The things Andy keeps in the shed... tools, batteries, buckets etc these are all part of it as well!
So my focus now is much more on everything! In my mind my cellar has become my "home store" where I can find anything I might run out of including things like dish washing liquid, soap, toothpaste as well as food. This is a big project, transforming it from a wasted space to a store!
This week Sydney had a massive storm. At the moment 100,000 people are still without power. Someone I know went out in it after the storm and realised it was a massive mistake, trees were down and it was generally unsafe. We need to be able to stay put and not go on the roads until things are ok. The number if times I have heard of people being killed as they are basically sight seeing disasters amazes me. Stay safe! That is just sensible! If we are at least a bit prepared we can easily stay home and out of it with plenty of food etc for a few days. Driving to the store for milk is just not necessary! Since I wrote this it got worse and many more are without power and lives have been lost sadly.)
Anyway, I am seeing each area as my pantry and considering everything that adds to them as building up my pantry.
The other gradual change has been becoming more aware of every opportunity to add to each area. My first methods to build up my cellar were great specials especially two for one prices. Whenever something we use was half price I would buy up and basically store all the "free" items in the cellar.
The next was I get gift cards from Woolworths from time to time as a reward. They are usually $5 and now and then a $10 one. I use those to buy half price specials (and double their value) and these items build up my pantry. I continue to do these.
Other times I have sacrificed something small and used the money to add to my pantry. This can be really good. In one instance I had a parcel I needed to post. I expected it to cost around $10. At the last minute I was able to give it to someone who was travelling to delver. So I used that $10 for my purse I keep for good specials. So it ended up as food in my cellar instead of postage. This has become a bit of a game. I love being able to do a swap and save and use that money to build up the pantry.
Other little things I include...
Every parsley plant that has come up I have nurtured and replanted if it needed re locating. All of this will be fresh green vitamins and minerals I can add to so many things.
Each week I have had a cook up and added to my freezer. Last week was Pasties. Yesterday I made sausage rolls. On the weekend I am making meat pies.
In summer free fruit allowed me to add enormously to my pantry. It took the form of rows of jam, fruit pies, stewed fruit in the freezer and fruit cobblers. It added up to an enormous amount of food!
I have discovered a lot of foods that last a long time that I never considered before. Now I work them into our meals and keep them on hand. Reading what other people store and use has really increased my options.
My own herbs, chili, spinach and limes in our garden give me little bursts of freshness and flavour to add to lost of things.
Every shopping trip is a mission to see what I can find! Everywhere I go is too! Where ever I go I check out the local fruit and vegie store, watch for road side stalls, watch for fruit trees and think about how I can build up my pantry.
If you have an excess of something think about selling items or trading as a way to add to your supplies. When you start this it is amazing what comes back. As I have so many chili plants and I have dried and frozen chili I take them with me to give them away. People tend to say "oh I have some lemons would you like some?" and other excellent statements like this! :) Giving is always good. Good things happen.
Developing what we are growing, cooking, doing... as part of the conversation makes people realise we will use or swap produce. I work it into conversations if I can. In Adelaide, at least, it is perfectly possible to know people who have fruit falling to they ground they would not consider picking up. Our neighbours were like this with three huge peach rtrees. I asked and I received... I picked huge baskets of peaches over three weeks.
My aunt told me she has joined a group of gardeners who meet in each others gardens and swap produce. What a good idea!
Many areas have, buy, sell, swaps and many can be found in the local paper and facebook pages. Imagine the possibilities!
Local free cycles can be wonderful to find everything from vintage canning supplies to manure for the vegie patch, food items and pick your own fruit.
You can advertise for free that you will pick fruit and return with jam or a pie.
You could place a notice "canning jars wanted" on a free notice board or on free cycle.
What I am saying is maybe we can explore possibilities we haven't considered? If you know someone with a farm, vegie garden, chooks or who hunts or fishes maybe you can establish some kind of swap with them?
If we don't have produce to swap maybe we can knit dish cloths or cook or offer some commodity from our own talents?
If you know someone with a bakery or food business this might have possibilities.
Maybe there are steps we can take that we haven't tried before? Maybe we can boldly ask where we haven't asked before. I wrote "Ask and you hall receive"recently and the amazing results it produces to just ask simple questions...
If you have limited space you might be able to grow more herbs if you stack your pots like I do. It really works so well. I stacked four old pots, filled with dirt and a tomato stake down the middle, to stop them from topping over...
Each layer I filled... big things that need more room went at the bottom, which is a half wine barrel.
It is in the sun at my back door and it is mainly watered from kitchen water, left over tea from the teapot, water form cooking vegetables etc.
Now it has grown and the amount it produces is huge! I pick herbs almost everyday. I give away bunches. The bottom layer is currently chili and basil. It is massive! Even my budgie Chippy gets a bunch a day!
This takes up a small amount of room and produces so much!
It is funny... in one way we are surrounded by abundance and in another people don't necessarily notice it. It is a mind set to some extent. On holidays at one of the little beach towns we go to we met an old man. He was working in an op shop for the day. Every morning he goes fishing. Then he keeps enough of his catch for his dinner and he goes door to door in a little run her does around his retirement village. He gives everyone fish according to what he has caught. In turn he gets given home grown vegies, fruit off trees, home cooking and all sorts of things and an excellent social life! I thought this was wonderful!
I am loving going from things I have always done, things I have been doing for the last couple of years to thinks I have not really ever considered or known about! When our eyes are opened to new possibilities it is really exciting!
What are some ways you add to your pantry? And what are your tips to build it up when there isn't necessarily spare money to do it with?
I really want to challenge you to trying something you have not done before to build up your pantry and preparedness.
Thank you for all the wonderful ideas on Mondays post about crumbles and stretching meals. Lots of really good and some amazing ideas came in and some brilliant ways to stretch meals!
Now I am heading off for the day to see Hilde who is always full of ideas on pantries, how to stretch things, frugal things and general great fun. I have four huge op shops to go to as well and the cheapest best fruit and vegie shop I know. I cannot wait to see what I find!
It is also a perfectly gorgeous sunny day!
I hope you are having a wonderful week. I hope I have great things to report on Friday! x