100 Days of Final Preparations – Part 2, by Elli O.

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.)

ONLINE SHOPPING

To maintain our health we chose to order some items online to avoid the public stores when possible. Fabric for blankets, washable family sanitary cloths, and face masks, and Betadine wound cleanser/disinfectant were purchased. I also ordered and received a non-electric carpet sweeper.

ACTIVITIES AT HOME

Although the rest of the family is considered “essential”, all of my disaster preparation teaching has been postponed until future dates. This has given me time to complete more than a few projects around the homestead.

I have been cooking and canning the rest of the turkeys I purchased last fall. To explain: I generally buy 10-12 20# turkeys at a great price and then freeze them until I find the time to cook and can them.

This led to another project – that of cleaning, sorting, and organizing all of my empty canning jars. I found that I had many more than I realized and that we are now beyond the need to buy any more of them at auctions. Sadly, so is the opportunity to do so, with the order of social distancing in place statewide.

I have been interested in dairy goats since dairy is one area that is lacking in our food plan. (Our cattle are raised for beef.) I have been studying and researching all things dairy goats. I even built a milking stand, in hopes of someday soon having one. I also purchased goat fencing (something I have read is critical to keeping goats where you want them!) and goat minerals since they will be able to eat the grain we feed the other livestock but will need the addition of special minerals.

I painted my new-to-me hives and I am waiting for my bees to arrive. Hopefully this year will be the year for successfully raising bees for honey. If I do not have a good honey harvest this year, then there will be a yard sale of beekeeping supplies!

I have also completed several sewing projects after purchasing and receiving fabric through the mail. Five double thickness fleece blankets are finished and will be stored in tubs until needed. 90 washable flannel sanitary family cloths were made and placed into storage should toilet paper ever become impossible to get. 60 surgical style masks were made and some will be sent to those in need of them.

We have also been saving more “stuff” like plastic yogurt containers instead of recycling them. They are so useful for gardening and since we plan on doing more of that, these will come in handy!

REACHING OUT

We have found that this time of uncertainty provides many opportunities to discuss the importance of having extra supplies on hand for such a time as this. We avoid using the word “preppers” for several reasons. Firstly, there is the negative connotation associated with this term. Secondly, we are concerned with OPSEC and our preps. We will share some of what we have, but we don’t want our supplies taken from us!

Because we are followers of Jesus and make it a priority to meet as a church, we have had to make other arrangements. Thankfully our pastor is able to record and broadcast his sermons on the Internet so we can continue to grow spiritually.

This past fall when we processed our beef, we only sold half of what we had hoped. But my DH made the comment that this would allow us to give more of it away for those in need. And he was so right. We have been able to share more than 50# of high quality meat with those within our Christian family. This was done quietly and discreetly, giving the praise to God for such an opportunity.

TUNING IN/TUNING OUT

Since I was spending a lot more time at home (with a lot of other people within our state) I found myself watching the news all the time. During the first few weeks COVID 19 was consuming the entire newscast and some regular broadcasting was preempted with COVID news. It was during this time I noticed several (IMHO) significant trends: The experts knew very little about this virus and what they thought was fact one day was proven inconclusive or even false the next.

The second trend was that I was becoming more anxious about our family’s situation. Did we have enough preps should society/economy collapse? What about our grown children? (Most of who work as first responders and healthcare workers.) Would they be safe? How long would it take for the collapse to affect us? These and many other questions began keeping me awake at night and hounded my peace during the day. So I made the choice to watch only the first few minutes of the news in the morning and then the headlines in the evening. This greatly reduced the turmoil within! I also made sure that Biblical devotions and daily worship became part of my schedule.

IN CONCLUSION

So has this global pandemic changed us? Slightly. Is our lifestyle drastically different? Not really. Are we confident in our preps and skills should society collapse? Almost. But there is always room for improvement.

During this time of change and uncertainty the greatest lesson we have learned is this: We do what we can do and rely on God to do what only He can do. Do we believe that as Christians that we will be exempt from plagues and hard times and diseases and persecution? Nope. But we hold on to the hope that He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6). And the good work to which we refer is not to survive any future disasters but to remain faithful and loyal to God in the midst of disasters.

POSTSCRIPT – FINAL PREP OR TRIAL RUN?

As I complete this article, I am wondering… were the last 100 days a chance to complete any preparations or were they a trial run? And I used the word, “Trial Run” instead of drill because I have been through many disaster drills and exercises and we always knew going into and throughout the situation that it was exactly that — just a drill. We knew that at the end of the exercise everything would return to normal, the learned lessons would be recorded, and the actions to be implemented would become tasks that we would accomplish with time.

But our state is now in the process of reopening for business, so maybe there is hope to curtail the economic collapse that seemed inevitable just a few weeks ago. Only time will tell. But one thing is for certain: I will multiply my efforts to encourage others to start preparing — physically, financially, mentally, and spiritually,  now. Don’t wait another day. Do something now to increase your self-sufficiency and decrease your dependency on the government to get you through uncertain times. Prepare now like your life and your family’s lives depended on it…because one day, they may!




39 Comments

  1. Dear Elli,

    A fascinating article, thank you. There is much to think about.

    My wife and I sat down a couple of weeks ago to write a list of things that we would do differently if the virus happens again. It is a long list, ranging from the obvious (many more face masks and bottles of hand sanitiser), to the less obvious like board games and a bread maker. However, for us, and for many, financial security is the big issue.

    Stay safe and healthy,

    1. About the gas rationing, they soon developed synthetic rubber , so the gas rationing was un-necessary. Plagiarized text “In 1942, U.S. rubber and tire companies, university research institutes, and government laboratories joined forces to produce synthetic rubber and to make and test tires for aircraft and vehicles from this material.”source The Synthetic Rubber Project – Library of Congress

  2. Could you describe how you made the washable flannel sanitary family cloths? I have been thinking on this for several years now, and have had some ideas but not sure exactly where to start. Thank you for you piece.

    1. For the family cloths I used a double thickness of flannel and cut the fabric into 9 inch squares. Then I used my serger sewing machine and finished the edges. I chose colorful patterned flannel, nothing light colored in case they got stained.

    2. I just cut up old t-shirts as an emergency toilet paper supply. I use plinking shears to help the edges not fray as much from washing. I can get 22 approx 8 inch squares (not all are exactly square, especially cutting off the sleeves) from one adult medium shirt. I have around 300 squares stored for my family of four all from shirts that were wearing out or outgrown and would have been discarded anyway.

      1. I bought a “Bag of Rags” from the auto department. They are 100% unbleached cotton. I meant to use pinking shears to cut them into useful lengths but could not find the shears. So I ended up using regular scissors. Some fraying occurred but I just trimmed off the frayed parts.
        Happy to report, they are working well. Note to self for the future – buy more bleach for washing. And, yes, I do have pool shock stored.

    3. I purchased many, many yards of 100% cotton flannel from JoAnn’s, delivered to home in various colors: red, black, brown, and yellow. LOL. I was color coding for usage, but not necessary. I never got around to cutting and finishing the edges, but I have it stored in with my other fabric should the need(s) arise. I thought about buying up men’s flannel shirts at the thrift store and cutting them up, but the flannel was on sale and it was less expensive to just buy new fabric. Flannel has so many uses and it certainly won’t go to waste. If you’re interested in feminine protection, there are many youtube videos that show how women have sewn pads. Back in the day, women used “rags” (I purchased several dozen cotton washcloths as well). Although, I did buy large boxes of feminine products, disposable diapers (for grandchildren), and baby wipes just to have on hand, those would eventually run out should SHTF. I have gallons of cleaning vinegar and large bags of baking soda to help with the washing. I also stock up on 13 gallon trash bags to manage soiled items or even for use in an emergency if the toilets don’t flush for #2 since I would be hard pressed to build an out house.

  3. I believe the virus will “tamp down” with the heat of summer but will come back, perhaps as a mutation. In late summer, fall, or early winter. What happened to our local grocery stores over 2-4 weeks will take 48 hours next time.

    1. Very good article. I have been trying for 3 years to retire and my company keeps calling me back to help them out. I am too loyal to say no, but at some point, I need to make the time for many of these preparations you discuss.

      There have been a few posts on various blogs about the grocery inventory being restocked from warehouse reserves that normally would have carried through the fall. For the next wave of this novel virus, stores may not have the inventory to restock. I have no independent confirmation of this. If it is true, with all the money being pumped into our economy and short supplies, those with the means to buy will be willing to pay much more. Already a store brand can of green beans is 3x the price they go on sale twice a year. I hope my garden does well and both my kids are gardening this year as well.

      1. Went to the grocery store today to restock and found that the supply of many items was even worse than before. Of course no yeast, but many things were missing or depleted with just a few oddball brands left such as dish detergent, a few bags of flour, minimal beans, no split peas, minimal pasta, no hot cereal, only 1 size and brand of sugar etc. There are limits on things such as pasta and tomato sauce which is probably why there is any at all left to buy. The dairy section was well stocked as was the bread and fresh produce. Oh yeah, only a couple bags of frozen fruit in stock. Noticed some random sorts of TP; I wasn’t looking for any but perhaps I should have snagged some just in case! I guess I figured things would start calming down(and my state has had one of the easiest times so far in terms of numbers of infections and deaths), but no go. I’m thinking that it doesn’t relate to what people here are buying but rather the ability of the stores to restock which is more of a national issue.

        1. Hi, Ani, Bummer about your depleted store. It is seems so surreal that we may all be facing that in the not too distant future. However, while we still have postal service, consider accepting my offer to send you what you cannot get. Sometimes I feel stuck behind enemy lines, and it would make me feel good to help. But in this case, it is more like sending supplies to a fellow soldier stuck behind enemy lines. BTW, I saw plenty of yeast at the grocery store just today. Plus, I scored 4 more WM quart cases of jars. Woohoo!

          You can get my email from JWR if he doesn’t mind the trouble, or reply here with yours.
          Blessings,

          Krissy

          1. Krissy you are the sweetest! I’m good in the sense that I’ve been stocking up and just stay flexible and get what I can get. But yeast? You have yeast in your stores! None to be found anywhere here. I suspect maybe we are just at the end of the supply line being so far north and in a state with such a small population? When I was pet/housesitting in other states with larger populations, I was so shocked to see what was for sale in grocery stores there; lots of items I’d never seen before. I may well take you up on your offer to get some yeast.

    2. The virus may “tamp down” but the economic fallout/ food chain won’t. I went to our local meat market today. $7.99 for a “family pack (3 lbs or larger) of ground beef. $8.99 per pound for quantities smaller. I asked the clerk about “extra lean and/or 80/20”. She said she would have to check but I told her not to worry about it. 🙁 They are no longer taking “family pack” orders, it is on a first come,first serve basis. Selection was much less than normal. Several folks walked out after inquiring about the prices stating they couldn’t afford it. With all the people out of work, but not yet on the government handouts, how are they going to survive? (Even if they are on the food stamp program, that isn’t going to go near as far as it was)
      The rationing stamps from the notes for today brought back a lot of memories. My great aunt kept a number of them – gas stamps, tires, flour, sugar, etc. I asked her (back in late 60’s early 70’s) “why do you still keep them?”. She said “it happened once, it can happen again.” I thought she was “just a little old woman at the time”. How I really wish she was here now so I could get the sage advice she tried to pass on to me! Hind sight is always 20/20! (no pun intended)

  4. I like the way you used your down time. Things are starting to open up some where we live. But many are still out of work. So , what can you be doing? I am organizing, decluttering, taking inventory of our stuff and working on our garden, as weather permits. But the biggest difference is I’m taking advantage of all the teaching blogs on u tube. We’ve gardened many years but I’ve been learning short cuts and helpful ideas to increase productivity. I usually watch them while working on projects. Also I’ve tried new recipes from what I have on hand. Also new ways to put up food. There is so much you can be learning and doing during this time. Please don’t waste it. It’s a gift.

  5. For the family cloths I used a double thickness of flannel and cut the fabric into 9 inch squares. Then I used my serger sewing machine and finished the edges. I chose colorful patterned flannel, nothing light colored in case they get stained.

  6. Prayers for all. So many businesses have been harmed by the virus itself, and/or by the shut down. We’re fighting two wars. One of these is against a highly contagious, lethal virus — for which we have no solid therapeutics or cure or preventative at this point. The other is against economic calamity — for which the country is not prepared because we are debt laden as a nation, and because we have hollowed out our capacity to produce and provide for ourselves. There is no question about it — we are in a fight for our literal lives, and there will be tragic losses. God willing we will persevere and be victorious on both fronts, and as a nation we will course correct.

    There was some good news on the viral front… Sorrento is developing a promising antibody therapy (not a vaccine) called STI-1499. It will be worth tracking this one among the others. Medical science is riding in like a cavalry, as fast as possible (and we pray, safely for the sake of all).

    Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

  7. Thanks for the article, it makes you think. During this time we have been stuck at our home which we bought a year ago so we have been busy with indoor/outdoor projects we never had time for before. We started a garden and made some security/storage upgrades. Also finally had time to get some needed car repairs. Pulled our treadmill out of storage and fixed our jogging stroller for longer walks around the neighborhood. One thing I wish I had would be a full tool set to do landscaping/ odd-jobs for income while I’m off of work.

    1. If you start with a less-than-complete tools set, you can make money to buy more tools as you go along. Good tools are a long-term investment. The time to start buying them is yesterday.

      Carry on in grace

  8. After getting some goats several years back I learned the truth of the joke, “What’s a goat’s favorite thing to eat? Whatever is on the other side of the fence.”

    1. Hilarious. …and true.

      When we were relatively new to what is now our home retreat, we were greeted one day by a group of small and absolutely delightful goats. Billy was leading the way, and all the ladies were close behind. They had escaped from a neighbor’s land, and managed to find their ways to our place. It must have been quite an adventure for them, and a journey too! They were successfully retrieved, and returned safely home.

      We also have a goat keeper (and breeder) just a few miles from our home, and visiting these folks, we so enjoyed watching the goats line up to take turns going down a children’s slide — just like children themselves. It was wonderful.

      1. Goats can be so entertaining! We have an old fiberglass camper shell in the pasture for a makeshift goat hut, and the does will race across the pasture to jump up on the camper and play king of the hill. Then they will race back across the pasture and do it again. It puts a smile on my face to see it, every time.

  9. Before the pandemic, my wife and I would go through a roll of paper towels like Sherman through Georgia. I was well-prepared with bales of paper towels when he pandemic began to cause panic buying. Given that I had no real idea how bad things would get or how long the disaster would last, I purchased a couple of additional bales of paper towels at Costco.

    Because I was still concerned about the duration of the pandemic, and because the only thing I or my wife sew is wild oats, I went to a local dollar store, 99 Cents Only, and purchased washcloths that came in a package of 5 for $1.99 (with the march of time, 99 Cents Only has become 99 Cents Mostly).

    We now keep the washcloths beside the paper towels and use them for most jobs. As a result, it is amazing how long the roll of paper towels last now. We simply toss the used washcloths in with the wash and, voilà! They are ready to go again.

    About sewing, my grandmother’s treadle machine is behind me. If I ever need to sew something after the world turns feral, it sits there ready to go!

    1. My wife and I do the same, except we keep a dish towel beside the sink. A roll of paper towels lasts us over a month usually, and the trash can doesn’t fill up as fast.

    2. Survivormann99… Yes! Exactly. Wash cloths. A fantastic substitute for paper towels. We understood this story from our own experience, and really laughed.

    3. Used to use tons of paper towels also, but several years ago switched to microfiber towels. Keep a large supply of both, just because. Also bought cheap washcloths at Wal-Mart for personal care. They were $4 for 18.

      1. Those washcloths at Walmart are good for the money, I bought a bunch of the same ones. That was the least expensive I could find them, even the dollar store was more.

  10. Thank you for the article. I think it’s incredibly helpful when people share their stories because it reminds each of us of things we haven’t thought of. Preps are also somewhat dependent upon location and climate. It gets very cold where I live and stays cold for many months. I did the same thing and stocked up on blankets (made with double layers of fleece). Thank you for sharing!

    1. SaraSue! Your blankets made with double layers of fleece was a reminder to me, and may be helpful to others… For anyone who quilts, consider WOOL batting. The insular effects of wool are outstanding, and this makes possible the combination of a fun and functional creative activity alongside the development of a practical resource. For all kinds of reasons, the ability to protect from the cold is critical.

      1. I agree!! I quilt but use 100% cotton batting. I should check into wool batting. I had checked into purchasing wool blankets, but the cost is prohibitive for the number of blankets I needed. I’ll check on the cost of the wool batting. Thank you.

        1. Hello SaraSue!
          Another thought to help… Have you ever felted? You may be able to get your own wool, and do some wet felting. It may be possible for you to create your own batting if necessary, although hopefully the commercial wool batting remains affordable and accessible.

          Prior to the pandemic, we were working on resources to protect from the cold given our concerns about the coming GSM, the risk of solar CME or even a detonated EMP (and loss of electricity). Among the items we added to our check list were more wool hats, more wool hats, more gloves. We are also trying to add a supply of additional cold rated sleeping bags to our existing supplies for family who would likely join us here.

          Prayers for your every success!

          1. I concur on felting! It is marvelously low tech and required very little skill. With just carded wool roving and soapy water, you can make felt boots of any thickness you desire that are formed to fit your feet perfectly. My late wife (the Memsahib) did this sort of felting regularly, with wool from our sheep.

    2. A follow up on felting!

      JWR is right and offered an excellent suggestion re: form fitting felt boots. In fact, some felters can felt seamless (stitch-free) form fitted coats, and I had the privilege of studying with one who felted an absolutely gorgeous wedding dress! Although these endeavors (a form fitted coat and wedding dress) are beyond my own skill level, so many practical items are easy to create. …and it’s fun too.

      A couple of additional tips!

      1) Murphy Oil Soap has always worked well for me, although it’s not the only option. Be aware of any sensitivities you might have to particular soaps, and consider wearing gloves if you have any concern. Wet felting doesn’t require a lot of soap, but it does require a little bit.

      2) The other key ingredient is hot water.

      3) The combined effects of the soap, the hot water, and agitation transform the wool roving into felt. How that happens is interesting and informative too.

      Also! The wet felting technique can combine wool with other fabrics including some silks. …and there are dry techniques including needle felting.

      Happy Felting!!!

      1. Wow. Y’all have got me thinking. I had “studied” the art of felting when I was thinking about raising my own sheep and/or alpacas, then decided against it since there’s only so many hours in a day and I’m using mine all up! But, I’m sure I could get the wool from local sources if I ever decide to go in that direction. Thank you for all the interesting comments. Food for thought!

  11. Great article, thank you. I sort of had that same sense. I’m not sure if it was the Holy Spirit or just being tuned in to world events but at the first sign of the virus coming here I checked online and saw that masks were already scarce so I ran to Lowe’s and bought a box of the N95s that they carry, ordered a couple hundred more gloves, went to Sam’s for water cases, staple [foods] etc, and ordered some more ammo. That ammo has gone up $50 and $70 per case now. I realized awhile back that my wife and I have enough freeze dried food and canned food to last longer than we could defend it on our own. We have no real viable help so I no longer worry about it too much. We’ll do what we can to help defend our neighbors for as long as possible and then go from there. We had closed out our small mutual fund in December because in 3 years of historic stock market increases it had made no money. That was very good timing for us. I’ve never been a fan of the stock market so the 401k will do what it’s going to do. We’re too young to draw it out and have no qualifying reason either. I have considered drawing all our cash out of the bank but that will create a lot of attention I’m afraid. One thing I love about prepping is that I know push come to shove I don’t have to pay the higher prices for defense items or wait in a panic mode line for toilet paper. While knowledge of what could happen concern me, I don’t lose sleep over the basics.

  12. I enjoyed this article immensely. I would be proud to have you as senior members in my family. Not only did you demonstrate amazing skill and insight, but you also did it with the right attitude. It’s no wonder your offspring are first responders and health care workers. You raised them in the Spirit! And you’re right with your last paragraph – the time for frivolity is over. God Bless.

  13. Give your bee hives a couple years before you hold that yard sale! Unless you are starting out with a full hive, which is unusual, the first year is usually a building year. When starting with a nuc, we harvest little or no honey the first year. We see how they over winter and then take any leftover honey from the super in the early spring.

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