16 Days in Quarantine: Life Goes On

Rice Pilaf
A freshly opened #10 can of rice pilaf

I’m happy to report that life goes on, even if it is a modified version of our normal life. 

I made my weekly trip to the post office to pick up our mail. Due to the coronavirus, I go weekends and hope no one else is there. There was so much mail, they had left me a key and put everything in one of those larger boxes.  I wore a pair of disposable gloves while I got the mail and filled up a large, reusable shopping bag.  I put the bag in the trunk and carefully stripped of the gloves before getting into the car.  We’ll let the mail sit a day or two before we sort it.

That was the first time I’d left the house in a week.  Traffic volume was noticeably lower; I guess people are finally taking these stay home or shut down order seriously. 

Otherwise, I finished another book and we’ve done more work outside.  Today it was warm enough that I spent a couple hours of power washing and crossed two items of my wife’s “Honey Do” list.  Some of the power washing was over my head, so I’m sure my arms will be a little sore tomorrow.  But that’s a good feeling to have in the spring because you know you’re body is adapting to doing chores again.

As part of our plan to continue eating from our storage pantry, we opened a #10 can of Rice Pilaf today (see lead photo) and had some as a side dish with our chicken dinner.  In addition to the rice and lentils, it had dehydrated carrots and a pleasant mix of spices. It wasn’t bad, but five pounds of rice pilaf is going to take a long time to eat.  We have another 2 or 3 cans in the pantry as well.  It would be a good dish for bugging out or for storing in a go bag.  Just add to boiling water and simmer it for 20 minutes. Then let it sit for another 20 to absorb the water.   More nutritious than just a bag of rice.

Food Shortages on the Eastern Front

As I mentioned before, we’ve been spending time with friends on the phone.  Here’s some interesting reports:

Relatives on Long Island, where there are more than 11,000 reported cases of COVI-19, report that their local grocery store is out of a great many things, including meat, eggs, milk and ice cream.  There was plenty of bread, however.  Peanut butter sandwiches for everyone!

Other relatives reported that stores in Virginia were out of many frozen foods.  They tried to have groceries delivered and out of their $90 order, less than $20 worth showed up.  These are folks in their 80s and they don’t cook at home much, so the lack of something like a Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwich you can pop in the microwave and heat up hurts them.  They have a dozen eggs and are planning to hard boil them.  They are picking up meals nearby and having some delivered, so they are not going hungry, but I think they are eating more sandwiches than they usually do.

Personally, I tried to order some things from Amazon Pantry.  It was quite difficult to reach the $35 minimum required to get free shipping because items that were in stock while I was shopping were suddenly had been sold out when I got to checkout.  Twice I had to back out of the shopping cart and add a new item simply to achieve the $35 mark.  There was also a one-item minimum on canned items like soups and hash.  Amazon must be having a really tough time keeping food in stock if they are limiting people to just one can.  I think it is safe to say that food availability remains an issue around the country.

Stocking Up

If you weren’t a prepper before, the coronavirus should illustrate why stocking extra food and basic household supplies is a good idea. 

I also talked to a friend who went to Walmart and decided to pick up some ammo while he was there.  The only .22 ammo they had were six boxes of .22 short subsonic rounds.  He bought two, figuring it would be good to kill varmints without freaking out the neighbors.  Keep in mind that the magazines for most .22s  are designed for the standard .22LR round will not work with the. 22 short.  He has an old bolt action .22 that will fire it, but you have to manually load one round at a time.  My friend also reported that Walmart was out of almost all shotgun ammo, with the exception of 16-gauge.  He bought an expensive box of 12 gauge #5 shot which was probably designed for turkeys to use for self-defense in a pinch. 

The media reports that guns and ammo are selling out across the country.  Ammo is another commodity that preppers stock. 

Perhaps inspired by her younger sister, our eldest daughter bought a used freezer chest on either Craigslist or maybe Facebook marketplace (she monitors both) at a good price.  It was only 7 months old and looked new.  I guess she’s on the early steps of her journey to becoming a prepper.

We talked about what to stock it with, given the current situation.  I told her to buy chicken legs and thighs, pork chops, hot dogs and maybe ground meat in large, bulk packages and then break them down into however many you need for a meal and re-package them in Ziploc freezer bags.  Date each bag with a Sharpie, so you use the oldest ones first.  She prefers white meat and wanted to buy chicken breasts.  Nothign wrong with stocking up on what you eat most, but if you’re preparing for a food shortage and you’re on a budget, $20 will buy you several times more pounds of dark meat chicken than it will pounds of white meat, especially at Sam’s Club or Costco. 

When you are starting your food prepping, go with volume first and fill in later with the more expensive stuff.  Trust me, if you are starving, you’ll be thrilled with the chicken legs.

And finally, we’ll end with another amusing parody video. Many of the parody videos out there are just people singing songs with modified lyrics. I thought this one rose above because of his acting and clever antics. Enjoy and stay safe!