Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Three Months into lockdown, I guess we were ready.

Were you caught with inadequate supplies for the last three months? I'm not talking food, that is another post, but...Cleaning and personal supplies. We all know the tale of TOILET PAPER....!

We are not survivalists, by any means. We know winters can strand us at our age (70's), as well as power outages, as well as localized flooding, we have learned to have certain things on hand. 

Very early during the pandemic (mid-February, I took stock of what we had on hand. Not totally alarmed, I was then aware of what we might need if the situation got worse. And it DID get worse, lots worse.

Our only purchases early on was 2 bundles toilet paper, paper towels, and one bottle of basic disinfectant cleaner.  We had two spray disinfectant cans, one of which we placed in the car, and one at the front door to spray ourselves/clothing and purchases.

By March 1st, I knew we had to have enough cleaning and medical supplies  to last for at least two months. (But, I was surprised at the amount of products I already had on hand.)


Make a list from these suggestions:

Medical supplies and prescriptions: We are fortunate that our insurance allows us to buy 3 months supply of all prescriptions. Work with your doctor and pharmacist to be able to have extras or refills available without an additional doctor visit. I was able to do a conference call doctor visit mid-April to up one prescription change after bloodwork. Many pharmacies have car pick-up or mail options, also.

Personal Health supplies, vitamins, and supplements---can you live without them? If not, I recommend a 2-3 month supply on hand. We were fortunate to be able to get what we ran short of through our eye doctor, and doctor's office. Ordering online is an option also! Many items did have long waits or out of stock during the first two months of the shutdown, though. So plan ahead, now!
Toothpaste, brush heads, batteries, mouthwash need to have back ups.

If you don't like hubby looking like a lumberjack, make sure there are extra razorblades on hand, same for your own legs...LOL.

Over the counter medications. This can be daunting, make a list of what you take for which season for each person. I can't take the same over the counters as my husband, so we need two versions. Do watch the out of date labels on these. Using old products can be more harmful than doing without. No one in Chicagoland was worried about having their Spring allergy medicines in February, we should have, and kept some on hand.

First Aid: Every home should have an adequate first aid kit! Keep it filled. Especially an extra bottle or two of alcohol, and what I call hospital soap. I keep small box in the kitchen with the basics, I eliminate boxes by using old pill bottles to store different sized bandaids.  Large bandages/pads/bottles/elastic bandages are kept in a plastic bin in the linen closet for serious injuries.

Home Chemicals...yes you have chemicals in your home!

Alcohol, lemon juice, salt, vinegar, ammonia, dish soap, baking soda are all useful in making concoctions of cleaners. We had all of these on hand. I buy white vinegar by the gallon, everything else, a quart should do. I stabilize baking soda in a glass jar with a rubber seal. Old baking soda is used for cleaning, fresh for baking.


Here: you are looking at our Great grandmothers's cleaning supplies. Really these are all household chemicals that can be used to make cleaning solutions.

Lemon juice
Baking soda, 
Epsom salts,

On the right is my homemade cleaner.


Alcohol will clean anything that has a hard surface, it will also harm wood furniture finishes, so don't use it on that. Salt kills bacteria and is an excellent abrasive added to lemon juice you can clean toilet bowls to silver.

Borax is another Super Cleaner and great recipes and source information: 


Sprinkle baking soda on burnt food in a pot or pan, add vinegar, bubble fizz and your burnt crust will lift off. Use a brush on stubborn spots or reapply. A must for removing burnt popcorn in a pot.

Ammonia, diluted is actually an excellent cleaner, use gloves. Straight out of the bottle on a rag will make windows sparkle.


My kitchen cleaners, this my under sink cabinet now. The basics for keeping my kitchen clean.


Other commercial cleaning supplies we already had on hand: (FOR 2 people)

    Disinfectant/Cleaning wipes: We had 3 huge and 3 regular containers of Clorox wipes on hand. Why, because I use them in each bathroom, 1 in the shipping room, 1 in the kitchen, 1 in the garage and apparently 1 extra for the outdoors sink located on the porch. If these dry out you can revitalize with boiled water.  Or make your own wipes here, I used anti-bacterial dish soap and cut down paper towels. Gentler on the hands for daily use then constant bleach or hand sanitizer, excellent for my wood counter tops. I just made another batch of cleaner from the same recipe 

  I also made this as a generic spray cleaner, which I actually like better for cleaning the stove and the wood countertops from the same recipe, I found online:
For wipes or spray cleaner.
1/2 cup of vinegar
1/2 cup of Alcohol (70-80%)
12 pump squirts anti-bacterial dish soap
1/4 cup of water.  
Pour over rolled up paper toweling in plastic container. (I used an empty wipes can)or use in spray bottle.


Alcohol evaporates so use tight containers and turn the spray nozzle to off when not in use. You can always refresh by adding a bit more alcohol to your spray.
I've used the homemade cleaner on the wood counter tops, stove, refrigerator, and my stainless steel sink. 

We had two empty spray bottles (2 for $3.00) on hand. A GREEN thing to do as we purchase various cleaners in 1/2 gallons or larger and now making our own spray cleaner. I reuse bottles all the time. 

    Bleach we had 3 gallons and 1 quart. Again 1 basement, 1 garage, 1 in the laundry closet. This was actually enough for  three months. (We purchased an extra bottle in late May to clean the ponds). I will continue to maintain 4 gallons.

Liquid soap and a large jug of (orange) Go-Jo is an industrial type cleaner for grease, paint, or gardening hands. It's full of lanolin and that is very easy on the hands and easily soaps off. That is probably a five year supply...lol.
We also keep Lava soap handy gritty dirty dirty hands.

Personal bar soaps: Our brand comes in a multipack of 8, so we always  have these on hand. Also, include any shower gels, you may use. Don't forget Shampoos and conditioners. An extra bottle of each was enough for us. I will continue to keep an extra on hand. Don't forget Hair color!!!

PET SOAPS---pets' skin is a different PH than humans, keep extra pet soap on hand. It's not recommended to use human products on pets.

 Extra bathroom supplies. We have very limey hard, iron filled water, so lime remover products and toilet bowl additives are really a necessity.

    Spray disinfectants-we had two spray cans on hand. I will increase this to 4 cans, when I can find some (3 months in, and I haven't seen any). Anything that comes into the house is wiped down with disinfectant sheets, or sprayed. And, the sprays are very convenient.

    Hand disinfectant. Surprisingly, I had 4 sink-size on hand, and 1 in each car for two people. Why, I'm not sure--but these lasted---for two people, almost the three months of lock-down. Mostly because we rarely went out.  I just purchased 3 larger size (8 oz.) (June 1) for refilling our containers. I will make sure I have a large jug for the future.


More Bathroom supplies!
    Flushable wipes are handy. I always have those on hand. We also had some single use Alcohol wipes-we had two large boxes on hand for first-aid. Actually great for cleaning glasses and throwing in your purse for emergency cleanups. These also come as personal soap cleaning pads with added alcohol, I would love to find some of those to keep on hand, too.

    General Cleaning Products: I keep an extra bottle of everything on hand for each room it is used in. So, double the amount of bathroom products used for each room. Cleansers, toilet cleaner, lime away cleaner, glass cleaners, personal cleaners.


 One of my two laundry shelves.

Laundry products, I always keep two of the largest containers of laundry soap (64 or more loads in each). I'm not recommending liquid laundry soaps...but we have well water, and these unfortunately work the best for us, we recycle the containers. Whatever brand works best in your water and is allergy free for your family.

You know how many loads you do a week, multiply that by 12 weeks, and you will have a three months supply. Don't forget your additives or specialized soaps, bleach, softeners and do the same. We found, we did more laundry in lockdown as we had a hard time getting paper toweling,  and all bath towels are washed and bleached after one use. 


Plastic disposable gloves. Honestly we really aren't survivalists, but we had 1 small box of 12 sets, and a large box of 50 sets. Why, because we are REDO people, DIY-ing furniture, painting, gardening, any dirty job gloves are very handy. They are inexpensive and we reuse them on projects until they are no good. We also have at least 3 pair of long heavy duty rubber gloves for nasty projects, cleaning ponds, or working with any heavy chemicals, finishes, or cleaning products. (Note: We have both had Mersa or staph from scratches/nicks while working in the garden. Highly contagious--Mersa is on the ground, in dirt, and transferred easily to surfaces.) So we use gloves when doing dirty work outside. I have a pair in the car which I leave on the dashboard in the sun!

Masks: We actually had several heavy duty masks (for workshop use) and a couple of packages of 3 of medium weight masks. We did eventually purchase a box of 100 of disposables in late May, to leave in the car.

We had 4 different containers of alcohol, in different locations. (I regularly use alcohol to clean plastics for paint preparation and for removing marker paint, sometimes stickers.) Goo-Gone is a must for anyone with children in the house. An orange oil (safe) product it will remove LOTS of stuff besides stickers, lipstick, markers, crayons, grease marks, shoe marks. It easily washes up with a soapy rag.

Floor cleaners and window cleaners we always purchase in large containers for economy and disperse to smaller ones where we use them. Don't forget paper towels. I know I had to designate extra rags for cleaning...the old fashioned way of cleaning and launder them for reuse. A GREEN thing to do.

And newspaper (we get our news online with subscriptions, now so we have none) or paper bags can be used to clean windows. Mine, just went dirty until paper towels were easily available. (We are waiting for cottonwood to be done, to do our final super window clean!)

We are far from clean freaks, but I was reassured we did not have to search for these essentials. This saved many unsafe trips out into the Covid-19 world.

Thank you for any and all comments.
Finally I am able to reply to comments by using Chrome. So all you Mac users who have upgraded to Catalina---this might help the glitches on Safari  and Blogger!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Midwest Gardening: Monday June Poorman's Bouquet

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Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

We had incessant heat last week and no rain for seven days. Saturday we had RAIN and heat, yesterday was lovely for a quiet family cookout, and today more rain and heat! Which is better than watering everywhere.


Late this afternoon, I cruised the yard to check on what might still need to be watered. Here and there, flowers are beginning to bloom. We are ecstatic that old rose bushes are blooming, actually gushing with these roses. I cut these from the backyard trellis. A climbing rose, the clustered blossoms are simply a gorgeous deep crimson.  


One lone Del Oro Gold Day lily was blooming, I snatched a stem, as there will be lots more.


I picked three variegated Hosta leaves for a base, but the fun was....

...twiney Sweet Peas which are just beginning to bloom.


I snitched two Cosmos from a hanging basket


A sprig of Nasturtiums grown from seed (my first time growing these), I have no idea if they will hold up in water. I love their 'lilypad' leaves, and the bright orange golden blossoms.


A few last spikes of 'Silver Dollars/Dames Rockets' which are basically a weed...and my poorman's bouquet set in a $.99 thrift store vase. I did use a small wire flower frog (should have used a larger one.)

 in Your Garden? 

Thank you for any and all comments.
Finally I am able to reply to comments by using Chrome. So all you Mac users who have upgraded to Catalina---this might help the glitches on Safari  and Blogger!