New Giveaway And A Prepper Reality

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It is long past time for a giveaway. How about a ‘Baking Giveaway’? We have a set of two, brand new square cake pans that are nice and smooth and ready for somebody’s favorite cake recipe. This giveaway will go through March 31st. Just leave a comment in the comment section of this post and any upcoming posts and your name and email address will automatically go into the drawing. Only one comment per post will qualify for entry. So, enter away!!

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OK. Now, I have to tell you our tornado shelter story, for those of you prepared for any event. And just know, Mr. Fix-It was not happy.

Being the prepared one in the family, (I was a Girl Scout all the way through Senior Scouts, don’t you know?) I put together a backpack filled with “necessities” – you know, a change of clothes for each of us, medications, a first aid kit, toilet paper and etc. I also include a bag of M&Ms, dried fruit and nuts. Oh. And a deck of cards. You NEVER know when you might need a deck of cards. This big bag sits by the back door, ready to grab as we vamoose out the door to head to the shelter at the sound of the sirens during tornado season. .

Back in the fall, we had a new, larger shelter installed and we feel like regular gophers. It is a flat-top job that drops 8 feet underground and is big enough for several cots so that we can sleep down there during a long night. There are also folding chairs, a table, shelves and various and sundry emergency paraphernalia like lamps, a radio and paper towels. The door to the cellar is flush with the concrete top at ground level and lifts open to reveal a long set of narrow, metal steps to descend into our “fraidy hole” and they are quite a bit steeper than our old, small shelter. Since you already know about my lack of grace and poise, I’m still waiting for the outside handrail to be installed so that I don’t have to slide down each step on my butt. Heh! It’s a long, long jump to that concrete floor there, I’ll have you know!!

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The truck arrived with the shelter in two pieces – top and bottom

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We had already had the hole prepared ahead of time

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The bottom half was lowered in first, edges were covered with really goopy glue and the top half came down on top of it.

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The surface of the shelter is incorporated into the porch of our new building being built. Unlike the door to the old shelter, the door is flush against the surface of the porch.

Now, prior to getting the new shelter furnished, all of our emergency stuff was still in the old, small cellar. It isn’t as fancy as the new one and is drastically smaller.

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This is the old shelter. Drastically smaller, not as deep and slightly above ground.

Instead of the nice, large folding chairs we have in the new place, we’ve always had some buckets of grains (you know I grind the grains to make the flour to mix the bread that MB builds). The coolness of the shelter offered a nice place for storage. The buckets were handy for putting a board across to make a bench to sit on. When I needed to get grain, I just lifted up the board and pulled off a lid to whichever type I needed. Besides our bench sitting arrangement, we also had a portable fan, a blanket that zips into a cushion, a couple of small, wooden folding chairs for extra occupants, lanterns, LED lights and radios.

With tornado season having started March 1st, this past weekend we decided that we had better get everything out of the little cellar to move to the big cellar to prepare for this year’s possibilities. Soooooo, it appears, that stupid me forgot to bring up my famous emergency backpack last June after our last trip to the “fraidy hole”. It has been sitting down there all Summer, Fall and most of the Winter. And, evidently, some little field mice were tired of being bopped on the head by Little Bunny Fu-Fu, who lives under the deck, and, were hypnotically lured by the fragrance of hot, melted chocolate M&Ms (they may not melt in your hand, but there must be a caveat about backpacks in the summer). They chewed a hole through the screen on the cellar ventilation turbine and dropped their little vermin bodies onto the shelf that held our “emergency” equipment. They must have had a jolly time sliding down the metal posts of the shelving to the “bench” below to a feast of chocolate, dried fruit and mixed nuts. I bet you didn’t know that mice are crazier about chocolate than even you are!!

So, those uninvited critters must have had a blast because not only did they tear up the backpack and everything in it, but having full bellies, they then tore into the package of 8 rolls of paper towels. They chewed, burrowed and chewed some more to make nests in order to have babies and then to raise those little tikes to make more nests to make grandbabies and great-grandbabies. There must have been ten generations because the entire floor of the cellar was covered in mouse droppings and urine….all the way to the corners. EVERYTHING was covered. And they messed all over the shelving, the radios, the lanterns, the fan, the wooden plank and even the buckets.

As we stared at the total destruction before us, Mr. Fix-It muttered to me how insanely stupid it was to have an emergency backpack with M&Ms, dried fruit and nuts. He wanted to know exactly why I felt the need to have such a backpack. I meekly pointed out so many of our neighbors who, two years ago in the May 19th tornado, had their homes totally destroyed – nothing left, no clothes, no food, no meds, no nothing. We had been very fortunate. In a case like that, my backpack would at least keep us from being naked and, I smiled, we could always stay entertained with the cards. He was not amused.

Mr. Fix-It donned a mask so he wouldn’t catch Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome which I have no idea what it is or what it does. He put on tall, rubber boots and rubber gloves and headed down into the abandoned concrete mouse mansion. He dragged everything out, throwing away what could not be salvaged and stacking what I was to scrub with bleach water and soap. For hours I scrubbed items, sprayed them down, dried them off and then put them into the direct sun, while he continued carrying things up the stairs to me. What items I could throw into the washing machine, I did so in hot bleach water. The backpack was a total loss and was tossed in the trash – clothes and all. Evidently, the rodents had gotten tired of living in filth because we did not find one, single animal, although we gingerly pulled everything apart, fully expecting to be startled by an escaping mouse. Finally, Mr. Fix-It got the shop-vac and sucked up anything loose, tossing the filter when he finished. Next, the floor, walls and ceiling of the cellar were scrubbed with bleach water and soap. We left the door opened the rest of the day to dry the shelter out and crawled to the house, exhausted.

So, the old cellar, which is in like new condition (if nobody knows about its recent inhabitants) is now clean and ready to be dug out to hopefully go to the daughter’s family backyard. And I have my new, big cellar all ready to have a tornado party. Oh yes, and for that party, I AM putting together a new backpack with a change of clothes, a first aid kit, meds, a bag of M&Ms, dried fruits and mixed nuts…and a deck of cards. I might even add the game, Taboo. But I won’t be leaving it in the shelter, ever again. Heh heh.

Happy, Safe Tornado Season!

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48 Responses to “

New Giveaway And A Prepper Reality

  1. Melissa says:

    Nice shelter! You are prepared. Excited about the drawing!

  2. Denise says:

    Oh my that sounds like the type of adventure that happens to us. Looking forward to the drawing!

  3. Ken Roper says:

    Wow. Who would have thought it! You always have adventures.

  4. Ramona says:

    Love the shelter! Don’t forget to restock the paper towels ;)

  5. They are restocked! :-) And you are entered. Thanks for reading.

  6. Thanks, Melissa! You are entered.

  7. Thanks for entering, Denise! And I hope you DON’T have this kind of adventure!!

  8. We do that, Ken. Thanks for entering.

  9. Julie Geoffrion says:

    Oh you poor soul. What an experience :(
    Glad it is over for you! We want to put our shelter under our garage. Hope it is animal safe. Haha
    I keep meaning to show Emilu your store and things. The girls have really gotten into baking and I’m starting to need some new baking things.

  10. Deborah Ferguson says:

    WOW! Who would have thunk it? Those mice are masters at getting into any place they want. And what a mess they make. We had them in our RV raising families and chewing into the foam mattress. I know we picked them up on our last trip to Arkansas as we saw signs but, couldn’t find them and the traps were worthless……..AND our cat always goes with us. 6 days she watched them make themselves at home and did nothing. She was sent to time out. Worthless feline.

    I love your new shelter, hope you don’t need it :)

  11. Thanks for reading and entering, Julie! And let me know if I can help them out. :-)

  12. Judy Gammill says:

    You know, you could save millions of hours of work just my having a working mind (and if you find one, see if they have a 2 for 1 sale and send me the extra). I do things like this, only not in a shelter, usually in the laundry room. We had an influx of mice 2 years ago when our neighbor finally mowed the backyard and it took forever to get rid of them. They got into my stove and made a nest and did some damage to the appliance…so if I wanna use the oven, it’s a 50-50 chance it will work. Oh well, into every life a little rain must fall.

  13. Oh my gosh, Deborah!!! That is so much worse. At least concrete can just be scrubbed and it’s over. Yikes. And yes, sounds like the cat is worthless. Ha Ha. You are entered.

  14. Kat Williams says:

    Well, I have to say that was one of the most interesting and entertaining blogs I have read in awhile! Thank you! (Still chuckling here)

  15. Judy, or a little rodents must fall. :-) I get it about the stove. Had that happen once too!!! And I think they are fresh out of minds. Ha Ha. Thanks for reading and entering!

  16. Glad I could give you a laugh, Kat. :-) And you are entered!!

  17. Elizabeth says:

    Oh this reminds me of my growing up years in Texas. We all had a love/ hate relationship with our storm cellar.

  18. Most of us do, Elizabeth!! Thanks for entering.

  19. Lacey says:

    Good for you! Now, you need to have a sewing machine and quilting supplies ready to work on! I mean at least you can be creative during a tornado, right?

  20. Quilting supplies…hmmm…unique idea. :-) You could be right!! Thanks for reading, Lacey. You are entered!

  21. Yooper ar heart Melissa says:

    Your post made me smile…years ago we had a clever mouse get into my stash of Hershey’s kisses, my chocolate fix. Now, I keep everything in the pantry in either glass jars or tins w/metal lids…I’ll thwart them one way or another. ;-)

  22. I’m tellin’ you, Melissa, they are choco-haulics!!! :-) Thanks for entering.

  23. Tom Aderhold says:

    Ouch, we feel your pain. One lesson learned is to check on our “stuff” every so often. Time passes so fast! Glad you got it all under control before your very life depended on it. I’m feeling the benefit of Plan A, Plan B and Plan C.
    All the best!

  24. Yep. Time does fly, but lesson learned!! :-) And you are entered.

  25. Robin says:

    Very entertaining! A bit further north than you, but still in tornado country, and plagued with mice (we keep a running tally of what we trap versus the mousing German Shepherd…and the 13 yr old earns $5 for every mouse he catches). We’ve been looking at plans for tornado shelters versus a root cellar. I really like your new rig…but I’m not interested in buying your “clean” old one. :)

  26. Ha Ha. Wouldn’t dream of selling it to you, Robin!! :-) I strongly urge you to only go with a concrete one. The metal ones are loud, hot and stuffy!! Thank you for reading and you are entered.

  27. Billie Pender says:

    Oh my! Sounds like something that would happen to my family! Glad you got it all cleaned up. Very nice shelter!

  28. Thanks for reading the blog, Billie! You are entered

  29. Hairhaireverywhere says:

    As the mother of 10, I’ve never met a worthless kitty (just don’t look at the shredded fabric on my sofa). Great super-safe shelter and please enter me in your contest.


    Hair hair everywhere

  30. HairHaireverywhere, Ha Ha! Fortunately our kitty doesn’t take to furniture. And yes, it’s a great shelter. You are entered. Thanks for reading!

  31. Lisa says:

    I grew up in Illinois, I remember having tornado drills!

  32. Yep, the schools have them here too, Lisa. :-) You are entered!

  33. mary in Wayne says:

    Good reminder for what not to store in the cellar.

  34. You bet, Mary!! And you are entered.

  35. Martha says:

    Oh, how I hate mice! They got into our van this winter and made a huge mess. It only took one day. Candy wrappers left in the van by munchkins lured them in and I spent all day vacuuming and cleaning. I am always reminded of Matt 6:19–Do not store up treasure for yourselves where moth and rust destroy…And mice!!

  36. That was the EXACT verse that I thought of, Martha! :-) I told God, “You forgot to add ‘vermin’. ” Thank you for reading and you are entered.

  37. Cindy Munger says:

    You always make the most awful happenings fun to read about! Thanks for another giveaway.

  38. Thank you, Cindy! Glad you enjoyed it. Nice to be able to laugh after the fact. :-) You are entered.

  39. Expat says:

    Are you going to put a jack and some 4×4′s down there so if/when debris falls onto that outward opening door you still can get out?

  40. It isn’t built yet, but there will be a full, standing, metal hand-rail along the outside edge of the door opening that will act as a buffer for debris, plus we have tools down there. But better than that, we have family and friends who always check on each other after a storm blows through! Oh, and cell phones!! :-) Thanks for reading and you are entered.

  41. Diane Consalvo says:

    I am so glad I live in AZ. We only have dry, dry, dry, and maybe some monsoons in the early summer. Where I live in the mountains (yes there are mountains in AZ and 2 snow ski areas in the White Mountains and Flagstaff), we can have freezing and hot summers, but no tornados, or no hurricanes. But it is dry, and in the summer, humid. Interesting place to live, but my family history was from Oklahoma and I loved it.

    I love your site and all your wonderful recipes and stories!


  42. Thank you, Diane!! Yes, I’ve threatened to move to Arizona after breaking my ankle and both feet two years ago. The change in weather here is painful to say the least!! Thanks for entering.

  43. Joann woods says:

    Just found your web site while hunting vacuum sealers…love it you have a back for interesting a child i spent many hours in a dugout cellar..there are certainly tails to tell about those long scary nights….but I love Oklahoma..and yes I love storing foods..I will be keeping up with you…..thanks

  44. Joann, so glad that you found us!! I’m sorry for the length of time in responding but we have been having some terrible internet problems. I guess that it went along with the blackout? Who knows? Anyway, it is so nice to hear for another like-minded person!!! Thank you for taking the time to comment. :-)

  45. Joe Evich says:

    I just received your pastry cloth and used it today for the first time. Oh so much easier than without. I wish I’d seen your biscuit cutter when I made my order

  46. Joe,
    I am so glad that you are finding the pastry cloth successful!!! It really is a whole lot easier!! :-) We keep the biscuit cutters all of the time so they will be available anytime you wish to order. Thank you for letting me know that you are enjoying your new Oklahoma Pastry Cloth™!

  47. Dee says:

    I love this site! It reminds me of my grandparents home. I ordered the pastry cloth, very excited about that; finally tackling my fear of making pie crust! “Hands That Cook” told me about the cloth. Thank you, Dee

  48. Thank you for watching Hands that Cook. She was a dear to do that video!! And let us know how that pie crust goes. I bet you can do a bang up job with your new pastry cloth!!

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