The Provision Room

“Run down and get the cinnamon, will you, Joey?” said Polly.
“It’s in the ‘Provision Room.’”
The “Provision Room” was a little shed that was tacked onto the main house,
and reached by a short flight of rickety steps; so called, because Polly said,
“It’s a good place to keep provisions, even if we haven’t any; and besides,”
she always finished, “it sounds nice!”
-Five Little Peppers




With this year’s canning, it seemed time to organize the canning room, which was indeed, a scary mess of a “room” in our over 100-year-old ‘basement’. I did not mind the dirt floors (indeed, they are ideal for a basement in many cases) but the shelving and set up was quite an eyesore. The entire room was just not lovely. A bee flew into my bonnet and I began to dream of a room on the other side of the basement – a fresh start -with the jars lined up according to category (fruits, meats, vegetables, and so forth).

With much hesitation and a bit of protest, Mr. Gauthier lovingly put together all the shelves (found here – a steal of a deal). Once the shelves were established, I organized the jars and food items, carrying over hundreds of jars of pickles, preserves, beans, soups, stews and fruits from one side of the basement to the other. It took me a long time in between naps, homeschooling and life in general.


Mr. Gauthier also insulated this little “room” we have (really, it is a stairwell under our porch that opens into the basement) to be a cold room. We shall see how it works. I still do not have a thermometer so I am unsure of the temperature. It has a dirt floor and insulated walls. Sadly, while doing this room, Abby was sprayed by a skunk that was (again!) hiding out in this room ….. the house still stinks when you walk in from the outside! The poor thing – he also accidentally spray foamed his hands, coat and pants as the bottle exploded all over him! Let me tell you – if you have ever seen or used that stuff, it is nasty. And impossible to get off your skin. We tried everything but nothing worked in removing it. He was rendedered helpless for a day as he spent hours trying to remove and pick and scrape and cut off the spray foam from his hands. It was not a fun day for him, that is to be certain.

But in the end, the room was finished – or rather, what is to be done, was done.  I would like to clear out one side that has my photography business boxes and supplies in totes but they are still there for now.


We call it the Provision Room – we have just finished reading the book, Five Little Peppers, and the idea of calling such a room accordingly fit perfectly. Plus, you do indeed need to go down a flight of very rickety stairs to enter the basement!




Please forgive the quality of the photos. These are taken in a completely dark basement with absolutely no natural light. All I had was one tiny, ridiculous light bulb that did not give off much light.



The girls helped by hanging up the onions in netting so as to keep air circulating around them and to help avoid rot.


Everything is stored in a category – jams and fruit preserves, pie fillings and such along one wall. On top, other supplies for baking or such.

On the other wall, tomatoes, tomato sauces, etc. and soups and stews of all kinds. Also, some pickles and relish. At the very end, some squash and pumpkins.

On the third wall, vegetables and such.



We wrapped up four bushels of apples and pears for storing – last year, we had them outside and they froze so this year, we are trying inside in the cooler basement.

Here is the scary room-under-the-deck that opens into the house. This is where we have met many a skunk or two. It looks very scary, doesn’t it? There is no light – but the top opens (or rather, it used to open before it was spray foamed) to the side porch. Here I have potatoes, some cabbages {I want to see how well they keep whole}, turnips, sweet potatoes and lots more potatoes stored.















The bins in the middle of the room hold wheat berries and oatmeal, which is bought in huge bulk bags.




There is bulk noodles and rice on top of the shelves, as well. I buy in bulk from a local Mennonite store, as well as a group bulk order.

I will update how storing the whole vegetables go, perhaps, in the spring.  We are hoping the room is cold enough – with the new insulation, it should not drop cold enough to freeze the vegetables.


There is a scene at the beginning of the Walton’s Christmas movie that I have always loved – it is right when the mother goes to the Provision Room to collect apples to make her applesauce cake for Christmas. She is humming and full of joy, even though they are awaiting the arrival of their father and husband who is late due to a snow storm – there is also a depression across the country and yet, there she was, humming happily collecting a few apples for her children to enjoy.

This scene always struck me as a picture of motherhood – it inspired me to have such a room and such joy and satisfaction in the basic tasks of homemaking.

{Linked up with Strangers & Pilgrims}



November 12, 2016 - 7:07 pm

Robin North Lovely room! This is exactly what I have dreamed of having. I never learned how to can though. It’s on my bucket list. Every year I say I am ging to try but chicken out.

November 2, 2016 - 9:18 am

admin Lauren, I just used totes from WalMart, but the oats and barley and wheat berries that I use daily are upstairs in my pantry, stored in stainless steel garbage cans. (I would like to do this downstairs in the Provison Room but I have not yet purchased the containers. I would not choose to use plastic but since my items are still in their original bags, I guessed it would be okay.
The bulk oats/wheat berries are from a bulk ordering program, which, funny enough, is also sold at a local Mennonite store (for a slightly higher cost than the bulk ordering program). I can purchase from either, which is very convenient! I have just put in a new order for bulk dried beans and cinnamon, as we use both a lot as well. I keep bulk barley, oats, flour, wheat berries to grind flour and organic cane sugar (which I find expensive).

November 2, 2016 - 8:28 am

Lauren Mirecki What an awesome room! Where do you get your oats from in bulk? And do you find the totes keep it air tight enough? I have huge bags of flour from Costco but I need to put it into bins and I’ve never been able to find oats since we moved from being close to a grain mill.

November 2, 2016 - 6:36 am

admin Maike, good question! I was afraid of that! Abby removed the potatoes before he was sprayed.
Jen, yes, just open a jar, warm on the stove (they are already cooked – no need to boil), add some butter and maybe brown sugar and you are ready to serve for dinner. 🙂 And yes, you could use them for soups and stews or even making carrot cakes and muffins…

November 2, 2016 - 5:01 am

Maike Don’t the potatoes etc take in the skunk smell?

The big room looks so nice and tidy.
I’m not sure if I could keep it that nice especially if children might be involved in bringing food upstairs. But it sure must make you feel more relieved to have that part of the house look lovely now too. It makes me feel so much as if I’m part of the Anne of Green Gables stories. 🙂

November 2, 2016 - 1:55 am

Terri Presser That is absolutely awesome what a provision room. Thanks for sharing at good morning Mondays. Blessings

November 1, 2016 - 8:02 pm

Brenda (Gigi’s Mom)b Looks amazing, Gillian! Great job, Abby!!! Love the name of Provision Room. xo

November 1, 2016 - 2:41 am

Rebecca Yay!!! Thanks for sharing! It looks so wonderful!!!

October 31, 2016 - 6:57 pm

Sarah Wow! Your provision room is fabulous!! It does look so old-fashioned and makes me think of a Grace Livingston Hill book I read. I am sorry to hear of all that your husband went through, but I am sure he is pleased to have such a well stocked room as reward for his troubles. : )