30 April 2020

Preparing for the Lean Times

Do you remember the story of Joseph, of coat of many colours fame? How he was betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery in Egypt, worked his way up to be a ruler, directly under the pharaoh?

Do you remember the pharaoh's dreams of the fat cows and ears of corn and the skinny cows and ears of corn? Do you remember Joseph's interpretation of the dream and what he told Pharaoh to do?

The fat cows and corn represented seven good years, where crops would thrive and harvests plentiful. The skinny cows represented seven years of famine, where nothing would grow and the crops and harvest failed.

What do we learn from this dream? Well I've learned that when times are good we put aside to enable us to live when times are tough.

The last three months have been dreadful, for the whole world. A pandemic has caused unheard of suffering, the likes of which the modern world has never seen or experienced.

Right here in Australia, suddenly people were out of work; people who thought they had job security  found themselves lining up for hours outside Centrelink offices.

Supermarkets ran out of basics. All of a sudden toilet paper became almost as valuable as gold. There was no flour, or yeast. No rice. The cleaning aisle was almost empty. Freezers were empty - there wasn't  a bag of frozen vegetables or a packet of frozen chips to be had. Nappies and wipes were as hard to get as formula.

Then seeds and seedlings disappeared. Even online seed stores shut down because they'd run out of seeds.

And most people were scared. They were looking at what they had in their pantry, their "store", and found lots of holes that they couldn't fill

I looked at our pantry, and sat down and forgot about it. There were no holes. We had enough to keep us for a long time, well past the expected duration of this crisis.

I was able to be so relaxed because during the good times I had faithfully been building our pantry, to ensure that we would be OK during lean times.
If yours was one of the households running out of things during this crisis, you might like to  think about what you need to survive without shopping for a week, a fortnight, a month, three months, six months even a year.

Then look at your pantry. What do you have ? How long will it last you? Where are the holes? If the shops were to close overnight, what would you need?

Unless you are very wealthy and money really isn't an issue, building a pantry to last any length of time takes just that: time. And patience and planning, but we'll cover those over the next few posts. Right now you just need to get started.

Start now to fill the gaps. Perhaps aim for a month's worth of groceries and work towards getting your pantry built up.

Even now, in lockdown, with lots of blank spots still on supermarket shelves, you can build your pantry. There aren't many specials around at the moment, although there are still bargains to be had. When you head out to the supermarket or greengrocer or butcher make it worth the effort. Take your list. Know what you need and what you'd like to get. Don’t forget to social distancing rules and shop with a purpose: in, get the list done, get out. Don't hang around and browse.

If money is really tight, or the shelves are still bare, perhaps you can trade for some things. You won't know if you don't ask around. If you have seeds you may be able to swap them for a bag of flour or yeast or sugar to build your pantry. Or perhaps you have some jams made, that you can trade for shampoo or dried beans. Let friends, family, neighbours, the post office lady, the chemist - everyone you come in contact with- that you are prepared to trade and see what happens.

As you get the additions to your pantry, don't forget to cross them off your list.

You don't need to get everything at once. Little by little, item by item, you can build your pantry. Even having just one spare of whatever is open is a start that you can build on.

Because being prepared is wise. It does save you money. It does save you time. It does give you options when it comes to cooking and baking. And it means that in an emergency, whatever it may be, you don't need to worry about shopping.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Cath. Before the pandemic I had started to "use up" items from my stockpile. My family and I still had enough food on hand for a while but I did worry for a bit there. I normally have 2-3 big packs of toilet paper but we were on to our last one. I learnt from this that I need to rotate my "stock" and as I use up items make sure I buy more to replace them. Rather than trying to save money by using things up!


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment...I just love hearing from you!

Just a couple of things:

Please don't use your comments to advertise your business or goods for sale, any such comments will be removed.