Thursday, March 25, 2010

The answer might surprise you...

Well, not this answer: I had a reader ask where my post was on the subject of diy mixes for your food storage, and think she was referring to this one. If not, let me know. It appears that my comments and I are still having a love/hate relationship--they love to disappear, and I hate it. Sometimes they show up later, but I haven't noticed a pattern yet. Ah, well, if the comment ever shows up on my blog page, I will publish it. And thanks for asking!

While we are still talking about the food aspect of storage, you might want to head over to the Harried Homemaker website and sign up for a chance to win a yogurt maker--diy can be a wonderful thing! And if you live near a Safeway or another one of the stores she has listed, you might want to enter to win a $25 Safeway card + goodies as well. Alas, we don't live near any of the stores mentioned, but I will be happy for you if you win....

The answer I was referring to in the post title, however, was quite different. We heard about some people who were planning to travel to Chile after the earthquake there. They called ahead to ask about the area they were planning to visit and to ask what they should bring that would be most beneficial to meet the needs of the people there. The answer, as I understand it, was this list:

--Adult diapers
--Baby diapers
--Wet wipes

I have heard suggestions on more than one blog to store things like adult diapers in the event of a pandemic, because you might be involved in nursing bedridden adults. I am sure that in just about any emergency where there would be babies that it would be hard to have too many diapers. I guess I was just surprised because it wouldn't have been the first thing I would have thought to store up on. The people in question accepted donations of these items, and I have to say that I thought that the adult diapers were quite expensive, especially considering the number of diapers there were in a package. (In the package that I purchased, there were only 18 for a price close to $9.00).

It's at times like this that I wonder what else I just haven't thought to put into storage. Some things I would like to have and are on a wish list, so that we remember to save up for. Now that I have heard about this, I am thinking about getting some adult diapers in storage--even if no one in my immediate circle of responsibility needs them, there might be someone else who does. If anyone has other ideas that wouldn't immediately come to mind, feel free to share (and I'll try not to get overwhelmed... :) You won't store what you haven't even thought of.....

I hope that the wonderful people going down were able to take the contributions down, and my thoughts and prayers are with all the people affected by the earthquake in Chile.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Gotta love crockpot chili

Or, at least I'm glad my family does... I tried this recipe for white chicken chili over at Cooking: Prepare by applying heat and a little bit of love yesterday. It was easy and it was a hit with the family. I only did a couple of things differently, mostly in the name of trying to use food storage, and because I figured it was about time I did something with navy beans (as opposed to pinto, red, or black beans :) :

--I used yellow corn, because that's what I had on my shelf. I'm not familiar with hominy, but maybe it would be a good addition to my food storage...

--I used navy beans, but not of the canned variety. I cold-soaked them for about 8 hours overnight, rinsed them, and dumped them into the crockpot as directed. I have to admit that I was a little nervous about them getting done, so I...

--Put the crockpot on high for about the first four hours, debated with myself, thought that surely they would be cooked after four hours, and then turned the crockpot down to low. I was a little worried (what, me worry? :) that the salt in the other ingredients would hinder the cooking of the beans, but somewhere around an hour before dinner I pulled one out and it seemed well-done to me. Ahhhh....ended up cooking the chili about 9 hours total, and stirred in the sour cream.

This was really delicious and was labeled a "keeper", which was especially nice since everyone seemed to enjoy it. I think I have a new addition to my 3-month storage menu, because I figure I could use some of my very valued and extremely guarded supply of home-canned chicken here, and the other ingredients are already great storage items, except for the sour cream, which I think we could leave out without rendering it inedible... :)

I highly recommend this recipe, and thanks to Kietra on Cooking... for sharing it!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Price of Produce

My husband called me today and said that there was a gentleman selling Texas grapefruit on the side of the road. (Long-term readers may recall that we live in Idaho.) Our conversation (s)--there were at least two-- went something like this:

Me: Really? Does he have a license plate from Texas?
Him: I don't know. I can't see it from here.
Me: How much does it cost?
Him: I don't know--he's selling it by the box, though. What would be a good price?
Me: I don't know. I really just don't know. I probably wouldn't be willing to pay more than, oh, say, $15.00. But I really don't know. Remember the e-mail from Florida where it said that the price of tomatoes was $3.00/lb, and peppers were the same? So...I really don't know. Maybe $20 for the box? Maybe I should call someone who would know. (Long-term readers may surmise that in all likelihood that would be my best source, aka Mom. Those long-term readers would be correct.)

Yeah, so I basically wasn't that much help. And then, I couldn't reach my best source. My husband was on his own. And it turns out that he didn't really need my help anyway... Our third conversation went something like this:

Him: Well, I bought a box. 40 lbs. for $25.
Me: That's not too bad. Less than $1.00/lb, and oranges I know are like $0.99/lb right now, so that's really good. (One calculation later on a calculator indicated that it was between $0.62 and $0.63 /lb for the grapefruit) So did he have a Texas license plate?
Him: No, somewhere in Idaho.
Me: So did you ask him how he got ahold of Texas grapefruit?
Him: No.
Me: (Disappointed) Ahhhh...... I would have asked....
Him: He did open one up for me, and they were really juicy...

Did I mention that I love as in looooovvvve grapefruit? Somewhere up there by curry in terms of favorite flavors. So I am happy that we now have some in the house...and at a good price. It's best to grow your own produce if you can, but Idaho isn't really suited in terms of climate to grow that much grapefruit. Love the deals we can get on potatoes regularly here, though...

So here is my question to anyone who is willing to answer: How are the produce prices where you live? We know people in Florida, hence the e-mail information cited above. It must have been on my other blog that I mentioned not too long ago that peppers (as in green and other assorted varieties) were on sale for $1.50 each. My children are not big fans of green and other varieties of peppers, so I don't pay that much attention to the prices because they are not a frequent purchase, but to me that seemed really high.

Due to the wonder that is caller id, my mother called me back and we talked about the logistics of having Texas grapefruit in Idaho. Came to the conclusion that growers in Texas most likely sent a truck up and local people sell it at a bigger profit for them and a nicer price for to love the free market...

As an aside, I had a sample taste at one of the grocery chainstores not too long ago of what was called a "Cara Cara " orange. They were also $0.99/lb. I got some because to me they tasted like a cross between orange and grapefruit, (did I mention that I love grapefruit? ) and they were delicious. I even went back for more because one of my children liked them particularly. Haven't seen them since, but they are one of the reasons that I could remember the price of oranges today, and I would highly recommend them if you can find them near you...

So I would appreciate any input on produce costs in different areas. And if you are still here after this somewhat rambling post, thanks for reading! :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Is anyone else having problems publishing comments?

Ok, weird, but here it is: yesterday I published a comment from Carl, and it didn't show up in the comments section. Then today, I went to publish a comment from Asphyxiated Emancipation, and it wasn't even available to publish in my blogspot account. I get the comments in an e-mail account, however, so fortunately I can reproduce Ashyxiated Emancipation's comment (which is full of great info) here through the wonder that is copy and paste:

Ammo. Ammo has been non available in my area since around August of 2008. Oh sure, you can find some oddball calibers here and there, but 9mm, .40, .45? Forget about it. .22? No way. I managed to score the last 8 boxes at a gun show Saturday, thankfully, since I have a training class next month.

Since Walmart has rearranged their stores, the choices aren't there anymore. Seems they wanna be like Costco when they grow up. Problem is, the are facing the shelves, and not actually keeping them full. So, when I go in and buy a case of beans, the shelves are left empty.

I've been running into the same problem you have with shoes since late last year. Finally caught an online sale in December, and ordered two extra pairs of shoes.

The more I prepare, the more experience shows me it is better.

End of comment.

Thanks, Asphyxiated Emancipation, you bring up a lot of good points. I had noticed that there just doesn't seem to be much choice anymore for products on the shelves, and it may just be me, but it seems that store brands are taking a more prominent place, with prices that seem pretty close to other brands, in at least one example I can think of.

Well, don't know what's next with the comment problem--hopefully I will at least keep receiving them by e-mail. Hope that it doesn't turn out that I won't see them at all, because I really appreciate comments--lots of times there is more information in the comments than what I put in the posts... :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

There doesn't have to be an emergency for there to be scarcity...

Ah, reason number (insert large number here) to stock up on more than food for emergencies. I went shopping for shoes again recently, and my experience was even more disturbing than it was almost two years ago....though it was similar:

I went to our national chainstore of choice first, and the choices were extremely limited, and the prices were considerably higher than I wanted to pay. Extremely limited=there was one pair of shoes in the size that I wanted, and a salesperson told me that the only shoes they had were the ones on display. So I went to choice 2 on the chainstore list.

Wow, the displays in chainstore 2 were impressive. There were even some shoes that were 50% off. I was very happy to see the display, but from there it went downhill. These shoes were mostly display only, so a sales associate had to go check one by one for the shoes I requested. To make a long story short, she went back again and again, and there were no shoes in the size I was looking for--except for one pair that for some reason (color I guess) was $10 more than another similar model. I declined and went to look at store 3.

Again at chainstore 3 choice was very limited, but I did find one pair that would work. If memory serves, it was about the same price as the lone pair that was in chainstore 1. So I reasoned that since we get a coupon occasionally for our membership in a kids club at chainstore 1, that I would spend our money there. The shoes were a necessity, and stores were about to close, so I headed back to chainstore 1....

...only to find at that point that the one pair in the size I needed at chainstore 1 was actually wide width. So they had no shoes in the size that I needed. I ended up taking yet another trip to chainstore 3 and buying the pair there.

So, okay, I don't sew, and I should work on that, but I pretty much am sure that aside from wrapping together something with twine and/or duct tape under dire circumstances that I won't be successful at making anything even vaguely resembling shoes. I asked the salesperson at chainstore 1 how often they got shoes in, and she said that honestly, they didn't get them in very often. (You can compare this to the linked post in 2008, when I was told that they got shoes in weekly.) She did say that you could order just about anything online, but that will not help in an emergency situation, when you need the shoes now because one of your children has failed to mention that hard work/play and resultant shoe holes + melting Idaho snow make it necessary to purchase shoes asap...or any other emergency, for that matter.

So, one of my goals is to save up and buy shoes ahead, online or otherwise, because shoemaking is not one of my talents. I also am going to try to find out if there are other items that I will need to take notice of--the scarcity of items is not always immediately apparent. For example, in chainstore 3 there were rows upon rows of shoes, but not much of what I needed. There were even clearance shelves, but again, full of pairs that were of no use to me. I don't know how many pairs of ultra-expensive pairs there were in the size that I was looking for, because they weren't an option. Not an option is not an option, whether it's due to price or unavailability, so it seems to me that storing ahead would be a wise practice.

What about you? Have you noticed a scarcity in any items, food or otherwise, that you are now planning to add to your emergency supplies? The more we get the word out for each other, the better prepared we will all be able to be....