I’ll readily admit it; I’m a prepper, survivalist, homesteader, or whatever the current term is for someone who wants to be sure in an emergency that I can take care of myself and family. That to me is much better than standing by wringing my hands in the hope that FEMA can get to me with provisions before I (or worse yet– my husband, children, or grandchildren) starve to death.
The Words “Prepper” or “Survivalist”
I know for some of you, the words “prepper” or “survivalist” may bring visions of Doomsday Preppers with the fall-out shelters, bug out buses complete with goats trained to load up on command, discussions of polar shifts, rogue planets, and zombie apocalypses. Well, maybe I’m not in that group. However, I can see possibilities of needing more than a few days, weeks, or months of ability to live off of my food stores and be totally self-reliant.
Many Things That Can Go Wrong
I’m of the mind that there are many things that can go wrong. These range from several day power outages, auto accidents that require long hospital stays and multiple surgeries, an unusually cold winter complete with 4’ of snow and frigid temperatures for weeks at a time (winter of 2016/2017 here), to loss of a job, a nasty flu epidemic where you need to stay home to keep yourself and your family safe, and even up to an EMP missile shot at us from a hostile government. There are many things that can go wrong. So, a little preparation can go a long way to keep you calm, comfortable, and secure.
Lot of Month Left Over at the End of the Money
Some of you may be thinking that you would love to prepare for hard times, but there is just a whole lot of month left over at the end of the money. Many of us can certainly identify with that.
My Journey of Prepping
I really began my journey of prepping when I was unemployed, and getting an unemployment check that covered my mortgage, utilities that had been discounted because I was on unemployment, the few bills I had which were also discounted. The rest went to feed the chickens, rabbits, cats, and dog with none left over. If my mom needed help with her garden or anything, she had to pay for my gas. Otherwise, I stayed home.
Fortunately, I did have a lot of food in my pantry. Some of it was home canned. Much of it was dried ***beans***amazon.com/Augason-Farms-Emergency-Storage-Servings/dp/B0754PLKSX, ***rice***amazon.com/Lundberg-Family-Farms-Eco-Farmed-25-Pound/dp/B007W6B72U, and that sort of stuff. Although I had quite a bit, eventually that ran out.
As time went on and the need increased, I swallowed my pride and found a food closet. I drove out to it and while waiting to register for the first time, I noted that the people who were already registered could just come up and get their groceries. Many came and left with bags of breads, sweet rolls, donuts, cookies, and the like. I sat, pretty sure there was nothing I could eat in their food closet, as I am allergic to wheat.
When I finally got registered and it was my turn to get groceries, I told the ladies who were working there I was not sure they could help me due to my wheat allergy. So they asked me what I would like, and I asked for stuff like dried beans and rice and the type of stuff I could make real meals out of. You should have seen the sparkle in their eyes! I was next asked if I only liked white rice. I told them I’d take whatever, but my preference was for brown rice.
Bags of Food that Lasted
Next thing I know they have filled up five huge, heavy bags of food for me. I told them it was just me at home, but they said no one else wanted this type of stuff, and since I did they gave me a lot. It lasted me until after I finally found a job and the three extra weeks while I was waiting for my first pay check. I even had a bunch left over!
One Second After
It was during that time of unemployment that I read the book ***One Second After***amazon.com/Second-After-John-Matherson-Novel/dp/0765356864 by William Forstechen. It is about a little town in North Carolina after an EMP took down the electrical grid. Being in the middle of my own SHTF situation (unemployment and quickly running out of food), I made a firm resolution to be sure I could take care of myself and hopefully my family as well should a more long-term situation happen, like the EMP in the book.
Surviving and Food Storage
Being unemployed, I had more time than money, so I used it to learn everything I could about surviving and food storage. For example, I learned that the Church of Jesus Christ, Latter Day Saints (LDS) recommends that everyone have at least one year of emergency food. They recommend, as emergency rations:
- 400 lbs. of Grain (300 lbs. wheat and/or rice, 100 lbs. oats),
- 60 lbs. of Legumes,
- 16 lbs. of Powdered Milk,
- 10 Qts of Oil,
- 60 lbs. of Sugar or Honey, and
- 8 lbs. of Salt.
Daily Ration Per Person
Wow! That sounds like a lot of food, but what does that break down to on a daily basis? When I broke down the years’ worth of food into weeks and then days, the daily ration per person worked out to one cup of wheat (or rice), ¾ cup of oats, 1/3 cup beans, 2 TBL oil, 1 glass milk (2 TBL powdered milk with 8 oz. of water), and 1/3 cup of sugar. That is the amount for the whole day and just doesn’t seem like a lot of food, especially for men and teens.
Actually, it is a little better than it looks. That one cup of wheat, soaked and cooked becomes 3 cups or 1-1/2 cups of flour, if ground. The oats roughly double in amount as does the beans, when soaked and cooked. This ration of food would keep you alive. It would not be gourmet. It would likely not be something you would enjoy for very long, but you would survive (unless like me, you are allergic to wheat).
My home was at the top of a steep, thickly treed mountain. Northern California has a high fire danger in the summer. Should a fire threaten, I might have only minutes to evacuate. To facilitate the evacuation, I kept all my camping and survival gear and cat carriers in the garage, all together, on the left and right by the door. That way I could quickly load everything into my vehicle without worrying I might have left something vital. I also had one container in the house that I kept all my important papers in (such as passport, birth certificates, and insurance papers, and the baby pictures of the kids), all kept in the same place that I could just grab and load up as well and be out of there in minutes.
Five-Gallon Buckets and 10-Gallon Barrels
In order to do that, I had several ***five-gallon buckets***amazon.com/Gallon-White-Bucket-Lid-Durable/dp/B06XHFTH7N with handles, each numbered, and each of which contained one weeks’ worth of survival rations, along with spices, a roll of toilet paper and some personal care items, and a list in each bucket of what it contained, along with a master list of what was in each of the other buckets, so if I needed something that was not in that bucket, I could locate it. I also had a bucket that contained a week’s worth of survival rations for the dogs and cats. A bit later, my son and two grandsons moved in with me, so I changed those 5-gallon buckets to ***10-gallon barrels***amazon.com/Winco-FCW-10-10-Gallon-Polypropylene-Container/dp/B01JLKPGDU with handles. Each barrel had one weeks’ worth of food for four people, based on the LDS recommendations. Once I was employed, I scrimped and used every spare nickel for long-term food preps.
Ways to Put Emergency Food and Supplies Away
So now that you know my story, let’s find ways for someone (maybe like you), who has lots of month at the end of the money to put some emergency food and supplies away, just in case.
Dried Food With Long Storage Life
The first thing I did was to get as much dried food with long storage life as I could afford. For that, I visited the feed store. Yes, you read it correctly, the feed store. There are 50 lb. bags of wheat, corn, and oat groats, inexpensively available. Yes, you will likely have to clean that grain a little more than you would have for stuff that you buy at a grocery store. However, at less than 1/3 the price, it seems a small sacrifice for a lot of food. At those prices, you could have a year’s worth of survival rations of grains for next to nothing. And while that is not gourmet meals, it is survival and security. Once I had a three-month supply, 6 months, and thenb a years supply of the essentials for myself, children, and grandchildren, I took a few moments to celebrate and feel great about my accomplishment and the emotional security it brought me.
Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at the next steps you might take in securing long-term food preps when you have little money.
- Homesteading or Prepping with Very Little Money- Part 2, by M.C.
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been part one of a two part entry for Round 76 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
Round 76 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.