Sunday, August 13, 2017

Why I am the way I am.

Four hundred and one variety...that is different/variety things not number of things.

In my pantry when fully stocked there is 20,852 items...not counting what is in the freezers.

With 80% being what I grow or buy at the cheapest price and process myself to keep it frugal.

Why? because I have went hungry as a child. I went hungry as an adult but I made sure my kids didn't and in 2007 I watched my Hubby worry there wouldn't be food on the table when he went to 3 days a week (company didn't lay off full time workers and kept them at 3 day which is equal to unemployment but gave them health ins that wouldn't be available if they had laid them off. Temporary workers were let go. We lost both the house we lived in and the one our one daughter lived in. Now we are looking at retirement, with health insurance going through the roof and not sure what income we will have after he retires and we pay for the insurance.He has been offered part time, seasonal work with a couple companies owned by our landlord's families. Landord has made it very clear he would work with us just to keep us here, would prefer for us to live here another 10 yrs or more.

My parents grew up during the Great Depression. Hubby's parents weren't born yet, his dad grew up on farm(cattle/pig and grain) and his mom's dad worked for the electric company. Hubby grew up farming and all grocery money and bill money was on the farm loan so it was more of will the crops pay of the loan and if not what's the interest to roll over to the next yr's loan.His mom did some gardening but enough to go year to year.

 Daddy didn't know it was the Great Depression as he grew up in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Everyone was poor and ate pretty the same thing. Milk (evaporated milk) gravy and bread or oatmeal for breakfast and bean soup and bread for lunch and supper. Spring brought sassafras tea and wild greens, summer brought fish and the gardens. If there was enough money after buying his mother's medication they got shells to hunt with.

 Mother on the other hand, understood the difference. Her dad worked in lumber yard and rail road... and was without a job for 2 yrs. He refused to work the program that was offered and his family paid the price for his pride in the way of not having food or clothings at times. Mother finally got a job at the age of 10 working for a "junk man" cleaning up things for him. She made 5¢ a day that was spent on beans to feed her parents and siblings.

 There was never enough grown in the gardens with how big the family was to put any up for winter.Daddy did know how to dry food on a tin roof covered to keep the animals off the food but there wasn't enough food to do it often. Mother was clueless.

As a child my parents had decided my older brother would not only graduate from high school(first of both their families) but go to college the day he was born. Good thing he wanted to go because both him and I know he would have went even if he didn't want to. Both did whatever work they could often working 2-3 jobs to make ends meet, money went to pay off the mortgage and put money aside for his college education. Dad grew a good size garden and started hunting. One neighbor taught Mother how to can corn, tomatoes and green beans. Another neighbor showed her how to make and can grape juice as we had a very small harbor of concord grapes. By this time Grandpa(Daddy's side as Mother's dad had died when they first bought the house) was raising chickens and potatoes along with a huge garden for himself and his daughter that remained as his care taker.Grandma died when Dad was 16) So we would get eggs once a month when we went to visit, sometimes a chicken that wasn't laying and old and in season we would get 100 lbs of potatoes when Daddy went to help dig potatoes with Grandpa. Grandpa had an acre planted of potatoes and that was how he made his money to pay his bills.I would pick up cans and pop bottles for Daddy to take into recycle to get money to go towards my brother's college fund. Many times food was on the slim side when the garden didn't produce or Dad didn't get anything when he went hunting or fishing. If soup was on the table I knew not to ask for more than what I was given which usually was a 8 oz cup.Most times it was a water based soup.

As an adult when my late husband died I went through a time, almost a year where I wasn't sure what I was going to put on the table. He didn't have medical insurance (heart attack, ambulance run, ER, doctors, tests) and no life insurance  (funeral home, casket,open and closing of grave to be paid up front etc) and I had just left my part time job because it was costing us more for me to work with the kids in childcare than me to stay home. No income, didn't qualify for any assistance as it was based on what I WOULD get from SS survivor benefits that took 3 mos to get. Then I had to pay back the ones that lent me money to keep the home and bills paid. I made it Went from 130 to 75 lbs), kids never went hungry, though saw me count pennies many times for their lunch money (no help there and didn't qualify for health ins either) I sold everything I could that wouldn't affect my kids..The elderly neighbor gave me tomato plants to grow on my deck (lived in the city), my lawyer's secretary gave me corn and green beans. My Daddy brought me dried beans,potatoes, eggs and bar soap. Mother brought me ham, flour, sugar, yeast and toilet paper. I didn't have water in the kitchen but did upstairs. House was one step from being condemned when we bought it , he died 6 wks later. I finished bring it up before I remarried.It appraised for $120,000 right before we moved.

Ask my kids what meals they loved as a child...beef veggie soup and noodles with homemade bread...both dishes were served when I was scraping the bottom of the barrel for food. I was shocked it wasn't the beef roast that I used the scraps for the soup or the roasted chicken that made the noodles. They still ask me to can veggie soup for them for Christmas, noodles dried and given at Thanksgiving.

My answer to those times it to have a large pantry that will feed my family for 2 years. Have variety as I understood my parents for years struggled to eat and enjoy bean soup. And to try to make sure I have a variety to also meet nutritional needs I have with my Crohn's.

Right now I could go 19 months with the holes I have in the pantry...the holes are 192 varieties that either are low or gone completely. Those holes are the last 5 mos I want in the pantry by Dec 31st.

My goal for the next four months it so have enough cash to pay 6 mos bills ahead of time, enough in the pantry to go 2 yrs and household items(cleaners. softener salt etc) and personal items to go one year and OTC meds to go 6 months and all prescriptions filled as of Dec 31st.AND pray the car holds together until AFTER Hubby retires because he qualifies for $5000 reimbursement if he buys a car through the program. We plan to replace Hubby's truck the following year.

Hubby is trying to save his vacation to cash out to cover some of the Jan bills, (he will get one paycheck before he retires out)when he retires but I am not counting on that due to he takes vacation when I am in the hospital with Crohn's.

Off to make zucchini bread pancakes for supper.

Blessed Be

Being frugal while filling the holes in the pantry

Top shelf is 26 pints of enchilada sauce and 26 half pints pizza sauce.Enchiladas one week, pizza or calzones the next.

Next shelf down is pasta sauce, red sauce( 32 qrts pasta and 12 pints red sauce)6 store bought alfredo sauce and 4 #10 cans of tomato sauce to change into pasta sauce or go in chili...chili will be first.

Third shelf down is diced tomatoes (60 pints) and 6 cans of stewed tomatoes my son gave us and 6 cans of Rotel tomatoes a friend gave us.

That bottom shelf was full of tomato juice that is old enough that I decided to convert it to pasta sauce that will be used first of the sauces and using this year's tomatoes to make fresh juice.

I have holes in a few places that make me leary of the coming year with Hubby retiring and insurance going through the roof, not sure how much money will be coming in and we have to live below what is coming in ( in the last year I've cut the budget by 50%)...but after inventorying all 401 varieties ( yes that is varieties not items....when fully stocked there is 20,852 items( yes you read that correctly) in the pantry not including freezers) in my pantry (not including 3 deep freezers and 2 refrig freezers) Hubby and I was able to pinpoint where my focus should be to fill in. FRUGALLY of course!!

Tomatoes... I need 20 qrts of pasta sauce  and at least 8 qrts of tomato juice. I should be able to get this from the tomatoes in the gardens. IF I get that and still get tomates I will make red sauce. I can bread and slightly deep fry some green tomatoes for the freezer or make green tomato sauce if it turns cold before they ripen.

I have NO chili. Hubby eats hot spicy and I eat mild. I can pints of these for quick meals or snacks of nachos.  I need at least 26 pints of each, 52 would be better...depends on the meat prices.The one small store near us does buy 3 lb sausage get 6 lbs free...if I can hit that sale it will be a definite big help.

Garlic powder. I grow my own garlic so I can dehydrate some of them and blend to powder.This will be done this fall as the dehydrator is running daily with other things now.

Onion powder. If we get bulk onions(25-50 lbs) at the Amish auction I can dehydrate and blend for powder otherwise...not going in the cabinet. My onions I grew this year did better but not enough to carry us through until the next season. We usually get 25 lbs for $5 sometimes in a bad year it might be closer to $15.

Applesauce, I have 36 qrts...that means we can have 1 qrt every other week. I would like to have 52 which is 16 more qrts but that depends on the price of apples and if anyone gives us apples.  More would be better as we used to eat it at every meal.but I haven't been able to find apples in my price range.

I have 12 half pints of butter canned.I got some butter at $1.99/lb. I'm going to can it(no room in freezers and I grew up with canned butter since we didn't have a frig for a while, neither parent had ice boxes growing up). Last week I saw butter at almost $5/lb. I don't eat margarine due to my health issues. We "Eat" 1/4 lbs a week, a half pint is almost 1/4 lb. BUT we use over 10 lbs from Thanksgiving to Christmas so hopefully the prices will be down by then or there are going to be some traditional foods not made or given.

Eggs... I got 5 dozen for 75¢ a dozen to dehydrate. We go through 5 dozen a month with me baking and making pasta and eating. I use 15 dozen at Thanksgiving and 15 dozen at Christmas ( 6 kids, 22 grandkids and one great grandkid). I have 12 dozen dehydrated right now. My goal is to have 20 dozen dehydrated by Jan when Hubby retires. Eating fresh eggs might become a treat instead of common meal. Though a fried egg on homemade bread is a pretty cheap meal but I've seen eggs hit over $3/dzn.

In the dehydrated cabinet the holes show the most...I need bell peppers (garden) tomatoes (garden) oregano(garden) rosemary(garden) carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, potatoes, mushrooms,ginger and pumpkin. I blend the pumpkin to powder, easier to add to dry mixes or water for pie filling/custard.

The root cellar is close to empty. I have a few potatoes and sweet potatoes left in it that will be dehydrated if I find them at reasonable price. I'll be calling the produce farm that grows potatoes at the beginning of Sept for prices along with looking at the Amish auction.

We will buy our winter squash from Hurley's produce market. They grow them organically and usually are the lowest price unless we can get them at the Amish auction.

Pumpkins will come from the Amish auction. We get a pallet (usually 25-35 pumpkins) to share with the kids. Last year we spent 50¢ per pumpkin and they weighed in at 25-35 lbs each. Depending on prices we will get sugar pumpkins (pie pumpkins) and jack be littles or wee be littles.... usually used for decorations but can be cooked for single servings.I love baking molasses custard in them.

I would like to learn how to make orange marmalade, lemon curd and lime curd,possible orange curd LOL, but that's low on the list and might end up being a Christmas present from my kids instead.