Just some observations from SW Idaho

I got a bag of wheat and a bag of corn  and the 55 gallon drum for about $55.00.  Add in the cost of the two gallon bags of $5.00 and I’ll start transferring the grains into new bags and getting the Metal drum in place this weekend. 100 pounds of grain stored for $60.00 is a good deal. I’m  starting on the misc. barrel first as I have been wanting to add more oats and dent corn to my food storage for variety but I bought the wheat because it can be hit and miss when they have it in stock.  I can get a 50 pound bag of oats at Cash & Carry any time and it is usually under $20.00. By the first weekend of February I should have about 150 pounds of grains in the metal drum and know for sure exactly how much I can store in each drum.

There are very few electric heater to be had here in the valley which really surprised me. Home Depot, True Value out local farm store  and Kmart are all out and as soon as they get a shipment in they barely get to the shelf before they are out again!  I guess this zero degree weather caught a lot of people off guard and the are supplementing the main heaters with some little electric ones. The last few years we have had mild winters and with so many transplants and new housing getting built perhaps those homes are not quite warm enough for people. Of course a lot of those new homes don’t have a real basement, or the pipes aren’t very deep compared to an old 1940’s house like mine.  So they might be using the heaters to keep the pipes from freezing.

It’s a very strange feeling for me to have been caught unaware on the heaters. Simply because it’s not an issue for me any more. Mom and Dad are set with both a wood and a gas fire place and Mom and have the small Mr. Heaters for backups for any of the kids along with some tanks of fuel.  We are supposed to warm backup into the 30’s tomorrow and hopefully we won’t see another cold snap for the rest of winter but I can tell you I’m sure glad I had enough propane on had for a couple of weeks if it had been needed. Time to refill and get a couple of more tanks if we get paid 😉 next month.  If I have to go to all propane I should be able to cook and heat with 3 tanks for every 2 weeks.  Even in very zero degree weather, six tanks should last about a month.

5 Responses to Just some observations from SW Idaho

  1. China says:

    Jamie,what sort of steel barrels did you find? most of em I run up on had oil or hazardous chemicals.And the prices are plumb stupid on plastic survival barrels. Thanks China

    • Jamie says:

      China I get my steel barrels from the local farm store (like Tractor Supply but locally owned) . They also have recycle plastic food safe barrels for rain and water barrels. If you have a bottling or beer plant nearby you might ask if they sell food safe barrels.

  2. China says:

    Awesome thanks!

  3. lester says:

    Problem with metal for storing dried grains, beans, or other foodstuffs, is that temperature and humidity can cause condensation. Moisture inside can contaminate your contents or cause other problems. Maybe not a big deal in low-humidity or controlled temp environments. Can also possibly seal with gas like nitrogen or Carbon Dioxide.

    5gal paint buckets with gasket seal lids work very well and are more manageable to handle. Will hold about 35# of grain, 25# of oats. We used new buckets bought at dealer, wiped out w/mild bleach & water solution, dried and then got ready to pack with Dry Ice CO-2 bought at grocers. Be ready to pack your grain immediately when return with your Dry Ice, sold in 2 or 3 lb bricks for a few bucks at grocers.

    We layered-in about 1/4 height of grain, had wrapped the dry ice in a towel and smashed it into fingernail size chips, Place about 8 chips on layer 1, Do another layer, add 4 more chips. Repeat until you are at top then place lid on LOOSELY. After 30mins the CO-2 chips will have gassified and you can hammer down the gasket lid. Best to label each bucket beforehand.

    We ate some 12 yr old, self-packed organic short-grained brown rice and found it perfect! Brown rice, supposedly has a minimal storage life. We found otherwise.

    Never a problem with any condensation. Have eaten other whole grains and beans we put up in buckets. All excellent.

    Best to all,


    • Jamie says:

      lester, I’m lucky I do have basement with stable temps year round. I’ll be repackaging the food into food safe bags along with DE. That should take care of any moisture issues. I also live in high desert so humidity is not a big problem.

      I’m not a fan of using paint buckets as they are not rated for food. But I have a couple+ years of food in 3-5 gallon food safe buckets so moving the food should be fairly easy.

      That is amazing on how long your brown rice stayed good. I read everywhere that Brown rice can last about 2 years before going bad from the oils. That might be a method to test out if you want brown rice on hand. I prefer white rice but I also like brown rice for a change of flavor.

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