The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

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Tuesday, 10 March 2015

A Reminder of Why we are Building our Pantry's (by Helen).

Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 starts with "There's an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on earth".
And so it was this past couple of weeks when I found myself incredibly thankful as we calmly, but busily prepared for Cyclone Marcia here in Australia. Tonight there are two cyclone systems off the Western Australia coast and the Queensland Coast.

Thanks to all of you and Annabel starting our interest in building our pantry's, food, water and alternate power were things that I knew we had in place. The joy of not having to rush to the supermarket and try and get supplies in while I was stressed or the weather was worsening.

My husband and I live in the mountains, where there are an abundance of large gum trees.  In the past, the road to town has been blocked by landslides that make the road impassable. It also means during severe weather events, we usually lose power.  This also means we don't have water to the house.
The key here, is knowing what you are likely to face during a severe weather event in your area.  As Annabel said in her area, it's often bush fires, but for some of you, it's snowstorms or flooding.
I kept moving at a busy pace as the morning unfolded, and cooked several meals, using the chicken we had in the freezer as well as making a cake and a pie.  We have recently bought a oven that attaches to our wood stove and we have plenty of firewood.  We also had purchased a generator, and my husband bought it up and started it to make sure it was running as well as checking we had enough fuel for it.

Once I had the food taken care of, I cleaned and tidied the house and lit candles.  With the smell of the food, and flicker of the candles, all was snug and safe in my home.
We had our youngest son coming home for the weekend, and it was lovely to welcome him into our cozy circle.
After this event, what do I realise about where we are short if we face this again....and we will.  I don't have adequate lighting.  I have several hundred tea lights, as well as various candles, torches and battery operated fairy lights.  On my wish list are some Kerosene Lamps from Kirkman's in the U.S.

I also need to keep building our pantry with the delightful company of this group to share ideas with. This month for March following the " All is Safely Gathered In" programme, I am adding tomato products and also making sure my First Aid is adequate.
So let me ask you....if tomorrow or later this week, you found that you had a big event in your life, what is it that you need to do to be prepared?
Love Helen xxx


  1. Thank you for sharing your experience Helen. Taking stock of our experiences is such a good way to prepare for the next time ... and as long as we live there will always be a next time! Great post!

  2. Helen I am building up medicines and first aid too. A few extra items so far this week. Especially with winter coming... I am adding strepsils and things I find reliable life savers.
    Recently there have been so many reminders to be prepared. I saw Sweet Melanie had days without water again.
    I am so glad we are on this journey together! xxx

  3. PRAYERS FOR YOU ALL! So glad about your well-stocked pantries!

    Hugs from Oregon, USA,

  4. A lovely post Helen

    Usually it is my pantry that I concentrate on, but thanks to you ladies here I am well and truly prepared.

    I have been concentrating on items for blackouts as even though we have not been getting a lot of rain we do get fierce electrical storms and all we seem to have are torches and a few candles. I bought as a gift for my DBro one of the following on ebay (at his request)
    They are fantastic and give great light so I have ordered one for us also

    The other thing that I am concentrating on is like Annabel my medicine has take a hit in recent months an I need to restock especially this week with DD4 being home sick. I was pretty please that after a trip to the Dr yesterday that I had everything I needed but by the end of this bout of illness it will be in need of restocking. I find that just a few purchases a week a great help rather than buying it all at once.

    Thank you for all the helpful hints


  5. Helen,

    Something we find helpful here during extended power outages is headlamps. We use them for hand-free work (food prep, reading, crafting, etc.). I have found packages of two or three at our home improvement stores, or they can be found in the camping section at any store with a sporting goods department. Most are LED now, so the battery life is reasonable. If you splurge on a quality headlamp such as those used by backpackers, the battery life is even better. There are some made especially for smaller children as well. It is something we have found rather helpful.

  6. Dear Annabel and Helen

    Thank you for a lovely post. I have been looking at Hand Cranked and Solar Lamps for inside the house in case of an emergency. Also being that we have rolling power outages in Summer in our area regularly these will come in handy.
    I am not too sure that I am comfortable with kerosene powered lanterns....that is I am not too comfortable with my ability to use them. When I was looking at these lanterns some of the solar powered lamps have a USB port for charging your phones...that could come in handy. I will need to think and pray on this. Not much has been happening on the stocking of the pantry front here but I have plans now for a water tank for the end of this year.

    Slowly does it here for now but slowly does it built the pyramids.

    God Bless and have a good week

  7. Hi Patsi, I really love your blog! Thank you for your encouragement. Annabel, I feel like I need a few pointers with the Medicine cabinet. I have started slowly building it, and will continue. Kelley, thank you for your lovely post. Aly, I have put that hand cranked solar light on my watch list. I'm going to get one. Thank you!
    Mel, a water tank...what an achievement.
    Even with our preparation and the awareness of what we are likely to be dealing with in our areas where we live, so often, there is still that moment when you get the warnings, that it's a bit overwhelming.
    I think knowing that we have at least some of the bases covered and the overall picture is that each week or month, we're a little bit better prepared is such a calming thing in itself.
    During Cyclone Marcia, we went out to walk the dog and found that a new neighbour who are a young married couple had run out of wood. We came home, packed up a basket and drove it up the street to them. We live in the mountains, so we get thick mist and it gets chilly and damp. A fire in the fireplace is a great comfort.
    Such a small thing for us to bless another family during this time.
    Thank you all for the beautiful community that exists here. Love Helen x

  8. My efforts are less with adding to the pantry this week and more with filling in the holes needed in case of an emergency. I view it all as preparedness. One item I do need to add, and this wonderful article reminded me of it, is a stainless steel teapot to heat water. We have a stainless steel stovetop coffee pot, which we enjoy using, already.

    Since moving to a new town and a different house, last November, I have struggled to get used to the new kitchen; hence "made from scratch, frozen prepared foods, " are the hole in our preparedness right now. This week I have been working on that area.

    We frequently had lengthy power outages in our past home. Having frozen prepared soups, stews, casseroles, sweet breads, cookies, etc, saved a lot of time and stress in fixing meals. There is always other work to be done when an emergency occurs, so having nourishing prepared food that needs only heated helps a lot.

    We have a Waterford Stanley wood cook stove with oven and food warmer, so as soon as the power went out, my husband fired up the cook stove. We freeze everything in Pyrex glass containers, so warming the food up to thaw on a trivet on the stove isn't a problem. Once thawed, it can be either thoroughly heated on top of the stove or in the oven. The convenience of not having to cook, along with fewer dishes to clean up, helps a lot when time and efforts are needed elsewhere; at least for this old woman who hasn't the energy of youth or the stamina :).

    So, this week my efforts have been in cooking various meats and freezing them; checking where low areas are in food storage and making a replacement list; trying to better organize the kitchen for ease of cooking and baking; cleaning the canning kitchen downstairs to have it ready for summer; and baking high nutrient snacks to freeze.

    Now, I'm off to order that stainless steel tea kettle and another LED lantern. Thanks for the reminder.

    The Bluebirds are Nesting has quickly become one of my favorite blogs. A very big thank you to both you, Helen, and Annabel.

  9. This is a wonderful post Helen, I always enjoy Annabell's blog! We are rather fortunate, as our electric rarely goes off. Thanks to Brenda at Coffee, Tea, Books and Me, I have been collecting really good flashlights and plenty of extra batteries. I am still working on building up my pantry, and this week loaded up on extra meats for the freezer. I always make up a meatloaf, homemade hamburgers, stuffed cabbage and meatballs and freeze them uncooked. It sure is a time saver to throw a frozen dinner in the oven or cook up hamburgers quickly. All I need to do is add a side or two.

  10. My medicine cabinet needs a bit of a rethink as we head into the colder months. Paracetemol is on the list for this week and extra lemon juice which is so much easier than trying to keep lemons to combat the colds that often hit as the weather changes.

    We have a kerosine heater so need to do a stock take on the kerosine (we get the one that has little aroma so can only get the bottles). It has been fine while the weather has been warm but the cold weather will be upon us and that is when we have had huge problems getting kerosine.

    Some easy precooked items in the freezer are also on the list to be done - rice already cooked up and frozen can either be used as a side or turned into fried rice. We usually have rissoles that my husband makes in the freezer, he adds lots of vegetables to them so no need to stress if we end up with a rissole sandwich.

    I made sure that when Marcia was approaching that we had plenty of matches - I have stored the extra boxes in a container but a zip lock bag would do.


    Grocery shop this week and I do not have a huge amount on my list to get - I try to just shop monthly so working out what we need as the seasons are changing can be interesting. We go from eating a lot of salads to having lots of slow cooked meals which are always larger than needed so that extra can be frozen.

  11. Hi Glenda, thank you for a wonderful post! Nana, you are echoing it as well. I hadn't thought of this. At this stage I only have the freezer room on top of my fridge, but still freezing soups and stews in ziplock bags flat would be a huge help.
    I'm using my freezer space more thanks to this series and view it as part of my pantry that has to be used first in an emergency.
    I simply love the concept of having an abundance of food in the house, just even for the comfort of choice, and being able to stay home and not spend our money if we need to. Thanks ladies. xxx

  12. Helen your post is a reminder that many still live in precarious conditions despite our access to the comforts of life. We too are fortunate, that work by the electricity company in our suburb means that we rarely lose power and if we do, it's only for an hour or two. Also, although we get the storms, they are rarely as fierce by the time they reach us as they seem to be in other areas. The Western suburbs here always get the worst, and by the time conditions reach us in the Eastern suburbs, it's mostly just rain and wind. Even hail is rare in our little pocket although suburbs surrounding us have been inundated from time to time. That said, following the devastating floods here a couple of years ago, preparedness is something that has been ingrained into our consciousness, although not necessarily in terms of pantry, but rather safety. Making children aware of the dangers of flood waters, playing in storm drains (sadly children are lost every year through being washed away in storm drains, where they think harmless frolicking in the water there can do them no harm), downed electricity lines, basic first aid and who to call if there is an emergency, including numbers in an easily accessible place to refer to for help. Those as well as a battery operated radio with spare batteries, and torches, lights and an alternative method of keeping food cool such as Eskys (Chiller boxes) and ice bricks are good strategies too. I love your

  13. Hi Mimi and Lynette, Thank you for your wonderful comments. Mimi, I too think of this each time I see the flood warnings. Knowing you and Lynette, I know that you are ladies who keep your homes ready for life events.
    Just talking about these things is so helpful. One of the good feelings I had getting ready was that I felt like I was providing comfort for my family in the form of meals, a clean home and candles. I could relax to a certain extent due to Glen taking care of the power outage issues. For us losing power also means losing water to our home. We can get it out of our tank by a bucket, but it's easier if the weather is foul to plug in the generator.
    Thanks lovely friends. xxx

    1. It's interesting that life on the mountain poses these special challenges for you Helen, and yet you find so much in this lifestyle that is appealing and warm and giving. I can just picture you providing for your family, that which is needed in a crisis. A warm touch, a caring word, a comforting meal and a feeling of welcome. You are an example to us all. Mimi xxx

  14. Dear Helen,
    Thank you for another beautiful pantry post! So many reminders and great comments. I am glad that you were able to calmly provide comfort for your family, and that you were able to bless your neighbors with the wood. The area of my pantry I am working on this week is our first aid and medicines. I have been looking at oil lamps, but haven't made a purchase yet. I am also looking to add a stove-top coffee pot eventually. We have a propane burner on our grill and I would make coffee there. I have a French press as well. I love that we are all having these conversations. It is very encouraging and takes the anxiety out of the equation when I realize we are all building our pantries and homes together. March is presenting some financial challenges for us but I'm so glad I can still build! Thank you for your comforting post! Love, Colette xxx

  15. Dear Colette, It's always so good to hear from you! One of the nice side benefits of this pantry project is all the little home projects that it has given birth to for us. It's true we are building pantries and homes together. You know Colette the great thing about this is even on the challenging months, even adding a couple of things, tidying out an area, taking an inventory, reorganising storage, it's all a form of building and gathering.
    Thank you for your lovely comment. Love Helen


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