Category: Lists of Lists


woodsLast year was a personal TEOTWAIKI (the end of the world as I knew it)…from the suicide of my youngest daughters father (whom I found only 10 minutes after speaking to him in person, leaving and then feeling something was wrong…oh yeah it was…and going back to find him dead by his own hand), to the SWAT team at my door at 8 am, to a down turn in business, loosing a business and just about every imaginable small shtf that could happen happening. Over the past year and a half I have worked really hard getting to a new normal while still dealing with life changing events…it has been wave after wave, but fortunately, I learned how to surf! It was full of bumps, bruises and backslides and some painful mistakes, but I have finally learned to surf (figuratively) in getting through the crap life throws our way, big and small. That is the hallmark of a survivor by the way…I have truly learned in many ways what Tim Gunn (okay, I admit it! I do sometimes watch Project Runway) “make it work” as he is looking at a hot mess that aspiring designer has made. But somewhere along the line, my world of preparedness and my thinking became so narrowly focused upon my home and my immediate surroundings that a simple day outing in the woods with my friend became a real eye opener in situational preparedness.

Knock, knock…what the (bleep) are you thinking?

The started off well enough, coffee, breakfast, discussion what to do…common everyday talk between people…suggestion…lets go out to the WMA are nearby where he hunts regularly so he can take a look around (hunting season coming up)…okay…so here I am getting dressed for a walk in the woods, no biggie, I live in the woods…I know how to get dressed for going into the ‘woods’, do it everyday after all…so on go jeans, tank top and sturdy trail shoes…I get looked at and he looks at my shoes and says ‘you’re wearing those???’ in that tone of voice that only someone who does something all time can only have talking to someone that has broken some unspoken ‘rule’ of the road. Okayyy…it quickly dawned on me that we weren’t go onto some nature trail…so off the shoes came and on came the ‘real woods’ boots, you know the kind hunters wear? yeah those kind of boots…I was thanking God at that point that I had spent the previous week walking around in them to break them in (much to the dismay of my 15 year old, apparently your mother wearing camo/woodland hunting boots out in public is NOT cool). I at least had the presence of mind at that point to pull my socks up to my knees, after all, ticks love to climb up shoes/boots onto legs. I also changed my shirt to a loose short sleeve one.
Alright, all set and up to snuff approval wise for what to ware…out the door we go…
Its been a long running discussion between us about ammo, where to find it, prices etc…so we’re headed out to the WMA and he decides to show me where he has stopped before to buy ammo before hunting. Of course, me and my big mouth, having lived in my small town for a few years, I begin to explain to him about one side of the highway and the other and how you just don’t cross that line (its like the railroad tracks)…uhhuh…that went over like a lead balloon…dead silence…smack, upside the head I am confronted with a prejudice that is so ingrained in me that I didn’t even realize it until it came out of my mouth and got a strange look…you know the one, the slightly raised eyebrow real quick with no comment. Anyway, we stop at this little hole in the wall (and that is being not an untruth) gas station that has a sign for ‘check-in’ (as in for hunters with deer and turkey)…and lo and behold! walk back into the back and bingo! AMMO!!! no .22 but they had plenty of other including 9mm (haven’t seen that in MONTHS) and .17 and well, you get the idea…and the prices? pre-Sandyhook!! man, did I feel about stupid, again…so I bought what I could afford and on the way back to the car I have to acknowledge about eating crow on this one. Basically something along the lines about getting over my snobbery (yeah, I admitted it) and thank you for showing me someplace new…the answer was something along the lines of ‘well, its always good to have more than one place to get something’ (nuff said on that subject, point well taken)…but of course on the way out of the area I have to defend my position and my line of thinking (just keep on digging Laura)…anyway, at this point I feel absolutely DUMB and shut up. But I swear, I still won’t go there at night…nope…not…

So over the river and through the woods, nice ride, he’s busy scoping out places to go fishing in the area, pointing out upcoming places to look at from the GPS and we are looking for the no trespassing signs or private property signs (which by the way, I learn from him later that even when its posted you can’t restrict access to public water ways within reason).
Fast-forward, we are on WMA land, he’s pointing out the WMA land, private property, where you can and can’t park, etc, etc. up and down gravel roads, being educated about what Bucks do and what to look for, looking at the ‘weeds’ growing trying to figure out what some are and aren’t…Wild passion flower is an intoxicating smell! Wind up on the water, he does some fishing off the public dock…back in the car…down another road to nowhere…he finally pulls into this parking area and we get out…looking at the weeds…and I need to use the restroom but of course…lol, its the woods…not an issue, not the first time with no bathroom or toilet paper (hmm, remember for future, baby wipes, flushable stuff, paper napkins even better as they server more than one purpose or really, do guys worry about it?) but ladies, remember, when out in the woods, find a slight hill…water runs downhill (at least I remember that). But he had to remind me about bug spray (seriously Laura? I mean, really?) He had some thank goodness, I should have sprayed myself down BEFORE leaving the house!! And off we go through the woods down to the water…come up to a rather large tree that had fallen down across the path and up and over…and me, like an idiot, just walks OVER IT…yep, got the look again…never, ever in the woods just walk over a fallen tree, always step up onto it, look down and then step down…snakes like to hang out under dead wood…I shrugged and said, well, I figured you went first and would have found it and I was safe (ha!), got the look again. Point taken. Where I live these little buggers live, cottonmouths, timber rattlers and copperheads…in general they will run from you, but corner them, step on them, forget it, they strike in defense..
Cottonmouth, the only viper snake in the US:
cottonmouth
Timber Rattlesnake:
timber
Copperhead:
timber

copperhead

And just as a side note, I noticed where people had recently camped in the area…what a frickn’ mess. Not good caretaking nor OPSEC…take out what you bring in or burn it out…better yet, don’t leave yourself ‘noticed’ for being in an area (ha, now why I can remember that and not bug spray…)

Yadah, yadah, yadah…mess around for a while at the water, (at least I didn’t embarrass myself by falling on my butt going down a step hilly area to get to it, like I have done before) I explained to him about WHY it wasn’t a good idea to eat the arrownroot from the water where we were at (duh, plants draw up water and act as filters for the water ways and if the area is known to have high levels of mercury and other contaminates…duh..what will you be eating???) not to mention you can’t just pull a water plant out, you really have to dig them out…of course he had to prove me wrong on that point…I won, I managed not to give him a look.
Back to the car we go…and yes, this time I remembered to step up, look and then down, and I learned a little something on that one, I need to go to the gym, I can walk forever, but stepping up two feet onto the top of the dead tree easily…hahaha…crap…not as in shape as I thought I was. Endurance yes, strength no…sigh…another lesson learned…
But the biggest lesson learned with this simple walk in the woods came a bit later…we are out in a clearing looking at the weeds, checking things out and he tells me to stand dead still. So I freeze immediately, nothing happens so I start to think he’s messing with me and move slightly and then BUZZZ, I scream because I thought it was a wasp, turns out it was a horsefly that had landed on me…but all I could think about at that point was ‘crap, it has been a wasp I had nothing with me to stop the anaphylactic reaction I would have if stung and we are MILES from help’ …DUH!!! I am ready to go at this point.
Another side note, that bug spray I used? yeah, okay, kept the suckers off my clothes and exposed skin, but you know what? they found their way to exposed skin UNDER the clothing…bites around the waist band and a few other places…I now understand the use of pyrethin on clothing…screw the bug spray…

Long and short of this tale is that I had become complacent and non-thinking about my potential situation and circumstances simply by going out in the woods…from shoes, to bug spray to the more serious side of nature, snakes, bees, wasps…it was an eye-opener for me…I had isolated and insulated myself so much that the possibilities just didn’t register in my brain and here I sit calling myself a survivor and prepper…really? I can tell you how to prepare yourself to bug in and tough it out at home, but put me in the woods…and I USED to do this quite a bit before, but because I went into protective mode due to circumstances from the past year or so, it all went out of my brain, and honestly, it could have gotten me seriously hurt or even killed and possibly put my partner in jeopardy. NOT GOOD….
And then it got me thinking…I was depending upon someone ELSE to keep me safe out there….trusting your partner is good but what if? I will be the first to admit that I will never be the woodsman he is, after all, he grew up in the woods has spent his whole life out there, tracking animals, camping, hunting, fishing…but me, I am a liability to him and myself simply because I don’t have even a few basic skills and knowledge of being ‘outdoors’. I got off easy this time and am taking steps to not let the same mistakes occur again, but it made me really wake up…If I had to leave my home on foot or get home on foot, I probably wouldn’t make it over some ‘trivial’ mistake or oversight on my part. They say we are given situations to make us grow, the first is slap on the hand, then a knock on the head and then a hammer and then well, the building falls in on you. I got the slap on the hand and have no intention of getting hit on the head.

So, I did buy the pyrethin spray to treat my clothes and boots and socks…
I have a very small kit together for going out that can be put in a pocket for short trips for bug bites/stings with things in it just in case I go into anaphalytic shock…and a small ace bandage too that will fit in my pocket easily since I am NOT known for being graceful.

And I count myself lucky that I have someone who is a good man and knows ALOT more than me who doesn’t put me down but supports me in my learning.
I also count myself lucky that someone is watching out over me from above.
Moral of the story, we get so used to our ‘normal’ in prepping and survival that we forget to look outside of ourselves and see ourselves outside of the normal routine or what we have planned….while I in no way plan on bugging out or leaving, its always good to have some sort of idea of what may happen if you had to abandon your plans and go do something else.

Lessons learned from a simple walk in the woods….and a blessing in disguise…

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Don’t Put Off Doin’ What Needs Doin’

Ever had one of those moments when something happens and you are left to wonder what the heck you were thinking about when you put off doing something that you just KNEW needed doing? Yep, one of THOSE moments and you know exactly what I mean…putting off getting more gas and running out, cleaning the steps off the back deck only to go down them on the rear, put off going to the grocery store only to find yourself without that all important ingredient right when you are in the middle of making dinner. Not mowing the grass for the 3rd weekend in a row and then finally getting out there to do it only to find that you spend half the day declogging the lawn mower and then having to rake up the clippings otherwise you will wind up with dead grass? Or better yet, buying rice in bulk, putting it to the side to seal it up properly and then forgetting about it until one day you notice a smell or better yet a trail of ants or mouse poop leading you right to that rice you bought but didn’t put away properly? Yep, one of THOSE moments.
Well, I had one of those moments about a week and half ago…I knew I had to get some sort of lighting up going between my house and workshop because it is pitch black out here in the woods at night and half the time I wouldn’t think to grab a flashlight or had my hands full going back and forth. But I messed around, found a million reasons NOT to spend the money or time or effort to light up the path even though I KNEW I needed to do so for safety’s sake.
Early one morning last week I couldn’t get back to sleep so I decided to come out and work (might as well do something productive right?) and sure enough, trip, fall, hit the head, sprawled face first onto an extra propane tank (and of course I had knocked it over so my head it the edge on the bottom of the tank), neck at some awful angle, arms and legs splayed out with a nice 2 inch cut that went deep. Yes indeed…all because I kept putting off doing something I knew needing doing…putting up lighting so I could see!
Don’t know how long I was out (scary) but was able to control the bleeding and take care of the cut myself (cleaning it etc) and this wasn’t my first rodeo with a concussion (my nickname isn’t Grace for no reason) but what I didn’t expect was to get whiplash from this (and let me tell you, I would by far rather deal with a concussion than whiplash any day!) and that (the whiplash) has had me down and out in quite a bit of pain for the past week…cut is almost healed up (no antibiotics or stitches thank you!) but the whiplash is another story. While I am a big one to take care of myself without seeing a doctor, after 5 days the pain was so intense that I had to go to the ER because I couldn’t get on top of the pain and it hurt so bad I wanted to throw up, yep, not good…so here I sit, thinking about this and kicking myself in the rear for not spending the $30 and 1./2 hour of time to get some little motion sensitive lighting up. Yep, one of those moments where you hope and pray no one says “I told you so”. I know how lucky I am not to have really hurt myself, but my point in telling you about this is to make this point…don’t put off doing today what needs doing otherwise you might find yourself in a bad situation…Like a concussion with whiplash, or out of gas in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone service, or needing that food only to find it rotten or infested.
I am lucky in some ways that I know how to take care of deep wounds, concussions and whiplash without using drugs (for the most part!) from a doctor and I will post on that over at Survivalmedicineblog this coming week. I am only using pain meds and a muscle relaxer at night so I can sleep (which is very important in the healing process) and during the day I am using herbs and homeopathics to help myself heal and not go through the prescriptions, but I am still busy kicking myself over the woulda, coulda, shoulda of the whole situation…all this could have been avoided IF ONLY I done what needed doing instead of putting it off. $30 dollars and ½ hr of my time…needless to say the lights are up now.
And this got me thinking and looking around my house…what ELSE am I not doing that could be life saving or important for me to get done? Not a whole lot, but needless to say I now truly understand the importance of getting my priorities straight, health and safety first! I have had my children clear out pathways around the house (trip and fall), gotten more lighting up, cleared the grape vines away from the back deck steps (they were a virtual FENCE)…am getting ready to repaint the outdoor stairs with an anti-slip paint (yep, another one of those things that I have paid for in the past with pain), replaced fire extinguishers…figured out my kids had used up half of my battery supply without telling me (replaced those!) and have a phone call in for a chimney sweep to come out and clean my wood stove. I am sure there are other things that I need to do too that fall under health and safety that I haven’t found yet but I will…my priorities have suddenly changed to taking care of business to make sure things around me are safe and sound BEFORE I or someone else gets hurt or something else fails when its most needed.

So dear readers, what are YOU putting off doing that you know needs doing?

And by the way, you can find the lighting I bought and put up over at my Amazon store…cheap, effective and easy to put up!

Stay safe and take care of business this week!

Have you ever gone to make a meal, gotten almost done making it, and then viola! You are missing the last ingredient? Or how about outside working in the yard, pick up a branch or 2×4 or some such thing, gotten a splinter (why are you wearing work  gloves eh?) and then can’t take it out because you can’t find the darn tweezers? Or better yet, skipped putting gas in the car coming home from work even though you are almost on E and then wake up late the next morning (come on! Admit it! You have done this!) and getting gas is the LAST thing you have time for?

 

Well, these are all ‘little things’ that could really mess you up and points out an underlying principle in being prepared. Remembering the ‘little things’ in you plans. All the prepping and gathering won’t do you a darn bit of good and might even cost you your life if you don’t remember the little things. While ‘remember’ at the last minute right now might just be a hassle, if things get even slightly dicey (speaking from experience here and the little things that I overlooked for an itty bitty hurricane named Irene) you could find yourself up a creek without a paddle so to speak, and unable to get ‘it’ at the last minute.

 

So, a list of lists begins (yet again) of what I think some of the most often overlooked items to have. Some of this is based on personal experience and some is just plain knowing.

 

In no particular order except #1:

 

1)      keeping the gas tank filled…seriously, I am even lax about this sometimes and can find all sorts of excuses not to fill up the tank again when it gets down to half…bit me just today when lo and behold, when I went to go get my kids from the babysitters, gas had jumped 10 cents in just a few hours…sigh

2)      tweezers…these are great for all sorts of things but if you don’t have them, you don’t have them and I ALWAYS recommend having more than 4 in the house and even 1 or 2 in the car. From experience, don’t go ‘cheap’ on all of them. The dollar store ones are just fine for nabbing ticks or larger things, but have you ever tried to dig out a splinter with a rounded wide edged pair of tweezers. Not fun and more damage gets done than doing good.

3)      Work gloves, more than one pair and more than one type. You can often pick up wholesale lots on eBay or just wait for Walmart to put them on clearance. For some reason around my house one of the pair manages to disappear unexpectedly and sometimes that’s okay (don’t throw the lone one away!) but sometimes its not. I have a plastic shoe box full (over full really) of various work gloves including the plastic ‘chemical’ type.

4)      Needles as in ‘sewing’ needles. Not just for mending clothes but people too in a pinch, fishing out things in the skin, puncturing holes in things. The dollar store or Walmart will often carry big packs of them on the cheap.

5)      Electrical tape. No joke! Great for sealing things up tight, including leaky pipes in a pinch. Again, eBay has some great bargins on this.

6)      Cayenne Pepper. This great for all sorts of odd things in a pinch…bug control, controlling bleeding (including internal), clearing the sinuses and cooking too!

7)      Plastic Tarps…need I say more? How many do you have?

8)      Lighters. Anyone who smokes (no judgment here, we all have to have our vices) knows the frustration of not being able to find a ‘light’, but think about it. Small, compact, fire starting potential. Great for putting a seal on plastic (carefully) or even melting the end of a rope or shoe string.

9)      Nuts, bolts, washers, nails, screws…you get the idea. I absolutely HATE loosing one of these and then being SOL until I can make it into town. You can pick up ‘assortment’ packs at Walmart, Lowes, even the dollar store sometimes for a tiny investment. I particular LOVE LOVE drywall screws J Never have enough of these!

10)  A good set of hex keys, screw drivers (and not the little bits for the electric gizmos, but hand ones, unless you are lucky enough to get a non-electric ‘socket’ type screw driver set. But with that said, this might not fit in every where), tiny screw driver set. While the dollar store is a good ‘start’, I have found that the tools from there aren’t so great for heavy or hard use. Spend the money as you can to get a GOOD set. And don’t forget a good socket set too.

11)  WD40 or something similar. Oh the headache trying to break loose the oil drain plug on the new generator in 90 degree heat! I would have given almost anything for this right after the hurricane… but someone used the last of it and didn’t say anything to me about it…grrr…

12)  Manual Can Opener and more than one of them. I have used this type for several years, wearing them out eventually of course, but living out in the ‘woods’, weelll…lets just say I learned the hard way on this one. The can opener ‘died’ (wouldn’t work) and I figured out no one local carried them or didn’t have them in stock. 2 days without one really drove home the point on redundancy to me. And I don’t want you buying those cheap little skinny ones…those thing stink and are hard to use. Go to Wally World and spend the extra 2 bucks and get one with a nice size grip and twist handle. Your hands will thank you.

13)  Toliet paper and baby wipes…do I need to say more? Unless of course you are growing Lambs Ear in  your herb garden or plan on using your T-shirt in a pinch.

14)  Lots of batteries as money permits. Dollar store ones are okay. I have had some for several years that when I dug them out they still had juice. Can’t promise how long they will ‘last’ when used, but in a pinch, they work.

15)  Got pets? Don’t forget their food. I personally freak out when I have a full plastic kitchen garbage can full with one extra bag. 4 Pitbulls J they like to eat. But seriously. How many of you have pets and wait until you run out before buying another bag of food?

16)  Garbage bags…both the white ones (kitchen) and black ones (lawn/leaf/contractor) Great for a million and one things besides the garbage. How many do you have left in your pantry?

17)  Anti-histamines

18)  Got a baby? Diapers and more than one package of them.

19)  Scissors of all types and sizes from tiny to big.

20)  Zip Lock baggies of all types and sizes and not just a couple boxes of them…they are handy for a zillion things, reusable and take up almost no room.

21)  Thread, string, rope

22)  Salt

23)  A good book or two

24)  Comfort food, simple things, snacks

25)  OTC Pain killers

26)  Food staples such as bread, milk, eggs, butter, salt, rice (even if its freeze dried)

 

The list could go on and on, but these are some of my favorite ‘little things’ that when I don’t have them…well, I feel a bit stupid.

 

 

Something I have noticed over the past few months that seems to be accelerating…goods are disappearing from stores. Have you noticed this? Stores are carrying more and more store brands (the quality of which I find questionable in many cases) and removing the brand names. Less of particular types of goods are being carried and by result, there is more ‘space’ in a store (less shelving). And goods are not being restocked and less is being restocked. This goes from Walmart to grocery stores to the local Sam’s club to Target even down to Pet Smart. (In fact, one Walmart store has completely removed their jewelry section). This is troubling to me and I can’t quite put my finger on ‘why’ this is occurring. I understand that we are in the midst of an economic depression that isn’t being spoken about and that sellers are adjusting to lower sales of ‘higher’ priced items (read that name brands) and that they are putting in less choice because they don’t want to put the money into items that are or could be slow movers. But not restocking? Is there a supply problem I don’t know about? Or perhaps shipments are being delayed because they are running less trucks and they are trying to save on money for fuel? (but give me a BREAK, fuel costs went up 2 years ago so that doesn’t float with me). Or is it that we, the public aren’t being told the truth about the value/exchange rate of our dollar and the supply problem (thanks NAFTA) is starting on the other end of just getting the raw product or item into theUS? Something is a miss when the Pedigree dog food I buy from a particular Walmart is ‘missing’ for weeks before they get it back in. Something is not right when a good selling product (such as organic canned veggies or even Dr.Pepper soda) goes on the missing list and I am told they don’t know when or IF they will carry it again. Maybe I am spoiled…but the list of things I have noticed go ‘missing’ is growing and rapidly growing, but the cheap crap from China (including food that is of  a questionable nature in terms of safety…such as apple juice of which over 60% comes from China and contains levels of cyanide that I find unacceptable…that stuff never gets out of your body and you wonder why I insist on organic??) is coming in here faster than it can be sold. What is the deal there? I understand that money is being deflated and costs are being inflated making it harder and harder for the average American to maintain a higher standard of living…but this is starting to feel like an attack is upon us…a trade/monetary war of which is not being spoken. Take a product away and they will buy something else from us. But what about socks? I swear a month ago I went looking for just run of the mill cotton socks and the local Walmart had NONE or next to none in any size, neither did the Target, neither did the Old Navy store near by. And it was only 2 weeks ago that they refilled the shelves. I even had a hard time finding ordinary socks online IN STOCK!! This just strikes me as very odd…and its alarming at the sametime to me, one of the indicators of collapse is the unavailability of goods for a length of time. And before someone points out this to me, I do understand that this past year the cotton harvest was abysmal, so that could be a part of the problem too. But I have to wonder, what are we not being told? Where is it going? And the big question…why?

With this said, I am going to give you a list of items that I have noticed are ‘disappearing’ or getting hard to get that you may want to get when you find:

1)      Cotton socks

2)      Fire starting methods (lighters, lighter fluid, matches, etc.)

3)      Quality Canned Goods (store brand is the lowest grade of food available, avoid if you can!)

4)      Bottled Water

5)      Baby Food

6)      Quality Pet Foods

7)      Ammo

8)      Batteries of all types

There are other things such as soda, garbage bags, detergent of all sorts and media (CDs, Books).

Anyone else notice the ‘disappearance’ of something I haven’t mentioned? Maybe I am paranoid or maybe I just spoiled about having choices, but what I am seeing is concerning me, anyone else? I know at this point, when I see these items I am very likely to get everything I can afford to…tell me what you think?

 

So the silly season is upon us, the opening shot fired being Black Friday…sigh…and so it begins. I will be honest in saying that I went out into that fray for one thing (okay, stupid! but I promise you it wasn’t for a toy or waffle maker nor electronic…in fact, it was for something that will help me when the crap hits the fan, but I will never, ever do that again and I am not sure that I even want to go into town ever again unless forced to…the madness, meanness and hatred that I felt in town that evening was hair raising and all that over some cheap items that had no real value in terms of survival (unless you call keeping up with the Jonses survival, but I don’t). It gave me a good dose of reality of where people are mentally and I didn’t like it one bit. Result? I am redoubling my efforts at being prepared…every penny will go towards being ready for a bad turn in the world and practical use.

Questions to determine value:

 

Will it keep me/mine warm?

Will it keep me/mine from being hungry?

Will it keep me/mine healthy?

Will it provide me/mine safety?

Will it give or provide me/mine the knowledge to any of the above questions?

I also keep this in mind…pay now, pay later, but pay you will…I use this saying and keep it in mind when trying to decide if the price in dollar terms is a ‘good value’. Just because its cheap does not mean it’s a good value. I’d rather pay more money wise and have it last and work long term than go ‘cheap’ and have it last 2 seconds and need replacing or repair quickly. And this includes FOOD. Garbage in, garbage health…again, pay now, pay later, but pay you will, some how, some way.

If the answer is NO to the above questions then I am not wasting the time, effort or money on it. Not going to do anything for me but take up space.

So what are items that I intend on procuring for warmth?

MORE Firewood

Extra clothing (gloves, hats, jeans, etc.)

A way to safely procure wood in the future.

So what are items that I intend to procure for the hunger question?

More can goods concentrating on meats and veggies

More #10 cans

A rocket stove

More raised garden beds (this can be done during the winter)

A small root cellar

More canning jars and extra lids.

Salt

Sugar (various forms)

So what are items that I intend to procure for the healthy question?

Multi-vitamins

More soap

Hydrogen peroxide

More Vinegar

Alcohol (it has many uses and not just for getting drunk!)

More solid shoes to be stored for later use.

So what are the items I intend to procure for safety?

A CB radio.

An external dial up modem to retrofit my computer.

More ammo.

One more weather radio, preferably solar/hand crank.

And on the knowledge front? Well, I have always been a collector of books but I will periodically check amazon for new ones and I am always interested in medical books…can never have enough knowledge.

So that is my list. What’s on yours?

I have been pretty feverish in my efforts over the last year or so and have a good start, these are the dirty little details that I am left with at the moment.

Remember, plan, set goals and then go out and do. Every little bit counts and gets you that much further ahead of the hoards. Your needs will be determined by your own personal situation, but the these questions will help you to determine what you need.

I grew up in a family where we kept months of basic food stuffs on hand and only went ‘shopping’ 2 or 3 times a year and yes, this included toilet paper, dog food and laundry detergent. My father was a Reservist and we didn’t have access to the commissary all the time, so we just ‘stocked’ up when he was ‘on’. At the time, I didn’t think anything about it, but my mother tells me that this was drilled into their heads by the military during the ‘60’s ‘just in case’… so it was natural for me to carry this behavior into my adult life, even when I was living on the edge as a young mother and wife in my early 20’s. You just kept food in the house beyond your immediate needs. You only went to the grocery store to get bread, milk and eggs twice a month. I was just what I did and I was very happy to have that mindset in me as I started my own businesses…I always had at least a month’s worth of food on hand and tried my best to have more, but never let it fall below that level…you never knew or know when or if ‘pay-day’ would come and you have to eat right? So I was quite comfortable with my food storage even though I wasn’t a prepper, it was just the prudent thing to do given the circumstances of my life. But over the past few years, and especially this year, it has really come to my attention that our way of life here in this country is in a very precarious position and looking at my ‘storage’ which seemed so smart to me just even a year ago, I now realize just how unprepared I am/was when it cames to food storage and even I must do something to ‘fix’ that to be prepared for more than what I am now.

For those needing help in getting started, I have made some suggestions below to get you started:

Getting Started:

First, check your mindset: If you are not running to the grocery store every other day then you are probably already ‘storing’ food! Perhaps only for a week at a time, or even for just a few days, but you can take that and turn it into a solid food storage mindset and easily start extending that time out of what you already do to ‘store’ food. Instead of 6 cans of green beans that week, get 8. Instead of just 1 package of rice, get two and so on and so forth. Start looking into bulk storage items such as ‘staple’ dry goods or cases of canned goods that you use regularly this if you can afford it. Sam’s Club and Costco are great places to buy in bulk (just be aware that sometimes they aren’t the cheapest).

However, if you don’t already keep more food in the house than is needed on any given day then you need to ask yourself why you don’t keep a bit of food beyond the cheese-its on hand.

Ask yourself this:

What would happen if a storm hit and you couldn’t get out? Being a part of the stampede at the market before a storm hits isn’t too smart is it? Long lines, not enough food available and can be dangerous in the wrong conditions.

What would happen if you lost your job? Having a bit of food on hand for this emergency can save you money and give you a peace of mind that is priceless.

What would happen if your sole source of transportation (car) broke down or you couldn’t get gas?

Next I want you to think about these things:

Remember Katrina? There were people who DID all the right things, had extra food, water, basic first aid and STILL had problems surviving after a week.

Look at what is and what did happen inJapanin the aftermath of the earthquake and resulting tsunami…the shelves CLEARED in less than 6 hours and this country was considered ‘prepared’.

Then look at the list below:

Natural Disasters
Terrorism
Labor Strike

Economic Depression/Collapse
Drought
Crop Failure
Personal Tragedy
Civil Unrest

Unemployment

Inflation/Hyperinflation

What would you do if any of this happened to YOU? Do you really want to be apart of the horde that descends upon the Walmart or local grocery store? Or have to ‘get in line’ just to eat? I don’t mean to be a fear monger, but these things DO happen and they happen almost everyday somewhere in the world. You buy auto insurance, medical insurance and all sorts of ‘insurance’…just think of storing extra food as ‘insurance’…after all, without food you can’t live! So next time you are out, just pick up an extra meal or two. Get in the HABIT. Its pretty easy once you get going.

Now that you are getting the mindset…

Get a plan!

With pen in hand and paper in front of you (or your keyboard)…figure out what it is that your family LIKES TO EAT on a regular basis. Fresh fruit and veggies? Heavy meat eaters? Rice and pastas? I am not referring to fast food or convenience foods (though they do have a place in your food storage plan), but what I am referring to is this: what does your family eat if you MAKE the food yourself?

Staple items such as cereal, milk, rice, beans (or not), pasta, vegetables and meat will make the ‘core’ of your food storage preparations and you need to know what they are…my family doesn’t do beans that much so I won’t be ‘stocking’ up too much on these, but we do eat meat, so I spend my money ensuring meat and the occasional beans.

If you don’t cook yourself and rely upon convenience foods, take out and such that is okay! There is a solution for you too! Just figure out what types of foods you like to order  or pick up to eat at home (or microwave at home).

Make the LIST of your most common foods, from this list will come all your food storage items. List the drinks, the bread (if your family does sandwiches or eats rolls), the types of veggies and fruits, diary products, etc. You want a list that would show your dietary habits.

After the ‘LIST’ is made you then need to sit down and make another list…this time I want you to write down all the condiments that you use daily and even occasionally…ketchup? Salt? Vinegar? Spices? Mixes? The little things in your food life that often times we overlook as ‘using’ and being a part of our diet.

With both lists in hand you can then move onto the next stage of planning…just how much do you use and of what in any given week? (you can then plan from there on how much to buy and of what). This might seem challenging at first to figure out, but a simple way to figure this out is take the time to think about what your meals over the past week have been…this will give you a good idea of ‘how much’ you use in any given week, if need be, write a family food diary for a week, noting the ‘what and how much’. This even works for those of you who eat out a lot or use a lot of prepared food items.

For instance, if you eat cereal for breakfast each morning…how long does a box last for you or your family…1 week? A few days? A month? And don’t forget the milk! If you eat sandwiches and soup for lunch each day (lets say on the weekends) then how much do you use for you or your family? 1 can? 3 cans? For dinner, lets say you eat a steak, rice and salad with a veggie on the side or baked potato. How many steaks? How much rice? How many potatoes? You get the idea now…even if you eat out a lot or bring home meals that are ready made from the grocery store or buy those TV dinners you still know what is in them and you know what you like to eat. Just write it down. What is in your normal meal?

If you are into meal planning then figuring out what you will need should be easy. If not, make the lists to figure out what you need to get started. We can worry about drilling down to the details later.

Put your list into action!

With both lists in hand now you are ready to get going on your preparedness food storage…you know the basic ‘what’ and about how much without too much effort exerted. An extra box of mashpotatos, a few extra cans of green beans, an extra bag of rice, canned meat if you are meat eater. If you are a shopper who makes ‘lists’ when you go shopping, pick up an ‘extra’ of each of the basics you buy each time you go out. If you coupon or shop sales, more the better! Saving money is a great way to go and get prepared at the sametime.

For those who don’t know how to cook from scratch or don’t cook at all, go with can goods and MRE’s or other prepackaged meals that all you have to do is add water, like the ready made meals that many campers use. You can google MRE’s or camping food to find out where to get these. Walmart sometimes carry them in their sporting goods section. Ebay and Amazon are good places to look also as well as Dick’s Sporting Goods. But only buy what you KNOW you will eat. Or maybe its time for a change in your habits…learn now how to cook and prepare food yourself, only you can make that judgment call. But don’t let the fact that you can’t or don’t cook stop you from storing food.

Don’t try to do it over night, each time you go to the store add to your storage. Make a goal of having 3 extra days worth at first, then a weeks worth, then a months worth. Just keep at it. I understand that for many it may be hard to find the extra money to be able to store food…use coupons, shop sales, buy in bulk, cut back on fast food, eat a ‘cheap’ meal. Examine your expenses to find the extra money. It is there if you look. Do what you can when and where you can. If you find meat at a reduced price then buy all that you can afford and either dehydrate it or freeze it for food storage use. But make the commitment to have your food storage ‘just in case’. It will give you peace of mind by taking one less worry out of your life if something were to ever happen.

There are lots of ways to prepare your preparedness pantry…some people buy in bulk and store large quantities of ‘raw’ food stuff such as wheat, powdered milk, rice and beans and gather freeze dried foods in #10 cans. Others pick and choose between store bought items (can goods) and ‘raw’ food stuffs, #10 cans and canning and dehydration (this is what I personally do). Others go with can goods only. Others still go the MRE route entirely and there are a whole host of in betweens. No one ‘way’ or ‘type’ of food is perfect for everyone. That is why I ask you to make a list of what you normally eat and then buy that for your food storage.

 

REMEMBER the GOLDEN RULE OF FOOD STORAGE!!

 

Get what you will use!  people have this funny habit of NOT eating when they aren’t used to eating it. In fact, children will starve themselves rather than eat something unfamiliar. If you don’t eat beans, don’t get beans, if you don’t eat pineapple then I don’t care how good of a deal it is, it will go to waste and don’t fall prey to the ‘this is what is recommended’ food storage guidelines that are found everywhere. Store what you use and eat ONLY…it can’t be repeated enough…if you won’t it eat or use it, then you are wasting your time and money. As a by-product of getting what you will eat and use, you will also gain a sense of comfort and stability when things aren’t so good. Familiarity gives a sense of well-being that is priceless, and this includes food too!

At this point I should address something. If you like to eat bread or like ‘fresh’ veggies or fruit and want to incorporate pressure cooking or baking into your food preparedness plan, I will offer this caution. Learn to do it now and stock up while you are learning how to make your own basics. I can tell you that making breads and canning is more difficult than it seems and I applaud those who can do it with the grace and ease that escapes me at the moment. So for right now, I am buying a bit of the ‘from scratch’ basics and putting more money and effort into getting what I know I can cook with with ease until I am sure that I know what I am doing with the ‘basics’. This goes back to the ‘get what you will use’. If you can’t or don’t know how to use it then it will not be used.

General Guidelines for Food Storage

Once you are getting into the swing of the food storage mindset and acting upon it you will need to use the following guidelines:

If you decide to buy in bulk such items as wheat, dry milk, rice or other such items (dry goods) then be sure you have containers and packaging ready when you get home to put them into storage. There are a few ways to store dry good long-term such as bucket, mylar bags, air tight plastic containers, mason jars etc. You will need these items if you store in bulk. Do your research to select what will work best for you, your needs and what you will be storing.

Learn proper storage techniques: general rule of thumb, no extreme temperatures, no moisture. Food lasts longer the cooler and dryer it is.Think about where you can store your food storage. Your cabinets and pantry will get full. Think about the garage, under beds, in closets…I know some people who even put can goods behind books on the book case! Get creative.

LABEL your storage with what it is and date you put it into storage. This is especially important for bulk storage.

Rotate your food storage! The MOST IMPORTANT thing I can tell you about food storage is that it is necessary to ROTATE your food. Use the container (or can or package) that’s been stored the longest and replace it with newer stored containers behind the older ones. Food storage that spoils or lies untouched is garbage. This is especially important if you are freezing any items such as meat or buying frozen veggies. Don’t waste your time, effort and money by forgetting to ROTATE YOUR FOOD! Develop a method to rotate your food that works for you. Use what you store…this helps to rotate the food so you don’t waste your time and money.

So that is the ‘get you started’ basics in food storage. It is really just about recognizing the need, figuring out what you do eat and then getting a little more than you normally do. If you can afford to do so, do it quickly and if you are like me, do it one trip at a time, one item at a time as you can afford to do so. Just get started.