Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Do you live the prepared life or do you just prepare?

Day five, still haven't spent any money.  Not a penny.  Not buying the paint for the fascia because it’s too wet.  

I ran out of something today.  Diet soda.  I buy a 12 pack each month on average.  It lasts for about a month but because we had a bunch of people over for Memorial Day it went quicker.  They brought their own and drank mine too.  I’ll drink water, ice tea, lemonade, or other things that are better for me than soda anyway.  Soda isn’t something that I have in my long term storage, except ginger ale and lemon lime, but that’s mainly for upset tummies.  I've seen pictures of other people's provisions and it's full of soda.  It's not good for you and it takes up a lot of space.  It really shouldn't be a big ticket item in your storage plan. 

Liquid milk will only last a few more days, but I’ll substitute powdered.  Hen scratch?  I’ll substitute weeds and dropped fruit.  Gasoline?  This is what I’d run out of without a good substitute – and I’m not walking or riding a bike for this ten days to make up for not having gas.  I do have stored gas in several gas cans that I could use to fill the tank.  These get rotated anyway, but it would be nice to be able to purchase gas when I rotate these…and this is just an exercise so I don’t want to actually deplete my stock…I’m not sure if I will run out because I haven’t driven my truck yet since I started my no shopping for 10 days.  I have driven the work truck but even then I haven’t bought gas…work has its own fuel tanks so that’s using stored goods there too.

This wasn’t a planned stop shopping, I just saw the article on yahoo and decided to try it, not to save money but to see what I may fall short on with my preps – both household and food.  I didn’t stock up on anything right beforehand, I just read the article on night and decided to start the next day.  What about your food preps?  Do you eat one thing and store something else?  We do store things we don’t normally eat, such as MREs but I have them in my truck and have eaten them on days when I’ve forgotten my lunch.  I also store coffee filters although I use a wire mesh basket and no filter.  (ok so we don’t eat the filters) Pretty much we eat what we store which means we don’t need to worry about having to eat a whole new diet if something happens and we can’t shop.

I hear so much about what you should and shouldn’t store.  Yes, I agree that you should store whole wheat rather than flour because flour only stays fresh for anywhere between 6 months and two years depending on if it’s in the cabinet or in the freezer.  Whole wheat can last for your entire lifetime.  But does that mean that you shouldn’t store flour?  Of course you should.  If I use 15-20 pounds of flour per month then what’s wrong with storing 200 pounds of it if that’s what I’m going to use in a year?  As long as I rotate it, then it should be in my regular storage program.  You want to keep it well sealed because it will pick up the odors of everything around it.  I buy it by the 25 pound bag and throw it in the freezer for a week to get rid of any bugs that are always present in bagged flour. Is it an issue of having enough storage space for it? 

Perhaps the biggest issue on something like that is opening up mylar bags.  We don’t like opening mylar bags.  We figure that we will only open them in case of emergency.  Just buy a bunch of these and it won’t be such an issue. http://www.majorsurplus.com/Mylar-Liner-Bags-10-Pack-P14383.aspx is where I got mine. They aren’t expensive if you by a bunch of them, only two dollars a piece.  If you use the bags right, you can reuse them.  You will just be cutting a strip off the top and resealing with the new batch.  If I go through a bucket of flour that’s in a mylar bag, then I only open the bag once.  I don’t reseal it with the iron until I’m going to fill it with a new sack of 25 pounds of flour again. I use the mylar bags for the rice and flour mainly to keep out other odors. 

At each dinner meal we usually (but not always) serve either rice, potatoes, or noodles.  This means we store rice, potatoes, and noodles.  And lots of them.  I know brown rice is better for you.  We like white rice.  It will last forever if stored right.  At home we store it in a mylar bag in a five gallon bucket.  When it gets opened we pour it into two 2 gallon buckets and the rest goes into the rice can in the kitchen.  Then the five gallon bucket and the mylar bag is ready for a new 25 pound bag of rice.  We can use the mylar bag many times before it would need to be replaced.  In fact, the rice doesn’t really need to be sealed in the mylar bag, just pour it into the bag, roll up the top of the bag, close the lid to the bucket.  It will last without any special treatment other than throwing the entire 25 pound sack into the freezer for a few days to kill bugs. 

The beans are all coming up in the garden.  So are the potatoes.  It’s such a strange season; the middle of June and I’m still planting my crops that I usually plant in April.

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