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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 12-24-07, 07:51 PM   #1
Smallwheels
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Winter Supplies

Does anyone else here stock up on items for the winter?

I knew that there were certain items that I would not want to carry on my bicycle during the snowy winter months. These would be bulky items that are not food. When I go out riding in the snow I don't want to be using all of my carrying capacity for four rolls of toilet paper. I would prefer to make my trips only for food. My favorite grocery store is over four miles away.

I decided to purchase large quantities of the non food items to get me through the winter months. This way they wouldn't be taking up valuable food space on my grocery trips.
This is what I bought:

1. Huge container of laundry detergent good for over 100 loads.
2. Plenty of dish washing detergent.
3. Liquid dish washing soap.
4. Enough bar soap for the winter.
5. Many boxes of tissue paper.
6. Enough toilet paper for 4 months.
7. New pillows for my bed.

Getting those items during warm months isn't a big deal. It is fun to make grocery trips in good weather, but being forced by necessity to go out in the snow for an item that isn't food can be annoying and an inconvenience.

In Montana there was an early snowfall in October. It stayed on the ground until the week before Halloween. Since then there has been almost no snow staying on the ground up to now (which is fine with me).

My next winter purchase will be new studded bicycle tires, because the snow and ice will get here eventually and I don't like falling down.

Who else stocks up for winter? This probably is only a concern for people who live with snow. This never entered my mind when I lived in the New Orleans area with five major grocery stores within one mile of my house.
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Old 12-24-07, 08:37 PM   #2
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I haven't done this kind of stuff but I always think I should. I'd like to have a 72 hour supply of food and water in case of ice storms or other catastrophes.
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Old 12-24-07, 08:45 PM   #3
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When I was carfree in Winnipeg, I stocked up a couple times a year and I used one of three methods to do it.

1) I took a bus to the large grocery store about 5 kms away. I bought an entire shopping cart full of stuff. I called a taxi. And the taxi transported me and all my stuff home ... and often helped me haul it all into the apartment.

2) I rented a car ... this was usually in the late spring or early summer and in conjunction with a cycling event I wanted to attend to which I needed transportation. Then, either before or after the cycling event, I would swing by the grocery store in the rental car and shop.

3) I emailed the local shopping service with my shopping list and my preferred stores. The lady would go and shop for me, and then deliver everything at my choice of time, right up to my apartment. All for the price of 15% of the shopping list bill.

I had a spare room in my apartment where I could put the huge pails of laundry soap and large packages of toilet paper, and I had a deep freeze where I could keep enough meals for several months.
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Old 12-24-07, 10:11 PM   #4
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Don't stock up for winter in particular...ours are pretty mild in comparison to the stuff from up north (live in central NC) but we do get the occasional ice storm and that is when power is likely to go out. We keep close to a two months supply of everything on hand just because. During hurricane season we up the bottle water a bit and double check batteries and the like. But other than that it is business as normal for us. We used to live a ways off the beaten path, but not any longer. But old habits die hard, so we keep back stocks of canned and dry goods. On a side note I had to laugh several years ago when a hurricane threatened. I happened to stop by a grocery store (without thinking!) to grab a few odd items I wanted for cooking a special dinner that week. The place was a mad house, but what was funny to me was the people buying up all the ice and refrigerated stuff...WTF???? I mean gallons and gallons of milk, OJ, meat, frozen pizzas etc. C'mon folks get real, canned goods, dry goods and fresh veggies is where it is at! The dairy and meat section were trashed and the canned goods barely touched...go figure.

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Last edited by wahoonc; 12-28-07 at 07:51 AM.
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Old 12-25-07, 11:21 AM   #5
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The emergency situation I plan for is an ice storm - one week without electricity and heat. So I stack 1/2 a fireplace cord of firewood on my terrace and keep dried foods in the pantry.
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Old 12-27-07, 09:04 PM   #6
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I stocked up on bulk jasmine rice and flour a few months ago. I've gone through most of both and will likely need to make a return trip over to the bulk food place soonish.
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Old 12-27-07, 09:25 PM   #7
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I stock up on 2 - 4 cords of firewood.
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Old 12-27-07, 09:44 PM   #8
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Most of my stocking up lately involves whatever I can salvage from my garden (which, this year was tomatoes until mid-November and tomato sauce until I run out...)

I also like to track down a source of local meat. I usually get the type that is free-range, w/o antibiotics in the feed. Since this involves a car trip out of town, I usually get as much as I can carry.
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Old 12-28-07, 12:33 PM   #9
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I don't stock up, even in snowstorms we don't really run out of things in the corner grocery. Well a few items might go missing. I may live to see the day when I regret not having a good survival store for emergencies.
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Old 12-28-07, 06:05 PM   #10
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My stocking up is of things I can't get in my hometown, all the treehugger all-natural goods that I prefer over the nasty brand name stuff at walmart. I stock up on recycled paper products (tp, towels, tissues), shampoo, laundry soap, bar soap, whole wheat pasta, blueberry clif bars, granola cereal, shelf stable chocolate soymilk, organic canned beans, organic cheese, unbleached flour, and there's tons of stuff I'm forgetting.
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Old 12-28-07, 07:47 PM   #11
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I'll stock up on dry foods such as rice, pasta, beans, sugar, salt, flour, spices and the like. I also tend to buy large supplies of toilet paper and soap.

In addition, I do a lot of my own canning. It's extra work in summer and early fall, but it sure is nice to have in winter.
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Old 12-29-07, 05:42 AM   #12
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Bob yak trailer.
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Old 12-30-07, 03:47 AM   #13
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More Supplies

One thing I forgot to mention in my original post was that I ordered a water distiller. I have been buying bottled water for a long time. The water here has chlorine plus they put fluoride in it. By getting a distiller I won't need to carry those big plastic bottles. Even though they always got recycled it is better to not buy them at all.

Having the extra heat in the apartment won't be a problem in the cold winter, but when spring comes along it will need to be operated somewhere else. The electric heater in the kitchen can be turned off because the water distiller will make the heat, therefore; making the distilled water will not cost very much at all. I'll just be switching heat sources.
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Old 01-20-08, 07:02 PM   #14
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Here is an update about my water distiller. Having it really saves plenty of cargo space and also saves me from making trips to the store. Before buying the distiller I could carry two to six gallons of water home depending upon which bicycle I used. I couldn't fit much more than the water with such a load so most of the time I just bought one or two gallons at a time or stocked up on eight to ten using my car (the car is still for sale). Having many gallon jugs of water took up plenty of space on my apartment kitchen floor.

The quality of the water is perfect when it comes out of the distiller. One thing I have noticed is that storing the water in plastic water jugs affects the taste more than I thought it would. I'm trying to find some one gallon size glass jugs in town but so far haven't succeeded. Any suggestions on where they might be found other than the regular department stores?
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Old 01-20-08, 07:08 PM   #15
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Here is an update about my water distiller. Having it really saves plenty of cargo space and also saves me from making trips to the store. Before buying the distiller I could carry two to six gallons of water home depending upon which bicycle I used. I couldn't fit much more than the water with such a load so most of the time I just bought one or two gallons at a time or stocked up on eight to ten using my car (the car is still for sale). Having many gallon jugs of water took up plenty of space on my apartment kitchen floor.

The quality of the water is perfect when it comes out of the distiller. One thing I have noticed is that storing the water in plastic water jugs affects the taste more than I thought it would. I'm trying to find some one gallon size glass jugs in town but so far haven't succeeded. Any suggestions on where they might be found other than the regular department stores?
Doesn't apple juice typically come in 1 gallon glass jars?

One question about distilled water: isn't it typically devoid of any mineral content? How does that make it healthier.

I too used to make the trip for gallons of purified water at the grocery store. However, since the water would sit around in my house in plastic bottles, I had to wonder if there was any real benefit over tap water. Since then, I have begun using a Britta water jug. I know it doesn't remove a whole lot of impurities... but haven't found a better system.
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Old 01-20-08, 07:56 PM   #16
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I don't have a lot of space in my 425 s.f. apartment, so stocking up on bulky stuff really impinges on living space. But when it's something I use regularly and there's a sale, I'll buy as much as I can store. This week there was a sale on boneless chicken breasts and frozen vegetables. After I got through rewrapping the chicken for the freezer, I had to bungee the freezer door shut.

The freezer was still packed from buying three hams and a whole pork loin at Christmas time. The hams I cut up into roughly half-pound portions that I thaw and slice for sandwiches. At $1.89 a pound as compared to nearly $5 a pound for sliced sandwich ham, it's a big savings. The pork loin I cut up into six pork roasts, which makes 12 dinners when combined with the six cans of sauerkraut in the cupboard. Mmmmm.

Once upon a time I had a deep freeze. I had to keep it in the bedroom. When I ran the numbers and figured out how much it was costing me to run, it was more than I was saving on the groceries. So I sold it. And I no longer have to explain why there's a freezer next to the bed.

But for non-perishables, I buy as needed.
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Old 01-20-08, 10:16 PM   #17
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Doesn't apple juice typically come in 1 gallon glass jars?

One question about distilled water: isn't it typically devoid of any mineral content? How does that make it healthier.
I haven't bought apple juice in a long time. I do remember seeing glass jugs a long time ago. I'll look into it. I could buy a jug and get apple juice as a bonus.

Certainly water with some minerals is good for you. Unfortunately not all minerals or other dissolved solids are beneficial. Some are toxic.

Pure distilled water is just H20 and is the healthiest thing you could drink (other than liquid vitamins, which I sell). It is easily absorbed into the body and it is necessary in every function in the body. It would be impossible for anyone to get enough minerals via drinking water. Even if your water supply had the most beneficial minerals within its structure one days worth of water couldn't supply your body with half of one percent of your daily needs.

There is a book called "The Water Cure". In it the doctor says everyone should take a small amount of sea salt twice a day along with drinking water. The suggested amount of water is calculated by taking your body weight in pounds and dividing it by two. Then drink that many ounces of water per day. More if you exercise or live in a hot dry climate. Liquids other than pure water don't count as part of your intake. Sea salt would be a better source for some trace minerals than mineral water.

The doctor offers a $10,000.00 check to anyone with asthma who doesn't get rid if it after following his suggestions for a full month. In the many years his book has been out nobody has been able to prove him wrong and collect the money.
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Old 01-21-08, 10:24 AM   #18
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The doctor offers a $10,000.00 check to anyone with asthma who doesn't get rid if it after following his suggestions for a full month. In the many years his book has been out nobody has been able to prove him wrong and collect the money.
Right. Of course, even if I DO follow the instructions and my asthma doesn't go away, how do I PROVE I followed them to the letter?

Sounds like an easy thing to weasel out of.

Wait... he's a doctor... probably learned plenty about weaseling out of paying for stuff from the insurance companies he has to deal with.
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Old 01-21-08, 03:19 PM   #19
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Right. Of course, even if I DO follow the instructions and my asthma doesn't go away, how do I PROVE I followed them to the letter?

Get the book from a library. Read it. Follow the instructions. If it works you'll be grateful. If it doesn't you have absolutely nothing lost but time. Water doesn't cost much and neither does sea salt. Both of those things you probably have anyway.

If it doesn't work then you can contact the author and set up a way to verify doing the protocol (a second time). Then when it doesn't work the next time you do it just collect the check.

It works for high blood pressure too because rehydrating the body thins the blood and the pressure drops.
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Old 01-21-08, 11:34 PM   #20
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The water here has chlorine plus they put fluoride in it.
That reminds me of my of one of my favorite movies


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Mandrake? Have you ever seen a commie drink a glass of water?

I am only two blocks from a major grocery store so I have never felt the need to stock up. I also tend to go to the grocery store four or five times a week. I can't imagine a grocery store in Chicago ever really running out of food though for long enough for it to be a problem, even if there were an ice storm, I think Chicago does a really good job with keeping things going. I could be wrong though, I haven't been through too many serious snow storms up here yet. I hope I didn't just jinx myself.
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Old 01-22-08, 07:42 AM   #21
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Water Storage

For water storage try old bleach bottles. I haven't personally done this but have heard that they don't affect taste as much. Plan to try it myself.

Cheers,

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Old 01-22-08, 09:35 AM   #22
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I had some Mormon friends in Arizona. Their preparation was a thing of beauty and wonder. Something like two years worth of food (and other items such as blankets and clothes). I'm lucky if I can keep a weeks worth of food on hand. Although I do buy flour and rice in bulk so I wouldn't be in danger of starving to death. In the near future we'll buy a wood stove to be ready when the power goes out.
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Old 01-22-08, 04:49 PM   #23
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In the near future we'll buy a wood stove to be ready when the power goes out.
If I ever build a house, an efficient wood stove will definitely be in it. That is one thing I wish I could put into my apartment. My apartment has electric heat with no fireplace. If the power goes out for more than a day I'll need to evacuate during a cold winter.

Last night the outside temperatures were -13 degrees Fahrenheit. Usually a couple of weeks during winter get that cold or colder. The average high temperatures for December through February are 31 degrees. That is not a problem for me. It's those below zero days that keep me inside.

I keep telling myself to buy a propane tank and a combustor heater for emergency heat. Yet I procrastinate. A combustor can be run indoors with a window open for fresh oxygen to get inside. Just keep a carbon monoxide detector in the room for safety warnings.
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Old 01-22-08, 07:49 PM   #24
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I keep telling myself to buy a propane tank and a combustor heater for emergency heat. Yet I procrastinate. A combustor can be run indoors with a window open for fresh oxygen to get inside. Just keep a carbon monoxide detector in the room for safety warnings.
I keep telling myself I need a backup for the natural gas heat. Right now, if the lights go out, I'll have to rely on my stock of wool sweaters.
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Old 01-22-08, 10:37 PM   #25
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The problem with ice storms in states like Texas is that they sometimes take down the electric service for several days over a wide area. If the electric grid goes down , it can quickly become a survival situation for car free people.

Without electricity the local stores might not even bother to open because they can't run the lights, heat, refrigeration or cash registers. With a car you could easily drive over to the next city or county to seek shelter or get supplies, but without a car it will be more of a problem.

It doesn't necessarily help to have gas heat either, because if it's a central heating system the blower motor is electric. Again, if you have a car it can be your backup plan for heat and you can drive away from trouble.

In the old days you could count on telephones to still work in a power outage, but that isn't true anymore - only the most old fashioned landline telephones operate independently of the electric power grid. When the power goes down, you can forget about using the Internet to find out what's going on. So naturally you'll dig up an AM/FM radio and tune in a local station, at which point you'll discover that most local stations these days are automated and don't provide local news bulletins.

I think car free people need to do a little additional planning for emergency situations, because they don't have quick access to a vehicle that can serve as an autonomously powered personal lifeboat.
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