For centuries, no, millennia, individuals and communities have been using underground storage to prolong the life of their produce, as a place to hang and cure meats; as a place to store cheese while the microbial action took place and even store arms and other supplies. No doubt these underground places became shelters during storms, wars and other times of tribulation. Caves were the first choice of our early ancestors. Then, as civilizations grew, early man abandoned the caves for hand made shelters, but kept using the caves for storage and shelter from storms.
Skip ahead to just a few hundred years ago. Homesteads all over the world often started with the digging of a root cellar. The new inhabitants of the land realized that the best way to preserve food from heat or frost or scavengers was to place it in a reinforced underground hold. Even if no larger than a modern day bathtub, an underground storage bin was essential and life saving. Whether rocked up, or lined with wood, sod or packed earth, the homesteader would use whatever material was on hand to perfect his storage area – the lives of the family depended on it. As man became more and more proficient and creative with building materials, homes began to be built with hewn logs, adobe, stones, then brick, hand-sawn logs and mortar; finally dimensional lumber and concrete. Throughout all of this transition, root cellars evolved right along as well – finally ending as a concrete little room under the house or adjacent to the house used for the same purposes as always – food storage and preservation, storage for valuables, shelter from storms or as a hiding place in time of war and trouble. Unfortunately a modern phenomenon occurred when relative peace and prosperity removed man from the land. When the agrarian, if not subsistence, lifestyle gave way to the invention of electricity and all the modern conveniences, homes no longer found it necessary to have a cool, dark, reinforced, out of the way place for food storage and preservation. What needed to be kept cold was placed in an electric refrigerator. What needed to be frozen was kept handily in an electric freezer. Dry foods were boxed and packaged with new preservatives to extend their shelf life. Peace, at least in most parts of the modern world, reigned supreme, save but for a few decades of global conflict. Marauding hordes no longer ravaged villages anyway, and the need for in-home fortifications went by the wayside right along with most of the perceived need for armaments, and most civilizations were more than happy to hand over their weaponry at the behest of their beneficent ruler of the land. No need to worry about storing armaments any longer, man had finally become civilized. Man no longer needed such primitive and crude “holes in the ground”. No longer was the “cellar” the first thing built on a newly acquired piece of land. In fact, it wasn’t even the last thing built. Totally forgotten, the root cellar faded away into just another unnecessary page in the chapter of mans progress.
Turn to present times. Modern man is beginning to see the effect of some of the preservatives placed in our food. We are beginning to see the folly of expecting to have fresh summer fruits and vegetables on our table in the winter, even though they have to be flown from all corners of the globe. We are starting to see the wisdom in having more than a day or two of extra food available in our pantries. We have seen the horrors of tens of thousands of people ravaged by storm, fire and flood, rising out of the ash and rubble totally helpless – totally dependent on neighbors , or more sadly, the government, to help them put their lives together, if they are fortunate enough to still have their lives. These tragedies have always happened and will continue to happen. The difference is, with food and water, with extra clothing and medical supplies stored away in a root cellar, climbing back through the rubble and ash takes on a whole different meaning. With safe supplies, even if the house is gone, the home remains alive – the inhabitants, though distraught, are able to take care of themselves for a period of time and help others not so fortunate. We are beginning to see the effects of rolling brown outs and storm or over-usage caused blackouts put hundreds of thousands of people out of electricity. The treasured electricity that has made our lives so convenient, yet at the same time so vulnerable. One needs only to do a brief review of the natural and man-made disasters of 2011 alone, to see that more often than not, the victims of disasters, no matter the cause, are left on their own for a period of time after the disaster – often as long as seventy-two or more hours. What will you eat in that seventy two hours? What will you drink? If you have been prudent enough to put away a supply of food – where will it be, blown away or burned up? Or, will it be just as good and just as safe as when you put it in your cellar.
While man has seen great progress in medicine, in building materials, in technology and many other facets of everyday life. Leaving the root cellar behind has only made him more vulnerable and more dependent on others to take care of him. This is a shame and a tragedy. Fortunately, we don’t have to remain stuck in this historical shortsightedness in our own lives. Many of us can be responsible and build a root cellar. Even if we live under the often times Draconian thumb of an HOA, we can at least build something – either in the basement, crawlspace or drum in a backyard, that will help us materially in times of trouble. There is an easy way to secure your food storage capabilities. There is an easy way to provide shelter for your family and loved ones. There is a sure way to build some real insurance into your every day life, so that, no matter the tragedy or trial that may come, you will be prepared. That security is just an email or phone call away. Contact Rainy Day Root Cellars. Under most circumstances, no matter where you live in the country, we can have a cellar of our design or yours within four to six weeks from the time you commit to ordering.
Please give your security some thought. While Rainy Day Root Cellars aren’t cheap, they are an investment in the wellbeing of you and your family. I can assure you, once you have one, you will wonder why our civilization ever left them behind.
Editors Note: As this is being written, more deadly storms have ravaged parts of Kansas and Missouri. Please pray for those lost and their suffering families.