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If I Were Just Starting Out Building a Well-Stocked Pantry ...

I recently received a comment from a reader basically asking me where to start when building a well-stocked pantry.  Since I get this ques...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Weekend Assignment: 10/20/2016

Hurricane Matthew roared through our area on October 7th, it'll be 2 weeks tomorrow.   Roads had to be closed due to flooding, destruction and downed trees which resulted in food delivery trucks having a really hard time getting to the stores in our area.  (Several of the roads are still closed and impassable.)  After the worst was over, store shelves started emptying and there was nothing to put back on them.

Yesterday we had to go to one of the hardest hit areas and while there stopped in at Sam's Club.  This is what the meat areas looked like ...



look at all that empty space ...



there was nothing in the back to replenish the shelves with ...


... it wasn't just meats either ... (You can see the reflection of the food from across the isle, but these shelves were empty.)

We asked why there were so many empty shelves and were told that they were waiting on trucks.  This is almost 2 weeks after Hurricane Matthew hit!

Down the road at Walmart they were only letting 100 customers in at a time due to not having water restored yet.  Sam's Club didn't have any water either ... bathrooms at both places were closed.  This meant fewer people could get in the store to shop, they were lined up outside waiting for their turn.

Our weekend assignment this week is a little bit different but is one that I hope you will take seriously ...

What would happen if you went to the grocery store and the shelves were empty or you had to wait in a long line to even get in the store?  Don't think it can't happen in our modern world of transportation and travel, it can and it is!

Your assignment is simple, truthfully answer this question ...

Look around at your pantry, what would your life be like if you were limited on what you could get at the grocery store and when you could get it?  

This should be a sobering question!

Patsi
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Have you read this series, This is Why! and this free e-book, Yes, You Can Have a Well-Stocked Pantry?  And don’t forget to check out the ‘Free Downloads’ page.  You’ll find some helpful pantry building stuff available for free!

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A Working Pantry is more than just about food! It's about household items needed to keep my home running smoothly readily available when needed.  It's about keeping a gift trunk so that I'm ready for any gift giving occasion.  It's about a lifestyle.  It's about keeping my home and looking well to the ways of my household and it's about doing it all as frugally as possible.  I hope you enjoy what you read here.



33 comments:

  1. We lived through Sandy. No problems here. We got our power back quick because we live right near a fire house. So many friends and family were coming over for hot meals, showers and to plug things in. My 2 nieces moved in for 10 days. Their parents stayed in their house because they were worried about looters. We gave them our camp stove so they could make hot food. Gave them canned soups too since they had none. We ended up having 12 local kids over that didn't have power because Halloween was right after. We made cupcakes, played games and did crafts. We went trick or treating to a few close houses. They had a blast. Feed 20 people lunch that day. No problem. People used to make fun of my pantry before Sandy. Lots of them thanked us after. I know I can feed my family no problem for 3 months. The only thing we ran out of was fresh fruit and veggies. I prefer fresh but canned was fine.

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    1. Marybeth, now, that's what I'm talking about!!!! You go girl!!!

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  2. Sobering indeed Patsi. I can't remember a time here when the delivery trucks have been unable to access the area for two weeks, though there has been times in the past few years when the stores have been unable to re-stock for a few days and the shelves in the supermarket were looking bare. It is hard for me to say just what I would do. If the electricity supply was ok my thoughts by week 2 would be about rationing the meat supplies we had left. If there was no electricity and we were relying in generator power, I would be trying to use the meat up. This is because it is my understanding that petrol station/gas station pumps run on electricity and if the power was out I would not be able to re-stock my generator fuel supplies.

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    1. Sherri, you're right! Unless a gas station has a back up generator you're not going to be able to pump gas. We drove for an hour and a half one day, one way, to get gas for generators in our area.

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  3. Gas lines after Sandy were CRAZY!I filled up all 3 cars before. My husband drove his motorcycle to work after because it was easier to get around all of the downed trees and wires. Also made sure we had plenty of propane for grills.

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  4. I remember back in the 70's when there were long lines in Florida at the gas stations due to a gas shortage. People with the last name starting with A-L could get 10 gallons of gas Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. The ones with the last name starting with M-Z could get the same amount on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. I remember waiting from 1-2 hours to get 10 gallons of gas. I was fortunate that I only had to do that once a week. I have never had to wait in long lines and hours for food. But the things I saw and heard while I was waiting in line for gas makes me only imagine what it would be like waiting to get food. I saw people mad, fighting and cursing, blaming everyone for not having gas. It proved to me that at anytime we made need to be prepared. I have to admit it wasn't until I joined your facebook group that I actually started building my pantries. I am so glad I found you and all the other ladies because I feel in my bones we are going to need our pantries like never before in the near future. To answer your question, I hope I would have a really well stocked pantry by then and if I didn't, I hope and pray that I would stay calm and polite to everyone and not let myself get caught up in the fear and greed of some. Thank you again Patsy. Paula in Kansas

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    1. Paula, I am convinced that people as a whole are not prepared mentally for any kind of major off grid situation. People as a whole just do not think that anything can or will happen to disrupt their lives. They are just not prepared and when things do happen they fall apart or strike out at others.

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  5. This has happened here after winter storms that took the power out for many days. All fresh food at the grocery stores spoiled and had to be thrown out. It was strange to go to the store and find nothing but the inner isles stocked and that was going fast. I was able to go on here even with 5 children at home because of the stockpile. Now as adults they do not remember this and poke fun at my stocked up pantry. I will not change my ways because of that!

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    1. Lana, neither will I. I've seen too much and experienced too much to let ourselves be without a well stocked pantry if I can help it.

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  6. We live in fire country. We try to stay stocked up. My sister makes fun of me. We evacuated during one fire to a pet friendly hotel. We brought 2 weeks water and food for us and the cats. That is all that would fit along with the bug out bag and pictures. My daughter and I took shifts sleeping and watching the fire forecast. It was moving too fast for both of us to sleep.
    We did pop into a smart and final(a few days after checking into the hotel) for fresh stuff and many shelves were empty.We would of been fine without. It was
    really creepy driving to the hotel at about 5 am not many on the road and many roads
    blocked off. For us we drove to the coast because it was not on fire. We have a red flag warning today and I check the fire app when I hear sirens.
    We would be fine for months. Probably not happy because we would run out of fresh produce but fine. We have a limited amount of storage in the condo no garage but we are creative.We were saying we need to get some smaller flash lights because we were given lots of AA batteries.
    When we had a power outage we went and topped off our gas tanks because you never know. It is a small family station that does have generators. However debit and credit was not working. We took cash because we thought it might be the case. Do you keep cash on hand? The attitude during natural disasters is hard to guess. We saw a lot of kindness during wild fires and not so nice during power outages and the power outage was short. I am not sure what would happen if it was out for weeks or a month or two.
    Thank you for doing this series.
    Patti

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    1. Patti, You've mentioned several things that I'm going to talk about in depth later in the series one being the importance of having cash because credit nor debt cards will work. We ran into that, fortunately for us, we had cash, many did not.

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  7. I'm really finding this conversation interesting. Would we have food for a couple weeks? Probably...though I might hear a lot of complaining from my daughter (who's on the Autism spectrum) about repeat meals. If we lost power for several days, the length of time our food supply might be shortened due to food spoilage though.

    It's a catch 22 for me, for some items. I don't use canned veggies normally, so buying a bunch to keep in the pantry doesn't seem reasonable. It just ends up going to waste or being given away to the food pantry. I do, however, keep certain canned protein items in the pantry, like tuna, flakes of ham, peanut butter, nuts and beans, in case we did loose our freezer meat. Lots of canned soups, pasta, rice, baking supplies, condiments, and ready to eat canned food like canned pasta that don't require heating in case that's a problem for a day or two. I can my own fruit and jams, so those add to a balanced diet if we needed to live only on our pantry supply.

    Also, and probably more important than people realize, I always have lots of powdered milk in my pantry. It can be made up as needed during a power outage and used for cooking, on cereal or even for drinking (though I'm not a fan). Milk is a protein source, which adds much needed nutrition to some carb rich meals. I actually use powdered milk for cooking and baking on a regular basis, so it's rotated through regularly.

    Gasoline is another issue altogether. We do not normally keep large quantities of gas around the house. Convincing my family we should would be a huge argument, though if we knew a potential storm was coming, they might stock up (big might). We would not be able to run a generator for very long, but it would be necessary in order to get water from our well (I do stock water, but it would only last a few days). I usually have cash, so if we could find a gas station with gas, we might be able to buy more. Otherwise, we're pretty creative on how to live without electricity as my mom and I camped at lot growing up and I work at a living history village.

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    1. Even a dozen cans of veggies would be a good thing to have on hand. The dates can often be 2-3 years out so they will keep a long time. This time of year is the best time to stock those price wise.

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  8. Patsy I'm loving this series. For you and others like Annabel, this situation is so fresh in your minds. It's been a few years since we had to depend on our own resources. This past month, hubby has been in hospital, so I have been reviewing all the preparations for storm season on my own. My gorgeous neighbour took pity on me and I now know how to open the fuel jerry can. The cussing let him know that things on our side of the fence were not good. I have checked oil, fuelled up and run for checking, both gen sets. now I need to refill the jerry. I will be fine if a storm was to roll in.

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    1. Jane, good neighbors are a blessing aren't they! Glad you are prepared and ready. I hope your hubby makes a complete recovery soon.

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  9. Patsy, I know that, without supermarkets, our lives would change within a couple of weeks. We could manage. It would just be different. My goals are to have a few more basic things in place to cater for these shortfalls. For example, one goal is to have our own laying hens. Another is to obtain wheat to continue my bread making project started in previous years, and to make bread without relying on store bought yeast.

    One thing to note is that diesel can be safely stored, making diesel generators good for longer term use. Gravity fed access to water is important. So is practice using basic living methods. Even a tent can be a welcome resource! It's amazing how we can improvise when we set ourselves to the task!! It can be an interesting game - seeing what bought items we can do without, and what we can make use of around us!

    Regards,
    Rachel Holt

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    1. Rachel, you are a wise and prudent woman. You've identified the areas you want to work on and have set them as goals. Good for you!

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  10. Like Rhonda A. we do not use many canned vegetables at all. So I would have to rotate my stock and then donate when it got too close to the end date. If nothing else, I guess I would donate more steadily to the food pantry, which is actually a good thing.

    And if you stock a pantry, well, you've got to know what to cook from that pantry. A wall of shelvs full of stored goods won't help if you look at them and have no idea what to make. I'm afraid I might be one of the (many) people in that situation. If you don't have a pantry, you don't know how to cook from one, either!

    Patsy, bless you for taking on this monumental task of sharing/spreading education! I will be glued to your blog, trying to figure out ways to ensure my family's well-being. I really believed a generator would solve all our problems. Now I am seeing that is not the case at all!

    Sue

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    1. Sue, a generator will help as long as you can get fuel for it, but it will by no means solve all the problems. I'm glad you've realized this now instead of in the middle of a big disaster. You go girl!!!!

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  11. Very thought provoking ! We are prepared but our children are not . I always keep extra on hand just in case .For Christmas they all received first aid kits for their homes and cars . They laugh at my pantry but our daughter is starting to build hers up now .This has been a great series it really makes you think .

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    1. Dee, our society as a whole thinks keeping a well-stocked pantry is unnecessary and unfortunately people as a whole, tend to listen to society more than they do common sense. As for our children, sometimes it takes some maturing to realize mama and grandma weren't so crazy after all!

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    2. I think my autistic daughter, at 13 years old, is starting to realize how handy mom's well stocked pantry is. Last weekend she had a project for school in which she had to design a cell using edible materials. She had a list of "candy" along with a cake and icing that she needed. Almost everything on her list I had stashed away, which I had bought on sale (including a chocolate egg I had bought on sale around Easter). The only thing we bought was a $1 package of gummy worms from the dollar store. If we had to buy everything not on sale, I'm pretty sure it would have cost a pretty penny!

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  12. Thank you for this interesting and necessary conversation. I have never really understood how to have a well-stocked pantry or been organized enough to manage it. I do feel the Lord prompting me on this, though, so in September, I began to work on it, one item at a time. I want to be a blessing in such circumstances, both to my family and to others. Thank you for the encouragement! Blessings!

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    1. Hi Toni, I hope you can spend some time looking around A Working Pantry because there are lots of free resources for those who are just beginning the journey of building a well-stocked pantry. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

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  13. Just a thought on the canned vegetable issue. The only canned veggies we use are tomatoes. Everything else we keep in our pantry is dehydrated. It takes a little planning ahead to rehydrate things when you need them, but it's not that inconvenient. I actually like to get bags of mixed veggies at Costco and dehydrate them. They take up a lot less space that way, too.

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    1. Chipmunk, that's a good tip! Thanks for sharing!

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  14. My biggest issue would be meat. I have some canned tuna and a couple of cans of canned chicken. I'm working on remedying that situation.

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    1. Jenn, I think meat is the area that most people struggle with, so you're not alone.

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    2. It doesn't have to be meat specifically, Jenn. I have cans of baked beans, which don't require heating to eat and are a good protein source. Cans of pre-made soup, chili, stews, and even some canned pasta already have protein in them. KD has processed cheese, which is still a protein. Powdered milk is another protein source that can be made up as needed and added to simple dishes, like oatmeal, dry cereal or used to cook with. You may need to think outside the box or with a "vegetarian" mindset when it comes to protein sources during an emergency.

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  15. Dear Patsy, we live in a Cyclone prone area too....I think what you call Hurricanes, are our Cyclones. The silly thing is that we KNOW we will have cyclones every Summer. It's just a given. And yet despite reminders on the radio, television and in print media, people remain unprepared. It's like they forget once the crisis has passed. A bit like childbirth I guess...painful at the time, but easily forgotten....lol! Every year, we experience floods, often catastrophic in some regions, and supplies are cut off for days or weeks. Emergency services are left to rescue people, not just from flooding, but by delivering supplies. I know that's their job, but still, it can't hurt to alleviate some of that stress by being a little prepared as well. Your blog is such a valuable resource. I'll be making a donation too. Love, Mimi xxx

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    1. Mimi, I agree, if we know these things are a possibility/likelyhood, we should prepare for them.It would mean less stress for everyone involved. Thank you for your donation, that is so very thoughtful of you!

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  16. Patsy as you know I have been thinking about this for a while. I am hoping we could avoid altogether waiting in lines etc and have enough at home to not even be out and about. Of course there would be a limit to how long we could last but I don't want to be desperate and stressed when I could be home safe and sound. But the more I know the more I think I just need to keep adding to my pantry and storage. What I thought was enough probably isn't! xxx

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    1. Annabel, I think we underestimate how long our pantries will last when we are eating exclusively out of them. Also, I've seen desperate and stressed the past 2 weeks and I don't want to go there if I can keep from it.

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