Saturday, April 04, 2020
Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Still pondering the pandemic
We are now entering the fourth week of self isolation and I must say, as much as I'm used to staying home a lot... there are days I want to just forsake all wisdom and go out amongst the English (should you read Amish based novels, you understand the meaning).
Although we are under a mandatory stay-at-home order through all of April, we can get out to purchase food. For which I am very thankful. It means I can easily stretch what is in the pantry and I make certain to do so while we can still get out easily. We each go to a different grocery store wearing a mask and carrying the small bottle of hand sanitizer (which gets refilled when needed from the larger bottle).
I go to Aldis every other week and Meijers weekly. My husband goes to Kroger and the health food store on senior discount day. They call us when there is a new shipment of eggs from the Mennonite farmer.
We take turns going to Walmart and then only if necessary. Every time we get out, it is with a list and we shop as quickly as possible. It usually doesn't take long since we are only adding to what we had stocked up on already.
Yesterday since I was going to Aldis, I stopped by Walmart on the way for a few nonprescription items. It is, after all, allergy season! I quickly looked up and down the aisles to see what was available and noticed the only mostly empty shelves were in the rice and bean aisle. There was TP, although not a lot, so I bought a package since this may drag on much longer than anticipated.
I have shared with friends (I can't recall if I shared it here) that last Fall, I had thought about stopping the Pantry Posts. After all, there are well over a decade of various kinds of pantry posts available in archives. However, I felt such a burden from the Lord that I was not only to continue writing them but to begin suggesting we really deepen our pantry... as much as space and our budget allows.
The only thing I knew for certain was that when we needed our pantries, it would be sudden. My only experience with needing a deep pantry was in weather emergencies like winter storms and blizzards or the two different times we had a long term job loss.
I may have had a nudge from the Lord but I had no thought of a world wide pandemic. It didn't even cross my mind other than in dystopian books and movies. There are times, I still feel like I will wake up and this is all some crazy dream.
However, it isn't and so much is out of our hands right now. We need to be praying for our leaders to have wisdom in these days and for their health. There are many people who are working long hours to combat this microscopic enemy. We need to keep our health workers in prayer, our first responders, the grocery store clerks, and everyone else who has to be in the front lines of this strange war.
So what else can we be doing right now? Well, I'm taking notice of what I'm using up quickly from my pantry. I learned during the periods of long term unemployment that there were some items in my pantry that were essential and others I probably shouldn't have purchased. What I learned from those experiences, I have written about here.
One thing I realized this week was that we will soon be entering into a warmer season here in North America so while it is cool (off and on these days), I am using up the frozen chickens that were purchased for making soup. I do make chicken soup all year long because it is inexpensive and good for us... but I long for it in cool weather.
I've been a creative cook since I was on a tight budget but you really get creative when you can't run to the grocery store all the time. I mentioned keeping a journal last Saturday, at least to write down the food and non-food items that are working well from your pantry. Mine includes new recipes I've tried so I won't forget them.
Although we do have quite a few cases of the COVID-19 locally and at least one death has resulted, we do not have the kinds of outbreaks that are in major cities. So while I feel a bit like I'm stepping out into a war zone when going to the grocery store... I am careful but not afraid of getting the virus.
Having said that, I feel the need to continue "topping off" what I have on the shelves while I can in case we do need to stay home completely. We do not know what the future holds but God does and He's got this. What we do know now is that it is going to last much longer than we anticipated and that it has already devastated a very good economy.
Either of these scenarios make for a good reason to continue deepening the pantry as is possible. For some of us, it includes wise grocery shopping while others are planting a bigger vegetable garden than they have for awhile. I doubt that anyone will even turn down your extra zucchini this year. ;)
I'm hoping to have a larger container herb garden this year. We couldn't use our deck very much last year since the paint had been stripped from it but there was too much rain through the summer to finish it. It was finally completely finished in the Fall so we can now put our deck furniture back, including the tables I use for my herb flower pots (it keeps them from roaming bunnies and squirrels).
Even growing my own basil, rosemary, thyme, etc. makes me feel a little more self sufficient. Although I most need to be God sufficient! These days are certainly encouraging even more prayer than usual.
Don't forget to check on the elderly and the people in your circle that were already having a challenge of putting food on the table. I had a dear friend surprise me by ordering coffee K-cups from Amazon (a like minded friend who understands the need for coffee) and another who ordered kitty food and products for Florentine! I think both know how dear they are to me... and a certain kitty. A local friend wanted to help local businesses so she sent gorgeous flowers to a few friends, including me. That was a brilliant idea.
If you have plenty, fill a grocery sack or a box with food you know they will appreciate, knock on the door or ring the doorbell... and wave from a distance. While you will probably include the basics, I'd also suggest some frozen dinners like Stauffer's Mac & Cheese or Lasagna to give them relief from cooking.
One can order a pizza or a complete meal for a friend or family member and have it delivered if they live in a delivery zone (we are too far out in the country!). You are blessing a friend and keeping a local business alive.
We are in unprecedented times, at least in our lifetime. This is our opportunity to help in whatever way we can. It doesn't have to cost much, it can be a letter written to someone who never hears from us. A dear friend who is a lovely artist sent me a print of a painting she created of a cake I made (which inspired both my daughter and her to make it, too!).
Trust God, walk in wisdom, and wash your hands. As a friend of mine who is now at Home used to end her letters... you are loved with an unfathomable Love and by me, too.