February Eve

February is the coldest month of the year. We're already tired of winter, and now it's becoming really tiresome, and dangerous. Granny wisdom tells us that if our ancestors had used up half their winter stores by February, they were likely not going to make it through the winter. No, the cattle, sheep and goats aren't milking, though assuming there's plenty of hay stored up, it might be a good time to breed them. Our ducks aren't even laying, and ducks are less affected by the cold than chickens, so I'm going to assume your chickens aren't laying either. We might have some new baby rabbits, but it'll still be some time before they're ready for slaughter. The cold frame may have given us fresh greens right through Christmas, but it is done now, and has been for a few weeks. In short, we're looking at at least two months before any fresh food shows up on the table. Thank goodness for grocery stores.

Let me just say right here that my ancestors were freaking awesome. My great great grandfather was an indentured servant. After working off his intenture, he and his wife travelled up river on a homemade raft to reach the farm that would spawn our family. A few years later, when their house burned down, my pregnant Great great grandmother and her infant daughter, had to live in the wellhouse for several weeks. Holy shit, can you imagine? But they survived. Because they were awesome. These are the stories we tell our children so they never forget where they come from. And so we dedicate February to them, to their struggles and their strength.

Yes, I know we just honored them in November. But they're awesome, so they get two. This time we are honoring them by challenging ourselves to be resourceful and strong, like them. We do this by putting a moratorium on all purchases in February and, for the entire month, living on our stores alone. It's the ultimate prepper holiday.

February isn't just about our ancestors and their struggles. It's also about our struggles. It's about winter sucks and we can't wait for it to end and it's just one of those things in our lives that we'd rather do without, that we're ready to say goodbye to. Just another thing to get through. So for February, we're not only not bringing anything new into our house, we're getting rid of everything that we don't want, that doesn't serve us, that we don't need anymore or that just plain sucks.

Allow me to ilucidate.

February eve is the night before February begins. It corresponds roughly to imbolc. On this evening, we light a fire. Into that fire we put representations of things we want to get rid of. We toss them in and watch them burn and talk about how great it's going to be to live without them. Old bills we paid off last year are popular burn victims. We have a nice dinner and we talk about our ancestors. This isn't like Hallows, we don't set a place for them. We just tell stories of their struggles and maybe some of our own.

For the month of February, we don't buy anything. We rely entirely on our stores of fuel and food. (Yes, we do stock up February eve. We aren't that awesome.) We also spend the monthy identifying things we don't want and things we do so that we can make room for them. Lots of stuff gets hauled to Goodwill (On the way to work, because we can't afford the gas for an extra trip!)

Now we're preppers, so this serves a practical purpose as well. It uses up any food that may be expired and points out any holes we have in our prepping. It also helps us me be more creative in the kitchen and forces me to cook from scratch, which keeps the kitchen warm, and helps me get back on track with a budget that always seems to fall apart over the winter holidays.

In addition, it has the added practical purpose of keeping us at home, where it is safe and warm. No shopping trips means much less traveling on icy roads.

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