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 19 May 2015

Pantries and Preparedness. Make a plan.

Over the last four and a half months I am amazed at what I have learned about pantries and preparedness. I just looked back at my weekly posts and can't believe the subjects we have covered! Ever step has been a big learning curve for me and I have loved it! And I have made some wonderful friends along the way. I fact if someone says they love jars and pantries I know we are going to get on like a house on fire!

It was towards the end of last year that I started to feel a conviction that I needed to really build up my pantry and get prepared. You might remember that I started reading blogs on the subject and as I read comments I was seeing people from all over the world saying they were feeling the way I was... that I NEEDED to do this and felt strongly prompted to. Did you ever have a feeling that was strong and you ignored it? That never turns out well!  That experience has taught me to never ignore strong feelings and to listen to them!

This last week many of the blogs I read and many who never even mention pantries have all been having a lot to say on the subject. It is as if masses of people feel this is very important and to do it now. Don't wait.

In the last months we have seen right here amongst us a series of events where preparedness was essential. Actually we have had a fair few and Debbie, Lynette, Helen and Mimi have been through incredible storms, power outages, deadly road conditions, flooding and all kinds of things. Mel went through job loss and her pantry saved her family during that time. So we have seen plenty of examples of WHY this is a good idea and more than I can mention.

This week Patsy released an e book which I purchased instantly as everything she writes is very good and her site A Working Pantry helped me get started and helps me every week in ways I will mention in a minute.

Her book "Yes, you CAN have a well stocked pantry" takes you through a myriad of ways you can get yourself a good pantry with plenty of supplies. There is more than one way to skin a cat as they say!
I found myself jotting down notes in my journal. There are so many ways you can add to your pantry and many of them you may not have thought of.
The book is also like a tour through Patsy's own pantry and storage cupboards which I love. I have noted more ways that I can add to my pantry and more plans to implement. It is really enjoyable and motivating. We can have it in our minds that we want to build up what we have so far and life can get in the way. Patsy makes it a priority and she is another person who's real life circumstances saw her need to live from Pantry supplies while they had no income. So she knows what she is talking about! P
We do not want to get to the end of the year having planned to build up a fully stocked pantry and not have achieved it.  We want to get to the end of the year having surpassed our expectations!
One way I do this is by joining in with the weekly goal setting that A Working Pantry has. Each week you set your goals and review the precious weeks. This makes all the difference. There is no forgetting and it becomes a fun challenge!

This is the link to the e book Yes, you CAN have a well stocked Pantry.

It is good to watch for every opportunity to build up your supplies as you never know what you might find. It might be an amazing special or it may be the you have something growing in the garden that you need to preserve and use so that you make the most of it. There are so many ways to add to that pantry. In my case it seems to be working that I watch for every opportunity (be watchful!) and have an overall plan to have gone from a small basic pantry to a fully stocked mini shop in my cellar, in the space of one year. So I have that goal. But my secondary plan is to set a goal each week, write it down and share it, and review and re set that goal the next week. If you want to do that you are welcome to do it here or on Patsy's blog or face book page or both. It is pretty well known that goal setting works. And that writing down goals and sharing them with others works too (the Buddy System!)

What are you plans to build up your pantry? Can having a plan help you make more progress or serve as a reminder?

For up coming posts I would love to see photos of your own pantry, preserving, drying, jars... anything to do with your supplies. I cannot have too many and would love to see what you do and how you are doing it! Please send your photos to me at
Firstly I would love love love to see what you are doing and secondly I have pantry related prizes to give to the best photos and information too.

I hope you are having a wonderful week and making progress!  We need reminders or life gets so busy and we have so much to think about that our plans can evaporate. But having a well stocked pantry might be really important sometime and we will be glad we stayed on track! xxx


  1. Hello Annabel. How is life as a grandmother? Has little Harper stolen you heart away yet? Now. Pantries. This is a topic that we could chatter about forever I think. I've made such leaps since you started this series too. I think it just creates an awareness, and the storms we've had this year have certainly highlighted the need to be prepared for anything. Supplies for pets is an area often overlooked and I make sure that we have stocks of dog food, and flea treatments for our little canine darling, as he is part of the family too. My storage is very make do, as you know and consists of recycled jars painted with chalk paint on one side to allow me to change the contents at will. It looks neat and tidy and the size is just right for a packet of most pantry items. A tidy fridge is a wonderful thing as well, and prevents loss due to poor storage and things getting pushed to the back and forgotten. I hope all is happy and joyous there. Mimi xxx

    1. Mimi I love her so much. She is just gorgeous and happy. I think of her all the time when I am not there with her!
      I would much rather spend my money on food than on containers but everyone sees my jars and goes ooohh they are lovely. Yet so much cheaper than plastic systems that many pay hundreds for and then throw away as the plastics are making the food smell funny and are now known to be dodgy health wise. Jes on Strangers and Pilgrims on earth posted jar make overs with knobs on top, I hope you saw them as french style labels... just up your alley!
      Hope you are having a good week. Mine is so busy and I am tired. But it has all been wonderful!xxx

  2. Annabel, I am suprised you can concentrate on anything other than Harper at the moment :-) You might be interested to read Phil's blog post about what how his family coped during the recent rain event in NSW when their power was off for about four days It is a very interesting account. Sorry I am not clever enough to learn how to put an active link in a blog comment :-)

    1. Thanks Nana Chel I went and read Phil's post and it was really good. He is right... things are set up in a way we are so dependent on electricity is it kind of ridiculous. And to spread food storage methods out so if one lot is lost, ie the freezer not everything is.
      Well yes Harper and family have taken up a lot of my time and thoughts this week! Harper is just beautiful. And probably I didnt get so much done as I have been cooking for them etc. But on the other hand she makes me think being prepared is even more important than ever. Thanks so much for that link. xxx

  3. Annabel we couldn't survive without our pantry. I keep it stocked with enough basic non-perisables (flour, pasta, cereal, tinned foods, sugars, rice, lentils, beans, dried fruits and soap, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner etc.) to last my family of 5 six months, knowing that I can easily stretch that to 9 or even 12 months by careful rationing. I also keep at least 3 months of meat/poultry and frozen vegetables that can also be stretched.

    I've started to dehydrate and bottle more fruit and veg for long term storage rather than freeze. It is a lot more work, but the chances of losing it all in a power outage are zilch. I'm saving up for a pressure canner so I can preserve meat and chicken too. And we are also looking at solar power with some kind of battery back-up we can use to run at least the fridge and freezer in a blackout. We have a small system like this set up for when we go camping, but it's not powerful enough to run the household freezer.

    Being able to take care of my family by providing them with tasty, healthful meals is my security blanket. I don't like my stockpile to get under six months, and when it does I just have to build it up again as quickly as I can :)

    1. Dear Cath, I think the more we can store outside of the freezer the better. As you say it is not lost when the power goes out, it also frees up space for other things. I cant wait for you to get canning as I hope you will share that on your blog and I can learn along with you.
      Six months is a great supply. I could ask you a hundred questions... how long did this take you to build up and how much space does it take up and how and where do you store it? I aim to reach this point and little by little I am getting there!
      Thank you Cath, Love

  4. Thank you Annabel for your kind endorsement of my e-book, I'm glad you found something you could glean from it. And you are so right, little Harper is yet another reason to have a well-stocked pantry.

    1. You are most welcome Patsy. I hope you have a great success from it. I really find joining in with your weekly challenge a huge help. It is too embarrassing to say "I did nothing this week" so it makes you get moving!
      I hope to have plenty to report next week! xxx

  5. Dear Annabel, You know that this is a topic close to my heart and I echo Mimi's words that starting this series just took my awareness to another level.
    Cath, we have bought a generator that is pure sine waved. I'm not sure that I spelt that correctly, but in essence it's safe to use for charging your computers.
    We are on tank water, so when the power goes we have no water. We have only a small fridge with a freezer on top and the generator is strong enough to run that. We store enough fuel to last us four days at present.
    We too are looking at buying a solar panel...we already own several of the batteries.
    I'm so pleased Annabel that Patsy has written her book. How wonderful! I'm sure it will be a valuable addition to our households.
    It's so lovely to hear news of Harper. As you said an added motivation.
    As far as pantry building goes, I'm continuing to follow the Mormons 12 month supply. So far it's working well for me.
    Thanks for the wonderful encouragement Annabel and friends, Love Helen xxx

    1. I will have to ask you more about your generator Helen. We really need to get one. It is on my list of most urgent things to get as we can.
      I enjoyed seeing your stove above the wood heater. That was a wonderful investment. You really have a lot of things in place that would make you well set up in most situations.
      Just imagine when a year is up how far we will have come! xxx

  6. I love reading everyone's comments. I always learn something or it jogs my memory as to an area I have neglected.

    Mimi Mama mentioned the dogs (or other animals) in the home, which is a good reminder. We make sure our two Goldens have the same length of supply of dog food and treats that we have for food. We purchased some pet supply buckets, from Amazon, that sit nicely on one of the metal racks in the garage. This way the dog food is not in bags, but in light blocking (for nutrient protection), pest proof containers. Our garage never goes below freezing and is finished, so we can use it as additional storage space. My husband has decided his truck can sit out in the extra drive on our lot and use that side for storage.

    We try to follow the Mormons 12 month supply, also, as Helen mentioned that they do. The Mormon calculator is a good place to start as it gives some figures for the very basics to keep people alive and calculates how much is needed for the # of people you plug into the blank. It does not, however, include vegetables, fruits, spices, or many other items people use everyday.

    The way I calculate those items is to track for a three month period of time how much we have used and multiple it 4x. Canned fruit, canned milk, canned vegetables, and canned beans are excellent storage items in case of a power outage or an immediate food need. They are ready to eat from the can. I do a lot of home canning, as we try to grow as much food as possible, but on sale canned goods are an excellent value for storage. In the U.S., Smith's (Krogers) has case lot sales two or three times a year, in our area. We try to take advantage of those excellent sales, also. We only store what we use and rotate it regularly.

    When we started feeling the importance of storing, several years ago, I made lists of everything we used for every aspect of our lives or would need if there was no electricity, no pure running water, no heat, no availability to fill gas tanks, etc.

    Right now, I am in the throws once again, since recently moving, of taking stock of all the stores and making sure that we are well supplied in every aspect. Food; water; games, books, drawing supplies (for grandchildren's entertainment); extra pillows, blankets, sheets; stored seeds for gardening; extra propane; extra gas; gardening supplies in good shape and extra's of those used all the time; security measures in place; extra funds for immediate use; medical supplies; resource books; notebooks with supply lists and inventories; extra sewing supplies, plenty of fabric for clothing and quilts; paper supplies/household use supplies; extra canning jars, lids; extra filters for the Berkey; herbs/essential oils; etc.

    This past week, due to a great sale and some awesome coupons we were able to add a year's worth of laundry detergent (free and clear) to our supply at 60% off the regular cost. We, also, added a year's supply of dish soap (free and clear) with coupons at a savings of 35%.

    I apologize for the length of this comment; as you can tell, this is a subject dear to my heart and one I could talk about forever (LOL). Thank you for such wonderful posts, Annabel and Helen.

    1. Thank you Glenda. No comment is too long as you are ahead of me in this and I can learn so much from you. I added pillows too this week as our supply was minimal.
      You added a lot more this week at excellent prices.
      It has to be a big job to relocate and get your pantry and preparedness back to how you would like it. But then also with moving it is always a great time to have a review and re organize which can be good too.
      We need to store extra gas. You have reminded me of that. I will put that on next weeks list.
      Many thanks and lots of love,

  7. Yes, amen to pantry and preparedness. I couldn't agree more! Thank you for confirming my thoughts on both those subjects :)

  8. Hi, I love your blog and congrats on your granddaughter. I think everyone's aim of what they want their pantry to be built up to will be different. I roughly have about 2 weeks of just canned food and water for my whole family. People really need to remember how important water is to store. You can google how much per person per day is recommended so you can be ready if a big storm cut off water for a few days.
    I then also just try to stock up on our regular meal pantry items and toiletries when they are on special. I know that if I buy 10 of something we definitely use on special we are saving money and it will definitely be used eventually if it has a long expiry date. Apart from that if we lost power we have our BBQ and spare gas bottle. I also keep torches, batteries, candles, matches. I was also looking at power banks/power blocks for our camping trips. Not sure what they are called but you charge them up and they hold a small amount of power so you can then charge your mobile phone etc. Im currently trying to have the basics covered and then will expand my pantry from there. Thankyou for your inspiration.

    1. Thank you so much!
      You are right about the water. Plus when we go to cook and wash we need water as well and it is amazing how much! Our aim is to get a rainwater tank this year but meanwhile I add water every week by filling bottles.
      You already are in a great position with two weeks supplies. This is wonderful. We can add as we can but we have that assurance and back up plan which is really important. Well done. Thank you very much for joining in it is lovely to have you here. xxx

  9. Annabel, Another great post! Planning is everything, making a list and then one by one checking things off. I'm always reminded of things I need to work on/add to my list as I read your posts, comments and others' ideas.

    Just today, our city was put on "boil alert", meaning we need to boil our drinking water before using. I'm so thankful to already have a supply of water in my pantry and didn't feel like I needed to panic and run to the closest shop. :) My son was visiting and so he carried up some bottled water for me. Also, reading the post that Nanna Chel recommended, reminded me of several things I need to work on.

    Annabel, your roses are just beautiful. If I can figure out how to get pictures of my pantry into an email, I will be doing that soon. Have a wonderful week! Teri

    1. Dear Teri, Thank you! Everyone gives me many things to think about and work on too. Its a big help.
      What causes the boil alert for your water? some kind of contamination I am guessing, Im just curious!
      Ohh I hope you can send me photos! And dont hold back I want to see everything as I know you have a lot I can learn from. Now if you get your photos on to your computer the key is to add them to files where you know they are ie photos or documents and then know them by name or number. Then when sending an email click attachments at the top and your compiter files will come up... click documents (or wherever you put them) then look for that file name or number and click to select it. Is should load... then do the next one. Often I can only send three or so in one email as there is a limit... if thats the case send another batch in another email. I dont know if this is any help at all. It is easy once you have done it once! My photos are usually from my phone or ipad so I send them to my email address then file them from there. But if a camera you are probably uploading them directly from that. Well I hope it works as I would be thrilled to see how you do things!
      From Nanna Chels link I am going to look for LED lights and store some of those for a safe source of lighting.
      Many thanks Teri, Love

    2. Annabel, Yes, our city water was contaminated. They were doing a routine testing and found e-coli. Today, the system has been flushed with strong bleach. I'm just glad they caught it and notified everyone.

      Thank you so much for the information about sending pictures. I only have my phone camera so I will try to email from my phone with the pictures. Hopefully, that works. My son will be up again and I will ask him for some help but I'm going to copy the information you gave me so I can reference it.

      One thing I found helpful for my lists: I take an old notebook binder (not sure what else they are called), cover it in pretty material and use them for recipes, food storage information and lists of information I want to reference often. I like having something in writing, not just on my computer. Just a few days ago, my son helped me make a back-up CD of my documents, just in case. But without power, I will still have my binders to reference. :)

      And I will be looking into LED lights/lanterns for lighting back-up so I won't have to rely on candles. We do have battery flashlights and extra batteries but something to read by at night would be nice also.
      thank you again, Annabel. I sure like our "buddy system"!! :) Teri

    3. Thank you Teri for all the wonderful pictures you sent and for all the effort you had to go to for this!
      I also like to have things in print form and I think I remember things better when I write them down as well.
      It is a good point to think of a light to read to in the event of no power. Reading and crochet would probably be my evening activities and you need light!
      Thank you son for his help. I cant wait to show everyone your pictures! With love,

  10. Pantries and preparedness are definitely on my mind too. And jars - love them! Hubby thinks I have too many, but I don't think there is such a thing as too many jars. Look forward to reading more pantry related wisdom.

    1. You cannot have too many jars! Totally agree! Jes on Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth has many beautiful jar projects and stunning labels. Oh my goodness... this makes your jars into something gorgeous but also gift-worthy... and then also when you have a great deal on produce you have your jars ready to go. Very handy! I am collecting, collecting... We need a jar lovers club as Wendy is the same, Jes is and several other ladies are all nuts on jars. Its a good sign in a person I say! xxx

  11. Having a well stocked pantry at our house is a simple necessity - with seven of us and the constant stream of visitors, friends and relations there is no alternative. Our stockpile is our saviour.

    1. Dear Phil, it sounds like you need a big pantry! That is wonderful. Also sensible! It sounds like your home welcomes lots of guests too.
      It truly is a saviour at times as we'll as making life easier plus money savings.
      Thank you for commenting, I really appreciate it, love


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