Na Na pinches her pennies

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Thought I was prepared but wasn’t

My apology for being absent from my blog for so long.  I guess I’ve been mentally shut down for awhile.  I’ve also been sleeping a whole lot.

I went into self-isolation the first week of March and have not left home for anything at all since that day.  I do go outside to get sunshine and fresh air but no other outings for me.  In normal circumstances being around sick people scares me enough to keep me at home most of the time.  I catch absolutely everything.  This pandemic has me terrified of going into public places even if there is no contact.  Who knows what other people have touched or coughed on.   No one knows for sure how this virus is spread so I don’t want to take any chances.  Actually it could be floating around in the wind for all we know.

Early in my self-isolation I was talking to my daughter about going to the mobile foodbank.  Should I take the chance and go?  She asked me one question;  is the food worth dieing for?  Nope.  So I stopped going to the foodbanks.  I decided I would just live on the food I have canned, dehydrated, or frozen in my house.  At that time the virus hadn’t yet been called a pandemic so I believed it would go away before my food storage runs out.

When I first went into isolation I was glued to the tv set and the internet searching for information about the virus and how to avoid it.  One thing I discovered early is that ANYONE who believes they are immune to the virus or won’t become a virus carrier is an idiot.  A COVIDIOT.  Covidiots go into the crowds, catch the virus, and then take it home to the wife or husband or parents or children so those people can die alone in a hospital.  Of course there is the possibility the patient will survive – for now.  Its not known if a patient could get the virus a second, third, or fourth time.

At first I spent time watching news reports about the covidiots having street drag races, ball games, and picnic parties in my old neighborhood.  And; there were two covidiot women from a serious outbreak state who drove across 4 or 5 states to attend a church they had never been to before and didn’t know anyone at the church.  Lots of hugs and hand shakes, and with no protections what so ever.   I keep wondering if the women were carriers and wanted to spread it to the church members.

Yup, all of that was happening in my old neighborhood.  I’m so grateful I moved when I did.  I sure can’t understand why people don’t take the virus seriously.   A virus is Mother Natures ultimate weapon against the humans who would destroy her.    Mother Nature sure is an angry lady this time.  At least the air is becoming cleaner without so much pollution being created.

I’ve also spent time making cloth masks while watching movies.   I gave several masks to a foodbank worker willing to pick them up from my porch and some to a nursing home worker who did too.  I’m making more to give to my neighbors.

Was I prepared?  No, I wasn’t.  My prepping was the kind of seasonal prepping my Grandma Mama did in the 1930s and 1940s.  She would have preserved her garden produce to last until the next season.  I did do an emergency type prep for maybe two weeks of weather related shut-in such as ice storm, wind storm, snow storm, flooding, or perhaps higher prices but never considered a pandemic.

After being in self-isolation for over a month now; I’ve had time to think about what I should have done differently.  I’ve also been wondering about any warning signs I may have missed.  Does anyone remember the FEMA Preparedness commercials that aired last year?  There was also a FEMA booth at the KY state fair last August I had never seen there before.  They were handing out disaster preparedness information.  Did you notice a FEMA booth at your state fair?

I keep wondering if it was merely coincidence that we began to see empty shelves at grocery stores around the country last fall?  Sure, the stores tried their best to make the shelves appear full when clearly something was wrong.  The emptiness was blamed on many different things such as contract negotiations, just in time logistics, lack of truck drivers, flooding, and other such things.  All very subtle signs easily brushed off as coincidence.

I used to read some mild type preparedness blogs when someone had an “eat down the pantry” challenge going.  The challenges were more about saving money and getting better organized than about any disaster.  Those challenges usually happened in January and July.  I used such challenges to practice temporary weather related disasters.

The covid 19 pandemic has given me the opportunity to see how I’ve done at being prepared.  I must admit I’ve not prepared very well at all.  I was prepared for a couple weeks of staying at home but not for a long term isolation.  Ever since moving to this new house 3 years ago I’ve grown quite lazy about some things.  At least a part of the problem is that this house never felt like “home” like the other house.  I spent over 30 years getting that house just the way I wanted it but the neighborhood grew worse and worse.  I loved the house but hated the neighborhood.   I’m awful glad I moved.

Just when I had started making this new house into my home I knew I had to go into self-isolation.  I made one last grocery run March 5th which was not very well planned.  Please believe me when I say I do have food.  There is not a lot of variety in my food storage but I will not starve.

Ok, for the new readers let me explain a little about me.  I live in a food desert.  I don’t have a refrigerator but I do have a small apartment size chest freezer.  I live on SS which only covers my basic living expenses.  Nothing else.   My food storage has come from three places.  1.  Outdoor foodbank  2.  Store discount produce  3.  Senior USDA commodities.  The outdoor foodbanks do give canned vegetables and fruits.  Mostly I wanted the fresh fruits and vegetables from those three places which I home canned.  I also dehydrate or freeze foods.  I do things the way I remember from my childhood living with my Grandmother.  I called her Mama and now call her Grandma Mama on this blog.  I’m a diabetic, have a very low immune system, and other medical issues.  If there is an illness making its way around I almost always catch it.

I don’t know what will happen before all of this pandemic is over.  The possibility it will last months or years instead of weeks is scary but very real.  Everyone seems so excited at the possibility of getting free government money to help cover basic living expenses.  I’m happy for them.  At the same time I can’t help but wonder how giving all that away will effect us later.  The money has to come from somewhere and fewer people are going to be paying taxes because fewer are working.  So where will the pay back money come from?

Well, I’ve rambled for quite a long time.  Sorry about that.  I’ll end this post and go fix a meal.  Please leave comments so other followers can know how you are doing.

69 comments on “Thought I was prepared but wasn’t

  1. kaythegardener
    May 22, 2020

    One thing that I forgot are coin rolls of quarters beforehand!! I pay for street parking to care for a client 3x/ week & go through nearly 2 rolls / week.
    With the banks & credit union branches only doing ATM machines & telebanking, grocery stores have the only rolls — 1 roll per visit…
    Live & learn. Best to all your readers & your family at home, Anita.

    Like

    • Anita
      May 23, 2020

      That’s a great idea! Thanks for the suggestion.

      Like

  2. catherine young
    May 22, 2020

    I am hoping to make enough money in the next five years, to get me through the rest of my life. I see it as possible now. I was in a dark place several years ago when no financial expert could help me. The money and options just weren’t there. Can’t come up with anything out of nothing. Sadly, it was luck that started the little bit of kindling had into a tiny flame that now can warm me, and I have some “logs” stacked away for the future now.

    I think that few of us can retire when we think we can. Social Security is just not enough for most of us, but it’s enough to knock us out of other assistance. I feel very lucky that I can still find work. Last year and this year it has provided me with the windfall that I’m stashing for the future.

    The other big step was finding a roommate who can take up a bit of the financial slack. Not much—my cousin is a loser financially, but that little bit he can provide goes a long way. That he’s tolerable makes it work.

    This blog really helped in the days when I had meager resources and I’ve continued these frugal ways. They’ve made a difference in the way I live. I’m missing your posts.

    Like

    • Anita
      May 23, 2020

      I fear there are many, many people heading in the opposite direction. Many of those layed off will not have jobs to return to. Grandma Mama used to say we can’t get blood out of a turnip. We do what we must in our own way to survive. Sorry Catherine I did’t mean to worry anyone. I’ve been a little down in the dumps thinking about my future. I would start a blog post and give up because nothing felt right. My brain has been foggy. The words of encouragement just couldn’t be found to write.

      Like

      • Rhonda A.
        May 23, 2020

        I’d love to hear how you are making things work with what you have on hand while self isolating for so long. What recipes are you using with the simple ingredients you have stored? What are you doing to keep yourself entertained with minimal funds available? What other tricks have you discovered to keep your spending money? I know living it may be depressing, but what you are doing might be an amazing revelation for others struggling!

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        • Anita
          May 23, 2020

          Thank you Rhonda, I needed to hear that today. Actually I’ve been struggling to maintain a daily routine. I’ve been depressed. I have blog post ideas in draft to explain how I’ve managed to survive but I haven’t stayed focused enough to finish them. I believe I’m back on track again. I can’t post as often as before and hopefully when I do it will make up for the time in between. At least until I get some routine back in my life. So how are you doing Rhonda? Managing ok?

          Like

  3. Patricia Byron
    May 17, 2020

    Hi Anita, hope you are well and safe at home. I’ve been worried about your health and food situation. Here our seniors are well situated. Four of the citizens of our small town donated $270,000 for the town supervisor to purchase $100 gift cards to our small supermarket, and then open $100 charge accounts for the drug store for those who request the gift cards. because the figure is so high we can get one $100 gift card a week, we call in give our name and address and one of our town counselors personally come to the door the next day to deliver it. The drug store accounts also are monthly if we need them. We also have free hot lunches delivered from our Senior Center and every Thursday we have deliveries of fresh food, milk, juices, staples of rice, lentils, split peas and cups of Greek yogurt and Almond and coconut milk yogurts. We also have a delivery person who will shop from our grocery lists at our little supermarket, bag it in our bags and bring it to us for no cost. When I tell people about our help they are blown away and on the other hand when I hear about the people lining up for bags of food at food pantries and churches it makes me cry, thousands – the other day a Catholic church had a food giveaway – people began lining up at 10 pm the evening before and were standing in the rain – thousands, about 1/2 were served before they ran our of food. The need is so great and the government doesn’t seem to care or want to help. The unemployment is so high and so many can’t even get their claims filed. What will happen to us as a society after this is “over”??

    Like

    • Anita
      May 18, 2020

      Hi Patricia, You live in a very nice place with caring people. We have a fundraiser going here in Louisville for people struggling to pay rent. Each family has to apply for help. The foodbank lines are very long here too. Hundreds of people lined up in cars. I stopped going back in January I think. I may have gone in February but can’t remember. I wanted someone else to have my share until things settle down again.

      I’m fine and have plenty of food. I’ll get bored with it long before it runs out. Its because I had been getting foodbank food before the pandemic started that I have a stockpile of food. Its hard to explain but I’ll try. Fresh fruit and vegetables were never given on a regular basis. When we did get them I would preserve as many as I could get by trading with others because I knew it might be a very long time before we got it again. The same with fruit and vegetables I found in the grocery discount bins. I’d freeze, dehydrate, or home can as much as I could buy. As a result, even though I’m not a doomsday prepper, I do prepare for scarcity. The same way Grandma Mama would have had a stockpile to feed her family until crops were ripe again.

      What will happen to us? I wish I knew. What I do know is that not one person in the whole world is safe until every person on the planet is safe.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Margie from Toronto
    May 14, 2020

    Just checking in to ask how you are Anita since you haven’t posted in about a month. I know that there isn’t a lot to chat about at the moment but just wondered how you and your family are doing?
    Things seem to be a wee bit chaotic in the various States so not quite sure what the orders are where you live.
    We are just starting Phase 1 of reopening but it is going to be a very slow process – and I don’t mind that one bit. They are allowing a very few things to reopen (mostly outdoorsy type things + a few shops – but under very strict guidelines) – then they’ll keep track for a few weeks and if there is no flareup they’ll allow a few more things. Our border with the US is to stay closed for at least another month and the very few overseas flights can only bring in Canadian citizens or Permanent residents who must then go into 14 days quarantine – not suggested – it’s the law! It will be a very strange Summer.
    Take care.

    Like

    • Anita
      May 17, 2020

      Hi Margie, For some reason I was not getting notice of comments. Probably because I’ve had computer issues AGAIN. There was an issue between my security software and windows updates. No matter what I tried to do I kept getting messages that I was not an authorized user. It got very, very frustrating. I finally had to delete the whole security stuff and find another one to use. Just getting switched was a two day ordeal.

      I haven’t left home since March 2 – 77 days now. I don’t see me leaving anytime soon. Too may covidiots “out there” who don’t care who gets hurt and now its killing children too. I sure wish we had your Canadian kind of thoughtfulness here is the states. If Canada was smart they wouldn’t open the US border at all for at least 6 months or maybe even a year. The covidiots here believe the virus has magically disappeared and precautions are no longer necessary. The virus has divided our country even more than it was before. I agree, its gonna be a very strange summer. Take care.

      Like

      • Margie from Toronto
        May 17, 2020

        Glad to hear that you are well and just staying home. A number of us have been experiencing various technological glitches – and yes, especially frustrating at this time in particular. I have been cleaning up my computer as much as I can and will check in with a friend later in the week who can offer some long distance tech support so I hope to get a few things sorted.
        Hang in there.

        Like

  5. catherine young
    May 2, 2020

    I’m doing well. Haven’t been spending money. Got my stimulus deposit. Might get unemployment. Clearing out my pantry, freezer. I stocked up when I got a whiff of what might come, so I’m well stocked. Clearing out things, painting some walls, slowly. Planting a garden with bits and pieces left to me from cousin’s son who is quite the farmer/Gardner. I’m going to do bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini Have a kitchen herb and scallion garden going and I want to grow edamaoin June.

    I’ve kept the temperature low in the house so the gas and electric bills are low. I cook three times a week. I shower twice a week.

    Hoping my health keeps up. All of us one health problem from disaster, and I well know that. I’m scared of coming back out into the world until some reliable vaccine for COVID19 is released. I’ll need to see the doctor and the dentist soon after I resurface.

    Hope all of you doing well.

    Like

    • Anita
      May 4, 2020

      Hi Catherine, so glad to hear you are ok. I also cook three times a week and shower twice a week. I like leftovers and how dirty can I get setting in a chair all day? I’m like you, I’m afraid of going out among the covidiots until there is a reliable vaccine or at least no more new deaths. I’ve not been able to get garden items. They aren’t considered “essential” and can’t be sold yet. We were told things will open up on the 11th. I need to see an eye doctor for new glasses. I had planned to go before all this happened but put it off thinking I’d do it later. Now I’m sorry I did that. My next doctor appointment was scheduled for July so I’ve got some time. Stay safe Catherine

      Like

      • Des
        May 13, 2020

        Anita, do you just need some seeds? I can mail you some of mine, if so! Let me know!

        Like

        • Anita
          May 14, 2020

          Thank you Des. I appreciate that but I’ll buy a couple tomato and a couple bell pepper plants once the garden centers open. That’s all I plan to grow in my two pots. I’m too old to do the physical garden work involved and too broke to pay a gardener. I have admitted to myself that “used to” doesn’t mean “still can”.

          Like

          • Rhonda A.
            May 14, 2020

            Anita, if I remember correctly, you have a hard time growing because your yard has a lot of shade. Have you considered growing shade loving spinach in pots? I know you have a hard time eating certain foods, due to your denture issue. However, spinach can be chopped fine and cooked to make it easier to eat. It adds a lot of nutrients to your diet as well. Spinach also freezes well, if you can grow enough to preserve some. Would that be something you would consider growing?

            I have tons of open pollinated spinach seeds I collected from my garden last year. Unfortunately, I live in Canada, which means I can’t offer to send them to you. Seeds can’t go across borders without a lot of meeting specific regulations. However, I know I can find spinach seeds at dollar stores here. I expect you could find some seed packets pretty cheap, once things open up. Good fall crop for you as well!

            Like

          • Anita
            May 17, 2020

            Thanks for the thought. Yes, I do have lots of shade. I have thought of growing different kinds of greens. I love eating cooked greens. Especially collard greens cooked with smoked turkey tails and wings. Cooked greens are really soft. Right now my garden options are very limited. Physically can’t do the initial work myself and can’t afford to pay someone to be my gardener. Time to let go of the gardening dream and continue buying instead. Stay safe.

            Like

  6. OakKat
    April 27, 2020

    Anita, I’d love a mask if you’re still making them. I’d be happy to pay for it. Do you think it would work if I sent you a self-addressed stamped envelope? I looked in my envelope stash and found some nice sturdy ones, from Neiman Marcus no less (bought at a thrift store of course :~) ). I tried putting my bandana in it (what I’ve been using) and it fit fine. Let me know.

    Thanks for a really good, thoughtful post. I don’t think any of us could have been prepared. I’m almost 64 and I’ve never in my life experienced anything like this. Who could have foreseen? And it’s such an ongoing situation.

    Kathy

    Like

    • Anita
      April 29, 2020

      Sorry Kathy I’ve had some trouble with my computer and didn’t see your comment. I have a flat rate envelope to use. I’m happy to send them to you. I’ll email you for your address.

      Like

      • Susanne
        May 3, 2020

        Hi Anita,
        are you still making and selling face masks? if so, do you make them with ties? What i’m hoping to find are homemade cloth ones with ties (not elastic). i’d be glad to pay for you for making them, as well as the shipping costs.
        thanks much
        Susanne

        Like

        • Anita
          May 4, 2020

          Yes, I’m still making the masks. I don’t sell them but I do ask reimbursement for postage. I’ll email you for your address.

          Like

  7. Patti
    April 23, 2020

    If you need seeds, send me a list, I will be venturing out to see if they are available in my neighborhood soon…if they are, I will send the ones you need.

    Like

    • Anita
      April 23, 2020

      Thank you Patti, I appreciate that but without dirt I can’t plant. When the stores open for garden supplies I’ll be able to get both soil and seeds. Unless of course there is a mad rush to hoard those like there was for t-paper.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Diane
        April 26, 2020

        There actually is some garden craziness going on, at least here. People that have never had a houseplant, let alone grown vegetables, are suddenly gardening this year. The seeds are basically wiped out at Walmart already. They got tomato plants in and they were gone in a day-and our last frost date is mid June. I have a greenhouse and I can’t even put tomatoes out til the end of May lol. Luckily I grabbed all the seeds that I will need, as well as some for my kids who garden, way back in February, so we have what we need. I do need my plants yet. Guess I better grab those when I see them. People are going crazy!

        Like

        • Anita
          April 29, 2020

          Yes, ever since the news reports of packing plants, both meat and veggie, closing people have gone garden crazy here as well. I wished for a raised bed garden for years until I finally lowered my wish to maybe a few barrel size tubs for plants. This year I gave up on that wish too. Now my wish is to hopefully grow a couple of tomato and a couple of bell pepper plants but I seriously doubt I’ll be able to find the plants or seeds and I haven’t had much luck growing either one the last two years. I have two self watering boxes I bought three years ago. Both need potting soil and compost but I expect that will disappear really quickly. Hmm… I dehydrated some bell peppers and tomatoes from the grocery with the seeds in them. You think those seeds might grow?

          Like

          • Diane
            April 29, 2020

            I don’t know. Stick a few seeds in wet paper towels and see if they germinate. You might check with Ace hardware or other stores like that. Our local ace is offering delivery right now-I think it’s free too. If yours is you could get some of your needs delivered. I know Ace is a little more expensive than other options but my dd mentioned getting a bag of potting soil there and it was only $1 more than she had paid at Walmart. Worth considering.

            Like

  8. Selena
    April 21, 2020

    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/my-wife-and-i-earn-90k-the-government-needs-to-discriminate-between-the-needy-and-the-merely-unfortunate-im-giving-my-1200-stimulus-check-away-2020-04-21?siteid=yhoof2&yptr=yahoo

    My take: it is high time federal politicians and the executive branch (and their appointees) start using cost of living numbers based on where we live. $150K in NYC or SF is not a lot but a person in the same situation (no large medical bills for either of course) living in Topeka KS get a lot more bang for the buck. Don’t start on “that is where people choose to live”. Remember if they all moved to your area, your state will change in a blink. Ask CO/NV/WA/OR about that.

    I am with Glenn and will use most of my relief check to help others. I know we aren’t the only ones thinking like this but there still are a bunch of scrooges out there. Are there folks who are lazy – sure there are. But far less of them than those who have taken a financial hit BUT are helping not spread the virus.

    Off my soapbox.

    Like

    • Anita
      April 22, 2020

      I agree, the check means a whole lot more to a worker earning minimum wage than it does to someone with an earning of $90K. I’m so tempted to spend mine on garden stuff or a refrigerator but I’ve decided what I need most of all is to save that money toward the surgery and dentures I need to eat healthy. Mine is going into the bank.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Erma Dunk
        April 23, 2020

        I wish i could help the ones that need help but living on around $800. a month and paying over $300. a month house payment.(mobil home) i have to just get the things that are necessary.Let the President,Governors,senate try living on my income i am sure lot of them spend more then that in one day.And i have not got the check but lots people around has.Anita i look for your post every day enjoy reading it and i was raised up poor and family worked hard and was as saving as they could be.Keep up the good work lots of people need to be reading and practing what you write about,Sorry about the spelling.

        Like

        • Anita
          April 23, 2020

          I know exactly how you feel. My check only covers the basics. The way I understand it is that anyone who filed taxes and have direct deposit get/got the first checks. People without direct deposit will get the next checks sent out. The people on SS and SSI will be the last to receive a check. IF we get a check. I remain hopeful but doubtful I’ll see any of the stimulus money. I would like to post more often but life comes first. Hey, don’t apologize about spelling. These days people speak in hashtag, text, or emoji language. Spelling no longer counts. 🙂

          Like

  9. Silver
    April 21, 2020

    Glad to hear you are surviving Anita. We are as ok as we can be over here in the UK.
    Husband has been identified by the health service as clinically vulnerable and has been told he should not leave the house for his own safety for at last 12 weeks.

    We’ve had two letters about this which also said they would contact him to see how he was. I scoffed, because of the lack of support available previously (as my blog details, we had to challenge their decision not to award him his disability benefit at tribunal, all in all the process took 18 months).

    But! To their credit they have phoned him twice to ask he is feeling, to reiterate that he has to stay indoors for his own safety and to ask if he needs any medication or food dropping off. They also offered to make him up a food parcel (individuals who have to shield themselves get this free of charge) and if our circumstances change we should call them to let them know.

    I can work remotely and have been doing so since the lockdown started on 23/03/2020, so we still have an income. I can also go out to buy our food and get Husband’s medicines but do this as infrequently as possible. I could not live with myself if I somehow brought the virus home and made Husband ill.

    We have been told the UK lockdown will last at least another three weeks.

    The first two weeks of the lockdown there were some things I struggled to find such as eggs, flour, toilet paper and cat food (??). But the shelves are starting to look more full now that people aren’t panic buying. I sure hope they are eating all this tinned and dried food they went out and bought!

    We are gutted we could not go on our long saved for trip to Japan this year. We’ve saved for this in dribs and drabs for over five years. But we are staring to receive our refunds now and we can go once this is all over.

    For the foreseeable future we’ll just take one day at a time, I think.

    Like

    • Anita
      April 22, 2020

      12 weeks? That’s a lot longer than suggested here in the states. I believe the advice you get there more than I believe the advice we get here. I remember how you were struggling to get his disability status. How is he doing? By the way are you still writing a blog? When I’ve tried visiting I get a 404 error. I haven’t gotten any post in my email notices for quite a long time and your link no longer appears when you comment on mine. I’m sure glad you didn’t go on your trip and get quarantined in some odd place. Quarantine is much easier when done at home. I’m taking it one day at a time too. Stay safe. Stay well.

      Like

      • Selena
        April 22, 2020

        Remember PM Boris was of the “herd immunity, let it blow through” mindset until he caught it and it spread like wildfire.

        Like

        • Anita
          April 23, 2020

          I wonder if he feels differently now that he’s had it and if he is telling others to stay home now. Didn’t his pregnant wife get the virus too? I wonder if she’s ok.

          Like

  10. Patti in California
    April 20, 2020

    First time to comment. I’m sorry you are isolated and struggling with food fatigue. If you know someone who works in grocery they might pick some things up for you, or a neighbor might get you some things while getting theirs. Hope something like that becomes available. We speak to our neighbors by shouting across the road, but it makes it safe!
    We are blessed. I had been watching China and getting concerned. So, in late February we did a big stock up shop before our trip to see my mom. We had some food storage already, so we are set for a while. We are also doing takeout once a week, as my husband loves it and he is working very hard. We order and pay online, then pickup only.
    My husband works in grocery, so every night when he goes off to work I tell him what he needs to buy for a friend or a neighbor. It has been nice to be a blessing to those people. Since we are both still working a lot, this is the best way to help others. If there is something we use often available in great abundance, he purchases that for us as well.
    We do a daily walk with our big dog around the neighborhood, but folks are social distancing. The citizens in my area are handling this much better than the officials.
    I was short on tissues (I have terrible allergies and had laid in hankies to my stockpile), but I was able to find tissues in abundance with no limit when I went out to get produce for my husband’s lunch.
    We don’t shop much, but we are wearing a mask in stores and being careful. I had a few masks in storage from the sars outbreak, then I sewed some more. Our stores have marks on the floor to help you stay 6 feet from one another and the aisles are now one way streets, which helps. They have plexiglass at the checkout. You also cannot bring in your reusable bags, you must sack things at your car if you want to use them. They are also sanitizing carts.
    I did do a shop for the food bank when our city sent out a text about the urgent need. Hard to think about kids in need without doing something to help. Many normally eat at school and are now home with parents who have even less money and more stress. I did have to shop as they asked for very specific items. Then you put them in your trunk and trained volunteers removed the items, sanitized them, and distributed them.
    We are doing lemon water every morning, half does of homemade elderberry tincture, emergenC, cooking with garlic, and eating fruits and veggies. So far, so good, we are healthy.
    I will be planting my garden as soon as I can get some seeds or seedlings, as I have some concerns about what this shut down is doing to the food supply. I will can or share any excess.
    I do believe we are “over-vaccinating”, particularly with young babies. I have terrible reactions to most vaccines. I stopped getting the flu vaccine about 5 years ago when the thimerosol free version was no longer available. I don’t know that I will get the Covid vaccination when it is available.
    Take care everyone.

    Like

    • Anita
      April 21, 2020

      I’m sorry you have to keep working. Bless you for helping your neighbors and the foodbank. On behalf of all those like me that depend on foodbank food THANK YOU.
      I can get food in several different ways when my situation changes but for now I’m doing fine. My food storage will last a few months. Insta-cart delivery is very popular here and all the fast food places are still doing the to go orders. I was getting my food from the outdoor foodbank before the virus came but I stopped because getting the food was not worth dieing for.

      In my area all the kids are on the free lunch program. So many qualified that it was just opened to all the kids. The company that made frozen school lunches has continued to make them. The families can pick up the lunches at different distribution points. 10 meals per child once a week. 5 breakfast and 5 lunches. The same company makes frozen lunch meals for senior centers and is doing the same with those.

      I’m also concerned about the future of our food supply chain. When the virus money comes I would love to buy a few garden plants in pots but can’t because garden items are considered non-essential in this area. It may be a very long time before the foodbank lines become shorter again so I won’t be going. Our world has changed which means I have to change too.

      I do get the flu shots and the pneumonia shots. I’m not so sure about getting a covid vaccine because it will have been rushed through the testing process. I’ll wait until its been tested more thoroughly. You take care too.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Kim
    April 20, 2020

    Forgot in my post, my husband cut one side of off milk cartons from top to bottom and left the cap on and filled those with dirt and planted seeds.

    Like

    • Anita
      April 20, 2020

      I’m sure I could find different ways to plant food if only I had dirt to fill them with. I remember one year I bought bags of garden soil, punched several holes in one side with a stick for drainage, and lined them up along my fence. I planted things right in the bags instead of pots. My cucumbers grew like crazy and filled up the fence and the tomatoes grew hugh. Hmm, that’s an idea for this year. It can’t hurt to give it a try. I also planted flowering lettuce and radishes in smaller bags of potting mix and lined them up along my sidewalk.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kim
        April 20, 2020

        That’s a great idea!

        Like

  12. Kim
    April 20, 2020

    Glad to hear you are doing well Anita. We have an emergency preparedness fair every year in our county here in Maryland. There are a lot of emergency service workers there giving out information, giving demonstrations and talking to people. They give out a lot of freebies and have games to win prizes and contests. Since they started it a few years back I try to go every year. But….it didn’t cover something lasting this long. One thing I remembered was that they said to get an extra month ahead on your prescriptions so I called the pharmacy and found out I could do that as I am on blood pressure medication. I have been reorganizing my pantry and cupboards finding things I had forgotten about and am using things up. This is also a great chance to eat up what is in the freezer, which I also reorganized and took stock of.

    We started garden seeds to plant. I read online and watched u-tube videos on people planting from kitchen scraps. I used empty applesauce cups to start carrot tops and the bottom of the celery stalk and change the water every day. The celery is amazing and I plan on transferring that to a pot of dirt today. I found out you don’t get carrot bottoms, just tops that you can add to a salad and I have spring onions in a glass (I put four whole spring onions in and about 2 inches of water and change daily) that I keep clipping of the green tops as the grow and using. They are all on my kitchen counter near a window and look nice. I also used empty bakery pastry containers, put dirt in them, and when I sliced a tomato, I saved the seeds and planted them. They are already two inches high. My daughter sent me a picture of what they planted at their house and she cut water bottles in half and planted seeds in those and also in egg cartons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anita
      April 20, 2020

      Hi Kim, I wish I had started a kitchen scraps garden but like other things I kept putting it off to do later. Now its too late. However I am growing alfalfa sprouts to eat. I have two self watering garden boxes and five 10 gallon buckets and about a dozen small flower pots but no dirt and no seeds. In this area garden supplies and seeds are considered “non-essential” items and can’t be sold until the quarantine is lifted. My yard is filled with years (layers) of gravel rock making it nearly impossible to get dirt. Garden in containers is my only option and that might just be what the groundhogs would love.

      Since I moved here twice I’ve tried growing cherry tomatoes and lettuce with transplants from the garden center. Neither grew any at all. Not even more leaves or stems. They stayed the very same size the whole summer. I got only two or three tomatoes from the blooms on the plants when I bought them. Its odd nothing grows because at my old house I grew so much stuff I supplied the whole neighborhood. I had a cherry tree and thornless blackberries and had planted blueberry bushes. Here– nothing grows but mold, mosquitoes, groundhogs, and stink bugs. Take care.

      Like

  13. hi vuku
    April 19, 2020

    Hi, Anita. I’m glad to hear you are fine. I tried to comment on this post on the 15, but I must have done something wrong. Best wishes, Jasna

    ________________________________

    Like

    • Anita
      April 19, 2020

      Hi Jasna, glad to see you are fine too. Must have been a wordpress problem because I didn’t get any comment notices for several days. How the people in Ireland handling the virus now? Is it going away or still requiring quarantine?

      Like

  14. Rhonda A.
    April 16, 2020

    I remember when the SARS outbreak happened, they said that historically, big pandemic outbreaks happened every so many years (can’t remember the length between them, but it was pretty consistent) and that we were actually overdue for one to happen. Well, it finally happened!

    I wouldn’t say I was particularly prepared for a pandemic, either. However, I had definitely stocked my pantry with the idea that if I needed to live solely off my pantry stock, for whatever reason (job loss, major emergency that extends for weeks, medical issue, etc) that it could provide a balanced diet with variety for my family, even in the event of extended hydro loss. Thankfully, that planning has worked well so far.

    What I’m worried about is the length of time over which I’m needing to use the pantry. While I still have plenty and can keep going for another month or two, with periodic trips to the grocery store to replenish a few items like milk and eggs. But my pantry stock is definitely getting depleted. In the mean time, farmers are dumping food and/or not planting as much, and meat packing plants are shutting down, causing food prices to increase. So, I’m not sure how I’m going to restock my pantry on a strict budget, with less food available for people to buy! I have a feeling all those weekly sales, clearance and discounted food items are a thing of the past for the next year or two. Didn’t quite plan on that happening. I’m glad I have worked on developing my domestic, gardening and financial skills…there about to be put to the test, from what I’m seeing.

    Like

    • Anita
      April 20, 2020

      Hi Rhonda, glad to see you are safe. I remember watching a show called “it could happen tomorrow” on the weather channel several years ago. These were about disasters that could happen and were overdue. I believe the length of time is a worry for many light preppers. Beyond the actual illness and deaths I worry about a rising crime rate. Desperate people will do desperate things to survive. I remember back in 2008 when burglars were breaking into houses only to steal food and not other valuable items. The situation is even worse today if the long lines at the foodbanks are any indication. Stay safe Rhonda.

      Like

      • Rhonda A.
        April 20, 2020

        Yes, crimes are definitely a problem already. I went to the pharmacy late one morning a couple weeks ago for prescriptions, and the pharmacist said he had just opened. They had had a break-in and the police had been there most of the morning. The news said another pharmacy was broken into just up the road a couple days later. Desperate times equals desperate people, for sure!

        Like

  15. craftytadpole
    April 16, 2020

    I’m so glad to hear that you are still doing okay. Hang in there and keep washing your hands!

    Like

    • Anita
      April 20, 2020

      I do wash my hands often and use lotion after to keep my skin healthy.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. kaythegardener
    April 16, 2020

    This IS the new normal!!
    My parents were young adults during the former Great Depression in the 1930s. They had the attitude of just keep on going every week, since only God knows when it will end…
    But they kept on helping others because that was the type of people they came from.
    From the tone of your postings & the other readers’ comments, they are strong in the same way.
    3 cheers to all!!

    Like

    • Anita
      April 20, 2020

      Thanks, yes, three cheers to all!!

      Like

  17. simplywendi
    April 15, 2020

    It is so nice to “see” you again Anita. I also thought we were very well prepared and I have found out that this was a BIG NO! I had to get out once and buy supplies but I was scared and supplies were very low. I have been making a list of all the things we need or wished we had and once this is all over, I will start rebuilding my food supply.
    I am so happy that you are staying in a staying safe! Thanks for the post….

    Like

    • Anita
      April 20, 2020

      Hi Wendi,
      Glad to see you are ok too. I put off buying some things because I was waiting for a sale. I should have been paying closer attention to the world news. I’ve heard from other people too about how low the supplies are in the stores. Stay well Wendi.

      Liked by 1 person

      • simplywendi
        April 22, 2020

        Thank you so much Anita……..this whole thing is completely surreal and overwhelming at times. I hope today finds you well.

        Like

  18. Di
    April 15, 2020

    Sorry for the rough time you had there. Hopefully you’ll feel better and not be so shut down. It is a scary time. I don’t feel it’s Mother Nature out to get us, it’s just the way biology works-viruses mutate, jump to a species ill-equipped to fight it off and here we go.
    We’re in pretty good shape. My mother always had a stocked pantry and a full freezer so that’s how I grew up. I’ve had folks laugh at my habits and that’s fine. I did a big shop 3/13 and got a large pickup order the week after that. It was mostly perishable foods and more wants than needs-cookies and chips for the Better Half and odds and ends to keep the variety of our meals going. We get a weekly produce delivery and there’s a foodservice vendor who has contactless pickup for dairy and eggs so we’re set for months if need be. It’s a good thing, too, because of the six stores in the area for food, two don’t have pickup and the other four are booked. I, too have diabetes and everything I get settles in my lungs so I’m not going anywhere for a long while. I snagged a delivery spot for one of the (expensive) stores for Saturday and this order will be it for a while. Thankfully I got my seed order in early before everyone went crazy.
    It was so good of you to make masks. I’m sure everyone appreciated it very much. I’d happily buy some from you if you’d be willing and if there was a way to ship them that was safe for you.
    Please remember how important you are to your readers. Your wisdom and insight are valuable to everyone and I’m sure you’re in all our prayers-you are in mine for sure.

    Like

    • Anita
      April 20, 2020

      Thank you Di for the prayers. I also pray for others. I’m not really smart, I do what I must to survive. 🙂

      I’m glad you got your seeds early. Here in KY several of the stores blocked off the garden supply areas as “non-essential” items. The hardware stores are not allowing it either. Our new cases and deaths are still going up. I guess it depends on where one lives for how safe the groceries might be. I have always been very cautious about the food I brought home. Both from the grocery and from the outdoor foodbank. I’m a bit of a germophobe and wash everything.

      I don’t believe it would be wise for me to visit a post office right now but let me figure out something else. How many did you want? They are washable. And, no, there is no charge. A return of the postage would be helpful though. Take care.

      Like

  19. Margie from Toronto
    April 15, 2020

    I was pretty well prepared – I normally stock up in November and then let things run down until about April – bad winters here and I don’t drive & use a cane so can only manage so much at a time with my “bundle buggy” – but – we had to deal with SARS here and I heard news reports out of China in late December about a strange flu killing people – I assumed it was SARS making a resurgence.
    I decided then not to let things run down – I didn’t panic but each week I added a few extra cans, some UHT milk, extra TP and meat when it was on sale. We went into lockdown on March 17th and we knew it was coming – so – the few days beforehand, every time I was out I picked up extra milk, eggs or fresh fruit & veg.
    This means that I only go out for fresh foods about once every 2 weeks. I go very early when seniors can go in first and it is very well organized. I had not planned on going out again until next week however, I now have a lot of online meetings and appointments scheduled for next week so decided to go now. We just got another 28 day extension added on to our lockdown yesterday so tomorrow’s shop will probably see me through that.
    I have a few “wants” but nothing I’m desperate for on the list so I will pick up what is available and not worry about what I can’t find. Today I have spent a couple of hours going through the fridge & cleaning it – consolidating items and either freezing or cooking some fresh fruit & veg that was getting close to going bad. I also took out a few already cooked items from the freezer that I will use up over the next couple of days and this leaves me a bit of room for anything that I pick up tomorrow.
    The shopping part is actually easier than the putting away bit – all the fruit & veg goes into a couple of big metal bowls to be washed in soap &hot water. Then all containers get wiped down with Lysol wipes and left to dry. Then they get wiped down with hot soapy water, dried and put away. It takes a lot of planning and a lot of time. And of course, at each stage I’m washing my hands – again!
    Stay safe Anita.

    Like

    • Anita
      April 20, 2020

      Hi Margie, its good to see you are ok too. I probably won’t go shopping until fall if I can avoid it. But that could change if the new cases stop. I have always washed my hands a lot and I put lotion on my hands after to prevent chapped skin.

      I use and drink the UHT milk given to us in the USDA senior food boxes each month. It tastes great when its ice cold. Its also more expensive at about 2.79 per quart (946ml) and a regular milk quart from the cooler is about .89 cents. Dollar Tree stores also have uht milk for one dollar a quart. That’s still more expensive.

      I agree, the putting away is much harder than the shopping. For me it was true even before the pandemic. I’m a bit of a germophobe because I get sick so easily. I always washed fruit and veggies with soapy water because so much of it is dusty and dirty or had critters on it. One time I found dozens of tiny spiders clinging to grapes. If I hadn’t washed them I would have eaten spiders. I wipe cans or boxes with bleach water damp cloths because I can’t be sure what kind of four leg or six leg critters may have roamed the stores at night leaving their germs on everything. I don’t use a lot of household cleaners because I believe bleach and vinegar are the best disinfectants. I plan to defrost and clean my freezer today or tomorrow. It needs re-organizing.

      Take care Margie

      Like

  20. Kathleen Waite
    April 15, 2020

    I was last out 3-13. Like you, I did not have a very thoughtful list of things to secure. I felt this would be over by now and didn’t want to spend much time in the store either. We were also out 4-1 for a necessary blood check for David. Other than that we are in our home. I am fortunate that daughter can bring groceries, etc as we need it. She orders on line and does curbside pickup. She then tosses our groceries in the door, and we chat for a minute. Everything is really expensive, or can’t be found. I’m tired of this. But, I know it’s for our own good. I don’t expect this to be over til lthe end of June at earliest. We are Ok. But rather depressed.

    Like

    • Anita
      April 20, 2020

      Hi Kathi, I’m very tired of it too and I have food fatigue. I have been watching the store ads online to keep up with prices. It appears the price of grocery items will be getting a lot higher over the summer or until farms and factories get back into production again. There are gaps in my supplies but I’ve found I really can do without them. I get sad each time I think about the grands. I miss the excitement they had when they saw me and running to me. I miss hugging them and kissing them. I miss being at their birthday parties. Heck, even the dog would get excited to see me. I wonder sometimes if that will ever happen again. Take care Kathi

      Like

  21. Jasna
    April 15, 2020

    What a wonderful idea to make those masks to share! It’s SO good to hear from you again. I missed you and had started to worry about you. I’m glad you are well and self-isolating. Staying home is the best idea. My husband and I started isolating around the same time you did (They call it ‘cocooning’ here in Ireland). We’ve watched oh so many films, and also listen to music and read a lot. As we live in a rural area and do not own a car we depend on the only supermarket in the area that does delivery, once a week We have always had some food in storage just in case but should the distribution chain be disrupted that would be truly complicated for us. I hear there are volunteers who bring food to people who can’t leave their house. I hope it does not come to that. I keep my fingers crossed.

    Stay well and healthy.

    Like

    • Anita
      April 20, 2020

      Cocooning, thats a good word for it. I like it. I’ve watched a lot of films too. Its strange because for years and years I never watched movies and now I’m watching the ones I missed when they were new in the 50s and 60s. I’m not leaving home until there are no new cases for at least a month or a cure is found. You stay safe and healthy too.

      Like

  22. Linda in NE
    April 15, 2020

    I don’t think anyone was totally prepared. I’m sure even the die-hard preppers found some things they could use more of. We had quite a bit of home canned & frozen food. I had accumulated a pretty good stash of TP so I haven’t been fighting the other customers for that. I’ve still been going to the grocery store about every 10 days for stuff I need to use what I have. I have mild Type 2 Diabetes, but a strong immune system. I learned long ago to never let the garlic capsules and the daily multivitamin run out. As long as I took them I didn’t catch anything and as soon as I didn’t, I did. The last two or three years I’ve added an all natural supplement called Allibiotic that I take through the fall and winter. I did have a head cold the last two Augusts, but hadn’t started the Allibiotic for the season yet. Have never had influenza and have never taken the shots. I honestly think all the vaccines actually lower our natural immunity. If I do actually think I’m about to come down with something I start taking my “elderberry brew”. It’s made from dried elderberries, whole star anise, stick cinnamon, whole cloves & raw honey (not the stuff they sell in grocery stores). I usually add some dried ginger as well. Very effective stuff.

    I really do think that eventually all of us with catch this Covid-19 virus. I also suspect it will become a seasonal thing like the influenzas.

    As for groceries, can’t you give your daughter a list, have her pick them up and leave them on your doorstep? You can totally avoid contact. Unpack them and then thoroughly wash your hands. Should work. Stay healthy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anita
      April 15, 2020

      Linda, I’m glad to see you are ok.

      Usually I make my own supplements. I buy raw honey from a local bee keeper with a great reputation. I dehydrate my own garlic, ginger, and other stuff. I have a different opinion of the flu shots. I’ve had the flu more than once. I almost died several years ago it was so severe. These days I do get the vaccine and it does lesson the severity of my flu. The doctor I used to have (before she retired) also believed in diet healing. We often discussed food as a medicine. Gosh I sure do miss her.

      Its a good thought but I could not ask my child to put herself or my grand kids in harms way for a few groceries for me. She just recovered from bronchitis and has a child with asthma. She gets her groceries delivered by Kroger insta-cart and wipes everything down with bleach water before allowing the kids anywhere near it. If I get desperate I’ll use insta-cart too. For now I’m ok. You take care too.

      Like

    • Rhonda A.
      April 16, 2020

      Linda, I know there are a lot of people who are of the opinion that vaccines are not good for you. So I’m curious…when a vaccine for Covid19 becomes available, are you saying you will refuse to get the vaccine?

      Like

  23. tracypacesplace
    April 15, 2020

    ‘Did you notice a FEMA booth at your state fair?’ If you live in disaster-prone Houston FEMA is never far away!
    The world’s number 1 sinking city and America’s 3rd or 4th largest is faring well so far during the pandemic, people are so used to disaster preparedness and response we just all get on with what needs to be done.
    And you saying that the ‘pandemic has given me the opportunity’ is true, for all the sadness and pain which comes from this there will also be much kindness and empathy and new technology and ideas.

    Like

    • Anita
      April 20, 2020

      Hi Tracy, I’ve wondered if you were alright during the storms in Texas the past two weekends. Please stay safe.

      Like

      • tracypacesplace
        April 21, 2020

        Am doing! You do the same!

        Like

  24. captnmike
    April 15, 2020

    Well hang in there – things are taking a bit longer and you seem to be better prepared than most. Part of the issues is normal emergency preparedness usually calls for 2 weeks and this is going past that.

    I normally have some extra food around simply because of my buying habits and doing some of my shopping at Costco – but I added some extra Mar 17 and one of my neighbors was kind enough to pick up some things for me, so far so good but I do miss the once a week trip to the grocery for a few items and the occasional impulse buy.

    Like

    • Anita
      April 15, 2020

      Hi Captnmike I miss going to the outdoor foodbank and going to the grocery to see what I could find in the produce discount bins. Before self-isolation I canned something almost every day. Now there is nothing to can and it feels really strange. I’ve been looking at my food storage and thinking about some very simple recipes. I’ll answer your email tomorrow.

      Like

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