You might call me a conspiracy theorist, or a fear mongerer, but when I look around in these uncertain times, I see a need for a plan to protect my family from many potential catastrophes. Just this year I’ve personally seen a bad hail storm taking out a lot of free range animals and crops in the area, tornado strength winds, wrecking havoc and causing a 2 week power outage all over the south for many homes, as well as a drought, that is expected to spike the prices of grains by a projected 60% by next year. There was also a 7.7 earthquake close to my family in BC Canada this very morning, and we are expecting the tail end of a rather large hurricane in a short time now. So my concern seems well justified!
Add to that the oil prices spiking, and overall inflation of the dollar that will likely be coming as well, (no doubt because of the American government printing money out of thin air) and we have the perfect recipe for disaster- financially as well as physically!
For many, traveling has now become too expensive. The trucking and shipping expenses have gone up because of the rise in fuel as well, which has caused all imported products and food as well as non-seasonal food to likewise go up in price.
As an eternal optimist though I must point out that the oil prices spiking is actually a blessing in disguise because we are encouraged to buy more local, and seasonal food, because it ends up being cheaper. This shift to local would then stop a lot of pollution, and put more money into our local community. These sky rocketing fuel costs also motivate us to find cleaner more efficient forms of energy. So if the government is behind these prices, that is one thing they’ve done right in my book!
There is a real concern about the government doing wrong though, and not only by actually causing the economic crisis we are in with unnecessary wars and bank bailouts and the like, but many other much more potentially sinister things. . .like spying on people from satellites and cameras. Many see the governments’ growing control over our health, freedom, land, children, the media and even the control in the vote, as a real cause for concern. And of course the ever lurking possibility of them sending us into world war 3 (nuclear or otherwise) and the desperation, filth and diseases that come with them. . .
So, first off, to plan for a power outage is just plain prudent. Something I noticed though in our last crisis was that both generators and the usual fuel source of them, (being gas) were hard to get at that time, with huge lines to get them at best. The lines for ice, dry or otherwise, were hours long as well. . .without which some of my friends lost a whole fridge and freezer worth of stored up food. (I had that happen myself one year after picking a freezer full of berries, and I was feeling very poor for wasting that money.)
Without power I’ve realized that if you are in the country on well water, like us, you will not have water either. So planning on using all sources of water in the country is also wise. If you have a creek, you could get or make a biological filter, and order some food grade hydrogen peroxide to sanitize it. Or set up a solar or windmill system to run the pump from your well. Everyone should use their run off rainwater from their roof to store in rain barrels as well. (Even if your roof material renders the water undrinkable, it can at least help you manually wash clothes, flush toilets, or water inedible plants in a pinch.) Doing that is so much better then having to stock up 1 gallon of water per person per day in my mind.
If you have a bunch of money just sitting in a bank, IMHO, you are living foolishly at best, dangerously at worst. . .for that matter, if your money is sunk into anything you cannot use or eat in a global crisis, it is a investment mistake! (Not that I know-or care- a lot about finances. . .just common sense.)
I seriously question even owning real estate that you don’t live in it or are at least in walking distance from. Because without a steady supply of gas, a working car and working roads, in numerous major natural disaster situations, (or otherwise) you would not get any money from the people renting your investment property, and it would likely just get trashed.
Whereas, land that you personally can use to farm, put animals on, and build up as self sustaining, is the only safe investment of your money in these crazy times, IMO. And the best investment of your time, is learning how to live closer to the earth and be more self sustaining.
Besides the one time monetary investment on land, (with a chemical free well) you should ideally get a horse, a pair of mini cows, some bees, and a few pigs and chickens. Then get some preferably mostly non-electric stuff to take care of keeping, milking, or slaughtering them. As well as storing or processing their product. When you buy quality stuff, you can use it for the rest of your life, and even pass it on to your kids. . .when you buy plastic, you add to the landfill, and deprave your children of a good inheritance:)
You should also plant as many easy perennials as you can, like; these veggies and more, as well as nuts, berries, fruit trees, and herbs for teas and medicinal use and spices. An annual garden on the other hand may not always be easy or practical to do every year, (as opposed to the perennial garden) but you should have cleared space , know-how -or books-, and the tools and seeds for one. . . in the event that you need it. Some food storage places sell packets of garden seeds that last for 25 years and have a great variety. A good review of the best ones is: here.
Having some survival and foraging (helping yourself to free wild food) skills and books for emergencies on hand could also save your life, in the case of a power outage and internet being down. One’s like: Back to Basics: How to Learn and Enjoy Traditional American Skills , The Survival Handbook: Essential Skills for Outdoor Adventure, Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life ,Modern Survival Manual – Surviving the Economic Collapse , and Will to Live.
Also some farming and homesteading basic skills books like these are good for longer term survival and thriving : Storey’s Basic country skills, The Encyclopedia of country living, and The Backyard Homestead.
Considering the guarantee of a rise in prices with inflation because of the national debt, and oil and food shortages, it is also wise to stock up on food you will use in 6 months or less, if you have the space, or anytime you see a sale, but especially stock up on food that doesn’t spoil. . but that is still healthy. In most cases, anything that “doesn’t spoil” is not “healthy”, including even the best foods if they are in BPA sealed aluminum cans. Of course, that is a great frustration to the health conscious who wants to be prepared . . .but there are a few exceptions. So here’s my best list of healthy food to stock up on:
- Dried milk, I do not recommend disgusting tasting and actually rather toxic, dried skim cows milk, I would buy dried coconut milk instead. Use milk kifer grains with coconut milk powder and water to make it a tasty, healthy, live probiotic dairy substitute, as well as a high quality saturated fat. . .often a scarcity in the wild.
- Grains (Lots of them, like: oat groats, wheat, corn, barley,quinoa, rye, spelt, rice-get no American rice, as there is an Arsenic scare right now in anything but organic, which is best anyhow-) in buckets with screw on lids. (Before storing, the easiest way to kill any bugs is by adding 1 1/4 cups of diotomaceous earth to 5 gallons of grain, and roll to distribute evenly.) Also, make sure you are regularly using a sourdough starter, for yeast, to make them actually digestible, a lot more nutritious, while not spiking your blood sugar. See more about why that is needed here.
- White flour, tapioca flour, potato flour, and/ or coconut flour.
- Quinoa noodles, or if you don’t care about a little unhealthy splurge here and there, regular noodles.
- Seeds to plant, sprout, soak or just eat plain. They all have a very long shelf life if stored well.
- Beans, split peas and nuts.
- Dehydrated beef and salmon jerky (I splurge for free range organic beef jerky, because I want nutrition, not disease in an emergency, more then ever.)
- Himalayan salt
- Quality oils. A liquid like olive and grapeseed oil have a long shelf life. As well as a solid like coconut or palm oil are great. Which double as butter in a pinch.
- Sweeteners like raw honey, white sugar, (good to use for Kombucha tea, or medicinally.) Succanat molasses and maple syrup. . .although Maple syrup only stores for 1 year.
- Dehydrated veggies, individual packs and/or mixes. (and knowledge, recipes or books on how to use them.)
- Dehydrated mushrooms- Ditto above-
- Dehydrated fruit chunks or fruit leather. -Ditto above-
- Glass jars of preferably organic spaghetti sauce, pickles, olives, jams, nut butters, salad dressings, sauces or anything else you have found that you like in glass jars, or that you have canned yourself. (Plastic containers are not as good health wise, or for keeping the food as fresh, or safe from mice.)
- Baking soda and Baking powder if you use it.(unlike me since starter came into my life)
- Cocoa powder- free trade if you can afford it and or carob powder.
- Whole spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla beans. . .
- Healthy vegetable or chicken bouillon cubes like the Celifiber brand ones
- For a little splurge, Lara bars are an easy and tasty solution for convenience and health, as they have only good stuff, and are grainfree. (So you don’t have to worry about whether the grains are sprouted, soaked, or soured, and are just going to make you hungrier with their grains and sugars.)
- Organic squeezable fruit pouches are very tasty and nice to have on hand, but don’t last long at my house, nor do they store for more then a year. (I found them for around .60 cents ea. at my local big lots)
Those whole foods, dried coconut milk, spices or anything not already sealed in a bucket or a glass jar, I would ideally vacuum seal with a foodsaver. By putting the stuff in glass jars and sealing them with the Foodsaver jar sealer attachment, or in the airtight bags the foodsaver uses -if it’s a non-food item- you will ensure they are dry, bug free, and not eaten by rodents years down the road.
Non-food items I would have handy in many different emergencies are:
- Cast iron cooking pots and skillets to use on a wood stove , grill or open fire. (Cooking utensils of choice to go with.)
- An outdoor grill, oven and/or smoker. (Like this one.)
- Rain barrels and bottled water, and/or solar run well pump and well or creek for emergency water. (If you are on a well, and if you aren’t hopefully you have a good filter to take out the junk in the city water.)
- first aid kit:
- blood clotting agent:witch hazel, cayenne powder.
- natural pain relief: clove oil (for teeth) velarian root powder to make the nerves relax and make you sleepy. . .there isn’t a good way to numb pain well in nature, because it is always for a purpose that we need to heed. For an injury, you may need to pack some over the counter medication, just in case the ends justify the means.
- Rescue remedy, for traumas.
- An antiseptic. . .some to keep well stocked, because they have a million other uses are: hydrogen peroxide,vinegar. . .
- An anti venom, anti poison, anti-inflammatory remedy: charcoal
- Tea tree oil for numerous skin issues.
- CPR mask
- first aid book
5. Warm clothing for every family member.
6. Sleeping bags, or warm blankets in garbage bags and sucked out with a vacuum and then knotted.
7. Personal hygiene items: toothbrush, brush, razors, clippers, nail file (real emergencies don’t require make-up or any products in my book.)
8.Wallet, medical files and important documents, or copies of them if they are in a safe.
9. Green reusable personal products, cloth diapers, mama pads, family cloth. or packages of paper products, and diapers or pads. . .not very long lasting or sustainable in any major emergency.
10. Unbreakable, reusable, place settings for each person.
11. A good long rope.
12. A tarp.
13. A hatchet
14. A good manual grain grinder and flaker attachment too, like: Family Grain Mill
15. A waterproof, permanent lighter like this one and extra refill fluid.
16. A few night light emergency plug in LED flashlights.
17. An umbrella or so.
Optional high tech things that would help in major, large scale disasters (or just for camping):
- An Emergency light/radio/cell phone charger that is solar and crank powered.
- A Biolite campstove, a small woodburning stove and power-generating device to charge your electrical devices.
- And /or an all-in-one solar generator like this one, to power the necessities in your house.
- A solar shower for in a pinch. I’ve had icy showers before and for the few dollars these are, believe me, they would be well worth it.
- And of course everyone needs a good all purpose swiss army knife, for whittling or something. . .
Now if you’re like me, you might be thinking, “Where can I put all that food and stuff?” That has been my number one issue too, so humor me while I share my dream. . .
I’d build an underground root cellar/storm shelter to put it in. I would put a small camping toilet in it, like this one, and I’d build a wood oven < like that one,( in or near it) that cooks and bakes, and smokes. If put inside, the stovepipe would be coming out on the side that shows a door at least. If it was outside, which I would lean towards, it should be under a simple roof, and screened in structure, to make it comfortable to cook on and to keep it protected, and more practical to use year round.
Back to my store house/ shelter though, I’d dig it into the side of a hill as deep as I can with my slope (so the temperature doesn’t fluctuate as much,) like this “umbrella house” below.
I think I would put cement blocks for the outside of the inside walls, and
I’d insulate the inside walls with either a waterproof barrier of plastic, then straw bales covered with breathable lime stucco, Peeled logs, or a simple and unattractive Styrofoam barrier.
It would also have passive annual heat storage, (PAHS) and cooling as well as good ventilation with two simple pipes well placed as shown up above, and here as well.
I would ideally put in LED grow lights and have a hydrophonics garden in there year round, as well as shelving for jars or buckets.. Connecting the system with a large in wall aquarium to grow edible fish that in turn fertilize the plants. (It’s together called aquaponics,)
Yeah, that is pretty much my dream of the perfectly simple, productive, food shelter. . .but as long as I can, (preferably soon) get some solar to power my stove, washing machine, fridge and lights, while giving me heat, all in the comfort of my own well insulated home, I think I’ll rarely find a need to go running there for most emergencies. . .but the peace of mind after having it done would be well worth it, knowing I have somewhere to take my family the next time a tornado comes along.
Last but not least, a wise man once said that: “Humanity is going to need a substantially new way of thinking if it is to survive!” (Albert Einstein) That’s why I will continue to challenge prejudices and religion in future posts, with the goal of helping this species thrive and survive.