Wednesday, March 28, 2012

19 Days

My approaching for preparing for TEOTWAWKI, in whatever fashion that takes, has been a two sided approach.

Buy food storage and supplies for the immediate future and learn to do on my own and reduce/reuse for later.

It was a suggestion to me when I mentioned my anxiety and the feeling of being overwhelmed that I felt when I thought about prepping and just what needed to be accomplished. It has served me well and helped to lessen my fear and anxiety about whatever is coming.

I try to spend my money and time wisely and equally on both. To that end my family budgets about $100 a month to these items. In the last 4 months I've used that money towards food storage. I buy my food storage in what some might call a haphazard fashion but I do it with meals in mind. For example one month I focused on chili and the ingredients I would need to make it. So I bought #10 cans of kidney beans, pinto beans, small red beans, black beans, tomato powder and ground beef. Now all of these ingredients can be used for other things as well so it was win win for me and my budget.

I decided to use a Food Storage Analyzer to keep track of my items and to assess the nutritional value of my food storage. (For the record I used

After spending roughly $500 between the 4 dedicated months as well the occasional other items acquired in the last few years according to the analyzer my family of 5 (3 adult eaters and 2 child eaters) have...........wait for it.........19 days worth of food. Not even three weeks.

I'll admit that was eye opening and slightly disheartening. One the one hand, I had hoped to be better prepared by now. On the other, it just means I need to work harder and spend my money a little smarter.

Hopefully the garden produces more this year.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

What's in a number

For lots of people out there bargains are sometimes "felt" rather than really "seen". Retailers use the simple trick all the time of charging $3.99 instead of $4 so that we feel like we're getting a good deal. "It was less than $4.00 I hear them say" and I think those retailers are pretty smart people.

For those and others something doesn't really hit home until it reaches a certain dollar figure. I found that out for myself as well as friend Thursday.

Gas prices are rising. In my neck of the woods I've seen as high as $3.79 per gallon for regular unleaded. Nothing special. I realize that there are lots of places out there that have seen much higher than that in recent years and even now but for me, that's the highest I've ever seen it.

I have an 11 gallon vehicle that I fill up roughly once a week. It normally runs me between $30-35. I will admit here that I sort of stopped paying attention to the exact amount. I just knew that it was still within my gas budget.

My friend and I were chatting Thursday after I had seen the $3.79 gas and she remarked that she had heard it would hit $5.00 a gallon in the summer. Now, I know I've heard that prediction before and it never came to pass so I nodded and then dismissed it. "Whatever. I'll cross that bridge when I get there."

But the number bug was planted and the $5.00 per gallon nagged at me all day. Finally, that evening, as I was doing some HR math* for another friend of mine we started talking about gas prices and since I already had the calculator I figured we could talk the price out and I could figure out why it was bothering me.

If gas were to hit $5 a gallon that means I would be paying roughly $55 a WEEK for gas. It was easy for me to dismiss $30 gas but $50 gas grabbed me. And him.

I fill up my car once a week so that means per month I would be spending $220 in gas. My husbands car is roughly the same which means we would be paying $440 a month in GAS to get to work. That's significant.

$50 had my attention. $440 certainly had grabbed me.

My house could manage it. It wouldn't kill us. But it would hurt. It would mean some other pretty tough choices around here. After school daycare might have to be reconsidered. That fancy cheese my husband likes for his sandwiches would be out. So would all soda consumption. And treats in general.

$20 more a week in gas doesn't seem like a lot when you say it. But $40 is something. $160 extra a month is really something.

And it got me thinking, what about those who can't afford $50.00 a week. What do they do? Where do they cut? And even if they can afford it with cuts their family would have to make and my family would have to make what does that do to our still battered and bruised economy?

And that's just my family and fuel for our cars. What about the rising prices of everything else? Food costs and clothing costs, electricity, entertainment, it all goes up.

I don't have an answers. But its certainly worth thinking about it and it's certainly food for thought.

And all because $50 grabs my attention far faster than $30.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Too much space?

This spring my husband and I, with the help of our 7 year old and 2 year old have been tackling the back yard. I've lived in this house for 7 years now and the backyard has always been just a pit of despair. 2 years ago I introduced some containers of vegetables into it. Last year I added some raised beds.

This year we are cleaning the whole thing out and landscaping it while also adding TEOTWAWKI/homesteading items to it.

Last weekend we cleaned the side of the house which I've always avoided because it was scary and strewn with trash. I was certain if I had snakes in my yard they were in the side yard.

Turns out no snakes that we saw and now that it's been raked and cleaned out it seems like it could be a pretty useful space.

The question is, of course, useful for what.

My husband indulges my SHTF worries and allows me a certain amount of leeway with gardening and food storage but at the end of the day, we are still going to have grass in the back yard and not an orchard or raised beds as far as the eye can see.

That said, when I started talking about putting in some raspberry bushes I could see he wasn't entirely on board with the idea.

So take a look and tell me what YOU think I could do with the space.

It's 8 feet wide and roughly 15 feet long. The sunlight in the picture is at 12:30pm MST today, March 24. Yes, there is a tree behind me making a shadow over the space.

My mother in law suggested using it as storage. My husband has shrugged his shoulders (but assures me there aren't going to be raspberry bushes.


So do I make it a small garden? A play area of the kids? Nothing? I want it to add value to my property and add value to my preps without being obvious, if that's possible. I'd prefer not to put a tree there since it's kinda close to the house.

Thoughts? Ideas? Help?

Friday, March 16, 2012


I recently came into a little money, nothing life changing and after paying some bills and letting the husband have some fun I have about $500 to use towards anything I want.

If you had the extra $500 and wanted to use it for prep items what would you buy?

You don't have to know my circumstances, I'm curious about you and your dreams for your prep/self reliance/I just want it closet (or garage or bunker, I'm not picky).

$500. Go.

Monday, March 12, 2012

We have had a very mild winter which may or may not be a good thing. This weekend while Micah and I were cleaning the backyard of the dog "presents" and old leaves it dawned on my to check my garlic.

There's something I never thought I'd say. Check my garlic. Almost sounds like code for something else coming from me doesn't it?

Anyways, last fall, probably in October, I decided to expand my gardening horizons and picked up three varieties of garlic and then promptly forgot which kinds I had picked up.

In any case I planted them in my half whiskey barrels and walked away. Leaves collected in the barrel and I thought nothing of it really until Sunday.

Sunday I looked in the barrel and initially saw nothing. Which good because it's early March and the chance for snow here is pretty high. I learned that at the end of April 2 years ago when a large snow storm hit after I had transplanted all my peas and tomatoes.

Then, upon closer examination I started to notice a little green.

I've tried to cover them with some leaves but they refuse to be denied sunlight. I truly feel sick to my stomach that they are growing in so early but can hardly blame them. Today we hit 70 degrees at a time when the average temperature is around 54 degrees. So it makes sense that the garlic bulbs think they have hit the jackpot and are sprouting early.

After all, they aren't alone. I found this stowaway in my larger raised beds. This must have been a pea that dropped and hid at some point and has now decided to sprout WAY ahead of schedule.

My yard work assistants were pretty intrigued with all the green. Wilbur offered to help "pick" while Lizzie Lou just wanted to hear what all could be eaten with garlic.

I hope our lovely weather continues because I'd really like for all my plants to live. I really hope that groundhog was a liar and there is no more winter.

Just in case I think I'll pick this weed...