My refrigerator and freezer are bursting at the seams. Our "root cellar" contains way too many turnips and potatoes. Our pantry is full of onions, garlic, canned tomatoes, dehydrated fruits and vegetables of all varieties, dried beans and grains, spices, seasonings, and lots of coconut oil. Nothing will be added to these stocks until February.

Two years ago we embarked on a two month no-spend challenge. We ended it after six weeks due to poor planning by me and the need for some more nutrient dense food stores.

This year I have planned, made lists, squirreled away, and prepared for a two month food shopping hiatus. The only foods to be purchased in December and January will be raw milk and eggs from our local farmer since I simply don’t have the space to store these long term.

A few reasons we’re doing this…

  • Eating Seasonally. While we are not yet growing enough food to be self-sufficient I do want us to experience both the plenty and the scarcity that comes with eating seasonally. Our vegetables will come in the form of stored roots and alliums; kale, spinach, and lettuce from our hoop house; and dehydrated and fermented vegetables that I worked on over the summer. I am hoping this prepares us for a future of eating only that which we can grown and raise ourselves.
  • Avoiding This Crazy Time of Year. Now that Thanksgiving is behind us going into any shopping facility is a nightmare. All we see are christmas items and the promotion of consumerism and indulgence. Since we do not celebrate this holiday we find it much more peaceful to avoid even the local health food stores this time of year.
  • Checking Our Own Consumerism. I admit, there was a twinge of disappointment when I finished the last of the shopping preparations this week. That alone tells me that I need a break from my biweekly list-making and grocery store going. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with picking up toilet paper, soap, good butter, and a few more essentials. And while it is okay for me to enjoy this part of my job, I think taking some time off can help me evaluate whether I am doing it out of service and with a thankful heart… or not.

So, we’re nestling into the winter season while focusing on our new homeschooling adventure, enjoying this week’s celebration of light, and bringing peace and order back into our home after a long and chaotic season of growing and preserving. Anyone want to join in?

{top photo credit}

 

37 Responses to No Groceries ‘Til February

  1. We are doing the same thing – kind of. On Monday, I’ll be shopping for my groceries through the end of January. When my boys were smaller (and before the bottom fell out for us economically) I always planned my meals & shopped for a month at a time. I haven’t been able to do that for quite some time.

    We are finally able to do that again, and much like you I REALLY don’t want to be in the stores this time of year. So I’ve planned (a lot!) and will be completing that shopping on Monday. What I need fresh, my husband will pick up on his way home from work, or I’ll get if I happen to be out. Our reasons are not as well-planned & thought out as yours!

    And, I would LOVE to see your hoop house!

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    Shannon Reply:

    Christi- Great, glad I’m not the only one :) .

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  2. Kimlyn says:

    I can only dream of being where you are. I am still somewhat knew to traditional “life” and while we have made huge strides I can’t wait to improve and have a 2 MONTH supply of food!! But that’s why I follow yours, and many other, blogs. Keep the stories coming!!

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  3. Amanda says:

    What a blessing this post is! I am not able to do this immediately since I have not had time to prepare. I’d love to do this next year after we’ve had time to harvest what’s in our garden as well as make out a good plan ahead of time on what we can use and what we need. Do you have a list that you can post of what you’re doing? I know our plan might look a bit different, but it would give me a good starting point. I love the idea not only because of the consumerism, but the also approaching cold and flu season. I like to go out as little as possible.

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    Shannon Reply:

    Amanda – So glad it encouraged you and good point about the cold and flu season!

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  4. Susanna says:

    I want to see your hoop house too! I’ve been making sprouts (in glass jars) to help with our fresh veggie supply.

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    Shannon Reply:

    Susanna – I can’t believe I haven’t put up pics yet, I will!

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    Christi {Jealous Hands} Reply:

    @Shannon, Yay! I’ve been wanting to see it since you first mentioned it in September (I think).

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  5. Melissa says:

    Long time reader – First time commenter.
    I have dreamed of doing this since I first read Animal, Vegetable, Mineral. I didn’t put away nearly enough this year, so although I won’t be able to participate – I will be at there in spirit. We also do not celebrate any holidays this holiday and am grateful to hear of someone else who doesn’t teach their child that Santa is real.
    Thank you for the encouragement and inspiration I needed today.

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  6. Linda says:

    Wow, you really did a lot of work to plan this out. I am jealous! I still have to go shop every week, but I get my meat, chicken and eggs locally, and sometimes raw milk. Everything else from the store. I am encouraged to prepare my garden for next summer and hopefully it will produce better. I feel the same way you do about the whole Christmas thing. Good luck with your homeschooling.

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  7. Maria says:

    I love this idea but have not planned well enough for it this year. I canned several different things this year as it was my first year canning and wanted to try everything. Next year I am already planning on canning enough diced tomatoes to get us through the year. I also hope to make applesauce and canned pears for the year too. I probably won’t spend time making syrups or pickles like I did this year though since we just don’t eat them very often. After buying 1/4 side of beef and subscribing to a local CSA I don’t really need to buy much at the store these days so that is nice. I’d really like to try this next year.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Maria – I hope that you do. Like I said, planning is very important.

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  8. Randee Foster says:

    I think I want to do the sprout thing too to boost our “enzymes”. I wonder where to purchase safe seeds, do you know? We’re up in the boonies at 5,000 ft. elev. Also, we are doing the same thing as you this season and avoiding falling into the consumerism trap. Have a wonderful celebration of Light this week! :-) )))))

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    Shannon Reply:

    Randee – Yes, I forgot to mention all of my sprout seeds, which we use weekly for salads. I like to get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs. They have great quality, turnover, and are fairly reasonably priced. I have liked just about everything I’ve ever ordered from them, which is a lot :) .

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  9. Meg says:

    We ended up doing this a few times over the years, when our money simply ran out… :-) Thankfully, we’re on a “hobby” farm, and there’s always something to eat. ;-) We lived on custard, goat cheese, frittatas, and salad greens as our only “fresh food” for a while… pretty decadent for no money. :-) I know you’ll enjoy using your supply, Shannon. There’s nothing quite like not spending, and using instead food you’ve felt in your hands before. It’s amazing. It connects you deeply to God, and His direct provision. Are you planning on doing weekly posts, to let us know how it’s going? That would be great!

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    Shannon Reply:

    Meg – Thanks so much for your comment. Experiencing God’s direct provision is one of our goals with this project and our future endeavors. I thank you so much for your support and I will be doing posts updating our progress, perhaps every other week.

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  10. Susan says:

    Wow, Shannon, you are ahead of most, if not all, of us here in our community. I admire your God-given prudence, wisdom and discernment and pray for this to be a rich time with God and family as you partake of His provisions.

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    Shannon Reply:

    Susan – Thanks so much for your comment. I am so encouraged by you and all the other ladies in the community. I should also clarify (in case I didn’t make it clear) that only about 15% of all of this food is food we produced ourselves. We grew enough garlic for a year, some herbs, tomatoes, and squash, but most of it was procured from local farmers and put up over the course of about 6 months.

    Stewart and I both agree that we are at least five years behind y’all in experience and wisdom. We also have the benefit of electricity and other conveniences right now that make it easier for me to plug in a dehydrator for a bushel of turnips. I am so thankful for the desire the Lord has put in my heart to nourish my family and the passion to know His will for us regarding both physical and spiritual growth.

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  11. Anali says:

    You are truly inspiring. I would love to know how exactly you planned all of this. Seems like a huge amount of work, but I would love to do this.

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    Shannon Reply:

    Anali – It doesn’t seem like it was that much work because I spent most of the summer preserving whatever I could from our garden and the local farmers. Then I kept track of all of our store-bought consumables such as toilet paper, grass-fed butter, nuts, etc. and bought enough for two months. We’re also rationing a few items that are treats only and going without a few things that we like.

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  12. Denise says:

    I am hoping you will share more. This is an incredible accomplishment. Enjoy now the fruit of your labor!!

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  13. Amanda says:

    You are so inspiring! We are about to start building our house on 6 acres and I really want to plant a large garden in the spring. Do you recommend any books for beginning gardeners?? I am pretty clueless!

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    Shannon Reply:

    Amanda – First of all I should probably clarify that I did not grow more than probably 15% of the food I put up. Garlic, some herbs, some squash, greens, and tomatoes were all a small portion of a much larger amount of farmer’s market purchased food. Secondly, I’m not a great gardener :) . I have a book at home that I will have to look up the title of when I get home.

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  14. Joan says:

    I love your blog..you are so inspiring. Would you mind terribly sharing why you don’t celebrate Christmas..I’m always so curious about others beliefs.

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    Shannon Reply:

    Joan – Thanks for your question. The broad answer is for many reasons. The historical origins of the day, the fact that it is not Biblically based, the fact that Christ himself never celebrated it or commanded others to. I can get you more detailed information if you’d like.

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  15. Leanne says:

    Thanks for the inspirational post. I love how much time you effort you take in making sure you and your family not only eat well, but are good to the world around you. I admire your passion!

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  16. Meagan says:

    What a great idea. It’s great to avoid all the materialism around us now. Your idea is an easy way to stay focused on our Lord!

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  17. Janet says:

    I read a lot of blogs but never comment. Just today I had to do some errands and do a very small amount of shopping. All I could think of is how I want to stay away from the stores during this season!!!! We have a small homestead with Dexter cattle, chickens, turkeys & guineas. Because of the cold our chickens aren’t laying as much & the guineas leave their eggs somewhere we don’t know about. The turkeys lay only seasonally, so no eggs there ether. We have some trouble with low water (last year our well went dry & we had to haul water all summer) so we didn’t grow a garden this year. I did put up what I could get my hands on though. I think I will try to see how long we can go without going to the store. You’re doing a great job. Keep up the good work. God Bless You!!

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  18. This is excellent! I look forward to hearing how it is going along the way. I would love more information on how exactly you set out your planning this time around.

    I found you through simple bites and am so happy to have stumbled here.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Teresa – My planning was based on really keeping track of what we eat or consume every month. Beyond that it was about preserving everything I could get from our garden and the farmer’s market all summer long.

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  19. Alison C says:

    What a great idea! We have 3.33 acres and have been working on creating a large garden so that down the line we will be providing at least 25% of our grocery needs (preferably more, have to start with realistic goals right?). We just finished the beds this year, so the harvest what not yet what it could be. We also still have to find a good spot for a root cellar so we can start stocking things for the winter. Currently we can a ton of tomatoes and green beans but this is going to increase next year as I have cut out a major fall activity of mine that was keeping me from helping in the garden.

    This is a great idea, and I hope in the near future to be able to participate!

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Alison – Good to hear, congrats!

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  20. Joan says:

    Thank you for your reply! I guess I had never thought about it that way…the fact that Christ never celebrated it. I have scaled down the amount of presents that we give to only the children, but even that has been hard for my family and friends to accept. I just refuse to get caught up in the craziness. You are very blessed that you and your husband think so much alike.

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  21. Elizabeth says:

    I have been craving this! I want to try it!!!!!

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  22. This is so cool and something I wish we could do in our home. Two winters ago I was able to store up quite a bit of food and we were able to go for weeks without heading to the grocery store, however, the last year and a half has brought a lot of changes. After having my second child this last spring (along with many other activities, like starting a blog) I really struggled to find time this summer and fall to stock up on food and do any canning. This is the first year in many years I didn’t can at all. Your post is encouraging and I hope that next year I’ll be more prepared for the winter season. We still try to eat “in season” as much as possible, but head to the co-op to get our food instead of to our pantry.

    I hope you have great success in living off the food you’ve gathered for your family.

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  23. Rita says:

    I have never commented before but check your website frequently–my family loves the salmon cake recipe.

    Today I was thrilled to discover someone actually taking time off from shopping. I have been wanting too, and I experimented with not shopping for 1 1/2 weeks, and now I have a better idea of the prep I need to do to be successful for longer. I would like to try it for one month this winter–I know I need to squirrel away more root veggies and cabbage though. Thankfully, we have winter markets in our town with wonderful cold storage veggies I can buy in bulk. Your idea for sprouting is great, I hadn’t thought of that.
    We don’t celebrate Christmas either! For the same reasons….: ) Thanks for the post.

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  24. Laurie says:

    We raise about 90% of our own food now. I have a cow for all my dairy needs, 23 chickens, and two huge gardens that fill my pantry and root cellar with fermented, home canned or dehydrated or frozen goods. I can venison during deer season, and we butchered 100 chickens that went into canning jars this summer. I still have to buy things like tea & coffee, spices, sucanat, maple syrup,
    coconut oil, beans, grains and of course, paper products and cleaning products (I make my own but need the stuff to do it). I make everything from scratch and NEVER buy convenience foods anymore. It’s very gratifying to sit down to a meal that was grown or raised on our farm. I feel very blessed. But oh my, it is certainly a lot more work than just buying groceries.

    [Reply]

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