Saturday, August 08, 2020

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Discerning the advice

If there is one thing I've learned over the past decades of researching all things pantry related, it is to discern what "experts" tell us we must do to prepare for emergencies.  In this age of easy make-it-yourself videos, there are certainly a lot of advice givers on the subject.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate people who take the time to teach what they have learned.  I depend on such people to continue my own pantry preparation.  However, there is a lot of advice, while I am certain is well intended, that makes me crazy(ier).

Last week, I was watching some videos about what foods have an almost unlimited shelf life when YouTube recommended some videos I might be interested in on the subject.  One of them was from a prepper site I don't follow and the title was something like (but not exactly), 7 Things You Must Do In the Next Three Months!!!

That certainly made me curious and since I was in a pantry research mode already, I took the time to watch it.  Well, let me say I started watching it.  Remember, these are all urgent things we must due to prepare for chaos in just three months.  So, when the very first thing mentioned was to purchase a house in a rural setting, preferably with a pond and large garden area, there was much talking back to the computer from the one watching the video.

How, in Heaven's name, does one tell people the first thing they must do is to shop for and buy rural property?  Within three months?  There are so many reasons this is wrong, not the least of these is that 99% of the people reading probably can't afford to do such a thing... and there is more to making a move to the country than just getting a mortgage.

Another recommendation was to purchase one or two years worth of food and supplies.  Now.  At a time when unemployment has been worse than in the Great Depression.  Having a deep pantry is an excellent idea but starting from scratch and buying for a year is impossible for most people and not a good idea for anyone since it offers so many opportunities for making expensive mistakes. 

I'm hoping I heard it wrong and he was recommending people "top off" their supply already started.  Now, to be fair, the person probably does offer good advice elsewhere but to title something in such a way so people who follow their YouTube Channel believe they must do what is suggested or... what?  Perish in the City?  Yikes!  I decided this was not a site I wanted to follow on YouTube. 

I'm probably sensitive to such advice because I've seen it scare people before and then they feel they cannot do everything so why do anything to prepare for an emergency situation.  It can create fear in people for whom the big expenditures are impossible.

We have all now seen empty grocery store shelves so we know sudden emergencies are not only possible but could happen again.   I'm fairly certain the video, which I believe had a late July date, was talking about three months is because there is a lot of concern that the closer we get to the American elections, the more chaos we will see in the streets.

Not to mention the belief that COVID-19, which has never gone away, may return in full force once the weather starts getting cooler again.  Yes, there is good reason to keep deepening your pantry with food items and necessary supplies but by adding to it each week, as you can afford to do.

One of the reasons I love Annabel's blog, The Bluebirds are Nesting on the sidebar, is that she shares what she does each week, a little at a time, adding up to a lot that is accomplished.  Now, her family did make a move to a rural area for many reasons.  However, they did it with research and planning over time. 

So, what did I do this week?  Monday was my monthly stock up day and for the pantry I purchased: extra cans of fruit, a large package of dry milk, two boxes of the Meijers brand of Benedryl, two "bottles" of Mrs. Meyers Apple Cider dish washing soap, another pound of butter for the deep freeze, and one last bag of bread flour that went into the deep freeze.  

I was able to buy a couple packages of chicken at a great price but beef continues to raise in price.  I've been buying a package of Aldi Angus beef stew meat for the deep freeze each stock up day so I have at least a few once cold weather arrives. 

I'm sure there were a couple other items I'm missing but you get the idea, pantry additions are accomplished a little at a time.  We have a couple annual bills we have to pay this month so there isn't much extra money to do more stocking up but I'm pleased to be able to do what I could.

I have mentioned before that with just two of us, our pantry probably looks almost bare compared to a large family's pantry.  However, over the years I have learned that I'd rather purchase extra of a limited supply of essentials that I know will be helpful should the shelves be empty again... than a lot of items that we might need.

We don't need everything, we just need the most important items.  That kind of planning fits into most budgets.  Which reminds me, if you know someone in need and you have the ability to help them, I'm certain they would appreciate a gift card to a grocery store or gas station.  Even a $20.00 bill slipped into a card may be the difference between them having gas for a job interview or milk for the kids. 

I remember when a dear blog friend sent my son a gift card to a gas station when he was commuting to the Community College to take dual courses his senior year of homeschooling.  He still remembers that kindness, too, all these years later.

There will be more pantry chatting next week, God willing and the proverbial creek don't rise.  ;)

Image:  My daughter took this photo when they were staying in a house in the Lake District of England a couple years ago.  She knows how much I love cows.  She named him Billy the Bull.  I thought that, given all the bad news around, Billy would be an excellent giver of advice.  ;)


Sherry said...

yep .. the videos and blogs that demand immediate response turn me off. we do what we can when we can after much consideration, planning, and prayer - not necessarily in that order. ;)

i have about 15 pounds of flour in the deep freeze and will pick up a 25 pound bag soon. needing canned items so as i see them for a sale price i'll put those in the cart. our local miniscule market has THE best beef in all cuts and grinds - as such we buy the store limit (to ensure others can enjoy as well) every week and portion it for the two of us.

the cow is precious - i adore cows. we've plenty in our parts .. with new babies!

Margie from Toronto said...

The type of advice that people like you, Bluebird and Cheryl's Frugal Corner, along with the Prudent Homemaker are my favourites because you are all sensible and offer tips that the average person can do without being overwhelmed.
I am single, live in a small apt. in a huge city so gardening is not possible and canning would not be financially viable. But - I can stock up - a bit at a time - and keep my small space tidy and comfortable, for me.
Sites such as the one you spoke about just frighten and overwhelm people and as you said, often leads them to not even attempt to do anything for themselves.
This week it was cool enough to cook so I took out some meat from my small freezer compartment that needs to be used up and I made a pot of chilli and today a pot of stew. Some has or will be eaten and other servings will go into the freezer (in a more manageable size) to be eaten later. As I use things up I reorganize and plan for what I need or want to substitute. Eggs have been a bit scarce lately so when I was able to get some good quality ones the other day I bought 3 dozen and this morning I have been busy freezing them. This is my first attempt but I'm confident that they will be fine for baking or for omelets or a quiche later in the year when I may not want to venture out due to Covid or the Winter weather.
Keep up the good advice - it is appreciated.

Ann said...

Great advice. I've been working on our pantry now for over ten years. And when I first started looking for info I saw so many things to do that my time and budget would not allow that I gave up for a while and left it only in God's hands. Then over time and with more thought I realized that I could do this just by doing as you have said -- buying extra of what we already use and putting it away for the "rainy day". (Easier said than done because of that little thing called rotation!). Now years later, I've added some long term storage food and other "prep" things I think will be useful in the chaotic future. So to anyone reading Brenda's blog, her advice is sound and it works.

Amish Heart said...

There are so many good prepper youtubes out there, don't be discouraged. The biggest thing about building a prepper pantry is just to start. And keep going. Prepare where you are, and do what you can. Anything helps! And does it ever grow! I've had a pantry I started 12 yrs ago, and it is considerable now, just by doing a little at a time, what we could afford, and taking advantage of sales and free fruit, growing our own vegetables.

Unknown said...

I too have been"talking" to various you tube channels lately. What they are asking people to accomplish in a short amount of time is ridiculous. My husband and I live on 2 acres outside of a small town in rural Oregon. It took at least a year to find the right place and that was 22 years ago . It's much harder now and the prices are high. Even if you had the money there's not necessarily a huge inventory of land. Scaring people is never ok.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I’ve been buying a bit extra here and there, and as Annabel says, it all adds up. I’m concerned about the election as well. Praying much!

I’m thinking ahead about gifts, too, so it doesn’t all cost at the same time. We have a big birthday month coming in October, too.

Sherri said...

I wonder how people who buying a rural property to create a prepared retreat hide what they are doing from Google Earth images? I mean if everything collapses and people bug out to their retreats I would think that at least some of those retreats could be found on Google Earth. Though I understand that there are some who have underground retreats. Perhaps it would be a better idea to stay put, prepare in place, and build a like-minded community where one is living? Who really knows which scenario would be the safest?
for them.
There has been an increase in people moving to rural areas in Australia. Some are moving way out into the boondocks too. They will have to learn to copy with many things like bushfire threat, and lack of rain. I hope it works out for them.
I talk to the screen too. :-)