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.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Beginnings of emergency preparedness. Part two of a series.

Last post I explained how I came to decide to build up an emergency pantry and and some emergency supplies. Since then my friend was caught in a terrible storm in Brisbane. It was so bad the army was called in to help afterwards. Helen told me the Queensland government have been urging everyone to have an emergency plan and supplies and have even had workshops to help people. Each state has its own information but here is part of QLD's which I am reading up on...  It is really good! Everything right down to what to store in your pantry. We should all look up what our local areas advise us to do.  I think printing things out into a folder is a good idea. Once our power was out and the phone hotline was a recorded message saying to go online and follow the advice. Well, that was great if you had power!

After our decision to get started I worked on a plan. This is developing as I learn more but it's a start.

These are the things we DO have:
Emergency numbers in our phones.
Important phone numbers copied somewhere other than in my phone. If we lose our phones many of us have no copies of numbers and don't know them by heart. 
Copies of licenses, banking, passwords and all that kind of stuff.
A reasonable first aid kit and first aid guide.
A reasonably stocked medicine cabinet.
Gas for cooking when no power.
Candles that would last a few weeks if there was no power. These are mostly part of my decor. Plus matches etc.
Several torches and batteries.
A battery lantern with spare batteries.
A pantry with food that would see us through a couple of weeks.
A radio that will run on batteries. In a crisis a radio that doesn't need electricity is your news of what to do and whats happening. This is how the government lets you know what to do!
I have tons of shampoos, soaps, basic cleaning supplies and don't need to worry about things like that.

From a bit of a stock take and think I decided to add some water supplies to this as that is the first thing we lack. And to build up my existing pantry as much as I can. I had a clean out, re arrange and stock up. I am still doing that. Filling my jars, adding to my canned goods etc.

This week I wrote up all the emergency numbers in a place other than my mobile phone. I will keep adding but I have the basics.
I wrote up a plan of what to do if we know something is coming, a storm, power cut, shortage... (this list and details I will share next post)
I copied what Mum does. She keeps all emergency charts on the inside of her kitchen cupboards. What to do with a snake bite, emergency first aid... it's all on the inside of cupboard doors. We all know it's there and it's right in front of you when you need it.

I added three tarpaulins and three rolls of masking tape to our supplies. This is for in case in a storm windows break. We have a big tree out the back that belongs to the neighbour so this is very possible.

The next thing is to improve our first aid supplies and medicine cabinet. Things get used and not replaced or expire etc so getting that all up to scratch and adding things so that it really is pretty good.
I am just trying to do that even if it is one thing per week. Also since changing cars I realised I have no car first aid kit. So another thing to do.

The Later Day Saint blogs are so helpful. One thing I keep reading is that they encourage you not to feel overwhelmed and do something, however small, to make progress. Feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start can cripple us from starting at all! It is better to do something than nothing. It will add up. And to save some money in the same way, a bit at a time, as you can. Just start. 

Our cellar was set up to be a wine cellar by previous owners. We decided to keep one wall like it is for bottles as that can be water and all kinds of things in bottles and that might fit there. We decided to make one wall shelves and have sealed buckets behind the stairs which can contain packets  etc. 

This is the view when we open the door which looks like floor boards...

Possibly you can see why I found it intimidating. It looks like the pit of doom...

It needs a good clean, it has years of dust, cobwebs down there! But it is dry, no signs of any dampness at all. 

Once it's clean and it begins to fill with good things, I place a nice mat at the bottom and whatever else I can think of to make it less scary and instead an exciting treasure trove! 

Having decided we needed shelves (or to build some) we were out driving and we found this on the side of the road! Sturdy metal shelving perfect for canned goods and all kinds of things. How amazing and what timing! Aside of needing dusting it is perfect! What a bonus and good start. I looked online and metal shelving units for storage were around $200. 

Not everyone has a cellar and we are really lucky to have this. My friend who is also building up supplies has  purchased a metal filling cabinet to use to store food. Laine used to use under the bed spaces. You could use an old suitcase, a trunk, a linen press type cupboard. Install narrow shelves along a hallway, convert a wardrobe or walk in robe to be a pantry, convert book shelves can be inventive. The Prudent Homemaker (a lovely blog) has a section of her shed as a pantry. (and it is one of the best pantries I have ever seen!)

Besides having supplies on hand the extra storage space means when things are on amazing specials you have room to buy up big. Some specials are so good this is your big chance! My friend Helen will see an incredible special and buy 50 cans of this or that. She saves so much money and has one of the best grocery budgets I know. Having storage space allows you to do this. Some huge savings come at times from a bulk buy and it depends on having that storage. 

Next post I am going to cover making a list of things to do if we know a storm, a shortage or an emergency is coming our way. Knowing what to do first can save a lot of time and panic and help us to not overlook something obvious that in a crisis and brain fade we might forget! 

Thank you so much for all the comments and things you shared after my first post on building up my pantry and preparedness. A lot of you have experienced first hand all sorts of emergencies and seen empty shelves from panic buying and amazing experiences. I am really grateful that we can encourage each other. This is a learning process and like all things you learn a bit then you learn a bit more! But encouragement is a big thing. You can know everything about a subject but do nothing. It is better to take baby steps and begin than do nothing and study. We have to put in practical steps. (Says me who has been thinking about this for a little while!) Even if you store one small thing this week and do something that will contribute to better preparedness I will be thrilled as getting the ball rolling is often the very hardest thing, then we get going we are ok!  I often do better when I join in with someone else on a challenge and report in. So that's what I'm doing here with you!

So that is my progress this last week.

This week I will get the cellar clean and sparkly, the shelves installed and some water stored. I am thinking after Christmas the sales will help me get some food stores.

Have a good week and just do a little bit toward your preparedness. xxx


  1. Annabel, as our state of Queensland is a bit disaster prone in summer we are always being given checklists during storm season. There are ads on TV constantly reminding everyone to make up a storm kit. Your cellar does look daunting but I am sure you will have it prettied up in no time :-)

    1. Nanna Chel I am so impressed by the information on the QLD site and you can sign up for a weekly reminder that gets everything done. We have nothing like it in SA. I keep returning to yours for information.
      I hope I can post transformation pictures soon. But I making progress! xxx

  2. Getting some tarps is a great idea Annabel. I signed up to the Get Ready emails at the end of October. It is really good to have that one task a week emailed through, it helps me to get prepared in baby steps, which is about all I can manage at the moment with “chemo brain”. Last week’s step was about making sure I had a battery powered radio and batteries, which I do have. But I also want to buy a wind up radio. This week’s task is organising a supply of bottled water or keeping water stored in a jerry can. You are very lucky to have a cellar they are so uncommon in Australia. You are also lucky to be able to find things on the side of the road. Our council no longer has roadside collection days. Oh and another thought, prescription medication is also something to think about as it can be hard getting a prescription filled during emergencies and the chemists can also have a difficult time getting supplies in, and if there are evacuation pharmacists can get very busy filling prescriptions for persons who been evacuated from their homes.

    1. Sherri I am sorry to hear you are having chemo. I hope you soon are finished and 100% healthy and doing well. I agree with you about prescriptions, I will include that next week. My husband has important scripts. For me painkillers is a big thing... I get migraines. I cant even imagine getting by without any tablets or function. And a crisis is just when Im going to get one! Im so glad you are getting the weekly emails, what a great help. Many thanks for your

    2. Thanks for your kind thoughts Annabel. I have finished having chemo treatments. I had 8 treatments starting on Valentine’s Day this year. In October I had another large dose of chemo as part of a two week stem cell harvesting process. It’s all gone very well. Without minimising the situation I would like to add that I found chemo very do-able. Not easy but just taken day by day, it was manageable. I don’t know, but perhaps being prepared also means thinking about how families would manage if someone had a medical condition that kept them off work for a long period of time. My husband took a lot of time off work too because we had to travel to Brisbane every few weeks for my treatment.

  3. we get a couple of tins of popcorn as gifts every christmas, after the popcorn is gone
    I store pasta, sugar, teas,and other items in them.


    1. Thats a really good idea Rue. There are some great containers to recycle. Baby formula tins used to be fantastic! Also some pickle jars and things like that. I keep my eye out for good storage things. I need some strong buckets or tubs with lids. Many thanks for your comment.xx

  4. What a cool looking cellar. You are so lucky Annabel.

    I have a huge walk in pantry so this is where I keep things. I will have to post some photos one day, so you can see (I must tidy it up first). I would have enough food in there to last at least a month. I stock up on things when they are on special. The freezer is full, but if the power goes out that wont be useful at all, even though it will stay frozen for a while.

    I think where we live there is less risk of extreme weather. Occasionally we have a rare event, but the power rarely goes off. We have gas and our house lights are run by batteries hooked up to our solar panels. We have rain water storage in tanks, and I always use a battery operated radio (saves electricity). I also use a battery operated alarm clock, handy if the power clicks off through the night.

    Thank you for this information. Some food for thought :)


  5. Tania I would love to see photos! (when you are ready) I think your pantry is such an asset. I think apart from saving you a lot of money that it protects you from shortages of things and from needing to go out if there is an outbreak of some disease. The ABC said Aust has only one weeks supply if fuel was cut. Then delivery of groceries etc stops! Well its unlikely I hope but it made me think! But meanwhile it is like money in the bank to have good stores! xxx

  6. Dear Annabel, I received my first Get Ready task on the weekend, and I was able to do it straight away. It was amazing the feeling that this one small step gave me in confidence. It also was a conversation starter with my husband and son.
    I sent Andrew the SES phone number to store and we have put on our shopping list to buy him a battery run radio.
    The other thing that I have been doing is reading a manual that was originally put out by the LDS.
    It's excellent and makes easy reading. Here is the link for anyone who is interested:
    One of the things that she talks about is "appetite fatigue". This happens when you have limited selection of foods. You lose your appetite as you simply can't face eating them. This happened often during the war and was one of the reasons why the Ministry of Food kept releasing recipes to assist with this. The young and the elderly are particularly vulnerable. The lesson is to stock up on the nicest, best quality food that you can, and make sure that there is plenty of variety in the mix. Also include some things like jelly, as you need a thing that is viewed really as a treat to boost morale. Often when people are stressed, and using their stockpile, they need the comfort of familiar, things with some surprises thrown in.
    Hope that helps everyone, Helen


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