The Pure Wool Blanket. Pantries and Preparedness.
It is winter in Australia and a wake up call. As a cold front came in the majority of the population was told to brace for rolling blackouts or power outages. I heard so many people say they were worried and how would they stay warm? Along with this the cost of electricity has gone up and up. There are a lot of people who are afraid to use the heating because they are worried how much the bill will be. The days of not having to think about staying warm are over.
We grew up in a comfortable home with a wood fire. As kids were wore dressing gowns and slippers, had hot water bottles and warm drinks. Outside we wore hats, coats and scarves. Bed was warm and snuggly!
In later years I noticed on TV shows and commercials people walked around their houses in boxer shorts and a t shirt in the middle of winter. Homes were obviously kept so warm that it was like summer all year long. I think we can safely say those days are over.
Where we live it is not dangerously cold. We will get frosts and freezing nights but not extreme sub zero temperatures... I have never experienced those! A really cold day here is 8C or about 46F. A cold night is 0C or 32F.... or a few degrees lower. (It is a confusing system!)
I had a wood fire in the house when the girls were little. Like I had they wore dressing gowns, slippers, warm pjs and had warm bedding. By now we had heat packs instead of hot water bottles. But hot water bottles still as a back up. Also extra bedding for guests.
In recent years there has been the trend to declutter and toss out anything that doesn't "spark joy" and so the thrift stores have been filled with pure wool blankets. And I have been buying them.
A brand new, pure wool, blanket can easily be $400 and well beyond. I have seen some for twice that. But in a thrift store I mainly get them for $5 or so. The most I have paid is $20 which were for King size ones. I bring them home and wash them up in my homemade wool wash which makes them so soft and smell beautiful. They come up so well. You can find the recipe here... Wool Wash.
Rachel has a very lovely general washing liquid recipe which you can find here. Soap Making Part 1. This is Rachel's beautiful photo of her Laundry Liquid and her woollens.
Do you remember when Texas had the big freeze and as their climate is normally not anywhere near this cold people experienced terrible hardship and some died. The power went out. Water pipes burst. It was dreadful. In part people were not prepared as it was just so unusual. But I also wondered how many people didn't have enough warm bedding, clothes etc because they had ditched sleeping bags, blankets, spare quilts etc. because they didn't spark joy? This is in no way a criticism of the people of Texas. It is a criticism of this trend to make yourself less prepared in the name of Instagram worthy spaces.
Things that spark joy are relative. I have explained it before this way. On an ordinary day my wool coat does not spark joy. Nope, I don't like thick coats. But this is not the reason to toss my warmest coat. If the power is out, if I'm stuck on the side of the road because my car broke down in a storm..... yes NOW my coat would spark joy. When the heating is out then is the time your extra bedding will spark joy! When you know someone is cold and you have a blanket to give them... that is joy. This kind of minimalism/decluttering assumes you can run out and re buy necessary goods in a crisis. But it just doesn't work that way. In a crisis is too late.
I only recently discovered many people rely on gas for heating. This seems to be the norm in Europe. And now there are gas issues. Also it is summer in Europe so there is time to prepare. If there is no gas, or rationing, and if power was out, how do you keep warm? Now is the time to be prepared for that.
Even though it is mid winter here last week I was still able to get another pure wool blanket at my local thrift store. I got it for $4 because it was in the pet bedding section. This amazes me but that is how it is. I examine and look for the pure wool label. I have bought damaged blankets and used those to fill pot holders as wool is the best for those too. But mostly they are perfect. Some even have beautiful satin binding.
I keep one of these blankets in my car. They can save a life in a fire or an accident. If I was stuck on the side of the road in the cold I can keep warm. I have a couple of blankets stored for each person in my family... and I mean my grown kids, husbands and their kids. I have more still incase we know someone who needs one.
I made pure wool rugs as well. Nice and thick and warm. Each Grandkid gets one. A crochet blanket is always on the lounge for extra warmth.
All these blankets don't take up much room in the house because most of them are stored between the various mattresses on beds. Because wool is natural and breathes you can lay (or fold) them between a mattress and bed base or between two mattresses. You can also use them as a woollen underlay, over the mattress protector and under your sheet. This provides a lot of extra warmth. I have six or seven blankets stored this way.
What would you do if the electricity and gas were out in winter? Are you prepared for that possibility? How would you cook? Now is the time to work on it.
There are alternatives... if you would really be in trouble without gas or electricity there are highly rated sleeping bags for very cold conditions. They might be a good investment. I like things with natural fibres. I have found blankets that are wool and mohair... wool blend even. Do the best you can and think about it.
The wise woman is not afraid of the winter as she prepared and did stuff in advance! xxx