50 Days in Quarantine: More Groceries and Lessons Learned

Bird flu is driving up the cost of eggs again.
Bird flu is driving up the cost of eggs and causing shortages.

We did another curb-side pick-up of groceries at yet a different grocery store.  This was the smoothest, more complete yet.  First, very little substitution, meaning everything online was, in fact, available in the store.  Second, we also were able to schedule a pick-up in only three days.  Last time, we had to book six days out.  Only one meat item was unavailable, a specialty beef kielbasa that we enjoy.  We ordered four dozen eggs, and they actually send three boxes of 18, so we have 54 new eggs in the house.  We’ve got a few from Costco to finish up, but it makes me happy to know I can have a three egg omelet without feeling guilty.

I checked a few other stores, and their wait times for curb-side pickup are much improved as well.  Instacart reported last month that they have hired 300,000 new people and were hiring another 250,000.  My wife would love to be able to pick her own veggies, but until that day comes, this online order/curb-side pickup system has definitely improved.

Suffice to say that fresh vegetables are back on our menu.

50 Days of Staying Home

I think of staying home for 50 days, and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Then I remember that I have a house and a yard, not an apartment like many. My wife and I are getting along great, while some relationships are deteriorating due to too much together time.  We’ve used the time to recommend via phone or zoom with friends and family, including quality time on the phone with the kids.

I am thankful that we have power and Internet, are warm and dry, that no one is shooting at us, and we are not hungry.  We have stored food and many other supplies and resupply is available.  As I have said before, this is not TEOTWAWKI, but good practice for the next disaster, whatever it may be.

My chief complaints are small. After more than two months without a haircut, my long hair is getting to be annoying, but so bad that I’m cutting it myself!  For the first time since childhood, I have bangs and they hang into my eyes unless I wear a hat or use a bunch of product.   My wife complains about my beard, not my hard, so it won’t last beyond quarantine. Until then, I’m enjoying having it long.

Lessons Learned

So, after 50 days, what have we learned? 

Lesson One: The most important lesson related to our personal prepping is that we need to stock more fun foods.  This sounds silly, but it is important to keep spirits high, give people something to look forward to, and as a reward.

We went into this with a freezer full of meat, a pantry full of canned goods, and a food storage cache full of wheat, rice, beans and all sorts of dried food in #10 cans.  What we lacked was snacks, chocolate, and other fun foods.  Once this is over and we restock our prepping cache, we’ll be stocking more things like chocolate chips, brownie mix, cake mixes, dark chocolate, corn chips and pretzels.   The difficult thing will be rotating them and replacing them in a timely manner. 

We have chocolate pudding mix in our survival stash, but who wants to a four-pound can of pudding mix just to satisfy a craving? 

We may also have to invest in some freeze dried mozzarella, or find a neighbor willing to sell us some milk in a grid-down situation.  We’ve made cheese before, but we don’t have a source of milk. We will also need more dried fruits in #10 cans. I think those banana chips and other goodies will go fast.

We have already added crackers, raisins, chips, and other snack foods to our emergency shopping list.  This is the list we will use if we have an opportunity to make a last shopping trip or two right before the next disaster strikes. I was too serious with my prior lists and prepping supplies. We would survive, but

Lesson Two: We should be raising chickens.  I like eggs, and I eat at least a dozen a week.  Add in the eggs my wife eats and eggs we use for baking, and we’re probably a 20 eggs-per-week family.  We’d like to wait until we move to address this, but if that doesn’t happen by mid summer, then I expect we’ll be constructing a coop here.

Lesson Three: I need more raw materials on hand.  I’ve got tools, equipment and enough parts and accessories to make basic repairs to the house and minor electrical or plumbing fixes.  I’ve even got a couple sheets of plywood and a few 2x4s and some other lumber, but I don’t have enough raw materials to build something new.  Now I see why all those off-grid folks get a saw mill or at least a fixture to turn their chain saw into a rough saw mill. I could probably manae to assembler an out house, but nothing larger.

You could extend this to include other raw materials such as cloth. What good is having someone who can sew if you don’t have much cloth on hand?

If you enjoyed today’s diary entry, you can see a list of entries in chronological order.