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Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7577 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7577 Posts

Posted - Jun 22 2021 :  01:21:50 AM  Show Profile
Hi girls!

A year or so ago, a dear farmgirl sister told me we had noooo idea what was coming with respect to inflation and food and supply shortages in the upcoming year. Now I'm seeing the grocery store prices rising, and some items on the shelves are still missing or show up few and far between. I never thought the day would come when it was cheaper for me to buy fish than red meat, for sure; but there have been several times I have found this to be the case over the past few months. And recently it was WEEKS before I saw a carton of salt on any of the shelves.

About a year or so before my husband got sick, the Lord really put it on my heart to start stocking up. My family thought I was crazy, but when our lives suddenly drastically changed, it made all the difference not to have to go grocery shopping for a few months. As a kid growing up in New England, my older family members always stocked up in anticipation of icy/snowy winters. Part of that stocking up meant spending extra time each week scanning newspaper ads for sales and deals to save money, as well as coupon clipping and trading galore!

Ever since the "big C" hit, I think we all learned the value of keeping an extra package of t.p. on the shelf. The lack of Lysol on the shelves sent chills up the spines of germophobes everywhere. But now the game seems to be changing again. Last week one of our big box stores actually started limiting the purchase of chicken again; and the cost of other meats at the stores and the butcher are unthinkably high (and the buzz is they will get much worse!). It's not just meat. I'm sure we've all seen packages of food getting a little more expensive, but if you look closely at those packages, you'll notice the box is the same size, but the contents are less than they were last year.

I'm not so sure I buy into all the doom and gloom we see out there on the internet. BUT I HAVE watched some videos and documentaries from some of the ranchers out west, and prudence does indicate that we pay attention to what they are experiencing with drought. If they don't have water, they don't have vegetation, and they can't feed and water their livestock. That whole situation will trickle down to our tables, for sure. And when you consider all the things that our produce farmers have experienced, in conjunction with the shortages we experienced last year, we should give that pause as well. I had noticed this past winter that a lot of our fruits and veggies (fresh, frozen AND canned) in the grocery stores were coming from South Africa, China, Spain and other countries. I've never seen this before! I inquired about that and was told that not only were we having shortages due to "the big C" (several reasons), but the California wild fires last year decimated crops AND seeds. That was a little freaky - I hadn't considered that before.

And I have to be honest. When seed companies ran out of seeds last winter, I became nervous and impatient. I went to some of the big box stores and found that some of our favorite seed companies from online were now selling their seeds on the rack. Even though the amount of seeds in the packets were less than what I would get purchasing them from the company's website online, I didn't want to play around waiting, so I bought some. Don't you know - and I kid you NOT when I say this - not one seed from any of the store purchases grew. BIG waste of money. BIG lesson learned. I ordered more online and everything grew just fine, but I couldn't help thinking: (1) What a racket! and (2) How many other people did this happen to, and were they able to get seeds (or food, for that matter) once they realized the ones they bought in store didn't grow?

Every year at this time, I start working on a list of things I want to put up for winter, but now I'm concentrating more on what to buy now with the intent of saving later, or to be sure I HAVE later. I sure am watching the sales, considering which seasonal purchases to concentrate on, etc. I'm finding, tho, that things that we normally buy this time of year are harder to come by. Usually this time of year, I'm buying tart cherries for canning and to put in the freezer. The farms just don't have as much in stock as in the past. Last year, it was terribly hard to find peaches here. The weather harmed the crops, as did some sort of fungus; so, I was really looking forward to putting up a whole bunch this year instead. Nope. No good. So far, indications here are that therw will be little to NO peaches! My girlfriend's husband's farm freezer usually has a list of what fruits will be available and when. This year, however, he has crossed peaches out in red and marked them "discontinued." I am so bummed. I haven't had a chance to call her and see what is going on with that yet, but I can tell you I'm seeing things like this at pretty much all the farms we frequent.

So here we are, almost the end of June, and it's time to get serious. The garden is coming along quite well, thank God, but it's sure not going to be enough to carry me and our loved ones through winter. In light of everything above, I'm seriously rethinking my whole "stock up." I'm beefing up the food preservation, for sure. For example, I've never canned fish before; but this week one of our grocers has a really great sale on tuna (and I LOVE tuna!). Ounce for ounce, it's much less expensive to buy it on sale and can it myself, than it is to buy the canned brands (in all fairness, however, I do buy a more expensive brand of canned tuna for various reasons, but still...). So I will buy fresh tuna and get busy this weekend canning it. And since I'm already seeing limits placed on chicken purchases, I may make a few trips to the grocery store in order to buy a little at a time to put in the freezer. I can pull out the canner to process them for the shelves later in the fall when it's cooler. I did manage to buy a couple of bags of frozen tart cherries to can this fall as well. And I'm watching the availability and price of things like wheat (which is SO versatile!), so I can stock up a little more and save some money when the prices are right, just in case that is affected by shortages again this year, too.

One thing that I think is so important, too, is realizing that a lot of premade prepackaged foods on the shelves are so expensive, not to mention chock FULL of chemicals. They are much more healthy for us, and aren't nearly as expensive, however, if you buy the ingredients and make them yourself. For example, baking powder is simply a combination of baking soda and cream of tartar (and SO much better and more effective than store bought!). I save a lot by buying a big bag of baking soda (which I can use for plenty of other things), and a tall jar of cream of tartar and making my own. I don't buy bisquick or cake mix or bread crumbs - I make my own. It's a lot easier to just store the ingredients for MANY things in my kitchen and make them myself from scratch as needed. And I love having premade jars of cake mix, brownie mix, etc. on my shelves. They look much prettier than store bought boxes, and talk about a gift in a jar! I make my own vanilla and peppermint extracts, among others. I don't buy pancake syrup: I buy REAL maple syrup. Yes, it can be expensive, BUT if I want to save money by "extending" it, I can always add a little water. OR, in a pinch, I can make a simple syrup and then add maple flavoring. You get the idea. If you walk into my pantry, you don't see a lot of boxes and store canned jars and bottles on my shelves. You will, however, see a lot of "ingredients," usually purchased in bulk, as well as home processed and home made foods. This saves me money, uses less shelf space, and ensures that I have plenty of things to pull together to make what I want to make when I want to make it!

Another thing I like to do is allocate about $10-$15 each shopping trip dedicated specifically to purchasing certain items for stocking up. Whenever I go to the grocery store, I make it a point to buy one (1) medical item (band aids or cough syrup, for example), (2) canned veggies or fruit (usually $.49 to $.69 per can, put away for looong term, emergency storage), (1) frozen juice concentrate or can of pineapple juice or V8, etc., and (1) condiment OR baking item OR box of butter for the freezer (or to turn into ghee and can). If it's a good price week, I buy each one of those. On weeks where these items are more expensive, I buy less items. When items go on sale, sometimes I buy more of that particular item - and JUST that particular item - just to stock up on. By doing this, over a short period of time I am able to make a dent in my long term, emergency storage and medical supply cupboard! It's peace of mind knowing I have a little extra on hand no matter what happens - AND by doing it over time, I haven't busted the budget with huge emergency purchases!

Once fall comes, every couple of weeks I start picking up one nice imported bottle of wine to share with family and friends at the holidays, or another type of liquor such as vodka for making vanilla, or a special bottle of liquor like rum for baking. I only buy one of something at a time, and by Thanksgiving, I have plenty for serving to guests, for bringing to holiday hosts, and for using in my recipes!

Whenever I am canning, if I don't have enough to fill the canner, I will add jars of filtered water and can those for not-so-rainy days. I also like to make a couple of smaller jars of good things in every canning batch for gift giving later or sharing with loved ones in an emergency.

There are lots of big AND little ways we can stock up and prepare for whatever the reason. I would love to hear what you are doing to get ahead of things this year! What are some of your tips and tricks when stocking your pantry and freezer? Do you have any special organizing resources you'd like to share? What kinds of things are "musts" when stocking up every year? What are some of the things that are higher in priority on your stock up lists this year, and why? What can't you find in your area that one of us might be able to send to you? And if you come across a really great deal online or have great ideas as to where to find items, it would be a awesome if you would post here and share with all of us, too!

I'd like to share a few of really great books/resources you all might find helpful:

"LDS Preparedness Manual" by Christopher M. Parrett

"Everything Under the Sun" and "Everything Made Simple" by Wendy DeWitt. Both are available as free downloads by visiting: http://everythingunderthesunblog.blogspot.com/ This woman has food storage and preparation down to a science!

"A Year Without The Grocery Store" by Karen Morris

"The Pantry Primer," "Prepper's Pantry," "The Organic Canner," and "Have Yourself A Thrifty Little Christmas" by Daisy Luther

"The Keep It Simple Preparedness Guide" by Valerie Albrechtsen. You can visit https://foodstorageorganizer.com/ for an Etsy link for a $10 download. Her website has all sorts of great ideas and lots of free printables!

"A Cabin Full of Food" by Marie Beausoleil

"Food Storage 101," "Cookin' with Home Storage,"Cookin' with Beans and Rice" and other "Cookin'" books by Peggy Layton. You can visit her site for the titles and best prices at: https://peggylayton.net/Category/books

"The Modern Herbal Dispensatory: A Medicine Making Guide" by Thomas Easley.

I'm really excited to hear from all of you!!! Let's work on all of this together!

Hugs and love,

Nini

Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!


Edited by - Ninibini on Jun 22 2021 10:37:49 AM

windypines
True Blue Farmgirl

3426 Posts

Michele
Bruce Wisconsin
USA
3426 Posts

Posted - Jun 22 2021 :  02:57:08 AM  Show Profile
Nini good luck with all your hard work and prepardness. I have always stayed stocked up. I don't like shopping or going to town, so the less I do that the better. I do love the book Mixes and More. When I have time I mix up mixes to store in the freezer, to have on hand. I work full time at a refrigeration hvac place. We have trouble getting parts that are needed. They have increasing long lead times. People get frustrated, but there is nothing we can do. I bought seeds at the store, as I usually do. I have trouble with some of them coming up. Was it weather, timing, or just the seeds who knows. I will try replanting, after I get finished cleaning up and weeding. I just got a deer fence up last night, to keep those darn pests out of the garden. Good luck to you.

Farming in WI

Michele
FGOTM June2019

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texdane
Farmgirl Legend Chapter Leader Chapter Guru

4648 Posts

Nicole
Sandy Hook CT
USA
4648 Posts

Posted - Jun 22 2021 :  06:27:26 AM  Show Profile
Hi Nini,

Remember to also pick up matches and candles in case there is no electicity, and batteries. Things like that might get scarce, too.



Farmgirl Hugs,
Nicole
Farmgirl Sister #1155
Suburban Farmgirl Blogger
Chapter Leader, CT Simpler Life Sisters
Farmgirl of the Month, Jan. 2013

Suburban Farmgirl Blog
http://sfgblog.maryjanesfarm.org/

www.facebook.com/suburbanfarmgirlblogger
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suny58
True Blue Farmgirl

3714 Posts

Dianna
Jack Al.
USA
3714 Posts

Posted - Jun 22 2021 :  07:14:29 AM  Show Profile
Hey Nina, you are talking right up my alley! I have been a 'pepper's for a good few years now. Like you, putting up extra food items, etc. I even buy water or use 5 gallon buckets to store under the house. A little clorox and date them so they don't grow and become toxic. We have our emergency food prep from MaryJanes and Patriots, batteries, medical, etc. I too bought tons of seeds from tractor supply and lowes when there was a shortage and none of them grew. Grrrr, but finally got a few heirlooms from bakers seed catalog and now the gardens going again. With the farmers market here I can also purchase from them and put up stock. I also make my own vanilla and other items mentioned!!
One thing I might suggest, although we don't drink here we are stocking up on hard liquers like rum, whiskey and vodka. They come in handy for bartering or medicinal purpose. Same with honey. Extremely great as an antibiotic ointment among many other benefits.
Sad what's happening but not scary if you read up and prepare yourself. Knowledge may be power but prepping is life.

Thanks for this much needed post!!

Farmgirl #7103
FGOTM January 2018
Dianna
"Blessed are they that see beautiful things in humble places, where other people see nothing." Pissarro
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Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7577 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7577 Posts

Posted - Jun 22 2021 :  10:34:53 AM  Show Profile
Michele - I'm pretty well stocked, but always adding and preparing for inclement weather. The experience of hurricanes when I was a kid has always stuck with me, for sure! You bring up an excellent point about appliance parts... Not only are they delayed, but so are auto parts, building materieals and pool supplies like chlorine! What a great idea it would be to stock up on a few things like that! Right now, my dryer is on the fritz and my oven won't go up over 400 degrees (I was told a few years back that I use my stove and oven way more than they are created for - that I should invest in a more expensive model! LOL! It will cost me $125 just to get someone to walk through the door to look at my dryer, and if I want them to check out the oven, it's going to be another $50. That's just to LOOK, not to repair! I have a feeling it's going to be less expensive just to buy new ones - OR to find a shop where they repair and resell them.
And as far as pool chemicals...Oh my... I asked my hubby last spring what we needed. He said we had plenty. I should've known, but was busy with other things and took his word for it. Here it is, almost the end of June, and nobody has chlorine - ANYWHERE - including us. I ended up buying a huge bucket of powder from Sam's Club online. It was way more than we usually spend, but it will definitely last!

Nicole! Hey girl! How ya been?! I've missed you! We need a catch up call!!! Check! Check! And CHECK! LOL! Those are some of the most important supplies on the list!!! Another thing we could probably add in here are things like E6000, Gorilla and other types of glue, duct tape, WD-40, ant bait, mouse traps... Having little supplies like that on hand sure does come in handy!!!

Dianna, water storage... I am the WORST at that! I do keep the hand canned jars of water on hand, and we do have a case of water in the car at all times for emergencies, but big storage? Ugh. My problem is, truly more than anything, deciding what type of storage containers to use and where to store them. It's something I've spent time on every week for a couple of years now. Where we live, we've had several experiences with tainted water due to storms, repairs, failing pipes.. I know better than to let this go! I'm just really not sure what the best thing to do is. I like the 5 gallon bucket idea, but I can't carry them, for sure; and my hubby can't lift them anymore, either. I've looked at everything from the big barrels to water bricks. I have a huge basement, but it's nasty. Last year we had an ungodly sewage issue that has now been permanently repaired, but I still hesitate to store ANYTHING down there. Where we live, back ups into our basements due to water overflow are common. We keep it pretty dry, but the basement never feels "clean." I spoke with a cleaning company about it last year. They said it would be okay as long as we kept things above the water line, and suggested a chemical cleaner called "Concrobium" to kill any bacteria on canning jars before opening them. I just can't bring myself to put ANYTHING down there after the mess we had. So storage for water remains a problem. I sure could use some help in that area!!! We don't drink, either, but I try to keep a variety of things on hand for the holidays and baking, etc. VERY good point about bartering and having them on hand for medicinal purposes!!! And I have a supply of local honey on hand that would make me blush to show! LOL! My grandma always gave us brandy, honey and lemon when we were sick - always said it was "good for what ails ya!" LOL. I never forgot it, but to this day I still have trouble taking it. Yuck. I always forget to use honey as an antibiotic ointment - isn't that funny?

That reminds me. I should probably add one more book to that list above:

"The Modern Herbal Dispensatory: A Medicine Making Guide" by Thomas Easley.

I have also stocked up on herbs and flowers like mullein, chamomile, etc., for teas during cold and flu season. And I always have fire cider at the ready - and insist we take it daily as soon as fall hits. I have a decent supply of vitamins and other supplements on hand, too. Essential oils? That goes without saying! I honestly believe beefing up our immune systems is a much better way to fight illness than it is to ply ourselves with OTC meds.

None of this is something any of us can accomplish overnight. Even though I do have things stored, I still find it overwhelming when I consider things I should probably have on hand. That's why I try to buy a couple of additional things every time I'm at the grocer or when I see a good deal on various supplies at the Dollar Store. Right now, though, I'm thinking more along the lines of meat and seeds for the garden from our favorite suppliers. I just don't like what I'm seeing. I also pay attention to different types of food I simply am unable to provide for myself.. cheese, butter, milk, nuts, etc. I can make cheeses and butter, of course; but not without milk! And I just learned the other day how to make homemade almond milk! OH MY how easy! So I'm going to use some of my almonds in the pantry and give it a whirl! One supply you can never have enough of is knowledge!!!

Well...Off to get on with my work day! Have a great day! Love you all dearly, sisters!

Hugs -

Nini





Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!


Edited by - Ninibini on Jun 22 2021 10:39:50 AM
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suny58
True Blue Farmgirl

3714 Posts

Dianna
Jack Al.
USA
3714 Posts

Posted - Jun 22 2021 :  11:54:53 AM  Show Profile
Amen sista! Nini, I totally agree! My mom would use whiskey, lemon and honey! Awesome for a cough and congestion, lol! Plus insomnia! Lol
How about hanging water bladders if you have a spot for them?
Also try making/canning cashew cheese!!! YUMMY!!!


Farmgirl #7103
FGOTM January 2018
Dianna
"Blessed are they that see beautiful things in humble places, where other people see nothing." Pissarro

Edited by - suny58 on Jul 08 2021 09:45:08 AM
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Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7577 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7577 Posts

Posted - Jun 24 2021 :  10:02:53 AM  Show Profile
LOL! Your Mom knew how to take care of things, didn't she, Dianna? LOL! That's awesome! Did she make you eat thickly sliced onion and butter sandwiches, too? Oh my...those were HORRIBLE, but they were sure "good for what ails ya!"

Maybe I could hang water bladders in the basement... but I am really worried about putting anything down there. I was thinking, though, it might be okay to store jars and water jugs in big plastic totes down there. I'm not sure. I love the look of those canning jar storage containers, but they're really expensive. And truthfully, I would love to get rid of plastic completely. Decisions...Decisions...

WHAT IS CASHEW CHEESE? Oooooh! That sounds like it would be yummy! Do tell! Do you have a recipe to share?! WOW I think I would love to try that!

I just learned how to make almond milk the other day. That led to me ordering an Instant Pot. I'm giving my son my crock pot and will just use that for everything from now on. ANY WAY, I had NO idea how easy it is to make! So excited! I love almond milk! Can you make cheese from that, too, I wonder????

Our dear friend came over last night and checked out the dryer. He is able to repair it for it for under $60 with a replacement kit purchased on line. I'm making him a big dinner to thank him! SO grateful. But truthfully, I hate using the dryer, anyway. Especially in the summer time. He moved the clothesline for me last night so I would have more room for hanging, too, so I am very excited - I love the smell of fresh air and sunshine that permeates our clothes! I did go out and purchase a new clothes line and some more clothes pins. Mine was looking pretty shabby and saggy. I don't want to ruin our clothes. I use clothes pins not only for laundry, but also to hold down the sheeting I use for my mini hoop houses in the garden. They're so good for lots of things. In retrospect, I suppose I should've bought an extra line and more clothes pins, but I don't suspect those will be super expensive to replace in the future. Now I am trying to fine a line ratchet locally, but having no luck. Worst case scenario there's Lehman's; but it's dangerous for me to go on that site at all. It's like homemaker crack! LOL. I'll figure something out.

I've noticed a lot of yard sale signs up already. We usually don't see yard sales around here 'til the fall. 'Guess people are making up for lost time! I'm looking forward to checking out deals on more canning jars, gardening tools, table linens and clothing. Hoping to find a good fermenting crock, too. It's really time that we pare down ourselves, so I am hoping to organize one myself in September!

Oh - and I've added olive oil to my stock up list. I can't make my own olive oil, either! I just hate that it isn't shelf stable, though. Better add coconut oil to the list as well! It lasts a lot longer and is way more versatile.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Hugs -

Nini

Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!


Edited by - Ninibini on Jun 24 2021 10:04:37 AM
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AndreaPA
True Blue Farmgirl

370 Posts

Andrea
Factoryville PA
USA
370 Posts

Posted - Jul 06 2021 :  04:13:31 AM  Show Profile
Hi Nini, Thank you for posting such great information. I am having a hard time finding canning jar lids. I can find jars but no lids. The price of jars has gone up a bit. I'm hoping a local farm store has lids this year since that is where I bought them last year. I don't know what brand since they had no name on them but she said that is all she uses and every one of mine sealed.
I stock up because I don't like shopping. I buy rice on-line in 5 lb cans, pancake/waffle mix in large bags, maybe 3lb, oats and cornmeal in 5 lb cans. Last year I watched for rice and it was sold out for months. I finally bought a 50 lb bag. We emptied it into gallon size zip lock bags and stored in crocks.
We buy half a pig every year from a farmer we know. He sells beef too but he has a list and we only get one when he has extra or someone backs out.
I'm hoping my tomatoes do well this year so I have enough to can. Last year I canned 2 bushels all bought from a local farm.
I was buying flour and sugar when grocery stores were the only thing open. I need to get better at stocking up on ingredients.
I made fire cider last year and that is some great medicine! Also elderberry syrup. I planted elderberry and one has flowers now so I hope to use my own this year instead of buying dehydrated. I have many herbal medicine books and studied this for a bit. I am well stocked on herbs and grow some of my own. I planned to expand this year but concentrated on veggies instead.
Have a great day!

Andrea
Farmgirl# 8166
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Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7577 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7577 Posts

Posted - Jul 07 2021 :  11:37:39 AM  Show Profile
Hi Andrea! Thanks for joining in! I'm so happy to hear about all your preparations! Makes me feel like less of a crazy person! LOL. Just kidding! I have to ask where you purchase your 5 lb cans? I have purchased some things from Honeyville, the LDS Store Online and one other place (name escapes me) in the past, but I haven't even looked at those cans yet. I'm thinking, though that might be a really good idea at this point. Our big box store never ran out of rice last year, but they did run out of quite a bit of other items. Right now our grocer is well stocked with canned goods, so I've been price watching. OF COURSE I'm doing as much preservation as possible myself, but it might not hurt to purchase a few well-priced canned goods and other things from the store for the future! And fire cider IS amazing! I credit that - and, like you, homemade Elderberry Syrup, AND Zicam nasal swabs - with getting us through this past fall and winter unscathed (not to mention all the crazy precautions we have been taking!). First sign of ANYTHING, those are the first things we go to. I actually took the Fire Cider and Elderberry daily, but my hubby didn't take them until he started feeling a scratchy throat or had a sniffle. Those Zicam swabs are AMAZING, too. I swear they fought off colds within minutes! Then again, I'm sure the Fire Cider and Elderberry were doing their jobs as well! And, sadly, our pig and beef guy cut waaaay back this year and is only producing for personal consumption. Thank GOD I have a really great butcher; but his prices are getting pretty steep now, too!

One thing I wanted to alert you all to that I just learned this weekend: Do you remember me mentioning how weird it was to see imported "fresh" fruits and vegetables, as well as canned, from foreign countries (especially South Africa - that was a new one!)? Well, this weekend I learned that we must be very careful about anything we buy that is imported from "third world" countries, and others, because, although in the US we have long banned the use of DDT, THESE countries actually still use them! I mean, WOW! So IF there is an alternative at all (which includes simply skipping the purchase completely!), then please really consider which item you buy! That, to me, is terrifying!!!

Another crazy thing we've seen here is the price of meats and fish. Again, I never thought I would see the day when it was less expensive to purchase fish over meat. This weekend, I saw the price of hot Italian sausage reach $15.99 per pound at the grocery store, while imported "fresh" tuna topped at $7.99 per pound! THAT was incredible to me. I always thought sausage was made from the leftover trimmings of various meats. Why they could get away with charging $15.99 a pound for it - and I am talking the store brand, not even the national brand! - I will never ever know. I went back to the store yesterday, and lo and behold, it was down to $12.79 per pound (holiday price gouging, perhaps?). But seriously - that's outrageous for cheap Italian sausage. My butcher doesn't even charge half that - and his meats are all grass fed, organic, locally raised! Crazy! I don't usually buy store meats, but I have been watching to see, just out of curiosity. Last week they did have chicken thighs and legs for $.99 per pound, but they looked really bad, loaded with "blackheads" and funny colored. I was thinking of putting a bunch of them in baggies with marinades and freezing for a quick meal in the future, but I think I will wait til they look a little better.

What are you all seeing for prices that are already shocking you? I've noticed a lot of things going up. Very upsetting considering we normally see prices lower in the summer when produce is abundant!

I also want to mention that although many of us have reservations about those whole spit-roasted chickens we find in the big box stores, I think we all should consider buying them for several reasons. I'm ashamed to admit it, but sometimes we are just so busy with appointments and running so late in the day, I just pick one up for dinner. But for the price and for the convenience, they are worth it. (I can't touch a whole chicken here for under $10.99 on sale. Theirs are $4.99 each, prepared, and that is much less expensive than a pizza on the fly!). I purchased three of them a few weeks ago, brought them home, and separated them for future meals. The white meat was split between five baggies (to use later in casseroles, on salads and in sandwiches or other recipes - there are only two of us), the wings and legs went into two more bags, and the thighs were split into two bags. The carcasses and skins I put in a huge 2 1/2 gallon baggie as well, for making soup to can this fall. So, for under $15, I wound up with 9 meals and a good start for soup making. Ideal? No. But I sure will appreciate them come one of those crazy hectic evenings.

Another thing you might want to consider is buying your favorite products in bulk from the manufacturer. For example, I have a passion for Maple Nut Crunch coffee and Peppermint Mocha coffee from Arbuckle's Gourment Coffee Company here in Pittsburgh. In the grocery store, it's $1.79 for a little one portion bag. But if I go to their website, I can buy those little packages in bulk for a lot less. 'Matter of fact, I can purchase their coffee in big bags for even less than that. And being on their subscriber list, I am alerted to any sales or promotions that come up. When my favorites go on sale, I can scoff them up and put them in the freezer til we want to enjoy them! You can do this for MANY products. And usually, these companies offer better prices than in the store and than in other retail outlets online (like the big "A"!), I buy my Mrs. Meyers, Dr. Bronner's, Pastene tomatoes (when I need them, only!), teas and more this way. I even buy my favorite real maple syrup this way from Miller's Purely Maple! Yes, I have to put out a chunk of money at once, but once I have them in stock, I don't have to buy them for a long while. Peace of mind, girls. Peace of mind! If you can make one small "bulk" purchase a month, you'll save a lot during the course of the year, AND have the satisfaction of knowing you won't run out any time soon! (And no, I am not promoting these products. Just giving you examples because I am sure some of you buy some of these products in the stores already!)

Want to hear the funniest way I'm saving on energy? My kitchen gets HOT. Hot hot hot hot HOT. HOT hot. But since purchasing my electric kettle, air fryer/grill and Instant Pot, I've been using them instead of turning on the stove and oven during the hot weather. Since they give off so little heat, my kitchen stays relatively cool - no need for a fan or the a/c! Plus everything cooks so much more quickly in these devices - I'm not even using a lot of electricity! The grill I have is amazing, and, although I enjoy a good barbecue, I'm not standing outside in the miserable heat cooking over a hot grill, either. No outdoor barbecue = no need for propane! Propane tanks for the grill can be pretty expensive around here! Although, I am going to make sure we have an extra propane tank available at the end of the season, just in case. You all may remember: a couple of years ago my oven died on Thanksgiving morning. Thanks to my mother's brilliant quick thinking, I was able to fire up the grill outside and finish roasting the turkey that way! So now I'll be sure to always have extra propane - you just never know when it will come in handy!

Would anyone be interested in working on a food storage plan with me here on MJF? We could do a monthly plan together, taking advantage of fresh local produce, seasonal sale prices, etc., and alert each other to savings and other special buys we find locally AND at national outlets. We could also share the different ways we are storing foods and groceries, as well as help each other with organization. I'm happy to do that. Even if we only pick up one or two things on sale each month to put away, we will be a little ahead of the game. And when we farmgirls share our tips and tricks, WOW, what a wonderful thing! We ALL need to do this, for sure - how much better if we're doing this together!

Hugs and love,

Nini

Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!


Edited by - Ninibini on Jul 07 2021 11:40:26 AM
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AndreaPA
True Blue Farmgirl

370 Posts

Andrea
Factoryville PA
USA
370 Posts

Posted - Jul 07 2021 :  3:14:29 PM  Show Profile
Hi Nini,
You sure are busy!! I bought my rice and other items in 5lb cans from Honeyville. When they were out of so many things, I checked Augoson Farms - I know I spelled that wrong - but they were also out so I never actually bought anything from them.
If you are going to start something with a food storage plan I'm in!
One thing I'm having trouble with right now is potatoes. Seems like every time I buy a bag of potatoes there is a stinky rotten one or more within a few days.
On another note, a friend called me today. She found a place that told her they are only ordering canning lids if they know they can sell a whole case. She told them to order her a case of wide mouth. She was calling today to tell them to order her a case of regular. I'm buying about 1/3 from her. Ball lids. I think she said 24 boxes per case. It's a local hardware store, family owned so no others around.


Andrea
Farmgirl# 8166
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suny58
True Blue Farmgirl

3714 Posts

Dianna
Jack Al.
USA
3714 Posts

Posted - Jul 08 2021 :  09:50:29 AM  Show Profile
Wow Nini, I'm awful for not prepping as well as you and I know I SHOULD! Things are getting very pricey here too. I want to stock up on flour to make bread, water, ( rice, I have) medicines, and booze for barter.

The cashew butter is easy peezy and delish as well as the cheese!
I'll send recipes via MJ!!

I'm looking at making a wee underground root cellar.

Oh, how about leather bladders if not plastic??

Farmgirl #7103
FGOTM January 2018
Dianna
"Blessed are they that see beautiful things in humble places, where other people see nothing." Pissarro
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suny58
True Blue Farmgirl

3714 Posts

Dianna
Jack Al.
USA
3714 Posts

Posted - Jul 08 2021 :  5:24:49 PM  Show Profile
Nini and others, my sister said we need to learn how people survived before electricity and phones, she's right. A great book must have, The Lost Ways by Claude Davis!!

Farmgirl #7103
FGOTM January 2018
Dianna
"Blessed are they that see beautiful things in humble places, where other people see nothing." Pissarro
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Nancy Gartenman
True Blue Farmgirl

8789 Posts

Nancy
West Seneca New York
USA
8789 Posts

Posted - Jul 10 2021 :  10:27:21 AM  Show Profile
After reading all this I really should get to the store. yippes!!
Nancy Jo

NANCY JO
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Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7577 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7577 Posts

Posted - Jul 10 2021 :  10:48:40 AM  Show Profile
LOL! Oh my gosh, Nancy - no panicking! A little at a time. A little at a time. It's always a good idea to pick up a couple of extra something when you're at the grocery store or catch a good sale somewhere. But if you do it all at once, you'll lose your mind and blow the budget. I've been doing this for years, and let me tell you, you never get fully caught up. Baby steps. And remember we are in this together!

Dianna - I will definitely add that book to my list! Thank you - and your sister! I think she is absolutely right. And there are SO many gadgets out there today that do not require electricity but will make our lives easier. Even though we should learn the old ways, we can be thankful to be living today with all these wonderful things available to us! I'd be lying, though, if I said I can do without a telephone. I am so grateful to have it. Then again, with the way I cook, there ARE always smoke signals! LOL! JUST KIDDING! Oh my - and please DO share those recipes! I will be SO on them! Thank you!

Also - just want to share... Freeze your flour if you stock up on it. I had always heard that flour could go bad, but had always used it so quickly I never had a problem. But last year or the year before, life got extremely busy and my flour sat in the canister way too long. I went to use it and it had this weird gnarly smell. No good. I just pitched it in the garden. If you are able to, it's much better to grind your own wheat. Wheat berries will last forever if stored properly, and grinding them is not hard at all. The investment in a grinder and buying the berries in bulk can be a bit pricey, but a grinder really does pay for itself in no time. Our problem is that wheat berries are not readily available in our area, with the exception of a Mennonite store and a local mill, which hasn't been opened since the big "C" hit. When it's not available here, then we are at the mercy of online resources and their prices!

Andrea - I totally hear you about potatoes. I have had problems with them AND with onions, especially. Onions will seem firm and clean on the outside, but one slice in and you find they're rotten and even moldy. SO upsetting. Thankfully, we have a lot of each growing in our garden this year. But when they run out - yikes, to be at the mercy of the grocery store again!

I'm so glad you've found a canning lid resource. I think it's great that you all are sharing the purchase! Around here, I'm the only canner I know! LOL! Crazy, huh?! I buy mine from Lehmans in bulk, and so far I have enough to get me through this season, if not longer. I've actually been thinking about investing in Tattlers or something similar, but I've heard so many mixed reviews. Do you re-use your lids? I do for dry canning things; dry beans, for example. But I know other farmgirls have re-used them successfully for actual canning projects. Although it's not recommended, I sure would like to hear your thoughts on that - and everyone else's!

I will get started on a plan this coming week - just have a very busy gardening weekend ahead... And I should stop procrastinating, and get started right now!

Hugs and love,

Nini




Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!

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AndreaPA
True Blue Farmgirl

370 Posts

Andrea
Factoryville PA
USA
370 Posts

Posted - Jul 11 2021 :  06:41:25 AM  Show Profile
Hi Nini,
I do not re-use lids for canning. Not worth the risk. I saved a bunch to make tin punched garden markers. I have a bag full of lids but haven't started that project yet. I have jars of herbs with re-used lids but these were never actually canned. These were dollar store lids and at the time, there was no shortage.
I would love to hear about your grain mill. I did a little research but didn't buy because I can't find wheat berries. I hope this changes soon.

Andrea
Farmgirl# 8166
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AndreaPA
True Blue Farmgirl

370 Posts

Andrea
Factoryville PA
USA
370 Posts

Posted - Jul 19 2021 :  03:48:59 AM  Show Profile
Well, some disappointing news. The Ball lids I was expecting are actually PUR and we are told "Ball Quality". My friend said she's going to look at them and if they are thin or questionable she's not taking them. Supposed to be in this week. Drat!


Andrea
Farmgirl# 8166
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Ninibini
True Blue Farmgirl

7577 Posts

Nini
Pennsylvania
USA
7577 Posts

Posted - Jul 20 2021 :  09:27:36 AM  Show Profile
That's such a bummer, Andrea. I stocked up on some no-name lids from Lehmans a couple of years ago, and they are wonderful. They're thick and I had absolutely no problems. I am not sure what they have available at the present time, but if you want to check them out, they might be a good option for you.

I have re-used lids for vacuum sealing dried staples in jars, too. I love the garden marker idea!

I will get back to you on the grain mill, I promise. I have company due here any minute, and I just wanted to jump on MJF quickly to check in. Bear with me! I'll get back to you as soon as possible!

Hugs -

Nini

Farmgirl Sister #1974

God gave us two hands... one to help ourselves, and one to help others!

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windypines
True Blue Farmgirl

3426 Posts

Michele
Bruce Wisconsin
USA
3426 Posts

Posted - Jul 20 2021 :  6:12:33 PM  Show Profile
I was given a hand crank grain mill. It takes some muscle power but does get the job done. A friend has an electric mill and it works great. would be a good investment. I had picked up a bag of wheat berries and have them in the freezer. When I have more time I will grind some flour. We pick wild elderberries every fall. We swear by elderberry juice to keep us healthy also. My husband started a bunch of new elderberry plants. He did get alot to root and finally planted them. It has been a dry summer for us, so started to water some of them. We hope they make it. I don't save water, we have a spring on my dads place. A great resource to have. I love my cast iron too. A great pan to cook in outside or inside. I have a couple outdoor dutch ovens. You can make anything that you can make in an oven in them. I also have an aladian lamp. I do need to get more lamp oil again. they give off great light, when the power is out. I had 2 sheep for 14 years, so have plenty of clean wool for spinning and making mitten, hats, and socks. We have our own beef, chickens and raise pigs. The men in the family all deer hunt too, so plenty of meat. We will be trying to make sausage and vension bacon this fall. And our main heat is wood heat, so we keep warm no matter what the temp is. Good luck to all.

Farming in WI

Michele
FGOTM June2019

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StitchinWitch
True Blue Farmgirl

1756 Posts

Judith
Galt CA
USA
1756 Posts

Posted - Jul 20 2021 :  11:26:50 PM  Show Profile
I also have a hand crank grain mill. It takes a couple passes to get fine flour. Whenever I empty a gallon jug I refill it with water and store it in the garage. I don't reuse canning lids for canning but do use them for storing dry staples. I recall reading a survival book back about 1975 and all I remember from it is to stash sewing needles and .22 ammo. I think we have that covered.

Judith

7932 FGOTM 6/21
I'm old and I do wear purple
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VT Oma
True Blue Farmgirl

165 Posts

Sheila
Greensboro Vermont
USA
165 Posts

Posted - Jul 21 2021 :  07:43:54 AM  Show Profile
Hi Nini, The other day I picked up 6 pound of cherries, and pitted them, then sliced them in half then dried them in my dehydrator. They were on sale and Cherries are good for Arthritis. Then when I had a doctors appointment I went to the big box store and picked up 10 lb of sugar, and 20 lb of rice, some oatmeal, to replenish my stock and when the pandemic hit I was pretty well stocked up. now we will be getting hit with the devient of the Covid. But yea the store shelves are by no way stocked up like they used to be, even one of the big box stores was so low I asked the girl on the check out were the going out of business, she said they order stuff and if they are lucky they get 1-2 of the item. Yes things are going up now. I am too going to look into the flyers I never used to, I would just get my regular stuff. But I did look at the flyer, and found the cherries! I also bought honey crystals real honey and my husband likes them he uses them in his tea every morning .

farmgirl Sheila
#5766


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treelady
True Blue Farmgirl

2123 Posts

Julie
Medina ND
USA
2123 Posts

Posted - Jul 24 2021 :  08:17:20 AM  Show Profile
I donít know how I missed this topic, but it is a great one.

Being a farmers wife and living in year 2 of a very serious drought, I am witnessing the very shortages that are talked about here, on the news and around kitchen tables everywhere. While the southern part of our great country get the rains we so desperately need, we watch our corn, soybean and small grain crops die a slow and painful death. We see our pastures with no grass for the cattle to graze and our hay fields not producing nearly enough hay to get through the winter. I see the sales barns having 2 sales a week and one is labeled a drought sale for the ranchers already thinning their herd as they are out of grass or water. I see the prices rising on everything from your groceries, pet food and everything in between that uses what we produce.
I wonder what will happen when the manufacturers will use when they run out of the crops we are struggling to produce.

These shortages are real, the rising prices are real and stocking up needs to be in the forefront of your mind and not the back. I make sure to add extra to the grocery carts every time I shop, which isnít often. I planted extra rows in the garden this year and I water constantly, but it has enabled me to add to my pantry by canning everything we are not eating fresh. I am dehydrating all my herbs and will look forward to making my own tea blends this winter. I added extra butcher chickens to my pen this year and am thankful they are in the freezer and I will have plenty to get us through the year. I culled my flock of chickens pretty hard and pressure canned the old hens to have our version of fast food. I plan on canning half of my potato crop so I will not have to worry about them sprouting and going to waste in the basement. I have been adding extra almonds to my pantry as the almond trees in California are being shook clean of this years crop as the farmers are trying to save the trees. I am also adding extra treats to the pantry for the grandkids and grandpa. I have added extra pet food, chicken feed and bird seed to my feed store order every month. If you donít have a feed shed and a dozen farm cats like I do, sorting these in metal trash cans works.

We have been adding to our parts inventory. According to all of our parts salesmen at the implement dealers, replacement parts are getting harder to get and the wait time is getting longer and longer. Simple things like hydraulic hoses and belts now have a wait time. I waited a month for a lawn mower blade, good thing my husband is handy and could sharpen my old one. By the time the blade came in my lawn was burned up. Havenít mowed in a month.

I am looking forward to reading everyoneís comments.

I hope everyone adds what they can, when they can and is prepared for whatever comes your way.

A little rain can straighten a flower stem. A little love can change a life.

Max Lucado
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AndreaPA
True Blue Farmgirl

370 Posts

Andrea
Factoryville PA
USA
370 Posts

Posted - Jul 25 2021 :  08:44:18 AM  Show Profile
Hi Julie,
So sorry you are not getting any rain. I have the opposite problem. We were having thunderstorms almost daily. It's been a whole 3 days since we have had rain. My tomato plants are sad looking. Bottom leaves are yellow and I'm taking more and more off. Some squash is rotting when they are only a few inches long. It was so hot at the beginning of summer some things went to seed before I could pick much.
I didn't know about the almond trees. So sad.
This year I'm planting a fall garden for the first time. Spinach and beets mainly.
I hope you get some rain soon. Wish I could bring some of those cows here. I have a pasture and we are working on the fence with plans to get cows in the spring.

Andrea
Farmgirl# 8166
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levisgrammy
True Blue Farmgirl

8337 Posts

Denise
Beavercreek Ohio
USA
8337 Posts

Posted - Jul 25 2021 :  6:24:45 PM  Show Profile
Nini,
I was going through some things I saved on my computer and found a post you had written about stocking up. It was a while ago,but I'm not sure how long. I copied it and saved as I was interested in your storage methods and all. I can repost it if you like. It's great info. We will have lots of storage space in our new home and I plan to figure out how to utilize it well.

~Denise
Sister #43~1/18/2007

"I am a bookaholic and I have no desire to be cured."

"Home is where we find comfort, security, memories, friendship, hospitality, and above all, family. It is the place that deserves our commitment and loyalty." William J. Bennett

"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105

http://www.ladybugsandlilacs.blogspot.com/
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wildflower17
True Blue Farmgirl

3043 Posts

Judy
KY
USA
3043 Posts

Posted - Jul 30 2021 :  6:45:30 PM  Show Profile

Nini this is a great topic!!! I hadn't saw this before so I am reading slowly and soaking in what everyone has to say...One thing here that is so hard to find is canning supplies especially canning lids for pint and quart jars. I hope everyone else who cans and puts food away for their family is not having the same trouble with finding canning supplies as we are here!!!

Hugs!

Judy

God Has Been So Good To Me!!!

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened"...

"Country Girl at Heart...Blessed Beyond Measure"!!!

Farm Girl #5440
Farm Girl of The Month September 2013
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treelady
True Blue Farmgirl

2123 Posts

Julie
Medina ND
USA
2123 Posts

Posted - Jul 31 2021 :  06:58:03 AM  Show Profile
Regular canning lids are impossible to find here. I have checked every store I have been in over the last year and no one has them. I was in Phoenix last month and hit the jackpot when I went to do my moms grocery shopping. Picked up all they had to share with my daughter. A dear friend also found some in Texas for me, so I know they are out there, just hard to find.

A little rain can straighten a flower stem. A little love can change a life.

Max Lucado
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wildflower17
True Blue Farmgirl

3043 Posts

Judy
KY
USA
3043 Posts

Posted - Jul 31 2021 :  07:10:29 AM  Show Profile

Julie it's the same here in Kentucky!!! Even if you are fortunate enough enough to find any at all they are like double and sometimes triple the price!!!

Hugs!

Judy

God Has Been So Good To Me!!!

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened"...

"Country Girl at Heart...Blessed Beyond Measure"!!!

Farm Girl #5440
Farm Girl of The Month September 2013
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