Homesteading – the Big Shop

More than eleven herbs and spices

I intended to get all our winter and spring supplies back in December, but didn’t. Then when I went to get them in January, the bulk food store was closed because someone had mistaken the gas pedal for the brake and had driven through their window. They closed for a month to renovate, and now I have reason enough to drive the two-hour trip. This will be the Big Shop.

I had bought groceries at the supermarkets – well, what else could I do? I was not impressed with prices, although I bought many things on sale and in discounted quantities. I spent too high a percentage of my yearly grocery budget in just two months. Now I want to buy enough that I won’t have to go to a store until after Easter/Pascha, when we will be eating meat and dairy again. My staples are intended to last into the summer months; I plan to buy enough for six months, barring the fresh food I will buy in late April.

The dried foods. The coffee can has flour in it.

I have some beans, pasta and rice left, some cocoa, and sugar. I have lots of flour because I bought it back in Ontario when it was about 70% off. It will last until fall, I think, when I hope to have a grain mill and the local grain crops are in.

flour and butter

This is my cache of flour and butter, in the freezer compartment. It is half white, half whole wheat. The butter was a Christmas gift from our son.

flour and other staples, and bread rising

I keep some jars handy on the countertop – whole wheat flour, cake flour, coffee, rye flour, oatmeal, sugar, and tea. There is olive oil, butter, garlic and honey, too. All I have left for fresh food are eggs, potatoes, onions, apples and half a cabbage. I have two tiny pork chops in the freezer for Friday night; it’s lentil soup and apple pie until then.

This is the shopping list.

First, the big supermarket, for which I have budgetted $125:

Milk, cream, sour cream and cheese (to be used before Lent). Carrots, apples, cabbage, turnips, lemons, beets, celery, in weights ranging from about a pound up to ten pounds. Tomato products in jars, not cans (cans have a BPA lining). Coffee (if I don’t get it at the bulk food store). Dog food, dog biscuits, dog brush. Eggs. Antihistimines. White vinegar, borax, washing soda.

Bulk food store: I may spend anywhere from $75-$200 here depending on what they have and what it costs:

Brown sugar, molasses, both fancy and blackstrap, oatmeal, oat bran, barley, brown rice, whole grain pasta, dry milk, cornstarch or arrowroot, walnuts, almonds, raisins, currants, navy beans, black beans, split peas, lentils, chick peas, peanut butter, tahini, apple butter, teas, mint, parsley, fine sea salt, alum, saffron, vanilla bean, sage, oregano, cinnamon, soap, both personal and laundry. There is a special request for dark chocolate covered ginger, as well.

At the natural/herbal store, budget about $30:

Black cohosh capsules, lemon balm, yarrow, milk thistle, hawthorn, and catnip.

I will pick up a bottle each of red and white wine for cooking, medicinal use, and to aid the digestion.

I have toilet paper and feminine supplies enough; I will buy more toilet paper if it is on sale at the supermarket. We don’t use any other cleaners or paper products.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

empty jars - for now


9 thoughts on “Homesteading – the Big Shop

  1. Magdalena…I am now in the same situation. I have to shop at the local market, which hike up the prices considerable to compete with the other supermarket across the river.

    I have to do the same…budget and create a list to last us until we begin to purchase from the local farmer’s market.

    It is exciting and a bit daunting also!


    • We will grow a lot this year, God willing, and we hope ot have goats and chickens by May – depending on weather and fencing. Maria, is your blog gone?

  2. I switched over to homemade flannel (out of children’s old receiving blankets, yellow with little white ducks print, made me smile every time I used them) menstrual pads (pattern on the internet) about 10 years ago (I ceased menstruating 2 years ago) as an ecological action and was surprised by the cessation of the inevitable and predictable case of severe urethra inflammation after each period. It was the deodorant fragrance in the pads that was irritating my urethra so badly. Any way I never spent another penny on pads, kept an opaque soaking pot with a clamp lid in the bathroom, used the soaking water on the houseplants and washed them with mild detergent on warm water, no bleach and they lasted for 8 years. Less paper and plastic in the landfill, less support of bleach in the paper mills and as I mentioned no more constant monthly UI because of some un-necessary and probably unhealthy artificial fragrance.

    • I’ve been planning to do that but had a terrible time last month with what was probably a ruptured ovarian cyst. I decided to put off the homemade alternative until later in the year when I know this is under control.

  3. Maybe a tiny bit of clove oil from the herb store or drugstore just in case a tooth problem pops up? It’s antiseptic and will relieve the pain some. I keep a lil bottle in the medicine cabinet. Tea tree oil is also a good all-purpose antifungal/antiviral/antiseptic.

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