Hurricane Sandy Prep - Sunday, October 28, 2012

A pair of socks is calling to me to sit down and finish knitting, yet my day has many small tasks to complete before the knitting marathon begins. It is almost noon and as I poured fresh water into a cleaned-out gallon milk container I thought of what the next 36 hours might bring.

Our apartment is in the "heights" section of Jersey City, NJ. The building is an old but solid two family brownstone. Having lived within a three block radius of our current abode for over seventeen years, it is true that the weather has not had much impact on our daily living. Sure, snow storms and heavy rain have reduced mass transit to a standstill, and we have been without power for under a day...but it seems this little neighborhood nestled along a slight ridge that overlooks Hoboken and the Hudson River is insulated from the worst the weather has dealt out. Yet this storm is expected to be different.

I have been more determined than ever before to prepare for a few days without power. It seems logical that if the Jersey Shore is expected to be hit terribly by the storm, resources of our local power company (which serves most of the state) will be blanketed in that area rather than here. If a power outage takes place it is unlikely we will get attention first as our water damage will not be extensive. So I have stocked up on fresh water, frozen water in plastic containers (to place in a cooler if power goes out) and made more than one trip to the local supermarket. We have stocked up a bit on cat food, canned food, candles, batteries and purchased a new "LED" lantern that is supposed to run for six days on 4 batteries.  Yesterday we did our grocery shopping and weekly trip to the laundromat. Today we will do all our housecleaning and scrub ourselves down tonight with nice hot showers in case the heat or water goes out.  I also want to put all our "emergency" supplies into one location and make one of those "evacuation bags". I do not expect to leave, but if push came to shove would not want to look for birth certificates and all the rest.

Recently I have taken to making fresh bread and will attempt a loaf or two today. There is other baking I would like to get done today as well: pear turnovers and oatmeal raisin cookies. Yesterday I made pulled pork from the shoulder "butt" cut in our crockpot and we have plenty of that left over (see the recipe below). It came out amazing and we are not typical pork eaters...preferring poultry, fish or even beef.

A knitting marathon is, for me, the bright spot in an otherwise forbidding situation. After a trip to Rhinebeck last weekend I have more than enough fiber for non-stop knitting and crochet. I do not want to risk getting stuck at the office during the storm, so it is not likely they will see me at work tomorrow or Tuesday. I use the NJ PATH train to make my way into Manhattan, then catch the NYC subway out to Brooklyn. It is just too risky for me to get stuck in Brooklyn if Mayor Bloomberg shuts down the subway system as happened with Hurricane Irene.  The NJ PATH train has also been known to flood at Hoboken and have "signal problems" that shut down the system or lead to extensive delays. Thankfully, the work I do is at a lull right now and there will be no guilty feelings for missing two days. Many businesses will be closed anyway.

If there is gas and running water, we will persevere admirably...if not the situation will be dismal at best. I am confident the Lord will see us through.

Slow Cooked Pulled Pork Recipe - recipe provided by Sam of NJ, a coworker of mine
One pork shoulder roast "butt" or "Boston butt" (not "picnic") 5 - 8 pounds
Dry Seasonings -  salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, paprika, thyme or other seasonings to taste, mix up in a little bowl to be used to season the meat before cooking
Dash of olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
7 cloves of fresh garlic, about a half head, peeled, crushed and chopped.  If you do not like garlic, use less or omit
Barbeque Sauce
chicken stock or water

Just rinse, dry, poke with a knife tip all over and season your meat with the dry seasonings, pushing the seasonings into the holes you made. Then brown it on medium high heat in a little olive oil on all sides. I used a big stock pot for that, to prevent the juices from spattering all over the place. While it was browning I chopped up an onion and seven cloves of fresh garlic. Those went into the slow cooker along with about a cup of barbeque sauce. (I used Weber's all natural hickory smoke).

The browned meat went into the crockpot next and I slathered all sides with the sauce. I put a little chicken stock, say about 1/4 cup, into the searing pan and scraped up the cooked bits from the bottom. I poured that over the meat in the crockpot and covered it, setting the heat to low. I left it on low for twelve hours. It fell apart when I tried to pick it up to transfer to a large bowl. Instead I picked the meat off in chunks, shredding/pulling it apart as I went. I added a little of the juices from the crockpot (there was plenty of liquid) and served it on toasted rolls with extra barbeque sauce. The man who gave me the recipe said to put fresh coleslaw on the rolls and then the meat, but I did not make the coleslaw yesterday. We will try that tonight!


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