Thursday, November 11, 2010

How's the past year gone? Time to reevaluate

Almost a year ago I wrote an article for Survivalblog that was published last January.  I decided to reread it and see how things have changed.  After all, I keep saying that you have to evaluate and reevaluate.  How am I doing?

One of my basic premises changed.  I assumed that I will live where I’m at forever but this year I did buy a bug-out place.  It was one of those too good to pass up deals.  I don't expect to have to live there, but I am also fixing up that property, so now I have two parcels to work on rather than just one.  If nothing else, it gives me a lifetime supply of firewood.  I also hope to plant fruit trees there so I'll have fruit growing in two places.  If there is a bad season here, hopefully there will be a good season there.

I spoke about household items.  I had my lists and kept track of how much I had.  I miscalculated on how long some of the items would last.  Or perhaps I had to recalculate now that there were more people in the house, I'm not sure which.  I was figuring that most supplies I had on hand would last for ten years.  Then I took a closer look.  Some things only two or three years, others 5, very few ten years.

The garage still looks like a mini Wal-Mart.   Lots of grandkids live close by, not just the ones that live here.  I have more things in the clothing bins.  I have purchased new socks and underware for each of the grandkids that I think will show up here in the worst case scenario.  The garage and house are still very organized.  I don't ever have to purchase something because I don't know what I did with the one that I have. 

Weapons and ammunition.  I still don't speak about this much, mostly because I am not at all expert on this topic, but also because you don't need to know what I have.  I have purchased additional weapons and ammunition.  I've also purchased airsoft "toys" for the grandkids and encourage them to use them often.  The kids are looking forward to this summer.  My friend is an instructor at a local range and has promised to spend extra time with all of us next summer. 

I have doubled the amount of stored food this year. I still loudly tell people to change their eating habits.  (Yes, I like candy and ice cream and junk food) Rourke, at has devoted space to my bread recipe.  I've always used dried beans but they are not really convenient.  I just bought a $10 one-quart slow cooker at Wal Mart.  I can put 1 1 /2 cups dry beans in it in the morning, fill the thing with water, turn it on, at at dinner have delicious beans.  Every dinner should have bread, rice, beans, potatoes, or something else that's good and filling.  The Atkins no carbohydrate diet is bad.  

I'm always looking to add to our garden.  A friend is moving and has a huge berry patch.  I like the kind of berries that he grew and asked if we could come over and dig some up.  He said sure.  We went over and dug around the patch.  We pulled out over 100 plants with roots and when we were done his berry patch looked great.  Prior to that it looked messy and overgrown.  These are going to be planted along one fenceline.   We also cut back his tomato plants and the tomatoes will ripen on the cut vines (I didn't take them out completely).  We picked some lemons. 

I also have seeds on hand.  I am still not crazy about getting prepackaged non-hybrid seeds.  They give you way too many of some seeds and not nearly enough of others.  I did receive a package of non-hybrid seeds from Rourke and will be using them this coming season.  I'll report on how well it goes.

This past year my volunteer beets did great and the eggplants volunteered in the middle of the corn patch.  I a couple of disappointments with the garden.  This could be an issue if TSHTF now it was just inconvenient.  The pumpkins are doing great.  They will be ready for Thanksgiving.  None were ready for Halloween.  I don't know why.  The tomato crop was a bust.  I planted some seeds from heirloom varieties.  They too are just starting to ripen.  I'm not going to get enough tomatoes to process before it gets too cold and kills the plants.  I did have lots of volunteer tomatoes this year but they were all cherry sized.  They tasted good but it's a good thing I have a years worth still canned from last year.  I need to get good heirloom varieties established and working in my volunteer system.

We added to the animal collection with some ducks.  I'm not sure why because I really don't like eating duck.  I do like duck eggs so I suppose that's a good reason to have them around.  They eat the bugs in the garden too.

We used 480 gallons of propane last year.  We ended up heating the house with the propane for a couple of months because we had visitors over the winter and I didn't trust them with the wood stove while I wasn't home.  I wonder how much we will use this year?  Perhaps I should get a second 500 gallon tank?

I thought I'd use my tax return to set up a solar power last year.  I bought the other five acre property instead.  I still want to set up a small solar power system.  I haven't even started to think about solar/water/heat, etc. at the new place other than it does have a wood stove and plenty of firewood needing to be cut up.

One of our house guests kids helped themselves to most of my prescription medication.  So much for leaving it in the cabinet.  I'm trying to restock this.  I do have a good stock of vitamins and OTC medicines.  I have thought of a way for my doctor to give me some additional prescriptions.  I'm going to let him know that I'm traveling out of country and would like to have some items in case I get sick.  That should work. 

I've stocked up on more medical supplies and have just started thinking about dental.  You never have enough medical supplies because one bad accident can use up a lot of stuff. 

I'm still working on the home library.  I've started printing up books and articles that I find on line.  I'm binding them into notebooks to turn them into "books".  I don't want to have to rely on the computer for anything.  We've added more bookshelves at the house.  I have the books sorted just like you'd find them at a bookstore or library.  I have to continuously straighten these up because of the kids but it's not a difficult task and definitely worth the effort.

I'm still collecting office supplies.  The kids use as much as I will allow them to use.  I gave the advice to take advantage of the end of summer back to school sales.  I forgot to follow my own advice this year. 

The trailer.  I had just purchased it.  We have used it about a dozen times this past year.  I wasn't replenishing it with supplies, just using what was there.  This was bad, as the last trip we took was for four days in the middle of the woods without anyone else around.  It's a good thing the kids caught fish because our food supply was low.  We would have eaten at each meal but I was definitely thankful for the fish.  The trailer now has over a month supply of food and water.  It has several changes of clothes for each of us plus some generic items including elastic waist shorts, t shirts, and sweats.  I have two full travel sized tanks of propane for it now. 

I was thinking about planting non-inviting plants along the property lines.  I've done some of this with roses and berries.  I'm looking for some cactus that I can dig up from other peoples yards.  The bug out property has lots of poison oak.  I am going to plant that along the very back of the property once I get someone else to help dig it out.

All in all it's been a good prepping year.

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