Going to get coffee and wheat!

November 28, 2012

Nice little surprise coupon from Fred Meyer’s an additional 10% off all store branded products including food items.  I’ll getting a few  big cans  of coffee at $5.30 a can.  I did okay on my coffee during the huge jump in prices this last year, the most I paid for coffee was $7.00 when it was at it’s highest price and some stores had it for $12.00 a can.  The “pantry” help keep my  costs low.  Now that the price is coming down I want to stock up again.  If your cans are sealed and in a cool, dark and dry spot you can get about 2 years of storage time.  I figure coffee will be for me and not for barter, but this way I don’t have to pay such high costs if it goes up again!

I’m getting the wheat from the Beer lady. This is malted wheat for making beer but in a pinch I can eat it or use as animal feed or all of the above from one batch of beer. Making your own all grain beer makes your grains a multi-taker and I love multi- taskers! The Mead is still working away, it’s starting to get a bit of fizz similar to champagne.  I like how it is progressing even though it is a slow process. The taste is much more enjoyable than I had anticipated so I’ll start another small batch maybe kick up the alcohol content a little bit. From what I have read, mead is about a year long process. By starting now I’ll have a few bottles ready for Christmas in 2013 and it puts my Mr. Beer kegs to work.

I did a little research in to using the barrels from the beer lady to hold gasoline as the barrels where similar to some I saw on the internet. Not the same kind of barrels so that is a big  No Go!  Blowing myself up for any reason is contra-indicated in any situation and not worth saving a few dollars.  Looks like I’ll be adding the 55 gallon metal drums for storing fuel and they sell them at the local farm store.  I have a nice covered area outside the shop I’ll set up as my “fuel storage” and that will be as safe as possible!  Not bad news overall because this last barrel gives me the equivalent to 1 big barrel so other than adding the rain barrels and my “Ice house” experiment,  I’m ready on my stored water!

Picking up another Butane stove and a couple more of the crank flashlights from American Surplus and supply. Getting 6 ft.x 3/4 inch of Wick material from GLO fuel for $11.00 including shipping. That puts a big dent on some of the replacement items needed for the lanterns. Next year I’ll add the replacement wicks for the Kerosene stove and add more fuel as I can afford it.  So far the backup plan is Kerosene for lighting and propane for heating offers the best bang for the buck.

The turkey stock is freezing the turkey carcass has been stripped of all meat and I made a nice turkey rice soup. Saved a little of the turkey meat for a turkey noodle soup made with homemade egg noodles for the weekend. I didn’t have much in the way of leftovers just enough for everyone to have a care package to take home and make a meal.




How much do you need? I don’t know, how are you planning to survive next year?

November 25, 2012

In the last 2 years I have seen containers of food, Toilet paper either shrink or jump in price like gas or meat or power prices. Coffee had a terrible harvest for a couple of years and now it’s just starting to come back down to normal of $5.00-$7.00 for a big can and even the big can has dropped from holding 36 oz down to 29-33 oz. and that’s the cheap stuff. Most hi-end coffee was sold in 16 oz. bags now it’s 12 oz. bags. So while the price has come down a bit the cans and the bags are not getting any bigger. Do you have coffee for Jan. 2013? How about June 2013 or will you quit drinking coffee if you can’t afford it? Quit now and save the money if that is your plan, same thing for soda and learn if you are addicted to caffeine and get a terrible caffeine migraine/ headache. Or you could figure up about how much coffee you drink per month and store 1-2 years worth buying an extra can or three each month. In the event of a bad harvest, rising prices or something else that prevents you from buying coffee you have a year to 24 months time to work out a plan. Most of the cheap canned coffees are good for 24 months if sealed in a cool, dark and dry storage area. I’ve stored roasted beans for over a year in a cool (60-65  degrees F.)  basement in a ziplock bags and it was considered good by those that like high end coffee.  Don’t freeze your roasted coffee beans the oils get messed up when frozen then thawed. If you like a hi-end coffee bean you can get green beans and store them five years plus and roast them as you use them.  Of the barter economies I have studied coffee tends to be a hi-value item.

Will you have a job next year?  Could your hours be cut?  Do you think all those things you use daily are going up or down in price? Will you be making more money next year or less?  How’s your 401k, investments and savings account?  What if the banks don’t open next week?  What if the EBT cards are not filled? If you could not go to the store next week or the next month how would your Xmas and New Year’s celebrations look?  Do you have gas in your car for the next week, the next month?  How about the generator have you filled it with oil and tested it yet? Do you have heavy duty extension cords tested and ready to go? Extra parts for everything you got and know some simple troubleshooting.  Can you survive not having water or sewer for a couple of weeks? How about power or not going shopping for a month or more?  How about heat, lights communication or information and going without them for a week or two?

I don’t know your level of survival or prepardness. I don’t know your situation, nor what you will accept as living conditions. If you love MRE’s buy them by the case. I hate the damn things as I ate the for over 13 years in the Army. MRE’s are incredibly healthy and I found most Army soldiers brought along (pogie bait) just chock full of salt, fats and sugars.  Trust me these folks knew if the got fat they would lose everything and get discharged because they got fat.  One thing I hated in the Army was no margarine or butter in the field for bread. But how could a person make a good sandwich without butter, margarine or mayo/salad dressing in the field?  I hate both mayo and salad dressing but other folks like it.  No fresh coffee or hot water in the AM . The food service guys hated me for being the KP NCO but they had stoves fired up for boiling water in pots for cleaning pots and pans no reason they could not do it for the guys shaving each morning. Lazy bullshit, just getting by checking the block crap I have no patience with. You don’t need to be miserable! You will have to work a bit harder to make things the best you can do everyday. I got no kids, I was in the US Army were practicing misery was considered good training. You got your kids, your family and it’s up to you but aren’t they worth a 50 pound bag of rice? Perhaps yearning to make your own bread?  It’s only $20.00 a month now and you got time to learn.

Preppers  and most Survivalists have no particular need for a collapse to happen. Most of us would be quite happy going into our dotage and never have to use any skills we have learned. I would be quite happy to be notified  that all the crap I have been preparing for will never happen! My SSD and VA benefits are completely safe and will always be honored and never lose value due to inflation or currency devaluation!  China, Japan,  the EU and Saudi Arabia along with the rest of the world loves Treasury notes and the dollar as the reserve currency.

We have in the USA 16 trillion + in yearly debt and it’s getting a little kick of almost 1 trillion of additional debt. Our projected outlays of SS, SSI and SSD is well over 220 trillion dollars in the next 40 years. The derivatives, CDS and the shadow banking system is over 100 trillion dollars in bets and the Global GDP is around 50 trillion.  As far as I know we have no extra planetary systems to add value to these bets. No incredibly cheap or free energy source of food or fuel. The reset is coming and we aren’t special. You might keep your Obama phone but when there is no money to pay the carriers or the go out of business it’s nothing but a paper weight.  Hard times are a coming, get ready! If you don’t, that’s on you. I hope you got skills to trade.

So it begins….

November 23, 2012

My sister told me my stepsister is going to the food bank to get food.  Yes, she has done some dumb things to put herself in this position but people  got to eat. My step sister and I have not gotten along very well and I think she’s a bit embarrassed to ask me for any help. So she goes to my sister who is a loving and understanding person and a little less likely to say “I told you so”.

I don’t really understand my step sister. I think she feels a little threatened by me like some how I’m stealing her Daddy’s love and less is left for her.  I can’t consider myself wildly successful but I pay my bills and put a little away for a rainy day.  I’m darn happy on how well my life is going and the direction it has taken. I think she want’s me to falter a bit to give her an excuse for screwing up.  I don’t think it’s really a malevolent thing, but if I can make my life work and she can’t then she’s the screw up. If I fail then it’s just bad luck and she is no longer to blame for her life.  I always sucked at the sibling rivalry thing even as a kid so I may be wildly off base. I always competed with myself first and tested if I was any good with other people hopefully better at a skill than I was.  But I never thought my value as a person had anything to do with me good at sports. Sports was just something I loved and wanted to be the best I could be and if not I would work harder. Or it just wasn’t important enough for the investment time and energy if I wasn’t having fun!

I never worried all that much about what other people think! Except for a short time as a teenager, I never cared enough about being popular or wearing the right clothes or thinking the right things.  I think it’s just my nature I certainly am not smarter than others, other than being just a bit contrary in nature.  I don’t think my Mom ever had to use the argument with me “If your friends jumped off a cliff.. ”

I often tried to be normal but I just couldn’t pull it off!  I’m the odd duck, not rebellious actually more Dudley Doo right than a rebel. Ironic now that I think about it.

Prepping and self-reliance is fun for me! I love it when a recipe comes together. Mom doesn’t drink and really doesn’t drink beer but she tried a little taste of my dark beer and said it’s Good!  Those little victories thrill me.  In the whole general mish-mash of life making a meal, bread or a beer someone likes is not earthshaking nor will launch a thousand ships. But it’s a nice little victory I can call my own!  I think many people would call me arrogant. I don’t believe in false modesty,  I am  a good beer maker working with plastic buckets and a shoestring budget. I work with very simple recipes and make them the best I can with what I have to work with, and there are a lot of people who are better than me.  I know, cause I’m using their recipes!  I just tweak them a bit to work with what I have on hand for equipment.

Anyone prepping or moving towards self-reliance should know that one- size fit’s no one. I’m single and while trying to prep for others on my budget is a challenge. You may have a bunch of kids and your focus will be very different.  I live pretty cheap and you may have more money to devote to things than I do, but not as much time.  Or more energy than time or money.  I found in my life the 3 things I always need is time, energy and money and usually I have a lot of 1 thing and little of the other 2. They are always shifting and you got to adapt to take advantage of those shifts.

Are you in the media high or on some medicatition?

November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Day parade offers respite for storm victims

Are you fucking kidding me?  How does looking at a parade make any home safer? Clean any trash or rebuild crap?   People will feel better living  in filth because some rich asshole has bright balloons in the street. Where are the dumpsters? the trash trucks? where are the insurance adjuster. How much food,  water and sanitation do citizens have to use today?  Is the damn sewer system working yet?   People have no homes, no jobs and you expect them to get into the holiday spirit and go shop?  Damn MSM I know you don’t give a crap about flyover country but these folks live less than 10 mile away from your studios.

The homes are still flooded, they have no power, heat, water or sanitation  and you hope a hot air balloon will give them hope in FEMA the Red cross or even trash pickup?  Are you all on crack at the all the news rooms?  People need food, shelter, first aid , heat  and sanitation not staring at a bunch of fucking big balloons . They don’t need down time they need results of this will work or it won’t and you need to leave and make a new life.  What is your major malfunction media?  Give the people the truth, Guess folks you are fucked get out and get safe and if FEMA ,the Government or insurance pays off you are already out of the city and you can start again. I’m not impressed with most city folk but I saw NYC do incredible things during 911 and you did not need any permission to do the right thing.

Fuck Bloomberg if he thinks trans fat, salt and the 17 oz soda are the biggest threats to his city. Leave, you owe him nothing Or stay and put up with that crap that a Macy day thanksgiving parade will make you home safe. Cancel all mold, make the sewer system work and put gas in your gas tank.  Unicorns will fart skittles.

How they got here by possibly being stupid and not prepared is irrelevant. You to the MSM the Powers That Be Told the proles you would save them and you can’t and you won’t. You showed how preppers were crazy terrorists. How having a couple of weeks of food, water and a generator + way to use it was insane and only crazy militia members would do that.

So you in the Rockaways, Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn if you are not entertained by the parade and perhaps to recall all of those property and utility taxes you paid  for years and actually expect you politicians to be accountable. I want you to remember how you were treated as a photo op and told to move on and not hold a grudge against the  city and state idiots doing the best they can.  The PTBs have shown exactly how much they value you as a citizen!

Thank you!

November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to all who have stopped by my little blog, for listening to my little rants and I hope it has helped you, as much as it has helped me.

I have been blessed beyond even my wildest imagination and reached all my goals and then some except for one, getting soaker hoses. LOL

It’s a beautiful day here almost perfect for BBQ the turkey, I still have the Mac & Cheese to make  that I’m doing this year and I’ll take it to my parent’s house for dinner.  This should save them from doing so much cleanup so they can enjoy the holiday as well.  I didn’t need to shop for anything except the turkey last week. It was wonderful not to battle the hordes at the local mega mart. I think I’m going to start a holiday dinner bin for the basic fixings of the meal.  I never cared much for crowds, and after the weekend I will shop for some of the traditional fixings and start the bin.

Bless you all and may you be a blessing to others!

Hitting the Jackpot or I love it when a plan comes together!

November 20, 2012

Lately I have been focusing on getting fuel and Kerosene has been my fuel of choice to get  for the lanterns and a little fuel for the kerosene heater for heating the big spaces as well as another backup. Kerosene just went on sale  at the local farm store allows me to  add 10 gallons this week saves me a dollar per 5 gallon can, on something I already planned to buy. It’ is a $6.00 per can savings from regular price and takes care of the fuel for the lantern for a year.  The farm store had a small Crossman pellet rifle on sale I will be adding to my little arsenal that will allow me to do a little target practice and give me a silent shooter for taking out small critters here in the city. The grand kiddies are getting of an age to introduce them to shooting and the pellet rifle can be a great start if I haven’t managed to piss off the parents to bad that they won’t let me around the kids.

I did have a little unexpected windfall of cash and I’m adding a few pieces of beer making equipment.  The Wort chiller is about $52.00 and will cool the wort in minutes instead of an hour or more, adding another 15 gallon barrel and buying a 50 pound bag of malted wheat to save money making my hefe-weizen and my beer lady is giving me a bargain as I’m buying in bulk.  Less than $10.00 for 2 cases of the best Hefe-Weizen I have had since I left Germany is a great buy! I think this will be the beer I enter at the county fair next year and see how well it does!  I got a case clear flip top bottles to show off the color and some labels but I’m still working on a name.

My sister loved the little mead set up I gave her for her birthday. She can’t believe how simple it is to start making her own with just few items.  My mead is coming along nicely and it seems to take less time than I anticipated. It’s been about a month about 2/3’s of the sugar has already been converted to alcohol. It’s  a very nice drink during my taste/gravity test and does not require cooling to taste good.  Depending on the readings I might be able to bottle it fairly soon and let it condition.  I started my batch with the potential alcohol of around 6%-7%.  That might make a difference as a lot of mead recipes are a bit more powerful and that might affect the time and flavor.  The mead so far has an almost cider like taste.  I  used a champagne yeast so that might be giving it a dry flavor.  I prefer a dry taste rather than sweet so if you are starting out keep your own preference in mind.  I figure make something you like first and don’t mind storing for a rainy day. If others like it great! If not you have made something you like and don’t mind doing the work or storing.

Yes,  I read recipe books and I finally hit my sweet spot on making a great stir fry. Since getting my latest cookbook  everything came together for great taste.  I made an okay stir fry and tasty enough before but when you find that spot you go from good to great and want to make the same meal again right away I call that the “sweet spot” for a recipe.  It’s a bit of technique, the right spices, oils and cooking it correctly that can only be learned by practice.

I’ve been talking up doing what I call a “Second-hand Christmas”.  I can’t remember which blogger I read about doing a non-electronic Xmas but I thought how cool it would be to do an Xmas that you make a gift or you must buy it second hand at the local thrift store or a yardsale/Craig’s list or  make it yourself , but it can’t be a new thing from a store.  I have seen in my family all to often it’s almost like a competition of who spends the most and somehow the amount of money spent equals love or somehow using a credit card and taking on the debt of those 12 easy payments means you have become an adult.  I’d like to see the season change back from spending money to getting back to giving of the most precious thing of time and energy.  I also hate debt and there are very few reasons I can find for taking on any kind of debt if you have a choice!

Screw that, get free of the beast/slavery of debt. My Christmas wish is would be my family members coming to me and asking for a
Bugout Bucket, teach them to shop, bake bread, make beer,  garden, or what weapon or buy how to hunt and fish.  Talk about being tickled pink,  I’d be doing a happy dance and bouncing off the walls!  I’m easy, though not cheap but I want to save them if they will just let me!

If you are standing still you are losing ground

November 19, 2012

When I wrote up the apartment dwellers guide I did almost all of it based on what I have done to prepare and the tests I did myself.  I can tell you I didn’t have any room for storing foods until I started buying dry goods and preserving my own food.  The stuff I had before I started preparing managed to fill up every room, closet and shelf I had, but you learn what is really important to have on hand and get rid of things that are just stuff you don’t use but hate to get rid of because of your investment in time and money.

A good rule of thumb for me was if I hadn’t used something in a year it was safe to get rid of. That’s not set in stone because somethings are very expensive to replace. Having a few backups of an item is a good idea. But I found it was good place to start and give it to a charity and get the tax deduction or have a yard sale and start/add to your emergency fund can make the getting rid of stuff a lot easier. I keep some foam I scrounged because foam is darn expensive to buy at the craft stores so it’s worth storing to me!  Heck I’ve already traded some to crafting family members. Winter is a great time to go through your stuff and get it organized. Go to a dollar store and get those little yardsale price tags and your boxes will be packed away but they will be ready for yard sale or if taken to a charity gives a hint on the monetary values for your deduction.

Do something that makes you happy!  I always like the look of clear big glass jars of food. Not practical for long term storage all the time but I have been buying and storing big 1/2 gallon or larger jars and finally got the counter space for setting some up.  So far I have a container of white rice, red beans and some polenta/yellow corn grits.  I have a couple more jars to add but I think it looks really good  and I always have a good amount of those items that are within reach for cooking without getting a bucket from the pantry.  Like most people and I will get lazy from time to time and not get stuff from the pantry bulk items to cook.  I hope with these foods out and looking so good it will inspire me to add more and new items to my daily meals.  I’ve been collecting the metal tins you see around Christmas time and while I’m only up to four they are great for storing crackers. I did a little test with some saltine crackers in a tin stored in the original bag but with about a teaspoon of DE in the bottom of the tin. The crackers I bought on sale in Sept.  taste very fresh the DE seems to be keeping dry and they don’t taste stale/old.

When I started out I  can’t explain what my mindset was going to be, but I think there was a little bit I had to live like some ascetic monk, hermit or nun. Like if I got gruel 3 times a day  and a little meat I some sort of hedonist. I know it’s dumb now, but I do see a few people who prepare and plan on being miserable.  No wonder preparing is a hard sell to people!  Misery does not need to be practice, it’s a little gift that shows up all by itself with no prior planning.  It’s a lot more fun to really learn how to do all the great meals from simple ingredients and see how I can make everyday my life better, learn new skills and save money. I know things will get a lot harder and it will take more physical work to get things done without so many things we take for granted,  I know I’ve done it! But if you test and get some systems in place and practice now you can be ready. You can have a confidence that can only be gained by doing and the future does not have to be so frightening.

I’m not saying you don’t need to toughen up a little. Unless you health prevents it drop your thermostat to 60-65 degrees F. and wear more clothes.  In the summer try and get by with the air condition set at 80 degrees again if your health allows it. I can do 65 degrees in winter after a couple of years of practice but 78 degrees is my best so far for summer. Get out and walk if  half a block is all you can do start there and work at improving that everyday.  Try to toughen up now as much as possible, It can be hard if you are handicapped like I am but I can walk 5 miles, 5 days a week. Yes, I use my walker and I’m not speedy but I know I can do at least 5 miles a day. Hell, theoretically  I could be 20 miles out of a town if I had to walk in a week depending on how many zombies I had to fight off.  LOL

So ask yourself are you standing still?


November 18, 2012

I love multi-taskers they can save time, money and space.  Herbs are super for adding many capabilities in a very small space.  You can grow them in a south facing window year round.  Herbs and spices were the original prescription drugs and have many health benefits.  When you add in how good fresh herbs can taste and how they can really “punch up” a simple meal, it’s a no-brainier to start a small window box of your favorite herbs.

One of my favorite herbs is Rosemary. I love the taste for one and it’s the best herb I have found to use in steam when I get a head or chest cold.  But I always had problems growing it till I got ARP Rosemary. It’s not quite the woody type of plant that Rosemary is,  and it grew super in SW Idaho in my raise beds. My first year planting it so I’m not sure if it can come back, but I will be getting some more to grow next year. What more can you ask from a little plant it tastes good, can be dried and is a cold remedy.

I tried growing some Hops this year but I got lazy and didn’t pay attention to the plants. My fault, I know hops  grows great in the valley  so I need to get a little better at paying attention to new plants I’m trying out. Hops besides being great for beer were packed into little sachets and placed in pillows as a calming agent. Hops are also a part of many calming teas and tonics before Prozac and Zoloft.  With so many Americans being treated with anti-depressants I think it’s a good idea to have herbs that can help calm people if they are suddenly cut off from prescription meds. Will it help? I don’t know!  But just sitting around doing nothing  is not in my nature.

Ginger: While I have not tried to grow ginger there are many ways to preserve it. Just a pot full of damp sand can make the roots last a long time. You can do a candied ginger with sugar that is simple. I want to do a real Ginger Ale because ginger is so good at treating nausea and motion sickness. Plus I’m getting into Asian cooking and ginger is a very important spice for flavoring Asian inspired meals.

One of my favorites Garlic: Garlic needs to be planted in the fall it’s a bit of an odd duck as far as most plants because of this need of cold and wintering over.  Garlic has a ton of health benefits that are quite well documented and is used a lot when I cook.  I think it was Erma Bombeck who said her two basic rules of cooking  were “If you can’t add chocolate add garlic and if you can’t add garlic add chocolate”.  I bet you would be hard pressed to find a savory meal that does not include garlic and the fresh stuff tastes better.

Now I just covered 4 simple plants that can be bought any any mega mart and you can preserve easily that are all multi-taskers.  I didn’t even start on the basil, oregano or sage and what they can do for a meal.  Get your self a good herbal book or a solid source on the internet and start a window garden, get some ginger and fresh garlic to use and  planted till your starts come up next spring.  If you never grew a plant before think of the practice you will get this winter. If you can grow in the winter you can grow year round!

The Apartment dwellers prepping list Part 6 Mental

November 16, 2012

Things will be a lot slower and take more physical work on your part.  You will be both bored and exhausted,  nothing will work the way it does normally and you will get frustrated and cranky. So will everyone around you so understand it will happen and have ways of dealing with it.  While I love the PC and the internet I also love to read and can do so for an entire day. Cards, dominos, dice games can help keep you entertained and take up very little space.  I like painting with water colors and though I have no special talent it makes me happy. So I have a little travel setup for the painting with some paints and little canvasses that I can work on when I want to do some painting.

You will feel to tired to eat or cleanup, but you must force yourself to do theese things to stay healthy. Try to let everyone have as much privacy and personal space as you are able. Sometimes a little alone time can help a person deal with the disaster. But also insure no one isolates themselves so much that they are not helping themselves and others.  You never know how people can react in a crisis some get stronger and some get weaker but you just have to focus on taking one day at a time. It’s not forever and things will get better or you can leave and get to a better place.  You are not powerless unless you let yourself be powerless. You can make your life a little better each day or get to a spot where you can make things better! Throw your food bins, stove, tents  in the car and leave. If you don’t have a car, get a bike with one of those little buggies on the back and go. Even if you got a wagon and a backpack,  you can walk your way out of the disaster area.  If you can’t do that you need to leave before the storms hit!

You can choose to be a victim or a survivor. Everyday you must work at making  progress at making your life better and sometimes that might be walking away and starting again. Yes that can be terrifying but you and yours came to America and took that risk once you can do it again!  It ‘s very easy to give up and it’s not noble or self sacrificing. It’s darn hard to say to yoursef that this really sucks and I don’t care if it starts sucking worse,  I’m going to make it.  You talk to any person that survives a hard situation and it’s always mental toughness that wins, not physical strength or intellect. Sure those thing help but if you can’t be mentally tough enough to say I’m going to survive the next minute or hour or day you won’t make it.

This is just the begining! Post inspired by Wild Cookery “Warning” long post

November 15, 2012

Original post http://wildlibertyiii.blogspot.com/2012/11/parasites-preppers-and-poltroons-part.html

If you have been reading my blog for awhile you know my focus is self-reliance.  I do consider myself a prepper, but that is only a means to an end not an end to itself.  I know many people recommend having a month to 12 months of food. Like wars, droughts, disasters and economic collapses can only last a short period of time.  Our own great depression lasted over 10 years, the dust bowl drought about 7 years, hyperinflation tends to last 3-4 years for the worst of it though it takes along time for society to recover. New Orleans is still recovering from Katrina and it happened in 2005 in a modern first world country. Why it takes so long to recover is irrelevant, the fact is 1 month of food is not enough for anything but getting started as a short term goal or perhaps your own little disaster of the car needs a new transmission or a major appliance bites the dust. It’s just one last worry when you are scrambling to make ends meet.

I started preparing because of my own little disaster becoming 100% disabled, no work or paycheck for almost 9 months and I did not have food in the house.  But,  I was “Living the Dream” in debt up to my eyeballs. I paid off over $32,000.00 in debt and got quite most of my daily needs handled for some time. I prepare because I’m trying to stack odds in my favor. Not because it’s a “get out of Armageddon alive” card. Though I think some people think if they just buy enough crap that they will survive. It’s still the “consumer” paradigm not the thought of a free person. IMO it’s still slavery to stuff or debt, just a new product being sold.

I started seeing a real benefit to prepping when I had about 6 months of my daily needs on hand.  It dramatically changed how I shopped.  I could wait for sales because I didn’t need anything when I shopped. When items went on sale I might spend most of my budget on buying case of coffee or 48 rolls of toilet paper and paper towels.  I will want and need those items in the future because I didn’t need to get anything short term it really made a difference how I could get the most bang for buck and shop loss-leaders most of the time. I can skip shopping a month and not be concerned at all except for the sales I may miss.  It took a lot of work just to get 6 months stored before I started seeing a positive outcome. What is your ultimate goal? You must define it and then work towards it. A personal disaster might be covered by a few months of stored basics. A drought, economic collapse or a hurricane might take a bit more storage space. If you can’t imagine, do or think ahead and have a trade, skill or something of value after the SHTF all the preps in the world won’t save you.

I started to make my own bread, stock, soup, stews and freeze and can the extras. It’s amazing the amount of money you can save just baking your own bread. It’s simple though it takes some practice but if you are buying Artisan bread at the store for $3.00 a loaf and you can make the same bread at home for under 50 cents including power cost. You can see how making your own food can save you a lot of money.  Making up a big pot of beans, rice and stew on the weekend and freezing them will save both time and money because they can be reheated on the stove or microwave and you know it’s real food.  I think this is a skill that is very underrated making food that fills both body and spirit is truly a wonderful thing.  Talk about your aroma therapy what smells better than baking bread, cinnamon rolls and a fresh pot of coffee?  Or real oven baked mac&cheese made with real cheese, milk and butter and not something made with orange powder and water.

I’m not fudging my numbers when I say I have been able to knock my food shopping costs under $125.00 per month and that is counting extras for the future.  I don’t coupon much nor hunt and fish though I want to add those in next year. I have a small garden and fruit and nut trees but they are not big part of my food plan. I basically take the weekly sales ads and check off the things that are on sale, if it meets my price point and I will need in the future I buy.  I could not do that with turkey this year as it never went on sale for a good price. But I stashed back a little cash and got the best deal I could and still have turkey for Thanksgiving. New price point went up a lot for turkey compared to last year.

This drought has been going on for a couple of years and it’s not expected to get better in 2013 so how far is that 1 month of food going to last you when prices really start to jump for meats,  grains and anything made with corn starts to skyrocket?

How you can mitigate the costs and continue to eat well….

  1. Buy all you can afford right now and for the next couple of months. Prices on flour, sugar salt and the basics are okay.  Rice seems to have had a good harvest and easy to get 50 pounds for $20.00 and under. Beans are going up but still offer a lot of servings per pound. Cheese, eggs and dairy products seem to be a good price for now but you want to take advantage of that and store them now!  Get all the meat you can if you like eating it as the ranchers cull the herds and the price is low.  Meat prices will be going up a lot in 2013.  I think all food prices will be jumping up quite a lot so get what you can now!
  2. Think outside the box and start a garden even if it is just a little herb garden or a few plants like tomatoes or lettuce in pots. Get heirloom seeds and set up a small garden for cheap food and  practice.  If fruit trees are not getting harvested offer to pick the fruit and give the homeowner a cut for the privilege. If you don’t have a canner,  freeze or dry the harvest.
  3. Learn your local wildlife and fauna. Mushrooms, dandelion greens, local berries and nuts might be just free for the picking in the wild. Heck pine needles can make a tea rich in vitamin C.
  4. Go ethnic in your cooking Central and South America is a great place to start learning how to cook food in new ways and I got a great new to me but old authentic Chinese cookbook  I get to try out some recipes that look really easy to convert using canned meats.
  5. Indian and Mediterranean cooking looks darn fun. Especially since Turmeric and curries look like a great spice mixes for health.  All of these diets tend to be meat light a veggie/fruit heavy. I’m not knocking the paleo or caveman diets. But they are great for a prepper and the ingredients tend to store safely for a long time.
  6. It’s a bit hard to store for a native American diet as the recipes tend to be somewhat small because we lost so much of the knowledge civilizing them. But pemmican has all kinds of potential and perhaps we may recreate those recipes in hard times.

I got a few recipes I want to recreate based on old Pioneer diaries.  Especially one with cooked meat preserved by covering it in lard. A real interesting one for drying fruit.  I’m in good shape food wise so I can afford to take a risk and see if it works and is somewhat safe.  I’m going heavy on trying out 1800’s tech so we will see how it works out.

Wild Cookery was less than impressed by folks that call themselves prepper and mostly I have to agree.  But some are doing all kinds of great work homesteading and becoming self-reliant instead of just stashing a few items away. If you do the work yourself, I think you start to pick up the difference between those that talk a good game and those that do the hard work.

I know in the Army there is a saying Train as you will fight. But there is a corollary You will  fight as you have trained.  How’s your training looking?  Remember the more you sweat in peace the less you will bleed in war.  You sweating enough yet?