Here at SPF we usually stick to writing about sustainability and/or personal finance.

Not today.

Last Thursday we lost our pet/friend Freya.

The following is an adaptation to the lyrics of ‘Hurt’ as performed by Johnny Cash. If you haven’t listened to his rendition I highly suggest you do.

This is the best way I know to  express my pain.

I lost my pet friend today,
At he tender age of five,
I had to focus on her pain,
I’ll remember her alive,

A shadow of herself,
With sadness in her eyes,
Ever stoic and so brave,
Did not vocalize her cries,

Now that you are gone,
My sweetest friend,
Every pet friend I know,
Goes away in the end,

And you could have it all,
My empire of dirt,
To give me one more day,
My heart sure does hurt,

Loyal, giving, full of love,
We had to end your pain too soon,
So hard to say goodbye,
Our friendship prematurely hewn,

Never known a kinder dog,
A “gentle giant” so true,
The hurt deep inside your eyes,
This choice was best for you.

Now that you are gone,
My sweetest friend,
Every pet friend I know,
Goes away in the end,

And you could have it all,
My empire of dirt,
To give me one more day,
My heart sure does hurt,

If I could start again,
A million miles away,
I’d pick your love again,
I would find a way.


Freya had seemed a little off for a while.  She was lethargic and had barely eaten in a week.  We had a vet appointment arranged for the 22nd.

She never made it.

After a trip to the ER vet in the wee hours of Thursday, a night of sitting vigil and another trip to our vet the next morning we came to realize that many, many things were going wrong with our fully grown puppy.  She still had so much ‘puppy’ in her.

Freya was suffering from auto immune disease, an enlarged spleen, and worse, “suggestive” bone marrow and stomach cancer.  Terms like “suggestive” are used, I think, when the vet is telling you the worst of news.

Freya’s body was failing her on all levels and we chose to put her down to stop her suffering.  It sucked.  The look in her eyes is burned into my head.

Freya was our first baby and not just a pet but a member of our family. The loss of Freya has hit us very hard especially as she was only 5 years old and her death was very sudden.

So please keep us in our thoughts in the next weeks and months as we figure out life without Freya…

And thanks for not getting annoyed for my writing about the “personal”.  Reflecting, remembering, writing … has been therapeutic.



Rest In Peace, Freya.  We will never forget you.

Building Your Home Food Storage

home food storage

pantry-3 © by jules:stonesoup

One of the principles of sustainable living is to improve your self-reliance. If you want to save money, as well as  improve your ability to handle financial setbacks, one of the things you can do is build home food storage. I’m not talking about stockpiling junk food and Gatorade, a la extreme couponing. I’m talking about building a viable home food storage system that can help you prepare for the future, and improve your self-reliance.

How Home Food Storage Can Help You

We have home food storage at my house. We probably have enough food storage to last us four or five months (we are working up to a year’s worth, though). If something happens and we suffer a financial setback, we don’t have to worry as much about where we will get the money for food. We will be able to keep up with mortgage payments and pay our bills, and we can dip into our food storage as needed to alleviate some of the need to go shopping.

Additionally, food storage is a great way to prepare for natural disasters. If you are prevented from going to the store, or you are in a situation where a natural disaster has made it impractical for you to head to the store, your food storage can provide you with nutrition. We also like to keep a portion of our food storage accessible so that we can grab it quickly, just in case we have to evacuate unexpectedly.

Your home food storage system can help you prepare for emergencies, reduce your exposure to food prices inflation, and prepare your finances for a setback.

Tips for Creating Home Food Storage

You don’t have to build your home food storage all at once. Indeed, it should be a gradual attempt so as not to place financial burden on you. Here are some tips to help you systematically build your food storage:

  • Start with the staples: Start out with the staples of your home’s food sources. Buy these things a little at a time. Purchase an extra bag of flour next time you go to the store. Buy three extra cans of beans, or two or three extra packages of frozen veggies. Gradually build, using the staples of your family’s meals. Make a list of what you want in your food storage, and buy something different each week.
  • Store your food properly: Understand the proper conditions for storing your food. Try to keep it out of regular sunlight. Keep it the pantry, or in a cool, dry room in your home. We keep some of our food storage in the pantry upstairs, in the crawl space under the house, and in the freezer.
  • Buy foods you will actually eat: Our food storage includes the makings of chili, pasta and sauce, frozen and dehydrated fruits and vegetables, and shelf-stable boxes of milk, among staples like flour, sugar, rice, and oats. These are all things we would actually eat. It’s important to make sure your food storage consists mainly of foods you are used to.
  • Rotate the items in your food storage: Pay attention to expiration dates. You will need to rotate the items in your food storage. Part of the reason you should buy things your family will eat is so that you can prepare meals from your food storage. When you use an item near its expiration, you can replace it during your next trip to the store.

It’s also worth noting that you can freeze or bottle your own produce. I recently bottled applesauce made from the fruit of our apple tree, and added it to our foods storage. It’s also possible to bottle tomatoes, and freeze corn, peas, and beans.

With the right planning, you can create a home food storage that prepares you for the future — and is largely sustainable.