Stocking up for future shortages.

October 22, 2021

I have changed my mind set about how I shop now that we are starting to see shelves that are not getting restocked.  I don’t think “panic buying or hoarding” is causing empty shelves.  I think it is a supply and transportation SNAFU’s  that are the biggest problem in my area right now. I suspect that many of the items I am buying are on sale is to clear the shelves of the “normal” size packages to make way for another downsize of cans, bottles and bags of products. This is not new as the last few years I have seen a coffee can shrink from  three pounds to just a little over two pounds.  Products that were once sold by the gallon are now 3 quarts. Now we are adding in more inflation with rising prices with the packages getting smaller..  Or production has fallen off so much that some items are not available at any price. 

One of things that I’m seeing more shortages and rising costs is pet food. Especially good quality dry dog and cat food. I’m not talking the high end pet food but the above average grain free/no by-products types of pet food.  The bags are getting smaller and the price has jumped at least $2.00 for 14-28 pound bags and that is the sale price!  Getting quality pet food a descent price is becoming a challenge. 

My solution is to keep replacing/restocking those sale items I use that are on sale before the jump in price or the packages get any smaller.  It is not like buying up staples/basics in bulk to meet a prepping goal of 3 weeks,3 months or a year of food. It is more about keeping yourself stocked up on the week to week shopping trip of replacing what you use and adding more backups when stuff goes on sale. There is another I have noticed in stores the cheapest items are going up the fastest in cost. Staples are going up in price, Fresh meat, veggies and processed foods like ketchup, frosted flakes, crackers and frozen meals/snacks seem to be going up the fastest or have the most empty shelves. 

What I have done shopping is focus on getting as much good pet food before the price goes higher or the packaging gets smaller.  I bought a 14 pound turkey at $1.69 per pound just to make sure to have a turkey for Thanksgiving.  From what I understand there is not a Turkey shortage but You may not get that 69-99 cent per pound price or find a smaller 10-13 pound turkey. If  turkey goes on sale or I find a smaller turkey great!  I’ll just buy another turkey and keep it in the freezer.  This works out for me as I have what I want  on hand though I paid a bit more cost now. If the price drops in the future I can always buy more and my cost over time stays low. 

I have not seen a lot of talk about buying clothing.  The world wide cotton crop harvest was not good this year. Many man-made fabrics will also be going up in cost as they are oil based and the USA does not have a good textile industry. Almost all clothing is based in Asia and with the shipping SNAFU getting clothing might be a challenge. I’m focusing on building up things like undies, bras, socks, quality shoes and then simple T-shirts, shorts and sweats.  I change out my undies every day and don’t wear the 2 days in a row. Even if you can’t bathe daily you should always change out your undies as it helps keep you healthy and vermin-free.  Clean clothes tend to be warm clothes as sweat and dirty clothes trap sweat and are uncomfortable.  Undies, socks, t-shirts are easier to wash and dry without using a washing machine and dry quicker than most clothing.   Back in the day (Carter era) I had school clothes and play clothes and my Mom tried her best to make me change into my play clothes after school.  Did not work work all that well as I was a child attracted to dirt, grease and grass stains.  I don’t get as many grass stains now but I have more than made up for it in grease stains from tools and paint. 

I would recommend you top off your fuel backups and if you use oil or propane for heat you get your tanks filled  ASAP as the price will probably only go up the closer we get to winter. Sorry I don’t have any money saving advice for folks that get caught in rising heating costs in winter that use gas or electric to heat their homes.  I had a money hit it this summer dealing with the heat and using Window A/C units and a low water year that drove up electrical costs.  I can say that getting my wood stove was one of the best purchases I every made because I control my heat.  Every time I read about energy costs hitting folks I bless having that wood pile. 

Speaking of the I got the fire starters made. Paper egg crates are the best material as for holding the sawdust/chips and paraffin wax.  Cupcake papers are okay but I use a lot less wax filling up egg cartons compared to paper cupcake filled with the same saw dust/chips. I used about 5 pounds of paraffin wax to make 276 fire starters compared to using 10 pounds of wax using cupcake papers last year for about the same amount of fire starters. If you use only one of the fire starter per day you have over 9 months of fire starters.  All you need is some sawdust, some egg cartons, cupcake papers and melted paraffin wax.. You have to use low heat as paraffin wax is flammable at high heat.  You want just enough heat to melt the wax not ignite the wax. Mom has access to more free paper than I so she has leftover fire starters I gave her last year.  

Mom’s chimney has been cleaned up.  Mom used My shop vac with a Dry wall dust collection bag to clean up the last of the soot I could not clean out.  The bags are a little pricy at $18.00 for 3 bags but they do suck up the soot and keep you house clean.  It is just a paper bag so make sure there is no heat or coals that could ignite the bag before using a shop- vac to clean out soot from your chimney. I did not see any Dry wall level dust bags for any Shop-vacs under 5 gallons.

I think most preppers need to change how they shop and get into a different mindset about making themselves more sustainable. I know I’m not only focusing on food or heat and cooking but getting tools that I can use or neighbors can use to get projects done.  It is amazing the amount of work you can get done on your place if you loan out tools so a neighbor can get a project done but the don’t have a tool readily available

I don’t have every tool needed for a job, but I have added a small router and a table saw and every tool I add adds to my education to learning how to make stuff.  I screw up a lot but that is just tuition or the price I’m paying to learn new skills. If you are not willing to fail, make a mistake trying some thing new. You won’t learn anything.  

 


A good day a bad day then a very productive day!

June 21, 2021

I went out to Mom’s place to install her little window A/C unit. Mom’s house A/C is pretty good but her bedroom never gets cooled when it gets up into the 100 Degree F. range. Installing the A/C unit is easy but it takes time to add some thermal barrier and make sure no blood sucking bugs can come in the window that no longer has a screen.

Mom asked me to bring out a small bookcase I had stored for her as she is starting to get her books organized and while I was there we moved a few pieces of furniture to be a bit more functional and I have to say the floor space seems more open, efficient and flows s much better. Mom’s home is small and fitting furniture is a challenge.

I put together Mom’s new B&D weed wacker, that consisted of adding the protective/safety shield over the cutting head. The weed wacker looks/feels solid and has a very nice and edging wheel to clean up borders and sidewalks. I gave my old weed wacker to Mom but it is getting a little old and is developing an unpleasant whine that suggests it could stop working at any time.

I had a bit of a bad day Saturday though it started off on a positive note getting some puttering around the garden beds replacing a bad soaker hose with a much better soaker hose. A little shopping that went fast and easy. About noon I started feeling “punky” then I felt the beginnings of a headache/migraine. I seldom get headaches and I’m the biggest wimp in world as even a minor headache can shut me down. It wasn’t all bad as I gave my sore knee almost a full day of rest and it is feeling much better compared to last week.

Sunday was a much better day. No “big” projects got done but I got a lot of small projects done that I have wanted to to do but always seemed to get pushed aside because “______” has to be done right now!

I finally got my chest freezers a bit more organized and repacked the frozen meats and veggies with the oldest meats on top and newest meats at the bottom. I’m using plastic crates in the larger chest freezer as it is much easier to remove and restack a crate compared to to shifting through random packages of frozen meats and vegies tossed into the freezer. I bought four blocks of ice for my chest freezer as a backup for keeping food cold and take space in the freezer because a full freezer is a power efficient freezer. I can always remove the extra blocks of Ice if I need more space and the bags of Ice can serve as a backup and warning if I have power outage. The Ice blocks will help keep food frozen but if the Ice blocks melt due to lack of power I will know that my frozen food probably also thawed and might be unsafe to eat depending on how fast I can react to a long term power outage. A bag of Ice will no longer be cube like if it melts. So it will be easy to tell if your freezer stopped keeping food frozen.

My raspberries are not looking so good but I think my problem is not enough water for the new plants to get established. I gave the berries a really deep water to get the soil saturated to the roots and I’m adding a 1 1/2 inch deep can to one of the containers so I can make sure I give the new berry bushes at least 1 inch of water per week.

My 3 sisters garden bed has not worked as well as I had hoped. I have only one stalk of corn but the squash and pole beans are growing. The little melon bed looked sad but the some of the melon plants are starting to put out some leaves. My raised bed are not producing as I would like but I ignored weeding them while working on other projects. After weeding one bed several plants started producing so I’ll work towards the second harvest while encouraging the transplants.

Failure is a teacher as long as you don’t let failure stop you and you learn from it. This year’s garden has a had challenges. From keeping pets and pest out of the garden to watering and starting my own plants. Some of those things did not go well but some of things are getting better as I learn more. I have found learning what not to do is more valuable compared to what you “should” do.


Finishing up the year on a positive note!

December 28, 2012

Well 2012 has certainly been an interesting year, in the  sense of  the old Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times” . But I did manage to get almost all of my 2012 goals accomplished and added a few items that I planned to put off until 2013. I will be finishing up a few purchases on Monday the 31st that I did not think I could manage/get a start on the 2013 goals. I found a good price on the collapsible water barrel at Amazon for $35.00 with free shipping so I can get one and start working on the “Ice House” parts. I have gathered a few pallets that I will use as the frame to hold the insulating materials and I saw a neat idea using pallets used as a vertical garden so I think I will look for some plants that like partial shade and start my first insulating layer as dirt in between the slats of the pallet.  Hopefully this will give me some  use out of the Ice house area if the water won’t stay frozen into summer. I saw some neat little solar fountain pumps that might work for a modified swamp cooler for those hot summer nights.  This may also work as an above ground root cellar depending on what temperature  it can maintain. The main idea is if the original plan fails I have 3  more ideas that may work along with storing some rain water.

The Ham radio looks like a go for purchase thanks to the heads up from Selco at SHTF school.  I can listen in until I get my license and this radio offers VHF so I can talk to a few folks that have marine radios. That gives me a cheap entry point for backup communication and information. The last purchase is a 1000 watt inverter for my solar panel set up for a small portable generator for the RV and the house.  I have a gas generator but the solar generator won’t run out of gas or oil or make any noise! I hope to pick up 2 really good (expensive) 12 volt batteries a little later in the year to finish up the project.

If you have been watching the news you have noticed our fearless leaders have been screwing up by the numbers on most everything. One item that is not getting a lot of notice is the stalled farm bill which could cause a double or triple price of the cost of a gallon of milk to $6.00-$8.00 per gallon. That will also mean a huge price increase on cheese, butter, yogurt anything that uses milk as a ingredient.  So if you can be flexible on your food budget and preserve it, this would be a good time to add those dairy products to your shopping list. Albertson’s has two pounds Tillamook cheese on sale for $5.00 a package, this a good size to wax and store.  I will be adding some more milk to the freezer as well as some additional UHT milk for the pantry.  I think the PTBs will correct this oversight eventually but the price could get very high, very fast so be ready and have a bit on hand to ride out the price spike.

As for the guns and ammo situation, I’m not rushing out to buy anything at super high prices as I have already prepared and have what I need on hand. I think many people are reacting almost on the edge of panic and it does not seem to take much for them to go over the edge,  that has me a bit more concerned than the going price of an AR-15 or some magazines. I figure in about a month we may see quite a lot of stuff hit the second hand sales ads, gun shows and pawn shops when the credit payment is due and folks have a little time to think rationally again. So start saving a little cash for any good buys that might come along in the next month or two.  I would not be surprised that quite few people spent a few thousand on guns and ammo and don’t have more than 3-14  days of water or food stored.

Preparing and self-reliance can give you one of the most precious items in the world and that is time. Time to think rationally and adjust to what is happening without getting into panic mode. I think at best the 114th Congress won’t be in office until late Jan.2013 and then they still have submit the bill in the senate if Harry Reid even let’s the bill on the floor for debate and you can bet people will be watching that happening. Plus the USA will be dealing with the aftermath of the “fiscal cliff” as well as the mandatory cuts from Simpson-Bowls sequestration. Quite few people are going to be a bit peeved when they get to have even less money in their paycheck as the FICA rates go back to normal and hit with additional taxes. Or having all extended unemployment benefits just stop suddenly as well as the cost of food will probably jump in price as the effects last year’s drought starts to hit the grocery stores with a vengeance.  At best the new Assault weapons ban might reach the floor of the senate in Feb. or March 2013.  You will want to watch carefully if the PTBs try and use an emotionally charged issue to make people panic and beg the government to “do something”.  Your homework assignment is to research the Reichstag Fire in Germany 1933.


Feeling darned pleased with how the shopping turned out

September 20, 2012

As you know I’m skipping silver this month to get some additional things like the grinder and the rototiller. I’m happy to say both should be here next week.  I know going electric power is not a perfect solution,  but it’s something that I can work at producing my on my own energy.  So that takes care of the big purchase for prepping this month.

I was out about for my grocery shopping and Albertson’s is doing one day sales and it was coffee on the 19th. Limit 1 big can but it was only $3.99 each. Thankfully I live really close to the store and I stopped by 3 different times for a can.  So that helped me to restock the coffee a lot faster than I had anticipated.  I got all of the pork chops wrapped up and in the freezer and the additional boxes of saran wrap in the pantry.

Talked it over with Mom and she’s going to focus on bulk dry goods and I’ll focus on meat. I got a five pound bag of lentils for her, but C&C was out of the split peas but they have some coming in so I’ll grab the peas when I gas up the Kia.  We each have our favorite stores to shop at based mostly on location so we try and pickup whatever is on sale for each other and then deliver when we go for a walk.

I got the big Binder clips for holding the bag for the all grain beer. It seems it’s important to keep the bag off the bottom of the kettle.  With the clips and an insert I think I have everything I need for the first batch.  Picked up the last of the 15 gallon water storage barrels from the beer lady.  These will be additional water for me or a for the “idiot children” to cover water needs for a week or two.  At 120 pounds per barrel  full, they are heavy but I know we could get them into a vehicle and take them to a house without to much trouble.  I was going to store them in my shop but it’s not insulated and I have no idea how long it would take for a 120 pound chunk of ice to thaw at room temp. So I’ll be storing it in the house and stacking a few item on top of them.  These barrels are a great size for stashing in a closet!

Added another full propane tank for my heater and stove so good for over a month of fuel for cooking and heating.  October I will focus on fuel as the PTBs are trying to hold down the cost on oil.  Yes,  I know it’s probably for the election but I don’t care why they do something  as long as it gives me a better price.

Bills are all paid, quite a bit of prepping hardware is either here at my little house or is on the way.  I got a much better price on all I bought along with some pleasant surprises and a little cash leftover to stuff in the piggy bank.  A new project to try out on all grain brewing, that’s saves money and the grain leftovers can be used productively as animal feed.  All in All a pretty good month!


I’m finally starting to think in wordpress

February 6, 2012

I’m trying to keep the look clean and have everything easy to find.  Instead of adding gadgets in Blogger, you set up your basics and add catagories in wordpress.  A great feature is the adding of recommended tags as you publish your posts. I think this will make searches much easier for anyone using this Blog.  I’ll start going through the old posts I imported from Blogger and start adding tags this week but I have almost 300 posts to work through so that will take a little time.

I’m afraid I may have lost some of your comments when I used the import function. I get  from the begining through Sept. 2011, but I still haven’t got those last couple of months.  I haven’t figured out how to import followers, so if you still want to follow my new blog you will need to follow again on this new site.

I want to thank you all for stopping by and commenting. It’s nice to know I’m helping folks along with having a spot I can record what I have done in the last 18 months. Wow it’s only been 18 months since I started blogging and so much has been done.  Thank goodness I’ve been wrong so far on the timing of the collapse or any disasters.  It could be tomorrow or 5-10 years from now, but knowing I’m making progress everyday and every week . I get in a stronger position to withstand whatever is thrown at me and fills me with great peace of mind.