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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...

Monday, May 29, 2017

Disaster Preparedness Class #4

(This picture is just one of many scenes of Huricane Matthew's devestation to our area that I'll be sharing throughout this class.  I do not remember where I got this picture so I can't give credit.  I took many photos myself and others were shared with me so please understand if I can't give the proper credit for each photo I'll be sharing.)

It's been 5 days since the storm came through and if you had to evacuate you've now been notified that everyone who lives in your neighborhood can go back home. 
Fortunately, you only had to be out of your home for 3 days. You are a bit apprehensive about what you are going to find. Once you’re back at home you discover that the water got up to your door but did not actually get in your house.

What is the first thing you’re going to do? There's still water standing in your yard. You still do not have any electricity and from the looks of your neighborhood, it may be awhile before you do. If it’s cold, how are you keeping warm? If it’s hot, how are you managing the heat? How are you feeling after being away from your home for 3 days? What are you going to feed your family for dinner?

If you did not have to evacuate, how are you doing? Have you settled into a daily 'disaster survival' routine?  What does it look like?

The 'new' has worn off of the situation and everyone just wants this whole thing to go away ... but it won't.  You have no choice but to continue on making the best choices you can with what you have on hand.  

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

15 comments:

  1. Since the likelihood of water reaching our door is pretty slim (being that we like on a hill), I'm going with the scenario that we are still without power and living on what we have for days.

    I'm predicting that we have run out of gas for the generator. Could try getting some, if gas stations are open. We have cash to buy it, if need be. May be long waiting lines, but time is something we have lots of. If gas is unavailable, generator is of no use.

    In all likelyhood, we are probably running low or out of water. So this means we are looking for places to get some. I know grocery stores are probably out. Water in the city may still be flowing, but may or may not be drinkable. We can try filling up jugs at my MILs house. If the water needs to be boiled, we can find a way to do that, even if it means creating a fire pit in our very wet yard. If not available there, we could check with a neighbour to see if they can get water from their well with a generator. Worse comes to worse, there may be water being offered from some source at this point (red cross, army, etc., since we are now in a state of emergency). We live within walking distance of a waterway. If we need water for flushing toilets, we can fill buckets there.

    Speaking of neighbours, we would probably be talking to many of them, as we would all be out around our properties doing daily chores. Lots of communication happening and most likely offers of help. We have great neighbours that way.

    Food is still probably OK, though any meat in the freezer is lost. It might not be a really balanced diet from the pantry, but we're not starving either. Our day would pretty much evolve around making meals and finding water for the most part.

    Autistic daughter has probably been whining about being bored for days, as all her favourite electronics are not working. We're all annoyed at this point and tempers are soaring. We also stink, as bathing would be difficult. We might need to do a bit of laundry, but mainly underwear. We can use the water from the waterway to wash and hang to dry on clothesline or a drying rack inside if necessary. We're coping, but nerves are frayed.

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    Replies
    1. Rhonda, it was a full week before any kind of aid could get to our area and then bottled water was trucked in, truckload after truckload, after truckload. Then the problem was getting to the pick-up points as so many roads were flooded, damaged, closed or blocked. Many, many people were stranded in their neighborhoods.

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    2. I try to keep several cases of bottled water stocked, but my mom likes to use them for company, etc. It's fine, as it does rotate the water. I need to buy more, but haven't restocked yet. Thus the need for water. I will be stocking more very soon! My guess is that at least one of our neighbours would have a running generator to pump up water. We'd probably have to boil it, but it's water.

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  2. I'm feel betterbeing home. The cats and I are better prepared in our own environment. I have flashlights, backup batteries, candles, matches, woodstove, wood in the garage, a campstove (not much fuel though), and my buddy burner but I might need to have more tuna cans with cardboard and wax made up. I have a big drum if water and some bottled water, lots of food for the cats and I, lots of books to read and cards to play. Cats have plenty of litter for their boxes but what about me...plenty if toliet paper but... will the toliet keep flushing forever if I keep pouring greywater down? I need some other system...I have a bucket and plastic bags I could switch over to...nothing fancy or comfortable. How long before my garbage can fills up? Where will I put garbage after that? I think it will take longer to do things during this time..heating water, cooking, etc. Not being able to bathe except with a washcloth and small amount of water after a week is going to get old. I think I should can in smaller jars instead of quarts so that I don't have to worry about leftovers in the jar after a meal..there will be no refrigeration. -- Julie

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    Replies
    1. Julie, those are some very good conclusions you've come too and very, very applicable!

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  3. We did not need to evacuate since we live on a hill. But we are probably out of water at this point. We live within walking distance of several smaller convenience stores so would probably send the most able body person we have to get some bottled water if they had any. We have cash to pay for it if they are open. If not, well, we might have to boil and drink rain water. Not the best option but one we might have to do. So, I see now that I need to store more water. I will take care of that as soon as I can.

    We would be ok on food. I have a variety of items in my pantry, including canned meat, veggies, and fruit. We are cooking on the gas grill IF the gas is still on. If not, we do have a couple propane tanks to use with our camp stove and a fire pit we could also cook over.

    Still we are doing OK. Not going hungry, have plenty of things to do around the house, lots of books to read and plenty of crafting supplies to keep us busy.

    ShelliaJean

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    Replies
    1. ShelliaJean, water is so, so important!

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  4. This discussion opened my eyes. Because we live in the mountains and are trying to be self sufficient I didn't take into consideration we have only one way out and that's across the river . If the bridge were to go or be underwater for a time we would be trapped. Next Dr. Visit I'm going to ask for an extra months prescriptions for us . We will have to pay out of pocket for them but they are fairly inexpensive except for my RA medication .
    Guess I'm not as prepared as I thought this opened my eyes !

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    Replies
    1. If your doctor will do that, that is a wise thing to do Dee.

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  5. The weather turned hot over the weekend. Thankfully, our house is well-insulated, so it doesn't heat up very fast. Also, our climate is such that, on 90+ degree days like we've been having, it gets down to the low 50's at night. So we cool the house by leaving the windows open at night and in the cool of the morning. We also keep the blinds and curtains shut on the sunny side of the house, along with the outdoor shades on the back porch.

    Since there isn't any water in the chicken coop, just their run, we've moved the girls back to their house; they were too stinky in the shower!

    We've been contacting the neighbors over the course of this disaster to make sure everyone's ok. We've all started having potlucks to share vulnerable food before it went bad. We're starting to get low on fresh food and had to pitch a few things into the compost, but we still have enough food to last quite a while, though the meals will become less and less balanced as we go along.

    We're still being very strategic with the water from our storage tank. The only laundry we are washing is underclothes and anything very muddy; everything else is re-worn. We have everything we need to wash clothes by hand and hang-dry them. When we can't stand our dirty, stinky selves, we're taking sponge baths, which can be accomplished with very little water.
    To save water, we've started using our stash of paper plates, etc. Some of them can be composted or put in the recycling bin, which saves space in the trash, which has not yet been collected.
    I found instructions in a book for purifying drinking water with bleach, so we do that each day, now that we've run out of our drinking water stash.

    We go to bed soon after the sun goes down, both to save candles and batteries and because we tend to get bored by the end of the day. By now, the boredom and stress are making us all pretty cranky. When the afternoons get long, we pull out games and play them in the shade and breeze of the back porch.

    -Susan O.

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    Replies
    1. Susan, I love the idea of having potlucks!!! Smart idea!!

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  6. We did not need to evacuate either because we live on a hill. I thought we had enough water, as there are only three of us living at home now, but our three 19 litre bottles are really only enough for about five days. Water is getting low, and emergency supplies might not be here for awhile. I definitely need to buy more water. Our pantry is usually pretty well stocked ( well for us anyway, maybe a months worth of food), but I'm starting to think that isn't really enough. I'm going to start keeping my eye open for sales and aim to build up a three month supply to start. Also, with our daughter and family living on our property, I should really account for them in our numbers.

    Marney

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    Replies
    1. Marney, when we have to eat exclusively out of our pantry, it takes more than we realize, doesn't it? And yes, preparing for those who would be under your care during a disaster situation is smart, whether they live in your home or not. Good thoughts!

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  7. Day 5: Food in fridge should be gone by now. Freezers holding on. We have a bulk tank for gasoline and diesel so the generator will still be running as will the well. It's getting very warm here but not unbearable, just uncomfortable. Sponge baths are not the best but at least we can stay clean. If the grands were here, we'd be learning new games to play and taking walks. We have lots of books, art supplies and all of nature. Life goes on.

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  8. Didn't need to bug out after all. Fridge is now empty, so its had a bit of clean out and the door is propped open to prevent smells and mould. Rain water is used for washing underclothes, everything else is worn until it can stand up on its own. Dogs are getting a bit stir-crazy, missing their long walks. try to keep them occupied is like having 2 toddlers. OH & I take it in turns to throw soft balls up and down the stairs and around the garden for them. At night we use a flashlight with a small beam which they chase and try to catch, so funny to watch. OH is getting tired of the situation now, he's a gadget freak, so none of his" toys" work! However, he's reading alot more and says that he's enjoying books that he'd forgotten about. My mending pile has gone down a great deal, I've even managed some machine sewing on my Treadle machine.
    Freezer is now thawing out rapidly, so we plan to remove anything that can be composted and then put freezer out in garden and bury the meat that has spoiled.
    Water holding out, food ok so far. Now Hubby see's why we need a pantry. Just us 2 at home so it hasn't really been too bad, although tempers get a bit frayed at time.

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