Sun. Sept. 5, 2021 – did some stuff, more to do

Hot and humid, little chance of rain. And we got through yesterday without getting rain at home. It did get hot. Morning was cool, but by the time I was outside it went from 85F to 105F in the sun. Since I was in the sun, well, it was hot.

Got the front yard cut. Started on the back but ran out of battery. If I charge it, I can do front and back. If I leave it after doing the back,the next week I can only do the front, or the back again. It’s pretty consistent. Still liking the mower btw. I love that I don’t have to wear ear pro.

Spent a bunch of time cleaning one section of my food storage shelves. The rat was moving around on them, and on the stores, so it needed to be cleaned. I started with the easiest of the three shelves. I am very happy with my idea of putting everything in low bins with lids. The food in that section was all protected from spoilage. The stuff that wasn’t in plastic? It didn’t fare as well. I lost a box of instant oatmeal in envelopes to bugs. I lost several of the big cardboard oatmeal containers to ‘moisture’. And I had some bulging cans. 4 cans of evaporated milk were bulging a bit. They were best by 2015 and have been poorly stored so I’m not put out. I expect spoilage and losses because my storage conditions are so bad. My Kraft Mac n cheese is one year past best by, and it tastes a bit “old”. Two cases. Dang. Funny how your eating patterns can change.

One of the things we’ve learned with this whole “lockdown” thing is that our eating habits changed a lot. Over the last year we pretty much stopped eating breakfast cereal. We were steady eaters of Cheerios since the kids were babies. Mac n cheese consumption is way down, and I’m more likely to make the cheese sauce from FD cheese powder and milk, with normal pasta, than from a box. I don’t know how much is just the kids getting older, or if there was some appetite fatigue, but it’s something to consider in your long term food plan.

What to do about it? Variety and versatility. I store stuff like the Kraft Mac n cheese because it’s easy and quick. The kids can grab it for themselves. But, it’s not as versatile as bare pasta and cheese powder. We still eat a lot of pasta, but much less orange cheese. To combat any potential appetite fatigue, I stock lots of weirder things that we don’t normally eat but might make an interesting change of pace. Lima beans. Butter beans. Canned asparagus spears. Artichoke hearts. Weird imported fruits. You name it, if I saw it on a shelf, I’ve probably picked up a can or two. I occasionally bust out the weird and add it to a meal just to see if it might be great (and to acclimate the family to the idea of eating unusual stuff.)

As I read around the web, I’m becoming increasingly nervous about food. Having some spoilage from the rats and heat is contributing to my concerns. If things get bad, you probably don’t have enough food. You may not have enough boots, socks, and underwear. How’s the elastic on your shorts? I just replaced a bunch of pairs that were a bit crunchy from the dryer being hot (and they are years old.) But back to food… Unlike Bob, I’m not counting calories and just filling buckets with salt, sugar, flour, rice, and beans. You can do that, and there is plenty of guidance here (look at the keywords on the right), but I think in terms of “meals.” It also keeps me from worrying about nutrition too much. Normal meals are going to be normally nutritious. If you’re not starving now, you won’t be later.

I do have lots of buckets filled with those things (except beans, I keep those in cans.) I think of the buckets as meal extenders. Bread/tortillas/pasta added to a canned meal, or rice combined with other food will extend the length of time that my canned meal plan will last. Whatever your preference, and plan, consider adding to your stack. After all, if things don’t get bad, you can donate excess to food banks or your neighbors. And consider variety and novelty when stacking. More is better. More choice is better too.

Keep stacking.

nick