Saturday, July 14, 2012

Saturday Pantry Suggestions

Healthy two weeks ago, dying today

It has been "cooler" here although not what I would call cool with temperatures hovering around 90 degrees (more or less).  But it is amazing to me what a difference ten to fifteen degrees can make!  I don't feel like I'm melting into the gravel lane when I walk out to get the mail.

I'm still trying to keep the tomato plants alive.  Today I am going to dig up the zucchini plant since it is not dong well, anyway.  That will be one less plant in that raised bed to draw water.

I have to rip out the bush beans, pole beans, nasturtiums, and the remaining kale as well as cut back the herb garden.  I was letting the herbs go to flower but they are dying back before they flower.

While all of this saddens me greatly, I can't imagine what it is like for the farmers whose livelihood depend on growing food as they watch the crops wither and die.  There is still hope to salvage some crops as long as we get steady rains (the forecast is for the same "hit and mostly miss" showers we have had all spring and summer).

However, the disastrous Midwestern drought is going to affect food prices for awhile.

I was going to answer some questions today but I will do that next week.  Instead I want to spend this time encouraging you to deepen your pantry.  One question I'm asked (not as much now as I once was!) is "why we should plan for tomorrow?".

Well, you may not worry about the Mayan calendar or the prophecies of Nostradamus.  You may not believe we are in the Biblical "End Times".  However, a lot of smart people are concerned about a pending economic collapse.

Most of us depend on a regular income and we know how unexpected job losses can take place.  If we have a job but we need to count every penny, we feel the affects of droughts and floods and pestilence on our food supply as the cost of various foods increase drastically.

I can tell you from experience, if you have a job loss and a very deep pantry... the money that does come in (say from Unemployment Insurance) can mostly go to other parts of the budget.  It may even be the difference between paying the mortgage, keeping the electricity going, or gas in the car when pennies are tight.

We experienced two different years of long term unemployment.  The first time we took no government help such as food stamps because we were homeschooling and where we lived at the time, food stamps went through Child Protective Services who had the power to at least TRY to force us to put our son back into the public schools.

However, we had the deepest pantry we ever had... before or since... so we only had to spend money on fresh food.  We did make financial mistakes at that time which I talk about in Recession Ponderings but we had food, paper goods, and other non-food items.  I had even purchased our homeschool materials in advance.

The second long term employment event was during a year we had very little in the pantry and we felt we had no choice but to go on food stamps.  Fortunately, we lived in a state at that time which did not involve Child Protective Services in their food stamp program so we didn't feel threatened to stop homeschooling.

I'm just sharing this to say... don't think if anything happens to your employment that the government will take care of you.  NOT!  Google "Katrina" and look at those pictures as well as reading those stories.  It was mostly Faith Based agencies and churches who came to the rescue and that was after people died while waiting for help.

To be honest, I hated it when we did receive government assistance because we were made to jump through all kinds of hoops and it made us feel... small (just our experience, others may have had different experiences).  (Added note:  I go to a government run clinic for low income people and while it takes FOREVER to get an appointment at times, the people there have all been wonderful.)

However, I believe God has allowed me to walk this journey so I can be His hands, His voice, His eyes, His ears, and His representative to others in difficult situations.

I moved my "Pages" back to the top of the blog (just under the zinnia header) so it is easier to find some basic links.  If you click on the Recession Ponderings Page, it will give you a link to all the Recession Ponderings writings that share my experience in preparing for and living through difficult economic circumstances.

I also plan to write more about organizing the pantry but in the meantime... visit my daughter's blog and see how she organized her pantry with items she already had in the house... here.


Vee said...

I am one who believes that we are in imminent danger of financial collapse. I have never lived through such a time including the Carter years. There are precious few who are unaffected. So good advice as always. We have been eating from the pantry already so I need to stop and rebuild. Off to see what Stephanie has been up to...

Oh I have to mention that it is very sobering to read about the steps you must take to preserve the garden as much as you can. How I wish that there could be some days of gentle rain. I have watched as Texas has rebounded from a drought, but that was not gentle. Not one bit. Courage as the say...

suzanne said...

one only has to make a trip to the grocery store to realize that food prices have already spiked upward. i try to buy extra items every time i shop, and i also like to shop at places like Big Lots, where i find varied items i wouldn't find or buy in a regular grocery store, usually very cheap. now if my husband and i can just learn to not eat meat, lol.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the wisdom and information in this post. I am starting my list for pantry building as I will be going to a bulk food store in August.

I appreciate you sharing your knowledge.


cheryl (Copperswife) said...

Wise words. Oh that those younger than ourselves might listen a bit better! We've kept a fairly deep pantry for almost fifteen years now, and it's been a blessing to us and to others many times.

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Dear Brenda, I am sorry to hear about your garden and your zucchini plant! I think your garden is well mulched, so if things are dying there, it is really a serious situation. And it goes without saying that I am worried about the farmers...Greed has brought the financial situation of our country and the world to a sorry pass. Thank you for all your helpful words and posts.

Anonymous said...

So sorry about your garden!! You give good advice. We are not in a position to stock up, in fact we are giving away due to his retirement and our move (where to is yet to be decided, but our storage unit will not allow any food to be stored can understand that with the way people are these days). So we will surely have to continue to rely on GOD to supply all our needs! So far, so good!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry about your garden. You worked so hard on that too.

In our small townhouse we don't have closet space for a pantry but I found that those big plastic storage bins work well. Got them on sale and 3 or 4 is plenty depending on the size of your family.
They can be stacked in the basement so they're not underfoot.

Manuela said...

You know I'm sorry about you having to pull things out of the garden. I had to really fight to keep mine going when we had those weeks of 100+ temps.

Now that we're getting a nightly thundershower I don't have to try so hard. As long as it stays below 100 I think my veggies will produce. I have one zucchini (finally - I had to replant those).

We've been eating from the pantry/freezer for the past two weeks and I'm just starting to stock things back up. I noticed the price of fresh corn has already gone up considerably around here AND a can of corn is $1! On sale!

I'm finding it very hard to stick to my food budget and I buy mostly "ingredients" not processed food.

Anonymous said...

Brenda,I am so sorry some of your garden has died back. Have you tried using soaker hoses in the garden boxes? I use a v to be able to use two hoses from the one faucet bib or another type attachment that can connect even more hoses to the faucet and water several beds at the same time. That way I can come out, turn on the water real low and come inside. I attached an old regular hose length to the end of each so only the beds are watered and not the length up to the boxes. it is an investment in hose, About $9 for 50 feet but mine have lasted for years and years. If I had had to hand water my garden too would have been crispy by now for sure.
We have stocked up for years but now have to watch as there is just the two of us and not over due on some items. I am drying more now as I have things. That way less space is used. I wish we lived closer so I could share any bounty with you two. Sarah