heads. So I told this to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me.”
Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do: The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads are seven years; the dreams are one. And the seven thin and ugly cows which came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty heads blighted by the east wind are seven years of famine. This is the thing which I have spoken to Pharaoh. God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do. Indeed seven years of great plenty will come throughout all the land of Egypt; but after them seven years of famine will arise, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine will deplete the land. So the plenty will not be known in the land because of the famine following, for it will be very severe. And the dream was repeated to Pharaoh twice because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.
“Now therefore, let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years. And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine.”

I don't know what the future holds.  But I know who holds the future.  And since I am not convicted by the word..... I'm not going to worry about the nay-sayers.  And because I did what I could, I also have freedom from many other worries.

As in Proverbs 31

The Virtuous Wife
10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “ Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.

Please note verse 21.  Because the Virtuous Wife is industrious and seeing to the care of her family... she does not fear snow for her household is clothed in scarlet.  Having seen ahead that winter was indeed coming (as it has many times before), she plans ahead and makes sure her families needs are met.

And this leads me to another consideration.  Since I feel I have stated my case biblically, for laboring and storing against future needs..... I am forced to consider that blind faith in a system of food production, transportation and commerce, completely in the hands of secular human beings with no regard to biblical mandates for Christian stewardship, ethical practices for the health and well being of the land used, animals raised, butchering practices, harvesting practices, and in the end, the health and well being of the consumer, but JUST THE AMOUNT OF MONEY IT MAKES THEM.... could be dangerous.  Unfortunately there is plenty of evidence that those dependent on the system are in fact being slowly poisoned by harmful chemicals from pesticides, genetically modified foods, and preservatives that were approved based NOT on merit but on deals made by people in positions to benefit monetarily from their passage into the food market.

A few examples... aspartame, msg, flouride.

The system, and the people running it, DO NOT have your best interests at heart.

The LORD does.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Some blogs of other like minded souls...