Posts Tagged ‘stockpile’

When my grandmother passed away, I was fortunate enough to have inherited her small collection of cookbooks.  I love flipping through them, not just for the fun retro recipes for elegant desserts (Baked Alaska, anyone?) but also for the comments Grandma wrote in the margins:

“Do not use cherry Jell-o.  Makes an atrocious color!”

“Ken (my granddad) hated this.”

Just as good are the recipes and tips she clipped from magazines and product packages and carefully tucked between pages.  I guess I love them because I feel like I’m getting a glimpse into her life as an Air Force wife.  Grandma was a pretty private person, as well she might have been.  She’d been through a lot, between having grown up during the great depression and marrying an airman.  There’s a reason they say “Military Wife:  Toughest Job in the Military.”

When they were stationed on the coast of Louisiana and a hurricane came roaring up the gulf, my granddad had to pilot his aircraft inland to Kansas, leaving Grandma behind to fend for herself and two kids under the age of five.  She was a very stoic lady.

So you can understand how much I love finding these little tidbits of her life.  The other day, I was looking for Grandma’s famous Jell-o salad recipe to take to a retro cooking party, and I re-discovered these two gems.  These would date back to when they were stationed at Wurtsmith AFB with the Strategic Air Command (SAC), probably in the mid 1960’s.

The first is a newspaper article urging housewives to keep a two week supply of food on hand.  It even offers a suggested list of items appropriate for a family of four.

I love it – and I love the little notes that tell me this article had Grandma’s strict attention!

Next I have a “Dependents’ Disaster Control Checklist” distributed by SAC at Wurtsmith.  It provided clear instructions on what the women and children were to do in the event of an emergency.

It even includes what to do in a Broken Arrow situation.  Pretty badass.

So there you go.  My grandma (and probably yours) was prepping before prepping was trendy!

 

So, I’m still working on depleting the pantry, and I’m more than a week past my original projection.  With the exception of coffee, I haven’t bought any groceries in almost a month.

Not to worry, ya’ll.  I’ll be OK if an ice storm hits – I’ve been using the money from my grocery budget to buy tons of canned goods for the long term storage.  I just haven’t bought anything to eat now.

Anyway, I figure I’ll probably make it another week or so.  Technically, I could survive longer on what I have, but it would be nothing but rice, croutons, and plain noodles at the very end.  I’ve decided to call this thing once I can no longer eat a reasonably healthy and balanced diet on what I’ve got left.  And I’m happy to know that my wild ass guess of how long I would last was too short by half – it gives me some hope that we’re all better prepared than we think we are.

But really?  This shit is starting to get old.

It’s not that I’m bored of eating the same thing day in and day out.  On the contrary, tonight I dined on blackeye peas stewed with a healthy dose of Tabasco sauce and topped with crumbled goat cheese – it was freaking fantastic.  I must get a goat.  In addition, I still have cans of pumpkin that I’ll make into pumpkin sage pasta sauce.  I’ve got Kalamata olives, which will go nicely in a cold Orzo pasta salad with olive oil and lemon juice.  I’ve got two chicken breasts left that will make a delicious Thai curry with my last can of coconut milk, and some pork that will be shredded into a chipotle chili.  There’s no boredom here.  But damn if I’m not sick of having limited choices.  I’m so used to being able to stop by the grocery store to indulge whatever food whim grabs me.  It’s rarely anything fancy, it’s usually something like grandma’s Hamburger soup – a meal she used to feed her family of eight on a fixed income, and a classic comfort food for me.  Whenver it’s cold, I get a taste for that soup.  Not having hamburger, or carrots, I haven’t been able to make it.  It’s started to wear on me.  Frankly, it’s a little bit depressing.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that as you’re stockpiling food for long term storage, give some thought to those comfort foods you take for granted.  We’ve all got that one food that we crave when we’re sick, and the food that we want when we start to feel better.

Then, as you plan your food storage, try to include these foods.  Whether it’s Macaroni and Cheese or Chicken Cacciatore, if it’s a morale-booster for you, find a way to make it from stockpiled ingredients.

Because when the shit hits the fan, you’re going to need all the morale you can get.

How Prepared am I?

Posted: February 8, 2012 by boyscout556 in Preparation
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Today I started to evaluate how prepared I am for TEOTWAWKI.  I realized I’m fucked. Although I already have a rifle and will be adding a shotgun to that in the next few days, that’s about as far as my preparedness goes.  I currently don’t have room to stockpile supplies (I rent a room from a friend and he already thinks I’m nuts because I just bought a shotgun).  I also realized I have an issue knowing when something is required, and when i just want it really badly.  Let me demonstrate:  My computer died on me over the weekend.  No big deal since I still have my netbook (hence this post).  I still felt the need to replace the computer right now rather than waiting a few weeks, to make sure I really need it.  Sitting at work today pondering my new computer purchase I realized that I have large impulsive tendencies that I have trouble controlling ( hence the reason I am now getting a new shotgun and new computer).  Now its not like I cant afford both purchases, its just that I really didnt need to make both purchases in the same week, or probably even month.  I guess this whole situation is a good thing because it shows me a glaring issue in my preparedness, which I can now address, and start being more prepared for whatever happens to come next.  The point of this whole story is to show, just because you have started to hoard supplies and have a great BoB and BoV, doesnt mean you’re really ready for TEOTWAWKI.   It just means you have more stuff.  Your mindset has to be such that you can actually survive after the SHTF.  I need to work on this big time.  You might want to attempt a self evaluation.

Think you don’t have the cash to prep? Quit making excuses and come back tomorrow for Ten Ways to Prep for Free

So, I’m still eating my way through the last of the groceries, and it’s looking like my previous projection of two weeks was fairly pessimistic.  I really haven’t even had to get that creative yet.  I’m definitely learning a lot about myself that will help when I start buying food like it’s my job.

1.  I don’t really like beef as much as I thought.  A nice beef roast, yes.  A thick juicy steak on the grill, HELL yes.  Beef stir-fry not so much.  I don’t really know why, but I’d just rather have chicken.  When I start food shopping again, I’ll stock up on chicken and roasts and ground beef for things like chili and meatballs, but I’ll skip the cuts of beef that are a bit tougher.  I’ve also learned that the mere thought of pork chops makes me want to gag, so I’ll never buy those again.

2.  There is some random ass shit in my pantry, and I have no idea how much allergy medication I must have taken before I bought it.  I found a jar of Hoisin sauce in there, and I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT IS!!!  The expiration date was more than two years ago, so maybe I knew when I bought it and early onset dementia is already taking hold of me.

3.  I buy a lot of things because I don’t remember if I have them or not.  There are like 9 boxes of lasagna noodles in my house, which would be awesome, except there’s not a DAMN THING to make lasagna with.  Clearly, I need an inventory management system.

4.  When you’re eating all the food in your pantry, it’s a great opportunity to slap a couple coats of bonding primer on the shelves, before you start packing them full again.  I’ve been meaning to do this since the Great Rotten Potato Incident of 2009 but I’ve been procrastinating, and the smell has been growing ever fainter.  I finally got it done.

5.  FYI, when you pull the last of the food from your shelves so you can paint them, you should be aware that a Chihuahua can and will slit open any pouches of tuna so cleanly you’ll think he had a tiny Leatherman tool hidden in his crate.  You should also be aware that diarrhea may or may not follow (fortunately for me, my pup has a cast iron stomach.  the only ill effect he suffered was the cussing out he got from his mama when she caught one look at the smug, self satisfied grin on his furry little mug).

6.  I would highly recommend the “eating the stockpile” exercise to anyone.  It’s taught me a lot about what I do and don’t eat, and that information will definitely help me better plan an effective food stockpile.

Stockpile Security (Hide Your Shit)

Posted: February 3, 2012 by Barbie in Stockpiling Food
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Look.  If you’re not really sure how you feel about this blog, and you think all this talk about shit hitting the fan is a little bit paranoid for your taste, close your browser.  Come back tomorrow.

We’re about to take the paranoid to a whole new level here.

So, you’ve got this stockpile of food, and you’re good to go for a while – 90 days, six months, two years.  Whatever.  All those assholes in your neighborhood?  They’re probably not ready.  Which means when they get really hungry, they’re gonna start showing up at your door.

Now, do you share your supplies?  Do you tell them to go to hell?  I’m not even going to address that here, because the reality is that none of us know what we’d do in that situation until it actually happens.  There are too many potential variables that would decide whether we would help out another family, or send them on their way and wish them the best of luck.  We’ll all just cross that bridge when (God forbid) we come to it.

But you’ve pretty much gotta assume that at some point, somebody is going to show up at your door wanting your food.  I’d highly recommend investing in some firepower so you can prevent them from taking your food by force, but I’ll let the Sarge and the Boy Scout offer their advice on that matter.  I’m here to talk about OPSEC (Operations Security).

The first rule of Stockpiling is you do not talk about Stockpiling.  You don’t blab to all your neighbors about how much cash you’ve got buried in the back yard, why would you run your mouth about how much food and ammo you’ve got piled in your basement?  Why should your neighbors stockpile when they can just come over to your house and rob you of your stockpile.  Quit talking.  Just shut the hell up.

Next, you’re gonna wanna make sure that at least some of your shit is hidden. Personally, I plan to fill my kitchen pantry up with food like a normal, responsible adult human being.  Everything that doesn’t fit in the pantry?  It’ll be hidden.  Well.  If someone does force their way into my home looking for food, they aren’t going to find much.  I’m not talking about under the bed or in the linen closet either.  When someone gets hungry enough, they’re going to start ransacking.  Start looking around your house and thinking of hiding places now.

And quit friggin’ talking about what you’ve got stashed up.  If you buy anything really good/obvious, like a kerosene heater or an assault rifle, don’t bring it home and carry it into the house on a Sunday afteroon while the whole neighborhood is outside washing their cars.  Bring that shit inside under cover of darkness, and stash it quick.

Believe me.  People are watching.

Water Storage: Living the high life

Posted: February 2, 2012 by boyscout556 in Stockpiling Food
Tags: , , ,

What is the thing you probably take for granted most that will be one of the first things gone when SHTF.  Clean water.  Well probably electricity, but lets say water because I needed a good way to start this.  If you’re on city water then more than likely after the apocalypse you’re shit out of luck.  Storing water in your house can be hard.  Water is heavy, and it needs some kind of container and well, its water.  I’ve been thinking about the best place to store water in your house.  I mean sure, fill barrels and put them in the basement, but then where does your food go?  Dig a pond, but then you have to purify it plus all the neighbors will just help themselves.  How about building a water tank in your attic.  Its perfect.  There is all that empty space up there.  Your rain collector on the roof can drain into it, plus it can be attached directly to your current plumbing system.  This means while all the other survivors are lugging bottles of water around, all you have to do is open your tap, and let gravity do its thing.  This will work especially well if you’re on a septic system.  Your house’s plumbing will run like normal!  Using a gravity feed system in your house means you’ll still have running water.  You can laugh at your friends as they dig out there shitholes (literally) while you take a crap on your porcelain throne.  You could even take a shower with the addition of a wood fired water heater or you know man up and take it cold, this is after TEOTWAWKI.  Maybe this post apocalypse thing will be easier than I thought…

Long Term Storage

Posted: January 29, 2012 by Sarge in Stockpiling Food
Tags: ,

So, as you walk down the road toward hoarder status, there are some things to consider. Having a bunch of stuff saved up is all well and good, but it needs to be useful. What I mean is, if you have six months worth of food saved, awesome. However, if all the canned peas are in the very back, and all the tomato soup is in the very front, it will be difficult to make enticing meals. Furthermore, if that shit is in a heap in the corner of the basement, you’re gonna turn an ankle when you climb mount survival in search of the elusive box of townhouse crackers.

The solution is to set up a storage system. If you have a basement, that would be a great place to set up the warehouse. Otherwise, it could be spread throughout closets, the garage, or even a shed.

Now, anyone who’s worked a grocery story knows you use the oldest stuff first. So when you buy new stuff to add to your collection, put it in the back, and move everything forward.  That way, you’ll get a rotation going. Whether you buy shelving, build shelving, or stack up some bins or cardboard boxes, I would set up so that you can get to the back side of the shelf, etc. This way, you have more access to stuff, and you don’t bury stuff somewhere you can’t find it. Keep food items in one area, equipment in another, first aid closest to your living area so that you can get to it (you never need that stuff until SHTF, and then you need it yesterday).

Now you have all this stuff, and its all stored and ready, and then the nuclear powerplant 50 miles from your house melts down and you gotta go. You can’t carry the shelves out to the car, so what’s your plan? Try packing up some of each type of item in prepared boxes or bins. That way, if you’re leaving by vehicle, you can easily and quickly load them up and take off. You could have a bin of food, a first aid kit, and maybe some spare clothing. 3 bins and you’re off.

As an option for the bins, perhaps building some portable storage containers could work for you. If you build some boxes with hinged lids out of pine, they will be relatively lightweight, and also sturdy. If you are capable of building them, you are also capable of building them to fit specific locations in your vehicle. You could have two that drop behind the two front seats. Or maybe one that fills that space at the back of the trunk. If you end up needing to sustain yourself for longer than you had initially planned, you can always take them apart and build something else you might need, or even burn them to cook up that tasty woodchuck you hit with the Chevy on the way out of Dodge.

If you fail to plan, plan on failing…

Sarge

So, I mentioned the other day that I’m currently working on exhausting my food supply.  Tonight, as I was making dinner (Fettucine topped with store brand spaghetti sauce kicked up a notch with some about-to-shrivel green pepper and a freezer burned italian sausage from who-knows-when) I ran into the first of what I’m sure will be increasingly severe problems.

I was seriously craving some sweets (my default state, honestly) and nothing was readily available.  But I realized I had some old cake mixes in the baking closet, so I grabbed a box of spice cake and was about to bust that puppy open when… damn.  I realized the instructions called for three eggs.  I opened the fridge and found that I had exactly three eggs.  I knew it!  The spice cake and I were meant to be!

Oh shit.  It occurs to me that eventually, I’m going to run out of protein.  Do I really want to hasten this process by throwing away my last three eggs on a spice cake?

Hell yes I do!

But wait.  Is that wise?  What if I run out of food?

Oh, seriously.  It’s three friggin’ eggs.  Are you honestly gonna freak out because you might starve to death one meal earlier?

Do you really want to run the risk?

Fuck yes!  I might die, but I’ll die with cake in my belly!  What better way to go!?

In the end, I managed to get my shit together and realize that those three sorry eggs would make a pretty good egg salad sandwich.  And since two nights a week I have to eat supper in the car, a non-messy egg salad sandwich wrap would make a pretty good supper.  So I made the right decision and put the cake mix away.

And you better believe I boiled those eggs right there and then, to save myself the temptation.

So, the Financial Times has reported that world governments are stockpiling food to hedge against… what?  There’s plenty of speculation (soaring food prices, zombie apocalypse, nuclear terrorism), and I sure as hell don’t know what they see coming. All I know is, if you can’t beat ’em join ’em.

I’m actually right in the middle of an anti-stockpiling experiment at the moment – I’m eating all the food in my pantry and seeing how long I can go without buying groceries (the only exceptions are coffee and half-and-half, both dire necessities).  This serves a couple of purposes:

1.  I’m seeing how long I can really survive on a pantry’s worth of food

2.  I’m learning how to creatively make tasty meals out of unlikely combinations

3.  I’m finding stuff in the pantry that I bought who-knows-how-long ago and making a note that I clearly don’t eat it, so I probably shouldn’t buy it again

4.  I’m saving a shitload of money.  Which is good because I just paid tuition which is like being mugged but without the compelling story to tell at work the next day.

Anyway, I’m starting to run out of food, and it’s getting interesting.  I’d guess that what I’ve got on hand will last me about two more weeks but I’ll keep you updated.

Once I lift the self-imposed ban on grocery shopping, I plan to start stockpiling food like an MFer.  One, in case I’m stuck in my house for months during the next pandemic, and two because I know from experience that a good-size stockpile can see you through a lengthy unemployment.  Not that I’m staring a layoff in the face right now, but you just never know.  Some people are blindsided by these things and pack up a paper box with their desk knickknacks and go home to cry, not knowing what else to do.  Me?  I’d go right home and start cooking beans in the crockpot.

Right.

The point is, I know myself too well and if I just start stockpiling without a decent plan in place I’ll end up with a 200 jar stockpile of kalamata olives, chickpeas, and apple pie filling and not a damn thing to eat when the martians land and I’m hiding in my crawlspace for weeks.

I’ll need other things, like canned Hershey’s syrup, maraschino cherries, and bourbon.

I need a plan.  Something that ensures I spend my alien-induced exile eating balanced, nutricious, and delicious meals.  I realize this is all pointless, because while I can buy shelf stable half-and-half, as soon as my Extra Dark Italian Roast starts to degrade, I’ll probably slit my wrists with my Leatherman, but still.  I’m banking on the hope that someone will have developed a long-shelf-life coffee that is actually potable by then, and just in case I’d like to have a 3-month food supply on hand.  I’d also like to have some extra food, because when the shit hits the fan and I’ve run out of mascara, I may need to make a trade.  Plus, it might get lonely being in quarantine so I may want to have a neighbor come and ride it out with me.  And I’ll probably have to bribe them with Jello Pudding Cups  to put up with me.  You see my point?

Over the next few days, I’m going to do some research to determine just how much of each of the food groups I’ll need to amass, and also if Trader Joe’s has a way to freeze-dry and reconstitute those little apple pastries they sell in the freezer department.  Because those?  Are delicious.

 

 

Get this: So I’m drinking a beer, making a list of shit I’ll need to survive and I have this moment of genius delusional paranoia in which I create this Decision Flow Chart:

I’m telling you, this MBA is PAYING FOR ITSELF!!!

Anyway.

So the basic idea here (as if you can’t read a friggin’ flow chart) is that you want to be ready for any shit that could possibly go down. The way I see it, there’s three different scenarios you could have on your hands:

Long term shelter in place: This is your stockpile. What would you need if you had to fend for yourself in your home for months or years? Food, water, ammunition, heating fuel… Basically you want to turn your house into a cold war style shelter, complete with cans of stale Saltines.

Evacuation on foot. This is where you’ll want a bug out bag (or go bag).This is a backpack loaded with supplies that you can carry with you. You should have one for each member of the family – even a three year old can carry a change of clothes or a blanket.

Evacuation in a vehicle. You’ll want prepacked boxes (or suitcases) of provisions in case it takes you a long time to get to your destination. Think Oregon Trail.

A note on vehicular evacuation:You’ll always want to supplement this with your bug out bags in case you’re forced to abandon your vehicle and hoof it.

You’ve also gotta consider the exacerbating circumstances you could encounter. Does your survival stockpile account for the fact that you may not have power for cooking? Are you equipped to defend your family from looters during an evacuation?  Do you have the supplies and training you would need to administer first aid?
Sam Adams may have helped me write this post, but I maintain that the advice is valid.