Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stocking Up Camellia Cottage Style


My husband and I are a really great team! We try our best to keep open the lines of communication and discuss things from many different angles, then work to reach a decision that works for both of us. Sometimes that's hard to do, other times it all just comes together like it's supposed to do. One example of this was deciding what to do with an unexpected bonus hubby received from his job. He's worked there for 36+ years, and never in that time has he ever gotten a 'bonus', and he's been told it will never happen again - a one time deal, they said. His bonus was four weeks pay!

Now, right around the holidays, I felt God had put it on my heart that we really needed to be stocking up on food. I don't know why, but it was clear that was what I strongly felt we should be doing. One day we were talking and I brought that up to hubby, and he said he agreed. That's when he told me he had just that day found out about the upcoming bonus, and we started discussing how we could best use that money - that gift from God! It didn't take long before we agreed we should buy another freezer, and fill it and our current freezer (which sadly, was getting low on supplies) with meats and stock up on canned goods and other staples.

We didn't want to go overboard, partly because it wouldn't be a wise use of the money, but partly because we didn't want to get more than we could easily eat in a year's time. After all, food stuffs don't have an endless shelf life!

I looked online and at a few local stores and found a freezer that I thought would work, and we ordered it. Then I began planning what we should put in both freezers. We decided on:
  • a 'freezer special' plus 50# of ground chuck from Fergusons - a local meat market,
  • 80# of boneless skinless chicken breasts from the local Tyson 'company store' (market priced - a steal!),
  • 40 - 50# of boneless pork loin from Kroger when they have it on sale,
  • assorted canned goods (green beans, peas, corn, tomatoes, broths, soups, etc.)
  • staples (flour, cornmeal, sugar, rice, etc.)

First up, the local meat market. I got a freezer special that included ground round, chicken breasts, pork chops, chuck roasts, ribs, cubed steak, ribeye steaks, bacon wrapped filet, bacon, etc. I also got an extra 50# of ground chuck. Here's what I came home with >>>

Two huge boxes of meat in the back of my car - I had to carry out a smaller box and use it to get all of the goodies into the house.




Box # 1 - such a beautiful sight!



Box # 2 - Why does the sight of lots of meat give me such a pleased as punch feeling???


Now, we've bought lots of meat from Fergusons since we moved here 5 1/2 years ago, but this was the first big freezer order we'd had from this market, so I didn't know what to expect 'packaging wise'. I had planned on unwrapping everything and sealing it up in food saver bags, but when I started opening up those packages, I found there was no need! Everything was tightly wrapped in thick plastic, then wrapped tightly in freezer paper. I still had to seal up the 50# of ground chuck because I told them to give it to me in bulk, but from now on, no more of that - since there's no extra charge, they can wrap it up for me!

I have a Food Saver brand vacuum sealer, and use it OFTEN! It's amazing how long things will keep in those bags if they are sealed properly. The bags are a bit expensive, but if you think ahead, you can make them a little more cost effective. How? I make each bag a little larger than it has to be, and when I use the product inside I wash the bags, hang them to dry in my pantry and RE-USE them! Depending on what you are storing, you can use a bag 3 - 4 times before it's too small to re-use.

Bacon, ground chuck, and assorted meats in white freezer paper - ready for the freezer.



Ten pounds of ground chuck, ready to be divided, weighed, packed and sealed.


Tools for the job - Food Saver (bags in the background), scissors, magic marker, and food and bread storage bags. I use the bags for lining the tray of the scales, and putting over my right hand for handling the meat. This is Kroger brand, and they are really inexpensive - less expensive than gloves anyway.


My scales. They are pretty basic, but they work! I actually bought these (new, in the box) at a flea market somewhere for just a few dollars, and they have paid for themselves many times over!

This was pretty much an afternoon's work, but now I have a nice supply of mostly beef in my freezer. Since the day I did those meats, I've also bought flour and cornmeal, sausage, canned goods, and tomorrow I'm going to buy the pork loin and chicken breasts. I'll share about these purchases in future posts.

The great part of all this - my freezers will be packed full of meats, and we'll have a good supply of staples as well. My husband's company has already cut back on his overtime, and he expects to lose it completely before long. That can make a $100 - $200 a week difference in our income. With all this food in house, we won't have to spend as much on groceries, and that will help a lot.

Are you stocking up? Planning for what may lie ahead? Or are you just sitting back and waiting to see what happens next? I'd love to hear your comments, suggestions, stance on how things are going with you these days! Blessings friends, Becky

4 comments:

calicodaisy said...

I've been prompted to make plans, too. I'm getting all sorts of paperwork taken care of, reorganizing household items, and then hope to work on a new garden with my husband. I have to learn a bit about that and then be prepared to can the produce. It's not being an alarmist but just being prepared -- and it gives me something useful to do rather than to get panicky or spend time spinning my wheels!

John's Arts & Crafts said...

Looks like someone is well prepared? New blog on the Hx. of the Lady Bug:
http://historyoftheladybug.blogspot.com/

debbie said...

CAMELLIA,
YOU ARE A WOMAN OF WISDOM...I THINK...NO I KNOW THE LORD SPEAKS TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE ABOUT DIFFERENT THINGS...
I KNOW FOR A FACT I AM GOING TO LEARN TO CAN FROM MY DADDY THIS YEAR...MOTHER DOES ALOT OF THINGS BUT CANNING IS NOT ONE OF THEM....DADDY EVEN MAKES HIS OWN DEER JERKEY THAT HE GIVES TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND IT IS ALOT OF WORK.
MY HUSBAND AND I WILL FIX A MEAL WITH HALF HAMBURGER AND HALF DEER AND EACH ONE GOES FURTHER AND THE DEER ISN'T QUITE SO GAMEY
I HAVE ALWAYS, ESPECIALLY WHEN I WORKED BOUGHT THINGS ON SALE IN QUANTITY...WHEN I WAS NO LONGER WORKING MY HUSBAND COULDN'T FIGURE OUT WHY THINGS COST SO MUCH.....
THE DAYS FOR PEOPLE BUYING IN QUANTITY ON SALE IS ALMOST OVER...NOW YOU HAVE TO BUY IT ON SALE....NOT IN QUANTITY...JUST ON SALE TO BE ABLE TO AFFORD IT OR YOU DON'T GET IT.......
NOT ALL...BUT AS A NATION WE HAVE BEEN WAY TOO FRIVULOUS TAKING GOOD FORTUNE FOR GRANTED.
MEAT IS THE HARDEST THING TO BUY WHEN YOU ARE ON A STRICT BUDGET....OH YEAH...YOU DID THE RIGHT THING AND ONE THING TO TAKE IN TO CONSIDERATION IN A TIME THE WORLD IS IN SUCH UPHEAVEL...DON'T LEAVE YOUR GARAGE DOOR UP BECAUSE PEOPLE WALKING BY OR DRIVING BY MIGHT COME BACK AND ROB YOUR HOME LIKE THEY DID MY PARENTS....THEY EVEN TOOK THE MEAT MOTHER HAD THAWING FOR SUPPER AND THE 50LB BAG OF SUNFLOWER SEEDS FOR HER BIRDS....IT WAS AWFUL...AND THE TIMES THEY ARE GETTING MORE DESPERATE.
BLESSINGS DEAR FRIEND
debbie

RubyMay said...

I was pleased to read your blog because I am also stocking up as I am old enough to remember other bad times when we were even rationed the amount of hours electric. I am stocking up on cans, and gas for my camping stoves. At least we can warm up a can of something quickly! oh..and theres a nice supply of candles in as well ! Take care x