Puttering around and figuring out the shopping list for May 1st

April 29, 2013

I got a batch of wheat beer started and if I have the energy,  I’ll start another batch on Wed. after shopping to take advantage of cool temps that day. Yes, I have to drag the strawberries into  the house again because of a  frost warning.  It’s kind of a pain but it’s better than seeing them get wiped out in the garden beds.  After Wed.  I will plant my hops as I have figured out a way to protect them if another frost comes along.  It’s a slightly modified idea of the hoop greenhouse but instead of using PVC pipe I will be using some different types of tomato cages and some clear heavy mil plastic sheeting. It’s not a long term solution but I think it should work in the short term.

Mom can drive again! Huzzah for her!  This knee replacement surgery seems to be going a bit better than the one she did last year. This doctor got her into therapy within a week of surgery and the therapist seem to be working out for her and focusing on results instead of just following a checklist.  Driving may not seem like such a big deal for some people but here in the west you just about have to have a car as things are very spread out and there is no effective public transportation. In a very real sense a vehicle means freedom.  Mom is a recovering Catholic and seems to have a built in “guilt gene” so I know she felt like she was imposing on me. I will admit taking her shopping did tire me a bit but I was also overjoyed that I could give back to her and my Dad after all the help they have given me.  The money they loaned me is the easist thing to pay back, but the love and caring the gave me like giving me a small 4 cup coffee maker so I could make my own coffee or buying little TV dinners so I could cook for myself and be some what independent when I first came home from the ECU was huge to me.

I’m still going to drive Mom around on the 1st out to my gas station that is a few miles out of town for some “real” gas and pick up another propane tank for storage. We are going to check out some plants for the gardens and some general shopping if things aren’t to busy. The first will be a busy day as it will have all us vets on disability getting paid along with quite a few Social Security folks getting their checks.  I hope that it won’t be to bad on crowds at the store.  I’m not so sure it is the number of folks shopping but I’m picking up on an emotional vibe of quiet desperation bordering on panic that makes me uneasy in crowds.  This is Idaho and it wasn’t all that long ago that we broke a million persons living in the whole state and our biggest city has less than 300,000.

I do quite a bit of my shopping when I get paid but I always have looked at all the ads and have a few little coupons to get the things I want for the freezer or pantry.  I no longer shop based on need but based on price and getting those loss leaders.  I can’t even imagine what it is like for folks that must buy so they have food/basic needs  in the house.  Even when I was a complete idiot before I woke up I could shop every couple of weeks and not run out of food if I didn’t shop on a specific day.

I suppose it plays good on the news to look like poor and desperate victim.  But as I see it, you are only enslaving yourself to the PTBs. I see it in my own family as they will attribute all stupidity on there part to a downturn in the economy or simply its bad luck. Bad luck is catching an incredibly rare incurable disease,  stupidity is not buying insurance before becoming physically disabled so you can pay your bills. Two very different things and I did both.  I “screwed the pooch ” financially I took on way more debt than I was capable of handling, I had no emergency fund and looked at my credit card as my “emergency fund”. I basically rented toys to prove I was a big wheel and to keep up with the “Jones” . Everything I buy now is mine, I own it outright no interest payment unless I choose to pay for that convenience or pretend to be a good little sheep.

You can get free of being a debt slave I did it by paying cash for nearly everything and taking out a small loan as well as paying my bill on time or at least pretty darn close to on time.  I didn’t bounce checks, I started with a small check protection and I stayed on budget to live on less than 70% of my disability payments.  If you can not live on 70% of your total take home pay you are in the danger zone of becoming a debt slave.  You have only to choices generate more  income or cut your cost of living.  Simple but it is very hard in real life.  Take a good look around you are things getting better or worse?  Bloomberg really does not like us serfs having guns to defend our property in Long Island. Chris Christie says Obama fulfilled every promise so I guess you folks in Jersey have totally recovered.

Cities are death traps get out now if you can or set up your escape routes.  Your lovely condo with a great view of the city skyline may well kill you.  The PTBs are not your friend  get out of the debt and death paradigm and go independent.  Get out of all metro areas if you want to live. Oh you may make some money but it will be a fools game.

If you live a ag state you can buy locally plenty for a 7 years.  Not quickly but it is doable.  Look around and really observe your fellow citizens.  Would you choose to be around them when TSHTF or would you to be safe in fly over country?  Oh we know you will laugh and call us names right up till you want a bit of ammo or a gun.


Was a little lazy today

April 28, 2013

I really wanted to go out and finish up mowing the backyard and getting a start on the garden but it just didn’t happen.  I had a couple of bad nights with the  CIDP and not getting a good nights sleep just takes all the energy away.  Just as well  as we have a frost warning on Wed. so not working on the yard was not a big disaster. I got a few things done in the house like baking up a couple of loaves of bread one to eat and one to freeze. If the weather keeps playing silly buggers and I’m into a flare it will be nice to have a couple of loaves ready to go in the freezer.

I brought in a couple of bunnies to try cooking on the rotisserie and I had a devil of a time getting them positioned correctly so they could spin freely. I finally gave up and just put on one bunny and tied the legs together to keep the rotisorie moving. The rabbit did turn out very tasty though a bit on the tough side. I think I’ll go ahead and cook the other rabbit the same way but toss it in the crock pot for some rabbit stew.  I enjoy having so many different ways to cook, just by using a different method you can change up flavors very radically and that does not even count how you spice it up.  Another thing I like about the rotissorie is it cooks very quickly without drying out the meat compared to roasting it in the oven.  There is  another plus to having things like a small toaster oven, hot plates and the rotissorie as they can be plugged into a 120 volt AC generator, but  your electric stove is a 220 volt and you probably can’t power it up with most standard gas generators.  Most countries that suffer a collapse have the electricity gets a little iffy and are prone to rolling blackouts/brownouts. Heck have seen that happen here in the states during heat waves so having some other options for cooking with electricity but not your stove I think is a good idea.  You can also take the the small items outside or to the garage to cook in summer and not heat up the house.

That kind of brings us to the idea of food fatigue which is very real and can be very mentally difficult to deal with if you are not aware it will happen.  Eating the same thing day in and day out can be very hard on your morale and make you apathetic at best and cause you to completely shut down at worse.  If you have watched a person or you have  suffered with a caffiene migraine it can drop them in their tracks and while that is somewhat extreme example,  I do know that while I was in the Army on Field Training  that there was always a craving for fats, suagrs and salt/spices and the Army fed us a good balance diet and this would happen in as little as two weeks among mostly healthy young people fed a good variety of food.  We had one gal that was having some mental issues (undiagnosed depression) that we were able to help keep her going over a 30 day plus field problem by giving her some well timed twinkies or other sugary treats.  I’m not saying good medical support can be re placed by twinkies but it does  show you that food can have a huge effect on a person’s  mental outlook.

For many of the food “morale boosters” are often things you have in the pantry or garden but you just need to cook or prepare it a bit differently.  Potato chips or French fries are a great example of a simple treat made with potato oil and salt.  I like frying in a dutch oven  and with a good oil you can fry up many batches if you strain and keep the oil clean. Popcorn is another great little snack that is easy to make,  stores well long term and has all kinds of varieties you can make limited only by your imagination and your pantry. If you store or make your own corn tortillas you can make the best tasting chips with just a little lime juice , cut the toritillas in quarters or eigths and soak them in lime juice and a touch of chile powder  ziplock bag overnight. Drain then deep fry at 375 degrees the chips will float up give them a flip and drain over newspaper (don’t toss the paper as it is now a great fire starter).  I never found I need to add salt to these chips and I love salty stuff.

If you have sugar you can make carmels rock candy and a a few other candy type  ingredients like corn syrups and other items you can make a lot of your own candies, pastries and sweets.  Ice cream,  sherberts or ices for a nice break and morale booster!  On some prepping/survival sites there is kind of a undertone of you must eat incredibly healthy food at all times and the concept of variety being the spice of life kind of gets lost in all that life and death stuff.  Perhaps it’s just me but I often get the feeling of being sneered at because I want to make foods that are fun to eat.  I’m not explaining it very well but it’s almost like “You got food to eat so  be thankful” and you can’t  make your food better tasting because others don’t have food and how dare you enjoy yourself when there is so much trouble in the world.  If I don’t eat a nice bunch of beer battered onion rings I will make the world a better place.

I suppose scolds will always be with us to try and make us miserable simply because life is unfair and somehow by you denying yourself , you can magically make the world better in a place 6000 mile from you, or if you feel guilty about what you have somehow makes you a better person.  It’s probably some sick and twisted method of envy and a bit of ignorance mixed but I never saw how making someone ashamed of their own success made my life any better.  I have lived most of my life  poor to middle class and I’m not envious of your Mc Masions “nice place you have” your car or your toys though I would not mind having some items I see what they cost and not just the facade.  Those vaulted ceilings and huge picture windows and all I see is how do you dust or clean the windows?  Sure they are pretty but not very practical for this little redneck girl.


The electric lawnmower arrived Friday and other stuff

April 27, 2013

I played around with the mower and cut about half of the back yard’s grass and weeds 😉   It was very nice not to fuss with gas, oil or priming the old mower not to mention tugging the cord many times to get it started.  Just push a button and engage the safety handle and away we go.  I love how easy it is to raise and lower the deck for cutting,  just one easy to move handle raises it up and down.  No more fussing with setting  each wheel  and those little handles were very difficult for me to move with my lack of strength.  I also screwed up my courage and used my small chain saw on a couple of limbs. I was kind of afraid with my lack of strength that I would not be able to control the saw, but it is so lightweight and small it was much easier to use than I thought it would be on the small limbs I cut.  I’m no lumberjack and I don’t for see me taking on any trees, but I can handle the little saw on smaller projects.

The neighbors are coming over Sunday to help with some backyard clean up.  With all of the hand and electric tools I have got over the last few months it sure makes all the work go faster and it is easier. I still have to remind myself that I have the cultivator and rototiller to get  jobs done.  I have always dreamed of having a small rototiller and I guess it does not seem quite real to me that I have one of my very own.  My little strawberry plants have put on the first berry and I’m just tickled pink about seeing that little flash of pale red.  It looks like we will have good weather and hopefully no more frosts  are on the schedule.  So this week I want to buy a few plants and get those berries growing and the Hops need to get into my little “beer garden” spot in the front yard. Last week I bought extra work gloves to have on for my minions. So I’m ready to get this garden and yard work done.

Stop by the beer lady to use her mill and get some hops and yeast for brewing up a little wheat beer next week.  I showed her my page of my beer recipes and she will be adding it to her all grain recipe page. I figure I owe her a little something for the use of her grain mill and it’s nice to help out a local shop owner. She has had a sample of my brewing and she really liked how they turned out. So this will give others a start on a German type Wheat beer and Dark ale and I will be adding a simple all-grain  Amber ale. Once you have those basic types you can change up the beers by using different hops or yeasts and make just about every beer type you can imagine.  It’s kind of like how you can do very different types of BBQ based on how you use spices and sauces once you get the low and slow method of cooking down.

I did find some ammo to buy, 7.62 x39 at $6.00 per 20 which is the pre- Newtown/confiscate your guns price. No,  I’m not sharing where till I add another $60.00 worth to my stash on Wed.  I’ll tell you, my jaw just about dropped when I saw a box of fifty .22 lr going for about $10.00 when you could get them for about $2.00-$2.50 per box.  The owner had his racks filled up once again even if the prices were a little high. He said some of the panic buying seem to be easing off though not completely back to normal.  I think we will start seeing more ammo and guns on the selves this summer simply because most people can’t sustain panic all that long or they have got what they need and can’t afford to buy more until the price starts coming down.  Just use this an example of panic buying and how people will react. You can adjust how you buy according to what you have on hand and your budget.

I will be adding another 15 pound propane tank on Wed. when I go get gas for the mini-van.  Not the cheapest way to buy propane but the smaller tanks give you a lot of flexibility for helping out friends and family as well as a barter item. The smaller tanks are a lot easier to handle if you have a disability. From all of the test I have done so far the best/cheapest way to go for an average person prepping would be propane for heat and cooking backup, Kerosene for lighting backup and then adding in solar for a little electricity for some lighting, TVs,  radios and recharging batteries.  A wood stove or oven is great if you already have one and can get a good stockpile of wood but wood stoves are not exactly cheap to install in a home. The stove itself is probably the cheapest item you will buy and installing it safely will be the highest cost item.  Don’t go cheap installing a wood stove of any kind, get the proper permits  and over engineer it for safety as burning your home down or getting carbon monoxide poisoning  is contraindicated for survival.  Take the time and spend the money to make sure the stove is installed correctly and is as safe as possible.

So far so good. I don’t  think we can afford to sit back and relax or just get by, but we do have more time to get those gardens in, shop a few yard sales and keep on stocking up at okay prices. Check out the beans, rice even Masa harina for Cinco de Mayo as well as the BBQ, patio or camping sales in May.  Get those gas cans filled before the Memorial day holiday and get Mom a nice gift for Mother’s day. Start thinking about those Xmas gifts and setting aside either money to buy them or time to make them.  Try to have about 75% of all your gift shopping done by July. Trust me it will make your holiday season a lot less stressful and can really boost your morale and mental state to know you are ready for the holidays.


I know quite a few of my post are focusing on staying the course and being positive!

April 26, 2013

I notice a few of my brother and sister blogger are getting a bit tired I suppose is the best way to put it. How many ways can you tell people to get ready?  I know I’m stunned that folks refuse to get ready in any way after the last few years if only for disasters, possible unemployment a medical issue as well as an economic collapse or a coming police state.  I think there is a general feeling that we are “preaching to the choir” but I ‘m still finding commentators from complete newbies to ones that have been prepping for decades still seem to get some use from my Blog.  Perhaps it is because I’m still a newcomer to blogging and prepping that I find it thrilling that I can help someone out with an idea they never considered.  Perhaps this blog is as much or more for me than anyone else and sometimes little items really mean a lot to me and I like writing about them!  The little 12 volt DC fridge for example.

Yes some of the stuff I do seems humdrum everyday normal stuff. Just today I clean out the little freezer, got a couple of rabbits out that I want to try cooking on the rotisserie and see how it turns out. I was bad and I had some chicken thighs get freezer burnt very badly because I tossed them in the freezer without a breaking them down,  just  forgot about them after they were buried.  But I moved some other chicken and meat into the house fridge/freezer that I will get cooked up and save what I can for the next week.  Making mistakes is how you learn and while I hate throwing out food especially because of my own stupidity. I’m not going to put sackcloth and ashes or beat myself up about it. I just look for ways I could preserved the meat in different ways instead of freezing or at least freezing it smarter to preserve it.

I think the start of the collapse has begun and it could be that some folks that blog about prepping and survival are getting really busy about doing things for survival and this is busy time of year from restocking fuel for the stove to getting in those gardens or  critters having babies so that might explain how they don’t have much time for blogging.  Even if you don’t do all those things there are seasons to prepping from going to yard sales and farmers markets in the spring and summer to canning or hunting in the fall.  I don’t know how other preppers feel but I almost look forward to winter as I finally have some time to try out projects like knitting or sewing. I’m in a small city and I find myself thinking in seasons rather than months probably more like my Great grand mother rather than my nieces.

I don’t know about you but I’m quite often scared to death. Not because I’m not ready but so many people are not and simply ignore what is happening around them and think bad things can’t happen to them.  You can’t help people like that, they must wake up first and all your explanations and reasons for concern for getting prepared will just slide off them. Goodness knows I am going through that with a family member that is starting to wake up and it’s not pretty!

I think if we can finish up April and get through May without any major shocks we should slide through the summer on the economy the prepper community should be able to get a few things done as well as prep hard for winter.  It’s a lot harder to get up the energy to riot when it is cold outside.  Some very smart people say 2- 5 years before it all falls apart on the global economy and I hope they are right as I still have projects to get done this year and an economic Armageddon would be inconvenient at best to my plans.

I think I’m in good shape for my refi as my credit rating is in the low 700’s. Considering  few  years  back I had items go back to creditors, then got very clean on credit and debt I was a bit surprised I rank so high. Knock out a few energy alternatives to get off the grid as much as possible add in a few backups for any “less than optimal” situation and hopefully we all will meet on the other side. This stuff is simple it is not easy. Look at what you have today, look at what you will need for tomorrow and then just start building on what you will need next week, next month or next year.

I might be completely wrong and the PTBs, banksters and MSM might be right. I don’t think so, but lets assume they are correct and the economy is recovering.  If you have followed this blog you will be ready for most disasters, you will have a phenomenal camping and tailgating set up. You will always have backup power if a storm cuts electric lines and a backup source of heat and cooking. You are conserving energy and saving money on almost all of your shopping. You have back up communications to let folks know you are safe and you can provide your own security, first aid and don’t need to call the cops or ambulance  crew, nor visit a local emergency room for minor stuff like small broken bones or sprains.

You can call me crazy but what am I doing is a bad thing?  I don’t need the government to feed me in a disaster, I have stored water so I don’t need the NG to deliver water to me. I can protect myself from less than pleasant people so I don’t need the cops watching over my home. I don’t need to use an Emergency room for minor injuries, I can stop the bleeding for most wounds and a minor broken bone can be treated by a GP unless it is a very ugly break.

You have a greater chance of falling in your tub or shower than getting caught in a terrorist attack. Not to minimize the suffering in Boston but based on deaths that is a Saturday night in Chicago. As long as it is blacks or Hispanics are killing and dying and not the PTBs its all good.  I think the only reason the PTBs care about Newtown  CT or Aurora  CO is they (anti-gunners) may be the target.


Important item 12 volt warmer/cooler at Big Lots for $20.00!! Update!

April 22, 2013

This would be a great addition to you BOV as well as for camping. I think it would perfect for people who need to chill medications such as insulin in a power outage if can’t afford a larger DC or alternate fuel fridge.  It’s not very big at 1.8 gallon and holds 9 soda cans but it is big enough to help out with cooling and warming food.

I tested it out with my smallest 12 volt power pack (fully charged) and it got cool in 30 minites and after 2 hours it was still running on the power packs battery. I’m doing a test now of the warming function and will see how long it will run on the power pack.  I will update this post with the results.

UPDATE

Longer battery life using the cooling function rather than warming.  I got over 2 + hours for cooling before I had to stop the test (Nap time) small power pak still had a good charge left . On the warming function the charge was not at full charge and I got over 1.5 hours with the small power pak. The ability to cool was much more impressive than the warming function. My overall impression so far is good and I would get more for gifts, backup and as a trade/barter item item. Not perfect but an excellent value at $20.00.  The battery pack I used is just about the smallest version that Black and Decker made and is several years old so it is not the most efficient 12 volt power source you can use. I’m going to do another test with my new power pak that is a bit larger and would be a better test comparing how long you could use the mini-fridge in a car without recharging the battery by running the engine.

I think that you could use a small  solar panel on you car to keep the battery charged and power this little fridge/warmer via the DC outlets and not use up you fuel recharging you car battery.


What to get in May?

April 21, 2013

If everything work for the house refi I will pay a little closing cost in the middle of the month and then have just over $1oo.00 extra  to play with in the budget in June.  I think I will pay a little ahead on some more of the smaller bills no matter what happens.  I have no warm and fuzzy feelings of the TBTF or PTBs saying what happened in Cyprus can’t happen here in the good ole USA.

My focus for May is going to be on energy and fuel of all types.  I think one more five gallon jug of Kerosene should cover all my lamps for a year with a little leftover for trading or helping out. I picked up a gallon of paraffin oil that is a lot like Kerosene but burns with no odor and I tried it out for the homemade 100 hour candle.  I’m not really all that pleased with the results, or happy about using a canning jar as the base.  It might be okay as a last resort but I think I would prefer to use all of the wicks and oil in the lamps I have already bought.  I noticed Cash & Carry had cases of the paraffin oil candles so I think I might just get a case of 12  and refill as needed depending on the price.

I will add a 2 more of the 15 pound tanks of propane for heating and cooking if the electricity goes out. That will give me over a month’s worth of fuel even in winter. The wood stove is planned but the Propane oven will give me more control and some time learn how to cook on the wood stove. There might also be times that having wood smoke coming out of a chimney pipe that would be a bad idea.  Hopefully I would be able to refill the tanks as they are used but I don’t consider hope nor trusting the supply system a viable prepping idea.

I’m adding more “real gasoline” for the vehicles and generators. May looks like I can afford another 2 cans if the price does not keep going up 😉  I know,  talk about hope!  But Mom and I figure we can consolidate down to one or two vehicles only to be used when we can’t get by with the bikes or walking we could  last  a couple of months perhaps more.  I know a lot of preppers and survivalists recommend trucks and 4 x 4’s for SHTF but I think a mini-van might also be a good choice at least as a secondary vehicle in a soft or slow collapse.  Lots of room for shopping as well as a very efficient people hauler.

The wood purchase will probably have to wait until June. I want to get the full ten cords worth of mill ends delivered and that will cost $350.00. That’s a big purchase for me so I will have save the money up over a few checks. One nice thing is the wood becomes instantly valuable as fuel and since I know a few folks with wood stoves I have something to trade and barter right away.  I’m just guesstimating but I think ten cords would last through the winter. I just worry that the mill ends will burn very hot and very fast, but I  know it I won’t have to chop it up to fit whatever small stove I get as well as be easy to gather with my disability.  With the propane backup for bad days I should be good on heat even in a grid down situation.

I’m still working on a couple additional ideas for solar battery recharges and get more rechargeable batteries. I’m solid on the smaller AA batteries but need to look at getting some thing for the larger C and D type rechargeable batteries.  I already have a couple of work a rounds but I will be looking to add a dedicated solution that is affordable.  My portable solar generator should work out great once I get the whole system together. I want to make a 3 batteries system which should give me over 160 Amp hours but it seems I should be adding more solar panels for charging as I add batteries to the system. Well,  just like eating an elephant just one bite at a time.

There is no one perfect solution but if you get a start on many different fuels and a way to use them you can start small and slowly build some energy choices/alternatives. A little power that you are in control of is better than no power at all.


The begining prepper or “holy crap what do I do?” Long post

April 21, 2013

It has been a scary week/month and with all that has happened, I think a few folks are waking up to things not being right in the world!  You are on edge perhaps on the verge of panic on just how wrong things are and don’t have a clue what to do next. You may have made fun of some preppers/ survivalists as well as the tinfoil hat crowd and are starting to understand that maybe they are not crazy and it is you who has been blind to the truth.  It’s okay, I won’t hold it against you and I won’t say I told you so. I remember when I was asleep and it took a pretty big shock to get me to wake up so I know what you are going through. I know it’s tough to admit you were wrong especially to yourself. Trust me you will feel better for it and now is the time to stop worrying about what you didn’t do in the past and get planning for your future.

First thing I want you to understand that all you are doing is starting to stack the odds of survival in your favor. Not one item or millions of items will guarantee your survival. The next thing is anyone can start stacking those odds in their favor no matter if they are rich or poor, healthy or disabled, young or old. You will  have something you can work with and keep stacking those odds. Overall preppers tend to gather and store the stuff they need and survivalist tend to focus on skills they need to get the stuff. That’s a very broad breakdown and there is a lot of overlap but you need to understand that you will need both to stack the odds in your favor.

You will need to do an inventory of everything you have on hand. From food and water to mental outlook add in skills and talents.  Survival is as much or more a spiritual/mental state of mind and the stuff you have on hand are only tools to accomplish the goal of survival. Take a good hard look at yourself physically and take into account any medical issues you have and be sure you have work a rounds and tools to deal with it. Make yourself as strong as your body will allow, I may have to use a walker but I walk 3-5 miles a day 5 days a week. You might be surprised how many “healthy” people who can’t do that walk.  Get to work and if you have to start slow as you don’t want to injure your self and get moving.

Shelter starts with your clothing everything from socks to good clothing that can keep you warm or cool according to the season.  You can die without adequate shelter from the elements in less than a day so making sure you have plenty of good sturdy clothing and shoes is a must.  Thrift stores and yard sales are a great way to stock up for very little money.  I prefer natural fibers like cotton for summer and wools for winter but many synthetic fibers like nylon, poly pro and Goretex can be a good choice especially for wind and water resistance.  Next is having things like sleeping bags, blankets, tarps,  tents  that can help keep you dry and protected. Hopefully you will be able to shelter in your home or “Bug in” But the super storm Sandy as well as the Texas fertilizer plant explosion proved that you may have to evacuate. So having items on hand for a camping out for a few days can be used for disaster when you have to leave (Bug out) or shelter in place (Bug in).

The next critical item is  safe drinking water. You can last 1-3 days without safe water to drink and you need to have it on hand and under your control. City water can stop working and both city water and wells can become contaminated if the power goes out. Many wells will only work if an electric pump is running. Do not depend on electricity or the city to provide you safe water in an emergency!  Do not think you can go to a local river, stream or lake to gather water because everyone else in the area will be doing the same. Water is extremely heavy and you will not be able to carry 5 gallons over more than a short distance. So the best thing to do is store city or well water before you need it!  One of the cheapest ways to store water is in used 1-3 liter soda bottles, just give them a good wash and refill.  You can also buy the 5 gallon water jugs for “office coolers” at you local mega-mart or empty camp jugs you fill yourself.  I like the blue water barrels in 15-60 gallon range for long term storage but the can be kind of expensive to start as well as big and heavy.  I can tell you from my own tests that 1 gallon a day per person is not enough water for more than 3 days. Plan on 3-5 gallons per person per day over a week or more. It is a much more realistic amount when you add in cleaning, sanitation and laundry.  To extend/resupply my water I’m using rain barrels, a really good water filter as well as chemical treatment like bleach and boiling the water.  Add in some additional buckets and tarp to catch any rain water. Dishpans and tubs for recycling water for the garden and you might keep that garden growing. Which brings us to food.

You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on freeze dried food as your local mega-mart has all the long term food in bulk for great prices. White Rice, Beans, Grains, Honey, sugar, salt are some of the cheapest items in the store per serving and if stored properly can last 25-3000 years depending on the product. You will need to learn to cook from scratch but the internet is full of great recipes and recipe books are cheap to find and yard sales or thrift stores.  You can grow at least some of your own food using pots, a raised bed to a standard backyard garden. Seeds are very cheap and you know what you put into your food. Check out my Start here  $125.00 shopping list page and you might be surprised on how quickly and cheaply you can build up a good store of food for you and your family.

Now you will need a way to cook and heat water and there are two relatively cheap ways to go. A single burner butane stove or a camp stove or propane gas grill.  If you have a charcoal grill good for you, as you already have a great way to cook. Remember if electricity stops gas and propane does not pump. So what you have on hand will have to last for the duration of the disaster.  If you have a charcoal grill I recommend you get a charcoal chimney for starting your coals. They cost $13.00-20.00 and you will never have to buy charcoal lighting fluid again all you need is some paper soaked with a little cooking oil.  With a good heavy wok you can cook on the chimney but you add a good dutch oven and you can cook just about anything on the grill.  I think a good 8 quart/2 gallon stock pot or hot bath canner is a great addition to your cooking tools. You will be able to can most high acid fruits and veggies as well as boil up a good amount of water per day.

Lights:  I love the look of Hurricane lamps and you can easily supply one via a gallon a kerosene and have a couple of hours of light per day for a month.  Most of those lamps will do fine with Paraffin oil and while the paraffin oil is a bit more expensive it does not smell or put out as much  fumes as kerosene.  LED flashlights are very cheap and put out a lot of light with very little power use.  You can get at least a few cheap flash lights at the local dollar for everyone in the family along with batteries for under $10.00.  Think solar power on  lights. I picked up some little solar lights that look like rocks and they are fairly bright for being charged on the kitchen window sill.  I would not want to try and read with one of them but they make dandy night lights.  The solar yard lights have improved and got a lot cheaper in the last few years and while the light is nice, every one of those lights comes with a rechargeable battery or two of usually double A batteries.  I do have candles but an open flame is not always a good idea especially with children, pets or after a disaster.

Comfort items: Think no power and some folks will freak out a bit if the electronic umbilical cord is cut!  Books, cards and board games will help. Add some crossword puzzles, word searches and plain puzzles can help keep minds and hands occupied.  I like painting with water colors, no real talent it is just relaxing and fun. I have a couple of looms and notebooks for journals. Some people will hard time adjusting but having something to do will help them make the transition. Some folks may discover hidden talents and some will just fall apart. Expect it and don’t be surprised. Have some comfort rations like those little fun-size candy bars water enhancers like drink mixes, tang , cocoa, coffee and teas. Popcorn is a great snack that you can make salty, sweet or spicy depending or your pantry.

Prepping is simple that does not mean it it is easy. Buying stuff is  the easiest part, working on yourself to be physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally prepared is hard.  I know many folks will not believe me but it can also be a lot of fun learning new things, building skills and confidence in yourself.  Sometimes you will hate that you woke up and would love to go back to being a sheep and being told what to think and do every day.  Be a wolf!  it’s tough and you will be hunted simply by being what you are and what you do.