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by Gail Kavanagh

Blackouts are a fact of life, and if you live in an area where these are frequent, you need to know how to be prepared. Even if you do not, a power blackout can occur anywhere at any time. So consider the following tips to make the whole experience less stressful.

1: When the lights go out, light is just what you need. But the flashlight in the closet is no use to you if the batteries are dead. So always make sure to store spare batteries right where you stash the flashlight. Keep it where is it can easily be found. But it shouldn’t be your only emergency light. Many people keep candles or kerosene lanterns (though these are not the safest option, particularly if you have young children). Also keep battery powered lanterns for emergencies, a good rechargeable lantern will cost about $30-40 and will provide light for at least six hours. If you live in an area prone to many blackouts it is a good idea to have more than one option.

2: Do not open the fridge or freezer while the blackout is on, your food will stay frozen if you do not open the freezer door. If the blackout goes longer than 48 hours, open the fridge door once to get out foods you may need such as sandwich meat, fruit or milk. If the blackout is a long one you may lose refrigerated food, so try to use up what you have. When the blackout ends, inspect the food in your fridge or freezer and clean it out thoroughly, discarding anything that has been contaminated.

3: Blackouts happen at the most inconvenient times, and if everything in your kitchen runs on electricity, you won’t even be able to make a cup of coffee. Hot water from the faucet can contain dissolved minerals, some of which may not be the best thing for you. So when a storm is coming you might want to think ahead. Keep a vacuum flask of hot water or ready made coffee in the kitchen. It will help to comfort you during a blackout. You can also use your gas powered or charcoal barbecue grill to prepare coffee and a meal, so keep a ready supply of fuel.

4: Buy a battery powered radio. Electric companies will keep you informed through local radio broadcasts, and you will know the time so you can keep the family to as normal a routine as possible. And if you have some kind of player that doesn’t need to be plugged in right away (cell phone or tablet) cheer everyone up with some music!

5: If young children are frightened, let them camp out in the living room for the night. This serves two purposes – it calms the children, and makes sure everyone is in one place if the blackout turns into a real emergency, requiring evacuation. For this reason also make sure everyone is dressed warmly or has sweaters and boots nearby.

6: If you have to use pantry food for a meal, make sure you have a simple manual can opener as you won’t be able to use the electric one. It may sound funny, but things like this are often overlooked. If you go electric on any everyday item, don’t throw the manual version away. Put it in your emergency drawer.

7: As soon as the blackout occurs turn off your computer, TV and other appliances (except the fridge). You don’t want a surge of power running through the house when the power comes back on.

8: Try to keep some cash around the house. If the forecast shows a big storm coming, you might want to take out a bit of money beforehand. ATMs will also go down in a general blackout and you won’t know how long it will continue. And always try to keep some change/money tucked away in the car for toll booths.

9: Keep your cellphone charged and make sure you make only emergency calls as the networks will likely be jammed.

10: Finally, if there is any likelihood of a power line down in your area, stay indoors until it is fixed. Don’t take any foolish risks, especially if it is dark and raining.

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How To Have The Perfect Pamper Evening

by Erin Weaver

Life is hard and everyone has to deal with their personal smorgasbord of problems. For women who farm, these issues are usually compounded by a mixture of business stress, physical aches and pains, and long days of work. It’s great to plan a relaxing holiday or splash out on a spa day with friends when you get the chance, but what about the rest of the time? Well, that’s where pamper evenings come in.

A pamper evening is your at-home remedy for a bad day. It’s a vital way to take some time for yourself and recharge your batteries when you’re feeling down, or when you just want to treat yourself. If you can gather up a few hours and a bit of space, then you’ve got the makings of a good pamper evening already. But how can you make it a perfect one? Try some of these irresistible pamper night ingredients.

Check Out

Say no to work, say no to responsibilities, and say no to stress. Don’t worry, it’s just for a few hours! Emails, chores, family concerns, and anything else can do without you for one evening, so set them aside for now.

Turn Down The Lighting

This one seems like a cliché, but it’s really important. Low lighting helps to get your body ready for bed and bring about the sleepy, relaxed feeling you’re looking for in your pamper evening. Flick off the main light and switch to lamps and candles instead.

Take A Bath

Soak in the bath or take a long, hot shower and let your troubles melt away. Use your favorite soaps and scrubs while you’re washing, and spend some time massaging a good moisturizer into your skin afterwards. Get as clean as you possibly can so you’re feeling sparkly fresh by the time you leave the bathroom.

Grab A Soothing Drink

Look, there’s no judgement here! It could be an organic peppermint tea or a jumbo glass of red wine – as long as it delights your taste buds and soothes your soul, it’s the perfect accompaniment to your pamper night activities.

Do What Feels Good

Pick an activity that relaxes you and devote some time to it. Not something that you feel you should be doing, but something that really relieves your pressure. It could be reading a trashy novel, marathoning a new Netflix series, doing some yoga, or catching up on celebrity gossip. If it feels good, you’re on the right track.

Sleep

Don’t fall into any bad habits before you get into bed. You don’t really need to check your phone or send that last work email. The dishes in the sink can wait until tomorrow. The best end to a pamper evening is a good night’s sleep, so let yourself drift off in peace without interrupting your flow.

There’s nothing better than a pamper evening to put a pep in your step when you’re feeling drained. Having these tricks in your personal pampering toolbox will have you feeling great before you know it, so dim the lights, put your phone away, and get ready to relax.


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