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.

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Tuesday 16 June 2015

Pantry and Preparedness. Protection against shortages.

A little while ago I wrote a post "What will be worth more than Gold?" which was about the fact that at certain times there are goods that are so sought after that they are worth a fortune! In these cases they can be worth a fortune to us or even used to trade or sell.

Another time I wrote "Be ever watchful" which was about keeping an eye on things so where possible we are prepared and not caught out, so that we see good opportunities and don't miss those either

These two posts combine in one today! Teri S suggested to me to post about shortages and what we can do.
Now we cannot always know something is coming but much of the time we can! Several weeks ago I was reading that in the US there was an outbreak of bird flu and that several million chickens and turkeys had been destroyed. Just then I thought that sounds like a lot, I wonder if that is enough to cause shortages? Since then the situation has developed and now 29 million birds are affected and they are talking high prices, serious shortages and maybe rationing! Now I am not in the US and this doesn't affect me directly but many of you are. It would look to be a fairly long term problem so even stocking up on eggs would only help a family for a couple of months at most. But a couple of months grace is still a good thing! And now egg replacements are flying off the shelves. If you sell egg replacement products this is your day in the sun!

I did look up ideas on egg substitutes. Now, I really think eggs are a fantastic source of nutrition and protein and nothing is like eggs. But when you have no eggs and you want to bake etc you need a substitute.

One is to use eggless recipes as there are many. In a Brownie mix 1/3 cup applesauce can be used instead of an egg. In cakes 1/3 cup buttermilk works pretty well as an egg substitute. In biscuits 1/4 vegetable oil will replace an egg. There are helpful charts on the internet to help you go on with cooking when you have no eggs.

These shortages could be seen coming which gave a bit of a warning. I don't think most peoples chooks in the backyard are affected so this would be a good time to have chooks!  Some of you can tell me about that and how it is right now.

Since I wrote the article about powdered milk and baby formula I have kept a close eye on both. Both have mostly been on the shelves. A few times powdered milk has disappeared again for a while then come back after a week or so. I have plenty in the cellar for if we need it. Lucy is feeding Harper herself but she could still need formula so I keep a close eye on that. This last week I have noticed the shelves are very low in stock with lots of gaps. I am keeping a very close watch.

Yesterday in Woolworth's there was a man taking photos of each kind of baby formula and the prices. He spent ages doing this and sending text messages. I was kind of observing. Then I decided this is an opportunity too good to be true so I approached him and said "excuse me, I hope you don't mind me asking but do you have a baby at home or are you looking to sell formula?" I thought he might be defensive or something but he couldn't have cared less. Right there in the baby food isle he gave me a complete lesson in why the Chinese don't want to buy their own milk products and why he comes in EVERYDAY to buy two cans of formula (as that is now the limit at this store because of this) and he takes them back to China. He says the Chinese do not want to buy it online (ie Ebay as people are selling it there too) as now their is a market in COUNTERFEIT baby formula. They want it from a friend or relative who is in Australia or NZ or travelling there. I said to him if I had family in China I would be doing the same thing. He was very nice and we had a great chat!

When I went to the check- out I asked the young girl what was the current limit of purchases on baby formula? She confirmed it was two cans in this store, which is down from 4 cans when I last asked. Interesting. I let her know that I thought the situation must have become more serious. She knew all about it! As per usual I chatted with her and she knew so much! It turned out her step Father is a pilot and he thought he would look into filling a suitcase with baby formula every time he flew into Asia. (I am thinking at this point how much is an international pilot paid?) Anyway, he had to abandon his enterprising idea as customs are onto it and countries are not letting you take baby formula out. ie going through Hong Kong they have a two can limit. Baby formula is like gold! Isn't that amazing?
So if you or someone in the family buys baby formula keep a close eye on supplies. A major shortage could very easily happen.
The man in the supermarket had gone on to tell me about the buying and selling of Swisse vitamins as well but that is another story!!!

It was kind of exciting to have a real life chance to do some research and be watchful!

Some shortages are not serious. We can do without that item and use something else. Other times we might save ourselves a fortune by being watchful and anticipating a coming shortage. And other times it might be more dire being an essential item to our family. We might avert real problems by seeing what is coming. There are a lot of reasons to be really watchful and to gather what we can at a good time. It is like the scripture about being wise and harvesting in summer and not sleeping through it.

Our pantries are our chance to stock up before a shortage causes a huge price rise or an item isn't available. If we are well stocked up we might not be affected at all.  In some cases things can be stored in several ways and this is really good giving alternatives.. ie milk can be kept fresh, frozen, long shelf life, tinned and canned. Long life cream can also be kept. Eggs can be fresh, frozen, powdered, or a substitute can be used. How lovely to have our supplies!

I have to tell you this about my Dad. He fancies himself as a bit of a cook. He even has his own shelves where he keeps his cooking supplies. The farm house is a big house with two kitchens so Mum and Dad essentially have their own kitchens. Often Chloe shops for Dad as he makes a list and wants this or that. Some items he wanted multiples and Chloe took a whole box from the supermarket shelf.  You know when it is like a half box that is like a tray that the product sits in? Well, he loved this. He kept the box and on the shelf his products sit in them in rows "just like in the supermarket".  This is how much he likes his own supplies. So he really has a pantry of his own even though it is just a wall of shelves.  When I give him a gift the best thing is items for his pantry. This time I sent him jars of plum jam, jars of fig and almond jam and a parsley plant. This was a big hit, he rang me up to tell me!

Next time I go to the farm I will take photos of both pantries. Being a long way from the shops they keep a lot of stuff plus massive freezers. If there was a shortage of anything it would take quite a while before they knew about it!

I have come to love seeing how people keep their pantries and how they fill them!

We take continuous supplies of the things we need for granted. When something basic like eggs or milk is threatened we need to think about ways around it. Be watchful! It could save you so much money and so much inconvenience.

Have you been affected by shortages? Can you see any on the horizon?  Do you have any good substitutes for eggs for those that need them?

I hope you are having a wonderful week! xxx


  1. Plenty of things to think about in this post Annabel. Thank you for drawing my attention to it.

    Other than powdered milk, I haven't noticed too many shortages lately. I don't go to the shop that often but I am going to take notice next time, which will be this afternoon. I know Woollies had no powdered milk when I wanted it but Coles did, so I purchased it there instead.

    Another substitute for eggs is chia seeds. They are healthy and when soaked in water they gel up and bind. This is the method I use when making vegan burgers that require eggs. Here is a website describing how to use chia seeds as an egg substitute.

    Hope you have a lovely day!

    God Bless,


    1. Thank you Tania for this hint! It is a goodie. This is a health, natural alternative which I like.I think this will be very helpful to some of the US ladies too.
      It is raining here! I hope it is there too! xxx

  2. As wonderful as Aldi is, you never know if they will have the item you want. I've learnt to never let my stockpile run low.

    My " gold " continues to be soap, chocolate, milk powder and teabags ( 2 year's worth )

    1. Wendy, we are finally getting Aldi! I am so excited! Not sire when it is opening but there will be one just up the road from us!
      Helen says she saves so much due to Aldi. If you could ever write a story on whats good and whats not and general information on Aldi I would love that! Anyway I am so pleased as this will be very good for us! xxx

  3. Great post, Annabel!! It's easy to get rather apathetic about the seriousness of having our pantries completely stocked with supplies we use regularly. Your post is a wonderful wake-up call.

    I noticed that the company where we purchase our powdered eggs are out of stock at the moment and the price has gone way up. Fortunately, we are still able to get fresh eggs from Amish farms, but that might change in the future. I am thankful for the cans of powdered eggs I stocked last Fall.

    Shortages cause a domino affect in most cases. Eggs are used in almost every prepared food purchased in the marketplace. If there are no eggs, then manufacturers will either have to import eggs from another country (prices will rise); reformulate the recipe (prices will rise); or discontinue products. My husband heard a newscast recently concerning the fact that many companies are now already importing eggs from Europe.

    There are no guarantees as to food supply ever. The drought in California will greatly impact the cost of food in the U.S. Weather, crop failures, crop diseases, regulations, shipping interruptions, wars, etc., will always have an impact on food supply. There have been shortages in past years of various foods. Having the items we use regularly in quantity is a wise investment for sure.

    We cannot keep chickens where we reside. Many cities and towns, even small one's, have ordinances against chickens. These types of laws are rather silly, but typical across the U.S. We cannot hang clothes out to dry either, due to an ordinance; again ridiculous. People seem to be more concerned with 'appearances,' than practicality these days.

    I, recently, showed my husband the notebook where I calculated and recorded what we need on the shelves (which we use regularly) for a three month, six month, and year supply. We have worked out of that notebook for years, but both needed a refresher. We have moved recently and let some areas get lower than either of us is comfortable with for food security. We have a set date to have everything back to peak storage supply, so need to get busy.

    This article is such a great reminder and incentive for all of us. Thank you for all your work on the posts and for sharing with us such important and pertinent information.

    Hugs and blessings to you, Annabel.

    1. Dear Glenda,
      Just this morning I see more stories about the seriousness of the Californian drought and a town being cut off from water!
      As you say many businesses that use eggs will really be affected. There are flow ons down the chain. It is so important to be aware.
      I need to make a note book like yours and face those calculations. It is a little mind boggling how much food we go through! But knowledge is power.
      Lots of love and thanks,

  4. I hope this link works here for egg substitutes. What you use them for, or in, was matched to an appropriate substitute. It was displaying ok on my tablet, but looks a bit strange on my netbook! Anyway, hope it is helpful to someone.

    Formula restrictions and shortage are a concern to me because my grand daughter is still using it. My daughter has always found good stocks of it at our supermarkets and lets it run to the last scoop before running out to get more!! I have now bought a tin to have here as back up. It was stressful to me knowing the reason for possible shortages as you have shared before here Annabel.

    After the long weekend I was a bit surprised at such low stocks at one of our supermarkets. Cheese was very low, but stocked up again later that week I noticed. I had let my block cheese get too low. We did have frozen cheese (grated) but they like their fresh cheese from the block. I bought 2kg of it now and usually have one open and one extra at all times in the fridge. I was thinking how we take it for granted that an item is plentiful and it is good to plan ahead and have a few on hand.

    When the sugar plantations were affected years ago, I went out and bought 6 packs of sugar as I knew it would go up in price. With bananas, you can freeze some when these things occur, but I knew that the fresh ones would be a fortune for awhile. Anyone remember $12 a kg?? So keeping up with what is happening around us is very prudent for sure.

    I keep a lot of coffee - at least 3kg (beans or ground) at all times, tea by the 100s and leaf tea always. I did buy ahead a lot of honey last year when there was a honey shortage.

    Has everyone noticed the price increases in eggs here in Australia? I buy mostly from my friend who has chickens, but they are off the lay at present and paying around $5 a doz for supermarket free range is unavoidable. I'd like to keep a few chickens for eggs, but with our small yard and dog am a little reluctant. I think our little dog might frighten them to death!! At least I know the eggs she sells are genuine free range and very tasty as well.

    1. Dear Kaye,
      That time the bananas went up after the cyclone ours hit over $19 a kilo! But could have bought them at about $3 before then. I just never bought a banana for about a year! Well done on buying up on sugar. We can do that if we keep an eye on what is happening.
      Having a friend who has chickens is very handy! Most of my life I have kept chickens. My Nan always kept them it was a family tradition!
      Re the baby formula both Mum and I are keeping spare tins and also a very close eye on the shelves. After ringing Devondale recently and hearing what they had to say I know from them demand for powdered milk is bigger than they can supply so it is a real thing. Also locally we have two dairies now selling directly to China as the need for milk there that is "clean" gets greater. So keep your eye on those shelves!
      Lots of love,

  5. That is interesting about people sending powdered milk to China, Annabel. I knew Australian milk was in great demand there and they are willing to pay a lot of money for it. Perhaps in the future our supermarkets might be sorry for the milk price wars they started which have put so many of our Queensland dairies out of business. I am not sure what the dairy situation is like in the other states. I dare say it is the same though.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      Here tow diaries that closed are now re opened and producing milk especially for China. It is flown out everyday. It is big business. It is crazy what happened, milk is a basic and all those dairies closed down! Well, now there is a revival and here at least the milk is going to Asia who will pay good money for it!
      "food security" is interesting. Keeping essential things going would seem sensible!
      It is really wonderful that our produce is seen as clean, fresh, wholesome and safe... what an advantage!
      Hope ou are having a good week, Love

  6. I'm in the U.S. and we get our eggs from a country friend with her own chickens. I've heard the chicken flu stories on the news but I haven't checked out the current prices as we have a good bit in our freezer.
    That is very interesting about the baby formula- and sad. Makes me very thankful to live where I live.

    1. Dear Rhonda, It is so good to have a friend with chickens. That would be ideal.
      I agree it must be terrible for people with babies to have to worry about baby formula being unsafe. I read over 30,000 children ended up in hospital over the last contamination. Can you imagine?
      Thank you so much for commenting! xxx

  7. I am in the U.S., and I have heard of the egg situation, but it has not yet affected my family. My son is very allergic to eggs so we really don't use them much, and we don't buy prepared foods that contain eggs. I will eat them occasionally exhaust I am nursing my baby and need some good protein, but I don't use them in baking at all. So we have learned to do without for seven years now. I have two very very good Chocolate cake recipes that nobody can tell eggs are missing, and often I just add extra water, soy milk or oil to other recipes that calls for eggs.

    I have to confess that sometimes where I live, there is a contradictory attitude in folks. People complain about prices rising for necessities like milk or eggs, but they continue to buy non essential things like junk food, alcohol, etc, or continue to go out to eat or spend money in other areas that are above and beyond basic needs. It is a struggle when food prices rise, and in some areas I am sure it is more of an issue than others, but sometimes I think prople aren't as bad off as they think if they are still able to afford expensive phones and vehicles, or if they can afford to take a vacation or have their children in various activities.

    I really appreciate your blog and I'm learning a lot from it. I love reading everyone's comments as well.

    1. Marie I see this, where people will not buy food but they will buy junk. Or they do not feed their family properly but do buy cigarettes and soft drink. Addictions are often part of this, even addictions to Soda etc. It is crazy as without health we have nothing!
      Thank you so much! A lot of new comments have come in overnight on this (as when I post I think all you girls are in bed then next day the comments come in!) It is interesting some areas are noticing effects more than others.
      Thank you so much for commenting! xxx

  8. I have not seen egg shortages or limits here in Michigan. That said, I heeded Brenda's post about the powdered eggs. I do have a tin of powdered on the shelf, as well as a container of plain gelatin.....which I've read can be reconstituted and used for a couple eggs in a baking recipe (I've not tried it yet). Aldi had a good price on eggs this week and I purchased five extra for the fridge and four went to the freezer. I'll probably add a bit more to that in the next couple of weeks.

    Counterfeit baby formula.....doesn't surprise me from there. Wow.

    1. That was a good idea to freeze some eggs.
      Yes counterfeit baby formula is a scary concept. I should have asked exactly what that was ie ordinary powdered milk re packaged or Chinese formula re packaged maybe...
      This has me keeping a close eye on our supplies! Thank you for your comment! xxx

  9. Dear Annabel,

    Leave it to my dear Australian sister (YOU) to educate me as to what is going on in my own backyard! Thank you for this post. This one escaped me completely, I need to be better at knowing what's going on around me. I did notice eggs had not been on any amazing deals for several months, but it never occurred to me the possible "why" I know.

    Like Glenda, I too live in an area where we cannot keep chickens in the backyard. It is RIDICULOUS but that's the current policy.

    I need to be sure that we have plenty of protein options. So I've planned the following: add eggs to my freezer, I've read how to safely do this so I will. I will also source powdered eggs and add to my pantry along with more canned chicken and beef. Thanks to Tania for the reminder on chia seeds, that would be very handy.

    I've read several stories since you posted this, and one in particular is a pie maker in the midwestern US that is temporarily discontinuing the making of their French Silk Pies until they can do so cost-effectively. I think the story said they sell over 200,000 a year!? Also while the company knows that there could be a way around the egg situation (for their recipe), the recipe they are "famous" for is over 40 years old and they don't want to mess with that. So interesting.

    As of this morning's new grocery ads there are still great (stock-up) prices on chicken and turkey. I will shop and plan accordingly. Presently, chicken is dominant in my (freezer) pantry, beef is weakest area so I am working on that. No good egg deals advertised, so I will see what the prices are when I go to the store.

    Food shortages/restrictions, (no matter how brief the shortage may be estimated) are a concern to us all. Personally, I've nearly eliminated my diabetic medication through diet. I was diagnosed Type 2 diabetic 4 years ago. My doc has said that this year, I might be able to go off the medicine so long as my numbers stay low and controlled. I say that because eggs are a big staple for me. I tolerate them very well and my daily blood sugar readings tell me so! My lab work looks great, no raised cholesterol due to my increased egg consumption either. My labs actually have gotten much better! Trial, error, 43 pounds down and food really is my medicine. I could worry myself sick over this, so of course I will do what I can and put the rest in God's hands.

    I'm right with Wendy! My gold will continue to be soap, chocolate, powdered milk, and tea bags! :)

    Thank you for a fascinating, educational post! I'm going to pay better attention to this. xxx Colette

    1. Dear Colette,
      Find out what produce you regularly buy that comes of of California, if any... There is more information today from there. It looks like big shortages are coming.
      I agree the health benefits of eggs. In so many ways, healthy fats, protein, diets (they are filling) and so many ways. I wonder if you could find a friend or relative who does keep chooks and doesnt live in your area? (as a back up supply?)
      Maybe at the store ask if they are expecting any issue with egg supply or price increases... then you can decide if you should freeze some or stock up. Store managers usually know what is on the horizon.
      I hope you are having a good week! Lots of love, Annabel.xxxx

  10. When several years ago in the U.S. there was a bird flu problem they went door to door taking and destroying all the birds. Crooks from the backyards as well as show birds. Our wild back yard birds seemed to survive the flu except the crows. Many died off. I am keeping supplies for egg substitutes on hand in case. We do buy our eggs from a neighbor's crooks but one never knows what might happen. We have always used egg substitutes like flax meal in recipes anyway. That way we are used to using them and know what they work in and not. Thanks for the links. I will write the ideas on recipe card to keep. It might be good for neighbors or relatives to get two cans of formula on hand for any of their people that use it. No hoarding but to help. How terrible it would be for a baby to be without in an emergency situation. Grownups can substitute foods, babies cannot. Thanks to everyone for all the inspiration and knowledge. Sarah

    1. Dear Sarah,
      Thank you so much. I am keeping a close watch on the formula supplies as Harper could need it and as you say it would be just terrible if there are none on the shelf.
      Keep an eye on the products that might come out of california normally, there is more in the news on that today.
      Thank you for commenting! Love

  11. Here in the US we are seeing dramatic price increases in eggs. I don't buy free range or organic and the price has escalated from $1.89/dozen to $3.49/dozen in less than a month. I live in Alabama. I know people in other areas haven't seen as steep of an increase. I wasn't terribly worried, though, when I saw the price. I just left the eggs on the shelf. I have used a Tablespoon of soy flour and a Tablespoon of water in my baking as an egg substitute for YEARS, so I just need to make sure I have soy flour and I am set. I started it because it was cheaper, and nobody has ever been able to tell the difference. I have tried flax seed in the same way (1 Tablespoon to 1 Tablespoon) and I like the taste, but it definitely changes the flavors. The soy flour is good because of the way nobody can tell it's there.

    1. Thank you Cristy for this eggs substitute tip. This sounds like a really good one! It is so good to get a tip that has been tried and tested and we know it works well.
      This could be a real money saver. Many thanks.xxxx

  12. A news report that I heard earlier this week on NPR here in the USA said that the egg shortage will mainly affect liquid eggs which are used commercially. Liquid eggs may have to be imported to get past the worst of it. They said July will be the worst and then it will start to improve. Our prices have risen by about 20% but the shelves are still full and I have not seen any rationing. I have seen talk on the web about stocking up and freezing them but I don't think it is necessary for our family of two. I was allergic to eggs for many years and know that you can live just fine without them but of course we would rather not.

  13. Thanks Lana. 20% rise isnt too bad. I notice our egg prices are much higher all the time... like $5 a doz is pretty average.
    I hope this doenst come here! But I am keeping a very close eye on baby formula supplies. Thank you for commenting.xxxx

    1. My price was only $2.29 a dozen last week and we consider that really high. You have put that in perspective!

  14. Dear Annabel,
    This is such an interesting post! Thank you for all the details of it. I too have used the 1 tablespoon of Soy Flour and 1 Tablespoon of water with huge success . I used it for years simply to save money in baking.
    Isn't it amazing how often we take having everything available for granted? I love these posts as they make me think and also be grateful.
    Love Helen xxx

  15. Annabel,
    Thank you for the information you are sharing with all of us! It's interesting about all these different shortages.
    Thank you, Cristy, for sharing your experience with using soy flour and water as an egg substitute. I have read of others (flax, chia, unflavored gelatin, etc) but have not tried any of those.
    Just as a note: I know that whole powdered eggs work very well in baked goods. I bought some a few years back and paid under $15/#10 can. I just recently checked those prices and they have gone way up!! Powdered egg whites work well too.
    I've been trying to figure out a good substitute and will now look for soy flour to add to my pantry. I'm glad, Helen, you have had good luck also with this!
    Annabel, is the $5/doz. price for organic eggs or regular. Our EB eggs are almost $3.50/doz. for white and a bit over $5/doz. for brown. (My "target" price if around 1 dollar for regular eggs but I'm afraid I won't see that price any time soon.
    Thank you, also, for sharing about CA drought. I know it is very serious with other states having water/drought issues too. I'm hoping to get local fruit/veggies for summer canning at a decent price. We shall see. :)
    The information you got from the man in the shop sure opened my eyes to global shortages. This is why we all need to continually work on our pantry/storage items. I will need to check on powdered milk when I next go to the LDS cannery and up my supply. I use powdered milk regularly.
    Today, I will be drying some onions and peppers as they were gifted to me yesterday and need to be used. I may put a few in the freezer as well. They add lots of flavor to stew/soup.This adds to my pantry and I'm always grateful for the "extras" I receive! :)
    Have a good week! Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri.
      Free range and organic eggs are more expensive. The cheapest I see are around $4. And now and then there are shortages. A while back there were no eggs but I am not even sure why!
      Most of my life I have had chickens. The pictures are our chooks about four years ago. My problem is they become pets and then I end up with a chook nursing home! lol
      I am trying to do what you do Teri... when I get extras they build up my pantry. My Aunt just offered me a bucket of limes and oranges! Another friend is sending me a bucket of lemons, Mum is sending me Bay Leaves... it all counts and helps so much!
      Have a wonderful weekend and thank you. Love Annabel.xxxx

    2. The best place to find soy flour (around here) is the health food store.

  16. Thank you for yet another great post. I wanted to share a way to store eggs for those who have their own chickens. Use clean eggs that do not need to be washed. Washing eggs removes a protective coating and therefore the eggs will need refrigeration. Find a large crock or jar with a lid. Coat each egg with lard or shortening. Then pack salt around each egg to "cushion." The lard keeps air out of the egg and the salt works to preserve and space the eggs. Keep this crock with a lid in a cool dry place. Eggs will store in this manner for 6-8 months. I do this every year in the Spring to save my eggs for holiday baking (I'm in the US). When you need an egg from the crock, just remove what you need and be sure to brush the salt back over the eggs that remain and replace the lid. Yes, it is a bit of a mess to wash the lard from your egg before using, but hey free egg!
    Best wishes, Leslie

    1. Dear Leslie, Thank you so much for this information! I had not heard of this. But when you crack an egg you can easily tell if it is "good" and so this method must work really well! I hope it helps lots of ladies.
      Thank you for sharing it here. I hope shortages dont hit everyone but even in normal times there are lower and higher prices and also when you have chickens there are times of too many eggs and times of not enough!


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