Letter Re: An Overwhelmed Newbie, Catching Up at Prepping

Mr. Rawles,
I’m fairly new to your blog (three months), and still feeling a tad bit overwhelmed. I’m a 5th grade school teacher, and my husband is a former truck driver, now a truck dispatcher/supervisor. Not just am I realizing that I have a lot of catching up to do to get my family prepared for the rough times ahead, but I’m realizing how much my husband and I have to learn, to be truly ready! I’ve taken your advice and have asked my mother to teach me how to do pressure cooker canning. That was something that I had always been “too busy” to learn, when I was a teenager, being more engaged with academics and chasing boys. We’re also scheduled for taking three classes from the Red Cross, in quick succession. When I mentioned the Appleseed shoots to my husband, he said “Yes, that for us!” He didn’t even play his usual cop-out of waiting for better weather in the Spring or Summer. We are gong to the first one available, though the weather will be uncertain, and its a 130 mile drive. My husband was in the Marines, so he has the gun thing covered. But he wants a refresher [course], and wants me to learn to shoot “under stress, out to 300 meters.” He bought us a pair of silver [stainless steel] Ruger Mini-14s, and he also has antique Springfield “O-3” [Model 1903] that belonged to his dad. He has more than two dozen extra [Mini-14] 20 rounder magazines (made by Ruger–not the cheapie copies that jam) now ordered, plus Mollie [MOLLE] pouches to hold 16 of them in. Our twin daughters (now 9) are getting Ruger .22 rifles for Christmas, and he found used wooden stocks on eBay to “cut down” to fit them. (Under $10 each–the shipping cost just as much [as the stocks]!)

I’ve already bought a food dehydrator and meat grinder both very inexpensively on Craigslist and a wheat grinder from Lehman’s. One of those “Food Saver” vacuum packer-sealers is next on my list. (I’m hoping to get one used on Craigslist, since they are expensive, when bought new.)

The other thing I’ve done (following your wife’s guidance), is to buy two copies of Carla Emery’s book [The Encyclopedia of Country Living]. I’ve dived into that book, head first. The Memsahib was right. What an amazing reference! Owning that book is like having a country aunt on “speed dial” that you can turn to, to ask just about any question about the old-fashion ways of doing things.

Since we are members of both Sam’s Club and Costco (discount memberships, through my husband’s work, and my school district) we plan to buy most of our bulk foods at those places. So I’m getting a copy of your [“Rawles Gets You Ready”] prepping course. I’m sure that will fill in some gaps that Carla Emery didn’t cover, like details on food shelf lives and modern food packaging. Most important, it is perfect for people like us that want to be able to stock up [on food storage], just [shopping] at supermarkets or the Big Box outlets like Sam’s [Club] and Costco.

OBTW, my husband devoured your novel. It kept him up ’til 3 A.M.!

We are selling off our “fluff stuff” on eBay and Craigslist, to get cash for prepping. So far, we’ve sold my collectibles and some vintage clothes, our Bose sound system, my husband’s stamp collection, and more than 200 music CDs, in batches of 10 to 15, [sorted] by genre. We dropped our dish television contract–no time for that sort of time-wasting and mind-numbing entertainment! Next will be selling our Nautique ski boat. Fishing will replace water skiing as our summer hobby, and we can do that from the shore or from kayaks or inflatables that will fit on our Excursion’s roof rack. The side bonus is that selling the boat and trailer is that clears one whole section of our garage. That will surely be filled with prepping shelves, shortly. My husband has a source for used industrial-weight shelving and pallet racks for about the price of scrap metal. (They buy shelving from failed companies.)

Thank You, Mr. Rawles, for extracting our heads from the sand. Semper Paratus and Semper Fidelis – Jessica and Ron, in the Non-Amish Part of Ohio (Wishing I lived in Kidron, next door to Lehman’s!)