Learning From Grandma: How To Survive in Hard Times

Pictured: My Grandma with my mom and her older sister around 1949.

My grandmother was eleven years old when The Great Depression struck in 1929. I do not know much about her childhood, I was too young to think to ask and she never spoke of it.

I do know though, that the depression prepared her for her life after marrying and birthing four girls. After her fourth was two weeks old, my grandfather died of a brain tumor. My grandmother was now alone, raising four young daughters; a newborn, a one and a half year old, an eight and ten year old. Looks like she avoided my grandfather for eight years! That was being resourceful!

In her lifetime, survival skills were born out of necessity, My Grandma learned how to stretch a dollar. When I was little, I saw that she washed out milk bags and re-used them for lunches or to store food. She knew how to sew, knit, crochet and do needlepoint. She grew her own vegetables in her small garden and canned them after harvest. She baked pies and bread. Today in modern society most of this is lost knowledge.

Here in North America, we live with a level of technology that practically does everything for us. We need to re-learn what technology has taken away: the skills to survive and be resourceful--especially right now, when we need to search out alternatives in times of global crisis.

With this in mind, I have made up a list of ideas to help you along in our current struggle for food and supplies.

Ration Your Supplies

  • Take an inventory of your food supply and work on making it stretch. Saving for a "rainy day" and delayed gratification are terms we need to apply to our lives now.

  • Blanch your vegetables then freeze them.

  • Freeze your fruit; Chop up peeled bananas and freeze on a cookie sheet and when frozen, drop into a container and leave in the freezer. Same for grapes, and berries.

  • Reduce the amount of bathroom tissue you use. Split your 2 ply into 1 ply and double your roll!

Stretch Out the Use of Products in Your Home

  • Wash and re-use your Ziploc bags, milk bags and keep your bread bags for extra food storage. Many food products now come in bags that zip. Wash and save these as well.

  • Use cloths instead of paper towel to clean up messes. You may need your paper towel for toilet paper, so save it!

  • Use cloths instead of baby wipes for your babies and kids. Baby wipes are convenient but they may be more needed if you have to travel. And if you run out of baby wipes, put some facecloths in a thermos with boiling water to keep them warm and ready for use for your wee ones.

  • Water down your dish soap. Dish soap never has to be that thick..a little goes a long way. Put 1/8 of a cup into another bottle and top up with water. Same for your hand soap.

  • You can limit your laundry detergent as well by slowing down the re-wash process. Of course, wear clean underwear, but the rest can be re-worn a few times unless very dirty.

  • Water down your milk or milk products. I know you may be saying "yuck" or your kids may be, but it is better than running out completely!

  • Extend your toothpaste by using less of it. A pea size is recommended and most people follow the commercials and slap a huge glob of it on the brush. It is not necessary. A little goes a long way. An alternative is to brush your teeth every other day with baking soda and water.

  • If you run out of kitty litter, tear up some newspaper and line the box.

  • You can use vinegar and water to clean surfaces, and baking soda and vinegar to clean your toilets.

I know these ideas don't sound fun at all, but if your belly is twirling in anxiety over an uncertain future, taking proactive steps will bring calm knowing that you have prepared for something that you can control.

Old Skills For The New Generation

With more time on our hands, take some time and research skills that we have lost due to our modern society.

Food Preparation

  • Bake your own bread. Here is a link to a flatbread recipe that is simple and requires no yeast.

  • Recipe Here

  • Jar your own food. I have made applesauce, and pickled vegetables and have found a satisfaction in preserving my own foods. Here are two resources to get you started:

Canning 101-How To Can Food For Beginners

Home Canning Guide

  • Spring is here so make a plan to grow your own food, even if it is just a few plants in a pots. We grow a tomato plant in a pot every year, but I will be expanding this year! To get started, some vegetables will sprout just by putting them in water. (Celery is one and garlic will grow roots on its own in the dark as do potatoes)

  • You may even decide to turn your back or front yard into a vegetable garden! Use egg cartons to start seedlings or use the actual egg shell to give them a boost of extra nutrients and plant them when they have sprouted.

Foods That Grow from Kitchen Scraps

Growing Vegetables In Containers

First Aid

  • Stock up Your First Aid Kit and have it on hand.

  • Learn First Aid basics: Take an online course or watch some YouTube videos.

First Aid Tips

Natural Medicine Options

Turning to the natural world for common acute symptoms may be a good option to consider as Doctor's offices have closed their doors to the public.

Here are some Natural Health Specialists you can contact for help:

Homeopath - Stephanie Marwood

Herbalist - Dallas Ford

I hope this list helps you and your loved ones thrive and stay safe.

xo Lisa

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