Saturday, March 28, 2020

Living the Pantry Lifestyle -- What I'm learning from the pandemic

We are almost entering week three of self isolation.  We have developed somewhat of a routine as we get out one day a week, wearing masks and keeping a small bottle of hand sanitizer in the car.

When I walked into Meijers last Monday, an employee was disinfecting the grocery carts and showed me where the carts were that had already been disinfected.  I think that really brought home the seriousness of the situation even though less people have died than past pandemics (except in a few countries), I am well aware that being over sixty and a diabetic puts me at great risk.  So I am very careful.  Not fearful.  Just careful.

Now that we are under a mandatory isolation, we can go out for food, to a pharmacy, or to a doctor's appointment.  I am very thankful we already had two of the masks that have been out of stock for a couple months, thanks to my husband's environmental allergies.

Since we were stocked up as much as possible, our trips to the grocery store have been short.  I shopped one day, my husband shopped the next day, we took a list... and got in and out of the stores as fast as possible.  Not out of fear, just out of wisdom.  I am thankful that we can "top off" our pantry items with fresh food. 

This last week, I was trying to remember some of the lessons I've learned through all of this and a light bulb idea came to mind... I need to write the lessons I'm learning down on paper.  I always think I will remember things and then I don't.

So I have used a small-ish notebook to record not only pantry lessons but life in general lessons regarding living through a pandemic.  We really should, you know.  On paper, not online.  So that someday, should Jesus tarry, our grandchildren and their children will have a record.  Much like we enjoy reading about from the Great Depression and WWII.

I have it ready and I'm going to begin with my thoughts from first hearing of the outbreak in China up to this weekend.  Our world has changed so much that it is hard to believe for many of us, the affects personally have only been for a month or so. 

Included will be Pantry Lessons that I'm learning, which will be useful to me and to anyone else who reads it.  For instance, some of the things that were unavailable right away that surprised me (potatoes, meat, Kleenex, etc.) and what went fast that did not surprise me (TP, milk, eggs, bread, flour, sugar, butter, etc.).

Perhaps my biggest surprise was the pandemic itself and how very very fast our world could be changed.  I knew from writing about emergency preparedness a long time that a pandemic was possible, I just didn't realize how quickly it could cover most of the planet in this day of globalism and world travel.

I think the Pandemic Journal will also help gather my thoughts.  I am probably one of the few writers who does not keep any journal.  I did so for decades but decided in my 40s to burn all of them.  I didn't want my personal reflections such as they were to be read by anyone else. 

This is different.  It is being written to share what is being learned. I hope you decide to write such a journal, too. At the very least, it will help me remember what worked and what did not from my pantry.

Stay safe.  Stay blessed.

ImageThe High Hills, Brambly Hedge  (I have to admit, I looked at this and thought CROWDED ROOM!  Sheesh.)


Deanna Rabe said...

I don’t journal really either. I write my blog, so I suppose it’s a journal in some ways. I’m intrigued by the pandemic journal idea.

Cheri said...

I think these thoughts of ours during this crisis, whether recorded in journals or on blogs will be read with interest by coming generations (if Jesus tarries).

I really enjoy reading stories of how folks handled the depression.

Deborah Montgomery said...

This same idea occurred to me and I have been journaling for the past few days or so. In those few days we have gone from 46,000 or so to over 105,000 cases here in the US. I know there is more testing going on, but it is still shocking to see the numbers rising so rapidly even with all the lockdowns in place. I have so enjoyed reading my great aunt's journal kept during WWII and inspired by that generation. I, too, am thinking my grandchildren might be interested in my record of this time. I think you're right -- be cautious, be careful, but don't be fearful. The Lord is still in control.

Anonymous said...

Is there any chance that your drug store or grocery store would have a delivery service? Our drug store has a free delivery service for the duration.

That's a great idea keeping a journal or list of things learned from the pandemic.

*When this is over we will definately buy some face masks when they're available again, in case there's a next time.

*I'd buy more packages of antiseptic wipes.

*We'd keep more extra bread in the freezer than before.

*I'd keep more jello packets, canned mushrooms,paper towels on hand.

*Some wine:)

Stay safe.

Vee said...

It certainly is historic, which is a good reason to journal. My journal would be so dull that I can’t imagine what benefit it would be to me or anyone else. But I think it will give you ongoing fodder. Besides, I’d far rather read what you write!

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

And excellent idea, Brenda! I just made my son and me a pot of Haliska. Hungarians make this too, but I don't know a Hungarian name for it. You can see videos on YouTube. It is, at its simplest, egg noodles, chopped cabbage and chopped onion and lots of butter. A quick and cheap vegetarian meal which was popular in the depression. I don't think I've ever mentioned this before, so I thought I would throw it out there today.....And thank you for the blessings of a Brambly Hedge photo! How appealing this art is.

mdoe37 said...

I did read somewhere that if you are concerned about your masks getting "germy". You can put them in the oven at 160 degrees for 30 minutes. So far I'm not using anything like that, but have upped by sanitizer in the car to 91% alcohol.

Its really sobering to walk into a store where things are empty. As you've coached, I keep a deeper pantry...although a little thin in spots due to cash constraints. I was able to ramp things up just before the shelves emptied. Mother who is 83 is not shopping right now, so I'm having to remind her to give me her list in advance BEFORE she runs out of things.

Eggs are now pretty plentiful on the shelves, but I was able to get a couple of small bags of powdered by Emergency Essentials...about a three week lead time. I didn't think that was too bad though considering.

I spoke with the manager of the local Walmart a week ago and again yesterday....things are starting to back fill and there are items on the shelves again, except TP. My local store was out of potatoes so I did take advantage and can 14 quarts when I got a hold of some.

Sitting down to make masks to donate...mostly to nursing homes etc....1/4" elastic is apparently something you need to put in the pantry too. lol

Jennifer B. said...

Thank you Brenda! Wise words! Stay safe! ~Jennifer

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

I just noticed your comment about "crowded room" and had to laugh. My first though when I looked at that was that they were all sitting too close together!

Rebecca said... journal HAS evolved naturally into a pandemic journal...

PJ Geek said...

I find myself making mistakes. Journaling will help as well as give me a point of reference in case I do get sick. I’ve not come in to contact with anyone but my husband in 3 weeks except one delivery person at arms length and then folks out walking from many feet away.......
.until today. We had planned to sell our house and move to the north Georgia mountains by summer. We only looked at 3 houses before we accepted the fact that it just can’t happen yet. I’m still working towards this goal—cleaning closets, packing some things, giving to donation pick up service. I need more room to create a second bedroom in our house in case my husband or I get sick. I had 1800gotjunk reduce the stuff in our garage today. Most of the time I was 5 to 6 feet from them. I had been researching how to make masks. I had located a mask. But When the guy talked with me and showed me the price on his cell phone and when I paid, I didn’t wear a mask. He didn’t have a mask. The second guy had a mask. We were probably 2 to 3 ft from each other. Argh!! I should know better. Now I worry, but I learn. I have to pick up a med in person at the pharmacy tomorrow and will wear mask with mask cover and gloves. It will be my first outing and I’ll go to the store too. With list. Thanks for your post.