The process is just beginning. We are sitting at the dock in Wrangell, trying to get the loose ends wrapped up so we can go cruise the wintery landscape that has recently shown itself here in SE Alaska. Last week a few inches of snow fell, and it looks beautiful. It has remained cold, so the snow is sticking around. Every few days, it snows just a bit more, and it is piled up on top of what was left from the last time around. We had a good bit of snow a couple of days ago (4-5”), and it snowed maybe another 1/2 - 1 inch today. It’s very nice that they plow the docks here in the harbor.
The forecast calls for sunny skies and really cold weather the next few days….in the single digits. Brrrrr…. We have a furnace, which handles the bulk of the heating needs. But we do supplement it with a couple of space heaters and our pilothouse Cruiseair unit. If we head out during this cold snap, it will need to be to another dock. We may make a run for Petersburg in the next couple of days, where we can plug in for those supplemental heat sources and get a new view out the window!
Ultimately, we want to make it to Juneau to do some heavy-duty provisioning. The last time we did a big shop was in Everett in April. Now it is time to provision up for the next six months, which will take us back to Everett, WA. This time I went through our provisioning list with a 6-month expectation in mind. So, the items listed as ‘to buy’ are items that I think we will need in that time. It is easy to miss items along the way, so we developed a worksheet to help us know what we have and where to find it.
I reviewed our list with this thought process in mind. For example, let’s look at Blake and Barkley items.
· Litter box—I need to be able to change the cat litter box one time a month for 6 months. To do that I need 2 bags of pellets per month and 8 pee pads a month. With that, I can calculate how many I will need to get through 6 months. On top of that, I may add an extra cycle ‘just in case’.
· Canned cat food—they eat one can a day between the two of them, so I need 30 per month for 6 months = 180 cans. Yikes! It sounds like a lot, but remember, we won’t be buying this stuff for 6 months, and it won’t go bad.
· Dry cat food-- this one is a little different. I know that I provisioned 50 lbs. of food (two 25 lb. bags) in April, with a partial bag in use. We are currently in the second half of our final bag in the 9 months since we last provisioned. That would tell me that I went through 50 lbs. in 9 months or 5-6 lbs. a month. So, I should need about 36 lbs. Since they come in 25lb bags, I will provision 50 pounds. I don’t want to run out-changing their food would be bad--so a little more is better in this case, and storage is not a problem.
When thinking about our food items, I used to try to list everything, but that is too cumbersome. So, I have scaled the list back to get the key items and the miscellaneous additional items are not listed unless we decide we really want them onboard. Also, tastes change, and what was interesting a couple of years ago may no longer be desirable. We have been
working with this inventory list for several years, and it keeps evolving.
This year, we tried to make note of the items we found we did not stock enough of. What were we buying in bulk in the small Alaska stores that we could have gotten before we left? A good example is mayonnaise. We use it on sandwiches and burgers. We use it in pasta and potato salads. We use it in meat salads like tuna, chicken and salmon. We also use it for crab cakes and crab dip, and you see where I am going. So, with that, we decided to increase our target amount to reflect the current usage. Some of the things we ran out of were mayonnaise, Caesar dressing, TP, crystal light, flour, coffee and creamer. So, I have bumped up our targets for these items.
It is interesting how much your environment and the weather will change your habits. We found we drank a lot more coffee and baked more bread this past cruising season, in part because the weather was so wet and cold. Summer weather never really seemed to arrive. On the other hand, we caught plenty of fish, so our protein needs were not as great, and we were able to send some fresh fish home to the kids. As always, it is a work in progress. If you would like a copy of the current Provisioning list, you can find it here.
I added cover page that shows you how I use this excel worksheet. I use it to inventory what I have, to id how much I use and what I should plan for, and to create a shopping list. Enjoy!