Beans, Bullets and Band Aids, by Studioman

I have been involved in “prepping” for just under eight years. I received a rude awakening in ’07 when the housing market crashed and my house equity went completely upside down in a matter of days. I discovered my nest egg (my house) SUDDENLY was NOT such a great investment. Also, up until that time, we had been riding high with second trust deeds, earning upwards of 17% at times, using the equity from a HELOC mortgage to buy short-term trust deeds. Needless to say, trust deeds are a very, very high risk investment, so much so that the laws were changed to limit how many a single person could purchase.

The next thing I am going to share has a spiritual side. I am a believer in Jesus and that, through His Holy Spirit, He still speaks to us today, both through the scriptures and through the prophets in the body of Christ. There were many dreams and prophetic insights given to what was coming to America, and the “judgements” because of the wickedness of the nation and how we had rejected HIM. Abortion, pornography, and the rampant rise in immorality and lawlessness is something God will not put up with, especially from a nation/a people who claim to be “Christian”.

My journey began with some simple questions. The first one was, “What is important?” I came across SurvivalBlog and was immediately impressed with the breadth of information and, most importantly, two things– the list of lists and the Rawles gets you ready e-book. Both of them are invaluable in getting your house in order.

My first order of business was food and water. Our property is on a well and septic, which means as long as I have a way of getting water out of my well, we can flush the toilets using a bucket if we need to or add a small pressure or gravity feed tank to get water into the toilet tanks. I had a brand new 1500 gallon septic vault installed, the leech lines inspected, and the drain field surveyed for pipe locations and whether or not any lines were clogged. Fortunately, all was in order. The next step was a hand pump for the well. I waited until summer. Using a plumb bob, I found out what my static water level was at the very end of our dry season. I also contacted the county and got a record of how many times the well had been deepened. It turns out my well began as a simple 50-foot 6-inch diameter hole with a decent flow. The well has been deepened three times and is now at 150 feet with a mix of mud and clay at the bottom. The current well pump is at 110 feet and the static water level is 80 feet with the well pump on, at about five gallons per minute. Knowing this, I purchased a deep well hand pump, like this one from sunshine works, along with spare parts for the foot valve and packing glands. I had to remove the well head cap and install the stainless one provided, re-attach my well pump, and then feed the nine foot sections down into the well, screwing them together a section at a time. I had to drill a hole in the roof of my well house to pass the pipes down into the hole, but that was an easy fix. Once installed, it sits right beside the powered well pump and does not interfere. I made sure all the members of the household pump some water, so they all realized how heavy a 90 foot tall ¾ inch column of water really is and how blessed we are to have a powered well! If you live in a freeze zone, you can get a section of pipe with a drain back hole. So that the pump will not freeze, they drill a small hole around four feet down the well head below the freeze line. My next step will be a DC pump and gear assembly, so the well can be run off a battery-powered gear pump, like this.

The well is currently sterilized with a ½ micron sediment filter and a u.v. sterilizing light. This is 240 volt a.c. and will not work when the lights go out, so we have a couple of Big Berkey Water Filters to make sure the water is potable.

Next on the list was food. I began looking at all possible avenues. Buying pre-bagged wheat already Mylar sealed was expensive. I began buying and scavenging food-grade plastic buckets from restaurants around town, and I found some great buys on craigslist. Before I knew it I had 100 buckets with lids sitting in my garage, all obtained for less than 100 dollars. These are not gamma seal style, but I will be buying a few of them to put on the bucket I am currently using. Nitrogen seemed to be the way to go, but buying the injector premade from a website was very expensive. I decided to buy a hose and nozzle set from Home Depot, which was 17 dollars. Then I purchased a fixed pressure regulator used for blowing up helium balloons from a welding supply shop; in this case it was Airgas. They had a refurbished one for 15 dollars. I soldered a piece of copper pipe to the end of the nozzle, drilled a few holes along its length, and for less than 40 dollars I have a nitrogen injector. You can rent a nitrogen cylinder inexpensively, use it, and return it when you are done from most welding supply houses. Expect to pay between 20 and 40 dollars for the gas and a few dollars in rental. Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers came from a number of vendors off the Internet. To seal the bags I purchased a Teflon shoe from a local sewing center like this one.

Fill the bag with wheat, beans, or rice; inject some nitrogen; throw in an absorber; fold the bag over; and iron well. This was a slow process. We had a few bagging parties where the whole family helped out. My beans and rice came from big box stores and from Bob’s Red Mill in Milwaukee, Oregon. If you order enough from them, you get wholesale rates and shipping is reasonable. I’m still working on collecting spices, some TVP, and a few things to make the staples more palatable.

One thing on bulk wheat. Please buy the food-grade wheat. Wheat that is used for seed, more often than not, is coated with a fungicide to prevent wheat rust for planting. You DO NOT want to eat this stuff. Wikipedia has info on wheat diseases, if you are so interested.

For protein, I have invested in several traps and a feeding station for deer, and I’ve spent a lot of time walking and hiking my local forests– ones in walking distance from my house. Squirrel, wild turkey, grouse, quail, deer, Roosevelt elk, and black bear all wander through my local forests. I have several grains and legumes stored for their protein content. Beans and rice can make a complete protein if you combine them right. We also have ducks (farm breeds) and a dozen of hens (Road Island Reds, mostly, and Black Sexlinks) for laying eggs. Scratch grains supplement the diets of the hens and ducks, as they are semi-free range and spend most of the day eating grass and bugs. We purchase a half a cow every year from the rancher down the street, and we have a standing order. I am not sure where we will put it all, if the freezer stops working. I suppose we will dehydrate and make jerky out of as much as we can.

I have also invested in some seed stores from Victory Seed Company. I purchase all my seed form local organic growers; that way I know my seed was raised in the climate I will be growing it in, and it will be ready for what nature throws its way. Gardening is hit and miss for us, as some years there is not enough sun and the tomatoes never get red! A green house will help this I am sure; it’s on the list.

Canning supplies are found easily on craigslist, and tattler lids are a must have, as they are reusable over a number of years. Invest in a decent pressure cooker; it reduces canning time and lets you work much faster.

We have a few fruit trees and hazelnuts on the property, and we grow all the fruit organically– no harsh pesticides or sprays. Fall can be a bit hectic, as all the fruit tends to mature in a short window of time. You either eat it, can it, or it goes to the horses next door.

Now, on to bullets. After much reading I settled on an AR 15, a GLock 19, a 12-gauge Remington model 120 pump shotgun with the longest and shortest barrels I could find, and a Tikka T330-06. For small bore I chose a Ruger 10-22 with a walnut stock, a Henry arms AR 7 survival rifle and a couple of wheel guns in .22. All of these are extremely common calibers in the United States, and I can find ammo in a dozen stores. These calibers are synonymous with sporting and law enforcement, and will be valuable for barter in a long-term grid down scenario. Slow, small cash purchases spread across a number of years have helped me get my ammo stocks up before the latest ammo shortage. I am still on the lookout and use several online ammo trackers to look for ammo availability. Local range time is a must, and dry fire drills using snap caps will help you with firearm familiarity. I cannot stress this enough– practice, practice, practice! If you don’t have your C.C.W., get one! It’s your constitutional duty to protect and defend your family and property from the golden horde.

Next is band aids. There are dozens of websites out there, with great authors. I use Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy’s website all the time. Following their recommendations, I have purchased animal antibiotics in all the various flavors. I would also encourage purchasing an older copy of the Physicians Desk Reference off of ebay; it’s a great resources for all things pharmaceutical. I also downloaded “When There Is No Doctor” and “When There Is No Dentist” from Hesperian. Each are a great resource, and they have a ton of info. I encourage donating to them if you can. Take a local first aid class if you can, and get trained on common injuries and how to treat them. I do have suture kits, but most wounds will close by themselves if treated correctly. Sewing someone up if the wound is not sterilized is a recipe for disaster. My local farm store had betadine solution and a bunch of stuff used on farm animals, that when I was a kid was sold over the counter for human use. It no longer is, but it’s fine for equine use, so I got some for my preps. Walking the equine aisle was a real eye opener for me. Tinctures of all kinds, sterile syringes, all sorts of scrubs, lotions, and topical antibiotics are available over the counter. I tried to find lidocaine solutions, but they have a short shelf life, and mixing your own solution from powdered lidocaine can be dangerous and even fatal. I am sure there are some TMT’s here that can chime in on the dangers of this. I have slowly stocked up on tape, gauze, bandaids, and other basic first aid supplies. A good set of tweezers are actually hard to find! My local army surplus has a ton of medical and dental implements for sale, and I found a good set there.

For power I installed a 12KW natural gas/propane powered Genset, with automatic transfer switch, to run the house in the short term, while getting ready for the long term. A simple jet change will allow the Genset to run off propane. As of right now it is plumbed into my existing house natural gas feed. I also have a 4 kilowatt solar system set up on the roof, which will provide enough to do a load of wash on a sunny day. Another 6 kw will be on the shop in the coming months, along with batteries and a charge controller, which will power most DC loads I have.

Lighting at night will be hurricane lamps, candles, and led rechargeable yard lights. Put them outside in the daytime, and then you can light the house up easily where you need it at night.

I still need a wood stove and a supply of cordwood. I can harvest from the local forest, but it is mostly douglas fir, and there is not a lot of local hardwood to be found. A decent axe and other manual tree felling and cutting equipment is still in my future. I still have a long way to go, but it shows what you can do when you have time, modest resources, and are careful with your purchases.