Saturday, August 1, 2009

Frugal Tips

I collect canning rings. When I see them at yard sales I pick them up. Friends bring me bags of them. It is all good in my book. I used to keep them in a white 5 gallon bucket but found it was time consuming when I had to find just small or large rings. I now keep them separated on rope. I hang them in the garage when not in use and off the pantry door knob when I am canning. Hanging helps dry them out after washing and reduces rust. Hanging is a good thing.

White buckets are the food storers friend. I have used all sorts of buckets from expensive food grade buckets, hardware store colored buckets to used buckets from dubious origin. I used to pick up a 100 buckets at a time from a man who dealt with a large bakery. I would take them home and clean them with bleach and water and share with friends. Cost was low but labor time was high. I also found the seals were often compromised if they had been pried open. I now only use new food grade buckets and screw top lids. Prying lids off with a lid lifter is for the birds. I have tried every lid lifter made and some handmade for me and have not found one that is truly friendly. I have a fair grip but calling for help every time I needed to open a bucket did not work for me. I have to admit more than once I went and bought a new bag of rice rather than fight the lid. That is not what a prepared person should be doing!

When I buy food in bulk I store it in buckets in the garage and keep #10 jars in the pantry for every day use. The jars come from restaurants and a local hospital kitchen. It is great not to have to run to the store every time the jar is empty. I keep a scoop or jar in the bucket to make transfer easy. I purchase my bulk food at a restaurant supply store or occasionally Costco and save lots of money and most importantly I rarely run out of anything.

A word of caution. Just because you store food in buckets it does not mean it is safe from bugs or critters. Bugs can come in the food and already be infested. When I buy food for long term storage I use oxygen absorbers. I have tried packing with nitrogen, dry ice and/or bay leaves and I like oxygen absorbers the best.

This year my garage hosted another family of residents. Rats! Not mice but real rats. I was mortified when I saw the "doodles". We pulled out all the things stored in the garage (I will not admit to you what I had out there or you would have to be killed) and found two nests. We were able to kill a few of them on the spot and a couple got a way. They had come in from the crawl space and gnawed a hole through the wall behind the freezer. I live on the edge of a green belt near a lake and recently work began on a development. We think they got displaced from their home and moved to the neighborhood.

What surprised me is that they ate through buckets and plastic tubs. Rats have to gnaw to wear down their teeth as they grow. So they were not necessarily looking for food but just to gnaw. I had three tubs with camping gear and cooking pots and they chewed through those tubs. The tubs were the closest to their nests. What an eye opener!

I purchased two electronic gadgets that emit a frequency vermin do not tolerate, snap traps, sticky traps and poison. I do not like poison due because I am afraid Mister T will get to it. We covered the hole with metal flashing and finally Mister T did some recognisance periodically to frighten them off. Mister T did finally catch one and I was so proud of him. So hopefully I have won the battle and they know they are no longer welcome.

We have not seen any evidence of their return but will now be vigilant in keeping an eye out for them and making sure no easily accessible food is available.


Serina Tustin said...

Great idea with hanging the rings. Bummer with the rats chewing up the storage bins.

Anonymous said...

What an eye opener!