Frosty cities. I’m not a fan.
Despite being nearly six hours from Mom’s farm (where she’s noticed the geese are gone), I can’t be saved from the frosty weather that’s about to hit us all. It looks like we’ll be suffering through this wintry mix together. (Families that freeze together, stay together?)
Since I have my own mini homestead, I’m up and at ‘em today, trying to be sure I’m prepared for any unfortunate weather that may come this week – and into the winter months. While there’s things to do around the house – putting away the hoses, pulling in plants and making seasonal necessities easy to reach (shovels, salt, etc.), my biggest focus is on our vehicles.
Being in the middle of nowhere, commuting to work is a necessity. And, with long distances that are usually backroads, there’s no cellphone reception or heavy traffic. Meaning, if you’re stuck or broken down, you’re likely on your own.
Several years ago, I was a teaching assistant during graduate school. Lucky for me, I still had to be at class periods/office hours regardless of inclement weather. Around December, a rough snowstorm dumped about 17 inches of snow on the campus and town, most of that coming down while I was working. Can you imagine a university dismissing 35,000 students when a foot of snow is already on the ground? It was disastrous.
So much so, that I ended up parking my car and walking the 3.5 miles home in the snow, mostly uphill, due to blocked and unplowed roads. While I was sore the next day from that 3 hour hike in 12-plus inches of snow, I was proud that keeping those extra socks, scarves, gloves and hats in the car, along with my hiking boots, paid off. I was cold when I got home, but I wasn’t frozen or sick, and being prepared made the journey more of an adventure than an impossibility.
The girls who wore leggings and thin jackets to class that day? I’ve heard countless stories of how that wasn’t such a good day.
That whole tundra experience taught me the importance of not eye rolling mom and dad, and later, the fiancé, about car preparedness. If that situation could happen in an urban area (which honestly made the whole issue worse), it’s even more important to be prepared for being stuck out in the country.
So, what do I keep in my car? I house my essentials in an old milk crate. They include:
- Hat, scarf, gloves and socks
- Hiking boots – the fiancé and I are avid outdoors people, so we invested in good boots that are multipurpose.
- Snacks – granola bars, gum, nuts, etc. I try to keep items that are high energy, but will hold up in the car for periods of time before they’re swapped out and eaten.
- Water – This is harder to keep from freezing in the winter months, so during cool weather, I’ll keep an empty water bottle on hand that can be filled up and reused anywhere.
- Winter windshield wiper fluid in a spray bottle – You’d be amazed how this is helpful at getting open frozen doors or quickly deicing something. I often keep this by the back door in the mornings I need to get going quickly, but wasn’t able to pull the car into the garage the night before.
- Tea light candles
- A small jug of kitty litter or sand
My fiancé also keeps a small shovel in his car, and I think it’s a great idea. We probably need to add one to my kit.
Then, there are other essentials that stay in year round, including extra oil and antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, a portable tool set, jumper cables, a mini battery charger and a small tire pump (purchased from Harbor Freight for $8, this thing has been a lifesaver).
That’s it! While it seems like a lot, it mostly fits in my handy milk crate, which is easily removable from the car if need be. If you don’t have your own car box ready, I’d suggest thinking about your weather conditions and what items would help you in case of an accident or unfortunate situation.