Thursday, June 30, 2011

Prepare: Freeze Fried or Dehydrated? Do it youself or not?

I wrote this review for another website whose audience was primarily comprised on "non-preppers".

Freeze Dried versus Dehydrated - Which is better?

Rather than look at which is better, compare instead the products sold by major long term food supply companies. Also consider the packaging and size of packaging. Finally, and most important, think about what your family will eat and enjoy.

Here are the basics about dehydrated versus freeze dried.

- Freeze dried foods generally take less time and water to prepare

- Dehydrated foods may take longer to rehydrate

- Freeze dried foods are generally pre-seasoned and may contain more sodium and other seasons than eaters may prefer.

- Also generally speaking, most dehydrated food companies sell their foods as stand alone products - dehydrated fruits in one #10 can, wheat in another, TVP in another and so on. Buyers than mix and cook from scratch meals using these products.

- In bulk, as in a six month or one year supply, both dehydrated and freeze dried foods take up a lot of space. Make sure you have the room.

- Many multi month or one year food supply packages include extras like sugar, baking powder, yeast and other products which can also be purchased at the grocery store. While some companies claim these are "fillers" to make the supply seem longer, these extras do come packed in  long term food storage containers and this might be convinient for some customers.

Do I have to buy foods from these companies if I want to build a long term food supply?

Absolutely not. You can purchase grains, rice, cooking oil, honey, dried milk and other foods and repack them yourself. You can also purchase a good food dehydrator and dry your own seasonsal fruits and vegetables. In fact, many enjoy doing this themselves and may save money if done correctly and with proper planning.

However, for those with the means and with little free time, purchasing a supply of ready packed foods from one of these companies may work best for them.

As for me, I have a combination of my own packed foods, grocery store foods (like canned and packaged products) and a retort supply from some of the companies below.

Mountain House Foods are all freeze dried foods. Rather than sell baking and cooking ingredients, Mountain sells large (#10 cans) and small (individual meal pouches) complete meals such as cheesy macaroni and cheese, spaghetti and meat balls and beef stew. Mountain House Foods are also light weight and the preferred choice of backpackers, campers and even those who are building a one year food supply.

eFoodsdirect offers both freeze dried and dehydrated foods. eFoodsdirect has both ingredients for those who wish to cook complete meals from scratch using a combination of freeze dried and dehydrated ingredients, they also carry a complete line of "Quick Meals" which can quickly be reconstituted and served for one or an entire family. They also carry a full line of emergency "on the go meal packages" for travelers or emergencies.

Shelf THRIVE foods also has a full selection of freeze dried and dehydrated foods and complete meals. What is neat about THRIVE is their organized and easy to use system of preparing meals using their colored packaging. Also, THRIVE is more designed for those who enjoy cooking meals from scratch at home and wish to have the convinience of long term store foods.

Which is best for you? Each of these companies has sample sized products containing 1-3 meals. I would try a sample and serve to your family and find which foods they prefer.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Prepare: Work Bug Out Bag

I will be working at a different office next week and when I do, I plan on bringing with me a new office bug out bag. A BOB for work is different than one you can keep at home or the car for a couple of reasons.

- Places of employment generally have rules about bringing weapons (guns, knives, crossbows, etc) into the work place. So those are no-nos and can't be included.

- Most of us, in an emergency, are going to use our BOB at work to get home and not as the beginning of our new life in the wilderness or on the road. So our BOB needs to meet the demands and distances of making it home.

- Finally, most of us can't walk in the door at work with a 85 lb military grade backpack with fanny. Size and appearance matter.

First up, I chose to use a standard day type back pack. I have a couple of them I have received from different jobs, but my favorite is a heavy duty one I purchased more than ten years ago.

It has a large main compartment and two large outer compartments.

My focus will be on outerwear, food, water (and water recovery) and small tools. So I put together my basic bag after a quick trip to the market today and after puttering around the house.

Main compartment


- One pair of sneakers. I wear dress shoes or loafers at work. I prefer sneakers to walking shoes or boots for outdoor use and I can run in them if need be.

- Two pair of lightweight, moisture wicking socks. I can wear them under my normal socks or whatever.

- One spare t-shirt. Hey, you get your outer clothing wet, having just one spare dry shirt improves your outlook immensely and this type shirt takes up little room.

- Pullover waterproof jacket. I got one of these as a present and it has come in handy many times. Plus it stores in this neat little bag built into the jacket.

- One pullover stocking type hat (cold weather) and one baseball hat.

- One pair of lightweight gloves.


- Six powerbar/protein bars

- Two foil packs of tuna fish

- One big bag of trail mix

- Two bags of nuts (peanuts, almonds)

- Bag of hard candy

- Two bags of jerky

- Two ramen noodles

- Two packs instant oatmeal

- Ziplock containing four tea bags, sugar, salt and pepper packets.

- One pack chewing gum


- One large Naglene bottle with built in filter

- One small bottle of Polar Pure water tablets

- Two small (4 oz) bottles of water

Tools (some are in outer pocket, others in main)

- My Swiss army knife

- A multi tool

- Three n95 masks

- One pair goggles

- Three contractor trash bags

- One LED headlamp

- One small LED flashlight

- Multi purpose first aid kit with bandaids, neosporin, aspirin, tylonol, immodium, six multi vitamins, benadryl and one large compress type bandage

- Compass, road map of surrounding area

- Metal spoon, metal bowl

- A length of paracord

- Three pack of Big lighters

- Spare AA batteries (four)


- Portable radio (optional - I may simply bring one and put on my desk and take with me in an emergency).

- Sunblock

- Chapstick

- Toilet paper in zip lock bag

- Small bottle of antibacterial gel

- Small pack of antibaterial hand wipes

- $20-50 in small bills

I broke all of this down and repacked into three long resealable plastic bags. Some of the smaller things went into the outside pockets for quick retrieval and so they don't get lost in the main compartment.

Like I said, I can't camp out with this BOB, but it has most of what I need to get home. Since I carpool to work most days, I can't depend on having a vehicle in the parking lot to get home with.

I have to weigh this bag and will probably move some things around or leave some at the office rather than carrying with me at all times.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Prepare: From Choas Will Come Order

Check out Greece this morning. The locals are protesting the government's austerity plans for government spending. The situation is near riot level in some locations, but peaceful in many others.

How did this happen? Some bullet points:

- Greece has a limited economy dominated by tourism as its largest industry.

- One out of three workers in Greece is employed in the public sector. Most of the country is on some form of government assistance or stipend for daily survival. The government has been financing this with deficit spending.

- Unemployment is over 20% and higher for younger people. The private sector does not create enough jobs for sustainable employment to meet the demands of the available labor pool.

- Greece was "bailed out" by the European Union last year under the conditions that they reduce their government spending (fewer public workers, less government spending programs) and raise taxes to offset their deficits.

- The general population is protesting as so many work in the public sector (and austerity means layoffs, reduction in benefits, pay) or depend upon government assistance to get by (welfare programs, school assistance, unemployment).

- The EU has stated there will be no more money unless the austerity program continues.

There are no quick fixes to this problem. The same problem is also facing Ireland and Portugal.

In the USA, the federal government's ability to borrow (deficit spend) money to meet its obligations is about to hit a "debt ceiling" the amount of which is approved by Congress.

One side says to cut spending equal to the requested amount of raising the debt ceiling. The other side says the requested amount should be met with spending cuts as well as tax increases.

Again, in the USA, many are employed in the public sector or dependent upon government assistance for their daily living expenses or to meet financial obligations like university tuition.

The USA has a much more diverse and larger economy than Greece and will probably weather this crisis through some sort of compromise at the federal level. This time.

Eventually, there is no amount of money which can be borrowed, here, in Greece or the rest of the world, which can satisfy the demands of government obligations.

At that point, some societies will adjust. They will either raise taxes on their populace, reduce services or simply redo their government and force it to live within the actual revenues collected from current taxes.

My opinion is most other societies will take the alternate route. They will allow their government to continue to borrow and spend, make obligations they cannot meet and then protest any changes or cuts to government spending which affects them.

Eventualy, the system will break. No more money will come from the government and those that attempt to rule by fiat (allow people to purchase food, energy and housing with paper money based upon nothing) and force vendors and businesses to reduce their prices (price controls) to meet the new economic reality with crash, Zimbabwe style.

In the end, there will still be people. There will still be resources to feed, house and clothe people, but they will not be available due to the laws of supply (you have something) and demand (someone wants it and thus, has to come to terms with you to get it).

In some of these societies, a new system will arise. Order out of chaos. It has happened before. The result historically has been Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin/Stalin, Mao and others.

The thing to watch is whether this spreads or is isolated. If the economic conditions improve world wide soon, then Greece can be advised and restructured with the help of other more fortunate nations.

If not, well, pick up a history book and read how that turned out.

Personally, I hope a third path emerges. Responsible, yet limited government which governs from the middle and helps those truly in need yet shares the responsibility among all citizens, not just a few.

Cross your fingers.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Prepare: Shelf Life

Scenario: A global pandemic has finally ended but not before taking 99.9% of the world's population. For some reason, you were immune and with preparations in place, were able to avoid the fate of most of the human race. Now, you have the entire world as your personal grocery store and supply depot what with all the abandoned goods waiting for your to come get them.

Scenario: A nuclear war started and quickly ended. You and your family had a stocked shelter and emerge a few weeks later to learn that most of the people around you succumbed to fallout sickness and perished soon afterward. Now you must get busy preparing for a world without other people, however, you have all of the food and other supplies left in stores and in homes for your use.

While neither of these events (fortunately) have taken place, we run across these scenarios in survival fiction all the time. In Stephen King's book, "The Stand", one of the central characters remarks that with the reduced population, there is enough food in the grocery stores for 200 or more years. Another character suggests that there is plenty of gasoline in the ground to run cars for decades.

The truth of the matter is everything has a shelf life. That is, how long it is useful, edible, in working condition, safe to use or run before it is no longer viable.

Take food. Canned food, in ideal conditions (cool, dark, non-damp storage), can remain edible for two to five years. While some foods may last longer, after that time the vitamin content drops to nothing, the contents are nothing more than inert material, the taste might be negligible and the danger of food poisoning is higher.

What about dried foods? Same thing and some foods, like packaged dry cereal, may actually become inedible after less than a year. Sugar and salt, properly stored can last decades. But the key is proper storage.

Most grocery stores have all of the food out on the shelves. Bags containing flour, sugar and salt will quickly be compromised by insects or vermin. As the temperatures fluctuate in a grocery store with non-functioning climate controls, canned and glass bottled goods may actually crack or explode on the shelves.

In the end, after four or five years, only a few cans of spices in metal containers or coffee might still be usable. That is, if water does not get in through the roof and spoil even those things.

What about non food items? Batteries, depending upon the type, may only have a shelf life of 5-10 years with lithium batteries holding out the longest. Tires for the car and motorcycle, if kept wrapped and in a dry location, may only last five years at the longest. Many drugs, such as "cyllin" based antibiotics and tetracycline could kill you if used after their expiration date. Even aspirin after five years may lose its efficacy. Ammunition left in a cardboard box on the store shelf runs the risk of exposure to heat, air and moisture resulting in bulging, questionable cartridges.

The problem is the storage of a product, the weather conditions and if anything else, such as vermin, insects or animals have access to the product and may cause it harm. Most of the "stuff" in our world is either in a retail establishment, in a warehouse waiting for delivery or in the back of a truck somewhere. None of these conditions are ideal for storing anything for long term.

The solution?

First off, fiction aside, it is unlikely any of us will be in a situation where we are the "last man on earth" and have the world as our proverbial oyster. However, if you find yourself in a post-survival instance, here are some steps to take.

- Have climate controlled storage ready. That means a generator (more than one preferably) running on different fuel supplies, (gas, solar, wind) and lots of space (a big house or single story building) with plenty of insulation and several store rooms.

- Start collecting stuff. That means a big truck or trailer and access to grocery stores, drug stores, warehouse clubs, hardware and auto parts stores. Have a plan and a list and an amount needed to collect. There is no reason to collect and store five hundred sets of tires as you will never be able to use them all in a lifetime.

- Organize and start using the stuff. Digging around the warehouse looking for a bottle of aspirin means that something else has probably already gone bad.

- Start planning on doing without stuff. In the first month, fresh bananas, limes, pineapples and lemons will become a distant memory. Soon afterwards, chocolate and coffee will disappear forever. Best be able to getting used to a world without either.

- Start finding alternatives. Gasoline and diesel, even with preservatives, will go bad or be used up. Better find a good horse as even the bicycle will be worthless after the tires can no longer be replaced. Plant a huge garden and fields of wheat, corn and potatoes. That is where food is going to come from after the canned stuff goes rancid. Investigate and plant herbal alternatives to modern medicines. If it were me, I would be searching out and relocating chickens, goats and other small livestock before they die and before even setting foot in the local Walmart.

Eventually, you will have acquired everything locally available and will have run out of room. At that point, anyone would realize there is no way you can prepare and stockpile enough stuff to last a lifetime.

In the end, even people have a shelf life. With the world described above, our seventy five to eighty year lifespan will drop dramatically in the following generations. Enjoy the shopping while it lasts!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Prepare: Other Preparedness Sites

Besides this blog, I have several other websites on related topics I have been working on for some time. Most use this great website called Squidoo which helps writers build good looking informational sites quickly. Best of all Squidoo is free!

Check out some of my small sites. I constantly edit and add information to these sites so check back often and tell others, especially those who are not yet convinced of the trying times we are going through.

Prepare For The End Of The World

This little lens provides information about "How To" prepare for unexpected, life changing emergencies. Topics covered include food, water, power and lighting.

One Year Food Supply

More and more we are learning that having a good amount of food put back can mean the difference in life and death. This lens covers easy ways for anyone to get started building a one year food supply.

Junk Silver

Pre-1964 U.S. coins contained 90% real silver and many of these coins are still in circulation. This is my most complete site and identifies which coins to look for along with background information about them.

As always, I appreciate you taking time to visit my sites and I always enjoy feedback and comments.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Prepare: Food Shortages In The USA

Food Shortages in the USA? How could that happen? The grocery stores are full. The fast food restaurants are pumping out burgers and wings. The population is overweight and plodding around from meal to meal.

But it can still happen.

Our food production and distribution system is no longer tied to our local communities or even states. The grocery store features bread packaged in Ohio made from wheat grown in Montana and shipped by 18 wheeler 900 miles before it hits your store shelves.

Fruit and vegetables from dozens of countries fill the produce section. Apple sauce and cranberry juice comes from China. Fish originates in Vietnam. Beef from Argentina.

At the same time, farm land across the USA is being reused for retail or residential development or in some cases, allowed to revert to the wild. Watersheds and aquafiers are drying up. Federal regulations are stopping the flow of water to farmland to preserve endangered species. New environmental rules limit the use of land, fertilizers and the raising of farm animals.

Finally, transportation and fuel costs only keep rising. Many countries which produce food for the USA are moments away from instability and many do not enjoy the same rule of law or food safety rules we take for granted in the USA.

Basically, this boils down to a precipitous situation with many potentially damaging events which could jeopardize our food supply and availability.

What can you do?

First, eat local. Get used to eating foods produced near where you live right now. Go to farmers markets rather than purchase the latest and greatest "frankenfood" of another country.

Second, grow something of your own. Tomatoes, melons, and herbs can all be grown easily by the brownest of thumbs.

Third, stock long term foods like rice, oatmeal, wheat, oil and other foods which are the foundation of most meals. Don't limit your stores to one or two pounds; purchase fifty or more pounds of rice and other grains and store appropriately.

Finally, determine which foods are not readily available, but which you are used to and enjoy and store those as well (or give them up). Things like coffee, tea and chocolate. Also consider finding local alternatives.

With the rapid purchasing power of the dollar, international tensions and the unreliability of the supply chain, don't get caught with an empty pantry or being forced to depend upon the government to supply you and your family your next meal.

Don't forget to check out the new e-book about preparing for potential food shortages "Sold Out After A Crisis"!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Prepare: Falling Skies

OK, who watched Falling Skies last night? Falling Skies is a new post-apocalyptic drama about earth after aliens have invaded and the subsequent human resistance to the invasion.

The story opens with children describing the attack with crayon drawn pictures. Apparently, the aliens invaded and were able to quash all organized armed forces and killed 90% of the human population on earth. Remaining humans are focused only finding food and weapons while as they lead a resistance against the invaders.

Falling Skies follows a resistance group of militia and civilians in Massachusetts as they are constantly hunted by the aliens, multi-legged "Skitters" and large bipedal robotic "Mechs". There are also other human groups they encounter who are only concerned with theft and mayhem.

The story was slow in some parts but also very interesting to have come out of Hollywood. The central character is a history professor turned guerrilla fighter who makes continued references to historical battles against invading armies. He also, in one brief, "so quick you almost missed it" scene corrects his son on the difference between a "clip" and a "magazine". Never thought I would hear that on TeeVee.

One reviewer compared Falling Skies to "V" meets "Jericho". So far that is a fair assessment to me as well. I only hope that they are able to complete the series before it's eventual demise.

Check it out.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Prepare: Manufacturing

Warning: This is a highly inflammatory subject akin to discussing religion, guns or hockey teams. Everyone has an opinion which they are entitled to and I welcome civil discourse.

We all have this sepia toned image of thousands of blue shirted, hard hat and lunch pail in hand American men marching through the gates of large factory complete with smoke stacks and assembly lines and bringing home a pay envelope on Friday which provides for a comfortable cottage, white picket fence and Mom at home making pot roast and apple pie for hard working hubbie and children Mary and Bobby.

Ah, the transitory past.

Unfortunately, that image of America is no longer reality. More Americans work in the service or professional trades and fewer work in manufacturing than in years past. Has it negatively effected our nation? Yes and no. Our standard of living is higher, but so is our debt. Further, what we make is worth less due to the negative effects of inflation.

Many lament the fact that fewer people work in manufacturing and make statements like "We sent all of our manufacturing jobs overseas" or "we don't make anything in America anymore". Actually, these statements aren't entirely true.

The fact is we still make quite a bit of stuff here in the U.S. So much, that the U.S. manufacturers are responsible for 21% of what is built in the world, that according to the National Association of Manufacturers. How does that stack up against the Chinese or Japanese? The Chinese come in at 15% and the Japanese at 12%.

What surprises people is what is built in the U.S. versus what is no longer manufactured. For instance, we still build tractors, tanks, airplanes and cars in the U.S. Many of these products have price tags in the millions of dollars and the employees in these fields enjoy wages several thousand dollars above the annual salary of other employees in the private sector.

What we don't manufacture in the U.S. are low end, lost cost consumer products such as plastic laundry baskets. Plastic laundry baskets can be purchased at the discount store for ninety nine cents. There is no way an adult can work in a factory in the U.S. making plastic clothing baskets with a retail price of less than a dollar and survive financially. However, a person in a third world nation with a daily per capita cost of living of less than $2 a day can squeak by.

We also don't make commodity consumer electronics. Why? A flat screen, high definition television comes to market Christmas 2010 with a retail price tag of 1499.99. In one year, that same TV will be discounted to 999.99 as newer and better models come out. Will the workers who assembled that fifteen hundred dollar retail price TV in 2010 be willing to take a commensurate pay cut which reflects the price one year later? Of course not.

Consumer electronics are a losing proposition to a working class with a high cost of living such as we have in the U.S. Consumer demand for consumer electronics is fickle and unreliable for the cost of goods and labor.

Let's consider some other factors.

Automation, consolidiation and specialization.

Automation - During the 1940's and 50's, much of the work done in factories was manual as it still is currently in much of the third world. Thousands of low skilled workers assembled and produced products from raw goods. For the past 30 years however, more and more work is being done by precision robots using computerized instructions. The result is higher quality and more productivity. So much so that American manufacturing outproduces its competitors two to one. Human operators are still needed as are quality control inspectors but fewer workers are needed for production and than means fewer jobs in manufacturing.

Consolidation - Both products and production have become consolidized. We have smart phones which have replaced a half dozen or more devices (land line phones, personal computers, personal organizers, calculators, the Rolodex, personal stereos and so on) so we buy and thus manufacture, fewer things (although it doesn't feel like it with kids!)

Further, companies which used to have multiple factories making dozens of different products are using technology and automation to consolidate manufacturing. More products are being produced "just in time" based upon real time demand from retail and industrial customers rather than being built and waiting to be purchased from a warehouse.

Specialization - Along with automation, we have a manufacturing industry with needs for specialized skills rather than general, low skill/low education like we needed a generation ago. So the need for large numbers of high school graduates to fill cavernous facilities moving goods down an assembly line tweaking one screw or part is no longer needed. Rather, the need is for employees with advanced computer and industrial engineering skills operating more and more advanced machines.

In the end, the demographic which has been hardest hit by this recession and recent recessions in the past, the adult with a high school education, cannot rely upon manufacturing employment for a stable career as his father or grandfather could in years past.

Now, there is a part of U.S. manufacturing which is a sore spot with me. Strategic disadvantage. When your nation is dependent upon foreign manufacturers for key industrial products such as generators, electrical grid transformers, digital communications components and such, than your nation is at risk. There are some industries which demand a domestic production base for its strategic needs.

In the end, manufacturing exists in the U.S. but it is not longer the panacea for long term unemployment nor is it the cause of our problems. Rather, we have to adapt to a changing landscape and plan accordingly. The successful individual (and nation) adapts, rather than regresses.

As I said, this is an inflammatory subject. Everyone has an opinion and some are not as popular as others. Feel free to leave a comment and explain your position.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Prepare: Shoes

Do you wear shoes? Sure, we all do. Still, I am amazed at the number of people who own shoes, but frequently wander to and fro shoeless. There are so many things on the ground which when stepped upon with bare feet can lead to injury, infection and even death. Shoes are your friends, wear them.

I have a habit of always wearing shoes except when I am in the house. Even then, I often wear some sort of shoe around the house because I hate stepping on things which might have fallen on the floor. Ever stepped on a little green plastic toy solider in bare feet? Those things can hurt.

Do you keep a spare pair of shoes in the car? How many of us work in business or an office and wear appropriate dress shoes? What happens if the car breaks down or traffic is gridlocked and we are forced to walk home? How many times have you seen women removing their high heels when walking because their feet are hurting? Do you keep a spare pair of sneakers or walking shoes in the car or at the office?

Here's another. Do you keep a pair of shoes, not flimsy little slippers, but real shoes next to your bed? What happens if there is a fire or a break in? What are you going to do? Run out barefooted or in an oversize pair of slippers shaped like bear's feet?

You will hear all sorts of experts telling you what sort of shoes to wear, even the brand names, Often, they never take into account the lifestyle or occupation of their readers. Not everyone works outdoors in the Pacific Northwest nor can they strut around the bank in a pair of Wolverine steel toed work boots with water proof uppers and Kevlar shoelaces.

Instead, purchase and wear the shoes which work best for you. Have your feet measured by a competent shoe salesperson so you purchase the correct size. Our feet actually change sizes through out our lives so get the right size rather than assuming you still wear a size 8 like you did in high school.

If your shoes go better with socks, then buy socks and wear them! Wearing shoes without socks or hose will wear out the inner lining faster and ruin your shoes.

Keep your shoes dry. Water combined with air will destroy a pair of shoes in a day or less.

Finally, buy new shoes regularly. Shoes wear out and a worn out shoe can do more damage to your back or feet than the wrong sized shoe.

Take care of your feet and they will take care of you!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

SHTF: Sold Out After A Crisis

I am a big fan of any available resources which can help me better prepare for my family. I frequent used book stores, Amazon and other websites trying to learn something or pick up information which I did not know of before.

I was very happy to see that our line of thinking is now going "mainstream" is that publishers are starting to pick up on the public's concern for preparedness both in short term disasters and long time emergencies.

One such book, "Sold Out After A Crisis" was released this week as an e-book and it caught my eye after seeing it advertised on many of the websites I frequent. I purchased and downloaded it this morning, so I have not read it yet but am looking forward to it and when finished, will produce a complete review.

The author has compiled a list of foods we should all be stocking up on NOW rather than waiting for an emergency when grocery stores can be cleaned out in a matter of minutes. We all know what that looks like whenever a hurricane or major winter storm hits and our local stores are emptied overnight.

Some of the points made by author Damien Campbell are no surprises to us here - purchase long term storage foods in #10 cans when possible, don't forget to store plenty of water and stock up on multi vitamins as well. But there is some new information presented that led to a "head slap moment" for me when I read them. I don't want to embarrass myself, so get the book and find out for yourself!

Further, the author points out places to get food after traditional places are out, how to collect, purify and stockpile water as well as how to inexpensively produce electricity. All to often we forget that electricity means light, but more importantly, heat, which can be used to cook food and purify water.

I am excited about "Sold Out After A Crisis" and judging by the buzz I see about it online, I am sure it contains some good information and preparedness wisdom. I added a link to this book on my site as well as I feel this sort of information needs to be available, especially to new comers to preparedness and who need immediate information.

:Let me know if you have read this book yet and if so, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.

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Thursday, June 09, 2011

SHTF: Building A Food Supply Step By Step

Start building your emergency food supplies little by little rather than all at one time.

Read any of the survivalist themed blogs and websites and they will tell you to get busy either a) buying large (hundreds of pounds) quantities of wheat, cooking oil, powdered milk and honey or b) purchasing a stockpile of long term storage food (LTS) from one of the big name online retailers and quickly, as in NOW! NOW! NOW! have a one year or more food supply for you and the family.

If you agree with this statement and have the credit card available with lots of room, please visit any of the Mountain House links on this site and charge away - I would like to show my other half that blogging like this pays off!

But if you are like most of us, laying down a few thousand dollars for a UPS pallet of freeze dried food or a hundred or so white buckets of wheat is out of the question. Instead, our journey of a thousand meals begins with a single can, to paraphrase the famous Chinese quotation.

The conventional wisdom is easy to follow: When shopping, but two for each one. So, instead of buying one can of coffee, pick up two. Same with tuna fish, peanut butter, spaghetti, and so on.

Eat one and stock the other in a quiet out of the way spot in the house. In our home, we have one large walk in pantry for long term supplies and one small one for daily usage. You may decide to use the cabinets in the bathroom, under a bed or the hall closet for your long term foods.

Next, purchase foods to replace short term storage food supplies. For instance, we buy two gallons of milk a week. For a long term replacement, once a month I buy one big box of dried milk, repackage in a large freezer bag, and then store it in a sealed white bucket in the back of the pantry. You can do the same with other perishables like eggs (buy one bucket of powdered eggs every month) as well.

The next problem is dealing with fruit and vegetables. Canned fruit nutrionally are nothing more than fruit flavored sugar with little vitamin or mineral content. Sure, we have some on the shelf for a pinch, but they are not useful for maintaining a healthy diet.
Canned vegetables taste pretty bad out of the can, as in like the metal they are packed in and also suffer from low nutrional content.

We like to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in our home and there are two solutions for long term food storage. First, grow a garden! We have tomatoes, greens, berries, grapes, fruit trees and even a stand of corn in our yard. It's not hard and the whole family actually enjoys the results.

Second, buy fresh produce at the store and start canning (storing hot in jars with lids and rings using a canner) and drying (food dehydrator). Both retain more nutritional content than canned foods and learning to can and dehydrate are useful skills for everyone to learn.

Finally, stock up on dried foods which store well and long term. By dried foods, I mean rice, beans, sugar, salt, spices (especially hard to get ones like cinammon, nutmeg, black pepper and so on), and oatmeal. While it is nice to stock up on wheat, if you don't have a grinder or know what to do with wheat, than it won't do you much good. Before running out and buying 400 lbs of wheat for the family, go to the health food store and buy a pound or two, look up some recipes online and learn how to use the stuff.

Most of all, don't go into debt purchasing food you have never eaten or don't know what to do with. Buy what you eat, suitable alternatives and store appropriately.

Monday, June 06, 2011

SHTF: Top Down Collapse While Rome Burns

Weiner admits he sent Tweets of lewd pictures... Another woman admits she had affair with Schwarzenegger.. Taylor Lautner and Rob Pattinson lock lips on MTV Awards... Justin Beiber has new haircut and two new tattoos..  Former IMF chief denies molestation charges.. 

Ever get the feeling we are living in the movie "Metropolis" sometimes? You know, the 1920's silent movie masterpiece which explores the eventual collapse of a wealthy, yet derelict society completely propped up and supported by a hidden, faceless and nameless underclass which slaves beneath the streets?

While most of us are not slaves per se, we still spend our days toiling away, struggling to pay our bills and taxes to keep a roof over our head a while some unelected celebrity elite party their idle lives away. Most of us scarcely have time for a conversation with our spouses yet are subjected to a daily barrage of flagrant delictos (sic) of a minority who appear to have the time and money to burn on all sorts of sordid diversions.

Some, like politicians, who are paid with tax dollars (to the tune of four times the average American annual income) to solve the pressing problems they created, yet find the time to tweet pics to strange women or have liaisons with their staff member's spouses.

Or how about the singers and actors, many of whom have not created a single sustainable job or product, yet who are worth millions and require our uninterrupted attention to their hair style, body piercings or latest opinion on sexual identity all while ignoring the plight of millions who would simply like to have a decent job in the private sector and to finally get off public assistance?

Why do these people believe their bodily functions and contortions are so needed by the invisible majority and further, why can't they simply leave everyone else alone? Why must they wander forth out of their hives, dens and bubbles and terrorize in person  (and remotely) college coeds, housekeepers, bartenders and other service personnel whose only mistake was ending up on some degenerate's radar?

In the end, I believe we are witnessing the death throws before the collapse. No, not a harbinger to a Mad Max world but rather, the Apocalypse of the Celebrity. Where upon after decades of continually recurring and worsening behavior, the majority finally tunes out, drops out and turns off. The demand to find steady work, to stay current on bills and satisfy the tax man means there will be casualties. I hope it is the attention we pay to these losers.

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