RartUp this month is about provisioning our boats. How much do we keep on board. Do we stash special things for the future?
I have to admit that when we first left the US and headed to The Bahamas, I had food for 3 or 4 months. We'd been told so many horror stories about food prices in The Bahamas, that I may have gone a little overboard. While we were still living at the dock in St Petersburg, I kept track of our consumption rates for just about everything: peanut butter, TP, toothpaste, pasta. They all had magic marker 'open' dates on them, and when we finished something it got recorded in my log. I knew how long an 18oz jar of peanut butter lasted and I bought accordingly. (Just for the record, 18oz of peanut butter lasts a month.) I had read a quote from Lin Pardey, I think, who said that she had a set level for her stores, and every time she had the opportunity to stock up to that level, she did. That way when the wind was right they were ready to go. I try to follow that plan.
Someone else told us not to buy any food for the boat that we didn't already eat, and that has proven to be true. We don't eat canned fruit, but I thought we should have some for 'fruit emergencies'. The cans are still on board, way past their expiration dates.
Speaking of dating things, I just put the month and year that I bought something on the outside with a magic marker. It makes it easy to keep the older stuff in front/on top, and I don't have to find my glasses to read the real expiration dates.
To make it really easy when we're in a port with good shopping access, or a find a "friend with benefits" (aka: a car) I keep a small notebook in the backpack with a continuous list for groceries, a Home Depot list, a Joann Fabrics list, West Marine list, sizes for the filters we use, and any other measurements we might need. I'm a compulsive list maker, so this works great for me.
I also keep a notebook provision list of what we have on the boat and where it is. We have a fridge and a separate Engel freezer but there is cold storage under the first level of the fridge where we keep extra blocks of cheese, beer, sausage. It's a whole lotta work to get to the underfridge section, only to find that what I'm looking for isn't there any more. I just use a notebook and pencil to keep track of what we have, then erase what we use or open. In my system, once I open something, it comes off the provision list and goes on the grocery list in the notebook in the backpack. That way when I can do major shopping, I know exactly what we've used and I can choose to replace things or wait if I know we won't need the particular item for a few months.
Just for what it's worth: I tried using a computer spread sheet to keep track of provisions, but it was too much work for me to power up the computer and I found that if I waited until I was actually using the computer, I forgot to do it anyway. My notebook I can pull out 5 times a day and make quick changes.
A quick infomercial for Lock and Lock containers. They're my essential galley pieces. We use them for everything. They're air and watertight. They come in 25 sizes. Mine are square, (they also come in round) so they stack in our fridge and freezer and most of the storage spaces we have.
This is the 'already opened and being consumed' cabinet above the fridge
An exploded shot of all the Lock and Locks from the cabinet above.
We really do use them for everything: the external hard drives live in one in the ditch bag, the sail repair kit is safe from moisture in another, medicines and band aids in several more. I usually take a small one in the backpack if we go out to eat,to use as a doggie bag. I hate styrofoam.
Cans and glass bottle storage under the settee. I use crates and square bins to keep it from being a huge pile and to separate different foods. The bins also keep things from tapping together and being noisy when the seas get rough.
A page from my notebook, messy and it probably doesn't make too much sense to anyone else, but I know what I have. Usually. Pretty close, anyway.
As to the question of stashing special things away for future use: yes, I do. I'm an out of sight, out of mind person, which is why I make lists. So I can hide things from myself, just by putting them under the rice and not putting them on the list. I like the occasional surprise chocolate bar.
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