Tag Archive: prepping


ISD…okay…just what is that you ask? I is for improvised, S is Storage and D is for Device…Improvised Storage Device…yeah, okay, okay, I will admit that older son #2 came up with it and he is an admitted warfare nut and everything is put or translated into militaristic terms if you communicate with him. But hey, an ISD sounds lot better than ‘repurposed’ or ‘recycled’ doesn’t it?

So what is an ISD exactly…well, see the picture below for a few ideas…

20130920_2

Of course the wonderful, multi-purpose 2 liter soda bottle. I use these to store rice, flour type products, popcorn, salt, sugar and other liquids (not water though as they are too thin as I have found out for long term use/storage). Gatorade bottles are great too for storing rice, flour, liquids and BEANS very easily. (Anyone who has tried to get beans into a 2 liter soda bottle knows what a pain in the rear that is let alone get them OUT and I am not into self torture food storage). How about those lunch meat containers? Put them into the dishwasher and guess what? Instant free storage. Old salad dressing bottles are great for making your own salad dressings, storing ‘homemade’ liquid soap or, if you are like me and buy in bulk, putting that liquid into a manageable container. I save and reuse the spice bottles too, again, great for breaking down from bulk purchase to manageable and you can use them to make and store your own toilet/tub scrub. One gallon water jugs that have been used? Either refill them and put outside for use as grey water (flushing toilets, watering plants, etc.) or refill with some other liquid purpose (recently I made bug killer from concentrate and used a one gallon jug to store extra in). I saved the empty laundry detergent containers to refill and reuse with my own laundry detergent and make gallons of bug killer from concentrate. Cottage cheese containers, sour cream containers? Yeah, those things that we constantly throw away…perfect for storing non-food items in such as nails, screws, thread, crayons, you name it…if it fits, it stores. Big vinegar containers I reuse to make large amounts of cleaners using vinegar. And, I will admit to reusing those zip lock bags too, a simple scrub and air dry and you get more than one use out of them. I save and reuse anything that is a ‘container’. I have a couple of totes with clean empty containers in them ‘just in case’. You never know…Any one with more ideas? Please do share your reuse ideas for ISD’s…improvised storage devices.

Advertisements

Why I Like My Springfield Gun…

20130909_32Ask me why I like Springfield firearms…yes, I know they are expensive compared to other firearms but in my opinion, you get what you pay for, even used.

But just this weekend I had an ‘interesting’ experience with a Springfield XD 9 sub-compact 3” barrel 9mm. I had purchased this used from someone local in my area, almost brand new (only 200 rounds put through it) with all original equipment. Looked good, lightweight, the only catch it seemed to me once I got it was that the magazines would not easily go in, had to ‘slam’ or should I say use a tad bit of force to get them to lock in place. No biggie, have had other handguns that did the same thing…I even got lucky and found that rare extra high capacity magazine up at the local sporting goods store (hehehehe..paid pre-Sandyhook price for it) so I am thinking I am good to go…one standard 13 round magazine and 2 high capacity…ammunition not a problem since I was smart enough to ‘stock’ up a few rounds and got lucky there too at the local store…a load of 9mm target rounds had come in…great…good to go…

So my boyfriend and I go out Sunday to put my new ‘toy’ through its paces and see what it does…a little kick, not too bad for a 3” barrel, easy to sight in with…shoots accurately at 20 yards so far (that’s all we did) and did really well with reloads too…put about 50 or so rounds through it…so now for the fun part…had to go get my kids up north, so I took my Springfield with me (yes, I carry concealed)…no biggie there either, however, when I got home late last night (Sunday) and I did my usual routine of taking the magazine out…well, something else came out with it…an EAR PLUG!!! Yep, and definitely not mine (I use orange ones this one was tan and well, lets say someone didn’t clean the wax out of their ears lately).

Seriously, out came an ear plug with the magazine when I took out it out…No wonder the magazine wouldn’t go in easily!!! Duh…but who woulda thought…no issues firing it, fed the rounds quickly and without a hitch…racked correctly… Even with an EAR PLUG in the magazine area it still worked like a charm, just like it was supposed to do…I am willing to bet that a Ruger or Glock would have jammed or misfired. Did learn one other thing…when you buy used, take it apart and clean it first! Maybe I would have found that ear plug jammed up in there, maybe not and at this point it doesn’t matter, but man, really? An ear plug in the magazine slot??? Oh well, this is a story I will tell forever I think…and btw, the magazine now goes in smooth as butter with a dead silent click.

I think I will trust this little firepower to keep me safe up close….wouldn’t you? In a SHTF situation you never know what will happen and now I absolutely trust my Springfield to work properly even when an ear plug is stuffed in it. A little dirt? nawww…not a problem!

Ask me why I like my Springfields…can your gun do that?

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…

Prepared people are positive people…let me repeat that…preppers are preparing because they are POSITIVE people. They do not lie to themselves, they see the world for what it is, they have seen the possibilities of ‘danger’ or ‘possible problems’ and have decided to take positive action. Preppers believe this…they can! You CAN! Positive action come from positive thoughts…that something CAN BE DONE and they, in fact are powerful enough to effect change in their own lives. Maybe they can’t change the world in which they live, but they most certainly can change their own lives and have an effect on the outcome of a negative event or situation.

The following I have posted on my Facebook account, under Rev. Laura Bradley and is what inspired this blog:

Positive Thinkers: a reminder from our angels: Positive thinking requires seeing life in a clear light, without lies or pretense. Positive thinkers do not lie to themselves. Often people set out to practice positive thinking, and they end up denying difficulties, disregarding pain, and practicing grandiose wishful thinking. All this is only a form of positive lying. Think about how positive your own thinking is and find ways to strengthen your resolve against the negative, without lies or pretense…you can be positive even while seeing negative and naming it for what it is.

Norman Vincent Peale wrote a groundbreaking book in 1951 entitled ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’ and for the last 55 years, we’ve heard alot about the power that positive thinking brings. Positive thinkers have to be creative and intelligent in their thinking. Positive thinkers look beyond difficulties for creative solutions, seeing the difficulties in a clear light so that clear solutions will surface. On the otherhand, negative thinkers see difficulties in dark hues of hopeless despair and become overwhelmed and defeated by difficulties. We always have the choice to turn the lights on and take a good look at what we are dealing with, and we are always free to assume the best (without lying to ourselves or pretense or pretending).

I have taken this from Angel Wisdom by Terry Lynn Taylor and Mary Beth Crain and have taken the liberty to change a bit 🙂

Hmm…creative? No lying to ourselves? Turning the ‘light’ on? Assuming the best? Don’t deny difficulties or possible difficulties? Finding ways to strength themselves and their resolve against negativity? Gee…that sounds like a prepared person to me…and that is a positive thinker!

I have heard and seen the terms ‘doomers’ but is someone really a doomer? A doomer, by definition, is someone who sees nothing but the negative in this world and does nothing to counteract the negativity or sets about using negative measures to counteract the negative they see in the world…you may know the type and often will hear these sorts of comments: What’s the point? I can’t change anything. What will be will be (as they do nothing to help themselves). I don’t want to know anymore! Someone will come to help us/me if that does happen. And I am sure you can come up with even more statements yourself about doomer thinking or maybe not. Positive thinkers have a hard time thinking like a doomer!

Personally, I wouldn’t bother preparing me and my family against the coming storm(s) if I didn’t believe that we could survive and then thrive afterwards. And that is a positive attitude. To see the potential threat, name it, claim it, own it and then do what I can, where I can, when I can, to get through it as best as possible, so that when the dust settles, me and mine are still standing (hopefully with health intact).

But I will say this, positive thinkers pay attention, see the problem and then take steps to counteract the lies, problems and issues that are inherent in the situation that they are preparing to face, survive and then thrive in spite of. They do not DWELL upon the problem, they get to problem solving. While a positive person may see and name the negative forces or fact (and they certainly seem to be overwhelming at times) they get to problem solving as soon as possible. They may share what they see with others, but then encourage others in the same breath to get to problem solving themselves. If you can’t see the problem, then you are lying to yourself and that goes directly against positive thinking…you can’t ignore or hide or deny the problem exists and be a positive thinker. And you can’t stick your head in the sand assuming that someone else will ‘fix’ the problem for you. Positive thinking requires action of some sort.

Each person who is getting ready ‘for what may come, in whatever form it may come’ sees what they see. Some are aware at higher levels than others, and that is okay. Some of us prepare for literal ‘storms’ such as hurricanes, floods, tornadoes. Some of us take it a step further and have identified other threats that can be from the fragility of our economy (loss of job), to the interconnectedness of our world financial situation, to peak oil, to the erosion of civil and constitutional rights and maybe even identifying that our country cannot continue along as it has with our governments fiscal policies. You name it, we all get prepared for different reasons, but that is okay! It is all identifying a potential negative force in our life, over which we may not be able to effect change at a level to PREVENT the negative influence, so we take steps to mitigate its effects on a personal level. We feel that we have the power to effect positive changes in our own lives to help guard against the negative outside influences that may or may not directly effect us at some time in the future. We are positive in our outlook that we can survive and maybe thrive through what may come in the future.

We are aware, creative and problem solving and learning each and everyday in our preparations for an uncertain future.

We are POSITIVE thinkers, not doom and gloomers. We are just aware and take positive steps for our future while others walk down the road of negative thinking…

Positive thinking requires seeing life in a clear light, without lies or pretense. Positive thinkers do not lie to themselves. Often people set out to practice positive thinking, and they end up denying difficulties, disregarding pain, and practicing grandiose wishful thinking. All this is only a form of positive lying. Think about how positive your own thinking is and find ways to strengthen your resolve and your life against the negative, without lies or pretense…you can be positive even while seeing negative and naming it for what it is.

Positive thinkers have to be creative and intelligent in their thinking. Positive thinkers look beyond difficulties for creative solutions, seeing the difficulties in a clear light so that clear solutions will surface.

On the otherhand, negative thinkers see difficulties in dark hues of hopeless despair and become overwhelmed and defeated by difficulties. They may choose different path ways to overcome ‘difficulties’ but those ways usually involve allowing others to do the work for themselves whether by denial or through directly abdicating their freedom and control over their very lives through dependence.

 

We always have the choice to turn the lights on and take a good look at what we are dealing with, and we are always free to assume the best…that we can overcome through being prepared…

Hi all! Been away for a while dealing with one of the worst migraines I have had in over a decade…ugh…yuck…they are muscular from stress and lack of sleep and I finally broke down and went to the doctor and am on the mend now, thank goodness.

But as always, this was a learning experience for me…be prepared and don’t rely on one way to take care of yourself and family if TSHTF. Built in redundancy is another way to think about it…either food, medicine, self-defense measures, water or what have you.

Having one way is a good place to start when becoming prepared for what may come, but having a back-up just in case is even better and a ‘last resort’ is the best.

Food wise for me this means a good mix of can goods, MRE’s, freezed dried foods, dry goods and of course, keeping my frig full (not to mention keeping your refrigerator full saves you money because, as counter-intuitive as it may seem, it has to work less as food stays cold longer than air does). Under food I including cooking methods too…electric stove, wood stove, gas grill, gas camping cooker and eventually I want charcoal too and perhaps a solar cooker. And then don’t forget can openers (I have two in the house and 2 stashed away), plates (paper and/or extra regular dishes). Paper/plastic cups are good too.

Medicine– its no secret that I am a practicing herbalist so I have one aspect covered, but I do stock Tylenol, ibuprophen, aspirin, Excedrin, cough syrups (both OTC and herbal) and my own supply of needed pharmaceuticals. I also have a good stock of essential oils and homeopathics. But as I found out this past week, sometimes I will need other types of prescriptions and I am now on the march to find a few more common ones ‘just in case’ all else fails. I have what seems like a zillion and one bandages of all sorts and types, but you know, I have also stocked up on female sanitary pads too as part of ‘medical’…these make GREAT wound absorbers in a pinch.

Self-defense– While I don’t personally know karate or anything like that (though I am not afraid to use my hands if need be) I do have dogs, weapons of various sorts and have been thinking about adding pepper spray to my personal protection plans…but this area also covers escape routes and knowing them (do you know several ways out of your area if need be?) and what about where you frequently shop or go to work? How many ways do you know how to get home from there without using GPS? Knowing the roads around you is important. And what about home security which is ‘self-defense’ also? I can’t maintain OPSEC (operational security) and tell you what I have done personally, but suffice to say things are moving along nicely…some ideas for home security are nice rose bushes under your windows (or even the medicinal plant Oregon Graperoot, which is similar to Goldenseal in its uses), a home security alarm system, motion detector lights, nice tall wooden fences, a gate at the end of your driveway. If you have a large piece of land, barbwire all the way around your property at three different heights could slow someone or something down a bit, high tinsel wire fences that are electrified…the list goes on and on, but the point being is that you use more than one way to protect your home, some seen, some not seen.

Water– having more than one source or way to get water is important too…bottled water, both by the gallon and small drinking water bottles…ways to purify water, chemical, boiling, filtration, and where would you get it? Know at 3 places in your area if possible that you can get water. You can also collect rain water in most areas of the US (check first please, I know some places out west it is illegal to collect rain water). This is a just a basic start to building in redundancy into your preparedness plans, there are other aspects such as ‘money’ or things to barter with, jobs- have multiple sources of income is a good thing, computer files too (how many of you have lost files because your computer crashed? Well, having no electricity is about the samething, what are different ways you can access the information without your main computer? The Kindle accepts PDF files, thumb drives for small laptops, most smart phones take those micro-cards which you can put files onto…and as my recent health issue showed me, I need a few other ‘just in case’ things in case my original plan of taking care of myself doesn’t work.

Things have a way of not working out when you least expect it (which is part of SHFT) and knowing what to do just in case plan A doesn’t work out or runs out having plan B and C will make life easier and give you the breathing room you need…just in case and you never know…it just may save your life.

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.