So I’m reading this book about World War 2. I’ve read quite a few books about this event, but this one’s perspective was different. It’s about a small town in France (which was occupied by the Germans during the war) and their view on what was going on.
All radios were confiscated when their country was taken over. There was no communication or way of being informed of events besides illegally distributed papers (and people caught dispersing these were executed immediately). Soldiers moved into or took over the local homes in the area, as well as the hotel. Citizens were given ration cards, and only received the food the soldiers residing in their town did not want.
The good news is most of the families had gardens, farm animals and skills to survive without depending on things like a grocery story. Small towns like these didn’t have that option, but instead had a butcher to visit, neighbors or the market to collect goods from and relied on their own ability to grow, then preserve their own goods.
As the war continues in the book, there is less and less food to go around. The woman in the book only really has food when the German captain, who is staying in her home, brings home food to share with them. The food she grows, preserves/cans, dries,etc is enough to barely carry them through the winter. There’s only homemade soap she trades with a neighbor to get, she saves yarn from old sweaters/blankets to knit clothing they need (she seriously knits underwear so they have some to wear. Sounds comfy, huh? Better than nothing I guess!), and their electricity is shut off so they rely solely on candles and the fireplace for light/heat.
I can’t help thinking to myself how we would do in a similar situation. Where we live we are dependent on grocery stores for all of our food. Sure… in the summer there’s farmer’s markets we could buy from, but in the winter we are dependent on the barges that bring our food up from the Lower 48. We are taught to be prepared to be self-sufficient. Our pantries are generally stocked, at our house we have alternative heat from our fire place, a back up generator and fuel stored to run it. A small camping stove with fuel. Water stored. But that is not a long term plan. It’s for an emergency…. a few days. A week. These people were in this survival mode situation for years. With the added tension of having enemy armed soldiers roaming their streets and living in their homes.
I can’t help but think of how utterly helpless most people would be if they lost cell service and with it their information source and communication (and calculator- who could live without that). We are so dependent on others for everything. It’s convenient and, yes, our lives are so much easier, but what would you do if you didn’t have your phone? The internet? The news? What if that was all gone… even without the addition of war. Scary stuff my friends. Scary thoughts.
I’m grateful I have some basic homesteading/homemaking skills, but the idea of having to rely on them to keep my family ALIVE is terrifying. To do it for ‘fun’, like heading to the cabin, is one thing… survival is another. I don’t know what my point to all this rambling thought is- again this is the babble my husband would be forced to act like he was listening to if he was home, but he’s not… so you’re welcome!
My advice (which is obviously what you’re all reading this for) would be to check out what you have at your home. How long can you go without needing something from the store? How much water would you have if your tap didn’t work? How would you cook without electricity or natural gas coming in? If you had heirloom seeds saved at home, would you know what to do with them? Do you have a sewing kit at home? First aid kit? Just some ideas. And if these questions leave you feeling panicked, or at the very least, concerned- GOOD NEWS! You have time to learn and gather ideas on how to be self-sufficient for your family. There’s 1.75 million blogs and articles on how to be ready to provide for yourselves. Just get googling! And maybe printing… so you can reference in case of the aforementioned emergency. 🙂
PS> If you want to read a super good book about women in World War 2, here is the link. It’s amazing and heartbreaking and thought provoking…