Food and Emergency Storage Preparedness

“Be prepared in all things against the day when tribulations and desolations are sent forth upon the wicked.”
Doctrine and Covenants 29:8

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

After Armageddon

*To watch the videos below, scroll to the bottom of the page and push pause on my playlist. : ) *

Remember to START HERE if you are just beginning to read now!

I found this video on a friend's blog, and I hope she doesn't mind that I'm 'stealing' it : ). On her blog, she says: "Considering the natural disasters recently, it is wise to be diligent in our prayers as we make provisions for the "What If's"." I find great knowledge and comfort in those words, and I think it is advice that we all could find helpful as we prepare for the future.

If you can find this as a re-run, or by some other means, I would highly recommend that you watch it. I have included all of the parts of it below, but the video quality isn't very good from Youtube.

This was done by the History Channel, and I find it incredibly informative. They make a good point to note that this is a theoretical account of the worst case scenario, but I still think we can learn from it. Who knows how things are really going to happen or if this kind of situation would ever happen, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared. We know things are going to be really trying and our life as we know it will be changed, but we don't know exactly how this will happen. (Read Matthew 24 in the Bible just as an example.)

After I watched the whole thing, I realized one major point: Just by having a food and survival storage, everything would have been just fine in this instance. That's why it is SO pivotal to begin preparing now. The family could have set up an outhouse location for human waste, and then they could have stayed in their home. They would have probably still needed to defend themselves from looters, but if they were prepared, they would have been fine. They wouldn't have had to leave their home in search for more food and water.

It's incredibly eye-opening. Keep in mind it is pure conjecture. So you might find some things far fetched. Either way, it's still a good watch, and it does represent possibilities that could happen.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The First People To Die

Remember to START HERE if you are just beginning to read now!

This is not a particularly easy post to write. It's a very sobering topic, but I think the information needs to be known. If you think you fall into one of these categories, the time to begin preparing is now.

This was prepared by several medical professionals that have dealt with crisis and natural disasters first hand, many more than once. They saw the effects of those that fell into these categories, and are now trying to spread the word, hoping to be able to save lives.

It's a commonly known fact that most religions believe in some kind of epic event that will deliver the righteous and destroy the earth. As a Christian, I believe in the Second Coming of Christ, and I also believe all of the events in the Bible (and Book of Mormon) referring to the Second Coming are events that will take place. These events are commonly thought of as *scary*, or maybe even perhaps *terrifying*. However, I firmly believe that "if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear", from the Doctrine and Covenants. Being a mother, and my husband says simply being a woman, I somewhat alter that to say "if ye are prepared, ye shall fear less". I know I shouldn't fear at all if I am prepared, and I know fear is not a godly attribute. I'm working on that part. Definitely one of my weaknesses. Hence, this blog and my fanatics to get prepared. So... moving on.

The First People To Die When PHTF
(Poop Hits The Fan)

Category #1: The Physically Disabled

Physically disabled means -- Those dependent on prescriptions for survival (i.e. diabetics), elderly, those unable to walk (paraplegics, missing limbs etc), those that have respiratory issues especially those that rely on CPAP machines, obese individuals.

There are some situations that will require you to really haul butt, move quickly, get outta there, etc. For most of these individuals (save maybe some dependent on medication), they will not be able to move quickly. At least in current natural disaster situations, this is true. Who knows exactly what things will be like when it's the "Real Deal".

If you have a family member that falls into this category, please make preparations to help them. If you are obese, please work now to lose weight (I'm definitely labeled as someone that is "overweight" -- I'm workin' on it.) If you are dependent on prescription medications, do what you can to store medication. Talk to your doctor and see if he/she will work with you on this. If you have type II diabetes, change your diet and exercise so you can become less or completely insulin independent. If you smoke, work now to try and stop smoking (I know, easier said then done), but you are not going to want to suffer the affects of a smoker's lungs during these times. And unless you can store a years supply of cigarettes, you also don't want to have to go through serious withdrawal symptoms by being cut off cold turkey.

Category #2: Government Housing / Welfare recipients

When I first read this, I thought, "Oh boy. This is going to be a touchy subject." First point to make -- not all people receiving government assistance are like this. But a whole lot are. There are 2 types of people that fall into this category:
1. Those that have a cradle to grave "Help me I can't do anything for myself nor do I want to" type of mentality. This was extremely apparent after Katrina. This was also the most frustrating group of individuals for health care professionals to work with.
2. Typically some of these individuals become aggressors. These are the first people to go and loot. They are also the first to either get shot (rightfully so) because they are looting or to shoot someone else (Remember that looters don't go after just stores and businesses, they also loot private houses). This is a very dangerous group of people. These are also people that will take advantage of people from Category 1. BEWARE OF THESE TYPE OF PEOPLE. They are very common when looting takes place.

Category #3: Those addicted to substances

When a person addicted to drugs, especially benzos, opiates, or methamphetamines, they will do whatever it takes to get their drug. (Keep in mind that millions of people in the US alone are addicted to drugs. According to this article, 23 million Americans are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol.) If they think that you possibly have something they want, they will do whatever it takes to get it, and heaven forbid they come for you. When people are detoxing and looking for whatever it is they want to get their fix, beware! Be prepared to defend yourself against these type of people. One or two rounds of a 9mm will not take them down. Shot placement is paramount -- if you don't shoot the head, heart, or major bone structure, they will continue to come for you. The reason these people die is either because A)other people have to kill them to protect themselves or their family, or B) their blood pressure spikes, they experience seizures, and then die.
2. Alcoholics

Alcoholics' blood pressure will shoot up, they will have seizures, and die. Generally speaking, an alcoholic can not go "cold turkey". They need to be weaned off of alcohol slowly, and death takes place much faster than a person addicted to drugs.

Category #4: The "Debt Up To My Eyeballs" group

This is a very wide swamp of people. These people have incurred so much debt and have so many monthly payments that they have been unable to prepare. They do not have a food storage. These people are generally thought of the "tryin' to keep up with the Jones'" kind of people. They have the newest and and best, but have incurred a lot of debt to do so, and are very deficient in supplies. These are also the people that react too late. They get so caught up in life that they miss many of the signs. And then they go into a state of denial. Denial is a huge part of this group. While they might go out to the shooting range, and they might have firearms, they will not be able to mentally cope with "Oh I was wrong and didn't prepare soon enough". They will get out too late. They will try and loot, but there is no way they will be able to survive on just what they loot. And besides, *looting is dangerous*, and they will not be prepared to combat all of the aggressive looting-type of people. You will be risking your life if you choose to loot.

Along with this group -- financial experts predict that in the coming months/years, not only will gas prices, food prices etc skyrocket, but they predict that interest rates will also go completely through the roof. If this happens, the people in this group have a good chance of losing everything they own because they will not be able to pay the high interest.

If you are in debt, try now to limit your spending and pay off your debt as soon as possible.

Category #5: "The right to bare NO arms."

Many groups of people that do not own firearms are the "peace-loving", green, lower your carbon foot print, tree hugger, live-off-of-the-land type of people. This kind of mentality is not wrong by any means. In fact, these people have great skill sets as far as agriculture, sewing, weaving, and general self sufficient skills. However, they are deficient in one thing: Firearms. They typically do not like weapons , and because of that, they become a perfect target. They are not able to defend themselves.

Other groups of people do not have firearms, for whatever reason, and this will become a major problem. If someone walks onto your property and they have a gun and are ready to do business to get whatever you have in your house, how are you going to protect yourselves?

If you do own guns: Buy additional safety locks for each gun, and store them in a safe or other kind of locked cabinet. If you have guns, be smart about it, especially if you have children in your home, or if you EVER have children in your home.

And there we have it. I would suggest that you look at your own lives, or the lives of your family members, and if you or they fall into one of these categories, please prepare now. If you are not equipped to take care of yourself, or your children, there will be some serious problems later on down the road. Evaluate what you need to, tweak or fix what you need to, and Get Prepared Now! : )

It is paramount to have a food and basic essentials storage, and to NOT go into debt to get this.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Your Survival List

Remember to START HERE if you are just beginning to read now!

It's been a while!  I'm been really busy working on several things that will come up later on (once I get them finished).  But I thought I would share with you a list I have been putting together.  I call this my Survival List. It is basically a list of all of the non-food items I can possibly think of that I would need for a year if there was not a place to go to purchase things. This is an ever growing list.  I add items to this list almost daily when I think of them, so this is by no means a complete list.  And in fact, if you see something that isn't on here that you would probably put on your own list, please let me know!  This list includes generally basic items that my family uses on a day to day basis, and a few items that you could categorize as definite "survival-like" items.  

Start compiling your own list so that when you see certain items on sale at the store, you can grab them at a great price!  

Below is the list of what I have (so far) on my list.  Like I mentioned, it's by no means a complete list.  I think of new things every day! I strongly urge you to begin making one as well. I listed the item on a lined notepad, and then right next to that I added how many or how much I will need for my family for a full year.  Right now, my family is a family of 2 adults and 3 kids.  I always plan for more so that I don't have to change it if my family grows, or if needed, it might be able to help others (i.e. neighbors) around us in times of needs, or you can always use extra items for trading.  

Bar soap        
Feminine hygiene items        
Dental floss
Pony tail holders
Hair care products
Bandannas or other things that can be used for head coverings
Clothes (Adults might be fine on this one, but always make sure you have at least a few clothing items for your children in 1 or 2 sizes larger)          
Socks (new packages for each person)          
Shoes (Larger sizes for growing children)
Diapers (Some people buy cloth diapers and store a good number of them.  I would not suggest doing this.  Consider how much water you would need to wash cloth diapers by hand, the time it would take to do this, and remember that disease and illness spreads very quickly by feces getting on your hands/surfaces/in food etc.  This might not be a very sanitary option as well. If you have a way to do it that would work well, then this would be a great option for you.)            
Toilet Paper          
Trash bag liners          
Ziploc Bags
Aluminum Foil (can be used for cooking in as well as storing food items)
Plastic wrap (will be needed for keeping food items fresh)
Anti Fungal/ringworm treatment (you never know what you'll run into!)
Children's Tylenol/acetaminophen
Children's ibuprofen 
Adult Tylenol/acetaminophen
Adult ibuprofen 
Yeast infection treatments 
Lice treatments (Remember that lice are on the top of the list in terms of spreading disease. If someone in your family happens to get lice -- even in a non-survival atmosphere-- you would want to get rid of the lice ASAP!) 
Bag Balm (This is often times found in the pet section of super stores, or at pet stores.  It is great at healing scrapes, burns, rashes, and chapped skin. I have found it at Wal Mart for around $5 per can.  It's also great for diaper rash!)
Baby lotion
Adult Lotion
Aloe Vera
Liquid Laundry Detergent
Pectin (I have fruit trees and berry bushes I can make jam from)
Bug Repellent 
Clothespins and Strong Rope (For making a clothesline)
Guns (Pleeeeeaaasssee  be sure to buy gun locks and some kind of locking cabinet if you store guns... especially if you have children in your house or ever have children in your house.)
Some good sun hats
A large basin or a child's swimming pool (For washing clothes in)
Gardening tools 
Drinking Alcohol (I added this one in my "items" list because my family does not drink alcohol.  But -- alcohol can have it's uses in a survival situation.  It could be used for trading or for making alcohol tinctures for medicines.)  
Rubbing Alcohol
Hydrogen Peroxide
Bleach (Bleach can be used as a water purifier, a cleaning agent, and it also has some medicinal uses.  Storing several gallons would be beneficial.)
White Vinegar (Vinegar has many healing/antibacterial properties.  It can be used for cleaning, disinfecting, and in certain medicines.  Storing several gallons would be beneficial.)
Apple cider vinegar (Same uses as white vinegar)
Baking Soda (aside from using it in baking, it also has many uses similar to bleach and vinegars.)
Extra pair of eyeglasses or a year's supply of contacts
Rocket Stove (We'll go over these later)
Propane cooking stove
Burning briquettes 
Charcoal briquette starter
Charcoal stove
Fishing equipment
Up to date maps of where you live
solar/hand wind radio
Sewing kit
Glues (super glue, crazy glue, gorilla glue, wood glue)
Hiking boots
NON-hybrid seeds 

That's it for now! I'm sure I'll keep adding to it.  Please let me know if you have any additional items to put on the list.  Sometimes we miss even the most "obvious" things.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bragging Rights

Remember to START HERE if you are just beginning to read now!

I have the most amazing husband in the entire world.  I could leave it at that, but I don't mind bragging a little more about his awesome-ness, so I'll explain. : ) 

You know how I mentioned in this blog post that it's impossible to find a regular sized FoodSaver jar sealer? And how I was going to "make do" with the wide mouth jar?  Well, it is partially true, they are really scarce, and I was okay with living with just the one, even though I would prefer to have both.  Well, I got a package in the mail that about knocked my socks off: 

Yes, that is what it appears to be.  It's a brand new regular sized jar sealer.  Unbeknown to me, my husband had been searching for one for me.  He had been keeping on eye on e-bay, and a store finally came up with one for sale, so he grabbed it.  It did cost about twice as much as the wide mouth one, but I am SO excited to have one, especially because all of the jars I had before I began this new Food Storage venture were regular mouthed jars.  

And what happened to coincide with this fantastic day?!  $2 off coupons at Costco for their 56 oz M&Ms.  I got 2 bags and got to try out my new toy. 

As you can see, I got 4 pints and 2 quarts out of my 2 bags.  I had about a pint's worth (or maybe a little less) left over that I left for snacking.  

: )  

*MUAH* Thank you my wonderful husband. 

As a side note, if there is anyone in the Nampa-ish area that would like to come over and use my jar sealers for a project, you're more than welcome to!  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

How To Store Your Grub

Remember to START HERE if you are just beginning to read now!

There are always questions about the best way to store your food storage items.  I am going to share with you what I have found are the best ways to store most of your items, especially those that you will be storing in bulk.  

1. Canning Jars
(Peaches, rhubarb, cherries, and homemade applesauce)

SO many foods can be canned using canning bottles.  Most fruits, veggies, and meats can wonderfully!  (Just remember with most vegetables and all meat, you need to can them in a pressure canner, not a water bath canner.) 

A great resource if you are wanting to can is the National Center for Home Food Preservation.  It has a wealth of information, and can answer just about every question you can possibly have when it comes to canning.  

As a general rule, the National Center for Home Food Preservation says that food canned in canning jars will last at least a year.  Meats last about 5 years.  And if you ask your little granny next door, she'll tell you she's still got 30 year old peaches in her fruit cellar that taste like they were picked yesterday.  For the most part, as long as the seal is still good (meaning that the lid is still tight and hasn't popped out), and if there isn't any weird fuzzy things growing inside the jar or around the lid, it's probably still good to eat.  

 Canning jars is the way to go for canning meats.  After they have been canned, they do not need to be frozen or refrigerated, they can just sit on your shelf at room temperature.  For my year's supply, I have QUITE a few meats to can.  I need 104 quarts and 104 pints of beef, 104 quarts and 52 pints of chicken, 52 pints of turkey, and 52 quarts and 52 pints of ham.  

That adds up to 260 quart jars and 260 pints.  

That's a TON of jars right?!  So of course my next step would be finding cheap jars.  A great place to keep your eye on are Yard Sales and Craigslist.  The picture below is what I found on Craigslist a couple weeks ago: 

40 quart sized bottles for $10!  That works out to 25 cents a piece.  

Tips when buying used jars:

  • Make sure they are truly canning jars.  If you see any residue on the side from someone taking off a label (from a pickle jar, mayonnaise jar, etc) those are not appropriate canning jars.  Some canning jars don't have a name etched on the side -- like Ball or Kerr -- but if you see that residue, don't buy it!  Mainstays (Walmart brand) jars do not have any etching or words on the side, but they are still canning jars.
  • Make sure when calculating the cost that you make sure it really is a better deal. Lids can never be reused, so when buying used jars you need to calculate in the cost of buying a new lid for each jar.  The lids that I buy are about 29 cents a piece (a dozen per box).  If you can find them cheaper, that's great!  Let me know where you got yours from.  When you buy brand new jars, not only do they come with brand new lids, they also come with the rings.  
  • Rings are not needed for storing jars, but they are needed during the canning process. After your jars have been sealed, you can take the ring off and reuse it.  So you really only need 12 or so rings as a necessity.  Rings are also used after a can has been opened to help keep it sealed while using it.  
  • So far, the cheapest jars I have found are at Walmart.  The Walmart brand (Mainstays) of jars were $7.88/dozen for quarts and $6.28/dozen for pints. That's an amazing deal!  This works out to 66 cents per jar, and 53 cents per jar.  If you have found somewhere that has new jars cheaper than that, please let me know!

2. #10 cans

 #10 cans can be used to store pretty much anything dry.  The size of a #10 can holds about 13 cups of flour, and is the size of what most people think of a coffee can looking like.    

In 2009, my family bought a bunch of flour, wheat, beans, rice, and powdered milk from the Garden City Cannery, as well as all of our #10 cans, lids, and oxygen packets.  We reserved the use of our local LDS Stake's #10 can sealer for free, and spent a few hours canning our goods.  

 This is how I am going to continue to can all of our dry ingredients (except I won't be buying the boxes like shown in the pictures).  At a local LDS cannery by you, a #10 can costs 75 cents, the oxygen packet is 10 cents (they come in bags of 100), and the plastic lid is 10 cents as well.  (We already have plenty of lids so we won't be buying a new ones.  You don't need a lid for every can. We probably have a total of 20 for upwards of 75 cans that we have.) 

The LDS cannery has available MANY bulk foods at some great prices.  You still need to price shop to make sure it is the cheapest at that time, but from what we have found, for most items, it's cheaper when you buy the item and can them yourself.  Pretty much every item you will ever want in your food storage can be found at an LDS cannery.  If you are not a member of the LDS church, you just need to find a member in your area to take you.  That is all that is required is that you have an LDS member be there with you, and then you are free to purchase what you need.  

At the LDS cannery, along with every can you buy, they also give you a free label per can for the items that you have.  The workers there are great at helping you figure out how many #10 cans you need for the amount of... say flour... you purchased.  The labels have all of the nutritional information, shelf life, re hydrating steps (if there are any) and anything else that you would need to know about that product.  Most items in a #10 can lasts at least 10 years, most are between 15 and 20 years.

3. 5 Gallon Buckets

   5 gallon buckets are a great way to store items that you have a lot of.  I will be using buckets for my flour, some of my granola, cereal, any wheat I might have, and sugar.  If you are storing them for long term use, you will need 2 oxygen packets for every 5 gallon bucket.  When you get ready to use a bucket, you discard the oxygen packets if they are at the top (they might be buried down a little bit, just make sure you don't scoop one into something you will be eating.) When in use, these buckets remain air tight if the lid is replaced right for, which means the contents remain fresh for up to a year, even if you are opening and closing it regularly.  

Gamma lids are a great way to ensure your contents stay fresh.  While they aren't a necessity, they sure are nice, and the gamma seal is almost fool proof, and they are really easy to use.

Tips for 5 gallon buckets:

  • Check your local bakery or cake shops.  Any food grade bucket can be washed out and then reused for your food.  Many bakery's and cake shops receive ingredients shipped in these large buckets (like flour, icing, etc), and when they are done with them, they usually toss them.  What's great is they usually give them out free or they charge a very small fee for them. 
  • You might be wondering where you can store these.  We've found that they make great little tables for kids' rooms.  Just put a flat piece of wood over the top of 2 or more buckets, add a tablecloth or blanket, and viola!    

4.  Water

  • Food grade plastic or glass containers are good for storing water.  Soda and juice containers are great for water storage!  Every time we get done with one, we'll wash it out and store water in it.  I've even been known to come home from a get together with soda bottle under my arms.  Almost any place you look in our house you will find a small stash of these water bottles. 
Just a couple of examples -- the first picture shows our plant shelves in the Master Bedroom, the next picture is up on one of our kitchen cabinets.

  • Before I put my water up to store, I write the month and year that I filled it with a permanent marker.  Water needs to be replaced after 12 months of storage. So after 12 months, be sure to wash out your containers again and put new water into them.

  • 55 gallon water barrels are also great to store water.  We got ours from a soda/beverage distributor in Oregon for $35 each.  They are called "Syrup Drums" because they carry the syrup used in making sodas.  White/clear barrels are generally cheaper, but blue or black ones are a little better because light can't get through to the water.  
  • If you store these barrels in the garage or basement where there is a cement floor, do not place these directly onto the cement.  You will need to place them on some sort of platform to keep them off of the cement.  
  • Like the small plastic containers, you will need to replace the water in these barrels yearly. 

If you have other tips of how to store your food storage, please Contact Me! 

Friday, May 13, 2011

A YEAR?! I can't even afford A MONTH at one time!

Remember to START HERE if you are just beginning to read.

It's true that food storage is a commitment of an extensive amount of dough (no pun intended), but the idea is to do it over a long period of time.  If you have the finances to be able to buy everything you need in a short amount of time, GREAT!  You are truly blessed, however, most people do not have that kind of money.  

Several months ago, we made the hard decision to cancel our satellite subscription ($60/month) and our netflix subscription ($10/month).  And I say it was a hard decision because it truly was!  We were so used to them, we had so many shows we liked to keep up with, it was part of our way of life.  However, when we cancelled them, we decided to use that money every month for food storage.  I now have an allotted $70 per month I spend on food storage as a surety.  Sometimes I spend a little more if we have it, but my minimum is $70.  

This is a recent grocery trip I took:

 My total after this trip for food storage items was $74.83.  (I didn't include the raspberries in that calculation.  They were my "splurge" item.  I had an extra $30, which is where that splurge went.)

My list:
2 whole wheat flours
1 package bread flour
2 cans cream of celery
2 cans cream of potato
2 cans cream of gumbo
4 can chicken broth
9.5 lbs Farina cereal
2 whole wheat Minute Rices
6.5 lbs raisin/almond granola
1 gallon Maple Syrup
12 cans black beans
12 cans Red kidney beans
12 cans corn

Keep in mind I am no shopping pro.  I don't do couponing very well.  So if you are a couponer, I'm sure you could do this food storage thing in a jiff, while saving money!

If you are truly looking to get a food storage, you will find ways to get extra money.  We also have another contract coming to an end the end of this month which will give me an additional $40. (I'm so excited!!) We also have a rule that if we ever sell anything (like on e-bay or craigslist or if we do a garage sale or something) that all of that money goes towards food storage.  Recycle your used items and turn them into food storage! Organize your garage, your kids' rooms, your closets, etc and find items that you are comfortable with listing on craigslist.  It's a great way to get some extra money if you don't seem to have it right now.  You CAN do it, I promise!  

Label What You Have

Remember to START HERE if you are just beginning to read. 

Once you begin assembling items into your food storage, a great way to keep track of what you have is to label your jars/containers with what recipe it is for, and also how many other containers you have of that same thing.  I got my chocolate chips and freeze dried raspberries ready for storage today, so here's a good example of what I mean: 

I got a 72 oz bag of chocolate chips from Costco.  The whole bag filled 3 of my 5 needed jars, leaving about 1/2 cup left over in the bag.  I used my FoodSaver jar attachment to vacuum seal my jars.

On the top of each jar I included these little stickies with important info:

I included the recipe these are used for, how many jars there should be along with this one (1 of 5, 2 of 5 etc), the month and year I packaged it, and how many cups are in it.  

Now these chocolate chips are ready to store for 2-3 years. : )  

This is a can of the freeze dried raspberries.  Again I included a sticky with the recipe, how many this can is of how many I need total (there are 5 cups in here and I need 13 cups for my year storage, so I'm rounding up to needing 3 cans), and the date I bought it. 

Doesn't organization feel GREAT?!