Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Stocking Up and Other Musings

Well, today was the monthly trip to town for supplies.

Suppose one could say we don't really need anything with all the inventory we already have. But, I disagree.

We're two people living on a limited income with no guarantee that it will continue if the SHTF. Furthermore, we're generous people. For about a year now we've operated what I refer to as an anonymous food pantry. No small feat considering we're 10 miles out of town and seldom go anywhere; certainly not visiting people or out for "entertainment."

It's been on my heart for well over a year now to operate a food pantry but I'm not about to rent a building, drive there, stock the place, etc. So, I just put it out there to the universe/God that I'd like to help others. Mind you, I know about four people in this area - no kidding! So somehow, some way, word gets around that there's this crazy lady over near ------ that will give you some food. And stranger still, is that the call always comes in from someone saying, "I know of someone in need...". I just get their address and drop it off at their home or an intermediary place. It's happened about six times in a year. I feel good and hope it helps whomever.

But back to the stocking up. Here's how we handle it. EVERYTHING is dated (month/year) with a permanent black marker. EVERYTHING is rotated so the older the date the sooner it's used. I keep an eye on how much of most everything we use and multiply times 12 months or 52 weeks, depending on what the item is. We do have food stored in 5 gallon plastic buckets but most of it is staples: flour, sugar, various pastas, rice, various beans, powdered milk, rolled oats, farina, potato flakes, and popcorn. The buckets have oxygen obsorbers in them and tight fitting lids. One gallon jars are used for "everyday" containers of the aforementioned staples. I just rotate the old staples into the jars as they're emptied and place the new staples in the bottom of the buckets.

Managing this inventory of food, toiletries and cleaning supplies does take some time but, I've got plenty of time!

And the overall savings are mind boggling. I save our receipts from month to month and have most prices memorized from the past couple months. Today, at one store (they didn't have the fall harvest) a can of green beans was 61 cents compared to 52 cents last month.

We don't raise any of our own meat, eggs or milk so those items can be particularly challenging to store. We DO NOT have a freezer separate from the frig. We did once upon a time but it quit working and realized we never had it full anyway. We stock corned beef, tuna, canned chicken, pork and beef. And, I make large batches of chili and stews and process them in the pressure cooker.

I don't drink milk so a gallon goes sour before being used. We buy one half gallon a month - otherwise I make powdered milk or mix it with regular milk. I also don't eat eggs so about three dozen a month does us just fine for eating and baking. They are bought once a month like everything else. Eggs in the store are who knows how old anyway so I don't worry about their freshness.

We also eat seasonally!!!! Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers for salads in the summer; not the winter. The last items to be harvested from our garden will be the winter squashes, carrots and beets. We have a very small shed that I'm going to store them in - each veggie in plastic baskets sitting inside a rough box with a lid on it (about 4x4x4 feet) and a couple mesh openings for air circulation. The key is not to FORGET them; USE them and each time you retrieve a bunch of carrots check the condition of the rest of the veggies. My father stored his root veggies this way for about 30 years in an alcove at the top of his basement stairwell.

All the peelings, cuttings, and leftovers (seldom seen here!) are thrown in the compost pile along with the dried leaves, grass clippings (very few) and shredded newspaper (not the colored or glossy pages).

We just stocked up on 12-can flats of green beans, corn, diced tomatoes, and peas because it was the "fall harvest" at the local grocery. We buy these more because they're easy to store and easier still to pass on to others in need. I'm generous with food but not my canning jars so the home-canned food is not given out.

When we go north to visit my family the truck will be loaded with flats of food for a food pantry and a few family members. It's our way of helping them out while they give us a place to stay during our visit. Hopefully one day we'll move there. We have our place up for sale but you all know what the market is like now. But, I keep telling sweetie - there's always someone looking for an inexpensive place!

Well, the goulash and peas & carrots are ready. Thanks to all for your comments. And no, Michael, Lady won't bark unless she's certain there's danger.

Tomorrow I'll post a couple recipes. Have a great evening, Treesong

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Love your new blog.

Please be encouraged and post regularly.