What We Learned During A Pandemic

What We Learned During A Pandemic

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Today, it’s all about what we learned during a pandemic. As you know, things can change quickly. We may have seen people react in ways that surprised us. You may have witnessed people who were scared, sad, angry, depressed, or in some cases, you may have been shocked at the temperaments of some people when shopping.

By now, you know I was a “prepper” before the word became popular. I’m a grandma, a mom, and a wife who doesn’t like to be caught unprepared. It started about 54 years ago when I was in high school. I went to live with an aunt who had just delivered a newborn baby. She needed help and I was happy to move there and help prepare meals, clean the house, and I attended school for a year.

I moved from a desert location to the Chicago area. I had never owned a coat, winter gloves, or a warm hat. Shortly after moving there, bad weather hit, I had never experienced an ice storm. This particular ice storm covered the highways and stopped all cars and food deliveries for two weeks to our city. My cousin and I had to walk to the grocery store to get groceries.

Well, supplies were in short supply, we were allowed one quart of milk and one pound of hamburger each week. This was my wake up call. My mother always had a pantry filled with cans and baking supplies. Luckily she was a good example to me and taught me to cook and bake. My cousin and I walked home with our small bag for a family of 7, which now included me.

I opened the cupboards at my aunt’s home only to find they didn’t look like my mom’s. This is when the panic hit me. I knew right then, this would NEVER happen to my family when I married and had a family of my own. Somehow, I was able to make bread and lots of soup. Luckily I knew how to make bread and biscuits. So, now you know why I prepare, it’s an important part of who I am.

What We Learned During A Pandemic

We quickly learned about the shortages of items we use every day. We learned some stores require you to wear a mask into their store or you will be asked to leave. Mark and I went to Costco (with our face masks) and a guy refused to wear a face mask because it’s “against his constitutional right.” I felt bad for the young girl handing out masks to those who didn’t have them. He was not nice to her. I doubt his mother would be proud of that tantrum, just thinking out loud.

I understand some people may have health issues and struggle to wear them. If that’s the case for you, you may be smart to have your groceries delivered. Of course, just about anything can be delivered to your door these days. Even cookies! Life is good when you see those pink boxes, right? I’m talking about Crumbl cookies if you haven’t seen those. It makes me smile just typing this sentence.

Read More of My Articles  30 Items You Need To Survive A Pandemic

These Are The Shortages I Found

Personal Hygiene Items

  • Toilet paper was hard to find.
  • Lysol Spray was sold out.
  • Clorox Wipes were in short supply.
  • Hand Sanitizer was hard to find.
  • N-95 Masks.
  • Fabric Masks.

Baking Supplies

  • Yeast
  • White Flour
  • Bread Flour
  • Sugar

Cleaning Supplies

  • Bars of hand soap.
  • Liquid soap for the kitchen.
  • Clorox/Bleach.
  • Laundry soap/detergent.

Canned Foods

  • Canned beans
  • Dried beef
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned fruits

Dairy Products

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Buttermilk
  • Butter

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

  • Farmers couldn’t get workers to pick their crops because they were sick with the virus or fear of it.
  • Recalls seem to never end on fresh fruits and vegetables due to E-Coli, Salmonella, or Listeria, to name a few.

Basic Food Items

  • Rice
  • Pinto Beans
  • Black Beans
  • Most Dry Beans

Kitchen Tools

  • Rice Cookers (anything made in China has gone up in price and hard to find).
  • Watch for electric kitchen items becoming in short supply, it’s happening, trust me.
  • Be aware of any item made in China, like cookie sheets in short supply.
  • I would love to say I buy EVERYTHING made in the USA, but very few items are made here, for now anyway.

Canning and Dehydrating Supplies

  • Pressure Canners are in short supply or overpriced.
  • Water Bath Canners are in short supply or overpriced.
  • Canning jars are almost impossible to find or way overpriced.
  • Canning lids or rings are hard to find.
  • Dehydrators are hard to find and overpriced as well.

Food Saver Sealer Supplies

  • Food Saver wide mouth and regular mouth sealers and hoses are impossible to find anywhere.
Read More of My Articles  How to Choose the Right Backpack for Emergency Situations

Coin Shortage

  • Coin Shortage: In case you missed my post Coin Shortage: What You Should Know
  • I know first hand there is a shortage, there are signs everywhere at drive-throughs, grocery stores, and restaurants (correct change only-we are out of coins).

Weapons and Ammo

  • Weapons are hard to find and the prices are escalating.
  • Ammo is flying off the shelves.
  • Ammo is being delivered to homes in record amounts.

Final Word

I hope you enjoyed my post today on what we learned during a pandemic. We all learned a lot the last few months. My heart is praying for all of you to stay safe and well. We will get through this pandemic and other natural disasters. You are tough and know how to survive. Please keep prepping. we must. May God bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Pandemic AdobeStock_331546526 by eldarnurkovic

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  1. I was lucky that I had stocked up on most of these items before the Pandemic. My mother was born and raised during the depression. She always had a stocked pantry and freezer. She always bought extras when they were on sale. I do the same thing. Our grocery store sometimes has a sale on frozen veggies for $1 a bag, 12 ounces or so each bag. I buy them and have dehydrated some. I bought my pressure canned, on a clearance sale, almost 30 years ago. Since then, I have acquired several more old ones. They all work. I also have a water bath canner. I bought up canning jar lids and rings when the end of season came and they put them on sale. I’ve got loads of jars, too. I’ve been wanting to can some water.

    1. I learned that the post-apocalyptic books are correct in saying civilization devolves quickly. There were fights over toilet tissue. There were assaults on store emoyees who tried to enforce the use of masks. There were shootings between store customers who shouted at one another to put on a mask. The gangs went berserk in Chicago. Police did nothing in Minneapolis. You better have everything you need already in your house when the next big thing hits, including guns and ammo. I did have everything, and I provided groceries and toiletries for my neighbor, who lost her job. What a good feeling that was.

      1. Hi Ancestor Lady, I totally agree with you! Wow, humanity good and bad comes out when there are shortages or opinions on masks. I’m extremely concerned about the next three months. What a blessing you were to be able to help your neighbor. There are good people in the world, you are a good example to all of us. What goes around comes around. May God bless you for being such a good neighbor. Linda

  2. I was fortunate that I was able to get the FoodSaver jar sealers before they disappeared! It took Amazon 4 weeks to get them to me but I have them. I have also learned how to vacuum seal flour and other powders in FoodSaver bags without damaging my machine. Still trying to find that YouTube video that showed how it was done.

    I have an old dehydrator – not a premium one but it works for me. I don’t have any canning equipment other than jars for storage of dry goods but I also don’t have any space for storing canning equipment.

    I have holes in my preps, for sure. But, as I find those holes, I have been trying to fill them.

    I don’t recall any shortage in my area for hand soap – bar and liquid; laundry soap or dish soap. But all of that I had on hand so wasn’t looking for it when I went to the stores. Something that I have noticed lately is there is no Kleenex brand tissues, only other brands. I thought that was interesting. Not that I am particular to Kleenex, but I have a really nice Kleenex cover that was hand made for me and it only fits Kleenex brand tissues.

    Still having a challenge finding yeast in anything other than bulk and then only at the bulk store (restaurant supply). I simply do not have storage space for that sized container. So, when and IF I find yeast in the 3 pk strip, I purchase a couple and store in the freezer. Fortunately, I am not a big bread eater – a loaf, homemade or store bought would likely last for a month or more for me.

    I will continue to purchase what I can when I can but getting paid 1X a month and on a fixed income, makes it a bit more challenging. I am also moving toward a plant based or at least more plant based eating plan due to the high price of meats.

    1. Hi Leanne, I have been moving to a plant-based diet as well. The price of meat is so high and I will not cave to it. I was lucky to have plenty of soap and kitchen sink soap. But there were definite shortages and there still are. I bought 3 cans of Lysol Spray a couple of days ago. I also picked up 24 cans of non-GMO canned corn. I prefer frozen or fresh, but the cans of corn are fine. I will have to look for that YouTube using a Food Saver with powdered products. Thanks for the tip. I’m so glad you were able to get the FoodSaver jar sealers. I will have to check out the yeast here, I have plenty but I like to look at the store shelves. Linda

      1. I just emailed the link to the YouTub video using a FoodSaver for flour and other powdered foods. You can look it over and see if it is something you can pass on to everyone.

  3. It’s amazing how our childhood experiences shape our adult lives. My Mother never made a list, never thought ahead and we always ran out of things. If we ran out of T.P. we would use facial tissue until that ran out and she had to go to the store. We wouldn’t buy extra light bulbs (way before LED) until every lamp in the house had one bulb. When I learned in Home Ec to make a list, and plan ahead it was if a light bulb went off! I have always planned ahead and don’t run out of things, it makes my life so much easier. My Mother wasn’t stupid, just more a grasshopper mentality. I enjoy being an ant.

    1. Hi Matt, wow, that will be hard for builders, right? I think it makes it rot and pest free. What’s next on the shortage list that we don’t know about yet…..Linda

  4. I have been blessed to have kept a pantry for decades. I remember when Y2K was supposed to be the end of life as we knew it. My daughter in law started last year and shared with me how safe and secure it made her feel. I have continued to keep the pantry as well stocked as possible, especially because of the talk of a second wave. With the government declaring us elderly, and the Doctor saying we are medically fragile, we are grateful for Curbside pickups. I no longer can or freeze in the large quantities that we use to, but we are still fortunate for the well stocked cupboards.

    1. Hi Chris, I LOVE hearing you have a well-stocked pantry and have had it for decades. I remember Y2K as well, wow!! That was a crazy time! I love having the grocery pickups, I feel safer getting my groceries that way. Linda

    2. Chris ~
      I remember when I was growing up, my mother sort of went into panic mode when she could see the shelf in the pantry and basement canned goods shelves! She went into list making mode and had a grocery list, a what to be sure to can this year list and on and on. She and my dad grew up in the Depression so for them, it was ALWAYS have enough food on hand.

      I remember the Y2K era! I was part of a group of women who were prepping. I had totally forgotten about that. Here I have been saying I’ve been prepping for 10+ years when it really should be 20+ years!! I still have some of the stuff I researched and printed out on my ancient computer – recipes, how-tos, etc.

      1. I am in New York. This lock down was supposed to be 15 days to flatten the curve and allow the hospitals to prepare. We are now 5 months in. My son is nearing the end of a whole house remodeling on a 1840s farm house. Pressure treated wood is getting hard to find. Three of my grandsons have been homeschooled from the start, so for them there is no change. Doctors appointments by Zoom, make me very grateful we were up to date before this pandemic started. The most important thing I have learned is to not put off until tomorrow, because tomorrow may bring a whole new world. God Bless and stay healthy.

        1. Hi Chris, Matt was just talking about how hard it is to find pressure-treated wood. I sure hope your son can finish his house. Wow, New York has had a tough time and now it’s 5 months!! Stay well, stay safe, Linda

      2. I first started keeping a pantry after falling on my tailbone on ice while carrying bleach…..thinking WHY am I doing this !!! …..then there was the Blizzard of 1977, when we got 7 feet of snow in 7 days. My husband always laughs at why the people we see on TV trying to get to a store only come out with chips and beer….lol….. or the lady who said she was out of diapers on Wednesday…..for a storm that started on Tuesday…..duh…..

        1. Chris ~
          I live in the Pacific Northwest in western Washington. We don’t often get winter storms that keep us in our homes but… A couple of years ago, we did. My apartment complex didn’t/wouldn’t plow the snow from the parking lot otherwise I would have been able to get out. We knew 3 days ahead of time that there was going to be a storm with up to 2 feet of snow but did anyone prepare? NO!! Well, I was prepared but 99% of the people living here (all over the age of 65) did not. Someone mentioned that if anyone was going or able to go to the store to please get them some bread. I told that person that I made bread. She asked me where I kept my bread machine! We have small apartments so storing a bread machine is pretty much out of the equation! I flexed my arm muscles and said that I made bread the way I was taught as a child. By the way, this woman was older than me and she then said OH, I know how to make bread that way but I don’t have the ingredients. If this had been an emergency – like she had no food, I would have made her a loaf of bread. She even said she rarely eats bread but wanted a sandwich. Sorry, but I don’t feel sorry for those who don’t prepare unless it affects my daughter/SIL and grandkids but they are prepared!


          1. Hi Leanne, you know I love your comment! We know how to bread and make a sandwich with that homemade bread. Plus, we are prepared before any city tells us to be prepared. Enough said, you rock! Linda

      1. Hi Linda, I live in West Virginia. Thankfully, I have plenty of bar soap and kitchen sink soap that i got on sale long before the pandemic began. I can’t believe the washing soda is three times what it used to be. No wonder. I haven’t seen any around here at all, except for the half box I still have on my laundry shelf. I have been looking for it because I use it to make laundry detergent, but I think I’m just going to substitute double the amount of baking soda as I have plenty of that in my stash. I do notice there are still a lot of empty shelves in the stores these days, and less quantity of the items that are on the shelves. So grateful that my grandma always taught me to keep a well stocked pantry.

        1. It would serve us well to also keep in mind getting Dr Bronner’s soap – it is so versitile – can be used as body, hand, hair soap; laundry soap; dishes, basic cleaning, etc. Their website has dilution pdf’s as well.

        2. Hi Linda, I am seeing so many missing items. I just drove to Walmart to get more pasta. I was surprised to see those shelves full. The Lysol spray is gone I saw the other day. No Clorox wipes. No Washing Soda at all. The cleaning supplies were almost totally empty. This is so crazy. Linda

  5. Nordic Ware is bakeware made in the U.S., including pizza pans, cookie sheets, cake pans, etc. They are aluminum and should be handwashed to preserve their shiny appearance. There are several cast iron companies in the U.S. that make cookware, as well as at least 4 U.S. companies that make stainless steel cookware. Many of these U.S. kitchen products, including handmade wooden spoons, are available online at reasonable prices, not in stores or on BIg Name Online Retailer.

    1. Hi Kate, I buy a lot of Nordic Ware, it’s easy to find. It’s the electric pieces that are getting priced out of site. Plus, they are mostly made in China as far as I can tell. Linda

      1. I have been thinking about Y2K today, and remember several things I had forgotten or at least misplaced for a while…..Going thru each month, and stocking up on the sales. For some reason I remember February being Batteries. I also learned that our insurance at the time, allowed refills 5 days in advance, so for 12 months I filled my husbands heart medication 5 days early, so by December we had two extra months.

        We had 4 cords of wood, just in case, and I also did several dozen votive candles in different scents for different rooms. I am sill a bit of a candle addict, but now we also have a whole house generator which I feel is a God sent.

        My nieces said they know if there were any problems, Aunt Chris would make it right. It helps to remember the little things, Qtips, dental picks, Sinex spray, female products (because no one wants to ask a grown son, or worse, a Son in law) to do some shopping and books…..lots and lots of books…….my luxury….. foaming hand soap in marshmallow pumpkin latte scent.

        1. Hi Chris, oh my gosh, I LOVE your comment! I got the giggles over asking a grown son to do the shopping…. The luxury item, foam hand soap in the marshmallow pumpkin scent, I can almost smell it from Utah! Linda

  6. I started keeping a well stocked pantry several years ago when my middle son was diagnosed with a couple of life threatening food allergies. I realized then how horrible it would be if an emergency happened, and I was unable to get the food that was safe for him.

    I noticed this week a new shortage in my area (northern VA) – paper plates. Paper towels seem to be not as well stocked again also.

    1. Hi Melinda, wow, paper plates, now! I have seen toilet paper and paper towels a lot lately. I don’t need any, but it’s available for those who do. You are smart to stock a lot of food for your son, you must for sure. Linda

  7. I was told by someone who works at Costco that they are preparing for more shortages coming and people panic buying. I hope not, but I didn’t see what hit us for sure. This has been a wild ride and it isn’t over yet.
    Stay prepared and healthy!

    1. Hi Gayle, thanks for the tip. I totally agree there will be more shortages. Of course, those who “didn’t get it” the first time (I’m talking about getting prepared) may be caught off guard again and again. Some may never learn to be prepared for the unexpected and blame it on others for hoarding. We do not hoard, I do not like that word. We stock up for the unexpected. Stay healthy and safe, Linda

  8. For those that can’t find washing soda, you can make your own. Spread baking soda in a lipped cookie sheet. Bake at 325 for an hour or more. That’s it. At temps above 300, baking soda decomposes into sodium carbonate, water and carbon dioxide.

  9. We had gone to Costco and Sam’s just before the shutdown. With so many items in short supply, I was blessed to be able to share my storage with my eldest son and his family. He couldn’t find flour, yeast or toilet paper anywhere. I had some extra plus plenty of freeze dried and dehydrated meats and veggies. Not to mention the foods I canned myself. The only thing we really lacked was fresh milk. But I had dried milk and canned milk in storage. I baked breads and traded with a neighbor for fresh eggs. We are currently re stocking meats and paper products. My daughter in law that lives with me found some meats on sale this weekend and I had to take a turkey out of the freezer so we could put the meats in there. So today, I am roasting said turkey. LOL. We will eat some and I will make bone broth and can any leftover meat. Seems like people turn a blind eye to what’s going on in the world right now. I pray to be ready for anything that comes our way. I have the supplies to make hand sanitizer,laundry soap and clorox wipes. I also ordered more propane to cook with. (I do have other means of cooking). People need to stock up on medications when possible and first aid items.We have ordered more cloth face masks. If you have pets, buy an extra bag or 2 of food. Water is essential as well. Also, get some non GMO seeds. I don’t know what this winter is going to be like. But We continue to stock up on wood for the wood stove, fire starters and matches. I have a bucket I keep home made fire starters in,(toilet paper rolls filled with dryer lint).We don’t have any pine trees in my area, so I can’t save pinecones like we did when I was a kid in NJ. There are so many things to do to be prepared. I suggest starting small and build as you can. That’s what we did. We made a few mistakes along the way. But that’s how you learn . Thank you for keeping us up to date on crucial information. God Bless and keep you and your family

    1. Hi Judy, great comment as always. You know for you and me, it is a way of life to be prepared. Cooking a turkey tonight sounds mighty fine right now!! I’m glad to hear your daughter found some meat that was marked down. I bought 40 pounds of pinto and 40 pounds of black beans a couple of weeks ago. I haven’t bought that quantity since I was raising my girls. My heart and gut said “Linda get some beans and lots of them” so I did. This is a lot of beans for two people but I can make tortillas and love every bite with homemade beans!! I’m with you on stock up with non-GMO seeds. Whatever we can stock up on, we must do it now. Thanks for the reminder I have two propane tanks that need to be refilled. We can do this, we are prepared for the unexpected. Linda

  10. Make your own washing soda by spreading your baking soda on a lipped baking sheet. Bake at 325 for 1 hour or so. It changes the chemical make up to washing soda.

  11. In addition to the items mentioned in your article, I was surprised to find dog food sold out in the first few weeks of the shut down. There were a few cans of wet food (limit 1 per customer) but no kibble. Fortunately I had enough to last until it became available again, but I was definitely concerned, and had not anticipated it.

    1. Hi Debra, it’s funny that you would mention this today. I was just telling my husband I hope the dog food chain stays intact going forward. We have two Shih Tzu’s and they are for sure part of the family as I’m sure yours are too! The place I buy my dog food is local and we had to have them bring the bags outside to our car at the beginning of the shutdown. The owner said to me “I’m not sure if we will be able to get more dog food”. I bought a larger bag to be safe. I have since bought another bag. Let’s hope we can continue to get wet and dry dog food. Stay safe, Linda

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