If all good things must come to an end, then it had to happen sooner or later. After 7 years and nearly 400 tips, DIY projects, yarns, and wordy expressions of opinion, we have decided to end our Monday posts and shut down the website. We will still be sharing tips and great information on our facebook page, and pictures of both the practical and eye candy variety on Instagram. So as we and technology move along, please move with us and like and follow us at either or both of those locations. And as always, feel free to swing by and say hi when you share an anchorage with Eurisko. Thanks for all the support. See you out there.

Food Storage Containers

October 24, 2016

It's here! My latest book, Years of Ideas from a Simple Sailor is now available on Amazon.

Life in the tropics has more advantages than I can list and is the only choice for a woman of my whims and fancies. But in every paradise a little rain must fall. (Otherwise it would be a desert.) On this particular island, "rain" comes in the form a scurrying little critters of various shapes and sizes, all of them hungry and eager to feast on our provisions. Our battle, therefore, is a constant one. They want in our flour, rice, sugar, oats, granola, bread, crackers, beans, and pasta. We aren't willing to share.

On Eurisko this battle was (mostly) won with the help of $1,000 worth of Tupperware. (I wish that were an exaggeration. And those are 15-year old prices.) Though Dave almost choked when he originally heard that total, he has since come to appreciate every container we have that keeps the bugs out and our food in. The problem, however, arose once again once we moved off Eurisko and left her Tupperware on her. (We stored her with most of her goodies so that we can hop on her anytime with just some food and a need for adventure and sail away.)

In the temporary house they were visible.

But just because we didn't bring our bug-proof containers doesn't mean we've suddenly grown soft and are willing to start feeding the masses. Not at all. So we immediately started searching for food storage containers that would keep out the bugs but wouldn't repeat our enormous initial expenditure. After all, we don't need another $1,000 worth of Tupperware. We just need some airtight food containers.

Now, those of you who have spent any time on Caribbean islands know that wanting or even needing something and being able to find it are sometimes miles (or islands) apart. On this particular rock we have two K-Marts, a Home Depot, and an excellent Ma and Pa Ace Hardware: Gallows Bay Hardware. I'll admit, I started at the K-Marts because islands being what they are, everything is so expensive anyway, it's usually best to start at the cheapest place. What we found was that for $40 we could get worthless, quirky, tiny canisters that wouldn't even hold enough flour for one batch of bread. But spending years in the islands has taught me that it's never impossible to get what you want. You just have to change what you want to what you can get. In trying to think outside the canister box, I remembered my mother-in-law's kitchen. One of my favorite rooms in her house is her pantry. I'm a lover of small spaces in general, but to have an 8' by 12' room lined with shelves dedicated to nothing but food storage is enough to make me tolerate a big house. And in her pantry that I covet so are the best dry goods containers I've ever seen. They are commercial kitchen sized, enormous bins about the size of a 5-gallon bucket. Oh the joys of baking in her kitchen! To WALK into the pantry, grab the sugar and flour bins, scan the shelves for all the other ingredients necessary to bake to my heart's content. After having to unload the dinette locker every time I need more flour, for 15 years, I was in heaven while we visited her.

Removing the handle

So now, living in a much smaller house, but on land nonetheless, I was looking for something similar. As soon as I got to the "5-gallon bucket" part of my description, I know what I wanted. A quick trip to Gallows Bay Hardware rewarded me with "canisters." We found 5-quart Leaktite brand buckets in the paint aisle. At under $5 each, we had found our canisters. I didn't like the handle, which really made them look like buckets, so I cut a tiny slot in the plastic holding them in and slid them out. And I was a bit put off by their color, but in our new place they live under the counter anyway, so no one sees them. But the ACE label was too much for me. I cut out little pieces of paper for labels and put them over the ACE label with packing tape. Now I have a container that holds 5 pounds of flour that bugs cannot get into. We initially bought 3 of them (silly us), and finally stopped buying "1 more" when we reached 9. I think we've now got enough.

That label needs covered.

Of course, as soon as we moved in the first thing I did was "provision" the house as if it were a boat and we were going cruising. When I brought home 8 pounds of pasta Dave said, "You think that's going to fit in your little red bucket?"
"It's a CANISTER, and no, I guess it's not."
" This time I really did bring home a 5-gallon bucket. Gallows Bay Hardware had black buckets with the super lids that even I can't get into half the time. $5. I bought two. One is currently full of pasta, one is full of beans. If I go shopping again any time soon, I'll probably have to bring home another one.


Are these buckets boat friendly? I guess it depends on your boat. They're not Eurikso friendly because all of her dry goods storage is jammed in oddly shaped lockers. These containers would get deformed and pop the lids. But if we still had our square boat, they would be perfect. She rarely heeled more than 15 degrees and she had square lockers with plenty of space. Nothing was jammed anywhere, it all sat on shelves like civilized people store things. So, in the right boat, and certainly in the right tiny house, these are the perfect solution to keeping food in and critters out. And we have one less bit of "rain" to dampen our tropical home.

MONDAY we'll share our ditty bag.


Connie McBride's work has been published in Good Old Boat, Sail Magazine, Small Craft Advisor, Cruising World, All at Sea, and Blue Water Sailing. As a full-time liveaboard cruiser for over 15 years, she has written several books and in her spare time, well, who has spare time?

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