The Medic Shack: Prepping 101 – Water

Chuck at The Medic Shack talks about water preparedness, including storage and sanitization in Water – Prepping 101 the Basics.

As the SARS-2-Covid-19 bug I coming for another round for us. And as we dig further and further into the latest high tech gadget to make sure our homes are free from the Virus. So do you have enough water? A lot of people found they had holes in their preps, or came up short for needed supplies. Also a lot of people found out that they didnt prep at all. So I decided to bring back the prepping 101 series. But do it as a prepping 101 Dont’ forget the basics. What are the basics?

  1. Store water (safely)
  2. Make sure you are able to cook the food you’ve stored
  3. Implement an off-grid waste system (Trash and toilet waste)
  4. Pack a bug out bag with a bug out plan

How many folks here store water? How do you store it? Do you rotate?? What do you do to preserve it?

As a child of the NM desert living in South Carolina, the waste here is DEVASTATING to me. Folks here literally let it run down the street! (Whoa panic attack coming on. DEEP breath) In a state where the water table is measured in inches rather than the hundreds of feet back home………

Back on topic. In our house we store 3 types of water. Yup y’all heard me. 3 types Bottled, Bulk and other. Bottled water. We store, on hand for each person 3 cases each Sounds like a lot, but in reality its only about 15 gallons. (Depending on the size of the case you buy.  YMMV.)

Why Bottled?

First its easy. Easy to store easy to grab and go with and easy to use in an emergency. Don’t be sucked into the Designer Waters. There is not a bit of difference between Great Value brand bottled water and the 5x as much case bottled by the leading cola company. 3 cases per person.

Bulk water.

Here is where storage becomes and issue. Bulk can be anything from 5 gallon bottles to the 300 gallon cube /caged containers and larger. The issue with storing large quantities of water is keep it “pure and sanitized”

Back in the day.

Decades ago, Chris and had a water bed. It was NOT a good storage idea. Well it was’t a good Idea to have to sleep on your storage Keeping it clean and drinkable was tough. Heated water loves to grow bugs. But it gave us and idea. We tried twin sized bed bladders. They worked but they are a pain to handle. And they need a frame to support them.

The 21st century.

Thankfully today bulk water storage is easier. We use a couple of things. First is the 360 gallon “Cubie” container. That contains rain water that is sanitised for dinking if needed, but it is our “Other” water. It is to flush the toilet, wash dishes, wash hands and people. In a pinch we can drink it safely. Also its to water our garden. South Carolina has lots of rain. So refilling it is not an issue Its big,. Its bad and a hurricane isnt moving it. In the house we have racks of 5 gallon containers. We use this 4 tier high bottle rack.

Each person in the family has 1 rack 20 gallons of for each person. Also just ordered one of these pumps for the 5 gallon water bottles. My wife has trouble lifting it on the dispenser. This will make it a lot easier. This is the one we bought.

More bulk.

Under each bed is a 50 gallon bladder. Today the one that we used has been replaced by a better one for what we paid for ours. The new one is 60 gallons tougher and no plastic taste that ours had for a long time.

That is a lot of water!

It seems so. 1 360 gallon cube container. 4 5 gallon bottles of water per person. 1 50 gallon water bladder per person. It comes out to 730 gallons of water in our house. Thats a metric poop ton (As my eldest Jake says!) of water. According to the EPA we use about 300 gallons per person per day. That 730 gallons we have put by will only last a 2 people 2 ¼ days give or take. Most medical people suggest that we drink at least 4 quarts (1 gallon) of water per day. We can double or even triple that depending on exertion level, temperature and humidity.

Now add in water needed for food prep washing up and basic hygiene, and you could hit 10 gallons a day. Doesn’t sound like much compared to 300 gallons. But at that rate you’d be out in a week. I wrote a piece on sanitizing for the Covid virus In it I talked about using bleach and pool shock to make bleach. Looking at it we didn’t talk about using it to purify water

Sanitizing water

Disinfect water using household bleach, if you can’t boil water. Only use regular, unscented chlorine bleach products that are suitable for disinfection and sanitation as indicated on the label. The label may say that the active ingredient contains 6 or 8.25% of sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented, color safe, or bleaches with added cleaners. If water is cloudy, let it settle and filter it through a clean cloth, paper towel, or coffee filter.

    • Locate a clean dropper from your medicine cabinet or emergency supply kit.
    • Use the table below as a guide to decide the amount of bleach you should add to the water, for example, 8 drops of 6% bleach, or 6 drops of 8.25% bleach, to each gallon of water. Double the amount of bleach if the water is cloudy, colored, or very cold.
    • Stir and let stand for 30 minutes. The water should have a slight chlorine odor. If it doesn’t, repeat the dosage and let stand for another 15 minutes before use.
    • If the chlorine taste is too strong, pour the water from one clean container to another and let it stand for a few hours before use.

Volume of Water

Amount of 6% Bleach to Add*

Amount of 8.25% Bleach to Add*

1 quart/liter

2 drops

2 drops

1 gallon

8 drops

6 drops

2 gallons

16 drops (1/4 tsp)

12 drops (1/8 teaspoon)

4 gallons

1/3 teaspoon

1/4 teaspoon

8 gallons

2/3 teaspoon

1/2 teaspoon

 

*Bleach may contain 6 or 8.25% sodium hypochlorite.

That will put you on the right track for making your water safe to drink. Also Do not forget to sanitize your containers!

Filters

Filters are a useful item. We have a few types. For personal use and in the Bug Out Bag, (More on that in a later). The Life Straw. Is a GREAT tool. Everyone has one and a spare filter. For the home if you can afford it, The Big Berkey Is the standard of the industry, But it is PRICEY…

Click here to continue reading at The Medic Shack.

Survival Mom: The Food Storage Companies I Recommend and Why

Survival Mom has written an article about her experiences with a few well known food storage companies in The Food Storage Companies I Recommend and Why. I’ve made purchases from almost all of those mentioned as well, and my own experiences mirror hers – Thrive and Emergency Essentials are my top go-tos, but I’ve used the others for bulk purchases that I have packed for long term storage myself. Mountain House has good quality, but we prefer ingredient-based storage to complete meal storage.

The Food Storage Companies I Recommend and Why via The Survival Mom

Over the years I’ve purchased “survival” food from a dozen or so different companies, and believe me, not all companies that sell that type of food are the same. In a couple of instances, the food was so bad that even I, a pretty damn good cook, couldn’t salvage the end result.

If you’re going to invest money in freeze-dried and dehydrated food, then it’s worth the time to research and try sample-sizes of a company’s product before stocking up.

Some of the brands I’ve used and purchased are Thrive Life, Legacy Foods, Honeyville, Emergency Essentials, and the one widely-marketed brand that was the worst and which will remain nameless. (Wise consumers will be well-advised to steer clear of that particular brand.)

Currently, the company I use most often is Thrive Life.  Over the years and hundreds of cans of their food, I’ve found their quality, taste, and variety to be the best. Disclaimer: I like their food so much that I am an “independent consultant” for their company and earn a commission for any sales generated from my link.

Thrive Life foods

Thrive Life has an outstanding, user-friendly website, and a huge array of mostly freeze-dried foods that can be incorporated in thousands of recipes. This is my recommended form of food storage — individual ingredients that give you unlimited recipe options.

Just-add-water meals come in handy for events like power outages and quick evacuations but they do limit your meal choices to just the varieties you have on hand. Thrive Life offers the opportunity to earn money and have foods auto-shipped, which has helped me stay on track with food storage goals and build a supply of freeze-dried food. In short, they have some unique features similar companies do not offer. I’ve been a Thrive Life consultant for 8 years and most of my own food storage comes from this company.

The Best Food Storage Company?

So what about other companies such as Emergency Essentials, Walton Feed, Augason Farms, and Honeyville?

None of these companies are inferior, they just don’t rise to the top in the various categories that I personally find to be most important — most helpful website and resources, an auto-ship option, consistently high quality, and the largest variety of products.

Years ago, I’ve visited the main Emergency Essentials store in Salt Lake City and found the manager there to be friendly and helpful. Their site offers survival products that are priced well along with freeze-dried food, and I’ve purchased MREs there as well.

For a year or so I taught classes at the Honeyville Farms retail store in Phoenix and bought quite a few food items each time. One thing I noticed was that the food purchased in the store was very nicely priced but the price increased dramatically online. They advertise a low shipping cost, but obviously, the price of shipping has to be made up elsewhere, thus the increase in their online prices. This made it difficult for me to determine which of their products were priced well and which might be more expensive than other brands, whose shipping charges were higher.

A couple of years ago I priced a 50-pound bag of hard white wheat at the Honeyville Farms retail store and back then it cost $19.99, but was $43.99 online. That’s quite a difference and is typical of all their food products. The $8.99 shipping charge becomes meaningless, and it also makes it very difficult to truly compare Honeyville’s cost and value with other companies. One thing I do like about Honeyville are their baking mixes for things like cornbread and brownies.

Augason Farms is very well-known in the food storage community. It’s family-run and offers generally lower prices. However, what I’ve found is the quality of food is a mixed bag. In some cases, it’s as good in terms of appearance and flavor as Thrive Life, but too often, the quality is lower. I sampled some of their soup mixes, and they aren’t something I would feed to my family without major improvements on my part.

Rainy Day Foods/Walton Feed was the very first food storage company I encountered, and the ordering process, at least back then, was quite confusing and complicated to a newbie. It really helps to know what you want and will use before perusing the site. Eleven years ago when I first began my food storage project, I had no idea what adzuki beans were or whether we would ever eat a #10 can of ABC soup mix! Their website is functional but offers little additional help or support, unlike Thrive Life.

Rainy Day products are good quality, we used the cocoa powder I bought years ago. If you want to take a look at their products and pricing, it’s best to place a huge order with other people, if possible, in order to save on shipping. When I did this, an 18-wheeler delivered the order to my friend’s house (she was the coordinator), and she divided up the orders for each person.

Two other well-known brands I’ve tried are Mountain House Foods (Read my Mountain House review.) Legacy Foods. I tried several of their freeze-dried entrees — very good!

All that food is surprisingly similar. Here’s why.

One factor many don’t realize is that all this food, whether it be wheat, strawberries, corn, and everything else comes from only so many farms! Just as food processing plants package food and then place different labels on them for different brands, these farms and packing plants do the same thing. So wheat purchased from Emergency Essentials just might come from the exact same farm as Augason Farms wheat or vice versa.

There are very few plants that freeze-dry massive amounts of produce, so it’s just logical that the food itself is the same from one company to the next, and only the label and, possibly, the packaging process is different. Exactly where the food comes from is highly confidential, and you will probably only find out the country from which it originated…

Click here to read the entire article at Survival Mom.

TMIN: Everyone in America Needs to Be a Prepper in 2020

Michael Snyder at The Most Important News writes Why Every Person In America Needs To Become A Prepper During The Second Half Of 2020, citing what he sees as the events ahead.

It has been on my heart to write this article for a few days, but I knew that it wouldn’t be easy to write.  2020 has already been one of the worst years in modern U.S. history, and it looks like the next six months are going to be extremely challenging as well.  But even though most Americans are expecting that things will return to “normal” in 2021 and beyond, the truth is that the “perfect storm” that we are witnessing is only in the very early stages.  All of the old cycles are ending, all of the bubbles are bursting, and we are starting to experience the consequences of decades of incredibly foolish decisions.  So even though the remaining months of 2020 will be chaotic, the truth is that things are going to get progressively worse as the years move along.  That means that you should use this period of time to prepare for what is ahead of us, because at some point the window of opportunity to prepare will be closed for good.

COVID-19 should have been a wake up call for all of us.  Lockdowns were implemented very suddenly once the virus started to spread in the U.S., and shortages of key items began to happen.  To this day, many retailers are still limiting the number of items that you can buy in certain categories.  Hopefully this has helped people to understand that if you have not stocked up in advance, you may not be able to go out and get what you need when a major crisis strikes.

During the initial stages of this pandemic, a lot of people ended up being stuck at home without enough supplies.  In the event of a truly historic emergency, you can certainly survive without toilet paper, but if you run out of food you could find yourself in big trouble quite quickly.

The good news is that COVID-19 is not going to kill us all.  About half a million people around the world have died so far, and the final death toll will be a lot lower than the tens of millions that died during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 to 1920.

But if our society was extremely ill-prepared for a pandemic of this nature, what is going to happen when a pandemic that is much more severe hits us?

Scientists assure us that it is just a matter of time before a killer plague sweeps across the planet, and the Bible tells us that there will be “pestilences” in the last days.  If you find yourself isolated at home for an extended period of time as millions of others are dying from a virus, will you be able to survive on what you have already stored up?

If not, you need to get to work.

Big economic problems are ahead as well.  So far in 2020, more than 47 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits, more than 100,000 businesses have permanently closed their doors, and it is being projected that U.S. GDP will decline by 46.6 percent on an annualized bases during the second quarter.  Those are absolutely disastrous numbers, but so far trillions of dollars of emergency government spending has helped to ease the pain.

But those emergency measures were only meant to get us through a few months, and it is now becoming clear that this new economic depression will be with us for a very long time to come.

Of course deteriorating economic conditions will fuel even more civil unrest.  We have seen rioting, looting, arson and violence in city after city, and much more civil unrest is on the horizon.

If you live in one of our major urban areas, you may want to move while you still can.  Due to a huge surge in demand, property prices in the most desirable small towns and rural areas are already starting to go through the roof.

On top of everything else, food shortages are starting to occur all over the globe.  According to the head of the UN, we are on the verge of seeing “unimaginable devastation and suffering around the world”…

The U.N. chief on Thursday warned the largest gathering of world leaders since the coronavirus pandemic began that it will cause “unimaginable devastation and suffering around the world,” with historic levels of hunger and famine and up to 1.6 billion people unable to earn a living unless action is taken now.

Giant swarms of locusts the size of major cities are devouring crops in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, African Swine Fever has already killed about one-fourth of all the pigs in the entire world, and crazy weather patterns have been playing havoc with crop production all over the planet.

And now on top of everything else COVID-19 is greatly disrupting food distribution systems all over the world.

We have never seen so many severe threats to global food production occur simultaneously, and the Bible clearly tells us that there will be “famine” in the last days.

Meanwhile, a major war could erupt in the Middle East at any moment.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that he will begin the process of annexing portions of Judea and Samaria in July, and Israel’s Arab neighbors have promised a very forceful response if that actually happens.

The region has constantly been on the precipice of war for years, and this could potentially be the trigger that finally causes it to happen.

If everything that I have discussed so far wasn’t enough, the planet that we all live on is becoming increasingly unstable.  We have witnessed a number of very alarming earthquakes this week, and a truly catastrophic event could literally happen at any moment.

As my regular readers already know, I am particularly concerned about seismic activity on the west coast and about the potential for a historic earthquake along the New Madrid fault zone.

But even considering everything that I just shared with you, there is no other time in human history that I would have rather been alive than right now.

All of human history has been building up to this point, and we are so fortunate to be living during this moment.

However, it is going to be exceedingly difficult to thrive during the historic events that are ahead if you have not made any preparations for what is coming.

I realize that things may seem very chaotic now, but the truth is that this is your window of opportunity to prepare.

I would take full advantage of that opportunity, because the clock is ticking.

American Partisan: Lessons Learned from a Power Outage

American Partisan has a nice short article on some Lessons Learned from a Power Outage, mostly along the lines of “things I should have checked ahead of time.”

As I sit hear listening to the local FM country music station, I am approaching 24 hours without power thanks to the derecho that blew through the Northeast. I started keeping a running list of lessons learned. Basically, if it was something I wished I had or something I was super glad I had already, I wrote it down. This has been a great training scenario. Though if the power company could go ahead and get me back up that would be greattttttt.

  1. Inventory ahead of time. I realized after the power went out that I did not have enough D batteries to power all lanterns AND have a backup set for each. I bought a few Streamlight Siege Lanterns a year or so ago and I absolutely love them!
  2. When the power went out, I assumed it would be short. At my previous residence, I was on the same grid as the local EMS and Fire Station, so we were always back up first. I did not pull the generator out until about 7 hours after we lost power. That is seven hours of lost time that could have been used charging items.
  3. Stock extra gas. I had some stocked, but I had been dragging my feet in getting all six of my 5 gallon cans filled. That is going to fixed real quick.
  4. Identify property issues before the storm. This includes tree limbs, earth gradients and drainage issues, etc. Walk your property during the storm to identify runoff issues, gutters that need to be address, and things like that.
  5. Have a list of local radio frequencies handy. Keep your radios charged.
  6. If you have a propane grill, make sure you stay stocked on propane fuel.
  7. In addition to #6, have another method of off grid cooking available.
  8. Keep your basic power outage supplies together and accessible so you are not scrambling into multiple tubs or rooms to gather stuff.
  9. Use UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) Surge Protectors on your Wifi and your computer. This way, if a power outage hits, you have time to turn your computer off properly while it runs on the surge protector’s battery. Additionally, by keeping the modem up, you will have internet.
  10. If the power outage continues, you can use frozen items to keep the fridge cool. Currently we are using a frozen turkey from our chest freezer as a cooling method.
  11. Don’t hesitate to get bags of ice from the local convenience store as well.
  12. If you have a generator, make sure you keep a handy list of all of your appliances and the necessary starting and running watts they need to run. This way you can easily tell what can run at the same time based on your generator wattage.
  13. Have necessary extension cords on hand (ideally 12 gauge or 10 gauge) in order to safely run those applicances off a generator.
  14. Have candles on hand. While having a bunch of LED lanterns are nice, sometimes the gentle light of a candle suffices. Plus, it looks cool.
  15. Get a kerosene heater and stock kerosene. While you are at it, might as well get a kerosene lantern as well. Duplicity!
  16. If you have the chance to get gas for cooking, do it! The previous location I lived in had gas, while this new place has it to the house but not hooked up yet. Thus, we cannot cook anything with our electric range. Hence why #6 and #7 are important. Additionally, in the winter, you could use the stove for warmth. I know several people who survived for weeks like this during Hurricane Sandy.
  17. Some night lights (small plug in hallway lights) have battery back-ups. This could be important – especially if you have kids.
  18. Battery back-up charger for your phone can help a lot.
  19. Be sure to evaluate your food once power is restored.
  20. Be Proactive, Not Reactive…

Afrovivalist: Prepare For A Double Whammy – Pandemic & Natural Disaster

Afrovivalist brings up a concept that I considered early in the pandemic. What if something like a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake or Hurricane Katrina happened during this or a future pandemic? How would that affect your plans? How would that affect your region? Prepare For A Double Whammy. Pandemic & Natural Disaster

Here is something to think about. I don’t want to freak anyone out but, Are you prepared for a double whammy? Do you have enough supplies and prepared for some kind of natural disaster during this pandemic.  This is something that I had not thought about as a survival scenario. Hell, I didn’t think I could be living it real time.

Summer is among us. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we could experience wild fires, mudslides, flooding, you name it. As the year goes on, we will experience a natural disaster as we do every year. Any natural disasters could happen during this Pandemic anywhere around the world. It’s been said in the Prepper community “Don’t wait until the disaster happens to prepare for the diaster.” Or “If a disaster happens, it’s too late to prepare.” Well, in this case, during this Coronavirus pandemic, thankfully, we can still get supplies. I would suggest that we prepare for the inevitable. I was doing some research to write a blog relating to pandemic and natural disasters. Instead of creating my own blog on the topic and reinventing the wheel, here is some good information on preparing for a double whammy. I would recommend you read this informative article from Emergency Essential website.

Welcome to the 2020 hurricane/tornado/wildfire/etc. season, a time when emergency systems already maxed out from the COVID-19 virus will extend beyond their limits to respond to the natural disasters that are guaranteed to hit.

You can bet this will be a topic of panic in the news but follow our advice and don’t get caught up in it. The world might get even more dangerous this summer and fall, but if you focus your preparations on the SIMPLE TIPS BELOW, you’ll help keep your head above water while others are struggling to stay afloat.

1. Double Down on Items Vulnerable to Shortages

Because of the pandemic, certain must-have emergency supply items will be either hard to find or at risk of disappearing (temporarily). Follow these tips to stay ahead of the curve:

Cover your bases—the standard rules still apply

Of course, this season, like every season before it, the standard rules of preparation continue to apply. We recommend planning out your supply using the 12 areas of prep—they make it easier to organize and remember important items:

…(continues)

 

TMIN: Get Prepared for Coming Food Shortages

The Most Important News writes about existing and forecast food shortages in You May Not Understand This Now, But You Need To Get Prepared For The Food Shortages That Are Coming

I was going to write about something completely different today, but I felt that I needed to issue this warning instead.  Even before COVID-19 came along, crazy global weather patterns were playing havoc with harvests all over the globe, the African Swine Fever plague had already killed about one-fourth of all the pigs in the world, and giant armies of locusts the size of major cities were devouring crops at a staggering rate on the other side of the planet.  And now this coronavirus pandemic has caused an unprecedented worldwide economic shutdown, and this has put an enormous amount of stress on global food supplies.

On the official UN website, the United Nations is openly using the term “biblical proportion” to describe the famines that are coming.  Even if COVID-19 miraculously disappeared tomorrow, a lot of people on the other side of the world would still starve to death, but of course COVID-19 is not going anywhere any time soon.

Here in the United States, our stores still have plenty of food.  But empty shelves have started to appear, and food prices are starting to go up aggressively.

In fact, we just witnessed the largest one month increase in food prices that we have seen since 1974.

For a long time I have been warning my readers that eventually a loaf of bread in the U.S. will cost five dollars, and one of my readers in Hawaii just told me that “my wife came home with ½ loaf of bread for $2.99”.

So it appears that the day I have been warning about has already arrived for some people.

Of course the price of meat is going up even faster than the price of bread.  The following is an excerpt from an email that one of Robert Wenzel’s readers in Alaska just sent him

Our local Costco as of now, beef hamburger is $9 a pound, and steaks are $18 a pound. Hamburger was at $3.50 a pound before all this.

Our local butcher shops, that butcher and package the little local beef that is raised here, are all out of meat.

Luckily, I have a couple moose in our freezers, and plenty of canned smoked salmon, and salmon season is coming soon again.

Hopefully the price of hamburger has not nearly tripled in your area yet, but without a doubt meat prices are going to just keep heading higher.

Ultimately, it is all about supply and demand.  Meat processing facilities have been shut down all over America due to COVID-19, and this is starting to create some really annoying shortages

If you go to Wendy’s this week, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to get a hamburger. Go to the supermarket and you’ll probably see some empty shelves in the meat section. You may also be restricted to buying one or two packs of whatever’s available. Try not to look at the prices. They’re almost definitely higher than what you’re used to.

This is the new reality: an America where beef, chicken, and pork are not quite as abundant or affordable as they were even a month ago.

But as I keep reminding my readers, the only reason these meat shortages are so severe is because many farmers are unable to make their normal sales to the processing plants that have closed down.

As a result, a lot of these farmers have been forced to gas or shoot thousands of their animals

For farmers in Iowa, Minnesota, and other Midwestern states, they have had little choice but to euthanize the backlog of animals, which means gassing or shooting thousands of pigs in a day, according to The New York Times.

The financial and emotional repercussions on the farmers are profound. Some farmers lose as much as $390,000 in a day, said the report. So far 90,000 pigs have been killed in Minnesota alone.

In the end, a lot of farmers may have to go out of business after being financially ruined during this crisis, and we will seriously miss that lost capacity in the days ahead.

Because the truth is that global food supplies are only going to get tighter and tighter.  As I have discussed previously, UN World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley has warned that we are facing “the worst humanitarian crisis since World War Two”, and he insists that we could soon see 300,000 people literally starve to death every single day…

“If we can’t reach these people with the life-saving assistance they need, our analysis shows that 300,000 people could starve to death every single day over a three-month period”, he upheld. “This does not include the increase of starvation due to COVID-19”.

And did you catch that last part?

He specifically excluded the effects of COVID-19 from his very ominous projection.

So the truth is that the number of people starving to death each day could ultimately end up being far, far higher.

In wealthy western countries, starvation is not an imminent threat.  But what we are seeing is an explosion of hunger that is absolutely unprecedented.  All over America, people have been lining up “for hours” at America’s food banks so that they can be sure to get something before the supplies run out…(continues)

AYWtGS: Flattening the Curve Vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve

A Year Without the Grocery Store has an article about planning ahead for the next waves of the virus and associated second and third order effects in Flattening the Curve Vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve.

All of us have heard a lot about flattening the curve.  And according to many experts, we have successfully flattened the curve – to a greater or lesser degree depending on where in the country you live.  But we have a new problem now.  People are thinking about re-emerging from their respective lockdowns – whether self-imposed or government imposed.  And all that many people want is for life to return to normal.  Okay, I’ll level with you.  *I* want life to return to normal, but that isn’t my focus right now.  My focus is on getting ahead of the curve.

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Getting Ahead of the Curve?

So what I do mean by ‘getting ahead of the curve?’    It’s a fairly common phrase – “getting ahead of the curve.”  In our circumstances, I mean that we need to be able to look toward the future and see what actions we need to take NOW to take care of our families down the road.

Don’t be deceived – this is only the first wave of the virus.  If the pattern of the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 holds true, there will be at least 3 waves of this virus.  So if we are seeing an end to the first wave of the Covid-19, we need to start about thinking about preparing for the second and third waves.  We also need to start trying to figure out what will the financial and practical fallout be for our country, region, state, county, city, and family.

Practical Fallout

One way that we’re already experiencing practical fallout is in the breakdown of our supply chain.  When I was at church yesterday – and yes, for the first time in seven weeks, we actually went to church I spent some time talking with a friend who lives in rural Illinois.  She was telling us that they have friends who work in pig farming.  They started probably two months ago, killing off any baby pigs that they didn’t think were going to be among the best of the litter.  Since then, they’ve taken measures to abort any baby pigs at all.  They know that they aren’t going to have the money to feed those pigs until the meat production plants reopen.

We’re already hearing about how Tyson has been shutting down plants because workers have tested positive for the coronavirus.  We’ve seen shortages of hand sanitizer, toilet paper, garden seeds, soups, pasta, masks, gloves, and so many other things.

So what can we do?  Flattening the Curve vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve<img class=”alignright wp-image-17895 size-medium” src=”https://i2.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873.jpeg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1″ alt=”Flattening the Curve vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve” width=”300″ height=”200″ srcset=”https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=1024%2C681&ssl=1 1024w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=768%2C511&ssl=1 768w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=1536%2C1022&ssl=1 1536w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=2048%2C1363&ssl=1 2048w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=650%2C433&ssl=1 650w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=600%2C399&ssl=1 600w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />

Start now and watch the news.  What item or items (whether in your area or in the entire country) is likely going to become scarce in the near future?

1.)  Right now, if you have room in your freezer or you can pressure can, picking up extra meat is very important.  Bacon was already out of stock at Costco when I went out (with gloves and mask) last week.  They didn’t even have beef in the form that I usually pick it up.  Pork and chicken are the two types of meat that are in the greatest danger of seeing shortages.  The sooner you can get out and stock up, the better off you are.

2.)  Restock any foodstuffs that you can to bring your food numbers back to where they need to be.  If you’ve been using my book and workbook system to get your long-term food storage to where it needs to be and your short-term food storage to 3 months, then you know what areas you’ve been taking from during these last two months. Make sure that you fill them back up.  We’ve used significant amounts of oatmeal and tomato sauce.  When I was out at the post office today, we stopped at a store to refill our personal stores.

3.)  Restock any non-foodstuff items.  Have you worked your way through almost an entire pack of gloves?  See if you can replenish them.  Do you have to wear a mask when you’re out in public?  Are you running low?  Can you make your own, purchase single-use face masks, or another reusable alternative?  How are you on shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent?

Flattening the Curve vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve<img class=”alignleft wp-image-17896 size-medium” src=”https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1″ alt=”Flattening the Curve vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve” width=”300″ height=”200″ srcset=”https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=1024%2C683&ssl=1 1024w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=1536%2C1024&ssl=1 1536w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=2048%2C1365&ssl=1 2048w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=650%2C433&ssl=1 650w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=600%2C400&ssl=1 600w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />Financial Fallout

How stable do you believe your job is?  How about your spouse’s job?  I known and met people who have lost parts of their income because of Covid-19.  I know people who have lost their entire income because of the virus as well.

Even if you think that things are on sure footing, it is a good time now to create an alternate budget.   We have the regular budget that we operate on a month to month basis, but then we have an alternative budget.  First off, If you’ve never used YNAB – You Need A Budget – then I would highly recommend that you check it out.  It is a yearly subscription fee, but it has saved us so much money during the four years that we’ve used it.

So we’ve back to this alternate budget.  It’s a bare-bones budget with every convenience that we feel like we could live without cut out of it.  We aren’t living on that budget, but we’re looking at a time when that might be necessary to live on less.  This enables us to ask, “How much less can we live on?”  And allows us to have concrete numbers as to what we HAVE to bring home…(continues)

The Guardian: We Mocked Preppers and Survivalists – Until the Pandemic Hit

The Guardian has a little article about how everyone wishes they had been preppers before this pandemic. Hopefully some people will be inspired to be a little more prepared in the future.

We mocked preppers and survivalists – until the pandemic hit

You’ve heard of preppers, right? Survivalists? If you’ve watched TV shows like Doomsday Preppers, you know about their strange, apocalyptic beliefs: that a disaster could strike at any time, overwhelming first responders and the social safety net; that this crisis could disrupt supply chains, causing scarcity and panic and social breakdown; that authorities might invoke emergency powers and impose police curfews. Crazy theories like that.

In fact, many perfectly reputable organizations – including the US federal government and the Red Cross – recommend Americans maintain extra food and emergency supplies. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) advises keeping a two-week supply of food, as well as water, batteries, medical masks, first-aid supplies and a battery- or hand-powered radio, among other things.

In mainstream society, however, interest in prepping usually invites ridicule about bunkers and tin-foil hats. Preppers have spent years as the objects of our collective derision.

Until now. Today, we’re all preppers – or rather, wish we had been. Non-preppers have been caught in a rain shower without an umbrella. I don’t know if preppers are laughing right now, but perhaps they’re entitled to some vindication.

Now, I’m not a prepper. I am an effete quasi-intellectual with no practical skills of any kind. My current “emergency supplies” are some Hungry-Man Dinners and a liter of bourbon. If things get really bad I will finish the bourbon, lie down and wait to be eaten by stray cats.

But I’ve come to respect the preppers’ ethos of survival and preparedness. One of my friends is one, or at least on the spectrum. When coronavirus hit, he wasn’t one of the millions of people scrambling for surgical masks; he already had them in his survival kit. He kept a few and gave the rest to elderly people.

It has become fashionable to arguenot entirely accurately – that there are “no libertarians in a pandemic”. Certainly, this crisis has been a stark reminder of the importance of collective action. We’re all on this ship together; Covid-19 has laid bare the pathetic inadequacy of the US social safety net, our lack of investment in the common good, and our government’s short attention span for preparing for crises that don’t involve terrorism or war.

But collective action also requires some level of individual responsibility and preparedness, too, at least for those with the ability and the means. You can’t aid your elderly, immunocompromised or poorer neighbors if you haven’t taken the bare minimum of preparations. There’s a reason that airplane safety demonstrations warn passengers to put on their own air-masks before assisting others.

We’re right to be angry at the people stripping supermarkets bare and hoarding desperately needed supplies. Those people aren’t preppers, however. Preppers don’t engage in panic-buying. That’s the whole point. That’s why it is called prepping.

“Prepping is a choice that occurs before a panic, not during,” a prepper recently complained on Reddit. “If you didn’t stock up over time, you are a hoarder or, perhaps worse, an opportunist. In times like these we need to come together and support one another. That doesn’t mean giving away your supplies, but it does mean living in a society.”

Another added, “We aren’t the reason that elderly or immunocompromised people can’t find hand sanitizer, masks or toilet paper. We bought things in small increments when it made zero impact on the supply.” … (continues)

 

See also, The Atlantic: We Should All Be Preppers

Of Two Minds: Surviving 2020 – Plans A, B, and C

Charles Smith at Of Two Minds has an article on Surviving 2020 – Plans A, B, and C

As the bogus prosperity economy built on exponential growth of debt implodes, we all seek ways to protect ourselves, our families and our worldly assets. There are any number of websites, subscription services and books which offer two basic “practical recommendations:”
1. Buy gold (and/or silver) and don’t worry about timing the market as everything else will become worthless.
2. Establish a heavily armed and well-supplied hideaway before everything implodes.
My problem with these suggestions is that they are predicated on a decisive “end of the world as we know it” collapse of civilization.
While I am alive to the possibility of this cataclysm, an analysis of the many feedback loops which will slow or counteract such a decisive collapse suggests other alternatives are even more likely: my term for the slow, uneven decline of the credit/speculative-bubble era is devolution.
I cover feedback loops, historical cycles and why a lengthy devolution is as least as likely a scenario as abrupt collapse in my book Survival+ (free downloadable version is linked below).
In other words, I do not see planning for eventualities as “either/or.” I look at it in terms of three levels:
Plan A: dealing with devolution: government services are cut back, prices for essentials rise over time, fulltime paid jobs become scarce, the State (all levels of government) becomes increasingly repressive as it pursues “theft by other means,” i.e. the stripmining of private assets to feed its own fiefdoms and Elites; most assets fall in purchasing power (value) as the system’s financial props erode.
Plan B: When things become rationed/unavailable, services become sporadic, pensions stop being paid in full, spontaneous homeless encampments arise in heretofore “nice” areas, cities go bankrupt, small businesses go underground to survive the ever-higher taxes being levied on the few remaining productive enterprises, etc.
Plan C: if things fall apart: either move to communities where you or your family have roots (tough luck for all the millions of rootless Americans shifted around by corporate “relocations” the past 50 years) or turn to your neighborhood, town, friends, family, church and other social networks for cooperative strength.
The problem with putting all your resources into a “bug-out” strategy (Plan C) is that it might not come to pass, in which case you’ve misallocated your assets.
This is why I focus Survival+ on structuring a prosperity which will work on all levels. This prosperity has five basic parts:
1. Prepare for hybrid work by developing multiple skillsets, interests and contacts and understand that being productive and reciprocal is more important than getting paid (as I put it: “to take care of Number One, first take care of numbers 2 through 9.”)
2. Develop sustainable, overlapping social networks (self-organizing networks) in which you have more than one place to interact with the same person, i.e. at church or in the neighborhood. I call these non-State, voluntary networks transparent non-privileged parallel structures because they are independent of the State and Monopoly/Predatory Capital Elites.
3. Cut expenses to the bone so you no longer need a large income to “survive.” Consider lowering your taxable income by working less so you’re no longer working so hard just to pay taxes generated by high incomes. (Thanks to correspondent Stephen A. for noting that barter that results in gains is generally taxable. As always, check with the I.R.S. or a licensed tax advisor to confirm what income is taxable/nontaxable.)
4. Reach a new understanding of “prosperity”: health and social wealth are the “treasures” which money cannot buy. Yes, we all need some money, and preserving/growing whatever capital you do have will be difficult and time-consuming. There is no easy “one size fits all” solution.
5. Understand the importance and strength in building and maintaining personal integrity, the one asset we each control in totality and that no one can take from us. All reciprocal networks (financial, political, religious or social) depend entirely on trust, and the bedrock of trust is complete personal integrity.
Much of the devolution we now face is a direct result of the degradation of integrity. This moral/ethical component of financial implosion is glossed over by the corporate media because the Power Elites have implicitly undermined integrity and morality as a means of soldifying their control of the media and of the national income.
Yes, I know this all sounds wonderful, but how do you do it in real life? Well, life is and always has been a do-it-yourself affair. With 200 million+ employable people in the nation, what advice or recommendations can I possibly give to any one individual, when only that person knows their own interests, strengths and potential customers, clients, allies, competitors and mentors?
Let’s start with one simple truth: nobody knows the future. Thus everything we discuss now is contingent on a number of unpredictable interactions. To base our planning on one scenario is to risk misallocating our scarce assets and resources…(continues)

The Organic Prepper: The Truth About Neighbors in Survival Situations

Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper has an article on The Truth About Neighbors, Coworkers, & Friends in Survival Situations, detailing some things learned about people during this pandemic. I can think of a few additions to the types listed from my experiences, can you?

…many of us are realizing that there’s also a lot to learn about the folks just outside our inner circles: our neighbors, our co-workers, our extended families, and other communities in which we’re involved like churches or schools.

Behavior outside of the group.

While our connections with these people aren’t as intimate as those within our groups,  in some cases they can still threaten an otherwise solid survival plan. Some of the people described below may sound familiar after weeks of movement restriction.

  • The people you warned for months if not years that they needed to put some food aside, make arrangements for their prescriptions, and buy some extra toilet paper and soap.
  • Folks who know more than you now wish they did about your pantry and who’ve made it clear that they think it’s “greedy” that your family has so much while others have so little
  • People we used to really like boasting on Facebook how they snitched on somebody for some innocuous thing they felt flouted the “rules”
  • Neighbors taking a sudden and noticeable interest in your garden or your chickens
  • People in the neighborhood who are no longer working and now just sit on their porch all day and closely watch what everyone else is doing – including people unloading supplies from their cars into their homes
  • The nosy neighbor who demands that everything be “fair” and wants to take a tally of anything – people, water, supplies, guns, you name it.
  • That guy down the street you never liked in the first place who is becoming even more unlikeable by promoting himself as some kind of neighborhood watch king, handing out unsolicited advice and warnings, or maybe trying to set up “rules” by which he expects everyone else to abide
  • The people who are moving closer and closer to overstepping the boundaries of civil behavior – they’re doing small things dropping their trash in your yard or blatantly looking inside the windows of your car – but it’s an escalation
  • The co-worker who asks way more questions about your preparedness level than is really appropriate
  • The community group (church, social club, volunteer organization) that wants donations or participation in a way that is likely to threaten your OPSEC (operational security – more on that later)

You know the ones. They’re trying to get just a little too close for comfort. We’ve probably all seen somebody over this period of time and thought, “Yeah, I’m going to have to watch that guy.”

If the situation were to worsen, you would indeed have to watch that guy.

Identify “who” your neighbors and coworkers are

The people around you can be beneficial, neutral, or a threat. It’s best to determine which one they are as early as possible in an emergency…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at The Organic Prepper.

Christian Prepper Gal: Has the Reality of It Hit You Yet?

Christian Prepper Gal asks if you’ve realized that you’re in a SHTF situation in Has the Reality of It Hit You Yet?

We are in the midst of a global pandemic. We are in the middle of a SHTF situation. I think for most preppers that is just now beginning to sink in. And, I’ve been amazed at the number of new preppers that have shown up in Facebook groups in the past month! The time to be prepared is NOW. And, I’m not just talking about being prepared with food and household essentials. Unfortunately, so many, and especially new, preppers think that is all they need to or have to do.

Last Fall (2019) I began to feel very strongly that it was time to stop trying to warn people of the need to be prepared. That it was time to make sure we had our own ducks in a row, and see to it that our own lamps were filled with oil. I even expressed to those around me that I felt like “something” was going to happen in 2020. And, by “something” I meant we were going to experience (as a nation) SH(ing)TF. And, guess what?!? It happened! I personally had thought it would be as a result of the election. But, apparently I was wrong. See? I can admit being wrong, from time to time, lol.

It is my belief that this SHTF scenario has just begun. We are all wanting it to be overwith quickly and for things to get back to normal. But, you know what? I don’t think it’s going to be overwith quickly, and I’m not sure things can ever be back to what normal was before the COVID-19 pandemic. I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer, but I also don’t mean to give false hope to others, or myself. The reality of it is that there will be repercussions from our nation being essentially shut down. Even though the term has not been “officially” used as of yet here in the U.S., that is what has happened. We’ve already been shut down for close to a month, and it sure doesn’t look like things are going to be getting back to “normal” any time soon.

How are you reacting to all this?

First and foremost, we SHOULD NOT be reacting with fear. Especially as Christians. But, it’s easy to allow that to happen. Remember, though…

2 Timothy 1:7, For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (KJV)

It is especially important to remember that right now, during this pandemic. We do not want to allow our minds to become the devil’s playground, do we? I know I don’t! But, if we allow fear to creep in, that is exactly what we’re doing.

How do we avoid or get rid of that fear? We read The Word of God. Romans 10:17, So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (KJV). If we read (hear) The Word of God, it drives out fear! How can you have faith and fear at the same time? You can’t! And, that’s why we need to build up our most holy faith. We need to saturate our entire beings with His Word! According to Johh 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (KJV) Jesus is The Word. If we read what He said, in His Word, our faith will abound! And, faith expels fear! If we put our trust in Him, we will prevail and overcome fear.

There was one day a couple of weeks ago that I was so overcome with the negative from the news and social media that I had to play some contemporary worship music. I turned it up loud, and let it drown out all the negative in my mind and eyes. Then, I could put my mind and eyes back on Jesus.

We need to keep our eye on the prize. And, as Christians, our prize is eternal life with our Heavenly Father. So, if we keep our eyes on Him, we will win in the end!

Are you still denying it?

As I mentioned earlier, some (many) people (including preppers) are in denial. They truly think that our government will be able to take care of us and this is the worst that things will get. Some preppers don’t even realize that this is the SHTF that they’ve been preparing for! My thought is that the reason for that is they are only seeing the here and now. They’re not seeing what can and possibly will happen as a result of our nation being shut down.

Take a moment and let that sink in. Think about it. Our government has already put itself two trillion dollars in debt over this pandemic and that has only touched the surface. It will take much, much more than that to dig us out of this economic hole we are in. Do we have that much money and resources in reserve? Most likely not.

The economic downfall of the pandemic is just now beginning to be felt by many. What is going to happen when the food and resources begin to run out? What’s going to happen when parents cannot provide for their families? It will hit those with the lower incomes first. And, we are on the brink of that happening as I write. And, we are only in the beginning; one month since the declaration of this being a pandemic. We have a long way to go before we can even begin recovery. The virus hasn’t even been stabilized yet; it could take up to 18 months or longer to develop a vaccine. Our government is trying to help us and prevent things like chaos as a result of looting and rioting from happening. But, it’s not all up to only them…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at Christian Prepper Gal.

Jamie Cooks It Up: Food Storage and Recipes

40 Food Storage Recipes and Food Storage/Pantry Staple Lists is an older blog post from Jamie Cooks It Up! It talks about what kinds of foods to have as staples and for long term storage, and then links to a bunch of storage recipes (also on her site) for using those foods. Maybe you bought up a bunch of food storage early in this pandemic and aren’t sure what to do now. Maybe you’re looking at the supply chain woes and wondering what you need to get through the rest of year. Jamie Cooks It Up also posts a “week menu plan” each week with one meal per day for the week.

I’ve been getting a lot of emails lately regarding food storage, and pantry staples. 

“What do you keep stocked in your kitchen, what are some fabulous food storage recipes, Where should I buy my food storage and What can I feed my family if I can’t go to the store for 3 weeks in a row”. These are just a sampling of the questions posed.  

Now, I am by no means a food storage specialist, however I thought I would put together a few tips, lists and recipes together for you regarding the subject. Please know that the advice I am giving here is just from my own personal experiences, and not the only tried and true method around. If you have some food storage advice, I would love you to leave it in the comment section for others to view. 

Acquiring a substantial food storage can be overwhelming, I realize. The intention of this post is not to cause you stress or grief or feelings of extreme anxiety. When I was newly married, some 18 years ago, I remember coming across an article in a magazine that had to do with organizing a kitchen and what spices a person should  purchase. After taking one glance at the list I tossed it in the trash and thought to myself…”there is no way I’ll EVER be able to acquire all of those things, I wonder how long we can live on cupboard lint.”

It’s true. Those were my very thoughts. 

However, I learned as I’m sure many of you have, that it just takes a little bit of time, effort and financial planning and a well stocked kitchen can be attained. The same is true of obtaining a useful supply of food storage. You don’t need to spend 1 million dollars or build an underground bunker storing 95 years worth of food to be successful. 

Alright, let’s get to it. If you are already a food storage pro, and are just looking for the 40 Food Storage Recipes promised, please scroll to the bottom of the post and enjoy. 

WHY IN THE WIDE WORLD SHOULD I STORE EXTRA FOOD?

As a means of being prepared for difficult circumstances, such as job loss, natural disasters or an economic downturn. 



WHAT KIND OF FOOD SHOULD I STORE? 

You should store food that your family regularly eats, that also has at least a 3 month shelf or freezer life. Baking supplies, spices and seasonings, canned goods, as well as frozen vegetables, fruits, meat and poultry. (Lists found if you keep scrolling down.)

Expensive Freeze Dried Food is not really my cup of tea. I may regret not purchasing it if the continents end up colliding and I am forced to dig a hole in my back yard and eat tree roots to survive. Truly. I may regret it at that point. But for now, stocking and storing a 6 month to 1 year supply of real food my family regularly eats is my course of action. 

Store some long term food storage items such as hard winter wheat, rice, dried beans, etc. I try to keep about a 3 year supply of these things. (Keep scrolling down for a complete list). They are inexpensive, healthy and if stored properly they have a 30 year shelf life! That is a long old time, wouldn’t you agree? I keep these items in large, sealed, 5 gallon buckets (they can accommodate about 40 pounds). I don’t have a big food storage room so I just stick them here and there, which really means my kids all have 3 or 4 buckets in the bottom of their closets. But they don’t mind, they would rather eat rice and beans than tree roots…or so I keep telling them…

LONG TERM STORAGE:

*Hard White Winter Wheat
Dried White Beans
Dried Black Beans
Dried Kidney Beans
Lentils
* White Rice
Brown Rice
*Steel Cut Oats

40 FOOD STORAGE RECIPES
The recipes I have listed for you below, are recipes that primarily use food storage staples as ingredients. You may need a fresh egg, some milk, butter or cheese for some of them, but I tried to keep the list as food storage friendly as I could…
Moogie Mush, cracked wheat cereal

Total Time: 17 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

4 C hot water
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 t vanilla
3/4-1 C raisins
2 1/2 C cracked wheat (I buy White Winter Wheat and then crack it in a blender)
1/4 C brown sugar
20 packets of splenda

Instructions

1. Crack your wheat in a blender. Don’t add more than about 2 cups at a time. It should be the right texture after about 4 minutes.
2. Combine the water, salt, vanilla and raisins in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
3. Turn down the heat to low and stir in the wheat. The wheat tends to clump up a bit. Break the clumps up with a wooden spoon.
4. Add the sugar and splenda and stir to incorporate.
5. Cover the sauce pan, turn off the heat, and let it sit for 10 minutes. (Keep it on the warm burner)

Technology Review: Waiting for the Big One, then Coronavirus Arrived

MIT Technology Review has a good article about community preparedness on the Oregon Coast in They were waiting for the Big One. Then coronavirus arrived. The article’s subtitle is Can being ready for one kind of disaster prepare you for another?

Linda Kozlowski’s neighbor wanted to know if she needed anything from Walmart. It wasn’t a quick trip into town; the drive from the Oregon coast to Portland took two hours. But because of her age, Kozlowski, a 77-year-old retiree, might be at risk from covid-19. Perhaps there would be hard-to-find goods, like hand sanitizer. She thought for a moment and asked for bread, pasta, and toilet paper.

Helping senior citizens is a neighborly thing to do, especially in the middle of a pandemic. But in Manzanita, where Kozlowski lives, joint grocery runs are part of a detailed disaster preparedness plan that Kozlowski herself introduced to the town 13 years ago. Back then, it wasn’t a disease they were concerned about, but a storm that helped locals realize exactly how vulnerable they were to power outages, floods, and landslides.

The Oregon coast is a harsh, unforgiving place where mundane outings can quickly turn deadly. This past January, Jeremy Stiles and his two young children, Lola and William, were swept out to sea by a sneaker wave while hiking north of Manzanita. Lola died at the hospital. William’s body was never found. (Jeremy recovered from hypothermia.)

Until recently, though, the main thing most residents were preparing for was a combined earthquake and tsunami they nicknamed The Big One. The Cascadia Subduction Zone fault line stretches from Vancouver Island in Canada to Cape Mendocino, California. The last Cascadia earthquake occurred in 1700, and scientists have predicted that one will occur every 300 to 600 years. When it hits, the region will be devastated.

So Kozlowski had helped the neighborhood get prepared. She’d followed advice, called a meeting, and identified who had first aid skills, who had generators, who had a chainsaw. She’d organized a spot for everyone to rendezvous if things went bad. Sure, she’d created the disaster plan in case there was a tsunami. But it meant that when the coronavirus pandemic hit, Kozlowski and her neighbors already knew exactly how to lean on one another.

The majority of Americans are not ready for disaster. A 2016 survey conducted by Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness found that 65% of households reported having no or inadequate plans to survive a catastrophe. Forty-one percent of households said they weren’t confident their communities knew what to do if disaster struck unexpectedly. And yet, in the face of coronavirus, preparation has become urgent in a whole new range of ways to a whole new range of people. Lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders have paralyzed communities, shut down businesses, and led to panic buying. If the nation was generally unprepared for disaster, it was even less ready for this particular flavor of emergency.

“Are we prepared as a country? I don’t think so,” says Irwin Redlener, the director of the Columbia center. “The fact is, the studies we have done that have to do with individual preparedness have been extremely depressing…”

Kozlowski…organized residents to get trained. Then came the portable, handheld emergency radio operators and those familiar with ham radio. Today, every Thursday at 6 p.m., they call in to a centralized channel called the Net (the operation center is the firehouse), say who they are, and listen to what’s called an “educational moment,” about something like how to get to an assembly site. Last year there were 2,701 total check-ins.

In 2008, Kozlowski expanded from Manzanita to two other local towns, covering some 2,000 people, and formed the volunteer corps. Most of its money comes from local fundraising and from the fire department. Her budget is small—even if it has risen from $4,000 to $12,000—but the corps offers classes in emergency radio, WaSH (water, sanitation, and hygiene), and managing chronic illness in austere conditions. The closest hospital is 40 minutes away, so the corps also has a medical reserve made up of local doctors, nurses, vets, and physical therapists. Kozlowski says this training has all helped them deal with coronavirus. “We’ve been talking about ‘How do you wash your hands?’ for a long time,” she says. “Because after a disaster, the last thing you want to do is get diarrhea.”

Kozlowski’s efforts were soon mimicked around the coast. Sharon Kloepfer, a CERT volunteer in Gearhart, another coastal town, told me Manzanita has “blown away every other community as far as preparedness.” In Rockaway Beach, a strip of land south of Manzanita, David Elkins is trying to copy Kozlowski after taking her volunteer corps classes. He was told the city didn’t have any money to hire an emergency manager, so he rallied 25 residents who are now trained in first aid, lost-person search, and small-fire suppression…

Click here to read the entire article at Technology Review.

Raw Story: Cold War-style Preparedness Could Help Fight Future Pandemics

There is an article over on Raw Story about how local preparedness could be a more effective way of dealing with disasters and pandemics rather than a reliance on top-down response. Who woulda thunk?

Cold War-style preparedness could help fight future pandemics

A key group of allies is missing in the U.S. effort to face the coronavirus pandemic: the American people.

In the wake of World War II and during the Cold War, the U.S. was the world’s best at planning and preparing for mobilizing the citizenry to take action in an emergency. In those days, the anticipated emergency was a nuclear attack on the U.S., likely resulting in a loss of national leadership that required local governments and members of the public to step up.

Every American was asked to help prepare for that possibility, storing extra supplies, planning to communicate with family members and developing survival skills.

A poster from 1941 urged all Americans to contribute to community preparedness for emergencies.
Government Printing Office, 1941/Library of Congress

Eventually, this type of “civil defenseplanning grew to incorporate responses to other extreme events, such as hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.

Over the latter half of the 20th century, the U.S. civil defense effort encouraged all Americans to be prepared to respond actively to a national emergency.

In recent years, however, Americans’ expectations have shifted from being ready to respond to passively waiting for help from a centralized, bureaucratic federal effort – usually led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency…

…Small organizations are able to adapt: Many have quickly shifted to fill the immediate need. Small wineries, microbreweries and distilleries are making hand sanitizer. Garment and uniform companies are making masks. Schools are using 3D printers to produce face shields.

These examples demonstrate that small-scale approaches can be effective in producing big results. In contrast, larger organizations are more bureaucratic and slower to respond. These inverse economies of scale mirror civil defense efforts: Many working collectively but independently are sometimes more effective than a larger centralized effort.

When facing an unexpected crisis, some amount of disorganization is probably inevitable. But other countries, such as Estonia, Sweden, Finland, Nigeria and Australia, actively work to engage all citizens in disaster preparedness, first aid training and other efforts that give people clear and productive tasks to accomplish.

Following their example – and indeed the United States’ own history – could help create a system of federal oversight and coordination complemented by prepared and trained local responders. That could better prepare the public to pull together as a collective civic community when disaster next strikes.

Click here to read the entire article at Raw Story.

Primal Survivor: 10 Tips for Buying Food During Shortages

If you waited until now to stockpile emergency food, you are probably struggling.  The recent pandemic means Emergency food kits orders are backlogged for months.

Popular retailers like REI are out of virtually all freeze-dried meals.  And supermarkets are having an impossible time of keeping shelves stocked with non-perishables like pasta, flour, canned goods, and instant meals.

This doesn’t mean you can’t stockpile food during the pandemic.  You’ve just got to be strategic about it.  Here are some tips to help you build up a stockpile of food even in the midst of disaster shortages.

1. Understand Why You Are Stockpiling Food

As the experts keep telling us, there is no food shortage right now. Rather, all the panic buying is causing the shelves to empty quickly. People are simply buying more than usual.

Nor is there likely to be a food shortage anytime soon.  Even in countries which have almost complete shutdowns, food manufacturing employees are allowed to go to work.  In fact, governments are organizing safe transportation to make sure these people can get to work!

Sure, there could be food shortages in the not-too-distant future. It’s understandable (and even smart) if you want to stockpile just in case.  However, now is not the time to build up a long-term food stockpile.  Wait until the craziness has died down to start!

If we aren’t going to run out of food, then why stockpile?

The answer is this: So you don’t have to leave your home. And especially so you don’t have to leave home to go to the grocery store.

Because of all the crowds and people who pass through them, grocery stores are one of the most dangerous places during the coronavirus pandemic.  The longer you can go between grocery store visits, the safer you will be (and thus the safer your community will be too).

Once you realize you are stockpiling food so you don’t have to leave home, you will be able to go about shopping in a smarter way.

2. Do Not Go Grocery Shopping during the Panic

If you have enough food in your home to last a while (even if it’s just a few days), DO NOT GO GROCERY SHOPPING NOW.

At the time of writing this, people in the United States are still panic buying.  If you head to the stores now, you will likely find bare shelves and crowds of people.  You won’t succeed in getting the food you need and you’ll expose yourself to a lot of potentially-sick people.

Instead, hold off on going to the store as long as you can.  In countries like Italy, it only took a couple weeks before the panic-buying stopped.  In Serbia, the panic-buying stopped after just a few days and the shelves were back to normal.

crowds at supermarket during COVID-19
Look at all these people shopping for supplies. It’s safer to wait for the crowds to thin out! (Image credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

3. Make a Food Spreadsheet

A friend of mine works at a supermarket.  She tells me about all the people literally buying 30 packages of spaghetti and nothing else.  Others are buying massive amounts of flour and oil but nothing else.

What the hell are you going to do with 30 bags of pasta???

Sure, you won’t starve but do you really want to eat plain pasta for the next few weeks?  And how will you use flour without yeast or baking soda and baking powder?  Oil is also pretty useless if you don’t have something to fry or cook with it! (continues)

Click here to continue reading at Primal Survivor.