Saturday, November 6, 2010
Bah Humbug! Winter Hibernation Is Not Just For Bears
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.