keeping in shape

Having reached the milestone of 68 years, am continuing to try to find balance with my preps and my age.

Today, realized how out of condition I’ve become over the last year as I struggled to add 4 x 5 gal water containers to my inventory.

there is a certain amount of the aging process we can’t stop, but if we work hard enough, can hold it at bay for a while . . .

Advertisements

home prepping

when I began the prepping journey – which was as much as anything, about saving money and being sure of where our food came from – bought an American Canner.  They are great, heavy duty, no gasket, canners, machined out of solid aluminum.  BUT to be able to do more than 8 or 9 pints at a time, you have to do multiple rounds.

Was able to pick up a hardly used Presto canner at the thrift not long after that.  Besides being much lighter, when it comes to pints and 1/2 pints, its tall enough to stack the jars!  not only does that save time, but also energy as adding 1/2 an hour to the canning time is a lot less energy than doing 2 x 70 minute batches!

My husband has enjoyed the results of having home made soups and chili and such available, although he’s looked at my preps as more of a humoring me thing, not with any real long term seriousness.

Until recently.

Be that as it may, am working up pints of soup this summer instead of quarts as I’ve had the big DUH moment that I’m not always wanting what he wants and why do I have to open a quart for us both instead of a pint each of what we want?  Just, am making bigger batches so some goes into long term preps, while some goes into the pantry.

Made 11 pints of lentil soup a couple of weeks ago.  Yesterday made chicken soup.  Last night Husband had chicken with wild rice (his favorite), and canned two quarts of chicken with rice for him to take on a camping trip with his nephew this weekend.  Filled the rest of the canner with quarts of water; a good way to keep good water on hand, keep the jars useful instead of storing empty, and keep the canner full for a good canning experience.

Today, have 15 pints going: 4 plain soup with brown rice, 3 plain soup, added tomatoes to the rest in the pot with more veg and did more pints with rice, and 4 without.

While they’re gone will do some pea soup and some mixed bean soup.  Since I’m gluten free can’t add any pastas; the gf pastas tend to completely dissolve in liquid over time.  But will make sure there is enough liquid that I can add a handful when I heat up the soup.

 

lifestyle insurance

This also came up when reading the LDS manual.

For those who have a problem with the idea of PREPPER, Lifestyle insurance.

Storm, illness, failure of the retirement fund, old age, job loss for any reason.  Lifestyle Insurance is the food, water, clothing, and hopefully fuel, stored for a rainy day.

And if you can’t get your brain around the fact that any of it could happen to you, think how you will feel when you can help someone else who has had it happen to them . . . because we all know it happens only to other people!

Normalcy bias

This came up in reading my LDS preparedness manual last night.  Have read this before, but the term didn’t register as it has this time.  Guess because we are seeing so much of it going on now.

Basically, its just the psychological behavior of the brain not processing what’s going on; this terrible thing isn’t happening, or, it can’t happen, or, it won’t happen to me, or, that’s too dreadful a scenario for me to conceptualize.  The most common time we all experience it, is the death, or imminent death,  of a loved one.  The denial is the first stage and sometimes its where we get stuck.

Or the destruction of our home in a fire or tornado or hurricane or flood.  I’ll wake up tomorrow and it will all be a bad dream.

At some point, we have to cope and go through the stages of grief and come out the other side – and sometimes, people don’t.

So what has that to do with preparedness?  If you can’t bend your mind around the idea that something terrible could happen and it could happen to you, how can you ‘prepare’ for it?  To begin doing so, even on the smallest scale, is to admit that it could be true!  Keeping a few gallons of water and some canned food if you live in an area prone to power outages is one thing.  You’ve experienced them, you know they are temporary.  But to imagine that it won’t be temporary?  That someone won’t be around to fix it and make it better in a few days?  That’s like being faced with opening the door behind which might be the hungry tiger!

Its true, the likelihood that we will truly be faced with a for-ever situation is slight.  It is far more likely, we will be faced with something temporary. But temporary could be months or even years!  Why do you think the people of the U.S., the least effected country in the world, had to scramble with victory gardens and rationing during WWII?  If there had been stores in the basement to augment the shortages, and a lot of people did have them as it was a more rural society then, it wasn’t much more than an inconvenience.  But for some people, WWII rationing WAS a hardship!

Now, we are hooked on technology. at the same time we have solar and wind power turbines available for the common man.  We have portable battery storage. enough so that some people will notice little difference in terms of having lights on, refrigerators working, maybe even air conditioning.  If they have a well, they will still have running hot and cold water!  They can watch DVD’s, use their DVR’s, read stored books on their electronic devices.

For most of us, cutting the power will be true future shock.  Know my food stores are not up to even months of shortages and my water supplies are probably only good for a week.  Need more water filters so we can make use of creek, ponds, puddles, pools, or standing water from the bathtub.

Yes, I suffer from Normalcy Bias too, augmented by husband’s more severe form.  But current events are changing his way of thinking, and he has more faith in what I’ve been storing than I have – but then, I know the inventory!  And I’ve long known that to give in to REALLY storing up food and water, I’m admitting that the worst can probably happen – and like most people, don’t want to!

 

a couple of thoughts

Am I the only one to notice that it is getting hard to find good canned goods WITHOUT pull tab tops?  If you didn’t know, the are not recommended for long term storage because the cut that makes them pull tab tops effectively goes right through the lid.

LDS preparedness manual.  The Church of Latter Day Saints has a strong suggestion (just this side of being a commandment), that its members have at least one years worth of ‘stuff’ on hand at all times.  As a modern religion, they have faced a lot of hardship, although they do prosper in modern times, so they must be doing something right!

Anyway, if you are looking for a good guideline of what to store, they offer this manual as a free download at http://www.ldsavow.com/prepmanualgeneral.html

You can also buy it, and I do have a copy.  Yes, there is a lot of Mormon stuff in there, which you can cope with; and it is good background as to WHY this book exists!  There was an interesting quote in one of the opening stories, when asked about when the world would end, the answer was  ‘ I know it will end, but am planting Cherry Trees anyway.  In other words, prepare, but meanwhile, live your life.

With what we’re hearing on the news, am working on the first, while doing the second!

prepping and $$$$

Guess you’ve all noticed that prepping has become BIG business!  and SOO many of those raking in the cash don’t believe a word of what they say!  Its just all about the $$$!

Oh, it does make some information that was harder to find before a little easier now.  and the number of tools, gadgets, gizmos, and garbage are astounding.

Lets be honest, how many rocket stoves were available on the market 10 years ago? even 5?  Now you can buy a rocket stove that will let you charge your phone or laptop while cooking dinner!  And you can even find what is basically a bomb shelter, complete, just dig a big hole under your house and drop it in!  There is even “prep of the month” clubs, where every month they will send you a box of assorted prep items – what and how much depends on how much $$$$ you want to spend.

More freeze dried foods are available though; whether for camping, or an emergency pack for your car, or SHTF.  Even Organic, Vegan and Gluten Free choices coming up.

TV shows. Magazines. Books. Expos.  Liberal Prepper groups!  Yes, liberal preppers.  Saw one on Waters World the other night, being interviewed while he showed off his  preps, including his “for defense only” guns.  No hunting for liberals, defense only!  Don’t think he would have known the term Bug Out, besides which he was a bit tooo soft for doing so even if he was prepared.  and Waters left him speechless when he suggested that SHTF, Jesse Waters would be allowed in to stay . . . yup, hadn’t occurred to liberal prepper than you DO NOT announce your preps to the world as you WILL HAVE TO SHARE!  And suddenly, Mr. Liberal Prepper came to the realization that you do not talk about your preps because while its fine to talk about income redistribution, when it came down to SHTF, you don’t want to go there!

So what brought on todays rant?  A prepper magazine.  There are a couple of mags that have been out for more than a year now.  One is very High End with fancy paper, large format, big price tag, and lots and lots of VERY HIGH END merchandise:  The $100k bug out vehicle. $5k infrared night vision goggles, etc.  Several issues ago, they were reviewing “generators” including the Goal Zero – have a small one, find them handy, but expensive – so was hoping that there were some other similar tools to be reviewed here.  Nope.  It was the 400W goal zero against gasoline powered generators.

Which is when I realized that while they believe in SHTF – they don’t believe in EOTWAWKI, despite their talk about nuclear annialation, pandemics, EMP events.  Because if you are  considering SHTF, or worse, EOTWAWKI, you do not want anyone hearing or smelling your gasoline powered generator.  You might love your neighbors, but if the power and heat are out for a week (or longer) because of an ice storm, do you want those unprepared neighbors descending on your home, with their kids, because you can keep the lights on, keep the kids entertained with the DVR, and probably have food in the fridge?  and you know, EOTWAWKI, that there is no way – despite a Charlton Heston movie – that years later you will have good quality diesel, much less gasoline, to power the thing!  and if you have to bug out, how the hell do you move that generator much less the gasoline storage tank you buried in your back yard?!  And I told them so.

So Sunday I picked up a magazine called Prepper or Prepping, or something like that.  Articles that are overviews on things like water; its importance, how to find it in different conditions, larger and smaller purification devices.  Similar articles on food, weapons, and then came to home protection.  Okay, whether SHTF or a larger scale EOTWAWKI event, every one has to seek shelter somewhere.  And in this day and age of drones, you have to be a LOOONNNNGGG way from anywhere to not have someone find you!  and even before we get there, as noted before, you don’t want to advertise your preps, especially any weapons.

How to protect your place of shelter.  Agreed, you don’t want the house protected by S&W sign.  a sure advertisement that you have guns which will make you a mark even in good times.  and the dog.  Always a good early warning system.  Then there was the ADT home protection sign as the #1 home protection.  Well, in good times, sure, but SHTF, that is going to do you absolutely NO good at all, except to maybe declare you as a target who is counting on someone else to protect you!  The articles went on through personal protection and communications – focusing on high tech devices, all requiring electricity.  Again, the remotely attended security system.  Can you see someone calling the cops for your emergency during Hurricane Katrina or Sandy?  Will they be there after the tornado ravishes your town?  The security cameras.  Yes, they have battery back ups, but who you gonna call?  So maybe you’ll have pictures of the people who have ransacked and looted your safe space.

Walkie talkies and short wave.  Also great ideas, but be sure of your power supplies yet again.

Oh, will totally admit I love my gadgets and am delighted in some of the products that this wave of commercialism is making available.  Have augmented my food stash with some commercial freeze dried products.  am making use of some of the stackable water “bricks” that let me stash water where I have space, rather than having to make space for a 55 gallon drum somewhere.  Just bought a “little green wagon”, which is a collapsible garden wagon with BIG wheels that lets my rapidly aging (you can’t stop the passage of time!) body get a rest from moving soil and heavy items around the yard. Got a device that helps shred my kitchen waste for quicker composting, and because of my environment, use compost tumblers which didn’t exist a couple of decades ago.  have gotten an assortment of “pop up” garden protectors and season extenders rather than having to manhandle sheets of material over hoops and pin and clip into place every evening and fold up and store every morning.

Yes, have water storage containers for collecting rain water – and pretty much every one in my neighborhood knows I do cause they are BIG and attracted attention when they were delivered.  and my goal zero unit powers the pump that moves the water from those tanks around the property.  And pretty much all my neighbors know I garden as they have all had fresh produce from my space.  Then again, my neighborhood is small and SHTF, might be induced to share.

So the commercialization of Prepping has brought both good and bad with it.  and with it being “popular” maybe more people will get into it . . at least for the short term.  But it also means cheap goods, and the enticement to spend money on things you may not need or want . . as an example, have a grain mill.  Do I need a grain mill?  probably not.  Of course, EOTWAWKI, it will probably be more of a barter item.  But it is a good quality one and the sale price made in something I could purchase for that purpose.  Also have a mangle – that is a wringer unit for hand wash.  That was a thrift shop purchase at $12.  If I never need it, great. If I do, it will be worth having and ‘renting’ out to other people struggling with their wash.   Have two rocket stoves – one a larger unit for the house, and a smaller one to stash in the vehicle.  Have two solar ovens, same deal. Paid full price for the first, they offered the second purchase at 50% off.

So I have succumbed to the temptations of the slick glossy magazines.

Sadly, see Backwoods Home is closing down this year, just because Dave Duffy and his wife and crew have reached the age of stepping aside and letting their daughter take over with a new magazine called Self-Reliance.  They chose NOT to sell out to big business.  The popular members of their crew – including Dave himself – will do articles for Self-Reliance which is going to be a quarterly magazine instead of a monthly.

But they will never have the circulation of some of the slicker new publications that are turning up at the media racks in the local market (which is all we have in our town for magazines).  Nor are you likely to see them advertised in those slick magazines.

So as you seek information on prepping and survival, watch who is using flash instead of substance to grab your $$$,