I went to the market yesterday and only spent $50.00 which is pretty good. I was hoping to do a yearly chart that would track my spending on food ( I wanted to see where we ranked on the USDA table of food expenditures) but you can’t compare apples to oranges. For instance, if I look at my food budget I would have to include seeds but what about the freezer and the rototiller? How do I charge off a box of donated tomatoes or the gift of a crate of cucumbers? Where do vitamins fall? I don’t generally buy toiletries in the market but I do sometimes. They don’t count for the food tally but I don’t have time to go over each receipt and redo the math. I finally decided to forget the whole idea. We eat like kings some of the time, get by on some pretty pedestrian soups other times and I know I spend less than most people.

Last night we had tiny pork chops with boiled potatoes, applesauce, cucumbers in sour cream, beets and home made bread and butter. The only things we could not get locally were the salt, cinnamon, olive oil and sugar. I store all of the above and next year will use a lot more honey than sugar. It is a lovely thing to eat a meal that came mostly from one’s back yard.

I have been trying to catch up on the comments. I hope I have not neglected to welcome any newcomers. I try to comment when I can but on busy days it is all I can do to get them approved. Please know that I read and appreciate every one. I get really excited when they come into my inbox. Reading them is my reward when I come inside for a break.

My Excalibur is going full tilt. I have a bunch of mushrooms and celery drying nicely. Today I am drying corn. Bruce is working hard on the cold cellar. We need to do some rearranging to make better use of the basement space but it means emptying out this huge pantry cabinet full of home canned food. What a chore that will be! I think Bruce was surprised by how much food I put up.

We visited friends last night who are selling their house. We were checking out the basement and I was a bit taken aback by how much food they have. Moving my one pantry will be a breeze compared to moving that basement full of food. I have been in markets that were not as well stocked. I have gotten a few emails recently asking my about what I think will happen and how long I prepare for. As for the first question-I have no idea. I am no economist. I do look at what is happening on the economic front and I know it can’t be good. Common sense tells me this but as to inflation, deflation, stagflation, I think it’s anybody’s guess. I just don’t see how printing money on a whim is a good idea and I know my home could not run on debt. On the flu front, again, who really knows. This whole flu season could turn out to be a lot of sore throats and fevers and pass into Y2K history. On the other hand, a totally new virus could emerge tomorrow. Terrorism and nuclear accidents, grid collapse or EMP attack, maybe today, maybe never. I don’t spend too much time worrying about any of them. I prefer to take the example of my grandparents. They were too busy working to worry about what could happen and with a full panty and a wood stove, it didn’t really matter anyway. As for how long, it depends. My goal is to be prepared for a year but I know that in March, my selection of food would be pretty limited. We would eat but not the way we do in September.