San Diego sister came up for a visit for three days. Brother-in-law was out of town for a week so she figured why not take the drive up to the farm. Nephew loves playing with his cousins and her dog likes hanging around here too. While she was here we discussed how well they are holding up with brother-in-law having been laid off for the last three months. They went from a 6 figure income to her military retirement pay! Brother-in-law is designing some engineering project that he knows will take off once he gets the design and sample product make up. He's actually working on this full time each day, so it's just that he has no income, not that he isn't working. They are doing just fine. Fortunately for them they put money aside while he was working. They put extra money back into their house, with a pool, extra garage, all kinds of tools, etc. Brother-in-law can fix anything, build anything, etc. Other than living in the middle of a city of a million people they are trying to be self sufficient.
I've taught sister how to garden. She has fruit trees, grows tomatoes, potatoes, and other vegetables. They've even started landscaping with edibles. Their latest are the artichoke plants instead of other perennials. These produce food as well as look great!
Last year when I was down there we really discussed home storage. She took it to heart and put shelves in the garage and started stocking up. She made a chart showing the 50 or so foods she most often purchases. She then made columns for each grocery store she shops at: Albertsons, Ralphs, the commissary, and Costco. When she is up here she goes to Winco. She then spent a day at each store, not looking at the sale prices but the regular prices. She listed all the regular prices on her sheet - updating them every couple months. She then knows where to buy what she needs and is also more aware of prices on items that go on sale. Is it really a sale?
She shops every two weeks for milk - cheapest at the commissary or Costco. Other than that she shops about once a month, depending on what goes on sale that's on her list. If it's a canned item she will buy up to a year's worth at a time. Before she puts the canned or jarred foods onto her shelf she marks the date in a thick Sharpie. She says that her friends just think that's her "little odd thing she does" but she's really thankful for it because they've used a lot of this food storage during the last few months.
She doesn't really use much of the long term storage products. She's not that far into her prepping yet. But she will get there. Sister and nephew left right around lunch time for the trip back home. They were loaded up with pears, persimmons, pomegranates, eggs, eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers of all sorts. When she brings home these types of gifts it just makes her desire to prep a little stronger.
I contacted a semi-local reader of my blog and asked if they will instruct me on a few things. First and foremost, I'd like to watch someone butcher chickens then I'd like to do it myself. Although we used to butcher chickens and ducks when my kids were young I really don't remember how. Sure, I could just go out and do it but there are always good tips to learn from someone who does this regularly. That blogger also keeps bees. I would like to learn more about that as well. Keeping bees would not only be done for honey but more importantly to keep things pollenized. The only problem with bee keeping is that one of my son-in-laws is allergic to bee stings. He will work out in the yard at all times anyway but may be more apprehensive if they bees are actually living here. Anyway I hope to learn more. If I do, I'd be happy to share.
I also got an email from one of the local charities that a family is in need of clothing for infants through size 3. Sure we have that. Girls or boys I don't know so I guess I'll pull out some of the generic items and bring them into town tomorrow. So that's my main task for today, go through the clothing bins in the garage. I'll get things washed up and hung on the line. It's supposed to rain tonight so it all needs to get done quickly.