Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saturday Pantry Suggestions

I must admit that I'm back on my soapbox about prepping shows after Hubby and I watched about thirty minutes of one them again last week.   I cringed while watching the two people whose lives they were following.  

The first man had spent the last thirty years building his underground shelter in a secluded spot... plenty of food, water, and other "preps" had been accumulated but he felt it still was not enough so he was spending more money to purchase an additional underground unit.  He had spent his entire life in this obsession of surviving a nuclear war.

The second person was a teenager who spent his free time practicing shooting and making weapons, preparing for some kind of civil war.  Hubby and I both agreed we hoped he didn't live near us, those weapons he made were scary.

I remember another couple whose story I watched before turning it off because I was so frustrated.  They had dozens of shelves in a room, loaded with emergency rations and storage food.... thousands and thousands of dollars spent on the emergency food alone and they had all kinds of other emergency products.

They admitted they had spent all their money on emergency preps and part of the show included conversations on how worried they were about their finances.  Sigh...

When you watch these shows and see the extraordinary amount of money and time being spent by the participants, most of whom are preparing for "someday"... imagine what can be accomplished if the same amount of time and money went into real life.

I am well aware that the producers of the Prepper shows can 1) show wise people in such a way that they come across as wacky, and 2) purposely find people who really are wacky.  I expect it is a mixture of both.

Yes... I do believe serious times are ahead.  For some people they are here already.  

Should we stock up on emergency food?  If you have the money, some freeze dried food included in your regular pantry isn't a bad idea.  It would provide luxury eating in the midst of some difficult circumstances, along with the food your family is used to eating every day.

Foods prepared for long term storage that otherwise don't store well can be wise purchases, when made in addition to the foods your family are used to eating (like dried milk, butter, dried eggs, etc. that would make baking possible).  But these are purchased with additional funds, not the basis of our pantry.

What about emergency supplies?  Once again, everyone needs some emergency supplies because, well... we all have emergencies.   Do we have lighting, a way to cook, the ability to stay warm in cold weather, etc.

Few of us can have it all... perhaps the most important preparation (other than a relationship with the Lord, of course) is in developing friendships... community... neighborhoods.

What is the difference between Prepping and a Pantry Lifestyle?

Once again, there is nothing wrong with prepping if done wisely.  But what I've seen in the past (especially from these shows) are people putting all their time, money, and energy into preparing for a future event.   By living a Pantry Lifestyle, we will be prepared for many future emergencies.

If we know how to cook "from scratch" and stock our pantries as deep as possible with these items, we're doing the same thing our grandmothers and greatgrandmothers before us did as a part of life.

Even if we work full time outside the home and have to depend more often on convenience foods, we can still practice our cooking skills on our days off of work.

So... here is an example of the difference.  Instead of spending our last $500 on emergency food alone, we can invest in a really nice waterbath canner, a pressure canner, canning jars and equipment, and food.  We will come away with the skills, equipment, and the food on our pantry shelves.

Instead of putting thirty years worth of time and money into an underground bunker, what if the man purchased a place in the country and used the time wisely in learning how to grow food, perhaps develop hunting and fishing skills, as well as how to "put up" food, and have a home to enjoy.   It takes years to learn how to properly grow food, to learn how to can and perhaps dry your own food, how to be more self sufficient.

For my husband and I, we made the decision to look for a house in the country when we purchased a home this last time.   We have learned it is not "all or nothing" as we cannot do it all but we can have a raised bed garden (even then built up over the years).   We can no longer keep a very deep pantry but we can still put a little back and learn new skills.

Sometimes doing instead of buying is all one accomplish.

One of my goals these past few years has been to downsize and declutter, simplifying our lives as much as possible.  Now, if you looked around my house at my beloved English Country - Early American decorating style, you would wonder.  However, the house is decluttered (except the garage, which is my project when it gets warmer) but I still have a lot of stuff.

But one must remember we once lived in a four bedroom, "two-story with full basement" house.  Now I'm surrounded by those things which make home warm and cozy.  I still love thrifting and collecting but these days I know if something comes in the house... something also has to go out of it... and not the husband or cat.

Which means I don't buy very much while thrifting, even if the item is pretty and only cost $1.00, if I don't love it... it doesn't come home with me.

So... if you live "in town", if you have no additional budget to buy anything, or if your health is not the best, etc... you can still decide to DO by decluttering and simplifying.  Trust me... you will be amazed at how good it feels to get rid of extra stuff... and I don't mean your spouse.  ;)

Praying and Obeying

I get a lot of e-mails from people (and I'm sorry if I didn't write back, I got overwhelmed at one time!).  So many people are feeling led to stock up and some to make major lifestyle changes, such as moving to the country.

I know He speaks to all of us individually, as I've said before I was led to stock up on food, homeschool supplies, and essentials in the late 1990s but my best friend at the time only felt her family should purchase a little extra food but invest in a generator.

I ended up using just about everything I purchased due to a job loss (what did I not use???... my emergency food supply like dried eggs).  Her family soon moved to another state, living in a mountainous area where the electricity was prone to go out.

That's why we need to listen to that "still small Voice" and do what He tells each of us individually instead of following another's list... He knows what we need.  I don't hear an actual voice, instead it is like He downloaded information... if one could use computer talk.

There are those families who will grow food and learn canning, and dehydrating, and keep chickens, and prepare for deer season as they are led to this lifestyle.  There will be families who will learn to grow veggies in their backyard while others become proficient at container gardening on a deck or patio.

However, there are also the brave souls He tells to leave all and trust Him... as they minister in an inner city of New York, Chicgo, or London.  There are Christians who move to Haiti and trust Him for their daily bread as they bring His salvation and His love to a hurting population.  Then there are the Christians who will spend all their savings to adopt orphans because He gave them that desire.

It all comes down to prayer and obeying, for you see...

The safest place to be is in the will of God!


I just came across this old Y2k article again by the people at Backwood Homes magazine.  It is titled "What if the Electricity Goes Off?".  It has some good advice in it.  However, in typical Backwood Homes tradition, it also has good DYI projects... here.

This article on a survival blog is very interesting.  It's called "Prepping When You're Poor".  You may agree with all or only part of it but it's worth a read... here.


Vee said...

Always informative and sometimes downright humorous. I have no intention of getting rid of the husband. You? Ha!

I've never seen one of those shows and I'm pretty sure that if I did, I'd be spouting off so it's probably for the best. I agree, all manner of people can be made to appear foolish by those who think they are. Someday, the producers might think differently. (Still, from what you describe, I'd be a bit concerned about the mental health of some.)

Off to read those links...

Anonymous said...

Thank-you, Brenda, for sharing this. We've watched those Prepping shows too, and find them a bit disturbing, especially those who stock up on masses of weapons. We live in an earthquake zone and believe it is wise to be prepared for such an emergency, but don't have the resources (or room) to stock up on a years' worth of Everything we'd need for a year or more. I appreciate your view of bringing a balance to stocking up, as well as listening to that still small voice from our Heavenly Father.(so important!) Blessings to you!
Laura C ( from WA state)

Anonymous said...

I often wonder why those people who are so involved in preparing are letting the world see them as they are on TV. No one can hide well in this world...and they are inviting troubles later, if indeed things go that bad. You are so right, for each of us, it is listening to GOD's voice to us as to what we are to do in life. It is wise to have a bit extra on hand...that is just plain common sense. And if you have a garden, to preserve as much as you are able.

Good article, Brenda.
Elizabeth in VA

lynneinMN said...

Amen. When my husband and I first started "prepping", we bought a lot of food stuff we'll probably never use "just because". We've gotten wiser. Stock up on what you'd eat anyway. Buy an extra can/box/jar or two when it's on sale. Remember always that God is in control, and He will provide. Oh...and i'm coveting your shelf with the jars and red adorable! God Bless...Lynne

Angela said...

Words of wisdom! Don't let planning (or dreading) for the future stop you from living and enjoying your life. Thank you again for your perspective.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I have the pressure canner on my wish list! I learned to can 20plus years ago when I was headed to the mission field. I still use those skills every day.

I think you are spot on when you say that we need to listen to HIS voice. He will guide us, and it is interesting to see how He lead you and your friend differently but of course it ended up being just what you each had need of!

I haven't seen prepper show - might have to google one though.

Thanks for the links...


mdoe37 said...

We watch the Doomsday Prepper shows and shake our heads. Who has that kind of money? Really? I prep for illness, financial downturn and inflation hedge.

Over the years, I've added certain things: A propane wall heater that takes no electricity, a dehydrator, a water filter....and more canning jars. I'm in the market for a grain mill this time around. No bunker here! :) lol

(and I do have a few 5 gal buckets with wheat, milk, beans etc and some honey--buy nothing huge, I don't have room)

I try out skills, make laundry soap, cheaper ways of doing things. I'm dabbling with oven canning. I did some crackers and flour that way to see if it helps. I found a cookbook and website that shows recipes for making your own add water meals. When I get up a bit of cash, I'll give it a go as I would be buying ingredients that I could use other places, rather than the pre-made meals. Just a few for in case.

I learning to work that the $3.99 sewing machine I got at Goodwill. It sews like a champ and probably it was donated because it was a weird 1960's color. But it will be much more dependable than any new electronic gadget.

Skills, skills! No matter what happens, they can never take them away from you!! Its the best prep you can have.

Vicki in UT said...

I have seen a number of the Prepper shows, and their whole motivation is obviously fear. I prefer to prepare from the standpoint of provident living, which means making the most of your resourses and preparing for emergencies. It is basicaly like you described as how our grandparents lived. They grew and preserved some of their food, and put it by for the winter. If they could, they put a little more by in case they had a crop failure. They kept their bills paid so debt was not an issue if bad times hit. And sometimes they had to tighten their belts and make sacrifices in hard times. But because they did all those things, they didn't sit around and worry about what might be in the future. They were prepared for any number of events that might be difficult, and then they went on with life. Because life should be more than worrying about what might happen someday. Thank you for your comments, I agree with you.