The most recent Pantries and Preparedness post is here. This link will also take you to all the others in this series.
A week ago I felt that things happened so fast it was hard to keep up. But this week has been even more this way.... I have had moments where I have been dumbfounded. Speechless even! (and that is saying something!)
During the week I did one trip away from the farm. At this stage we are reducing our exposure to the outside world as much as possible. I anticipate sometime soon we will not be going to town at all.
I am in country South Australia for anyone who is new here.
Things had changed a lot since last time. There are government signs before you go into the stores...
As you go into the store you begin to see signs on limits on products. Which is a nice way of saying rationing.
Then there were warnings to not abuse staff.... which are apparently necessary as staff are having a really hard time.
So in I went. Some of the above limits were hypothetical only as there was no toilet paper or antibacterial towels.
We have two stores and they were both the same.
Bread and rolls were just an empty space.
All soaps were gone. Antibacterial soap, regular liquid and foaming soaps and bar/solid soaps.
This interests me as I knew that in the Great Depression and the war years soap was one of the most sought after things. If you wanted a highly tradeable and liftable item then a supply of soap was hard to beat. Also inexpensive (in good times) small to store, long lasting and improves with age... soap is like gold!
Other items like gold apparently are tissues (kleenex)
And frozen vegetables..
There was almost no meat at all. Including pet food.
I was able to get fresh veggies, diary and I got some flour in one store. The other was empty and both had limits.
The limits do not take into account your family size. So if you are one person you can buy one pack of flour and if you are a family of ten you can still buy one pack. Same with bread, rice, soap, etc.
Many country people shop once a month or once in three months. That is a long drive to get one or two of everything.... and it is not going to feed larger families.
Any notion that this is short lived was well and truly cleared up this week. We have been told to be ready for at least six months...
The next day at home I had a comment from a reader telling me that a bus had pulled up in their small country town. People got off this bus, went into the store and bought pretty much all they could then back on the bus and three hours back to the city! So the pretty well already empty town shop was now in even worse shape....
Within the next several hours I found out this is happening across the state. Buses and cars are coming from far and wide to the small towns as they have heard we still have stuff. When I realised this I felt the colour drain out of me. Oh my goodness...
Next Mum confirmed this had happened in her town. People were descending from everywhere. And my town (which is one hour away) had people coming from interstate! Then buses started arriving!
Today my local Foodland has posted on social media that we will now need ID to shop there and they are limiting shoppers to a 100 kilometre radius. They said authorities had made them aware more buses and cars were coming long distances to buy up food and leave... leaving locals with nothing.
I am still amazed. I can see this all getting really out of hand. Dangerous even.
In the store there was a young woman with a little boy in a pusher. (stroller) She was standing looking at the empty frozen vegetable freezers. I said to her a hello and a friendly comment. She said "I can't get anything on my list.." I felt she had planned what to buy and what to make. I said to her ok try doing it the other way, try seeing what you can find that your family like and work out what you could make from it. I honestly don't think she had thought of that. And this is what we will all have to do.
People who have kept a good pantry and even people who have saved money are now being labelled HOARDERS. Ladies become very discreet about what you have in your home. Someone amongst us has had death threats for having a well stocked pantry. Yes I am serious. Someone who has been frugal and hard working for years, bakes, grows her produce and cans her food.... she is labelled a hoarder and greedy. Yet you get someone who has their annual Bali holiday and $5000 in tattoos saying they can't afford a pantry. I don't have anything against either if that is what people want to do. But leave those who want to get ahead alone! Ironically those of us who do have gardens and chickens and full pantries are in a position to take care of our families and help others. However these things (just like taking care of your own children) are now frowned upon.
It is becoming harder and harder to stand up for Jesus and Christian values. If you believe things as set out in the Bible you will be labelled a bigot. So I guess now we are bigoted hoarders! 😳
Don't let people calling you names stop you!
I am not talking about people who are profiteering by buying basic goods up and selling them for huge prices online. There are some really shifty people who are not helping at all! But this is a whole different category! Families who are trying to provide for their families are not in this group.
With a week or two of low stock and some items unavailable we are already seeing angry people. Abusive people. Pushing and shoving. Fights breaking out in supermarkets... So it has to make you wonder if this situation goes on and we continue to see prices rising and shortages what things will be like. Mum's town had a four kilo bag of potatoes for $20 today. Suddenly really ordinary items are going up and up. Thousands of people are losing their jobs every day. I am betting everyone already knows of job losses. Thousands of businesses are closing every day. How many can survive closing, possibly for months?
Each day more countries are shut down. Our government has called all Australian's to come home asap. I just saw California is having everyone shelter in place like in Italy or France. Hundreds of thousands of businesses will not survive this.... ships are headed to New York to be set up as hospitals... every hour that passes things just escalate. It is actually just mind blowing. It is so mind blowing it can be hard to think straight in a time we need to think fast and clearly. We all need a plan. We need to review everything.
During the week Lucy send me a list. She said "Mum, I have done a freezer inventory. Here is the list of meals I can make." This was just her freezer and not her pantry. I was so pleased! Suddenly we need to consider everything. If we can't go out we need everything on hand.
Pharmaceuticals are also being rationed now. Over the counter medications are not on the shelves here anymore.
News from our capital (Adelaide) was that supermarkets had no meat or very little and that you could no long buy a freezer either! Everyone had the same idea at once...
What can we do? Well, I hope you have been building up your pantry and preparedness week by week. I have thrown everything including the kitchen sink at trying to get everyone to do that.
We need to sort ourselves out and be calm. Assess our positions and think.
Simplify. Be prudent with everything. We need to keep our household calm and protected. Children fed and tucked up in a warm bed. They will sense if you are in a crisis. Bedtime stories are one good medicine. Having the TV on is not.
If you are able to buy food then buy staples that can be used in many many ways and will last a long time. We are going to think fairly long term here.
There are good things to think of. The skies are clearer and the water in Venice and cleaner! People are suddenly interested in growing their own veggies and having chickens. Learning new skills.
We can band together and lift each other up, help our neighbours, deliver food to older people and plant our own Victory Garden. When the going gets tough the tough get going!
The purpose of this post is really to show our new reality which is changing so fast. Some people will see this as mild as we are still allowed to go out. Some will be shocked! Wherever you are on the timeline I hope we can help each other.
My next posts I hope to concentrate on things we can do, things we can make... things that will help.
Proverbs 22:3 The prudent see danger and take cover, but the simple keep going and suffer the consequences.
Yesterday I had cause to be talking to a man who is very clever and quite high up in one of the major banks in Australia. I thought mmmm I have this brainiac on the phone I should really take the opportunity to see what he thinks of all of this.... So I went right ahead and asked what did he think of the financial situation for Australia and the world in this crisis? Now this is just an opinion but this is what was said... he paused. I said "it is not going to be a recession is it? This is 1929 and it is going to be a great depression." There I said it and risked looking silly to him.
He passed some more then he said "I agree with you, this won't be a recession it will be far far worse unlike anything we have ever seen."
Within a few hours Australia then closed the borders. And this escalated once again.
I know people who can't wait to jump on a cruise shop or a plane and I know people who are preparing their vegetable seedlings to plant out. I am in the "get a few more chickens group."
Please share what the situation is where you are now, what is hard to obtain and what you wish you had thought of earlier as this might help someone else. I will begin to work on things we can do. I think if there are things we can do we are better. We are not helpless. We can help our families so much. Now is the time...xxx