This morning I felt I should give our home a big hug. I am "trying" to concentrate on our home despite growing concerns about what is going on in our country and the world.
Now the tropics are brewing up storms and it just feels like rocky times ahead. I have gone to my quiet place to pray and find my peace and I found my sense that I need to stay steady and prepare our home the best I can to sustain our needs.
Many of us may not be living where we want to live and dream of another place but for right now maybe it is time to shore up our nest as the birds do. They come in with sticks and moss and leaves and make the nest stronger.
To make our nest stronger I have been concentrating on our Pantry/larder and taking inventory. We need our food supplies to be topped off so we are more secure.
Shown above is a simple pasta dish completely from the pantry/larder. Pasta, canned zucchini.
If we should have a situation to where we completely depend on the food we have and cannot get out to a store then do we have what we need to make a true meal?
I cannot advise you what food to stock up on because everyone has their food preferences and many have food allergies and sensitivities so we all have to stock what is good for ourselves and our family.
I added canned soups and more store bought goods because our garden is not producing enough food to do much canning. I added V8 juice last year because it is a source of vegetables in a tight situation.
I am working on increasing dehydrated foods for our larder/pantry. This is bell peppers that have been dehydrated as well as celery.
This is a slice of bell pepper that has been dehydrated.
As you see here the left side of this pepper is starting to be fully rehydrated, the right side needs a bit more time. I rehydrate them in a small amount of boiling water and I put any leftover water/broth in what I am cooking or in stew.
I dehydrated eggplant last night.
I am sorry about this fuzzy picture but the camera was giving me issues and I wanted to show you how I cut them and placed them on the dehydrating tray.
This is how they looked after they were dehydrated.
Now air sealed in quart jars.
I sterilized the jars and let them dry before using them. This above is 4 large eggplants that have been fully dehydrated and it filled 2 and about 1/3 quart jars.
This above is, the right quart jar holds 5 large green bell peppers that have been fully dehydrated and the left jar is 4 "heads" not stalks but 4 heads of celery which is quite a bit of celery. Celery reduces down to be very small.
We have two different food dehydrators. My suggestion to buy a dehydrator that has a temperature control because certain foods need different temperatures to dry. Some people live in areas that are dry and can dehydrate food using the sun. There is much information on the internet without me going into this.
We do not need a dehydrator or canning equipment to keep a pantry/larder. We can stock up on store bought food, the most important part is that we do keep enough food on our shelves for emergencies, times of sickness and such as that.
We are far removed from our generations that depended on the food they grew but that does not mean we cannot find our own way in today's time.
The important thing is that we cannot just do nothing during the time we live now where most any kind of a emergency situation could arise.
We try to eat fresh food often and food that is not processed but there are times we may need easy to make food. So another change I made to our pantry is I added mixes that I can add water or powdered milk should we have an electric outage and have no refrigeration to keep perishable foods. I will use these at times to keep them rotated.
I added two baskets for these types of packages. We have fuel and camping equipment to cook our food so we just make a shift in what type of stove or oven we cook on.
I try to turn my worry into something productive and not just ignore the problem. I cannot change the situations outside our home but I can inside our home and why I would give it a big hug if I could.
I have received some emails from folks that are very worried about what could happen with the volatile situations we have but we have no way to know what will be.
I feel if we live simple and remove all the things that clutter our life and put into place the most simple common items that our generations before us had then we will be in a much better place than most. Our generations before us lived through some very serious times and they lived without the most common necessities that we have today and that is electricity and running water.
Over the last ten years I have done a lot of reading and studying history, mostly about the homefront from about 1850 to 1950. I do question our abilities to survive a crisis because of this electronic world and that we have so many people that live day by day giving no consideration to food storage or emergency preparation. My other concerns are not having the right tools or farms of the past.
If we don't live like the past then we need to find new ways to live more sustainable in the present and future.
A thought came to me this morning and that was, if we have more than we need of items with no real purpose then we will need more than we have when we need the items that do real purpose. In other words the items in our home should be useful and not just decorative.
I am continuing to change that scenario in our home and each change is grounding me.
I had a blog friend to email me the other day and said
Because my Granny had always conserved water. They had cows which had to be watered and she wasn't about to run the well dry over needless waste! She'd draw a bucket of water and we drank from that with a dipper during the day. She heated a dishpan of water and half went into the sink to do dishes and the other half stayed on the stove keeping warm and she rinsed in it. After she was done, it went out to water plants. When we children came to stay she ran about two inches of water in the bathroom sink and that was where we washed our hands.
Thank you Terri,
This email is special to me because if you have read some of my blog you may already know I feel strongly about conserving water. Even if we have plenty of flowing water now we never know when that could be disrupted. The most important life sustaining substance on earth is water and yet we drastically waste it every day.
I still waste water because I have not completely figured out how to conserve without drawing up a certain amount per day. I am making improvements but still too much water running down the drain. Our generations before us did not have this problem when they had to dip, pump, catch and haul water.
The photo above is the main wash basin and pitcher we use to take a wash basin bath. The pitcher holds one gallon of water which is just right to get very clean and wash the bowl after.
I do appreciate having running water and realize how serious a situation we could have should we not have any and why we "need" to learn how to survive on little water at least in a emergency situation.
The news is concerning these days but it is causing a stir in me that is making me stronger. I am determined to continue this journey to live more like the past.
It is not easy to live this way but I don't necessarily want easy anymore because easy either costs more or it is wasteful.
I am keeping busy taking inventory around the house because I am the household manager of the house. I take this job seriously. We have a cabinet that i keep extra goods and I find it important to keep back stock of items that need to be replaced when they wear out such as underwear, socks, kitchen drying towels, new cotton clothes line, clothes pins and such as that.
I count how many we have and I replace the back stock when it has been moved to replace something that has worn out and has been repurposed or discarded. This way I do not have to rush to the store for items and can purchase many items when they are on sale.
Same for cotton yarn as that is what I use for cotton dishcloths and bath cloths.
Household management is an important job and when we take that job seriously it can transform a place that is cluttered and lacking basic goods to a home that is secure and can carry us through the bumpy times and the good times. It is not easy because we have to roll up our sleeves and do the work.
How does your inventory add up? Do you have supplies to make a meal today, tomorrow and the next day? If there were to be an emergency today can you take care of yourself and family for a week without electricity or possible running water? Let me just say it, what if it was much longer than a week?
Do you have extra food for emergencies?
Do you have water stored or a way to filter rain water or water from a stream?
Do you have a way to cook your food?
Wash and dry your laundry?
Do you have alternate lighting?
A composting toilet for emergencies?
Do you have a way to dispose of garbage? A compost bin and a burn bin?
If you have a baby do you have cloth diapers? The old type that opens fully and dries easily after washing? Diaper Pins? You will not want to use disposable diapers if there is no garbage removal in an emergency.
After a disaster there are numerous times in history that people have gotten very sick or died from unsanitary conditions and disease sets in. There are ways to prevent this with simple steps.
We keep a large bag of peat moss to use for a composting toilet. Sawdust is another good thing to use if you have a source to get some but we do not have a source nearby. In the old days people had outhouses but now we know we can compost our human waste.
Purchase some five gallon buckets with lids, take a bucket with a lid and put some peat moss or sawdust in the bottom. Keep some peat moss or sawdust in a container with a scoop and when you go to the bathroom add some of the sawdust or peat moss to cover and every time you go cover it with a layer of this mixture.
It will take a pretty good while to fill a 5 gallon bucket and when it is full put the lid on, set it outside somewhere off to the side of the house or building and start a new bucket. It would help if you have a toilet seat to set on top when you go. People that use composting toilets all the time have compost bins where they empty the buckets and cover with hay or straw. After it sits for a year or two and it will simply turn to rich soil, just dirt.
This can prevent disease in an emergency situation. There is a booklet called the humannure handbook available on the internet with much information. I have a copy of the free booklet that I printed off their website and also there are wood composting toilets with toilet seats that you can put your 5 gallon buckets in and it sits like a regular toilet or you can build one yourself. Knowledge is power.
We decided we could use our chamber pot and the peat moss and add it to the five gallon bucket since the rim is made where you can sit on it and it has a lid.
We keep emergency supplies including emergency food supplies but our emergency food is the same food we would normally eat other than the added items such as the just add water muffin mixes and a few other things that we still work into our rotated pantry. We also have camping stoves, fuel and a fire pit to cook on, rain barrels, heavy duty water filters, extra soap, bleach, first aid kit, compost bin, five gallon buckets, laundry buckets and wash stick plunger thing, clothes wringer, clothes line, Wash basins to bathe with pitchers, Oil lamps, lighters and matches, solar light bulbs and a can to burn the garbage that cannot be recycled or composted. These can be used in emergencies but most of these are the things we use here at home since we live an old fashioned lifestyle and there is a benefit to living more like the past because we are already ready for emergencies.
I do not want this article to frighten anyone but to empower you so you can be comfortable should an emergency arise. These are unsettled times and every day we hear about possible war and missile strikes, riots and people trying to shut down our grid. We have weather disasters and earthquakes, fires and floods do happen around the world all the time. It is something that we need to talk about and more important prepare for because if we prepare for it we know we have done what we can do and go on about our normal day.
I cannot tell you what to do only tell and show you what we do and hope that inspires people to prepare their home for an emergency.