Saturday, January 19, 2019

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Lots of pantry related stuff going on!

We are in the midst of our second weekend of snowstorms.  Our local weather guy warned us that nature has a way of balancing itself and after long stretch of above normal temperatures, the snow and cold have settled in. 

This storm is different than we had last week because of the high winds which will be developing.  They will bring blizzard like conditions and power outages we didn't have last week.  So I did some preparations last night and I will continue this morning before the winds pick up.

We had an unexpected power outage from a windstorm last fall and I realized then we were totally unprepared.  We did have a battery operated radio and some candles but otherwise, we were (literally) left in the dark.

That was our first fairly long time without power and along with that came surprises, such as how boring it is when one sits around at dark with just candles.  Now, I expect larger families would be less likely to be bored since there are people to talk to but here it is just the two of us and since we are together almost 24/7... said that already!

I remembered at the time that I had a couple episodes of a cooking show and an episode of Vera downloaded to the Amazon Fire tablet and they honestly were like a special Christmas gift to myself.  It was enjoyable to watch them by the light of the candle.  I also appreciated my Kindle Paperwhite that has its' own light and many downloaded books.

My only wish was that I had some hot beverage to sip and as human nature tends to be... what we cannot have at all we can start craving.  Honestly, I felt like I HAD TO HAVE a cup of hot coffee or tea.

So what does that have to do with my preparedness this time?  Well, along with getting out the battery operated radio, the flash lights, candles (regular and battery operated), etc., I took the time to download TV programs and a movie to the Amazon Fire (my kids gave me for my birthday when my iPad died).

Very soon, I will pour hot water into one thermos (not boiling water, I did that once and  had to get another thermos) and coffee in another.  I already have food on hand that does not need to be cooked.

This is to be a short lived storm so preparations didn't have to be for days, just the weekend.  I have enough stored water for short term use.  Should this have been a possible long term event without power... and the well does not run without electricity... I would have done more water preparation.

I don't know if we will lose power here but there are parts of the County that have already.  Even if we don't, it doesn't take long to put everything away and the coffee will be enjoyed, the hot water used, and the downloaded media will be played.  If not this weekend, then soon.

As for my other pantry preps, I finally finished cleaning and organizing two of the three sets of shelves that are my responsibility in the garage.  The third is the set of shelves on which Christmas and other holiday boxes are kept and they were organized long ago.  They had very little mouse infestation being all Rubbermaid style containers.  They just had to have the lids washed.

This has been a very long effort when done a little at a time.  I couldn't do very much until the woman who cleaned the siding on our porch was hired to give the shelves a washing with bleach water.  It didn't cost much and protected my health from the mouse droppings.  She didn't even wear a mask! 

Once that was done, I could begin the process of cleaning what we didn't have to throw away.  That has taken a year since I wanted to clean the things that were on my shelves to decide what still needed to be tossed.  The set of shelves where I keep things like my Crock-pot and salad spinner along with extra canned goods was finished a couple months ago.

I wanted to get all of this completed before the frigid winter temperatures set in, which are to start this weekend.  It took a lot of work and rest and work and rest (not to mention ignoring other household chores so this could be finished) but it was accomplished.  From now on, only tweaking and the usual upkeep will be needed.

I'm still amazed what can be accomplished a little at a time.  Before developing a chronic illness, I was a big project person.  I mean... really big household projects.  They were scheduled for one or more consecutive days.  It took awhile to have my eyes opened to how much these big projects... broken down into teeny tiny projects... can still be accomplished.

Each time I work in the garage, I am reminded how quickly it seems this mouse infestation happened.  We learned so much in the process.  Now if we see even small signs of mice, we get out the mouse traps.  Living in the country, we were used to having one or two mice in the garage so we "lived and let live"... no more.

I think the lesson we most learned was to never keep food that would attract mice in unopened containers.  That was what really drew them in.  I am convinced they go out and tell all the other field mice where they can find food for the easy taking.

Now I am off for a second cup of coffee and to enjoy a lemon scone.  I made them this morning to keep as a reward for when I get the final weather preps made and the blog post written.  :)

Mentioned in this Blog Post
Vera (thank you for the recommendations, it has become my favorite BBC mystery program), info on the Season One DVD... here

All seasons (except for Season 9) and individual episodes are also available on Amazon Video.  I love how Vera portrays an average looking rather disheveled older woman who is a brilliant police inspector. 

Disclaimer:  Most links to are Associate links.
Image:  American Homestead Winter

(Please forgive any typos.  The sight in my right eye is still fuzzy enough that I don't always see clearly.)


lives in the woods said...

As a rather disheveled looking older woman myself, I look forward to checking into Vera.

Great advice you have given. I might add a few things. While you have time before the storm (and energy?), catch up on laundry, dishwashing and vacuuming - all things that are more easily done with power.

You could put some soup in your crockpot and pop that into a cooler wrapped in a blanket should you lose power. That would keep it warm for later

I read once that you could take the burners off your (electric) stove top and place tea lights under where the burners were. I have not tried this so I don't know how many or how long it would take to warm up a meal.

Keep safe and warm. Family members in the Chicago area already have 6-9 inches. It is missing us up here in northern Wisconsin, though we are plenty cold.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I’ve watched a few episodes of Vera and I liked it, too! Normal older woman using her long gained skills!

Thanks for mentioning downloading some things to watch!

Anonymous said...

We find a major job gets done better if it's done gradually. If I try to do it all at once,we get tired and a bit-whatever, especially when sorting stuff.

mdoe37 said...

It never fails here....I'm on a well and when the power goes out, I immediately have to use the restroom. Just sayin.

We had straight line winds come through here quite a few years ago and I switched over to a propane stove and have since installed a ventless propane heater just in case. I use the heater often, I refer to it as the fireplace. I also invested in oil lanterns and an extra ac/dc radio and use both often too.

It used to be you could find propane Coleman stoves cheap, but not so much any more. I also have a butane single burner stove burner that I take north with me. Nice little burner for about $20. THey are contained in their own case and are small to store. It might be worth it for you to have and tea are a necessity. :) The butane canisters are very small too. I'd like to see you have secondary heat as well. My wall heater was about $150 and will heat my entire upstairs without even blinking. Even a Mr Buddy heater would be helpful to take the edge off a room.

Hunkering down here for the wind chill...the snow "warning" was a complete bust...usually is.

Conni said...

Here in Central Coastal California we just got our power back after 37 hours! We live in the mountains and power outages happen (with a well so no water also!) and we have learned some prepping tricks over the years. I keep 2 liter bottles of water frozen and place them in the fridge to sustain the cold. We have a rubbermade-type garbage can outside the back door that collects rainwater....that water, carried in a half full 5 gallon bucket, is what we use for flushing. Any plastic container, milk jug or 2 liter soda bottle, filled with water, becomes a ‘faucet’: use a nail to make a hole about three inches from the bottom of the container and plug the hole with a golf tee or nail. The gravity fed water,
when the tee is pulled, is the perfect ‘trickle’ for handwashing. We keep a supply of paper cups, plates, bowls for meals. Paper towels, normally a luxury, are much appreciated for clean up. Lastly, since our home is all electric, we have a little propane burner which screws atop the small canister-type propane bottle, insuring we can always have hot meals....this time we had oatmeal, an omelet, soups, pan casserole, grilled cheese. The burners are very reasonably priced and give that extra comfort! Hope these hints help. Stay warm!

Suzan said...

Stay safe and warm. Live in the hotter part of Australia so am more used to drought and violent thunder storms. Would you be able to purchase a small hot plate that runs off a small can of gas? They are not ideal but in an emergency you can heat a meal or drink.

Theresa said...

We just trapped(killed) two mice in our basement. Your post has me thinking now that perhaps we should keep the traps out. Sigh.
Hope you have a good week and do not lose your power again.

56steps said...

I do the same thing with prepping the thermoses with hot water before a storm. I never thought about boiling water being problematic so thanks for mentioning that. I will let it cool a bit before pouring it in.

I'm glad you got your garage all squared away. I agree, just like with many things like saving money, stocking your pantry and with large home projects - small efforts consistently made really do add up.


Bobbie said...

A friend of mine just posted on FB that Irish Spring soap is a great mouse deterrent. Maybe adding that to your other things would help keep them out of your garage. A lot of people use it in their campers. Enjoy reading about your cozy lifestyle.