A few jolts of awareness

Where I live in southeast Georgia, we’ve had unseasonably warm weather in the past week or so – up in the mid-80s and it’s felt like spring. Of course, since we’re only at the end of February, it’s a safe bet we’ll still have some colder weather, but the warm weather sure stirred this deep desire to rush about and get my container garden planted. Common sense asserted itself, so I’ve put the brakes on most of that and focused mostly on indoor seed starting.

It’s not just me that’s got spring fever, I’ve got cosmos seeds sprouting around my garden area and a lot of these dainty Johnny-jump ups (photo above) popping up around my backyard and in the woodchips where I had set up my container garden last year.

I had planted one pack of Johnny jump-up seeds in some containers last spring. A few plants have reemerged in the containers, but there are certainly a lot more from stray seeds peeking through the grass and wood chips. Along with working on growing vegetables this spring, I’m going to plant more flower seeds.

“Volunteer” plants that pop up unexpectedly feel like a gift. I’ve got little yellow flowers and purple “weed” flowers blooming in my back yard and I’ve been admiring those too. Of course, the real showstoppers at this time of year here are the azaleas and they’ve started blooming too. I suspect most people don’t even notice the delicate little “weed” flowers.

When I listen to people, it’s often very interesting what things they notice and what things they don’t. It’s even harder to really gain some awareness of what I am not noticing and usually it’s something someone says to me that prods me to take a step back and remove the plank from my own eye first or I read something and realize that I was completely unaware of that or I know nothing about that topic that seems very important.

Yesterday, as I was watering a few things still growing in my container garden, I spent some time just looking around and thinking about how a year ago, I was still finding excuses to talk myself out of attempting a gardening effort on my own and now I’m thinking of ways to improve my gardening space. I already have seeds started indoors and some gardening plans.

Sometimes starting on a new path begins with just a change of attitude.

Along with the gardening, I want to get back to working on my needlework and crafting again. Here’s the reality though, I am still stocking up food and basic supplies regularly, because there are so many major problems still swirling – war in Ukraine, China flexing its muscles, global economic problems, political rot in Washington, and plenty of unusual climate and weather events, let alone all the social and cultural problems here at home in America.

Along with my gardening effort and hobbies, the reality is we are living in very uncertain times. I’ve heard a lot of talk online about being prepared for an EMP attack in the past year or so and frankly, I don’t even understand basic technology, let alone an EMP attack. This morning I ordered a book by Ted Koppel, I saw recommended on a video titled, The Worst Risk You Face, by a YouTube channel, Jim’sWay. I had seen this man, Jim Phillips, on The Provident Prepper YouTube channel and he’s been teaching survival skills and preparedness for 40 years. There’s nothing flashy or savvy about his video quality and it does feel like sitting in a lecture, but he provides a lot of useful information I had not seen elsewhere. He said people often make comments about Ted Koppel being a liberal when he recommends this book, but he said Koppel’s 2015 book, Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath, is excellent. I found the book on amazon and there were lots of used copies that are cheap. I found a used copy in very good condition for $5.59. Some people only want new books, but since I grew up with hand-me-down books, I’m fine with used books. I opt for “very good” or “like new” condition, due to getting some used books online in very sad condition that were listed in “good” condition.

Phillips talked about how it’s not just man-caused events like terrorism that could take down the grid. He mentioned the Carrington Event of 1859, which I knew nothing about. Trusty Wikipedia states:

The Carrington Event was the most intense geomagnetic storm in recorded history, peaking from 1 to 2 September 1859 during solar cycle 10. It created strong auroral displays that were reported globally[1] and caused sparking and even fires in multiple telegraph stations. The geomagnetic storm was most likely the result of a coronal mass ejection (CME) from the Sun colliding with Earth’s magnetosphere.[2]


That 1859 geomagnetic storm was before there even was an electric power grid, but there were reports of telegraph failures across America and in Europe and with telegraph pylons throwing off sparks.

We are all very dependent on our modern systems that all rely on the energy grids. The power went out for a few hours the other day in the afternoon and while it caused no major disruption in my life, I did check the Georgia Power outage map site on my cell phone frequently to see if there were updates on when power was expected to be restored. I’ve been without power for several days after a big storm before and daily life changes instantly. Even simple things take more thought and effort without power readily available.

There are still some places around the world where people do live without electricity in their homes, but most of the world is like me – totally clueless about all of the difficulties an extended power outage would create and not even able to fully grasp the myriad of challenges. I’m still working on basic preparedness goals and trying to think through whether to purchase many pricier preparedness items or embark on new projects I’ve seen people talking about online or read about. However, there are dozens upon dozens of little things to do that are within just about everyone’s reach and one of those is being willing to invest some time to learn more. I’m also working on staying focused on being grateful for the many blessings in my life and trying to curb my judgmental habits. Those don’t cost anything, except giving myself a few jolts of self-awareness each day.

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Filed under Emergency Preparedness, Gardening, General Interest

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