Letter Re: A Prepping Success Story, and a Question on Grain Storage

Dear Mr. Rawles,

I live in Queensland Australia and hadn’t even heard of ‘prepping’ until last Christmas.  It is a tradition in our family that every year my brothers and I (and our families) gather, from various points around Australia, at our Mum’s place for Christmas.  Mum and Dad have both passed on but we still carry on the tradition of gathering the family together.  One of my brothers lives at the other end of the country and I only see he and his family this once a year.  As my birthday is in January he gives me a Christmas and birthday present at our Christmas gathering.  For my birthday he gave me a copy of your book “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It” but I was allowed to open it before my actual birthday.

That simple and fortuitous gift changed my life and saved us a lot of grief, and allowed us to be in a position to help our less fortunate neighbours, when our area was devastated by floods in January this year.   By the time my birthday came around we were cut off, surrounded by flood water.  We were fortunate as our house was not flooded but all around us neighbours houses were inundated, many up to the roof tops.

Having already read most of your book, it had changed our outlook and we had begun to ‘prep’  putting away extra food supplies and even in that short period had installed (and filled – no shortage of rain) a rain water tank.   We were cut off and without power,  telephone service – both landline and cell and access to shops etc – for five days  –  not a major inconvenience if you are prepared for it.

Because of that simple gift from my brother we were not only in a position to ride out the disaster almost unscathed but were able to take in and feed others.  Even neighbours not troubled by flood waters were in difficulty as without access to shops they were, very quickly, without food etc.

When the SHTF we had about a month’s supply of food for us and the dogs.  We have a bottled gas stove so we could cook, plenty of torches,  head lamps and candles for light and plenty of water – the clean drinkable type that is.  The fact that the road was cut 50 metres to the left of us and 100 metres to the right just meant that we stayed at home for a few days. 
When we lost power we moved things from the fridge to the chest type freezers and only opening the lid sparingly.  It helped that we had many 2 litre bottles of ice and this turned the freezers into simple ice boxes. This kept things cool at least and although the frozen venison thawed it didn’t warm and go off.  When we got power again I had the dehydrator working overtime turning it all into biltong (jerky)

As a touch of irony –  I have a friend who has access (from time to time) to large (large enough to power everything in  our house) second hand diesel generators and I had asked him to get one for us  –  He emailed me the day before the flood disaster started to advise that he had one for us  –   we were unable to collect it until after the floods had subsided.  (I have since obtained a 200 litre drum of diesel and added fuel stabilizer – found a source of supply here).  I have had a transfer switch installed at our power box so that I can safely disconnect from the grid power and switch to generator power for the whole house.

As already stated I am very new to this ‘prepping’ business but do have some skills which help. I am a hunter so know how to shoot, butcher game etc.  I have a hut on the property where I hunt and use a chainsaw to cut firewood and for bush construction techniques.

I have found a source of food grade sealable plastic buckets. I have to-date 50 kilos of rice – purchased in 10 kilo plastic bags.  Which brings me to my question.  I see that with reference to storing grains that people use “mylar’ bag liners inside the plastic buckets/ drums.  What are they?  Are they necessary?  If so, where can I get them?  Should I use oxygen absorbers in the buckets for grain storage?  (I have found a source of supply in Australia).

Thanks to your book and blog I am learning fast but still have heaps to learn but we are three country miles ahead of where we were just a few months ago.

Thanks,  – Warren M.

JWR Replies: Thanks for your kind comments about my book and blog. It is gratifying to hear from so many folks like you, who have had your preps pay off.

In answer to your question: Mylar bucket liners are heavy duty rectangular bags, usually made of 4 mil thick of mylar. They are already sealed on three sides to form a flat bag. The large bags are sized for use inside either a 5 or 6 gallon bucket, leaving enough extra length after filling to be sealed. Typically these have a Zip-loc type end, but some are designed to be sealed with a special “hot jaw” bag sealer. A very common bag dimension is 20″ wide x 30″ tall. I don’t know of a vendor in Australia, but there are lots here in the U.S., including some SurvivalBlog advertisers. For really long term grain storage, they are a necessity. This is because mylar bags are 99% gas permeable. But HDPE plastic buckets are gas permeable, albeit at a very slow rate. So if you are storing grain, legumes, or rice for just a year or two, you could probably skip the mylar liners. But for anything longer, they are important to use.