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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Let's start small...

Before I begin, I just want to give a bit of an update on my plans for contributing to the site here. To start with, I will probably be posting three days a week to start. I don't know if I am going to work on a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule or a Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday schedule, so I may try it out for a bit and see what works best for me. Just because it is not a scheduled day, I reserve the right to post if I get a bee in my bonnet, but hey, you never know. Also, feel free to comment or email me even on non-posting days. I do check my email, even with my busy schedule!

On to the topic of the day. Prepping is being ready for whatever may come. Now, this is a speciality name for an idea that has been around for longer than this country has existed. In times past, the farmer put up as much food as he could so that he could feed his family throughout the winter. Throughout a large portion of American history, it was commonplace to see chickens running through the front yard of houses, even in major cities! It wasn't until the mid/late-twentieth century when processed foods and markets grew in popularity, transportation costs dropped, and people were able to go to the store to get just about anything they wanted, when many people stopped worrying about the availability of their food. The market always had fresh food, yes, even off-season!

While this is still true, the sad fact is that with the price of gasoline rising (ok, it settled for now, but who knows when it will spike again) it is costing more and more to process, package, and transport that food. Thus making food more expensive. Food gets more expensive, and then what? You have to pick and choose, do I get store brand or just do without? My kids will only eat this name brand pre-made whatchamicallit but its quadrupled in price, oh no! Whatever will we do?

First thing to do is to give store brands a try now before it becomes too late. Many/most of them taste just as good as the name brands without the pricetag. Next, try making regular foods instead of "quick" or "instant" foods. For less than the price of 6 servings of instand oatmeal, you can get a canister of regular oats that will last longer and make many more servings. The regular oats have the benefit of being usable in other things (oat bread, oatmeal cookies, etc). Rice is another great example of this. Regular rice is so much less expensive than quick rice and it doesn't take that much longer most of the time. It lasts longer in the pantry, makes more, and it is better for you as well. Not only do these help with your preparing for an emergency, it helps your pocketbook, Right Now!

To begin prepping, everytime you go to the grocery store, pick up a few extra cans of various foods to put aside. These are for storage and emergencies, not for your weekly food consumption. So put them aside and keep a list of the "extra" you have. Pretty soon, you will notice you have enough extra food to last a week, then two, then a month, etc.

What cost the peace of mind knowing if you got an ice storm, you have enough food to feed your family till you can get out of the house? Is it worth the extra $5 a shopping trip? What about an extra $1 or $2? Remember, you don't have to jump in feet first and spend tons of money right away, you can start small and build up your pantry.

Well, there ya go, a small look into the quick and easy way to start preparing (aka prepping!)

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst!


Marica said...

Nice post, Farmergeek. One can at a time will do it!

Along the same lines, lots of items can be stocked up easily if you think outside the grocery store. For example, many restaurant supply stores or online sites sell 'Anchor Purity Wrap' (the plastic wrap of choice in restaurants) in rolls of 2000 ft. for less than $15. A 2000 ft. rolls lasts us about two years, and we do a lot of cooking and storage. I haven't bought name-brand wrap in so long, I don't know how much it is, but it must be more than $15 for a 2-yr. supply.

As well-- places like Dollar General have great prices on cleaning supplies.

Again-- good post.

erniesjourney said...

Great job! Hit the nail on the head - keep it simple!


SciFiChick said...

Nice Post and excellent advice.
I've been using these same techniques with great success. I started working on my food storage when I realized that food prices were creeping up. I'm glad I did now!

Chris W said...

Great post as always FarmerGeeek.

I'm going to comment and leave a little detail of how we keep track of our food prep here at home. It's surprisingly simple, and works great. This method allows you to see in an instant what you have on hand, what you need, and what you consume as you rotate stock.

Get a clipboard and hang it inside each pantry or storage area. On GRAPH PAPER, list each item individually with it's own column on the paper, and list it this way: For each one item, mark the box in the paper with a /. As you use an item, change the / to an X. Simple, just one little slash mark and you know exactly what you used. When you restock, add another / and so on through the whole list. For items you regularly use/rotate, allow a few extra lines, or just re-list at the end of the paper when your list is full of X's. When a line is full of X's, I simply cross off the whole thing with a highlighter to avoid confusion in looking at a line that I don't need to.

We use what we stock,rotating from the back. With this kind of listing, you can easily see what you use more often, thus adjusting your purchase list to buy more of the most used items. Items you don't use as often may be eventually crossed off your prep list too, once you see you THOUGHT you would need them, but really use very little to none. For me, I crossed off black beans. I LOVE black beans, but Lisa won't touch 'em. There's no point in stocking things that only one of us will eat. If we stocked like that, I would need 2 more pantries.

I even took the same method to everything else. All of the coleman fuel, propane, lamp oil, wicks, mantles, batteries, matches, ammo, etc. are all listed exactly the same way.

Just my suggestion,
OK LOL I just had to come back and add this cause it made me laugh...this is what the word verification was : SALLYSIN. Who's sally? LOL

FarmerGeek said...

Everyone, thank you for your comments. I appreciate knowing that you have read what I wrote and agree. Heck, I wanna know if you read and disagree. I don't claim to know EVERY thing (just most of it!) LOL

Chris, That's a great method for keeping track of what you have and making sure that it is still safe to eat. Thanks for sharing!

Chiot's Run said...

Better yet, learn to grow your own food and preserve it yourself. We have enough food in the pantry to survive for probably 6 months, in the summer even longer. I think part of learning to be prepared it to learn to live without commercial items. We could all survive with our canned goods for a while, but what if lack of food lasts longer, what would we do? I think being prepared should also include learning the skills necessary to survive should we need to for longer than a couple months.

Another great way to prepare is to develop a local network for your food needs. We get our milk, meat, poultry & eggs from a local farm. We get some of our veggies from other local farmers. We've been trying to find as many local sources for things that we need & use, that way the network will be strong should something happen. If no one ever shopped at the farmer's markets they would probably cease to exist creating quite a problem if produce becomes scarce or tainted from big agri-business farms.

Just my 2 cents.

FarmerGeek said...

That's a great point and I have future posts lined up to deal with skills and growing your own food as a cheap alternative. Thank you for bringing this up!

Chris W said...

Suppose I should have said something in my post about home-grown, oops. A huge chunk of our stock is home grown and canned. I've got the same system implimented in one basement room where we keep canning jars and supplies. After a bit of a scare last year when NO ONE had lids/seals, we started buying 10 boxes at a time.

Anonymous said...

I didn't think I was alone out here! Nice Site, quiet and thoughtful. I would like to thing I am a prudent fellow.. so I simply started going to the local eastside Wal-mart each payday. I take home a case of 'protien, fruit, veggys and comfort food.' Once a month at costco I drop in a little spice, honey, storage bags etc. Tractor Supply has given me water and fuel storage one cannot find at sears and they stock a basic line of Vet grade Meds. I'll need to reseach or not stock at all. I suppose I'm saying that if you listen, really listen you can you can Prep! even if you happen to live to close to the center of town as I do.

Anonymous said...

Forgive me... my Fpellpck can't tell the diff twix a k and a g.

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