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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bah Humbug! Winter Hibernation Is Not Just For Bears

That title really paints me as a Scrooge, doesn't it?  It's not that I don't like Christmas- it is my favorite holiday after all- I just really hate all the unnecessary trappings that go with it.  Especially the marketing that lately has started well before Halloween (which really chaps my hide) and more specifically: I HATE THE TRAFFIC!  It seems that every year, the traffic around the holidays just gets more ridiculous, and the part about grocery shopping I like the least is everyone else who's in my way.  I'm not even thinking about Christmas shopping, which isn't much of a concern anymore: the family decided years ago that just the kids get gifts- Christmas is really more about being together and playing a lot of cards.

For the past several years, it's been my aim to get everything we could possibly need for a couple of months into the house and put away by the end of October, because the Christmas traffic really starts up in earnest at the beginning of November and I, for one, don't want to be out in it.  I've even put together a shopping list called The Winter Hibernation List: Stuff to Get Before the End of October So We Don't Have to Go to the Store For At Least 3 Months.  I usually have cans of stuff packed away in the cupboard for emergencies anyway- stuff like canned fish and low sodium Spam and beans, extra jars of mustard and mayonnaise, plus I've jars and jars of jam, tomato sauce and pickles from the garden.  This year, in addition to my pantry stores I have a freezer full of beef, pork, chicken, and vegetables.  So my hibernation list looks like something from the Great Migration West: flour, coffee, bacon, salt, baking powder, etc.  Then the sundries: toilet paper (notice this is at the top of the list), soap, deodorant, dish soap, paper towels, etc.  The last time we came home from Costco, I had forty pounds of flour and twelve pounds of butter in the house.  I think the flour will last- we're not making and eating near as much bread as we used to- but the butter is a good question, especially since Christmas cookies use a lot of butter.  I'm not convinced that I have enough butter.

I really try to make it work for the couple of months before Christmas.  The big exception is perishables, like eggs and half and half, or for Steve's coffee, hemp milk.  None of these are things I can produce, with the exception of the eggs, except that I'm not in the egg producing bidness yet.  Fortunately, these can all be had from the very nice grocery store that is a mile and a half away, which can be reached easily on foot, and to which we can go the back way, staying completely off the heavily trafficked state road.  Most of our grocery and sundries shopping happens where it's cheaper, much, much further away from the house.  A typical grocery-getting junket involves a long trip up 82nd, starting at Trader Joes', and ending at Costco, with stops at Winco and Penzey's along the way.  By the time we get home, during other, less trafficked times of the year, I'm exhausted, and a restorative is in order- usually a cup of tea or a glass of Scotch, depending on what time of day it is.  This is the kind of trip that I'm trying to avoid during the months of November and December.  I just don't have the energy or the nerves for it.

The stuff in the cupboards needs to be eaten anyway, and I need to get better at going through everything and rotating my stock, such as it is.  All the conventional food hoarding wisdom is that your stores should be replenished every year, so getting through what's in the cupboard would be a good goal for this winter.  I also have some winter veg doing its thing out in the garden, so fresh stuff is also available.    And then there are onions and garlic hanging from the rafters in the garage, and pumpkins as well.  The pumpkins are not hanging from the rafters, however.

So this year, the challenge is sticking to my guns, plowing my way through the stores at home, and the big goal is staying the hell off the roads as much as possible. 

Until it comes time to drive down to Mom's for Christmas, roughly six hundred miles away, that is. 


Jennifer Montero said...

The Great Migration West Christmas...I love it!

I have stored my many kilos of flour and sugar, and slabs of butter already. As long as I have the makings for cookies it will be a perfect Christmas. Now I just need a willing elf to help me write all my christmas cards...

Miriam said...

Even since I found those 47 chicken breasts in my freezer and vowed not to buy any more until they were eaten, I've been doing a better job generally at eating what's here rather than going grocery shopping. I should have learned that lesson a long time ago...

(BTW, my word verification is "cabeer" which is funny given your new post!

Rae said...

Ok. So I know you made this post over a month ago, but I couldn't help but comment. I want you to know how jealous I am of you. Lol. I went to Freddy's on Saturday for about 6 items. 15 minutes to find a parking spot, and an hour in the store. It was disgusting, and I had to restrain myself from playing bumper cars with other people's carts. So. Again. Jealous. :)

Paula said...

Don't be, Rae, because I haven't managed to stay out of the stores. Well, only the one grocery store closest to the house anyway.

I wouldn't go anywhere near a Freddy's this time of year- that's nuts!