Sunday, September 16, 2012

Harvest Time 2012

Many have been away from the agricultural lifestyle for so long that they may not realize that it's the beginning of Harvest Time.  After the long summer of crops and animals growing preparations now begin to bring in the crops and store them for the winter.  The vastness of our trucking industry and imports allows more diversity than was experienced in previous generations but generally speaking fall is the time of preparation.

Stories like the grasshopper and the ant remind us and have been passed down for years.  Not all stories used to end happily in the past for if you remember the grasshopper died for his lack of watching and reacting to the times. 

This year is even more important than usual that we take the time to prepare.  Recently I did a post about the drought currently effecting the country.  CNN has now published an article titled Opinion: Global food crisis in 2013  Not sounding too good.

What can we do?  We can do what our forefathers have done for generations: pray and bring in the harvest with thanksgiving.

The grocery stores are currently receiving the first of the produce and prices are probably lower than they may be for the next year.  Many will continue their regular shopping habits and only buy what is needed until the next payday or not even that.  They will ultimately be hit the hardest as prices are expected to rise as time progresses coupled with reductions in quantity and quality.  The grasshopper  approach to shopping may have more of an impact then in previous years.

How much should we try to store?

The next harvest will not be in for another year.  Though this may not be an achievable goal for most people it should motivate us to go beyond our comfort zone and stretch just a little farther then we might have otherwise.  Those in the city (98% of the population) do face challenges.  This year I too am starting from scratch.  Although I will not be able to do what I have done in the past I figure something is better than nothing. And, something is always better than fretting. 

Here is my own starter list:

rice - 100lbs to start.
canned chicken
dry beans
mushroom soup
chicken soup
Tomato sauce
canned tomatoes
green beans
mixed vegetables
corned beef
jiffy mixes
stove top stuffing

Toilet paper
baby wipes
feminine products
shower gel or soap
Dove soap
Dish soap

I'm sure your first question would be why I would include a list of bathroom products.  There are a couple of answers.  First, if you have ever had to do without any of them (I have) you know it is no fun.  Second, if food prices do go up all these things are needed and best purchased on sale.  Putting them on the list helps to bring focus to be reminded of what to watch for in the sales so as not to buy unneeded items.  Finally, they all store very well.  They do not attract bugs or any other deterioration making them good storage items.

Our local grocery store currently has canned vegetable for 50 cents each.  $6 will buy a whole case.  The purchase of 5 cases will allow the family to have corn once a week for a year.  Even if a person can only afford to buy 1 case at this time, if it was held until winter a savings could be acheived.

Obviously the food is a very limited list but based on my personal experience these are the most versatile and easy to store items.  These are a starting point to be built upon.  Notice that I have included both dry beans and rice which together make a complete protein.  I have added a bean cookbook to my Amazon wish list to create some varieties in flavor. Also notice that many of the items are the staples for casseroles.  At this point I do not want frozen or perishable food included as it includes it's own cautions and risks.  Being currently a city dweller I do not have a garden or livestock this year so I will do what can until I get back to the country.

What if the media is making a scare that does not come to pass?
Our news loves to sensationalize all events to make little news big or make big news small.  It's all about ratings. In this case the only thing that would be lost if they were wrong is that we would have bought a bunch of quality food at sale prices that we could later use.

Where do I put it?
That is the easy one learned from my grandmother.  Once she sent me to grab a tomato.  I asked where they were are she led me into the bedroom and pulled out a tray from under the bed.  I do love my grandma.  She could always blow my mind.  When I got on my own after having many discussions with my mother about not having room enough for food storage my grandmother's idea in it's eccentricity showed itself as the logical and wise solution.  How many cases of canned goods can fit under a king size bed, a double, or a twin?  I'm honestly not sure but I would imagine a years worth of canned goods easily.  And the more in your family the more storage space available.

This photo was circulating on facebook and a good reminder to us all regarding priorities:


Practical Parsimony said...

Brown rice or white rice?

Practical Parsimony said...

I keep powdered cheese sauce packages that cost $1 and canned salmon. Most of your list is what I keep on hand all the time. I don't keep mixed vegetables or Stove Top Stuffing, but I love it. Mixed veg has green peas, so I don't keep it around at all.

I have cornmeal and flour, no mixes, but cocoa for brownies.

Eggs come from my backyard, so I am set on those.

When do you plan to go back to a rural area?

Carol Schultz said...

We keep the white rice just because we already like and eat a lot of it. The brown would be a good idea because of the added nutrition.

Those spice packages are a very good idea. Thanks for reminding me.

Going back to the country? It won't be this year but I'm working on it one step at a time. I want to be a snowbird :)

Practical Parsimony said...

Did you read my post:

Carol Schultz said...

Thanks for sharing. I'll check it out.