What to Take?

Leave a comment

I know that 2 weeks have passed since my last post as I have been occupied with various activities both at home and elsewhere.  However, I will save those stories for another day.

Although we live in a semi-rural area, bushfire has not ever been regarded as a high risk due to being in a high rainfall area (1800mm or 72 inches is our average annual rainfall) with relatively high humidity and a generally temperate climate.  This has changed over the 14 years that we have lived here with longer dry spells, periods of low humidity and an increasing number of days over 30C and even over 35C.

We have been watching the increasing fire emergency with concern for the residents who have been impacted.  Yesterday the emergency came too close to home.  An uncontained bushfire was burning a mere 10 kms (as the crow flies) from our home.  It was posing a threat to properties to the point where people in the immediate area were readying themselves to leave.  The threat has eased today but we are mindful that things can change very quickly.

2019-11-10 01

GMan and I have made a physical list of what we would take/do if we needed to leave the property.  It is in 3 parts:

1. What we would grab if we had to leave with virtually no warning.

Clothes – long-sleeved top, long pants, closed shoes and socks
Wallet/purse and car keys
Laptop, charger and external hard drive
Phones and chargers
Documents (passports, certificates etc) which are all stored together and easy to grab
Medications and prescriptions – I now have 2 weeks worth stored together

2. What to do before we leave.

Shut all windows and doors
Turn off gas cyclinders
Open chicken run

3. Additional items if we had a little extra time to plan.

More clothes
Woollen blankets
Feather doona
Jewellery
Contents of single-drawer filing cabinet
Box of family history documents
Camera
A couple of items of value
Some non-perishable food
Chickens  (in a large cardboard box)

The overwhelming majority of things on these lists are based on practical considerations rather than any sentimentality.  Decluttering over a number of years has allowed me to look rationally at what is really important when the chips are down.

I hope I never have to action these lists but the way things are changing I can no longer leave things to chance.

Please have a plan, stay safe and remember, that above all – it is only stuff.  Your life is paramount.

Stockpiling

1 Comment

This blog post is copied from a post I wrote in another forum.  I am interested in your thoughts.

Is stockpiling a saving or ‘dead money’?

I do not stockpile to save money as such but I do have enough basic foods and essentials such as toothpaste and toilet paper to see us through a minimum of 4 weeks and in most instances, much longer. I am very confident that I could feed us for 3 months. There might be some odd meals but we would be fed.

2016-01-10 01

Why? It is generally acknowledged that supermarkets carry 3 days worth of stock and rely on ‘just in time’ deliveries. As we endure more severe and frequent weather events it is prudent to consider being independently responsible for your wellbeing during and immediately after these events. You will never find me queuing for fuel, buying bread or filling gas bottles as a cyclone approaches. It is already done as part of our day to day routine.

It can be something as simple as being unwell or busy at work and you can feed yourselves from what you have on hand. Some years ago I was snowed under at work and barely had time to do the basics so each week I would grab some fruit and veg and everything else came from the freezer or pantry. I did this for 7 consecutive weeks!

2012-01-15 02

By having enough on hand you will be less likely to pop into the shop and grab unnecessary items while you are there = savings.

Remember the mantra – “eat what you store and store what you eat”. In other words, do not store ‘special stuff’ for your stockpile. Do not keep 100 tins of baked beans if your family do not eat baked beans.

Whatever stock you have should be rotated. I keep 2 large tins of tuna in my pantry. When I use one I buy another. I always place the new can on the bottom of the pile.

Consider using a permanent marker to write the purchase date and month on bottles and cans eg: 10.16 for October 2016. This means that you can see at a glance what needs to be used first.

Keep track of what you have by doing a regular stocktake.

Make sure you have suitable storage containers and conditions. Food which deteriorates is a waste of money.

2011-04-09 05

My recommendation is to try to store enough food to feed your family for 2 weeks beyond your normal shopping cycle. Start small and add an extra can or packet as you can afford.

Stockpiling may save you a little money but in the long run, I think the time and sanity savings are far greater as well as the peace of mind of not being totally dependent on the vagaries of the supply chain.

Slow Living – January

11 Comments

Today I have decided to dip my toe in and join the monthly diary started by Christine over at Slow Living Essentials.  The idea is to post a round up of the slow living activities for the month based on nine categories.  I have watched with interest and think that this idea will link in nicely with many of my own ideals and goals.  Although Christine lives in Victoria, Australia I actually discovered her blog through Heidi’s slow living posts over at Lightly Crunchy.  Heidi is in Ontario, Canada – what a small world our online community is!

Here are the Slow Living categories:

{Nourish}  We eat largely unprocessed foods.  I eat a gluten and grain-free diet for my health.  I have been doing this for 6 months and am reaping the benefits.  Here is my ‘cereal’ recipe.

{Prepare}  A bumper tomato crop from several varieties gave me ample opportunity to save for later.

009

I made tomato sauce and tomato paste.

Labelled and ready to store

In the dying days of the month, I decided that I couldn’t bear to lose the 4kg of tomatoes that had been frozen and were rapidly thawing due to loss of power for 2 days. Using the gas cooktop, I boiled them up and reduced the liquid then bottled and preserved them using a hot water bath.

Stockpot

I needed to be a little inventive as I normally sterilise my bottling jars and lids in the oven at 140C.  This time I boiled the jars and utensils.  Finally, I used the same water for the hot water bath.  Remember, I had to haul the water in a bucket from the tank at the back of our block.

We also prepared for, and survived, the wild weather from ex Tropical Cyclone Oswald (hurricane).

{Reduce}  We repainted the old star pickets to re-use in the fencing project.  You can’t see them here – the timber corner and bracing posts are new.

Fence-building

{Green}  The timber chairs and table are sparkling after being polished.  I use some vegetable oil with a little lemon essential oil on a soft rag to dust and polish all of the timber furniture.

Pink cloth

{Grow}  The tomatoes grew in abundance as did cucumbers.  Due to a warm, dry summer (until the last week) we managed to successfully grow cantaloupe and capsicums (red peppers).  The next month will be clearing and resting the beds ready for sowing again in March, weather permitting.

More tomatoes

{Create}  My sewing machine has been out of action (and, boy have I missed it)!  I have been doing some hand sewing – mending a couple of items for Missy.

{Discover}  I have indulged in some fiction this month.  I bought the entire ‘Anne of Green Gables’ series for my Kindle.  It was only a couple of dollars and will provide hours of reading.  I did not read the books when I was young, although I did watch the videos when my daughters had them.

Pumpkin

{Enhance}  We swapped a cantaloupe for 2 small pumpkins with a neighbour.  Also, checked to see how neighbours were going during the storms and flooding.

2007-09-16-031.jpg

I also gave away 75 novels on Freecycle.  The recipient was a co-ordinator for the Lifeline Bookfest so that is where they will be going.  I feel like that is giving several times over.  🙂  They were ones that we now also have on our Kindles.  We are enjoying the space, too.

{Enjoy}  I introduced my granddaughters to live theatre.

Showtime

Miss O and I went to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in Sydney and I took Izz to see Hairy McLary, based on the books by Lynley Dodd.

013

I hope you have enjoyed reading my first month of slow living as much as I have writing it.  Looking back back over a whole month and what you have done is really worthwhile.  I plan to continue this segment for the entire year.  There are lots more blogs participating so it would be great if you check them out as well.