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Food Cache – Additions

Prepper Pantry 2

In my last post I discussed how to start a food storage plan, but let’s look a little more about progressing it. You’ve been building up your food supplies for a bit and getting used to storing and cycling through your storage to use the oldest first, but those initial purchases won’t last for long. The ideal goal is to have enough food to last you an extended period of time. For some it’s 3 months, some it’s 6, and even some a year or longer. I will not tell you how to get there, but hopefully get the thoughts processing for you.

For longer term food supplies you’re presented with the same question I posed in my first article; what do you buy? The short answer is the same as the original answer…..buy what you will eat. If you will not eat it don’t buy it. If you have so much space available that you can store it for barter, then so be it. Some of the items are simply what you have already been buying, but on a larger scale. Others are going to be additional to what you are currently purchasing at the store. Food is a personal thing on what you will eat and what you won’t, so what you buy will be based upon you and your family’s tastes. What I have below is merely a suggestion of a list that covers many basics.

The list below I found on the web and it’s supposed to be several months’ worth of meals as an example. Look at the list and see if there is anything there you will not eat, if there is, can you replace it with anything? One of the other questions is, how would I prepare a meal with the food listed? There are some that can take a motley group of ingredients and turn them into a meal, but for many it can be difficult to make a meal when all you have is a list of parts.

20 lbs – Rice

20 lbs – Beans

20 – Canned Veggies

20 – Canned/Packaged meat

20 – Canned Fruit

4 lbs – Oats

2 large jars – Peanut Butter (creamy if you insist)

2 large jars – Juice powder

10 lbs – Pancake mix

2 lbs – Honey and 2 Large Jars Jelly

10 lbs – Pasta

10 – Spaghetti Sauce

20 – Canned Soup

1 large jug – Cooking Oil

5 lbs – Coffee/Tea

2 large bags – Hard Candy

5 lbs – Powdered Milk

5 lbs – Salt

So you’ve reviewed the list and I have to say it’s not bad to get many started. If you will not eat beans, have you replaced it with something similar in nutritional value? Maybe just a change in bean will work for you; you don’t like Pinto, then switch to Black Beans. Have you thought about what kind of meals you can make from the ingredients for all the members of your family? As always you should try and use what you buy. So it would be helpful to use the ingredients to make meals. Make sure you and your family will eat it. As I have mentioned, this list is not meant to be the definitive list, but simply a start point for you to get the thoughts flowing on your personal food supply.

In the event that you bought many cans of an item, but come to learn it’s not a favorite of the family, you can donate it to a charity. Schools and churches are always having canned food drives it seems like also. Trust me when I say, if you buy something that is not you or your families favorite it will likely not get eaten, unless you are desperate. If this happens you will have nothing but that left most likely and you will hate eating it then. Sounds silly, but humans are strange animals and sometimes will not eat what they should.

Stay active, pay attention, and get prepared.

Food Cache – Basics

Prepper Pantry 1

One of the corner stones to being prepared is food. Studies have shown that most people have enough food in their home to last them 3 to 4 days, and that’s it. If a disaster should occur that keeps you in your house for a week or grocery stores closed, you will need more food than that. You get a freak snow storm that dumps 1.5 feet when your area is used to 6 inches at the most……your stuck at your house for almost 7 days. (Been there, done this)

During this event in my area people were walking to a corner convenience store for something to eat. This was prior to starting to think long term, but we thankfully bought groceries to last a week, so we were in good shape. What if it had been 14 days? Would we have had the food? Sure, we would have made it, but there may not have been a piece of food left in the house.

Now let’s say a big ice storm rolls through and tears down power polls putting thousands without electricity. (Been here, done this also) Most people were without power for a day, some 5, and for some a couple of weeks. With the grocery stores out of power how would you get food? If relatives came to stay that were worse off than you, would you have the food needed to support your family and theirs?

The key is to start small and buy what you already eat. Spending an extra few dollars a week for one or two items over time will make a difference. Some make the mistake of running out and buying 5 lbs. of beans and 5 lbs. of rice. It is relatively cheap and easy to store……. but do you like beans? If you will not eat it, do not buy it. The other thing to keep in mind is best buy dates. These items should last for a bit, but for many products it is a “Best Buy”, not “Sell Buy” date. If it’s a “Sell Buy” it is only good for a short time. If it is a “Best Buy” it may not taste quite the same and may lose some nutritional value, but it is edible for a time period after that date. The period of time is largely dependent upon the food in question. There is a limit though so use best judgement is all I can advise.

For me and my family I started with…..

  1. Honey
  2. Canned items…..vegetables, fruit, beans….whatever. Almost anything in a can has at least a year shelf life.
  3. Dry beans
  4. Raw nuts
  5. Dried fruit
  6. Peanut Butter
  7. Corn bread mixes
  8. Granola bars
  9. Jelly – Stays good for some time until you open it. So, if not in a refrigerator is available eat it quickly.
  10. Mac & Cheese

It’s important to point out that I didn’t buy these things at one time. I bought them gradually, over time as the money allowed. I also chose to store a quantity of 3 each; because that is about how fast my family went through them in the period I had in my head and due to storage space.

Below are a few topics you will need to address in your food storage adventures.

  • For the best results storing your food, keep it in a dark cool place. Most of us have a little pantry space, but if not a shelf in a closet will work. Many people use their garage as storage, but this is the wrong idea for storing food…..unless you live north……like Canada.
  • The biggest challenge using stocked food is using the oldest first. By the nature of buy a little at a time to start stocking up you’ll end up with the oldest food (that needs to be used first) in the back and the newest in the front. In the organization circles this is referred to as FIFO, or First In First Out. There are many racks you can buy for cans that will help with this, but I have found nothing that will help with bags or boxes of items. Some kitchens have a rotating shelf that might work, if you have one. Be diligent and rotate them out is what I do.

Good luck and happy eating.

Stay active, pay attention, and get prepared.

Water Filters for SHTF

Water filter

Water is what makes the world go round. Without it nothing will grow and humans need it so much that after 3 days we will shut down. With the recent issues in the US with hurricanes the subject of water has become a hot topic among some, especially those affected. So you have no clean drinking water around you, but you have a water filter. What kind of water filter is best for a disaster application in a city or large town?

Deep in the woods on a hike you have certain things to be concerned about in the local water, but in a city or large town it is a whole different ball game. You have the standard parasites, and bacteria, but you also have pesticides, chemicals, and viruses to contend with. What kind of water filter do you need to protect you and your family from the variety of contaminates found in a flooded city, or downstream from a flooded city.

Life Straw – Small compact size, inexpensive, and easy to use sums up the Life Straw. If you are going into the woods for a week or so and will be drinking from local bodies of water you would be wise to have one in your pack. If the SHTF and you will be drinking from area bodies of water like farm ponds, and rivers that run through cities, is it enough? Per Life Straws website it removes 99% of Bacteria and 99% of Parasites and that’s the extent of its filtering capabilities. It will not remove viruses or chemicals of any type, so using it in a stream deep in the woodlands might be acceptable, but you will need more for a water source in or near a city/town.

http://cdn.lifestraw.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Lifestraw-Evidence-Dossier4.pdf

Sawyer Mini – The characteristics of the Sawyer Mini are essentially the same as the Life Straw. It will remove Bacteria and Parasites, but will not remove anything else. One of the main advantages over the Life Straw however is the amount of water it can process, which is a staggering 100,000 gallons.

Pitcher Filter/Faucet Filters – The popularity of filtered water is high in the United States, and one of the most popular methods are through pitchers with filters in them or filters that attached to your faucet. Unfortunately those filters will not help you much in a post SHTF situation. This is because they are made to remove the chlorine taste and other items like benzene, and copper. They will not filter out parasites or viruses, let alone chemicals. If in a post SHTF situation this is all you have…….it’s better than nothing.

Big Berkey – The Berkey line of filters are expensive and bulky, but well worth the money for removing contaminates. According to Berkey’s website it will remove 99.8% of Radiologicals, 99% of Heavy Metals, 99.9% of Pharmaceuticals, and 99% of Petroleum products on top of the usual viruses and bacteria. If you live in a city and are planning to Bug In, and will be getting water from questionable sources this is the filter for you.

http://www.bigberkeywaterfilters.com/black-berkey-filters-2.html

Katadyn – The Pocket is a small sized filter intended for camping and backpacking, and like the Life Straw and Sawyer is good for Parasites and Bacteria. It doesn’t have the capacity of the Sawyer, but more than the Life Straw; its winning factor is the fact that the filter can be cleaned over and over. For a stationary Bug in situation though, Katadyn offers the Drip series, which has the Gravidyn. While it doesn’t remove as many contaminates as the Berkey filter it will reduce chemicals in water.

These are just a handful of the water filters on the market, but they are names I see most in Prepper posts throughout the web. For filtering water of as many contaminates as possible you will have to go big and stationary. None of the popular “pocket” sized filters will do the job. There are of course water filter systems that are made to go in the water line of your home which will filter out many contaminates. More than stationary those are permanent though, and would be hard to filter hand carried water from a water source through.

Stay active, pay attention, and get prepared.

Outcomes of Sex Post SHTF

HIV-Blocks

In the last article the discussion was around safe sex and how to best go about it. It also discussed the responsibilities associated with sex post SHTF and that there are risks to be considered. One is of course a pregnancy and the other are diseases and everyone knows how bad some of them are. So you decided to have unprotected sex anyway and risk it. Now we’ll run through the list of what you could possibly walk away with.

The effects of the risk (STDs)

So you decided to have unprotected sex and now you have issues down in your nether region or other area. What is listed below are the primary STDs that you could get and how to treat them……if they can be treated.

Chlamydia – This is a bacterium that affects both men and women. In women, it can cause serve reproduction damage and is quite painful. In men there is a possibility of reproductive damage, but it is not high, but it can be extremely painful. The only treatment is antibiotics, so in the post SHFT setting you have to tough it out and hope for the best. https://medlineplus.gov/chlamydiainfections.html, Chlamydia FactSheet – CDC

Genital Herpes – Is a virus that stays with the person for life. The effects/symptoms are blisters in the area where it entered the body. The blisters break and become painful, then heal. There is no cure, but they will lesson in most people with time. https://medlineplus.gov/genitalherpes.html

Gonorrhea – This is another bacterium that affects anyone. The current treatment is with antibiotics. In a post SHTF situation where antibiotics are not available there is no other treatment, the person just has to let it run its course. It is very painful, can cause permanent damage and in some rare cases it can cause death if it spreads to the blood or joints. https://www.cdc.gov/std/gonorrhea/STDFact-gonorrhea.htm

HIV/AIDS – No cure and eventual death in a post SHTF situation.

HPV – Otherwise known as Genital Worts is a virus that is not curable. There are more than 100 types of this virus and most are harmless, but about 30 puts a person at an increased risk of cancer. There are vaccines for some of the viruses, but not all. https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/index.html

Syphilis – Is a bacterial infection that can infect the genital area, lips, mouth, or anus in anyone. This can also be passed from mother to baby, and may cause birth defects. In rare cases it can cause serious health problems and even death. https://www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/syphilis-factsheet-July-2014.pdf

Trichomoniasis – This is a parasite that may not cause any symptoms and if it does they will usually happen within 5 to 28 days. It can cause painful urination and a discharge in men, and multiple issues in women. The parasites can be killed with antibiotics, and they will go away on their own, but it may take months or even years. https://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/stdfact-trichomoniasis.htm

The Child

Though not an STD, the child outcome is possible and brings up different things to be considered. This only effects the woman and is a major effect on her life. In the post SHTF climate there could be all kinds of issues getting the child to term, for the child and mother. If the child makes it to term and mother and child survive the birth, she then has a child to deal with in a not ideal environment. If she’s lucky she has a good husband, family, and/or community around to assist, but that can’t always be counted on.

Infant mortality rates with increase and the amount of mother deaths during delivery will increase. Having a baby die in birth is horrible and can put a person already in the emotionally taxing situation of survival in even worse shape. If the mother dies in birth what will become of the baby?

While there are not many pleasant outcomes for sex after the SHTF, it is possible to have a happy ending. I personally wouldn’t risk it unless I was with a long term person, but that may just be me.

Stay active, pay attention, and get prepared.

Sex Post SHTF

safe-sex-compressed

Is it the best idea to be having sex when the area is probably not clean, people probably are NOT clean, and STDs are probably running rampant…….hell no, but we will anyway. Sex is one of our oldest and most primal desires; hell, it’s why the oldest profession on the planet is called the oldest profession. In the beginning people will be too concerned with survival, but eventually people will come around to the idea and you might want to know how to best approach it and protect yourself. Of course, for the married or committed relationship couples it might be about not having a child.

Throughout the ages there have been many methods whether truth or fiction that people have tried to prevent any of the possible after effects of sex. I’m not going to go through all of them though; only the ones that are mostly likely to work and/or easiest to locate and use.

Traditional rubber condom – For while after the SHTF event these will still be around and available. They will disappear quickly though, because they have so many uses besides sex that people will be using them for. They will be a highly sought after item as well, so if you’re looking for good barter items I would add these to the list.

Natural condom – This category covers condoms made from animal parts. Traditionally made from the intestine or bladder of the animal. History says they were also made from “fine leather” and even tortoise shell….ouch! Seal one end, make sure they are extremely clean and you have a condom circa 1600s.

Reference – http://www.condom-sizes.org/news/how-to-make-a-homemade-condom-victorian-style

Condoms are of course not full proof and will not prevent all diseases.

Natural Family Planning – This will not protect you from diseases, but will help you to not have children, so this method is aimed at committed couples. The premise of this is for the woman to know when she is mostly likely to get pregnant, therefore knowing when it is least likely also. Traditionally this method combines the calendar, basal body temperature, and cervical mucus methods into one method. That means for a person to be good at this method they will need a calendar and thermometer. Which can be a problem in a post SHTF setting. As a man, I cannot speak to this, but from what I understand a woman that is accustom to this method can get very good at knowing without the use of items.

Withdraw (coitus interruptus) – This one takes some real discipline and is only good for not getting a woman pregnant and in no way, helps prevent disease transmission. Before the point of orgasm the man or woman depending on position simply does not allow the man to finish while having intercourse. I personally would not even attempt this method because self-control for many is not always there in the moment, but it is available.

In today’s world most people approach sex with little regard of consequence. If there is a long term SHTF disaster, that will need to change. There are some nasty diseases out there that you do not want with medical services unavailable. If you are trying to survive the last thing you want is to deal with a pregnancy. The infant mortality rate will also increase as well as mother deaths. Sex should take on a whole different way of thinking.

Stay active, pay attention, and get prepared.

Get in to Shape (Exercise)

Rule 1 cardio

At this point I think everyone knows that it’s better for a person to live a healthier life style and exercise. So, rather than give you the “you need to get healthier talk” that doctors and your kids give you, I’m just going to tell about my experiences and hopefully inspire a few. It’s also a good thing to remember that if you have an emergency during a large-scale disaster, medical services will not likely get there anytime soon.

So, before I get started there’s one overriding thing you need to know about me…….I HATE TAKING MEDICINAL PILLS. I’ll take vitamins just fine though, I know strange.

That out of the way; for me it started off with acid reflux some years ago….before I began thinking about the future of me and my family. I fought it for a time with milk and a few over the counter medicines, but as usual that wasn’t working for me. While I was fighting the reflux, I was never far from a restroom, and could not really enjoy all the foods that I wanted to. So eventually I cut way down on pop/soda and alcohol, and started drinking more water and this was the ticket to end my acid reflux issues.

One issue down, now to deal with the overweight issue. For some years I cruised along happy as a lark, without a care in the world. I continued to drink water and pop/soda a few times a week if that….guys got to get his fix after all. Like before that all came to a screeching halt when I was diagnosed with high Triglyceride levels and hypertension. Crap….more pills. Up to now I had made some efforts to change my diet and I thought I was eating healthier than ever before…….guess not. So, I altered my diet again and cut out many carbohydrates. I dropped 25 pounds in about 6 months and my triglyceride issue went away.

Then came the desire to prepare for me and my family. From here I started thinking about my physical exercise and how conditioned I was, or in this case wasn’t. There was a rule from the movie Zombieland that popped into my head and I haven’t forgotten it. Rule #1 Cardio “When the virus struck, for obvious reasons the first ones to go were the fatties…poor fat bastard.” This of course followed the even older version “You don’t have to be faster than the bear, just faster than the person next to you.” I was going to get in shape.

I bought a bicycle and started riding. I’m not fond of running for exercise because I feel it’s hard on the knees, but I do walk. I lost more weight, and got to where I could almost keep up with my son. Which was an improvement, since I couldn’t keep up at all before.

So, if you noticed my motivation to get healthy you’ll know it’s that…I HATE TAKING MEDICINAL PILLS. This is what it really boils down to for people. You must have the motivation and desire to do it; to make the changes required. For me it’s not wanting to take pills, who knows what it will be for you. If you’re wondering about the hypertension; well unfortunately I am still not able to shake that, so while I hate taking pills I do want to live a long life, so I take medicine for it. I think my only hope to shake that is to become a monk and join a monastery so I have no cares in the world to worry about; like that’s going to happen.

On a departing note. Start watching your carb intake. Increasingly more information is coming out that sugars, which carbs are, are the real cause for the weight issues in America. While you think those granola bars are good for you, check out the carbs. I’ve heard this theory, which I’m believing more and more. The theory is this….Simply walk out into the middle of nowhere and take a good look around, I mean a really good one. Now how many foods that have lots of carbs do you see. Few I’d wager. We’re not eating right for how our bodies for eons have eaten. Some plants have lots of carbs, but we used to work hard gathering them.

Good luck on your healthy adventure and make sure you can run faster than the person next to you.

Stay active, pay attention, and get prepared.

Lone Wolf or Pack

Pack-of-wolves

A big debate within the preparation community is what type of Prepper a person should be. The age old belief is that you keep your preparedness to yourself (OPSEC) and if the SHTF you bug out to your secret location in the woods and live off the land and your cache that you have there. With the popularity of preparedness on the rise a new approach as surfaced, and that is one of community. You should be prepared yourself, and get others to prepare with you so if SHTF, you and a group are ready to ride out the storm together.

There are many advantages to both, but also many disadvantages so which do you choose? Like many of the articles on this site I’m not going to give you the answer, because there really is no right answer that fits everyone’s beliefs or situation. What I will layout is the arguments for and against both options and you can weigh the options and decide. People are the central topic around both of these philosophies. The Lone Wolf believes the more people the more likely things can get sideways. The Community minded believe that people will/can help you survive the ordeal in question.

Less people are better – The Lone Wolf way of thinking says that the more people you have the more trouble you will have. In a way they are correct and the issues can manifest in many different ways. More people mean……

  1. You have more mouths to feed – In a post SHTF situation food may not be something that everyone has. What if someone isn’t as prepared as others. Do they starve, can they work for it, or do they get kicked out when their personal food runs dry?
  2. You have more water to haul – The average person will need about a gallon of water a day. A gallon of water is heavy and the more people that need it the more effort is needed to purify it. This is also only for drinking, this doesn’t take into account other uses.
  3. You have more sanitation to worry about – In a post disaster situation studies have shown that sanitation is the biggest cause of illness. The more people you have the bigger the sanitation problems will be.
  4. You have more opinions and beliefs – Let’s face it. Everyone has an opinion and many are not afraid to share it. With a group of people you will need to be organized and as the saying goes……you can have too many Chiefs and not enough Indians. Constant arguing about how to proceed will slow you down and stress you out.
  5. You could have more Illness – If a simple cold springs up in a person it is likely that in a small group of people everyone will get it. Of course a cold is nothing, there is more dangerous illness that spread in groups to worry about.

More people are better – The community minded prepper believes that having a group of people involved has benefits that outweigh the possible disadvantages. Like the Lone Wolf they are correct in their way of thinking. The advantages of having more people can occur in many different ways. Having more people available means…..

  1. Guard duties are easier – In a post SHTF situation it may be needed to protect yourself against looters or worse. Having only a few people to guard your location can be difficult. People will be more tired than normal and need more sleep. More people means short shifts on guard duty for more alert guards.
  2. More people provides more knowledge – A few people can’t know everything, and having a group of people to draw information from can be an asset. You don’t know medicine, that’s fine if you have a doctor in the group.
  3. More people means more workers – Most of us are not used to lots of manual labor on a daily basis and a disaster situation will mean lots of manual labor. People will be sore, broken, and tired. A group can do more work than a single person so the work could get done faster or in shifts so people don’t over exert themselves and become useless within the first few days of a disaster.
  4. More people could mean more protection – Guards are a look out, but what if push comes to shove and you have to defend your place. If a group of people intend to claim what’s yours for themselves it’s better to have your own group to oppose them.
  5. More people mean you can pool resources – In a group you don’t have to take this approach, but with more people it could allow you to pool all of the resources for the group. As an example, John has lots and lots of ammunition, but not very much food. Mary has lots and lots of food, but didn’t buy much ammunition for her gun. Pooling resources together solves their problems.

Most lone wolf preppers live out in the country or have a BOL out in the country, with the hopes that no one will bother them way out there. Their primary defense is location. People will have to walk or drive all the way out there and since most lone wolves don’t get property along a major highway the people would have to deliberately take roads out into the countryside. They plan on hunting the land if needed and growing or foraging for vegetables. If they live there they will likely know the neighbors around them and be a part of the larger community for assistance.

Most community preppers live in a suburb or metro area and their primary means of defense are the walls of their home and themselves. They plan on living off of their preps and possibly trapping some of the scavenger animals that live in the area; if available they may have a garden. There is an alternate community prepper that has a prearranged location out in the country for everyone to meet at. In this situation they have the location defense of the Lone Wolf and the numbers of the community. The draw back here is if someone in the group told others that are not part of the group where the location is. In both situations though unwelcome and unknown guests could be a problem.

Survival in the situation is the goal of both people, but they have different methods how to go about it. I’m not going to tell you that one is right and one is wrong, but there are people that will. There are many stories you can find from people that have survived in war torn countries for example that will tell you that lone wolves won’t survive. Desperate people will venture into the countryside and they will find the lone wolves and they will take everything they want. For these survivors, that have lived to tell their stories, there is no question that a community of preppers is the only way to go. Of course most of these countries are small and very populated so there isn’t much “open” space to hide in. In the United States there is still plenty of space to hide in…..possibly.

Stay active, pay attention, and get prepared.