Tuesday, November 30, 2010

All food in the USA under the DHS and the DOD!

The Senate version of the bill must now be reconciled with the House version that was passed last year. This reconciliation committee must hammer out the differences between the two bills

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/030576_Food_Safety_S_510.html#ixzz16okWpzJG
 
I can't say for sure what provisions or ammendments will be in the final bill. What I have seen so far does not give a warm and fuzzy feeling.This is a good time to get your seeds anyway. Food costs were going up and extra regulations always adds to the cost. 

Think spring!! Start working out a garden of pots and planter beds. I know my chives and few other plants have found a happy place and keep on growing. My fruit and nut trees don't pay attention to government mandates or laws. My grape vines grow no matter what I do.
 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sales!!

The local Fred Myers is having a sale of hamburger $1.59 per pound in a 3 lb value pack. Great price, get some if you need some meat. A great price on Soups as well at FM Tomato soup 3 for a $1.00. 20 cans equals 17.5 lbs. towards vegies storage. Since you are storing Tomato soup you need the fixings for grilled cheese sandwiches and geuss what FM has a sale on cheddar cheese at $2.00 per pound. Awesome you have several basics on sale for some great easy meals and the start on tacos. If you make bread, you can make tortillas. Gosh they also have big 28 oz. cans of different tomoatoes from puree to diced for a $1.00 each. All kinds of meals and snacks can be made, chili, tacos, burritos enchilladas, meatloaf, SOS, grilled cheese and tomato soup. Think about a bit I'm sure you could come up with some ideas with a basics you have on hand.
Now it is recommended that you have 150# per person per year for vegies and fruit. I shop for 1 person and then give myself a buffer. If I get 20 can of tomato soup and 10 big cans on canned tomatoes for around $17.00 I'll have 35 pounds of veggies that will be good for 2 years at least.Could I make tomato soup of course. Can I make and can it for $0.33  for about a pint I think not.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

That's not right! Failure is how you learn, and you will fail!

Embrace failure! I know most folks won't tell you that is the thing to do but it is the only way you get better.
You will have something that you try end in failure. You will lose time, energy and money almost every time you try something new. Well at least I usually do, I also tend to make every mistake in the book and then some while I'm learning.
You don't get good at baking bread by just following a recipe. You get good by practice and making several loaves of bread. A recipe is just a start then it's practice.I still don't make good biscuits. My biscuits are a lot better than they used to be but, I know gals that make biscuits that are little clouds of heaven. So I keep trying, I know it can be done. It's just practice & patience to allow and embrace failure.
This is why I love composting and critter in the yard. If you screw up you can toss it to the critters or in the compost. It's not wasted, even if you can't eat it.
So keep on trying don't give up. Usually at the 2nd or 3rd try you will have an good product. Pretty soon if you make any mistakes, they tend to be apparent and you get better. Experiment small with cheap food and you will be ready.

Thermos as a survival tool. It's not just for coffee anymore.

I love the good ole' thermos as a survival tool. A really good thermos can be had for $20.00 to $30.00 new and it is a fabulous multi-tasker.
Warm water for washing your face and or hair in the morning. Just boil some water the night before put in a thermos and you have warm water for your morning clean up and no need to heat water for it. It's ready when you wake up.
A slow cooker, boil some water and you can do grains for breakfast or rice and beans in the evening. I suggest having 2 at a minimum. 3 if you are cooking dinner as well as breakfast. Or 1 per family member.
What's great is the thermos requires no power. It can save hot or cold items just depends on how you prime it for what you want to accomplish. Great for holding chicken soup or teas for someone who is sick or transporting gravy to a local potluck.
Go for a steel type. Glass ones do tend to be fragile and not great in a survival situation. Though the glass ones would be great keeping your sauces/gravies warm without thickening. Always prime your thermos 10 minutes prior to use. If going for cold,  water and Ice cubes never ice cubes alone. Boiling water for hot items or slow cooking.

Friday, November 26, 2010

What's stopping you?

I hear a lot of folks say I can't do what you do. Most often it's followed by variations on the theme that since I'm disabled and can't work I have a lot of time on my hands. Of course the reason I can't work is I don't have a lot of strength, stamina and in some pain. I'm not getting days off from those things. I don't want or need sympathy, I just don't understand the logic. Or it's "I don't have the money to prepare." Well just about everyone who makes less than me get's Government assistance of some sort. Or you make more than me! and you should be able to do a little to be safe and prepare for the future.
I think what stops many folks is they don't want to admit "hard times" can happen. A fear that if you admit it, it will cause it to happen. Or denial, always a fun bit of self-delusion. Then that problem usually morphs into a catastrophe and you are caught unprepared. Katrina is a good example of folks not taking responsibility for their own lives but expecting someone else to save them. They had a week of warnings of a Cat  4 or 5, the dikes in N.O. were only built to withstand a Cat 3 hurricane. You are living 10 feet below sea-level.
We have an "Economic Storm" headed our way. You need to get yourself and your family ready for it.
  1. Food, Energy and clothing will go up in price next year. Forecasts are at least 10%-30% for all of these items.
  2. Your taxes will go up next year. The health care law will tax your health insurance/benefits as income.
  3. Look for ways to sustain your self now. A freezer, canner, jars, lids and knowledge. Even if you can't grow a garden you can buy food and freeze or can it so you have it on hand later when prices really go up.
  4. You are going to pay more for the basics and have less money in your paycheck to do it with. 
My motivation was desperation. I wanted to eat well on a limited budget.
I wasn't a person for all that canning and preserving stuff. Though I always liked cooking, baking and doing my own BBQ. When you look at the costs of buying it in the store as opposed to making it yourself there is no comparison. Every time I bake a loaf of bread, or preserve some food for a later date is my own little "Declaration of Independence". 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Inflation and deflation coming at the same time !!

Here is what I see coming for the next year. It is my idea of cause and effect and by no means what must or will happen. It's simply based on what I have read in history and educating myself in a crash course in Economics.
More and more "strategic" defaults on Mortgages will happen. I think the little boost we have seen in spending and saving are a lot of homeowners have just given up on keeping their homes and are trying to get ready to walk away from the loans and have a good holiday before they are foreclosed on. I don't blame them the Big banks have committed fraud aided by the Feds at level as never before seen. If you are facing foreclosure ask to see the note from the bank. A friend of mine was looking at a short sale he asked to see the note and the bank finally worked out a new payment and loan for him.
Food, clothing and taxes will go up next year. As you have already can tell on food and it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. I think energy cost will also rise for most folks. So you will have less take home pay and everyday items will get more expensive. So what does this mean to you?
  1. Get extra food and clothing. NOW! 
  2. Get seeds and gardening tools 
  3. At least a hot pack canner, if you can afford it a pressure canner, jars and bands.
  4. Learn cooking from scratch; Bake your bread Get a few cook books and try new things to eat.
  5. Laundry soap, toothpaste/brushes,soap, paper towels and cleaning supplies. Any thing you use in a month try and get at least 3 months worth. 
  6. 1st aid, medicines, Toilet paper, Feminine needs, razors and deodorant. I like dollar stores for these Items.
  7. Don't forget your pets they need food and supplies too. Don't think the can get by on table scraps, it will make them sick.
Now the good news for you I hope. You are some what prepared, or have done my $150.00 food shopping list and you are looking at making yourself more prepared for the future. Equipment is going to get a lot cheaper. Many folks have a lot of "Stuff" and they will sell/trade it to get the basics and or a little cash to pay the bills. I want you to check out pawn shops, classified ads, yard sales if they are having them where you are at and bazaars. Have a list of your most critical needs and see if you can get them or see what they are going for and you can have an idea what to pay.
Some ideas:
  1. Cast iron Skillet and or Dutch oven. 
  2. Hand tools
  3. Camping gear
  4. coffee percolator/French press
  5. Pasta machine
  6. Blankets and sheets.
  7. Gas grills or kerosene stoves and lamps.
  8. Guns and reloading equipment. (Pawn shops)
I think one of the most wonderful feelings is when you run out of something and then walk to the "Pantry" to get it instead of running to the store. I hope we have a little time left for cheap food and clothing. But I think 3-6 months at best. Just getting the basics will cost a lot more. Hopefully you will have those basics and will be able to get the equipment cheap so you will break even.
If I am wrong and everything works out. There is no crash, well you will be prepared for any storms, minor emergencies and have a great camping/tailgating set up. You can give some that food to a local food bank or not go shopping for awhile and take a vacation. Pay down a few bills or get a Wii.
This is a win/win situation. You survive "Hard times" and you thrive and can do more fun stuff in good times.

Monday, November 22, 2010

What did you do to prepare this week?

I got 50 # (pounds) of black beans. Cost $20.47 , 2 Bakery/food-safe buckets $2.00 and food safe DE 1/4 of a cup by volume. Not sure the break down cost of DE except cheap.
Waxed 10 # of cheddar cheese I got at less than $2.00 per pound. Wax needs to be restocked but I did over 25# of cheese for less than 1 # of wax that cost $6.50 at RebelBrewers.com. 1# of cheese wax at $7.00 or under is pretty standard that I have seen shopping so far on the internet. I recommend drying the cheese in the fridge before waxing to develop a rind. Mozzarella took over a week to develop a rind. Med. Cheddar about 2 days. Also save your wax as you go it's recyclable.
50# of beans around 600 4 oz. servings. 50# of rice 500 servings. No it's not perfect and you must add to your food storage. But it's nice to know if you had to you could eat into Sept. or Oct. 2011 for $40.00 (for 1 person). How much is that peace of mind worth? We add a few oils, spices, flour,sugar, some dehydration and canning. Some knowledge and techniques of sprouting, growing a winter garden. Learning to smoke, salt and pickle. Prepping ain't about suffering, it's about buying low and eating high. It's about making the best of a bad situation and planning ahead.
Some folks love dehydrated food, I know a gal that stores frozen veggies and fruits and dehydrates them all. I know canning goddesses and coupon queens. It's all about making it work for you. I don't coupon, I stalk the Internet for sales. I learned about meat when I get 80/20 hamburger for less than $1.60 per pound. Heck I got that for 73/27 that I dried and then Kellene said wash the meat before vacuum packing. She was right as she has been so often. I 'd be really mad at her if she wasn't teaching me so much, and is a generally nice person.
Go to Kellene's website it's to in my blog roll to the right. She has tons to teach, has a webinar and a ton of info.
heck, who taught me about waxing cheese, bottling butter and canning meat? Kellene is your girl.

Thinking ahead and what if?

Prepping/survival is a mindset an attitude and it is never over. There is always more to do and learn. Sometimes learning is what our grandparents did as a matter everyday living is daunting. Anyone who has canned knows this feeling. Having 3 cases of canning jars preped for bushels of fruit and veggies and know they all have to be cleaned, processed and then canned. Plus your not sure if you have enough lids, bands or jars. That's not counting all the work on the garden, critters or shopping. Getting somewhat prepared ain't for sissies, It's work!
I think It's worth the effort. No I'm not like Glenn Beck, I don't go down in the basement or pantry and cry over what I have accomplished (though I understand that) I look at what's next. I know I'll been feeding "family" that looks at me like a loon. So my 1 year of food for me is looking mighty sparse if it has to stretch and feed 10.
Yes I have tried to warn them, But I'm just a loon, I'm the fearful one since I'm prepared and know where my next meal is coming from, do they? I know it doesn't make sense. But I won't let kids starve in my family because thier parents are idiots. So since I'm bieng so dumb I might as well plan for it. Thank God for my Mom because she is being dumb with me. LOL
I have great neighbors that are really working hard to be prepared. So I guess it all balances out.
Now remember you are prepping for the most likely 1st and then prioritise. There is a lot of overlap on food, water,safety, sanitation and security. Power outage, earthquake, snow/ice storm, Economic collapse, chemical spill, terrorists threat, National threat. What of the previous scenarios do not require the basics of food, water, sanitation, safety, and security? They may require more but the basics are the same. Get basics first then plan.

Well I covered the BOV by room.

I know the topic is all over the blog. My free association got the best of me or some idea would hit me and I just had to post with no rhyme or reason. Plus still learning how to blog and hope to dedicate some pages for some subjects that I think are critical and can stand all by themselves.
I do hope this will give you some basics for your own BOV no matter what you have from a 38' Holiday Rambler, a sailboat, an older RV, 5th wheel, trailer of all sorts or a tent.
You know the biscuits don't care if they are cooked in a fire, with charcoal in a Dutch Oven, in a propane/ solar oven on a sheet pan. All we want to hear is it's "Time to eat"!

The BOV bedroom

No this isn't about get your "freak" on it's about getting a good nights rest. What you do before that is between you, your partner and the fence post. But a good nights rest is critical. A few must first...
  1. You must be dry
  2. You must be warm
  3. you must be clean
If you have been in the Military you found that getting sleep or rest was always a priority for soldiers. Yes I sat in class with my eyes wide open during and took notes(not legibly) I stayed up for 5 days straight with 4 hours of sleep about midpoint. Trust me you will get nasty and short-tempered, your mind will play tricks on you. But in a wierd way you will have clarity of thought. Trust me you can last longer than you think you can.  It just may get a bit weird perception wise. You won't go off and attack peaceful folks though you may see trees marching by. So let's not go there and hit some minimums. You need 4-8 hours a day of good sleep everyday. Yes you can catch up on sleep if you feel safe and secure. Don't over look the power of a nap, even if it's just 10-20 minutes.
Let's look at the bunk.I really believe in air mattresses I like the insulation that air provides and they are generally comfy and cheap.Closed -cell mats tend to sweat. Extra blankets and throws are needed, Just like clothing you need layers. The whole point is of layers is to trap air and warm it. That's why those big, poofy down comforters and quilts are so warm. Also since the military has gone to the it's new Gore-tex sleepsystem you can find some great prices on the old down filled sleeping bags.
The old rule of 3's appllies here on sheets and pillow cases. 1. clean, 1 dirty and 1 in use as a min. Have a good insecticide, some food grade DE (bedbugs, critters) and bleach on hand for washing/sanitising your sheets and pillow cases. The sun is also good for "Bleaching" sheets as they dry.
If some one is sick you will need some fluid absorbing pads like they have in the hospital. Now you could spend a lot of money at the local drug store or just get some doggie training pads cheap. They are the same thing!
Assume someone will get sick. A wash basin, bedpan, even adult diapers may be good to have on hand. If you have a handicapped person or some one who is a little weak you may want a toilet seat-riser. I've been there and done that. Getting stuck on the potty is not fun, and porta-potties for camping/RV's  tend to to be very low sitting.
Get good pillows and have extra on hand. No price is to high, if you find a pillow you really like, buy 3 and switch them out. Buy some cheapo pillows for $2-$6 dollars and you can use them for a sick person or for propping some one up in bed. Same for sheets and pillow cases. I like cotton, linen and flannel for my sheets. Get them now before the price goes up!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Get ready it's coming

I lived for 2 months on my storage/prep my first year. Because of a high vet bill. I think a lot of us are the same we will do anything to save our critters from pain. Yes we can put them down and that's fairly cheap. But my pets are members of my familiy as well. I was thankful God gave me this test. It was actully easy to go 2 months without shopping for regular meals. That was easy, have you ever gone 2 months without a mocha, some chips, dips, crackers, snacks and popcorn? First thing I did is get 12# of popcorn, real butter and start building a snacker survival kit. I'm learning to make tortillas in to chips, have some salsa and learn to make and can it.
A good thing I did have this option to live 2 months without shopping. Bad thing my snacker got the best of me. Better to plan for it than get blind sided.

I'm sure many of you have dropped an income or on unemployment. You have scrambled on what's important and what is critical. I don't have kids but pets. I'm willing to do most anything for my critters. I think children are much higher than pets. I can only imagine what you are going through as parents. $20.00 per month is all it takes to prep, that's a going Mc D's or a movie 1 time. We can show you how. I can bitch about snacks cause didn't prep well, but paid a vet bill about half my monthly income and still paid all my bills and ate well.
Could you take a hit for a bill of over 1/2 of your monthly income and not use credit? and still pay all bills? If not, why not? look to yourself and look at who gave you credit?

Got some great deals and few more items to buy

Preparedness/Survival isn't a shopping list or storage. It's a way of life, an attitude, something our Grandparents and ancestors took as a given. A garden was in everyone's yard, that was normal plus an agricultural animal from chickens to pig, goat or a dairy cow. A basement, root/storm-cellar was normal. Yet I had to buy a an older (1940) house to get even a partial basement. I'm the only one in the family with a basement of any sort. We hunted for meat and mushrooms, huckleberries and peaches. We worked for our food and valued it.A cow or goat does not care about your human vacation, she needs milked 2 times a day everyday. Yes it is long hours and at dark but there is a lot of satisfaction as well. Saving a bunny beats the crap out of Dancing with the Stars.
Planting your first pot of herbs and seeing it grow is awesome. Sprouting seeds and knowing you can grow and have a nutrient dense food to feed your family that only needs a bit of water and time is priceless. Smoke a bacon or ham, not hard work just the fire needs tending. Bake a loaf of bread, you have to wait for it to rise and all the technology in the world can't make yeast work faster. Sometimes it's good to slow down, be still and know that God is with you.
Take a look at yourself. What do you want for your future and for your children. What is the point of your 401k? I assume you want a good retirement. To be able to eat, drink and survive and leave/help your family. Why not do that now? You know you will have to eat, you know you need water, shelter, heat, security. For about $300.00 USD I can show you food and water security for 1 person for a year. Is it easy know you will have to work a bit. But it's not hard either, time consuming but not hard. What are you putting into your 401k that is controlled by Wall Street, banksters, the Fed and what has been your loss? You played by the rules. Why are you bailing those that don't play by the rules? GM stocks were at $52.00, an IPO goes for $33.00 and  dropping to $31.00 and some change, this is considered a success by the feds.
Get out of your 401k, at least go metals or mining stock. Get out of JP Morgan, BofA and the other to big to fails. Go credit unions, and local banks. Get real assets you can hold in your hand or take delivery. I like Silver cause its still very cheap but I also am ready for food/commodity inflation and buying as much as I can.
Get food, water and security first for at least a year. then go for PM's. Your $4000.00 dollar deduction will cover that easily. Until PM's are sold there is no Capital gains.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How to store food

I started of with a few bins from Rubbermaid, Steralite and foodsafe gallon bags. I broke down big parcels to small parcels always using food safe (mostly ziplock type bags). Nothing is wrong with that idea. I had only 1 infenstation in 2 years and it was a storable container for the Kitchen via brown rice. All grains have a bit of critters in it,  unless you you have a walkin freezer to kill critters in bulk how will you deal with it? Food grade DE.
Food grade DE is a drying agent and a great insect killer. It's safe for you and your pets to eat.  It's not perfect and has no residual effects as an insecticide.  It's great as an odor killer among bunnies, it stops fleas, it's natural. Great to put in your storage bucket it kills insects yet you can sporout it does no kill the seed of your storage.
I did bins 1st just to get started. No not perfect but it seem to work with my storage area that was cool, dark and mostly dry. No big upturn of rodents or bugs. Got a cat and that cleared the garden of critters.
Now I'm getting food safe buckets for about $1.00USD with a gasket lid. Easy to store and clean ( a bit of bleach and dishsoap). I get them at the local grocery store's bakery.
Get out side the box on your thinking, I did great on foodsafe bags in the 1-2 gallon range for over 18 months. Now I'm doing buckets on the cheap with a little prep.

It's not all that expensive to prep smart. You just have to be smart and know what you can and will do to make it happen.  Start small a gallon/6lbs at a time and it easy. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The BOV Kitchen

Cookware: such as a cast iron skillet and "Dutch oven" and pressure cooker should be considered the minimum for pans. A cookie sheet and a cake pan will be useful for breads and cakes. I recommend a percolator or a French press for making coffee and a heavy duty Thermos.
Why the above?:Cast iron, very dense and holds heat well. plus it withstands high heat /direct flame. It is good for all kinds of things and is easy to clean. Cast iron is not the best for steaming,boiling or any cooking method that involves lots of water.
This is the time for the pressure cooker to steps in and saves the day. You can leave the lid off and boil water. But you can cook Brown rice in 10-15 minutes instead of 40 minutes. Dry beans, cut the cooking time by 3/4th's. Imagine the fuel and time savings . Freezer-burnt meat? don't throw it out, put in a pressure cooker and make stews, chili and stocks.
I like the French Press coffee maker because they are cheap and easy to find. You boil the water and then let the coffee steep for 3-5 minutes which save energy and it never boils over like a percolator can, if you don't watch it. The thermos can be used as a slow cooker, and if you want warm water in the morning for washing your face no need to heat up some water as you did it the night before.

Utensils: Get some long spring loaded tongs and a good, heavy duty can opener in addition to the normal utensils you use. Don't scrimp on quality, your life may depend on these items.  

The BOV Pantry: You may have to store this in some totes or buckets in the house so they are protected form extreme temps but are easy to grab and go. 
Salt: iodized salt needed for good health.
Peppers and Herbs: I like those little grinders you get can buy with peppercorns or sea salt and other spices. Whole spices last longer and are best when freshly ground.
Condiments: Whatever you like, many recipes exist on the internet for making your own mayo, ketchup, salsa and mustard.
Vinegar: for flavoring, a preservative, vitamin C and a good window cleaner
Oils and or shortening::Olive oil and Crisco have the longest shelf life. But if you do any deep fat frying I recommend Peanut oil. It has a high smoke point and can be reheated several times with no effect on taste.
Food: Easy to prepare items. Water will probably be the heaviest thing to pack and carry. If you are limited on how much weight and bulk you can carry go for dry goods and a good water filter.
Powder, canned and/or UHT milk 
I get some great bread and biscuit mixes at the local restaurant supply store. I really like them because you just add water, rather than milk like most scratch recipes need.
Staples: The usual suspects of sugar, beans, rice, grains/flour. Canned or dried meats, fruits and vegetables. Baking soda, powder and yeast.
Snacks and goodies

Cleanup and sanitation
Dish soap, Bleach (Sanitizer) Extra Spray bottles. Dish cloths/towels , paper towels/newspaper. Sponges, steel wool and a bottle scrubber. I like having several of the flexible plastic cutting mats. Use one for meat, another for veggies. This will reduce the likelihood of cross-contamination and they are very easy to wash and sanitize.
Food service or latex gloves. 

Cooking: Fuel and how much you can carry and if it is available will probably dictate how you heat your water and cook your food. You might want to look into a Solar Oven as an option. Extra strike anywhere matches,a couple of Bic lighters and starting fluid if needed.

Refrigeration and or coolers:
Check local stores have Dry Ice available, very good info to have on hand. I have 2 stores within a mile that offer dry ice.

Now you will be replicating your items somewhat, that's a good thing. But, if you don't need to Bug Out and instead shelter in place you will have replacements for your items at home and you will be able to barter or share. Or even use it on a camping trip and you are ready to go on a moments notice.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Positioning yourself for the Future

I have harped on getting your basics, how to do it on a small budget. Getting out of debt and buying items and tools you need to be as self-relient as possible, and store up things you can't produce for yourself. I don't expect you to go out and mine your own Iron ore in order to make a knife. I do expect you to buy a good quality knife and be able to sharpen it. Remember the most important survival tool is that thing between your ears. Knowledge can never be stolen from you. Get some! and practice new skills. Get to know your neighbors, relationships will be critical. Know who will have your back and who will stab you in the back. Nice thing is about 85-90% of folks you meet are good and decent folks. That 10-15% are bad and not great to have around. Get involved in your community it all starts with you. You are doing the right thing saving yourself and your family. You will have your food, water and other resourses and won't be a burden on a supply system that will be overburden. Now you should have touched base with your neighbors and know who you can trust and you are saving a neighborhood with growing gardens, pulling security making  and growing things from food to bread, Canning and preserving foods, just trading some stuff or lending/sharing.
I thinks will get tough economically but you can rise above that if you prepare. Stiking your head in the sand and ignoring what's going on will just allow you to get kicked in the butt. I will be getting back to the basics of the BOV kitchen and the "Hold in place" post this week. I am very excited to try some canning of butter, bacon, chicken and waxing some cheese. I did some dehydrated hamburger, onions and tomatoes for a start on soup mix and I will be testing the Pizza Survival kit and see what I need to add or subtract to make it work.