Preparing for the possibility of harder times – part one

The announcement of the pandemic showed up some peculiar human traits. First came the hoarding, and strangely toilet paper seemed to be the first thing to disappear from the shelves. Then the supermarkets sold out of the things I would have expected, flour, sugar, rice, pasta, and pasta sauces all became hard to get.

Supermarket shelves emptied quickly at beginning of pandemic

Vegetable seeds and seedlings have been selling out within hours of arriving in the plant nurseries. There has been a huge demand for DIY including the materials to build backyard henhouses, and once built, the egg laying chooks to live in them.

Clearly people’s thoughts, perhaps driven by a primal survival instinct, have turned to preparing for a major recession, or worse, another Great Depression. One things for certain, Covid-19 is, and will continue to have a definite, and probably long lasting effect on the world economy. The relatively high standard of living that a lot of people in our part of the world have come to expect, could be about to change.

Some people will sail through the tough times that are no doubt coming with barely a hitch. A few people who just happen to work in the right niche will thrive above and beyond what they would have achieved in the pre-Coronavirus world. Some will bounce back over time and their lives will take up where they left off early in 2020. But some people’s lives may never return to the financial prosperity they had prior to this global pandemic.

Peoples reactions have caused to me to ponder times gone by, and possible changes that could be upon us in the future. We’re almost definitely going to live through some leaner times as a result of the pandemic lock down and the resulting downturn in the economy. But what if that isn’t all…… There is a lot of blame being directed at China, and world leaders are demanding answers. What if it escalates into a war! What if we come under siege! Ok – dramatic thoughts I know. But it wasn’t that many decades ago when if someone had suggested that Sarajevo was about to come under siege, the residents would have laughed. Yet early in 1992 Sarajevo did come under siege, a siege that lasted almost four years

Monument in Sarajevo serves as reminder of siege

Their water and power was cut off early, then their food supplies and medicines run out. Those that survived the siege did so on a basic diet of rice, flour, beans, and canned foods that came from United Nations food drops.

Although I don’t consider that I was panic buying at the beginning at the start of this pandemic, I did, like everyone else, buy things like rice, pasta, and toilet rolls before my home supplies had reduced to their normal replacement levels.

So what now that the supermarkets are all re-stocked, and the rationing of certain products has been lifted! Should we all just return to our normal shopping habits? The current situation hit us completely out of the blue, but what if the situation takes a turn for the worse, or what if another, unthinkable situation were to hit us. What if something came out of the blue, something that threatened our lives, not by a pandemic, but by starvation. I’m sure no amount of preparation would have seen the people of Sarajevo eating a normal diet throughout four years of siege, but some preparation, both mentally and practically, could have perhaps helped in the early stages.

My thinking has led me to start a bit of an experiment. I’m going to see how cheaply I can buy my basic grocery shopping while still shopping for meal plans similar to those that I already follow. That doesn’t mean I won’t buy extras, but any extras I buy over and above what’s needed for basic living, as well as food to stockpile, will be bought in a separate shop. I’m just curious as to how much money we could survive on eating meals similar to the meals we’re used to eating, should the coming downturn in the economy have a major impact on us personally. Of course in the event of a long term drastically changed situation, no doubt we’d end up eating meals drastically different to that which we have become accustomed to.

I’ve always kept a well stocked pantry and freezer and could easily live off the contents for two weeks without any additions, probably up to a month if I really had to. Clearly, from the speed that basic household supplies disappeared from the supermarket shelves at the start of this pandemic, should we ever be hit with a more serious, longer lasting, crisis, food supplies are going to run out very quickly. Should that ever happen I don’t want to be saying, “could have, would have, should have” been better prepared. So, my experiment is going to include pantry supplies that could sustain us for a bit longer than a month. I’m thinking that supplies that could be eked out to last six months would give us a good start if ever the need came.

A good stockpile



To read or not to read

There’s always the problem of possibly being seen as an intruder when one writes a blog, or posts thoughts and photos on social media. I came across a fellow blogger’s post recently, and Angela put into words what so many bloggers think, I’m sure. Angela’s post points out that we blogger’s have a love of writing, but no expectation that everything we write will be important enough to be read by each and everyone of you who come across one of our posts.

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The power of one (minute that is)

Ever wondered why it is when you go into some peoples homes, they’re always spic and span. You give your house a thorough clean each week the same as they do, yet the next day your house looks a mess again. I’ll let you into a little secret – the house that’s always clean has someone living in it that uses a super-power. It’s a power we all have, and it’s a power we can all use. It’s the power of one – one minute that is. Never under estimate what a difference just a minute can make.

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A stitch in time

Someone asked me recently what the proverb, ‘A Stitch in Time, Saves Nine’ means. Literally it means exactly what it says. If you notice the seam on a garment or a hole starting to unravel you can usually fix it easily and quickly with a needle a thread. Literally one (or two) over stitches will usually prevent the whole seam, or garment from unravelling.

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All the best-laid plans…

Easter in the south west of WA started out dismally on the weather front. Cold, windy and raining, not ideal weather for the picnic we’ve been promising ourselves.

Today, after a chilly start to the day, the sky’s now blue and the sun’s shining. Yet still our picnic basket sits empty at the bottom of the wardrobe, despite our plans to take both the picnic basket and ourselves somewhere into the great outdoors.

A tooth abscess, now accompanied by a red face all swollen and puffy from cellulitis has me sitting on the couch dosed up with anti-biotics and feeling sorry myself. Oh well, you know what they say about the best laid plans – perhaps tomorrow!

What’s life without a project, or two, or three

Do you ever find yourself feeling time poor. That’s me at the moment. I know one has to have a project, but seriously – I’m not sure if I could count how many projects we’re currently in the middle of.

My  blog posts have been consistently a little to close to home over recent weeks. We have so much happening on  the home front that we’re finding it difficult to spread our wings and get out exploring. 

We’re in the midst of a garden overhaul, all well and truly started now, but at that messy stage in between the old and the new. Our verandah has had two metal supports engineered to take the weight of the roof, and these have allowed the posts to be moved. This will allow our verandah to work as an entertainment patio, but guess what. We started off with plans for one support, this quickly changed to two. The two are now up, and we’ve decided a third is needed! 

Only when all the supports are in place can that project be finished off. The paving will need re-laying. The fence will need decorating, and potted plants will need to be selected and carefully placed. In the meantime, that area too is in a bit of a mess awaiting completion.

The inside is ok, but soon that the bedroom window treatments are being changed. We’ve had them measured for plantation shutters, but they take a couple of months to be made.

All these jobs require waiting in for tradesman to come to measure up, doing our bit to get things ready, and being in when the tradesmen are here. We couldn’t possibly leave them to cope with one pesky puppy without us being here, plus I like to provide snacks and drinks as required.

As well as our projects in and around the house, we both do a bit of volunteering at an aged care place near by. We live only five minutes walk away, so when they’re stuck there, I think we’ve become the logical  couple to call on. We do say no sometimes, but we help out if we can. We enjoy it, but when we have a lot going on at home, it adds to that feeling of being time poor.

I’ve promised myself that sometime between now and this time next week I’m getting out somewhere for a picnic. And I’ve promised myself no more blog posts on the home front until I’ve had a good day out further afield to tell you about. 

Mind you, we did spend this past week end up in Perth visiting friends and family. While we were there Paul went to the footie with his friend Bob, while my friend Di and I went to the casino. That’s a rarity for me, and when I do go, I have a flutter, and usually lose. I had a pleasant surprise this time with a bit  of a win. That’ll help buy some plants for the new garden. 

Thats the joy of blogging – you get to reflect on what you’ve been getting up to. I’m sure there’s many bloggers just like me, who from time to time realise their blog posts are reflecting a bit of rut is developing. Time to adjust our busy home based schedule and stretch our legs somewhere in the great outdoors. Watch this space….