Power Outage on the Homestead | Homesteaders of Michigan

Power Outage on the Homestead

“In Michigan, especially in rural areas, power outages are a fact of life. It’s best to always be prepared.” – @carina_hilbert

Having a secluded homestead surrounded by trees has its advantages; keeping a steady stream is power isn’t necessarily one of them. We unexpectedly lost power for a couple of days during an early winter storm and were taken for a loop!

Here, in no particular order, are six things we learned during our long weekend.

1. Keep up on laundry and wear proper attire.

Admittedly, I had skipped a couple of days of laundry prior to losing power which I totally regretted after we dirtied up our clothing and got wet trudging through the snow. No, surprisingly, my well-worn cheap leggings with holes in them did not repel water or keep me warm.

 

Power Outage on the Homestead: Thinking Of Your Animals | Homesteaders of Michigan

2. Think of your animals.

In a way, we were lucky that this outage happened after a snowfall. Even though we had gallons of water to give to our flock, we could’ve brought the clean snow indoors to melt for them. We only have chickens and ducks, which made their care very easy; check on food levels, bring fresh water, give snackies to get through the cold.

 

possible. If you don’t have a stockpile of water available, are you prepared to melt snow for your animals?

Kyle from @WillowFarmLLC says, “Hey, always glad to try and help. 

So cows can eat snow as their water source. It can lower their body temp so for a long term option in extra cold weather it isn’t the greatest. Our barn eaves leak like sieves so we typically have water buckets to catch drips which gives us some water in a power outage scenario. If we know a storm is blowing in we try to do power out preps where we make sure everyone has a full trough and we have some full buckets on standby.”

@zenfarmllc brings up the importance of having a propane heater source to melt snow and ice. 

@memmeltime recommends a backup tankless water that hooks up to propane.

@carrieroer reminds us to fill up our bathtubs.

What if you lose power and there isn’t snow on the ground? Do you have a water source to pull from? Will you venture off-property to find water to bring home?

Did we miss any tips and tricks to succeeding in a winter storm? Let us know down below.

Written by Kayla

Kayla is the creator of the Homesteaders of Michigan community on Instagram. She resides in Central Michigan with her husband and son. She and her husband began homesteading in 2017 and have a passion for self-sufficiency and self-improvement. You can follow her on Instagram at @kaylaelucia.

3. Plan your power-less meals ahead of time.

We are very lucky to have an old wood stove to provide heat and a place to cook. If we lose power in the fall or winter I can make just about any meal, and, most importantly, fresh coffee using our teapot and pour over coffee maker.

I was recently gifted this butane-powered camper stove and am looking forward to utilizing it for meals during power outages in the summer months.

We don’t have a cow here, but we did have shelf-stable milk ready for my son so we didn’t need to open the fridge. We have used Horizon Organic Milk, Hoosier Whole Milk powder and the Honest Kitchen’s Instant Goat Milk.

 

4. Keep Your Devices Charged

I am guilty of running my phone down to its last moments of life and then sprinting to a charger. As I currently write this article, my battery is sitting at a whopping 12% so it goes to show I practice what I preach…

Here’s the thing, the morning of our power outage, miraculously, every device in our home was charged. Three tablets. Two phones. All charged. And after extensive use,  when our devices did need charging, we used our portable anker and our car charger to do so. 

So, if you’re like me and like to live life on the edge when it comes to charging your devices, make sure you have a backup. (And that the backup is charged.)

 

5. Plan your power-less meals ahead of time.

“Oil lamps and candles go a long way.” – @fishngypsy

“A tub of Crisco with a string in it will burn for 45 days!” – @thesimplediabetic

We love our lantern from AGPTEK. There are multiple ways to charge it but we utilized the hand crank method. There’s also a bonus spot to charge USB devices.

Our headlamps also came in handy when navigating the house in the dark. We have used these all throughout the year for nighttime flock and garden checks! These were featured in our 2020 gift guide.

5. Have a plan to save your food

According to the FDA, “A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.”

 We are very grateful to have two freezers; a chest freezer and the freezer attached to our refrigerator. We keep the majority of our valuable frozen food in our chest freezer. When we lost power, I immediately became nervous because we had spent the entire year stocking up on food for the winter. We kept our chest freezer closed and, after a day, transferred our small freezer contents (things like frozen onions and other veggies) to a tote with ice and stuck it outside. Everything stayed quite frozen and we didn’t lose anything. 

@renoroost says, “Move your freezer meat out into the garage if your freezer goes out. We have saved it!”

Power Outage on the Homestead | Homesteaders of Michigan

I asked our Instagram community for power outage advice and this is what they had to say: 

“Try and be kind to the power company folks. They get harassed all the time.” – @ourcrookedgarden

“Invest in good oil lamps, headlamps, and backup gennys for sumps and ejector pumps!” – @dancingfeathersfarm 

On generators:

“Invest in a good generator!” – @1900whitefarmhouse

“Have spare parts for a generator ready. We needed a new spark plug for ours!” – @brotherbearandco

“Get a generator. Even if it’s only enough to keep your fridge and freezer running. Buy it on sale, not when you need it in an emergency.” – @frontierefarmhouse 

“Have a back up for your back up; a second hardwired inventory for your vehicle. If the genny runs out of gas, you can start your vehicle and run an inverter off of it. Weird times call for weird solutions.” – @westsidedetroitfarms

“We have a farm shop full of frozen meat. A generator wired in that automatically powers on offers great peace of mind in case we are away during an outage.” – @willowfarmllc

“Make sure you know what your fuse box connects to so you don’t overload the generator.” – @mrscuffedboots

Let’s talk about power outage kits.

So, all that being said, I am now working on an update power outage kit for our family. In this kit, I am including the following:

  • Lanterns
  • Flashlights
  • Water
  • Paper plates
  • Spare generator bits
  • Anker
  • Candles
  • Batteries 
  • Matches

What do you have in your power outage kit? Let us know below!

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