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.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. Progress report! Rotating.

It is now over two years since I started working on building up my pantry and preparedness generally. I had made it a goal to rotate all the food items in the cellar this year and each week I have been doing that.  It is a big job!  This is a learning experience.  I need a system where I just do this regularly and it is part of life.  But I have discovered how fast time goes by and that you really need to keep on top of this and an eye on everything.
This is the natural next step, using and replenishing supplies.
As I do it I am trying to organise things into groups, make things easier to find and know exactly where everything is.  So the end result will be an improvement on what I have anyway.
I have discovered the only way I can keep good supplies of powdered milk is to use it regularly in my cooking and keep rotating it this way.  I need the habit of using it every time I make pancakes, mornay etc.


My photos today are your cooking. 
This is Maria's Magic Slice. It looks delicious.

That first year when I stocked my empty cellar I did get a long way, it just needs organising now.
Between then and now we established extra ways to cook and now have the back ups of a gas BBQ and always keep spare gas, a portable camping cooktop with cans of gas and an electric frypan which the generator will run.
With all of these I can cook pretty much anything and heat water.
I have a plastic tub that is my mini bath to wash in and it has worked well.
We got our generator and got good at using it.
We built up good first aid kits in the house and both cars plus first aid books.
Water is stored for drinking and we have a lot stored for washing etc.
Security is something we have added too as well with things like sensor lights around the house.
Now I have a bike as an alternative source of transport.
We have solar chargers and battery chargers.
We keep spare sheets, towels and bedding.
Pets have back up supplies as well as us.
We have good supplies of garbage bags, toilet paper etc.
There are boxes of batteries, candles, matches etc.
Plus plastic sheeting, tarps, masking tape etc you could need in a storm.
We are ahead of medications and have good supplies of over the counter medicines.
Both of us have battery radios and spare batteries.
All phone numbers and important documents have copies.
We have all emergency numbers written in the kitchen, wallets and phones.
I have an action plan in the kitchen. If something happened and I cant think straight I have my plan that is well thought out.
Our food supplies have enough protein and I can make pretty good meals from what we have on hand.


Mel K made Cookie's bread with great success! 

We also have plenty to do if the power is out. You need this... once you have done everything you can then it is a case of keeping things going and waiting. I have plenty of supplies of yarn, books, various crafts to keep me happily occupied. This is serious actually as waiting around nervously isn't good, it is better to be happily busy.


Kelley made Peppermint Creams!


Recently I did a course with Patsy at W Working Pantry and by the end of this I had a fresh list to work on.  I keep this list on the fridge and weekly we report in on how we are doing.  Most of the things I found I needed are easily remedied like more drinking water, more larger sized batteries and disposable plates and cutlery.
The hardest thing is communication.  If the power is out any length of time we found that having been clever (we thought) and had our phones fully charged and alternative ways to charge them all comes to naught when the phone towers themselves have only a few hours back up plan and they go down. So you need up with working phones with no reception. I did not know that prior to our big blackout!   If there is someone you would want to be communicating with this you need something else.
This is a bit like how you can have a generator but if you have no fuel stored you can't use it.  Fuel does not pump when the power is out. So what we have stored is what we have when we need it!


Janine also made Cookie's bread! It looks like another success!

Many of the ways we are better prepared are skill related.  We know a lot of things we didn't know two years ago! 
So it is all progress. And I would have missed many things here that I should have mentioned!

How do you keep on top of rotating your food storage? How long do you allow for canned goods? Milk Powder? Dry goods like rice and pasta?  Flour? 

As we build up our supplies this is a bigger and bigger issue! Many of you are much more experienced than me in this area and I would love your advice.


Jane's Sourdough keeps reading new heights! 
Thank you for all the beautiful photos and sharing your cooking everyone! 
This is an encouragement to others.

I am finding it good to do a review, tidy up/organise and incorporate things that need using up into the weekly menu.  It is all a learning curve and I want to go forwards not backwards!

Have a good week! xxx





53 comments:

  1. Annabel, the key for us in staying on top of keeping things rotated is just as you said, use them on a regular basis. By using them on a regular basis (and then replacing them) it keeps us aware that those items are in our pantry otherwise unused items get pushed to the back of the pantry and forgotten. You really have accomplished alot in 2 years time, way to go!!!

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    1. Thanks Patsy. As I do this I need to organise much better as what started out as small just grew and grew! Its the food that needs the work. Other areas are pretty good i.e. all lighting related items are in one place together, all first aid together etc...but food and rotating I need work! xxx

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  2. Wonderful job on preparedness list Annabel! You have done well !I have been working on my bread making skills as well I think I'm getting better at it. I have been sewing outfits for my granddaughters "American girl type doll" for her birthday. I hope to have a few more done for Christmas as well... I get the patterns for free at Pixie Faire on Friday! I have a huge fabric stash and am hoping to make a good dent in my Christmas and gift list in the coming weeks. The preparedness class with Patsy at a working pantry has given me a huge list of things to do as well so I believe with gardening and projects I will be a very busy gal lol...wishing you a wonderful week and to all the lovely ladies in the Bluebirds Nation too!! Love Gaila in Washington state USA

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    1. Dear Gaila, Doll clothes are a lovely gift! When we did Patsys course I was the same.... I wrote things down as I realised I needed them or needed more of something. Now Im working through it. And I also have a mix of crafts, gardening and all of this! It is really busy... we are making hay while the sun shines! You have a very good week too! With love Annabel.xxx

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  3. Hi Annabel and the Beautiful Baking Bluebirds!

    Annabel and Cookie, thanks for sharing your own steps in bread making! You are working as in the proverb "The lips of the wise spread knowledge; .." (Proverbs 15:7). You have been generous in this!!

    Maria, what a sweet and hearty-looking slice! Kelley, I can just imagine you brightening up moments with your peppermint creams! Mel K and Janine, good on you for baking in Cookie style! I first made mine, accidentally, without the oil, and we loved it - the texture and crust!! We still love it - with the oil! There's something simply hearty about it!! Jane, your sourdough still looks wonderful! I love the mountains, and your loaf could be Kosciusko!!

    Our pantry is quite simple, so I don't employ any marvellous tips here!! As Vicky so eloquently says, we "buy what we eat, and eat what we buy". I have learnt much from the bachelor lifestyle! Apart from that, I am learning to use what foods are around us!

    Regards to all,
    Rachel Holt
    P.S. The rain might have stopped! This puddle duck has some weeding to finish!!

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    1. Thankyou dear Rachel for your kind words.That slice was mostly for my grandson's school fete, though the bits left were shared with his mum and sister for their supper. With thanks, love Maria xxx

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    2. Dear Rachel, I think you have the right idea. I know a lot of people store emergency foods but they are things not usually eaten and get left behind. I stick to things we eat and like so we can use them in any circumstances. The garden, chooks, fishing etc all add to it.
      Thank you for commenting on the beautiful cooking! A picture tells a thousand words I think! With much love Annabel.xxx

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  4. Oh my goodness you have been very busy. I feel like I have been a big lazy slug by comparison. As Bluey does all the cooking he is the one who does the grocery shopping. As we use things up, a note is written on the pantry door blackboard. I make sure that I include the baking ingredient requirements on this list. Bluey always refers to the board before going shopping.
    I've had some hit and misses with my sourdough. Saturday saw two shockingly disgusting loaves go into the bin. Inedible is what they were. On Sunday I experimented with making a sweet dough. The results are a delicious sultana loaf and yummy strawberry jam filled scrolls. I am baking some cheese and herb scones to have with dinner.
    I am planning on going through my preserves cupboard and bringing the older items to the front. This way all the effort of making these items wont go to waste.
    Need to get the scones out of the oven.
    Life is good.
    PS it has been raining most of today. It is cooler and perfect baking weather.

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    1. Dear Jane,
      You are in no way lazy. Just your crafts and gifts alone are an enormous amount of work! Not to mention all the cooking. When cooking goes wrong this is when having chooks is good. Or neighbours with chooks maybe! The scrolls looked beautiful. Really good.
      Rotating preserves is another one.... I need to do this with jams...
      More rain! Now you will have things growing like a jungle! This is wonderful! The farm is getting rain and Chloe's tank has gone from bone dry to almost full! Our garden is well watered. It is lovely. Much love Annabel.xxx

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  5. Annabel,

    The power of a single tip, recipe, idea. Keep fanning the flames of inspiration!

    *hugs*
    Kelley~

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    1. Dear Kelley, Thank you! This is true.... starting one thing, even one small thing, can have a ripple effect! It is fantastic! With love Annabel.xxx ps thank you for this picture and recipe! xxx

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  6. It's amazing how much you have stockpiled and how much you have learned. I behind but I'm learning thanks to your suggestions. I did not know until recently that powered milk has such a short expiration date. I decided to buy smaller packets of it so I won't waste so much. Like you said rotating is key.

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    1. Dear Vickie,
      Thank you! I think that if unopened and kept cool that the powdered milk will keep much much longer. But I would rather be on the safe side and keep rotating and have some on hand at all times. We have long life shelf stable milk which I keep too but this has way shorter expiration dates. I have to keep a close eye on those! But it does mean never having to go to the store just for milk. If powdered milk seems too out of date it makes awesome bath products and goes well in soaps. Hope you have a great week! With love Annabel.xxx

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  7. Yep, time for me to use up some tins that are lurking here. Just have to wait for the weather to cool down a bit more then it will be all systems go.

    Today I came across an Australian site billycanstore.com.au - they sell a couple of items that I am considering for our emergency collection. Items are usually used for camping but I feel that they would be great if we lost power.

    The wonderbag is a 'cook in bag' - well it works like a slow cooker after you have started your cooking on the stove top you then pop it into the bag, close it up and then it cooks it self with residual heat. Only heating is the initial start on the stove top. They also have some solar lights that I am thinking about too.

    Jane I am glad that you are getting some rain - hopefully it is the start of more to come.

    The authorities are really concerned about our water situation, we really need a lot of rain to build the dams up.

    Have a great week everyone.


    Lynette
    XXXXX

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    1. Ooh, Lynette! Anything like the wonder bag sounds wonderful to me! It's all in the principle of the old hay boxes, isn't it?!! I have something in mind for my billy! If I was a betting man, I would bet you could make something efficient yourself!! Ha ha!!
      Regards,
      Rachel

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    2. I've seen DIY methods for these online. You should look around for them. I'd love to see yours if you make one. Please send it to Annabel, and maybe she'll post it for all of us to see.

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    3. Lynette, There are some great instructions on making your own wonder bag on the internet. I've considered this method but have not made on as of yet. I have seen a demo on using them and they do work. Have a good week! Teri S

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    4. Dear Lynette, Thanks for mentioning this store. It is really interesting!
      I am hoping you have some of this rain. Once the water situation gets worrying we have to pay attention. Much of the time we take water fro granted somewhat. Chloe has only bore water and also rain. Her rain water tanks were empty. Not a drop. Yesterday she got decent rain. The happiness and relief! It is raining down there again today with quite a big storm. If the tanks fill this would be fantastic.
      I am really interested in this wonder bag cooking method. Many thanks Lynette, with love Annabel.xxx

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  8. Dear Annabel, thankyou for showing my slice.Such yummy looking bread & variations form Mel K. and Janine, and Jane's sourdough looks wonderful!
    You have done so well keeping on with improvements with pantry storing and rotation of it. I really need to redo mine too as Ive been tending to buy what is actually in store but hidden by other items. The last 4 weeks have flown by with some travelling and a week of unwellness that Ive not kept up with my daily journals and commenting.Still feeling tired easily but coming right.
    Have a good week everyone, love Maria xxx

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    1. Dear Maria, Your cooking is a big blessing and comport to your family. Don't underestimate that!
      With a really busy time, migraines etc tiredness is just part of it. I battle tiredness a lot. Sometimes I wonder why then I consider everything... and also I consider dodgy sleep some nights if my brain wont turn off!
      I am working on ways to see what I have and use the old stuff first. A lot of organisation needs to happen here! Have a good week! With love Annabel.xxx

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  9. what yummy looking bread.
    I have started rotating everything in the linen cupboard as well as the pantry, this way things get washed on a regular basis and don't smell musty.
    I am also working on increasing my craft stash, and reference books, that should keep me busy when we have no power.
    Margaret

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    1. Hi Margaret!
      I can tell you that the bread doesn't just look yummy! It really is yummy! My husband agrees!! The texture and crust are very enjoyable!! Cookie is wonderful to have shared it with us!!
      I like your rotation of linen, too! I think fresh lavender is a wonder for linen!
      Regards,
      Rachel

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    2. Dear Margaret, I need to do this with my linen! I get favourite sets and everything else sits at the back. Craft supplies are lovely to have. Cookie was snowed in last week and I knew she would just be sewing away happily. What a difference it makes to our contentment! With love Annabel.xxx

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  10. Dear Annabel,
    Everyone's baking looks so delicious. I was wondering if Maria and Kelley might share their recipes with us?

    As you know this past week was a little dicey in the Northeastern U.S. We had 16 inches of snow, the Governor of the State banned any semi-trucks from coming to or through our State, states of emergency were declared here and in many surrounding states. Banning trucks and interstate travel meant that there would be no grocery deliveries to the stores until the bans were lifted. All the more reason why a well stocked pantry is so important. Thankfully we had plenty of warning prior to the event but sometimes we won't. I like to keep a checklist for such events so that we hopefully don't forget anything. Checking on friends who may be unwell or incapacitated and making sure they have some provisions to get them through is on our checklist. This is also where a well-stocked pantry comes in handy.

    I only stock food items from the store and garden that we ordinarily eat and find that the best way for us to rotate is to incorporate something each day into one meal, oldest date first, usually dinner. Since milk can be frozen, if dry milk is about to go out of date I will make up some and then put it in the freezer for later use. It works great. I also keep dried yogurt culture in the pantry and will use the dry milk that's about to go out of date to make yogurt to use in place of sourcream in baking or cooking.

    After a week of winter spring returns here today with temps in the 50 F. Blessings, Cookie

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    1. Dear Cookie, I can out up Kelleys recipe as she gave it to me... and I think Maria will too, I will ask her. I thought I want it as well.
      You have a good system going. I am taking notes. I am happy for your better weather!
      Kelley says three ingredients, softened cream cheese, confectioners sugar and pure mint extract. She didn't give proportions but I think it would be doable adding the sugar a bit at a time to get the right sweetness and then a tiny amount of mint in the same way.
      I am going to show you my painting tomorrow! With love Annabel.xxx

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  11. Hi Annabel and all those nesting the Bluebirds way

    Being an original city girl and moving rural almost 5 years ago, I at first found it difficult not having the shops only a 3 minute drive away. I have now come a long way in my knowledge about what to have on hand from others on here and people living in our small community most of their lives.

    I have labels on top on my containers and rotate things ofter.

    Batteries are on a yearly basis as they have quite a few years on the expiry dates.

    Canned food I rotate every 6 months

    Flours and packet foods I rotate every 3 months. These are things we eat often so it is not really hard to rotate.

    Spare cat food. This is rotated each time I need to buy a new bag so about every 2 months.

    The other thing I have in my spare items is change. Not a great deal. You see when things happen people forget about ATM machines and Eftpos being down. So in each box I have up to $50 in change as a just in case. Sometimes the shops are still open but just not the lines of communication.

    As for communications we have walkie talkies to communicate with others in town.

    Being on gas cyclinders when one bottle is empty we organise for another to replace it....making sure there are always 2. Cooking is not really a problem as the stove is gas but the oven is electric. Someone was smart in this decision. All our hot water supply is also gas.

    We have a supply of ice in our freezer also, so if the power goes out for a length of time we can put general things like milk, butter etc in there to eliminate opening the fridge. We are working on getting a generator.

    When I think back to almost 5 years ago and not having a clue about rural living, I know I have come along way. I also know that I would not survive living back in a big city. It is funny how life teaches you to adapt and accept a different way of life.

    Everyone has done a wonderful job on their baking. Just getting hungry looking at it. I can't wait to get back into my baking. Maybe in the school holidays....woohoo end of next week....ahhh so close but so far

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week

    Aly xxx

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    1. Aly we also have a gas cook top and electric oven. It apparently became an Australian regulation that you could not have a gas oven with a separate cook top sometime after we did our original home in Queensland in the year 2000. I find it a real pain having to have an electric oven.

      Lynette
      XXXXX

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    2. Aly I have the reverse situation where we moved from a property into town. After 4 years I am beginning to get used to, but not taking for access for granted, to having a Woolies and Aldi just over a km away. We still keep a well stocked pantry.

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    3. Lynette

      That I did not know. I would assume thought that it would be something to do with the power outages from storms and cyclones
      Aly xxx

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    4. Jane

      I so wish we even had an Aldi here. Our closest one is a little over 600km away. I had an Aldi not more that 10km where we used to live. Woolworths was a short 10 minute walk or 3 minute drive away.....*sigh*

      I enjoy the peace and quite during the day when DD6 is at school and tend to get things done a lot easier, but I also enjoy the social life as I think you tend to appreciate friends more. Where we are is a small mining/farming community and most people are here without family.

      I had an incident the other day where we were in town for a few nights and DP took very ill and a friend took DD6 home for the night as we were unsure if he was going to be hospitalised (did not happen) but it was great knowing that my friend was fine with taking her home whilst I was concentrating on DP.

      Glad that you are enjoying the city life

      Aly xxx

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    5. Dear Aly, You have had to adapt a lot and you have done really well! I am really interested in the Walkie talkies. I need a set that will cover 3 or 4 ks across suburbia. Apparently you can get along way i.e. 10ks but when you get into built up areas this reduces down. It sounds like you have experience with these and obviously know other people with them... I think what a good idea!
      You have a very good rotation system going. And you have good supplies and backups.
      Thank you for sharing how you go about keeping on top of your expiry dates etc. With much love Annabel.xxx

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    6. Annabel when we have sports carnivals we often have to travel. Last year we had to leave home at 6am to as start time was 8.30am. As I had not had to travel before as DD6's first year events were held in our town, I had no idea where I was going and I was taking a few kids who's parents had to work. So out came the walkie talkies (safer that a phone) hooked one onto my shirt and just had to press the button in to talk.....this was useful on the way home as we did not arrive back until 6pm at night....helped to keep us awake and alert. Also we have 3 of us with kids who travel in to dance and footy of a weekend and the kids talk on the way in. It helps us to know if someone is going to be late picking up their child and we just take that child with us or wait if the parent is on the way.

      They are useful in power outages around here as it is a way to keep a check on others. A few of my friends and I are in situations where our partners are away at work for long periods of time, so we know we can check on each other with the walkie talkies and also the kids can have a chat to each other as it can get boring without power.

      Yes we have the 10km ones. DP ordered them through work due to the range they cover.

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  12. Dear Annabel and Bluebird Friends,
    We stock large amounts of food. Rotating is essential or waste is high.
    Twice a year, my husband cleans out the two garage freezers and takes an inventory of the frozen items. I date everything, so we know how long it has been in there. Normally, we don't buy huge amounts of meat, but will order organic round steaks, organic roasts, and organic hamburger from a rancher. When turkeys go on sale once a year we will get enough for the year and space them out on use. Same with organic briskets from the rancher. An inventory is key to knowing what is left in the freezer and what needs used first.
    Long term storage for frozen vegetables is easy with a dehydrator and a vacuum sealer. Dehydrating frozen vegetables extends the life of them from 3 to 5 years, if thoroughly dehydrated and vacuum sealed correctly. Again we label and date all items.
    When we purchase cases of canned goods, we take them out of the case, put the expiration date on the front of the can in permanent black marker and put the newest to the back of the shelves, rotating the oldest to the front. I reorganize and inventory our food storage room twice a year. It allows me to see what is in need of using quickly or sharing with a food bank. Sometimes, dietary issues result in a change of foods we can eat for a while, so we share those with others. We don't donate expired food, but if others can benefit from foods we aren't going to eat up quickly enough or can no longer incorporate into our meals, then we are blessed to be able to share.
    There are some basic essentials for food storage and rotating that I feel are well worth the investment. For instance, ground white flour stores for a longer time than whole grain flours which go rancid quickly. White flour is much less healthy than whole grain, so if good long term health is one of the factors in food storage for a person, they might consider a grain grinder and store the groats, berries, etc. Wheat berries, oat groats, etc, when sealed properly, will last 25 to 30 years easily.
    These are the key essential items we use regularly for food storage: Dehydrator, Vacuum sealer, jar attachments for vacuum sealer, canner, pressure canner, grain grinder, permanent black markers, freezer tape, canning jars, vacuum sealer bags, bay leaves, large buckets with air tight lids, and lid opener. I'm sure I've left out items....
    An inventory two or three times a year, we find helpful to bring to our awareness items we need to put on the menu for meals for the next two or three months. A separate notebook for food storage is a good idea.
    Another way we make sure we have storage on hand for the just in case is to stock items that have been sealed for long term storage. In the U.S., companies like Emergency Essentials has powdered milk that has a storage life of 25 years, unless opened. Once opened it is one year from the date opened. We purchase the smaller cans since there are just the two of us. Again we mark the expiration date on the front of the can in permanent marker. If I open a can, then I mark out the expiration date and put the date I opened it on and the date to use it by.
    There's always more to learn and everyone has such good ideas to share. I truly appreciate everyone's input on the Preparedness posts Annabel does.
    I am so sorry I have gone on and on, but this is a subject of great interest to me and I love sharing what we've done.
    Blessings to each of you,
    Glenda

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    1. Dear Glenda, Thank you for this wonderful information. I am soaking it all up and taking notes. I am working on an inventory as I re organise. Also I would rather give away some things rather than waste them. As far as I know we don't not have these long term food storage companies that you do. Powered milk that lasts 30 years would be amazing.
      It is a really good tip too that wheat will keep whole much longer than it will keep ground. These are good things to consider.
      You have given me lots to think about and I really appreciate you taking the time to write this up. It is a learning curve. My first steps were deciding there was a need, conveying my cellar and stocking up. And I just kept going! Now I am due to get it all cycling around and keeping track of it. I have started using the black marker to date each can as it goes in. At this stage cans with no marker need using this year.
      Currently I am having a big re arrange in the kitchen as it is too light in there to keep anything in jars but not in a cupboard. Also I am organising the kitchen pantry cupboards. I have plenty to do but I think ok I will do it weekly and achieve my goal of rotting the whole cellar this year then keep it going from there.
      Thank you so much Glenda! With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Dear Annabel,
      Whole Grains, such as wheat berries, spelt berries, einkorn berries, oat groats, etc., will keep, when stored correctly, a minimum of 30 years. They are our first choice for storage of basic grains, as the flours already ground have a short life span.
      Oat groats can be ground and used for oat flour and oat porridge. I substitute oat flour many times for the oatmeal in cookies and cakes. Storing the oat groats assures that I will have an oat product for all our normal uses, in case I can't obtain that product in the future. Plus, I am saving a lot of money by buying the groats.
      Australia has a company called Prepper's Pantry that has freeze dried powdered milk with a shelf life of 25 years. Since it is such a large container, I would probably, open it and vacuum seal it in canning jars in amounts that I would use. Then I would put those vacuum sealed containers in another airtight container, for very long term storage. I found an Australian company that sells freeze dried and dehydrated foods (including the milk): http://www.serendipitysupplies.com.au
      We keep our food storage room between 60 and 65 degrees. Ideally, I would like it at 50 to 55 degrees, but there is no way to reduce the temperature in it. There is no heater in the room, but it is below ground level, so maintains it's own temperature. It is a totally dry and dark room. There is no light on in that room and no windows. When we need something we turn the light on, get what we need, and turn the light off, leave, and shut the door.
      Apparently, I can't be brief on this subject (LOL).
      Love and hugs,
      Glenda

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  13. Dear Annabel and friends, You have done an amazing job, Annabel!! There is always something to learn. :)

    All the amazing food looks so delicious! Thank you for sharing your pictures everyone!

    Annabel, the key to rotation of our supplies/food is to use it in our daily meals. Depending how and where your food storage is stored will help decide how long to keep it. Flour, rice, oats, etc. need to be kept in a cool, dark place, if at all possible. Moisture and humidity have a lot to do with how long food lasts also. It sounds like everyone is using and rotating! I like Cookie's suggestion about her dry milk. (Also, I'm glad you and others in the central/east coast area are warming up)!

    And things like cake mixes can be used past their use by dates, as can lots of food. Storage is key. (I just add a little baking powder to my older mixes). I tend to measure and mix most of my baked goods but have accepted mixes from others.

    Aly, I'm glad you are enjoying rural life! When we moved 60+ miles from any big city, we really "upped" our food storage and other supplies. We are still learning ways to improve our preps. Thank you Annabel for caring and sharing your knowledge, and to all the Bluebird ladies!

    Have a great week! Love, Teri

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    1. Dear Teri,
      When I think of a good pantry I think of the pictures you sent me. I still go back and look at them!
      The tip about the cake mixes is really good thank you. I also do mainly scratch cakes but I have a drawer of mixes as sometimes they are on amazing specials and they are super quick when in a hurry!
      Thank you for your encouragement Teri! With lots of love, Annabel.xxx

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  14. Hi Annabel and other Bluebirds,

    The baked goods all look so delicious! Thank you for sharing.

    I have been thinking that my pantry is due for some attention, too. I also try not to buy things we don't use, unless it is something we want to try or something to donate, but I need to check some dates, straighten and reorganize.

    Our medicine and first aid pantry just got a nice boost from my husband's insurance. We were able to select $50 of over the counter items that they sent out free. Some things we selected included pain and cold medicines, cough drops, assorted bandages and even insect repellant. We will be able to select another $50 worth next quarter. My insurance doesn't offer this, but we were grateful to get this through his.

    We have been having unseasonably warm (hot) weather with temperatures as high as 96 F. We sure hope it cools off again for a bit since summers are so long and hot!

    My two tomato plants that survived from last spring are still producing a handful of cherry tomatoes every couple of days and are loaded with blooms. My new tomato plants are also blooming. I have mint, basil and rosemary growing. The lettuce and spinach are not quite ready to pick. We've given away most of the grapefruit. Our tangelo tree produced very poorly, but is loaded with blooms. We are hopeful for next year. We were able to pick a few oranges and a lot of lemons from our neighbors. I've been zesting and juicing the lemons. I saw a grocery ad with lemons on sale for 59 cents each---regular price 89 cents each!!

    I helped with the food box distribution at our church . Besides being blessed to see people receiving food they needed, I was given some items I could use that wouldn't last until next month.

    My post a few days ago seemed to disappear. One of the things I mentioned was using the Internet to look up recipes for using specific items, cakes without eggs or old time recipes if one doesn't have a mom or grandma to ask. The recipes could then be printed and kept in a notebook of pantry recipes as someone suggested.

    Hope everyone has a lovely week!
    Elaine from Arizona, USA

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    1. Elaine your comment about looking up recipes reminded me of a little recipe book I have had for years. This one is for Aussies. 'The Flying Doctor Cookbook'. There are lots of recipes for using up pantry items and suggestions for alternative ingredients.

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    2. Elaine and Jane!!
      I love the old, basic cookbooks, too!!
      Jane, yours sounds interesting - got any examples?!!!!
      Regards,
      Rachel

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    3. Dear Elaine,
      It is fantastic to use the $50 to stock up on supplies. What a bonus!
      Thank you for mentioning old fashioned recipes. I love them. I remember egg free cakes, impossible pies, handy substitutions etc. ALL very good to know how to make. I think of these in terms of really old books but you are right we can google them and I am going to try that out tonight. Printing them and keeping the notes is a good idea too. I think we need a hard copy of everything we couldn't manage without. Thanks so much Elaine! With love Annabel.xxx

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  15. Hello Everyone. Whenever I buy canned goods or any product with a shelf life, I notice the expiration date on it and write it on the front face of the label. I have a bookcase that I use for my pantry, and all soups, veggies, sauces, etc. are in their own section. I have also written on the top of cans what is in the can itself, as I have heard of flooding/water washing off can labels and no one knows what's in the can. For instance, on a can of tomato soup, I would write 'T. soup'. I use a permanent marker for these notations. Also, I put the 'older' products in the back, and newer products in the front, paying attention to upcoming expiration dates and using the item if necessary. It's pretty simple to glance at my 'bookcase pantry' and see what I need to purchase. I do need to take another look at all supplies and see where I am lacking, but I am prepared pretty good. And as with anything, we know that eventually no matter how well we prepare, food and water will ultimately run out.

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    1. Dear Joy,
      I have noticed what a good pantry a book case can make! Do you remember the old show Greenacres where Lisa would remove the labels from the cans and it was anyones guess what was inside!?
      Labelling and dating is a good idea!
      Hopefully your supplies will always see you through. Even in WW1 and WW2 when there was rationing those who had supplies did have extra and were able to do better. Mel S told how her Grandmother has stored soap in large quantity, fabric, bags of sugar and a few other things as her MIL advised her these things were most sought after during WW1. So she hid away al of these things and lined all the drawers with a layer of bars of soap. Well sure enough then there was WW2 and rations etc. Because she had done all of this the family benefitting hugely. I thought that was amazing and how encouraging!
      Thank you for sharing your tips Joy! With love, Annabel.xxx

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  16. Hello Annabel, I like your list. I think I have just about all of those covered, but I'm going to double check.
    And just today, my husband bought a rain barrel and is working on putting up a rain gutter that will fill it.

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  17. Annabel.
    I keep ours rotated, but I am not bothered too much about expiration dates. when I was building up my pantry I did a ton of research on expiration dates and food and as far as if anything has been expired that I have made over the years there have only been a few that were truly bad. Anything that has oil in it can go rancid and powdered milk if it isn't good turns yellow. Well I won't make this long, I just wanted to pop in!
    XOXO
    Vicky

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    Replies
    1. Dear Vicky,
      My Dad agrees with you, he thinks expiration dates are the stupidest thing ever and almost laws wrong! I think you can detect something has gone bad, changed and then you know. That is a god tip with the milk.
      I know you are working on your won pantry big time so thank you for commenting just now! With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Vicky I agree with you and Annabel's Dad.

      Working in Pharmacy for many years we saw a lot of unwanted medication being placed into RUM bins (return unwanted medication bins) We would get lots of expired medication of ships and one time I remember our Pharmacist and I took home some vitamin c tablets that were actually 5 years out of date....let's just say I did not get a cold that season but every other season I had

      Aly
      xxx

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    3. I agree with the expiration dates, I just use them as a general guide when I am rotating stock. I think I've used items that were a couple of years old and they were fine. Actually, this is good news as this means our pantry supplies can last longer! Love to all of you and thank you so much for all the wisdom and great suggestions that are posted on here.

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  18. Wow Annabel, Jane's sourdough looks fabulous as do all the other breads and slices. You have come such a long way since you started your stockpile etc. Your power woes in SA are often in Queensland news which you may not know. I hope it gets better for you all down there.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      The sourdough is now in NZ and some on the way to USA!
      Power is in the headlines again today. Never ends!
      We mainly hope for some power boost for summer as a Victoria station is closing, today I think. They lose 23% of their power overnight and we rely on it...
      I hope you are having a good week I am sorry to be so slow to reply, with love Annabel.xxx

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  19. Aly,
    Here they did a big article on medications and the research showed that with the exception of medicines that have to be in dark bottles like certain heart meds that meds are good for at least 5 years or more after the expire date. And a gentleman ate a can of peas that were expired by 9 years and they were still good. The rule is if it smells good and tastes good it's good.
    XOXO
    Vicky

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  20. Hello Mrs. Annabel. I just found your blog and have been enjoying your recent posts. I too keep a deep pantry - a minimum of one year supply.
    Once my pantry was fully stocked, I have found the easiest way to keep everything rotated is to use my pantry like a market. When contemplating our weekly meal plans, I plan all meals based on what we have in our pantry. My shopping list serves to re-stock our pantry, not the meal plans.
    Regarding fresh produce, I do purchase small amounts on market days during the winter and spring. However, during summer and autumn all our fresh produce comes from our garden. I home preserve all our extra produce and store it in our pantry or freezers.
    I hope my experience helps you figure out a storage rotation plan that will work for your family.
    Again, I'm enjoying your blog and look forward to another visit.
    Blessings,
    Mrs.B

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    Replies
    1. Dear Mrs. B,
      I am very glad to have you here, welcome!
      I love your method! It is wonderful and very workable. Thank you so much for sharing it! Your garden sounds beautiful too by the way! With love Annabel.xxx

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