Last week I talked about giving helpful, albeit interesting and different, gifts for Christmas. I told my friend what I was writing about, and she told me that this year she was giving all of her married children a fuel heater, which could be used in a closed room, for their Christmas gifts. I thought that was so very thoughtful and very smart. That same day I watched as many of the states back east had been virtually shut down and that more than 2-million people were without power and probably would be for more than a week. The problem was so bad that the local governments were in the process of setting up Warmth Centers so that people who were not prepared and did not have an alternative heat source could come and stay, and be safe and warm.
I don’t know about you, but I feel safer when I am in my own home, making my own rules, and not in a large building with a bunch of unfamiliar faces, unfamiliar people, and following other's rules and standards. Not only would it be uncomfortable, but it would also be very disconcerting. Another thing to consider is if you leave your house completely devoid of heat, what is going to happen to the water pipes? How many of the people who leave their homes looking for warmth will come back home to find broken water pipes? How miserable! If you don’t have a fireplace or wood burning stove, look at buying an alternative fuel heater that you can use in a confined space so that you can protect your family if the power goes off.
Another good gift would be a generator. Think about what you would need it to run and then make sure that you get one that is big enough to handle your needs. Also, make sure that you have enough fuel on hand to power it and that you store the fuel in conjunction with the rules and regulations of your area. Be responsible and be prepared. Or better yet, buy a Generac or other brand of generator that is hooked directly into your house electrical system. No worries then.
Even when I am in my comfortable home, and the power is on, I sometimes get a little chill, but I don’t want to turn the heat up because I’m cheap – that, and everyone else is comfortable and won’t let me touch the thermostat. This is when I turn to my microwave, not for hot chocolate (only because that won’t warm my feet), but to feed corn. I know that almost everyone has heard of the rice bags that you put in the microwave, but I prefer feed corn and I will tell you why. Rice, when it is dry and warmed up, stinks. Okay, I’ll say it in a nicer way - it smells really, really bad. Even if you put cloves or something else in to mask the stinky-ness, it still stinks - only with the smell of cloves. I have found that if you buy feed corn (at a feed supply store) and use it instead of rice, it is much more pleasant. When you heat the corn up it smells like popcorn (and no, it won’t pop like popcorn). I like the smell of popcorn.
Another reason that I like the feed corn better than the rice is because if you have an ache or a pain, the weight of the corn helps to push the heat deeper into the muscle and it feels soooo very good – and it smells like popcorn. It also retains the heat longer.
I made these for my family one year for Christmas and everyone loved them. Just take the leg of some old pants and cut about twelve inches off. Sew one end and fill the bag loosely with corn and sew up the other end. Done. It is that easy. You can also use scrap material you have leftover from a previous project. I sewed the initials of each child on its bag, and they have turned out to be a very useful, and a very used and appreciated gift. You can also fill a clean tube sock and seal off the top to use it around your neck. I need to make another one so that I can have one for each foot when I go to bed at night. Just pop it in the microwave for about four to five minutes (depending on its size) and put it at the foot of your bed before getting in. Sooo cozy!
Generally you have to buy the corn by-the-bag, so if you can’t use 50 lbs. worth, split it with a friend. It is really inexpensive. Keep the rice to eat - use the cow’s feed corn to stay warm.