Category Archives: Today While The Sun Shines
Elder Robert D. Hales “The economic clouds that have long threatened the world are now fully upon us. The impact of this economic storm on our Heavenly Father’s children requires a gospel vision of welfare today more than ever before.” (“A Gospel Vision of Welfare: Faith in Action,” in Basic Principles of Welfare and Self-Reliance
Here are a few questions to ask yourself about the basics we are talking about.
How would you survive a disaster that caused panic and shut down all stores in your area? Would you be able to contribute to your neighbors and community, or would you be forced to beg neighbors for food?
Could you and your family survive tornadoes, hurricanes, or snowstorms that sent everyone into a “panic-buying” mode – emptying the store shelves and grabbing anything they could get their hands on? What if the stores couldn’t get restocked for weeks?
How would you live during weeks of “rolling blackouts” or ice storms that shut things down, making it impossible to keep food stored.
What would you do if severe flooding hit your area, roads were washed out, nobody in and nobody out? No trucks to restock stores? What would you do?
The part that makes me worry is that people don’t think these things could ever happen, but all we need to do is watch the news, to realize that it is a reality that we all have to deal with today.
START WITH BASICS OF FOOD AND WATER
I have written a step by step guide to help you. It is helpful for people to have a workbook
in hand to refer to it often. In my Personal Preparedness Portfolio, I have laid out worksheets, check off lists, and guides to help us get prepared for pretty much anything. You can take it to any level you want, and it all starts with the very basics of Food and Water.
Next basic we will be talking about is Shelter. Check back!
A fellow blogger at Preparing For The Worst just wrote an excellent article on the importance of water storage, and it was very detailed. I don’t think I can top that one, so I won’t even try. Refer to his article to find out all about the basics of water in our prepping plans.
Today I would like to go into a bit of detail about why we should have a food storage program in our homes. I do cover these in some detail in my book Personal Preparedness Portfolio. Here you will find lists and worksheets that will help you figure things out.
There are three basic types of food storage that we should consider:
1. Emergency Food, often considered 72 hour kit food, or bug out food. It consists of food that you could grab at the last minute and flee from your home because of some
disaster situation. This food would keep you alive for a few days until the government could step in and offer some relief, or until you could be able to return home, where you would have more food stored. This food is usually something that can be eaten with or without heating. It is lightweight because you have to carry it to wherever you are going. It has nutritional value because you body will already be under great stress, so you will want to maintain your health the best you can.
Here is his scenario: A severe pandemic has spread through your area. The hospital is overflowing with patients, to the point of turning them away because they just can’t help them – or it is all under quarantine (nobody in and nobody out). The schools are closed. Many stores have had to close, due to no employees, and no truck drivers delivering goods because they are all sick too. Business is running with minimal staffing, as most of them are home sick. The food in your home is easy to prepare, because you are used to cooking it. It won’t interrupt your diet at this crucial time. Maybe Mom is sick and Dad or a sibling has to cook. They will be able to figure it out because it is familiar to your family. After three months, or hopefully less, the scare of this wave of the pandemic has passed,
and life can get back to some sort of normal.
I remember also about 2o years ago, there was a trucker’s strike, due to gasoline prices. Within 24 hours of the trucks going on strike, all of the grocery stores in our city were closed, and their shelves were emptied because panic had set in. People rushed to the stores to purchase anything and everything they could to get them through the tough times. We luckily had enough in our home store, that we didn’t have to worry. We just sat back and watched it develop on television. Things can change so very quickly.
What if you found yourself sick or unemployed? Wouldn’t it be great to know that at least for three months, you wouldn’t have to change your eating habits, at least not very much. Hopefully after that time, you will have new employment, or have recovered from your sickness.
It is easy enough to gather a 3 month supply. One way to do this is to pick 14 of your family’s favorite meals and write out the ingredients that would be needed to prepared this list of meals. Multiply it by 6 and you will have a three month supply of main meals. Do this for breakfast and lunch meals, and then any snacks you want to include. Do the math and planning, then watch for sales to start stocking up as quickly and cheaply as you can. If you use something off the shelf, keep a list of what things you need to purchase as sales come on again.
3. Long term food storage – food that will sustain life for up to one year. When I talk about long term food storage, I don’t mean the same types of food that would be in your three month supply, even though some of them might be the same. I am talking food that is inexpensive to purchase, has a long shelf life, and will provide essential nutrients to help your family stay alive for up to a year if needed. Food like this would include beans and legumes, grains like rice, oats and pasta, wheat – which
could be sprouted, ground, or made into valuable meat substitutes, baking essentials like salt, sugar, soda, yeast, honey, and powdered milk. Cooking with these types of foods takes a little bit of practice, but if you are willing to put in a little time and effort, you will find that with these basics, you can be pretty creative and make some delicious meals. To these basics I would add things like spices, canned fruits and vegetables, canned meats, and any others that you might feel you need to cook from basics and from scratch.
Why would we need to have long term food storage? Let’s think about that for a bit. What if you have just been through a serious pandemic situation? Your three month supply of familiar foods is gone, and there is still much to recover before life can ever get back to normal. If this pandemic is a serious virus, such as the bird flu or something that deadly, it could be quite likely that there is a high death count. Who is going to replace all of the workers? The truckers? The farmers? Who is going to help rebuild your society? It will take some time, and your family will be able to contribute to this because you have food, and you will have health and energy. You may even be able to help feed a few others.
What if we our governments have just collapsed, and we have seen recently just how easily this could happen. I have my doubts that there would be anyone coming to the rescue of North America if our governments went bankrupt. Take a look at what happened to some of the smaller countries, and multiply that by exponential amounts to see what it would like here. Not a pretty picture. The only countries that are big enough or rich enough to bail us out, we don’t want their help, so we would be in a rough predicament. How good it would feel to know that you could at least feed your family. You may not be eating steak, but you would be fed. A person can cope with so much more as long as the tummy is full. People tend to go a little nuts when they are trying to feed themselves, or their children.
There are many situations that could have us relying on our long term food storage. Hyper-inflation, war, terrorism, economics, weather causing food shortages, unemployment, death, pandemic, natural disasters, and I am sure more you can think of. Long term storage is fairly inexpensive to buy, has a very long shelf life, if stored properly, and can sustain life for a long time on very little. It is vital to your preparedness plan for your family.
Suggested amounts for your family are:
Per adult for one year
Grains: 400 lbs.
Legumes*: 60 lbs.
Powdered Milk: 16 lbs.
Cooking oil: 10 qts.
Sugar or honey: 60 lbs.
Salt: 8 lbs.
Water (2 wks) 15 gal.
*Legumes include dry beans, split peas, lentils, etc.
Source: First Presidency Letter, 2002 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Do the math and get planning and preparing. Remember the quote by Benjamin Franklin: By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
Let’s not fail. Let’s be the ones who can contribute to society no matter what situation we might find ourselves in.
Excellent article that covers all of the water basics for prepping.
Back to the basics! An interesting concept, and one that is different for each of us. It really depends where you are on the spectrum of preparedness. If you are the person that has been “prepping” for years, and have learned new skills, gathered all of your food storage, and even have a great supply of weapons, then your “back to basics” will be different from someone who is just learning about the value of being prepared. However, I will attempt to cover the general back to basics and you can read between the lines and fill in any blanks.
When disaster strikes, and it always does, what will you need to keep your family alive and
as comfortable as possible? This is the question that you MUST ask yourselves. I think that we have seen that no place in this world are we exempt from the possibility of some kind of disaster happening. Keeping in mind that “disaster”, doesn’t necessarily mean natural disaster. It could also be man made, such as economic problems, or terrorism.
Back to the question of: What will you need to keep your family alive and as comfortable as possible during a disaster situation? Let’s think about the basics to sustain life and offer some comfort. Water, food, and shelter are life sustaining needs. Medical can be added into this category of life sustaining, especially if you take any medication from prescription or other means. The next set of needs would include: lighting, cooking, sanitation, heating,
financial, safety and communication.
I am going to take the next few posts and go into each of these areas in more detail. For now remember the “rule of three”, for the 3 most important areas. You can only survive extreme weather conditions for 3 hours without severe consequences. You can only survive for 3 days without water. You can only survive 3 weeks without food.
Shelter, water, and food are the most important. Shelter is of course dependent on where you live and the weather situations.
I would love to hear your thoughts or personal stories as I work through this mini series of Back to the Basics.
Last year I really started thinking different about gardening. Normally my gardens would include what fresh vegetables we might want through the summer months, and what produce I could grow to preserve and use for the winter. I have always been blessed with great family and friends who have very large gardens / farms who have let me work for produce and such. My dad has always had a large market garden / berry farm, but when he decided to sell out soon, I started to realize that I have wasted many of my years here, by not starting sooner to build up my own little yard into my own little survival garden.
Last year I planted cherry trees, Saskatoon bushes, raspberry bushes, some strawberry plants and currant bushes. We already have a really great set up of grape vines which
provide all the juice and jelly that we could use in a season. However if I had planted these 12 years ago when we moved into this home, I would have a really great little berry farm on my corner lot in the city. Now I have to wait for a few years to really see the benefits of planting these.
I have also planted a few herbs that are perennials. Some of these are herbs that we use on a daily basis, so planting them will help us long term to become more self reliant. Some herbs are annuals where I live, so they need to be planted each year.
A couple of years ago we built four raised beds, that have proven to be prolific in pretty
much whatever I plant in them. I love them! They are so easy to weed and water, easy to plant, and easy to harvest the produce. I have tried to used the square foot method of gardening in them a bit, and it seems to work great. We have also built some metal sides to the raised beds, that way we can wrap them in plastic to make little 4 by 4 green houses. It works like a charm.
Okay, so I have some perennial herbs planted, and lots of berry bushes and trees planted, but what other things can I get growing and how can I make better use of my yard to make my family more self reliant?
Probably one of the first things that you can do when planting a garden, is to try and buy garden seeds that are called “Heirloom” seeds. These can grow produce for this year, and if you save the seeds, you can use them to grow produce next year and from year to year. The seeds that
are called hybrid seeds, are genetically modified to produce a great, heavy yielding crop for the one year, and then you have to purchase seeds again for the next year. They will not produce fruit from planting the seed the second year. You can use a mixture of seeds in your garden, depending on what you want, but just make sure you keep notes on which seeds are which, that way you can save useful seeds, and not waste time on others.
It would be wise also to learn which native weeds are actually herbs and food. Many of these most obnoxious weeds we have, could sustain life, and actually help heal many of our minor complaints. Weeds like dandelion, plantain, burdock, mullein, and portulaca can be
really noxious weeds, but are all really healthy for us to eat, and have some amazing healing properties. These can be a great resource for our survival gardening, just learning where to find them and what to do with them.
Some good vegetables to plant would include: green or yellow beans, corn (if you have the space), tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, cucumbers and squash (if you have the space). Some of these take up quite a bit of space, so you can either get the kinds that climb, or find another garden space that you can let them spread. You can learn to plant climbers with stalk plants, like beans or peas with corn, and then plant squash around the base to fill in.
You can plant things in pots too. There are many years that I have not had enough garden space, so I grow things in pots. Peppers, tomatoes, beans, carrots, and even zucchini can grow in pots. Do a little bit of research because with careful attention, you can do all of your gardening in pots, if you are motivated enough.
This year, I am going to make a couple of more raised beds. I am running out of room in my yard, so I may have to use up some of my lawn and turn it into garden space. We can each do little things each year, that can have a huge benefit for the future years. One day, one year at a time, we can become a little bit more self sufficient.
In the world of preparedness, people are waking up to see that things are changing at a pretty dramatic pace. There are so many things to be aware of, things to be watching in the news, and natural disasters to be ready for. With the dynamics of this world constantly changing and keeping us on our toes, we have to be prepared for the unknown, and ever watchful. And with every different dynamic of change, there is a different view point on what to watch for and what to prepare for.
Some people are really concerned with climate change, and prepare for the apocalypse that they believe is coming. There is no doubt that climate change is wreaking havoc with flooding, storms, extreme heat, and all of the crazy other climate issues. There is no doubt that we have fresh water shortages in the world, and these shortages affect millions of people around the globe. Water shortages are no respecter of whether we are living in a third world country or in a more economically sound country. Long gone are the days when we didn’t have to worry about climate changes, weather problems, and water shortages.
Speaking of economics, there is no doubt that one doesn’t have to look very far to see that we have serious economic issues around the globe. It is only a matter of time before we will be seeing higher prices, higher interest rates, with governments and business crashing all around us. Oh wait…..that is already happening! We can’t build our society on debt and expect it to last for very long. Its just can’t work. Long gone are the days of job security, government security, and reasonable prices.
We don’t have to look very far to see major natural disasters, happening all around us. It really doesn’t matter where in the world you live, you are not exempt from natural disasters. They are getting more frequent and more severe in intensity. Long gone are the days that we felt we didn’t have to worry about some sort of natural disaster where we each live.
We don’t have to look very far in the world of disease, to see that there are some pretty deadly viruses out there that we should be keeping a very close eye on. Many believe that this might lead to such things as zombie apocalypse, and such. I don’t lean in that direction, but I do believe that we could have some serious repeats of past pandemics which have serious results. Long gone are the days where disease was contained to a local area and didn’t spread throughout the world within days.
There is no doubt that we have some serious problems in the world with war and terrorism, just turn on the news. Way long gone are the days when we didn’t have to worry about war or terrorists.
We have problems with crime, that are spiraling out of control pretty much everywhere you turn.
News: famine, drought, disease, plagues of stress, depression, alcohol and drugs, war, terrorism, economic failure, tornado, flooding, earthquake, job loss, sickness……………….. Long gone are the days………
I think it is time that we ALL wake up. The times are a changing and we need to be preparing!