By the author of Be Ready for Anything and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted
As many of us go into the homestretch of the stockpile challenge, a lot has been learned, not just from our own shortfalls, but by the things others have observed.
If you’ve stuck with it this long, you’ve probably seen quite clearly what is missing in your own pantry. If you just heard about it and want to get started, go here to learn about how to do the challenge. You can also read the updates from week 1 and week 2. If you’re on Facebook, join our group and learning community.
Stockpile Challenge: Week 3 Check-In
Here are some of the observations from Week 3.
- For us, we’ve really settled into a routine with our food and we’re making much better use of leftovers than usual. (And we’re usually pretty good!) We’ve shifted to dry milk and I’m mixing a 1.5 powder to water ration for a creamier texture for coffee. I miss fresh fruits and veggies and my goals are to set up a windowsill garden and never again skip a winter vegetable garden. I eat PB and crackers a lot.
- We still have food to be eaten in the freezer. Our pantry is helping us out with fruits and vegetables although they are freeze dried. I have one last head of romaine lettuce. My work schedule changed to a more unpredictable schedule, so may have to make adjustments for lunches. Using any leftovers creatively and washing/ reusing Ziploc bags until I can replenish my supplies. I am down to two sticks of butter 🙁 Everything else still do-able.
- Thanks to the snowpocalypse and unusually cold temps here in Louisiana, my fresh greens plan mostly tanked. I did get broccoli, and cabbage will be ready soon, but the lettuce froze in spite of being covered. I was so sad… Swiss chard and beets will recover, but really slowed down, and the microgreens I started are off to a slow start- I guess due to cooler temps and being located in front of a drafty fireplace. Anyway, that lesson was to always have backup plans in place for things you are counting on! I also wondered, considering the nuclear scares we’ve been having, what we would do if we were depending on our gardens during a fallout event. How long would it take for food from that soil to be considered safe again, if ever in my lifetime? (Note from Daisy: Another community member shared this link. Pages 30-33 have the pertinent information about farm safety after a nuclear incident.)
- I’m mostly eating from my stockpile, and continuing to add to it. This week my local grocer had many shelf-stable foods on sale, and organic as well! So I added to my stockpile. I also needed to restock pet supplies. With our new 22-week old puppy, added in December to our family, I had no stocked food for him, and only 2 weeks worth of food for our 15 yr old cat. I now have enough for 3 weeks.
- We are utilizing all leftovers. Pretty creative remakes. ???? We eat low carb so it is challenging. I have lots of berries in the freezer and I stocked up on almond flour before the holidays. We have our own chickens and have plenty of eggs. So far so good but my grocery bill will suffer next month! Pulled some frozen butternut Squash out of the freezer to make soup and had some Italian beef frozen from the holidays. I made a chocolate low carb Texas cake with pecan frosting for the weekend. Tomorrow is short ribs in the crockpot and canned cabbage slaw along with deviled eggs.
- Going good here, my last real grocery store run was December 10, still have 4 romaine hearts ok, but got cucumbers brought back, could have done without them though……. Some dairy is getting outdated, but still ok. Everything else is still topped up
- Out of fresh milk, but everything else is fine right now. Soon to be out of onions and fresh vegetables, but I have plenty of both canned.
- My last shopping trip was Dec 13. I have bought fresh milk because I don’t want to use up my freeze-dried stash. I did run out of cat food because I was too tired and cold during the Dec shopping trip to go buy the big bag. I found things in the back of my cabinet I forgot I had and am in the process of wiping out those cabinets and reorganizing. I’m thrilled to see some room in the freezer. Now I’m tossing between seeing how long I can go and “oh my gosh what if we really had an emergency? I better make a big grocery store shopping trip to restock.”
- Miscalculated toilet paper!
- The go-to quick things are all gone. I was gifted 35 lbs of potatoes and 10 pounds of onions this week, so for a snack, I made salt and pepper tater skins. Much better then what I buy. I canned them and froze the onions to extend their life. I am realizing how much I depend on the stores even though I thought I was depending less. At week three I am anticipating the end of the challenge but realize I am not as prepared as I thought. If I had to rely on just my pantry for longer I would be in trouble. Digging through websites and blogs for basic ingredient snacks and things to liven up food choices. Chickens have gone from I would like to have them to it would be a must and the garden is well planned and thought out and has grown from will be nice to completely necessary.
- This has really been fun. Had to dig out my Cookin’ with Home Storage cookbook by Vicki Tate. Got this from my favorite shop – Backwoods Home Magazine which is just down the road from me. I was sorry they are no longer going to print editions of their magazine, but at least they are always available online. If you go to their site and click Archives there is a ton of really great information for all preppers. I particularly like Jackie Clay’s articles because she lives what she writes about. (Note from Daisy: Here’s where to get Cookin’ with Home Storage and here’s where to order Backwoods Home anthologies.)
- Had to get milk for the teenagers- the dry milk reconstituted was “spoiled,” ran out of fresh onions and realized I go through about 3-5lbs a month, used up all my dehydrated ones. Guess I’m putting in an entire bed of onions in the spring- long keepers and dehydrating a ton between now and then. Resisted buying chips and snacks- surprised that anarchy from the teenagers hasn’t happened but there’s still time. Still have meat in the freezer, haven’t had food boredom yet but limited fresh veg is affecting ME- plotting that correction.
- We are doing great. I can’t believe how much extra -basics my stockpile – that we still have! I thought we were out of fruit and one of my kids pulled another bag of clementines from our outside fridge. We still have half and half. We’ve been making powdered milk and freeze dried sausage crumbles and freeze-dried mushrooms for breakfast casserole. This week we will start using powdered eggs for baking. Someone – without our account or prompting gave us a big container of salad greens. We still have meat in our freezer even. We’re doing just fine, but this has led me to want to start doing some experimenting with different long-term storage items in ways I haven’t before. But truth be told, we’re missing wine and our Le Croix.
- I haven’t run out of anything. I live in WI so milk that was marked way down got put outside to freeze. I guess fresh veggies, but I put lots away and my wonderful friend got us a huge tray of marked down veggies and a bag of 3 romaine heads ( I drive her all over), so when she was at the store and saw they were marked down she grabbed them for us.
- I learned how to make hamburger buns!
- Doing well, although I miss fresh fruit. My freeze dried has been a substitute with my granola for breakfast but fresh fruit and coconut yogurt are the only purchases I’ve ‘cheated’ on largely because of dietary changes for my health. Otherwise, I’m SO glad I did a menu plan at the start and am thinking to continue it monthly instead if my usual bi-weekly.
- Wisconsin, where I’m from, just went to severe flu category this morning. This really makes me not want to go shopping. My fridge is getting emptier, but we are still eating wonderful meals. Made a turkey and bacon pizza for supper.
- I had to get milk and yogurt, but other than that we’ve been good! Definitely need to find alternate sources for these things. (Note from Daisy: You can get freeze-dried milk here and you can learn to make your own yogurt here.)
- We have had so much bad weather that even if we wanted to shop, we probably couldn’t have. With the bad weather of this last round, I had to help a couple of neighbors. I’m going to start buying boxed shelf-stable milk 2 cases at a time instead of 1. We have gone through our sweet potatoes in the root cellar twice as fast as usual so we will run out next month. We store rice twice as fast as we use it, so swapping rice in next week’s meals as a filler. My husband still thinks I store too many frozen whole chickens. I think that watching what we cook and sticking to portion control helped me unwittingly lose a few pounds. Made me consider how many times we go back for seconds and how it affects long-term storage.
- I’m out of cream but I have goats that just freshened so in a week I will be able to milk and have fresh cream.
- Well, since I had just joined as a brand new prepper with no stockpile of anything but water, crackers, soup, and toilet paper I failed miserably. But I am just beginning to learn so I don’t consider it a failure so much as a learning experience. (Note from Daisy: You definitely didn’t fail! You’re learning so much and far more quickly than people who just read about this stuff!)
- I think I overestimated my love for oatmeal and here it is week three; I am still eating it. I might continue eating it every morning just to see how long it will last (me – not the oatmeal)
- I learned that milk, butter, and eggs are a must. We will be getting a goat and chickens. I don’t know maybe a cow. We were sick for part of the challenge. We got started late. (Note from Daisy: Here are sources for freeze-dried butter and freeze-dried eggs. )
- Doing well but I do miss oranges and grapefruit. I happily consumed what little supply I had. I was sorely tempted to go to the store but decided to honor my pledge and use what I have here at home in the pantry – which does include jars of cherries I canned this past summer. So yummy. A fresh batch of beef stew is cooling in the garage – love my Instant Pot. The stew was made totally with ingredients I had on hand – fresh, frozen, and dehydrated. Maybe some biscuits? Disclaimer: I am the only person in this household. Feeding one person much easier than feeding a family – simply the quantity of food one has to keep on hand is so totally different.
- I have the same problem to solve as many milk and butter, but then I need to find a way to grow feed for chickens and possibly a cow, also you have to have a way to breed your cow and you must dry her off to keep the cycle up for her to milk! Also, you might need calcium if your cow gets milk fever or goes down at birth, so much to think of, but this site really has helped to show the holes in my planning.
- I’m doing fine. Realizations: I use a lot of canned tomato products so I need to have a lot more on hand than I had anticipated. Typically I don’t eat a lot of pasta/sauce. I have plenty in storage, but I am taking it as a good sign that I haven’t had to use any part of that supply at all. I know I’m going to make it to the end of the month easily. What I’m doing now is planning a shopping list for early FEB to get fresh food and restock my supply.
- I am finding this great, using up pre-made meals in the freezer, haven’t tried the meal in a jar yet…I just am on my last quart of milk from the freezer, found you can’t freeze reconstituted dry milk. Ewwwww. I should have mixed the fresh with the dry when it thawed out. Am cooking more to use it up.
- I’ve been pleased with our progress in the challenge. It’s revealed plenty of holes like veggies and fruit and pet food that I need to work on along with strengths. Our dry goods, spices, meat and eggs from our chickens out holding up great and we could eat from those for quite a while longer without too much trouble. There are things we’d run out of sure but we’d manage. One of my kids also got lice so we had to run out to buy a comb and some other potions so I’ll always stock that from now on. (Note from Daisy: I have dealt with head lice more times than I can count with my kids and the neighbor’s kids. Here’s the chemical-free method that I use. )
- We are learning a lot that is for sure but not necessarily with a longing to go to a grocery store. The main thing that we are learning is water. Most of our stockpile is dried goods which means water. We are still eating from our fridge and freezer which makes it easy in a way. The biggest workaround that we have is lack of eggs. I used up the last two last week for our 18 months old breakfast. Since we did this on a spur so we did not have a stockpile of eggs. So I will give my sister a call for her baking recipes that use chia seeds instead of eggs, which I do have. As for when we do our shopping at the end of this challange our list will be an interesting one sprinkled with persimmons which I miss and dried goats milk and juices which was a surprise. This week I will be focusing on water. What I use it for..How I use that tap, as we use up the last of the fresh veg in the fridge.
- I increased the Thrive Life items I use, so this has been a good experiment to see which ones I like and which not to get again. My Magical Butter Machine died last week and I realize that it is the one gadget after my Instant Pot I will cry over, if there is an EMP. Making tinctures without it is tedious. I’m on a sweet potato kick…sometimes 2 a day. I have been drinking way more coffee and powdered butter than usual. Would need to ration better if SHTF.
- An issue that has come up for us is trash. What plans does anyone have to dispose of the cans, bags, bottles etc. ..? If we do not have services, this can pile up quickly. I have gone through all fresh food. Using frozen and pantry staples. We are also trying to eat 2x daily to keep our stores longer.
- When I first joined this group only a couple of months ago, my idea of being prepared was having enough food for 48 hours. This group has given me a lot to think about, and I have taken lots of notes, downloaded a lot of information and made a notebook, and am adding food to the pantry. I’ve tried several new recipes from Pantry foods such as energy bites, snacks, and pancakes made out of powdered protein, and pulled out the bread machine and made homemade bread. A family friend gave me two to three cases of canned goods. I’m excited about it but need to figure out where to put it all. Money is tight, so we were pulling from the pantry anyway this month. I have also added more flashlights and Bic lighters to our store of things. I know some of it isn’t food-related, but trying to work on all fronts at the same time. I’m way behind most of you but appreciate the encouragement I’ve gotten from many of you. Thanks!
- Here we are at week 3, I had to go to the store for some work/ school lunch items. I have all of our other meals covered. We are gradually eating up what we have in the freezer. Our pantry items are being rotated. Thrive Life has come to the rescue quite a bit. I even made a goodie for church today.
What about you?
If you’re participating, how is the challenge going for you? What have you learned? Share your observations here in the comments.
One more week! Who’s in?