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 13 January 2015

Preparedness 5.

Now we are into 2015 this is it! The challenge to fill my cellar with supplies. In previous posts I've talked lots about the reasons for building up your pantry.  Some of the things covered so far have been getting started, places we could use to store supplies and getting our emergency numbers all lined up. Plus how to have a shopping list ready for stocking up IF there is a warning so that you have an opportunity to use that warning time really wisely.  To me a list pre thought out is going to help as thinking of everything in a crisis is just hard! That is of course on top of what you might have been able to store up already. 

First of all I have to confess there is just nothing picturesque about my cellar just yet. So I am going to share some photos of the week! It was my birthday and I have to tell you what Andy did. He asked me what I would like to do and I said sleep in. Yep, that is a good start to me!  So he snuck out of bed when he woke up and quietly shut the door. Now he has no van (as you know) and so he did mental calculations and estimated what time he thought I would wake up and how long it would take him to walk down the road to the shops, buy me a fancy breakfast and coffee, from a store he doesn't like (but I do) as a birthday treat! His calculations proved correct (and how predictable I am apparently!) and he had hot coffee, a lemon tart, roses and a card the mimute I appeared. This was what I got delivered in bed...

Inside the card was a little card Andy made on the computer with Bluebirds! :)

My family took me out to dinner as well so it was a really lovely day.

 This is Mum and me... it is nice to get a picture with Mum. Lucy took this I think. It was just lovely!

Ok back to pantries...

Today I want to add something to consider. We have all seen images of empty supermarket shelves when there is just nothing left at all! Before a cyclone hitting or flood coming people move in and buy everything they can get their hands on if they think this may be their last chance.

 But what are the items that are the first to go? The things that become valuable commodities in a crisis? This is something with a lot of variables. You can google this for your area as climate comes into it. And some areas are more prone to certain things... your area might experience flooding. Our area (the farm at least) it is bush fires. 

This list will also vary according to the type of disaster about to hit. Is the power likely to be cut? Is drinking water affected? Maybe its a cash or supply crisis in which case it may be food and supplies that are low rather than utilities.

In a situation that means the power will be out for any length of time generators, torches, candles, matches, lamps, lanterns, wicks etc all fly off the shelves.

If clean water is going to be an issue every bottle and box of water will be gone from the shelves in record time. These are things we can't really even hope to find on the shleves by the time we make it to the store! Thats why preparedness is vital.

Funnily people rush to get all kinds of things. In an emergency they say beer, spirits and cigarettes are the first thing lots of people rush for!  So I guess people rush for what they value the most and it's not always what you think!

It is worth while to think over what would fly off the shelves first in your area. Add these things to your pantry list and keep them on your emergency shopping list as well until you have them. This just gives you double the chance of having these items when you need them. If there is something vital to you that you know would fly off the shelves and be in shortage that is something you really need to stockpile if you can.

Some areas to consider are:-

Water. Drinking, cooking and for washing. 

Food.  You might be able to have a few days worth of fresh items then canned and long life goods, dried goods. If you have a baby this might include formula. 

Fuel. Gas for cooking or wood for your fire.

Communication. Batteries for radio. Car charger for your phone. 

Light. Torches, candles, matches, lanterns.

Warmth. Blankets, wood, gas burner.

Sanitation. Toilet paper, soap, feminine products, nappies if you have a baby. Plastic bags. 

Medical. If you have warning filling your prescriptions is on your to do list. Fist aid kit. First aid book. 

Comfort. The thing we know is if you are depending on your emergency supplies SOMETHING has gone wrong. Whether its a financial crisis or weathering a storm things are not usual. There is no time more than these that some comforts could mean a lot. It might be the ingredients to make a simple thing like pancakes or pudding. Or a stash of chocolate or the ingredients to make hot chocolate. A tin of sweets. What can you add to your stash that would bring some delight and comfort? 

Pets. Think of stashing some dry or tinned dog food or whatever it is your pets need. 

Sanity. Books, things that require no power to entertain the children. We used to play marbles and board games in long power outages. The kids thought this was fun! A deck of cards is really good. 

Your own personal not negotiable list. mmm we all have things that we would be in dire straights without. Think of these and stash spares. One of mine is pain relief tablets. Bad headaches and migraines in a crisis is just not going to help. 

Anyone who has been through a crisis will tell you things like toilet paper, deodorant, water to wash in, a toothbrush and tooth paste suddenly are worth more than gold to you. The things that keep us feeling human! The things we take so for granted but without them life is just awful. 

It is impossible to be prepared for everything but thinking over these things  and adding what we can, when we can, we can really improve all kinds of eventualities.

This last week I have seen THREE of my lovely blogger friends are having a very hard time affording food. And in two different continents.  One wrote a very good artcile about it called  Nobody's immune. And no one is. 
And as I watched people targeted in Paris for going to their local grocery store I felt that if I was there I would not be going to the sotre for a while. That is terrible I know, we must not lose our freedoms from intimidation but I would still be thinking twice if I am honest. 
So all around I am seeing convincing reasons to get my pantry and supplies built up to the best levels I can. It's as if I am being reminded how important it is!

I do have a photo offering of actual progress on the cellar. This is Andy fitting the shelves we found. After a clean up he got them down into the cellar and secured them so they are stable once loaded up. Amazingly they fitted just perfectly. So for zero cost we have good strong shelves. So I have these shelves, a bottle rack on the left and an area behind the steps that will fit buckets or boxes. All up I should be able to fit in a lot. Where Andy's hand is on the right is a kind of square cubby hole that is quite deep. I have stacked tarps, masking tape, candles and matches into that space. 

Every step is a step in the right direction. I hope in my next post my shelves will have started to fill! 
On Friday I am visiting a friend and getting to her place involves going right past a discount grocery store. I will visit there with my stockpile purse and high hopes.

In everything I find that taking lots of little steps gets you there. Whatever you can do this week to add a little to your pantry, build up your first aid kit, print out emergency numbers, set aside some food for storage, add a 10 litre box of water to your pantry... it all adds up week after week. At the end of the year we will have amazed ourselves! 

I hope you are having a good week! xxx


  1. Belated happy birthday Annabel. Many happy returns. Your preparedness list is really good. Thank you for keeping it in the forefront of our minds as it is really easy to let this slip to the bottom of the priority list. I have so much work to do to become better prepared.

    1. Thank you Sherri! Yes we have to keep at it week by week. But if we do by the end of the year we will have made great progress! xxx

  2. Gorgeous birthday photos and happy birthday Annabel. Progress on your cellar is very impressive and your list is fantastic. In our emergency stash, we also have two transistor radios with extra batteries, and several torches. Given the history of storms where we live, that's pretty important. Great post :)

    1. Thanks Mimi. QLD seems to have more than its share of floods and cyclones etc! I think listening in to warnings and advice is vital. It probably saves lives. Our battery radio is good but I should get several spare sets of batteries. Many thanks! xxx

  3. You are doing so well with your preparedness plans, and that is good news that the shelves fitted perfectly :)

    Happy Birthday Annabel, sounds like you had a really lovely day. How lovely is the special photo with your mum xoxo

    1. Dear Tania, Thank you! Also thank you for the gorgeous birdie e card! I love it. I will reply properly in next couple of days! Love

  4. Happy Birthday fro me too, Annabel. How very thoughtful Andy is! I keep meaning to replace our wind up lantern which doesn't work well and used to be great in a blackout. With cyclone season up north and storms forecast I had better get my runners on.

    1. Thanks Nanna Chel. Yes we need reminders! Cyclone season sounds to me like it takes a lot of preparedness.
      I hope the new baby is thriving! xxx

  5. Happy Birthday Dear Annabel. How sweet of Andy to do that for you....sometimes this is so much better than a present. The photo of you and your Mum is so precious.

    Now to give you a laugh as you know I have followed you from the very start via the emails as I am not a face book person....well it was only today that I realised how I could actually follow your blog instead of just the emails.

    As for my pantry I just yesterday finished cleaning it out an have taken an inventory....only need help to do the top shelf as I am too short to reach the back. Our pantry is pretty well prepared thanks to things I have learnt from you along the way. Especially as we are in cyclone season and even though they may not reach us, we can be cut off from town for weeks at a time (so far never happened and fingers crossed it does not)

    The influences that you, Mimi and Helen have had on my homing skills is such a blessing to me and I would like to say "Thank You" for this


    1. Dear Aly, It is so nice to see you here! Thank you! It is lovely to hear you think Mimi, Helen and I have encouraged you a little bit!
      Not being able to read the top shelf sounds familiar to me lol I am 5 foot 1.
      I am glad you found your way here. I know you love Helen... I hope I can share a Helen surprise with you in a few days!
      I do remember you being cut off from the city due to floods. Once supply routes are cut too things disappear very quickly. So much does depend on where we live and being ready for these things. It really pays off.
      Thanks Aly! xxx

  6. Hi Aly, It's so nice to see you here. Annabel, what a wonderful post. I love this challenge and I have spent some time thinking about it each day. I read a excellent article on preparedness, and one of the things it mentioned was lighting. I have some battery powered lamps, and candles, but I really want to source some Kerosene lamps and use lamp oil in them. In 2011, we had 4 days without power due to the Queensland storms and floods. The nights were the hardest as you don't realise that candles give off very poor light. I had many little tea lights lit as well as some bigger candles and we had a fire going in our fireplace but it was dim lighting at best and it did get a bit depressing. The things that disappeared off the shelves during that time were water, bread, and bread makers. I'm sure there were other things as well but I remember noticing those things.
    So many homes were without power, I often wondered what use the bread makers were. Another wonderful post that will keep us thinking and planning. Love Helen

    1. Helen I dont think I knew you went without power for four days. The experience from that would have actually taught you quite a bit.
      I wonder about the bread makers too! Handy but not in a power outage! You know some people probably never even thought of that.
      It is so good to do thing along with you. xxx

    2. Hi Helen
      So great to catch up again.

      I think we are lucky in the fact that we have a gas top cooker, but the oven is electric. We would be unable to have showers as the gas is connected to the electricity. Yes things I have noticed that go missing off the shelves are....bread, milk, batteries, torches, radios and of course water.

      I look forward to the Helen surprise when it comes Annabel, how exciting

  7. Dear Annabel, I hope your birthday was very happy! I love what Andy did for you, too. The pictures are great, especially the one of you and your mum. I really appreciate this preparedness series. I am the type of person who is very encouraged by your reminders of "taking lots of little steps will get you there". I cleaned out my pantry and I'm following along with what I need to do for where I live. Big birthday hugs for you! xxx

    1. Colette thank you. It is true that little steps make great gains. If you put one extra small item on each shopping list it would work.
      Thank you for the birthday wishes. It was a very nice day! xxx

  8. A very happy belated birthday to you, Annabel. Of course I wish my parcel had made it in time for your special day. Oh, well.

    Happy preparedness! *hugs*

  9. I feel like I have a mystery parcel coming! :) I will be running to the post box!
    Thanks for thinking of me! xxx

  10. Hi Annabel

    I am glad you had a lovely birthday and Andy just about got it perfect I think.

    I did enjoy your post on preparedness I found out the hard way that it is not just a community disaster such as flood, fire or cyclone that a well prepared pantry is essential. Recently when I was off sick for so long my stockpile of toiletries and pantry basics made it possible for me to stay financially above water for 6 months without my pay packet coming in. The shampoo/conditioner and toilet paper lasted five months. The sanitary products, deodorants, body wash, soap, toothpaste, pantry basics including oil, sugars, flours all lasted the six months.I had a stockpile of my regular medications which lasted me three months. I also had a good supply of paracetamol, band aids, antiseptic cream, tea tree oil and basic cleaning products these have all been most helpful.

    Now I need to restock all these items as they are depleted and I will do it slowly over the next few months. I am very conscious of the fact that the good times always come but so do life's disasters

    One thing that always sticks in my memory is my mother telling me that when her mother was married her mother in law sat her down and told her that in WW1 the things most sought after were soap, toothpaste and sugar. My Grandmother lined every drawer in the bedrooms with a layer of soap, stockpiled toothpaste and lovely scented "personal items" along with barrels of sugar, flours and a large amount of fabric as she was a beautiful seamstress. During WW2 my grandmother traded homemade sweets made with her sugar for essential foods as well as trading soap and homemade clothes for much needed goods. When a longer term disaster strikes things that make you feel better are the most sought after. Alcohol is also much sought after so maybe that is a thought to keep in the back of your mind. Most spirits have a very long shelf life.

    And the thought of people running out to buy a bread machine makes me smile, hadn't any of them heard of baking damper?

    God Bless Annabel and enjoy the rest of your week

    1. Dear Mel, This is an amazing comment. Firstly your own stockpile of personal products and cleaning products etc.... you couldnt have known that you would end up off work for six whole months. So the fact you had so much stored up was just wonderful. It must have been a huge help. Im thinking Im sure you purchased all these spares on great specials over time. I am sure you will be able to build it up again the same way. It is another great testimony to how building up our supplies is a wonderful idea.

      Now for your Grandmother! What a woman! You know the fact she took that information given to her and the way she acted on it is just one of the best things I have heard in a long time! She also couldnt have known the second world war was coming. Lining the drawers with soap is honestly so brilliant. They all would have smelled gorgeous too. And soap stored just gets better and hard and so lasts longer! The fact that she stored all these things up and really made herself a virtual little shop with which to trade her way through the war years. Adding to it by making sweets and sewing the fabric multiplied its value! Honestly this is just wonderful. How blessed her family must have been by what she did.
      I am really inspired by this lovely part of your family history. I can see your Grandmother in you and what you have done yourself.
      Your point that when disaster strikes the things that make you feel better are greatly sought after.... this is a really brilliant indicator of what would be luxury and tradable goods. They probably havent changed much.
      Thank you for posting this it was just brilliant.
      I hope your week back at work is going well.
      Many thanks for sharing this. Love Annabel.xxxxx

    2. Dear Mel & Annabel, I too loved this comment so much. Just to add my two cents (for what it is worth :), during the recession here in the US, my husband and I were barely affected in a negative way, both of us being hairstylists. Of course others that were affected curbed their beauty regimens here and there...but being well-groomed and pampered is something that makes people feel better about themselves for sure. So all of us have talents and skills that are of value to someone for sure. Of course we perform services on a wide variety of people in all types of professions, in different seasons of life...and some of the people in professions badly hit (real estate, for example), would often still keep there appointments and even say, "Im budgeting differently in other areas so I can keep this one thing for myself"....or some would curb hair but never miss a pedicure, etc. coffee shops were still bursting with customers and so what was true with Mel's grandmother is true with us today. We all bring something lovely and valuable to the table whether professionally trained or not makes no difference when everyone is struggling.

    3. I am taking this information on board and storing some sweet smelling luxuries and things. They could be traded or used as lovely gifts!

    4. I like this family story too.

      Belated happy birthday wishes to you, Annabel.

  11. I think we are pretty well prepared here but a family member made the comment lately that alcohol is likely the best thing to keep on hand for battering. I am still mulling that one over since I think he is right. I have considered going to our local liquor store and buying 50 mini bottles for that purpose. I always have a big bottle of vodka for making extracts and tinctures. I would not be without my supply of essential oils for any kind of illness. They never go bad and can treat any illness if you have some training in how to use them. We always keep 150 plus bottles of water on hand and we also have full water containers for non drinking purposes. The thing I feel that I need to do is to pack some 5 gallon buckets that could be grabbed if we had to leave our home suddenly.

    1. Lana I have heard of people using whiskey as a valuable trading commodity. I think some of these things are a good idea.
      You are way ahead of me in water. I am increasing it and ideally we would like to put in a rainwater tank that would make all the difference. Will be working on that...
      I need to learn more on essential oils. I use a few but not many so I need to look into that more.
      Thank you for the comment Lana xx

    2. If you want to stock two basic essential oils I would recommend getting a bottle of peppermint and a bottle of lavender. They need to be best quality therapeutic grade oils. Peppermint could be used for any food or water borne illness by taking 5 drops internally. If inhaled it can keep you alert and awake if a situation calls for that. Lavender is the universal oil and can be used for many things but a real useful way is that it will kill infection in any cut or injury. It can be applied directly to the injury and for other illness it can be rubbed on the bottoms of the feet every three hours. Socks need to be worn over it. I will include those oils when I pack my 5 gallon buckets.

    3. Thanks Lana. I am going to try the lavender on my feet... I have a low grade ear problem that is persistent!
      Thank you for this information. We have a good health food shop locally I will pay them a visit and get a few supplies. I do keep lavender as I find it helps me

    4. For an ear problem you can also put basil on the knobby bone behind the ear. It will relax the tubes in the ear and allow them to drain. I have used that many times and it really does help me. It is quite smelly though. :)

    5. I am going to try it. THis has gone on for two years so it is worth trying. Thank you so much!

  12. Excellent post. I will link to it on Saturday. -:)

    1. Thank you Brenda I really appreciate that. Collectively we have a fair bit of information! Thank you so

  13. Happy birthday Annabel.

    As you know I've been stockpiling for years. I always have a good supply of everything so that I never run out. Soap, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, toilet paper,and tooth paste are in abundance at my house. I think I have enough of these for the next couple of years and all was bought on sale mostly at 50% off.

    Milk powder is worth stocking up on as it's one of the first things to dissappear off the shelf.

    I look forward to your stockpile photos.

    1. Thank you Wendy!
      On one of the Current Affair clips I saw inside some of your cupboards. It looked so neat! That was cans and things. Later I saw your Christmas present stash as well. It might sound silly but I love seeing these things! It would be a very helpful blogpost, how you do it, and where you store things as many people struggle with room.
      I will build up some milk powder supplies, thank you for that.
      Today I got ten tins of corn and 4 bean mix as they were on big specials. Also two 6 packs of toilet paper also an amazing bargain. So this is the beginning of stocking the cellar! Many thanks. xxx

  14. I just had to pop in and let you in on this little "hint". Growing up I was living next door to an elderly lady (and I mean lady in every sense of the word). Now she had lived through two world wars, a depression and seen in a new century. Her family secret was a home made concoction of Brandy and Salt. She always had a bottle of Brandy in storage. She would open a bottle of Brandy and have a drink, then add to the bottle about a quarter to half cup of salt. Then the lid would go back on and it would be shaken a lot. I watched her sit one evening when her niece, son and myself were there and the bottle would be passed from one to the other to shake as long as you could then it passed onto the next person. I think between us we shook the bottle for over an hour. Then this was used for just about every medicinal use you could think of. If you scraped your knee on went Brandy and Salt, a cold sore, anything at all even one time I had a sore throat and they told me to gargle with it amazing results. The joke in our family was if Brandy and Salt couldn't fix it the old lady kept a plain bottle of Brandy in the pantry to make you forget what the problem was.

    It really works, I grew up on it.

    1. Dear Mel,
      At first I thought you meant that the brandy and salt was for drinking and I am thinking it would kill you! lol
      Now I see it was dabbed on cuts and scrapes etc. Well I guess it would be totally antiseptic and also drying... no germ would stand a chance! The second option is the back up plan! Love Annabelxxx

  15. Lovely post Annabel & what a beautiful way to start your birthday, it had to be a wonderful day, that Andy is an amazing man.

    There are so many reasons to be prepared these days & it's certainly making me rethink what is needed. My husband purchased a wind up radio/torch recently & it felt good to have one more thing available to help us in case of an emergency. Big hugs xx

    1. Thank you Susan! It gets much colder where you are... I think that would affect how you prepare. Do you get snow that could actually cut you off? (sorry I am not sure on this!)
      The radio and torch are good additions. Today I made my first purchases of food for in the cellar as I saw some really good specials of things we use. xxx

    2. Yes we do get snowed in occasionally Annabel but it's never been for more than three days so not a real worry. We are extremely lucky in that we have our own supply of wood, rain water, generator, gas, fruit trees, veggies & the room to store things which can sometimes be the most challenging. Can't wait to see the cellar when you've finished, forget the pretty because it will be practical! LOL xx :)

  16. Belated birthday wishes Annabel. What a gorgeous breakfast, and so glad you got your lie in.

    What interesting reading about being prepared. Whilst decluttering this last week, I managed to empty a large box with a lid and so started my emergency box with a wind up torch and my battery-driven radio with spare batteries. I also started a list of things to go in it, so will be copying important documents and things that you have mentioned here. Great ideas from everyone.

    In the last few days, my son and daughter's houses have been very close to a bushfire, so my mind has been full of possible needs in those circumstances. One of the vital things to me was the ABC radio station broadcasting updates at a certain time past each hour. Knowing this, one wouldn't have to have the radio on all the time, because you would know what time to listen in. So comforting to hear the ABC person giving information.

    My mind is whirring with information now, so back to the list. Thankyou for inspiring us to be prepared. Somehow reading what you write makes it all so much more logical. I appreciate it very much

    1. Thank you Mary! I think space for emergency preparedness is an issue for lots of people. I should do a post on de cluttering! You have made me realise that space can be created and instead of clutter taking up a cupboard or the garage emergency shelves could be set up etc! This is a really good thought!
      We had fires near by and on the farm. They are our most common threat here. Once something is serious leave the radio on all the time as while updates might come hourly that can change to minute by minute if things get really serious plus if there is a change ie a change in the wind the radio might be your only chance of knowing... this is for people in the area anyway.
      Im glad I have encouraged you... one of the big things for people is having alternative accommodation. It sounds like your daughter would have that with you! We are the same, if something happened all of us would have several choices of family to stay with in an emergency. It does get you thinking! Many thanks


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