Saturday, September 08, 2012

Saturday Pantry Suggestions

My pantry ponderings came in an unexpected way this week.  I was in the Surgery Waiting Room of the VA Hospital in Danville while my husband had surgery (he is still in pain but otherwise recovering well).

I was the only person in the waiting room so I was able to sift through the various channels on the TV and came upon a docudrama about a pandemic hitting a major U.S. city. 

The words I heard an expert saying drew me in immediately.  He said, "We are only nine meals away from anarchy in America".  What... ?

It turns out, the average family only keeps three days worth of food in their home and if any emergency should happen that stops commerce (trucks, railroads, etc.), experts say we would see riots after a few days.  I knew there would be food shortages in an emergency but that statistic alarmed me. 

I should have turned the station at that time because the docudrama became more unsettling with scenes from post-Katrina New Orleans (where society broke down into riots quickly).

The story had begun when a passenger with the illness flew into the city from another country showing only flu like symptoms.  One of the points they were making was that such an emergency would be sudden, with no time to prepare ahead.  Grocery stores would become empty within hours of the epidemic being known.

I must admit, I did turn the channel to watch something a little lighter as soon as the roving gangs hit the suburbs and the electricity went off because there were no people willing to work the power plants.  I was already uptight as hubby's surgery was taking longer than expected.

Now, I know they were showing a worst case scenario but even then... I couldn't get it out of my mind after I arrived home.

I had read that in the Spanish flu epidemic, families who survived included those who did not have to leave their home during the infectious period.  They literally boarded up their homes.

I wondered what it would be like if something were to happen and we suddenly could not leave our home for two or three weeks.  Not out of fear, more... curiosity.   I know I'm always talking about stocking up and living a Pantry Lifestyle but this is a little different.

What did I find?  

Well, we have almost no extra water so the electricity to the well pump had better stay on... or make certain I store more water.  I only have a case of bottled water because they were on sale at Kroger.

I have surprisingly little on my pantry shelves that would require no cooking.  That should be a priority for the next time I can stock up a little.

We've considered building a fire pit since we have a large yard.  I thought how it would provide a good way to cook if needed.  I already have some cast iron cookware (in our area, we could most likely go outside... unlike the city).

I realized it would be a good idea to have bread and baked goods in the freezer not only for hospitality but should they be needed in an emergency situation.

I have some extra short term insulin (the most important) but I should ask my doctor what would happen if I couldn't get any long term insulin for awhile.  I only receive two weeks worth of it at a time.

I have only one half bag of kitty litter... enough said.

While I don't have a very deep pantry, the canned goods I do have need to be organized better so I know exactly what items I actually have on hand.

For instance, Hubby thought we had plenty of canned chicken stock mixed in with the rest of the soup (he needed to stay on a liquid diet for a couple days) and was quite shocked to find we had used it all!  I had to go to the grocery store and purchase a few cans... using gas and time.

The matches I have are very old and are becoming difficult to light.   New matches need to go on my grocery list!  It is one thing to go through a few matches to light a scented candle, it is another to go through matches quickly when they are needed for an emergency.

These are just a few conclusions from thinking through what would happen if we could not get to a grocery store for a few weeks.   You may find it interesting to do the same.

I'd love to know what others think about this subject.   

When I was watching the docudrama, I thought I was totally prepared for staying inside a few weeks.  As it turned out, not nearly enough!

Picture:  Apple Pie Harvest by Janet Kruskamp


Jackie Kirner said...

Hoping your husband recovers with ease from his surgery...

I've been made aware of gaps in our own emergency preparations this year too. We're in hurricane territory and I know to be better prepared...but knowing and doing are different things! Simple things this year like plumbing breaks and being flooded in to our neighborhood (all power available, just couldn't leave!) have made us get more creative and more prepared.

The Survival Mom website had oodles of tips for ways to prepare I hadn't even begun to consider!

Vee said...

Good heavens, Brenda! You do find interesting viewing. If anyone needed to be watching The Sound of Music at that time, it was probably you! ☺ That movie sounds purely awful. And awful thought-provoking. Nope, we wouldn't last longer than a week, though I do have a lot of bottled water thanks to family members who work for a bottling company. I have a propane stove so that would be good. I have lighter gadgets instead of matches...check. But no food to speak of. I could bake bread and then someone would have to come chop a hole in the wall to get us out after two weeks of that. LOL! Sorry about the levity... As one of our pastor friends says, "Trust in God and do what He says."

So glad that your hubby is mending well after surgery. Hope that he gets his favorite meal and lots of TLC.

cheryl (Copperswife) said...

Nine meals. That's an incredibly short amount of time, isn't it?

Your point about water struck home. I've become a bit lax in keeping a stock of bottled water here. We probably only have a week's worth at any given time, and less than that right now because we take so much with us to baseball games. With winter weather just around the corner, and power outages in our rural area almost guaranteed, I need to stock up a bit on drinking water. We can always scoop water out of the pool for "sanitation" purposes, but clean drinking water is vital.

Anonymous said...

I hope your husband feels better soon.
A few years ago the power went out in our area for three days in the summer. Stores were all closed because among other things, cash registers can't operate without electricity.

The first thing we bought afterwards was a hibachi and charcoal to cook with in case it ever happened again.

The guy on T.V. sounds like a bit of an alarmist. Best thing to do is 'hope for the best but plan for the worst.'

Anonymous said...

What was the name of this program? I am also lacking in water!! Dee

Anonymous said...

I keep some water in old water jugs in case a power outage (which occurs every year here...usually just a few hours...but it can be more) for hand washing and flushing needs...those take a GREAT deal of water and it is so nice to have that nearby!!

Rebecca said...

I like the way you think. Canned tuna was on sale this week and I stocked up. Also bought quite a bit of Shredded Wheat cereal which was on a pretty good sale and with purchase of 4 got another $1 off. The boxes are dated well into 2013, so I thought I was safe even though we aren't eating a lot of cereal right now....

You're right about matches - and I try to keep a good supply of T.P. :)

mdoe37 said...

He he he

Brenda has been spying on my home!! Almost two weeks ago, I was cooking dinner, flipped on the faucet and. . .nothing. Of course, you flip it on again, with your mouth gaping open, and nothing. Turns out that the actual well pump fell off the pipe (40 feet down). Between waiting for permits and the holiday, I just got water back with a brand new well Thursday this week.

I had probably 1 case of bottled water, 8 gallons of "gallon bottled" water and about 25 gallons water in 5 gal jugs "treated". I also have a 5 gal pail stocked with plastic bags, TP and litter. I was able to run a hose from the neighbors for flushing and showering. Oh did I say showering? Yup, I fashioned a "shower" out of a 2 gallon garden sprayer and a small hand held shower set. . . until I was able to find a battery pump shower.

Typically in a rural area, someone always has a generator so that you can get water close. But you need some sort of containers. I was able to hose into a couple of 55 gal trash cans for "storage". I do have a Sawyer water filter on the shelf, but since I was able to get more "gallon bottled" water for some cooking, I didn't bother with it. I have a propane stove and canning equipment so I had a large vessel for heating water. (although it was nearly time to order propane and the well truck was in the way--geesh!!)

The other thing I was really lacking in was heavy disposable plates and tableware -- would have cut down on the dish washing a bit. The shower was a oversight, but is now corrected. I will be getting a few more 5 gal jugs. (although they are very heavy to move up from the basement) I used to buy those nifty 2-1/2 gal jugs from the grocery store, but every single one of them sprung a leak!!

Now, if you will excuse me, I'm going to go watch a faucet run!! :)

Thoughts for the day said...

I do believe we should be proactive in keeping things in our pantry. Storable items that will last a year, similar to camping supplies. Nuts, jerky, canned fruit, dried fruit maybe depending on shelf life, perhaps even powdered milk (which my husband dislikes) could be used for something good. We don't need to live in fear but we do need to live in awareness. Non of us have more than two weeks supply in our homes. Even the basics like kleenex and bathroom supplies.
Dog and cat food?
yes even diapers if we have little ones.

tpals said...

Can you ask about getting 3 months of slow-release insulin at a time? We had to ask Dr to increase the amount because insurance wouldn't pay for a partial box of pens so we were being shorted. He did and now we get a little more than needed every 3 months. (Much cheaper than 1 month at a time.) This allows us to slowly build an emergency stock.

Susan Humeston said...

We live in a large city. I don't think we would be alive long enough to need extras - the violence would explode and there would be mayhem.

Anonymous said...

I am sure glad your husband is on the road to recovery. I saw that show a while back. Learning Channel or Discovery Channel? They have a series of what if shows. Scary stuff. I have also herd that most families have At The Most three days of food at any one time in their homes. And don't forget some of that might even be stuff that needs cooked in order to eat it. I think one thing we need to do is to be neighbors. Know who you live around and get to know them. We will need each other if something major happens. Also friends are better to have around than strangers if there is a problem. We too are lacking enough water. Water is a very major thing to have too!! As Vee said the lighter gadgets {gotten at the $1 stores} will help to take care of some of the matches needs. You have to watch about fires though in times if gas lines are broken!! Yes much to think about...and do! Sarah

Anonymous said...

Brenda, The docudrama may have shown a worse case scenario, but unfortunately many fear that we as a nation are headed into those waters. There are so many things that could tip us into major chaos..a pandemic, terrorist attack, bio attack, the power grid going down and as we have already learned with Katrina, natural disasters.

And most people are not ready, and don't even think of it.

A tip for lighting if the power goes down. Solar lights! Those little lights people put in their yard work great as lighting indoors in an emergency. Just bring them inside at night and put them back out to recharge during the day. 2 liter soda bottles work great as holders. These are is much safer, especially if you have small children or elderly family memebers. Less chance of fire.
And don't forget battery operated radios which may be the only means of news when the power goes off.

Praying your husband has a quick recovery. God bless, Marsha

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I'd like to know what docudrama that was! So scary yet interesting, and really a good scary if it helps us to be prepared!


susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

Thought provoking post. I am concerned about having enough water set aside. It takes so much space for storage. In case of some catastrophic event, I believe that all medicines will be in very short supply. I know I need to talk to the doctor about stocking up on some prescription meds, esp. for asthma and high blood pressure, but never get a chance during office visits, he's out the door pretty fast.

Vicki in UT said...

We just moved to hurricane country this year, and I pretty much had to start over on my preparation. It is much more common here, though, since our city was without power for 5 weeks after Hurricane Rita. I am slowly getting more water. We have 6 cases of bottled water, plus about 15 gallons in larger containers, and the apartment has a pool we could get water from. I do have ways of sanitizing water. I also bought a solar oven, and I have a camp stove, and a small propane grill doe xooking. I have a bin full of no-cook food in case we have to evacuate. I always keep extras around of food and other supplies. In the 70's when I was first married, we went through shortages of things like TP and canning lids, so I learned to keep extras around. I really hate doing without or going to multiple stores trying to find what I need.

I love your pantry posts, thank you. I hope your husband feels better soon.

Anonymous said...

I have a hard time watching shows like that, simply because they do show the worst-case scenario. I don't like the feeling of fear-mongering, although it sounds like it was well put-together. We live in earthquake country, and don't have nearly enough water for all our needs. But we have a camper, and for cooking, would probably use the propane stove, or our propane BBQ for a while. A lot of people did that during the black-out in San Diego, a year ago. I keep a lot of canned beans around - we'd probably be living off those.

I always joke about the "zombie apocalypse" as my shortcut term for any of these scenarios. I joke that I only need water, TP & kitty litter (and food). We could use the litter boxes ourselves, if water was an issue.

Hope your hubby is feeling better quickly!

Connie in San Diego

Loui♥ said...

having recently moved from Denver Colorado back home to coastal Florida, I was rudely awakened by Hurricane Isaac targeting us!
When I went to the stores, all items on my survival list were
Since then, my pantry has been stocked with those survival necessities.
(Also remember to be prepared for evacuation! Have ready to grab a bag prepared for emergency departure. Check your local area for pertinent info. Know what routes to take out of the city,or what shelters are nearby. Include what to do with family pets.. shelters will not take them as part of the family!)
Bottom prepared TODAY!