My background in restaurant management tends to make me be a bit of a “stocker upper” just because it is such a nuisance to be out of something …. especially if you need the item to prepare a meal to put on the table right now.
Flipping through the channels, I found a Doomsday Prepper show so I just had to watch some of it. My goodness, some of these people are living in fear. Being prepared is one thing but some of what they do is just crazy. One guy was building a castle out in the woods, high on a mountain so he could see in all directions and was teaching his kids to be prepared to defend the castle. That all seems crazy and I hope and pray he never needs his fortress.
But it did make me think more about my own preparedness for problems that can occur in my part of the world. Hurricanes certainly take the electricity out in some areas for days and even weeks.
Some people are in a position where they could lose their job and it could take them weeks or months to find another job and from what I understand, you don’t just walk in the door and get food stamps that day. Unless you have a lot of friends and family, you may find yourself without food in your cupboards and refrigerator.
My husband got the flu a couple years ago and he was out of work for three weeks. He had sick leave that he used so it was no loss of income for us but what about the hourly employees out there that don’t get sick leave? A lot of people live paycheck to paycheck.
So, I would like to suggest that you start a food pantry (larder). There are a lot of websites dedicated to help you figure out what to buy. You can take 10 dollars a week and buy a little at a time. Especially when things go on sale. Those low prices on sugar or those buy-one-get-one-free (BOGO, as it is called around here) tea bags are a great way to start. You may think it is hard to fit into your tight budget but try buying a couple things when you can catch them on sale. Like toilet paper and dish detergent or laundry detergent. But as you use it, catch it on sale again and buy more. I don’t even remember the last time I bought any of those three items unless they were on sale.
Some of my first items to buy were Ragu spaghetti sauce and boxes of pasta. Since we eat it once or twice a month, I can easily rotate it in and out of my pantry. Don’t buy a lot of something that you won’t eat on a regular basis because it will expire and you will have wasted money. I figured we use 2 jars of Ragu a month and one box of the seashell pasta noodles make two meals so I bought 6 jars of Ragu and three of the pastas. That is enough for three months.
Then I caught the canned vegetables on sale for 50 cents each and I bought 50 which we eat this item twice a week normally. So that’s enough for 25 weeks which is almost 6 months. The expiration date is very important and you must check each one. They didn’t expire for 15 months so I knew I was safe to buy that many.
So my pantry has 6 containers of coffee, 5 pancake syrups, 6 peanut butters, 6 jars of blackberry jam, 4 vegetable oils, 5 bags of sugar, tea, kool-aid, soups, spices and so on. Basically, I buy when things are on a really good sale, not just pennies off. I buy only what I know we will eat and use in the allotted expiration date and things that store well.
The freezer/meat department is a lot harder to stock up on. Since we don’t normally eat canned meat, I have bought dry beans and rice (both long shelf lives) and nuts in a can for protein. Again, I love Winn Dixie’s BOGO sales in the meat department and my freezer is almost always full to the brim. Knowing if the electricity went out, I could lose all that stuff but I guess I would start cooking on my gas stove right away to save as much as I could. Cooked food keeps a lot longer than raw food.
The most important thing to have is water. We have a well but it runs on electricity. We have talked about getting a hand pump for it but so far its is just talk. In the meantime, I would suggest getting some of those 88 cent gallon jugs from Walmart. I believe you need a gallon per person per day so I am thinking we need fourteen for a week. Plus, we want to get maybe four of those individual 24 packs of water for drinking. Those would easily be rotated out because we keep bottles of water in our refrigerator all the time. Well water doesn’t taste bad but it tastes different so I keep bottled water on hand.
We have a gas stove so we have extra propane bottles enough to last a year actually so we will always be able to cook on our gas stove even if we have to light it with matches. So we have a couple of those long multi-purpose lighters put away.
We also have a kersosene heater and kerosene for emergencies, too. Actually, the kersosene heater takes the chill out of a house rather quickly especially in our single wide mobile home. It is like having a fireplace except the heat doesn’t go up the chimney. They are amazing now, too. No strong odor except when you turn it off there is some odor but we sit it on the back porch when we turn it off.
So to sum up: food, a way to cook the food including propane, water and other drinks with sugar, a heat supply, and paper products an extra five gallons of gas in the shed. And remember, first in first out for rotating. I write with a magic marker on the top on my containers what the expiration date. It makes it easier to see when I do my monthly check to see if there is something I must use before it expires.
Also, as a reminder, you won’t be able to flush your toilet or shower. If a storm is coming, fill up your bath tub with water to use to flush your toilet. In our case, we save our old milk jugs and fill them with water and store them outside. We have chickens so we have about fifty milk jugs filled with water and use it to fill our water containers for the chickens so it serves a dual purpose. Push comes to shove, I would drink that water because I thoroughly wash and bleach the containers before I put the water in it. Also, bleach can be used to sanitize unclean drinking water. I think I saw on Dual Survival, you put 16 drops to a gallon of water but I am not sure so look it up if you are interested.
So, family and friend, please do not think I am going off the deep end thinking Doomsday is around the corner. I just want to be prepared for storms that could come my way. In the meantime, stocking up has saved me money, too. The only thing I have thrown away is mayonnaise and it was a buy-one-get-one free item. I know as a mother, I would not want to tell my children or grandchildren that I didn’t have any food for them. Which is another reason I want to stock up some extra items. I have relatives living close by and I know I would need to share with them if they were out of food.
In closing I would like to add, fear is not from God so don’t fear what the future will bring. It is in His hands. But God gave me a brain and being prepared for what I can handle myself, just makes sense.