Opposed to what people think food crisis are very common. In fact there are countries and regions which are going through one right now. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 870 million people, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012. Almost all the hungry people, 852 million, live in developing countries. But there are 16 million people undernourished in developed countries including US (FAO 2012 Report).
My guess is none of you experienced a long time hunger. But probably most of you are familiar with the feeling of skipping 3 or 4 meals. Not a very pleasant one. During that time did you experience fatigue or dizziness? These are the first general symptoms of malnutrition. If you don’t eat for days, your condition will get worse and you start losing weight. Your body will consume first the fat reserves, than your protein (muscles). If untreated, starvation may lead to mental or physical disability, illness, and possibly death. An average man cannot survive without food for more than 8 weeks. A food crisis may last for months or years. And it’s not enough to stockpile food In order to properly prepare yourself and your family. Take into consideration that you may develop malnutrition if you lack a single vitamin in the diet. This is why it’s very important to start preparing after having read a proper guide.
WHAT CREATES FOOD CRISES?
There are many reasons why people cannot grow or buy enough food to feed their families. Most of the reasons causing a food crisis are a combination of the issues below. A hunger crisis develops when families experience these factors for a long time and run out of ways to cope.
The main reason why most people are unable to feed themselves is that they cannot afford it. And this is exactly the issue in many poor countries. You may think poverty cannot be an important factor in the US, but in a major economic SHTF event things could start to get out of hand. When economy collapses the food will become scarce, like the North Korean famine 1994-1998.
For example the 9/11 attacks had both immediate and long-term economic impacts. The attacks caused the Dow to drop more than 600 points and led to one of the biggest government spending programs in U.S. history – the War on Terror. Now think about the US spendings in case of a real threatening war or maybe a world war. In the First World War Germany capitulated because of its economic collapse. Families were actually starving back home: 763,000 German civilians died from starvation and disease caused by the Allied blockade. This is only an example, but there are hundreds of similar scenarios.
Drought, flooding, hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes can disrupt the commercial means of alimentation. You might have all the money in the world but no food to buy. Remember when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, a lot of stranded people in New Orleans endured hunger, little water and limited emergency supplies for days. What happened during Katrina could also happen on a wider scale. Climate change is having an increased impact on food production as droughts and flooding become more frequent and more severe. Natural disasters are very real and very likely to happen even more than once in a lifetime. When it strikes will you be prepared? It very well can happen tomorrow. And could last for four years like the Tempo Famine in Japan.
Food crisis are very often associated with conflicts. War makes delivery of food much more difficult, particularly if aid workers are attacked and supplies are looted. Conflict can drive people from their homes and away from their normal food supply, leave them unable to afford food or simply stop them planting. The deadliest war in modern African history had killed 5.4 million people, mostly from disease and starvation, making the Second Congo War the deadliest conflict worldwide since World War II. Even after the war had ended, 1,000 people died daily in 2004 from malnutrition and disease.
Food shortages are also often associated with widespread epidemics. Disease outbreaks such as the 2005 Ebola-like Marburg virus in Angola put pressure on food supplies as deliveries ceased due to drivers staying away. If a new deadly virus hits the USA, I doubt people will be confortable leaving their homes. And rightly getting in touch with as few people as possible may save your life. If you have stockpiled food, of if you have the means to produce it, then there’s no need to worry.
Of course there are other factors that may start a food crisis. For example the famine in Ukraine – a man-made famine in 1932 and 1933 that killed up to 7.5 million Ukrainians. There are 127 recorded great famines and almost at any given historical period there was a food crisis somewhere in the world.
HOW TO BE PREPARED FOR A FOOD CRISIS?
In case of a food shortage you should be aware that grocery stores only have about 3 days of food in stock. People will rush and buy as much as they can so probably the food will vanish in less than a day or hours. So if anything was to disrupt the food supply chain for an extended period of time, there would be chaos in most communities. It’s very important to start preparing NOW. There are several ways to start. The choice you make should depend on the event you are preparing for. Of course the best way is to prepare for all scenarios including long periods.
1. STOCKPILING FOOD
You should see your Food Bank as an investment. My advice is to buy food that you actually like to eat. So in case a major SHTF event will not hit until the expiration date of your food, then you can eat it (without spending additional money on food) and then renew your stock.
Another issue is where and how to properly stockpile food. You may need to create some space to keep the extra food, both frozen, and dry/canned goods. This may mean purchasing an extra freezer, or some closed storage shelves. If you have a panic room or maybe a basement you can start stockpiling there. Check storing advice (temperature, humidity, etc.) on the packages and see if it matches with your stockpiling room. Remember you should easily access this room and very few people should know about it.
Decide what food you want to store and how much. This depends on the food crisis period you want to be prepared for and of course, the budget, you plan to invest.
You can find bellow some items easy to stock because they have lengthy expiration dates, so you can stash them away for long periods of time. Make a list of everything you actually like and take into consideration that your stock has all the vitamins, carbohydrates, minerals, fats and protein. In a food crisis, the most important food is the one with most carbohydrates which are the main fuel for physical energy. So keep in mind that having at least on item like rice, pasta, cereals is almost mandatory.
Before stocking other items take into consideration:
Bottled water: If a person can live without food for more than a month, without water it’s unlikely to survive more than 4 days; a normally active person should drink at least a half-gallon of water each day;
Salt: One of the most useful items. It’s used for storing food, curing beef, and flavoring most meals. Salt will stay forever!
Supplements: Multivitamins and minerals will help replace the nutrients you would have consumed on a normal diet;
Peanut Butter: Peanut butter is a source of protein, fat, and calories; can last up to five years;
Fish: essential fatty acids to keep your immune system strong. Also contains vitamin D. Try storing dried fish, canned or frozen fish;
Powdered milk: contain all twenty-one standard amino acids, and are high in vitamins and minerals. The typical average amounts of major nutrients are 36% protein, 52% carbohydrates, calcium 1.3%, and potassium 1.8%. One of the best items to get your calcium from; if stored properly can last for more than 2 years;
Rice: If kept properly rice may stay in good condition for 10 years or more; there are a lot of dishes you can do with rice;
Pasta: Stores extremely well and like rice can you can make a lot of dishes;
Flour and whole grains: Grains are the cheapest items one can buy on a per-pound basis. If you have the means to grind than you should stock whole grain because it preserves better;
Nuts and trail mix: high-energy foods, healthful and convenient for snacking.
Beans: High in protein, and if stored properly can stay for up to ten years. Make sure to store them in a cool, dry, dark location.
Canned Meat: typically will keep for 6-10 years and they’re an excellent source of protein. If the grid is down for a long time it’s very important to have this item because excessive hunting and fishing may extinct some species;
Canned Fruit & Vegetables: Not a very good source of calories and it takes a lot of space to store but the best natural source of vitamins;
Dried fruits, such as apricots and raisins: potassium and dietary fiber; really easy to store;
Lard: offer much-needed calories during times of crisis, cooking oil for multiple uses, and it will keep longer than cooking oils because of the hydrogenation;
Honey is also excellent as it will store forever. Mostly made from sugars and contains only trace amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants;
These are just some good examples but you may find here the nutrients of almost all types of food.
2. PRODUCE YOUR OWN FOOD
Although it’s very important to stock food, on a long-term food crisis can be wiser to have the means to produce your own food. If you live in a city and you don’t have a backyard, you should take into consideration buying at least one acre somewhere in the countryside. Most famine victims are townspeople. Living in the countryside makes it much easier to procure your food. If you don’t know much about gardening, then start small with a few garden boxes for tomatoes, herbs, or sprouting. And also you can raise animals. Choose only domestic animals that can provide you with more than meet: chickens or ducks for eggs, cows or sheep for milk, fishes for fish eggs. Just like stockpiling food think that you should get all vitamins, carbohydrates, protein, fats, and minerals.
Remember that you may need to:
- Protect Your Harvest against looters: visibly mark your land and if you have the means try building a fenced yard; looters will know that your land it’s better defended so it’s likely to try stealing from someone else; always keep a gun by your side;
- Learn Food Preservation: maybe you need to store food for the winter or maybe you want to have a food reserve just in case. Food preservation comes in many forms such as canning, pickling, and dehydrating. Some tools and materials are required along with a good deal of knowledge. Also, build a basement to better stock your food;
- Store Seeds: save some of the harvests to collect the seeds and to plant them the next year. Collect your seeds from the healthiest plants. Also, learn how to properly store and plant them;
- Trade Food in order to supply with other materials you can’t procure otherwise;
One of the best ways to produce your food in a SHTF situation is to build an AQUAPONIC SYSTEM. Aquaponics combines hydroponics and aquaculture into one symbiotic system consisting of plants and aquatic organisms. Practically an Aquaponic System it’s a self-sustained bio system where the fish excrements are broken down by nitrogen-fixing bacteria into nitrates and nitrites which are utilized by the plants as nutrients. The water is then recirculated back to the aquaculture system. It’s a win, win, win for the plants, the fish and for you.
I’d rather choose aquaponics in a food crisis or major SHTF situation because:
- It can provide you with almost any type of vegetables/fruits and fish; you’ll have all your protein, vitamins, calories and good fats; you’ll also have fish eggs;
- Aquaponics saves water; in case of a drought or in a SHTF when water may become scarce keep in mind that your plant will not be affected; aquaponics uses 90% less water than soil-based agriculture because the water recirculates within the system rather than seeps away;
- You’ll always have a surplus of water for you and your family to drink;
- Plants grow faster. Because we are continually bringing fresh nutrient to the plants they grow faster; you’ll find that plants growing faster mean you need half the space than in soil based gardening;
- Can be adapted for small spaces; In urban environments where space is a valuable commodity, it can come in all shapes and sizes.
You may consider aquaponics not only for a food crisis but also as a mean to produce healthy, fresh food for your family.
More so, Dr. Nate Storey, a Ph.D. at the University of Wyoming in Agronomy, inventor, and CEO at Bright Agrotech has recently increased aquaponic production using zipgrow towers. You can now grow 3 times more vegetables using this vertical planting method.
The flexibility of creating your own farm is part of what makes this method so popular. Systems can range from small backyard setups to vast commercial systems that fill up entire rooms. You can use fresh water or salt water. You can choose different types of fish and plants as well.
If you’re not fully convinced that having a sustainable source of food is possible – or even necessary – I have something you need to watch. It’s much better than I am at explaining the threat. Watch it and learn why you need your own sustainable food source and how you can get information to build your own aquaponics system.
Agree with everything EXCEPT the basement. Basements are the second place marauders will look.
It’s much better to stock in a panic room. Basement is good only because of the low temperature in the summer. Although it’s bad for dry food because of high humidity levels.
A very interesting report, covered a multitude of possibilities. Enjoyed and learned from the information
Thanks a million,
As stated in someone else’s comment, using the basement for all your storage is not a good idea. Looters will check there right away. And if you try to retreat to you safe room, you will probably not arrive there alive. Small caches of supplies throughout your home will mean you will still have food/money/barter goods/guns/ammo once the looters ransack the kitchen. In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Look up calories in a human. HINT.
Males have more protein, females more fat.
Certainly there are a LOT of humans and that can be considered as a regular food source. Especially looters.
Shoot one looter and the rest may flee.
Basement is a good place to defend as well as keep foods (properly sealed) lasting longer.
Basements are generally a cooler temp so that helps especially in the summer time.
Here’s an idea:
Place expired foods in the cabinets for looter to FIND and take.
And something for them to carry the stuff close by.
Make it easy for them to take *something*
Once they do, word gets out that you have already been hit and nothing left.
Looters are after the easy targets – grab and go.
I do agree that some foods should be kept in more hidden parts of the house if you can.
Something that heat won’t bother.
Garage may be worth considering if it has a loft in it.
About basements: yes they are more humid. That can be a plus too.
If someone is dumb enough to have an all electric house, well there is that…
You can cook in a basement.
But beware of CO issues.
You could make a ‘range hood’ for your cooking and vent it through where your GAS hot water heater vents.
Most basements have one way in.
Hide behind the steps and blow their legs off if they come down.
Just be sure to drain blood and cook WELL DONE.
Toss remaining carcass out in the front yard if you can safely do it.
so how will this work if there is no power??
Exactly! We do it and it takes a lot of water due to evaporation and changing to fresh water as well as power to keep enough oxygen in the water to keep the fish alive.
Maybe you should check into solar power, wind power, etc. Self sustaining also means being mainly independent of the electrical grid. In a SHTF scenario loss of electricity should be expected. For how long? Your guess is as good as mine.
Batteries that you saved? Solar powered items that were in the cage?
Been stockpiling a little, but the aquaponics is easy with a solar pump. Sunfish & tilapia will overwinter in my greenhouse, in zone 7. Save glass storm doors & windows, then build a greenhouse. I spent less than $500 & most of it was gravel & lumber. Used an old pool from Habitat, for the fish tank. Great advice!
We live in a veery humid area of the country and close to sea level so no basement options. Store food in dark dry area average temperature 70 deg. Some of our dried beans are now 6 yrs. old how much food value is left?
Beans are fine up to about 10 years if kept about 70 degrees in a dark place. Using and replacing food items as they near end of storage time is good stewardship of your resources. I store dry beans in glass, plastic, metal and the cloth bags they come from the farm in. All seem to work fine but I have to consider rodents so most often I use glass. We just use from on large contained till its used up then start on another. When new season beans are available at the farms in the fall we buy more and refill the containers. Rotation of canned goods is the same principle. Anything nearing the end of safe keeping time should be used and fresh items stored in their place.
If you store your beans in mylar bags with Oxygen absorbers, they can last much longer than 10 years..Mine are going on 13..and cook up fine.
Is it still a recommended to put pasta, flour, cereal, etc in freezer for 72 hours before storing to destroy any remaining insect lavea (sp)?
I think freezing is still prudent.
Another option is oven-canning – see http://homestead-and-survival.com/how-to-oven-can-preserve-dry-goods/
My mother did oven canning. I haven’t tried it. It would make sense to seal dry things that way.
It�s nearly impossible to find knowledgeable people in his particxular subject, but
you sesm like you know what you�re talking about!
Finally getting settled back into my original 3 country acres. Made some raised planting beds around a tiny patio and firepit that we enjoy. As home repairs settle down and weather warms in the spring we will get back to work on a bigger garden and I hope to get the permanent greenhouse started. Initally a temporary one from the metal frame ,from one of those car garages covered in tarp material that tore and was free on Craigslist , will be a start. I will cover it with the same 6 mil plastic I cover my Windows with each winter. I also have a 3’x 15′ pool, with an air leak in the rim, and a repair kit to fix the leak. It was free on Craigslist and came with the pump and filter. I will be on the lookout for larger sizes of pvc pipe ( used ok) and gutters. I have 15 sliding glass doors and enough clear corrugated green house material,for an 8’x20′ roof. All free used on craigslist. Also looking for framing materials now.
We have moved our chickens and added 9 young Chicks 6 of whom will be laying eggs by spring and 3 Beautiful young roosters that will be either traded or fried soon. They were also free from Craigslist. I’ve a total of 18 chickens, 6 ducks, 17 rabbits, 1 dog and 1 cat. Each has its place in the scheme of things. Dog is good centry alarm, cat is an awesome rhodednt hunter, chickens and ducks produce eggs and excess are meat, rabbits are meat-fur-and body heat for winter in the greenhouse. All produce different kinds of fertilizers for the garden and greenhouse. Fowels produce a hot fertilizer that needs to be composted but is good for bloom and fruiting time in garden. Rabbits produce a cold fertilizer that is safe used directly or as a tea for watering. It promotes great green growth. Strong, Hugh, plants of my leafy greens stay on rabbit tea till hard killing freezes finally get them.
This winter I’m playing with drying Swiss chard leaves to add to soups. I have several dozen jars of canned greens from just the tiny patio garden. Also a few jars of pretty, pickled, tiny tomatoes in a rainbow of colors and a dozen pints of green beans. We ate and shared most of what grew there. Just raised beds on 2 1/3 sides of a small patio I made outside of my bedroom. I will add more beds there in the the spring.
One yellow pear tomato grew from seed to a mass that was 4′ tall and 6’x6′ across and stayed full of fruit till it froze. I did save seed from it. I have been growing those tomatoes each year since grandma gave me seeds in 1967. It is the easiest of all I have ever grown anywhere I have lived. Some years, when I am home daily to cover and uncover the plants with old blankets, I have kept tomatoes growing and producing fruit for several years. Smaller tomatoes have often been potted and moved to a sunny window.
My kids always liked my “tiny tomato salad” made with several colors of halved tomatoes stirred through a mass of shredded zucchini and enough Italian salad dressing to moisten and flavor it. They forgot the zucchini and noticed the colorful tomatoes.
Two Hugh zucchini plants kept two families in squash this summer. Even with moving and just being there one or two days a week in the summer everything grew abundantly. We live in high mountain desert at 6,250 ft elevation. Hot days with cool nights most of the time. I tranplanted my asperagus and rhubarb as we started the move. They are in two beds along the patio and eventually they will take over their areas. This year I planted a small variety of corn with the asparagus. Both seemed very happy. The rhubarb was surrounded by Rainbow Swiss Chard, a Boc Choy that was the biggest I’ve seen, some carnations with pretty pink flowers and yardlong beans growing up the fence. Spring will tell how well the tranplants really did.
Thyme did ok but stevia, oregano and basil out did themselves in a mix of Adobe dirt and rabbit manure. I grew my mint in a bucket to contain it as I moved it. I will plant it near my fenceline where an irrigation ditch flows across a tiny corner of the property. A lot of alfalfa grows there already. Rather than get rid of it ,as my neighbors do, I will encourage it. My chickens, ducks, and rabbits all love a fresh cut armful thrown into each cage or pen. All they leave are the tough stems. A goat, horse, or sheep would have cleaned that up for me.
When my home repairs and a greenhouse are done I may look into building a pen for a couple of goats.
I think prepping is more a way of life combined with inginguity and planning for the years ahead.
My land has two wells but a pump in only one. An old boat winch from a salvaged boat trailer, free from Craigslist, and some welding and a well bucket will supply water if we are without power. For $1500 I could do a solar pump and cattle pond setup but that is cash I don’t have. Inginuity, a welder, and a bit of work will have to do.
I’m a great grandma but this is what I live for and enjoy. Every new chick, baby rabbit, leaves breaking through the soil are pure joy. Hard work brings a sense of pride in the accomplishment.
I’m 70, and everything tends to hurt a good deal of the time but this keeps me moving and doing and happy. Then you don’t notice what hurts so much.
You could call me a prepper I guess but mostly I’m just an old country Gal at heart. We grow it, cook it or save it for later.
GOOD MORNING. SEARCH FOR A SOURCE OF WOOD PALLETS. I SPOTTED A LOAD OF PALLETS ON
THE WAY TO A LANDFILL THAT CONTAINED PALLETS MADE OF 2 X 6 MATERIAL. A LITTLE EXTRA WORK DISASSEMBLING ,BUT THE PRICE WAS RIGHT. BE SURE TO CHECK IF THE PALLETS HAVE BEEN SPRAYED WITH ANY KIND OF PRESERVATIVES, ETC., ETC.
My parents grew up farming and Gardening. They were born Mom 1904, Dad 1907. I was 1947 born in Washington DC. I grew up in DC, LA, Seattle but told Mom we had moved to heaven when we moved 8 miles out of St Helena, in Napa County, CA. I rode a neighbors horses bareback with just a handful of mane and knee pressure to guide them. I freely ran and climbed in the woods near our home. I have been country ever since. I spent two years in Albuquerque after I was widowed and had to pay off bills. Then as quick as possible I moved to a place in the east mountains area. Now I have moved back to the place I own a few miles out of a small town.
It needs lots of work and repairs but it’s mine and two sons are now joint tenements with me on the deed. That settles ownership when I’m gone. We have a legal family plot in a corner of the property so I don’t plan to permemantly leave again.
My parents, grandmother, and in-laws all went through the depression as adults. I learned a lot from them.
My mother canned, froze, and dried the produce from our garden and fruit we gleaned or paid to pick from the orchards. Mom even dried thin slices of firmer mellons, cantaloupe was best, so it was rather like chewing the fruit leather that became popular in the 1970s. We dried green beans cut long ways so they hung on the clothes lines to dry. She had grown up with them and called them Dutchmen’s Breeches. They taste almost meaty when cooked in lightly salted water with some chopped onion. She was born in Bucks County, PA. Relatives were Amish. She had a good education in the old ways as well as helping Dad run cooking schools while he was in college on the GI Bill. She was an accomplished gourmet cook. Surprising isnt it that Gourmet Cooking” is really just a good sense of what works together and real home cooking styles. She made all our breads from scratch. She even made good English Muffins and bagels at home. I was surprised to see dough raised and shaped like a doughnut, boiled then baked. But that is what it takes to make a great bagel. 🙂
Clergylady, if you are still coming here I just want you to know that I read your entire posts and I think you are one fantastic, awesome, remarkable and gifted lady! I admire your tenacity and skil! My grandparents owned a 71 acre farm in Claiborne County, TN and I remember the rows of corn, vegetable garden, basement packed with her canned goods and a freezer as long as a freight train jam packed with food! Every morning, upon awakening, I could hear my grandma’s pressure cooker whistling away! She was a farmers wife for sure and my grandparents were the best people in the world! Oh how I miss them!!!! Your writings brought back sweet memories. Thank you for sharing!
Thanks Barbara Carol.
Still here. Mostly reading the past three weeks. Another tough patch but still going on. My husband and I were putting upper cabinet doors back up. I’d just finished painting my whole kitchen. He did one then got confused with the hardware on the next one. I told him to sit down and rest a minute. I saw the FedEx truck pull into the yard so I stepped out and told the driver to bring the boxes in here. I stepped back inside and my husband had stopped breathing. I couldn’t find a pulse. Eyes wide open and unresponsive. I’d just had surgery on my right arm so I leaned his head back up against the wall and started one handed CPR. I’d bet the prayers were better than my CPR but he quickly started breathing. I kept shaking and calling his name to keep him from fading out while I called 911.
Long story short. A pacemaker lead in the heart had broken and needed replacing. That’s done. He’s fine but quite black and blue from the surgery. We both have 5 more weeks of restrictions. 5 lb limit on my right hand and a 10 lb limit on his left hand. It takes both of us working together to feed and water the critters.
I grew up with farm raised parents. I fell in love with the rural life when we moved to a tiny community 8 miles from town when I was eleven. I always helped with canning and drying, gardening, gleaning, forraging, building and figuring out how things worked. I’ve never looked back on city life with any desire.
Thanks for the kind words. I just share what life brings and how I live it. Glad you have fond memories of your grandparents.
Milking sheep? Really?
Sheep are milked all over the world! Makes the very best cheese.
Don’t count on electricity. If you use a freezer and the grid goes down you are sol. I have goats, sheep, & chickens for an additional food source. I have a garden and I can what I grow or freeze dry it. I have a non-electric freezer dryer. I have non-electric everything just in case. I have a wood cook stove and a special water bath just for the stove. I have been doing this for years. Take a note book and go around your home room by room and write down everything you use on a daily bases. Then start collecting the things you use most. I know it takes us space, but as it says build shelves.I have water grade containers and I store water with an additive. I have a water purifier. I know it is going to be hard and we will make mistakes along the way, but be diligent and the most important thing is to think positive and out side the box.
A few years ago we had a freezer that died in the middle of winter and I had to find alternate ways to store the food in it. I had two days to can, dehydrate, move to the refrigerator freezer and eat before it spoiled. I managed to save the majority of it. What we didn’t eat, our chickens did!
Where do I get a non-electric freeze dryer?
I got mine from Ebay for around $40. or so.
Where did you get a “non-electric” freeze dryer??? Never heard of one. I’d like to find one if possible as I just learned about home freeze drying.
I lost half the contents of a freezer when we moved back to my property last year. I did save half while in the midst of moving. Freezer not ruined and cleaned but I’ll not reactivate it. I plan to sell it. A refrigerator is enough. The food I didn’t save chickens ate and some went into helping start a compost pile.
I dehydrate, can, and store in a cool place as my grandparents would have. I’ve taken my home off grid solar. Other places here are still on grid power. The main well is on grid power but I have an old winch and may buy a new manual one from Harbor Freight. Not much cost to get it. I want to buy but can make do without a well bucket. A 12v submersible pump and pressure tank could be done with the solar panels I’ve purchased along with charge controllers and inverters. Buy a little then add to it as I can. I plan to activate the 2nd well here by my home and garden. It will be back up and garden water.
My garden will be larger this year and probably will grow again for next year. I have chickens, ducks and rabbits. At 72 I don’t want to take on goats and milking but fresh milk for cooking, yogurt, cheese et would be nice.
I’m not a militant prepper but I do know how to shoot. My grandmother was target practicing weekly until 6 months before she passed in her 90s. Mostly I shoot dogs after my critters. I have seeds starting all over the home. By next year I hope to have both planned greenhouses up and ready to use. One a standard green house from gathered materials. The other a dug out walapini with saved trailer rafters and plastic overhead.
I’ve always saved seed and have sprouts for winter salads and sandwiches. I’m adding a few more pans of seed for critters to have fresh winter greens. Purchased seed and fancy set ups are not essential. I even sprout lambs quarter as well as eat, make tea and add tender tips to salads from both mint and alfalfa in containers. My hot boxes for starting a spring garden are simply 2 cinder blocks high dry stacked block with double panes of glass in the doors laid on top. They get so hot they must be vented at times. My winter squash, pie pumpkins and more are already up. I have a full tray of lavender and mixed trays of other flowers up. Tomatoes go in starter pellets next week. I love watching things come up. I bought a new hoe this year. I’ll have to sharpen it soon and start preparing planting areas. Trash bags will then lay on the beds to begin warming the soil. I don’t have gutters yet so plastic bins will line the roof drip line to save rain water for my initial plantings.
There is so much to be done. Most isn’t expensive and only take a little effort. It takes a lot of planning.
My garden always has flowers interspersed. They draw bees and beneficial insects. And some are edibles as well. The garden is a joy. I love working there. I dig out my old music and listen while I work. My cats and dog all join me in the garden. The cats love to lay in the sun while I work. They hunt mice and voles around where the critters are fed.
Prepping is just a reasonable way of life. I’m learning my way around a new cross bow. I’ve added more asperigus and by next year I’ll add a large strawberry bed. I have raspberries and blackberries to set out soon. My ancient apricot will again be cared for and the old apples must be pruned. Wild plums, gooseberries and wild roses need some care. The wild sour cherries need transplanted. Grapes need spring pruning and trimmings from fruits will be rooted for planting this year or next year. The wild roses will be moved and some roots and leaves will be added to med supplies.
The gravity fed pellet rocket stove has kept us through another winter. Piles of wood chips will go into building new planting areas, some will be ground cover and some dried and set aside for winter heat.
Spring is an exciting time. Lots of work but joy as well. I love new life in the gardens and in the critter areas. Every green sprig breaking ground is a pleasure to watch. Fat babies are such a pleasure as they grow. I usually sell some rabbits but I lost so many to dogs the last two years and with the move and injuries I haven’t rebuilt stock. This spring I’ll be breading litters for us and for sale. We have a lot of young chickens that should begin laying this spring. A bunch of bloody hens have managed to get them through the winter. Any young rosters will probably be soup soon.
Planning and plodding along are slowly getting things done.
I too an 72 and I have goats and sheep coming and chickens. I will get a KuneKune Pig next. Right now I need to make sure my goats and sheep are doing well. I have not collected seeds. I do have a book on it, but have not taken the time to read it yet. I groom dogs for people with no money and that takes up some of my precious time. Our property is fences except for a small portion at the back. He is working on that. I will put my berry plants on the outside of the fence so the critters won’t harm them. Other things to do also. It just finding the time to get to them. On that note I gotta go.
Goats and sheep sound interesting. Just a bit more work and tied down than I can take on alone.
My husbands dimentia is getting much worse and he’s quickly becoming less able to help. He takes no initive in doing things now. He’s willing to help when asked but I have work along side or he stops and starts trying to figure out what’s before him. If I’m out of sight he forgets where I’m at and starts hunting for me so mostly I have to keep him by my side. He used to bring me coffee in bed many mornings. He still wants to make coffee but now I have to remind him of each step to do it. Life changes…
I worked with dementia patients the last two years before retiring. Many became mean. I’m so blessed, my husband gets sweeter and tells me often how much he loves me. He forgets where we live or where the bedroom is located. But he remembers me.
I’m still pastoring a tiny country church 100 miles from home. We leave 2 hours early to make the drive. After church we have lunch then make the return trip. Its an adventure each week for my husband. Occasionally he remembers where we are but usually he insists we are near where he grew up. No arguing.. He still plays the drums for our little music group. His timing is still impeccable. Some in the group have been semi pro musicians and some just enjoy making music. I’m in the latter group.
Today there will be a wedding after church so were will spend the night here at a friend’s home. We stayed here last night after the rehersal. A friend is caring for the critters while were are away for this long weekend. If we had something that required milking we couldn’t be gone so easily.
C. With a small 1 bedroom, 1 bath home there isn’t a panic room. But I do have plans for a room underground, accessible from both the walapini pit green house that’s planned, and a new chicken coop that’s planned. I saved materials from a mobile home fit the frame of the chicken pen and most of the coop. The saved rafters will become the support for the plastic roof over the walapini pit greenhouse. The underground room will be in that area with well disguised entrances and ventilation. There is a well disguised trap door out of the home. There will be two ways out of the space under the floor of the home. Hopefully the trap door is never needed. The underground room in this country will be dry and temps cool but above freezing. I have solar motion sensor lights that will be installed in the room. The collection panels will be outside but not too viable. That is something already well tried here. The building where my rabbits are doesn’t have power. There is enough light in daytime to check on the critters but for feeding and filling water bottles I need more light. I use a motion sensor light there with its solar panel outside. It only works in low or no light so I shut the door and a wave of my hand turns on the light. Most of those lights have adjustable timers for how long the light stays on. I have it set at the longest setting. I can feed and water all the cages on three resets.
That planned room will also be my main storage for food in jars and my root cellar. That’s more than any neighbor will know. Any shed would need a small heat source all winter to keep the jars from freezing. My home is small. I do keep about a month of food easily in the home. So I’m planning for food for more than a month from my garden and critters. By going deeper than frostline it makes sense like a good basement would be. Mostly I planed it for food storage. It will also store camping equipment so it could be used as a shelter. Storing water would be no problem. We have 38 degree water that always tests as exceptionally nice germfree drinking water. Both wells are into an underground river.
Clergylady; you are my inspiration. I am just setting out on my mini farm adventure, and I worry I won’t be able to do what I want to since I’m single with no children who will be helping. I’m 66 now and I finally am at a point where I can realize this dream. People keep telling me how I won’t be able to do it and that I am just fooling myself, but I feel I have to try. I hope the lifestyle will help me with my as yet minor health issues because it will get my lazy butt up and more mobile. I have been a truck driver most of the last 40 years and it took a toll on my poor bones, but I’m looking forward to doing something I have always wanted to do. You have inspired me in a way that the naysayers will never understand. I hope you are still well and living your best life.
I dehydrate a lot of my food, and store in containers, mylar bags, seal a meal them Oxygen absorbers, this prolongs the shelf life of Many foods. I am purchasing a Freeze dryer as we speak. (Harvest right ) has a payment plan, and its easy to purchase. Will make quick work of lots of meal prep. and storage.
good article. live in humid area; no basement; stockpile in pantry-if grid goes down, would this stuff survive? mostly canned, any dry is in sealed glass, or foodsaver bags, have bottled water, sugar/flour/salt in foodsaver bags (air sucked out), bottled drinks, tea/coffee -foodsaver, important papers in foodsaver, and so on.
I’m in 70s, dont want to have to start over with food, too expensive. gardening…not quite an option; anything need to be added, changed, whatever? thanks