Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pantry Ponderings - The pantry lifestyle

White wheat waiting for grinding...

I'm feeling better!  Isn't it true that there is nothing common about the common cold?  Yuk!  I'm thankful the guys went through this first as I've followed exactly what they experienced.

Yesterday I thought I was going to die and today I woke up feeling well enough to write this post and clean out my yellow pantry... and not have to fall on the sofa.  Of course, I will take it easy for a few days so I see a little more reading than usual in the near future.  :)

Now, for the last post in this Pantry Ponderings series (I promise to do another later in the spring!).  I get e-mails all the time from people who have that same "gut" feeling I do that another shoe is going to drop in the economy, perhaps worse than the crash a few years ago.  (If you are an NCIS fan like me... and I know many of you are... you know that Gibb's "gut" feeling is always right on TV.)

Well my friends, I just read that there are gas stations here in my part of the Midwest that are now charging over $4.00 a gallon for gas!   I know we tend to be more expensive because we're not far from Chicago but it can't be long until we see this price throughout the nation.

I'm sure part of it has to do with what is going on in the Middle East but we can't forget there are refineries offline in the East.  How do I know that?  Because a big part of a pantry lifestyle is keeping an eye on what will cause food to skyrocket as well as possible shortages (which helps prioritize what one uses their stock up money for).

The easiest part of deepening the pantry is buying things and putting them on a shelf, especially if you have the extra money to do so.  The real (and necessary) work takes place in your thinking and praying and doing.

For instance, when one lives a pantry lifestyle then we can translate news into possibilities... when semi truckers have had to pay too much for fuel in the past, what did they do?  They parked their trucks!

When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, what happened to food deliveries elsewhere?  My dear friend in New Mexico (not exactly where one would think of hurricane preparedness) had semis diverted from her area to the Coast so her family experienced shortages when the shelves of her local grocery store were empty of various items.

When last year's hurricane hit Virginia, some there were prepared but who didn't think of preparing?  The families who live far from the ocean in New England who experienced power outages as well as those who went through horrible flooding conditions (my daughter was without power for almost a week).  I read many stories of empty grocery shelves. 

Having a pantry lifestyle mindset helps to set your priorities for limited funds.  As most of you know (and I have told you ONLY so you realize if I can stock up even a tiny bit then most people can)... after our Social Security check comes in, there can be no cash left at all.  As careful as we have been with our budget, health issues drained our savings long ago.

We have to live on very little coming in but God has provided in miraculous ways.  Our experiences have taught us SO much, though... the lessons learned from having to (as I've called it before)... live off the financial grid.   Forced frugality can be a very good thing, indeed.

It teaches you what days one of the grocery stores puts their packaged salads half price and what time of day another store slashes the price of their meat... all in excellent condition but near their sell by dates.   It teaches you to stop by Goodwill when you head for the grocery store or library... looking for specific clothing needs or 99 cent English teacups or expensive cooking/baking items at a fraction of their cost (even with increased prices).

Having a pantry lifestyle is far from living without... instead one learns how to decorate their home beautifully with thrifted items... how much better homemade cookies are than those in a package... how to get our vitamins in inexpensive food when we can't afford to buy pills... that a great mechanic is more valuable than any highly paid executive... that a great cookbook is worth the price if you get even one often used frugal recipe... that you can learn to sew, knit, crochet, mend, cook, bake, garden, use a pressure canner, etc.

Did this happen overnight?  Oh, my... I remember how hard it was when I had to learn new ways to think and shop and plan and cook and just do... when I suddenly had more time than money (and at times... no money).  I was a true Yuppie in the 80's!  But I did learn...

So, if you have that "gut" feeling things are not right with the world and the squirrel-ish feelings of stocking up are prevalent... if you find yourself drawn to books about frugal living and wartime England and America in the Great Depression... you are not alone.

Just remember this... God is still in control even if it seems the world has gone mad at times.  (I think they're putting something in the water in Washington... but that is only my political opinion.).   I am absolutely certain that God is in control!

Just do what you can with what you have.  Even an extra box or can or package here and there works.  Reading a book or blog link about living life in difficult times... it all helps.  Keeping your eyes open for grocery bargains works.  Stopping by the thrift store or Goodwill when in the area, anyway... it works.

Learn to do and make and  think before buying.  Develop skills.  Talk to likeminded families. 

Trust your gut... or to be more ladylike... listen to that still small Voice.  ;)

Picture:  Wheat in the two containers I keep it in to grind and use for fresh bread.


Vee said...

Yes, I remember the last time you had this feeling and I began to stock up in earnest. That was when the shelves were often bare and would you believe that we still can't find John's favorite cereal anymore? It went and hasn't returned.

I'm sitting here munching on a homemade snickerdoodle knowing that it tastes better than any expensive store bought anything and sipping my chamomile tea from a lovely china cup, too. They were all props for tomorrow's post, but they certainly are making me feel as if I've had myself a moment. And a moment is what one needs when thinking too much about this stuff or Washington D.C. Mercifully, you're gentle with us.

Anonymous said...

This is just the encouragement I needed to get serious!At first I felt I did not have the space, but with some rearranging and cleaning out cupboards and closets I found I had more than I realized. I even got hubby in on it and he is scouring ads to find things to stock up on and items to purchase in bulk. I have been doing consignment stores for some time and now include Goodwill and it is amazing what you can find at such little cost. Same goes for Half Price Books instead of Barnes and noble.Planning and thinking ahead are crucial. You have been a great encouragement to me to get busy on this.
Gas prices here in midwest are rising everyday now and the fear factor is definitly setting in. I think we are in for a bumpy ride.
With gratitude and blessings.

Anonymous said...

Brenda, My "gut" has been telling me the same thing for a long time now. It says things will get worse, much worse, and sooner then anyone expects. The middle east crisis is going to push gas higher then ever..and take everything along with it. I was raised to be frugal and honestly enjoy the challenge of living well without spending a lot.

Thanks for the encouraging post..I need to get some water in this week. Its the only thing missing from my shelves.

Oh..and I love NCIS too. I've found that my gut instinct has always been right..just like Gibbs.

May God be with you..Marsha

Tracy said...

A wonderful post, Brenda! I have been feeling the need to stock up as well.

Anonymous said...

I myself have your cold! ha. Staying home from work and browsing the internet.

I also have been having that gut feeling and have been stocking up. Your post made perfect sense of, what if gas gets sky high (even more so than it is now), how the trickle down effect could cause food storage and higher prices.

Please continue your pantry post if at all possible! I would be interested in ideas of inexpensive recipes from the stock pile.

I'm glad your feeling better! You give me hope if you said you woke up feeling better today. Maybe my turn will come tomorrow. :)


Anonymous said...

Cookbookwise-I often borrow them from the library and photocopy any frugal recipes that look good to try.

Echoes From the Hill said...

I also have that uneasy feeling about the economy.

I have always kept a pretty "deep" pantry, and last weekend, organized and made a list of things that needed to be restocked. My husband and I went to a store that sells bulk items and we stocked up on some items.

It definitely gives one peace of mind to know that if something unforeseen happened you would not have to worry about where your next meal would come from.

Jennyr said...

One thing that influenced me to start a pantry-style lifestyle was when my husband was put on alert over and over for the National Guard. We had alerts for Kosovo, Egypt, Iraq, and Katrina. It was important to me as the single parent at home responsible for the welfare of our young children to be as prepared for any emergency as possible.Just a week and a half ago, my husband and I were doing our weekly grocery shopping together (our Saturday night date!)and noticed that the shelves were bare....a snow storm was forecast for the next day. You just wouldn't believe what people think they need to stock up on before such an event. We stuck to our list and didn't have to panic when items weren't available. We have the pantry at home with everything we need. It was a comforting feeling. Thanks for the pantry posts....I love to read posts like this. They inspire me. By the way, I love your new border and wallpaper!

Anonymous said...

Here in the south west gas prices are at $4 and a bit higher at some stations. As always we are keeping a pretty good pantry but I know some holes in our stock and need to get a few things. I am learning to make many things instead of buy them. Used to make mayonnaise and have started to do it again...whew! Prices have gone up! :) I have been looking for used non electric kitchen tools. More canning jars and such. Goodwill seems to think one canning jar is worth $1.99! No! That is more expensive than new!! You've got to know prices!! Also looking for a few pairs of good used slacks in the style I like to have ahead. It takes me a while to find them so when I see them I get a pair or so ahead. We are trying to plan ahead in many different areas. No way are we preparing like the preppers on tv though!!! :) Our house is small and the budget matches it but we manage. And Yes!!! I too believe God is still in control and always will be! Sarah

Julie said...

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. I'm in stocking up mode as well. If nothing else I don't imagine prices will be going down so anything you stock will be a hedge against higher prices as well. Thanks for your blog and I really love the pantry posts.

Mrs.Rabe said...

The Lord started to prompt me several years ago now...

We have learned to garden, can, we cook from scratch, have a chicken with more to come....

We have a big crew here to feed...if time's get hard and I think they are going to, we will have to work hard to provide food for us all.

So thankful we can rely on Him!

I love these posts - very encouraging!


ps - so glad you are feeling better! My daughter has strep and hopefully she will be feeling better as she started antibiotics yesterday!

Cheryl (copperswife) said...

It is a lifestyle, isn't it? But one worth learning because then it's easy to just continue on, deepening the pantry as we can and allowing the stores to lessen also, as the Lord leads. I realized a couple of weeks ago that I am woefully short on bottled water. We live on a well, so extended power outages would leaves us dry. I plan to buy a few extra gallons every shopping trip for awhile.

Filled up yesterday (central California) at the "cheap" gas station for $4.17/gallon. Ouch!

Anonymous said...

I am trying to think of things to store - I have celiac disease and we cannot use flour. So many of the boxed/canned things from soups to bisquick, etc are off-limits for me.

I can eat rice and I do stockpile that!

We eat so much fresh food it's hard to store anything except canned goods we can ourselves in the summer. I need to get better.

Any suggestions for stockpiling for celiacs?

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Well I don't have that gut feeling. As a matter of fact I'm feeling rather optimistic but I believe in a pantry lifestyle nonetheless. To me it's just common sense, good times or bad times, doesn't matter.