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I would love to hear others' efforts in planning for emergencies and their efforts to become more self-sufficient.

 

We've been full circle with farm animals: had a milking cow and goats, but eventually got rid of them realizing it was too much for us. We do have a flock of chickens.

 

I keep 5 gallon sealed tubs of wheat berries, all types of beans, lentils, rice, and oats stocked to last about a year. I try to rotate them and this year planted our own wheat and beans for the experiencing, but not nearly enough to live off of yet.

 

I installed a wood stove in case of power outages, as well as a manual hand pump for our well in the case of no electric.

 

I have a set fo cast iron pots to use over a campfire or our woodstove for cooking if need be.

 

Please chime in on your efforts . . .

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What type of emergency to you anticipate that would last more than a year?

 

Growing up I heard of concerns where people should prepare for hard times. My grandmother had months worth of freeze-dried meals in her closet. These were obviously never used. Growing up, Communist Russia was feared. As an adult, Y2K was feared. There's always something.

 

I think the best way to prepare for unforeseen circumstances is to educate yourself and encourage your kids to receive an education in a field that pays a salary that allows a comfortable living. Also, I think it's important to network with others in your same field so that there's a potential to share good job opportunities. I think it's important to live under one's means even when times are good. This means saving as much as possible.

 

I think doing the above is better preparation for hard times than growing, canning, and storing away provisions.

 

(Before another controversy get started, I want to make the disclaimer that some people do not make enough money to save enough to get a cushion for hard times. However, many people can do this. This should be the eventual goal to protect oneself during hard times.)

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What type of emergency to you anticipate that would last more than a year?

 

Growing up I heard of concerns where people should prepare for hard times. My grandmother had months worth of freeze-dried meals in her closet. These were obviously never used. Growing up, Communist Russia was feared. As an adult, Y2K was feared. There's always something.

 

I think the best way to prepare for unforeseen circumstances is to educate yourself and encourage your kids to receive an education in a field that pays a salary that allows a comfortable living. Also, I think it's important to network with others in your same field so that there's a potential to share good job opportunities. I think it's important to live under one's means even when times are good. This means saving as much as possible.

 

I think doing the above is better preparation for hard times than growing, canning, and storing away provisions.

 

(Before another controversy get started, I want to make the disclaimer that some people do not make enough money to save enough to get a cushion for hard times. However, many people can do this. This should be the eventual goal to protect oneself during hard times.)

 

 

Lisa,

 

I'm not talking about living in fear, being irrational, or building a bomb shelter stocked with freeze dried meals.

 

Buying food in bulk, rotating your pantry, living more self-sufficiently, and making provisions for an emergency does not have to be done to the exclusion of job planning, etc. Yes, I encourage my children to be educated, plan for careers that can support them, etc. I also know that, if in the case of some short-term or long term circumstances, my family can eat.

 

Back to the bunker . . .

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We moved back to the family farm, began gardening, canning, raising chickens. While we are nowhere near self sufficient, every little step towards it feels good.

 

We also keep lots of oil lamps and extra oil around.

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We have a farm and could be nearly self-sufficient if we had to be. There's the issue of fuel and hydro, but we could feed ourselves, and the place is paid for, so no mortgage anymore. We spent the first 10 years of our marriage living on next to nothing so we could pay off the farm and other debt. I can't say we're entirely debt-free because we have an operating line of credit that has debt on it every year, and then (hopefully) when the crops are sold, we pay it all off and have a little profit left over.

 

I don't worry about it, though. If worse came to worse, we'd be scrimping again, but I can do that and we were always a happy family, so I don't see why that would change. I've learned to let go of the stuff and hang on to the people I love.

 

I also don't poke fingers at people who have unfortunate circumstances. I don't hinge the value of a person on how much money they have or don't have, and what kind of financial arrangements they've made or haven't made. I don't focus on the money, period. Money is a snake in the garden. If you (general you) can't understand that, you might end up a heartless shrew.

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I also don't poke fingers at people who have unfortunate circumstances. I don't hinge the value of a person on how much money they have or don't have, and what kind of financial arrangements they've made or haven't made. I don't focus on the money, period. Money is a snake in the garden. If you (general you) can't understand that, you might end up a heartless shrew.

 

 

Thank you, Audrey. My sentiments exactly.

 

astrid

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I don't see where the OP was talking about a really long emergency. :confused:

 

That said, some emergencies could last a really long time.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lawrence-e-joseph/the-solar-katrina-storm-t_b_641354.html

 

We haven't done very much to be self-sufficient yet, mostly because we need to sell our house first and it's not selling in the current market. After it sells we plan to move into a cooperative housing situation in which we'll be gardening, have some chickens, and use solar power. We'd like to be more self-sufficient in general, not just for emergencies. I'd like to learn how to sew or knit when my 2 yo is older. Right now she's a huge handful.

 

We don't have a lot of skills but we have some and our plan is to team up with others so the group is more self-sufficient. :)

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We've been focusing diversifying our skills. For example, dh started his own business last year. He had been umpiring/refereeing for about 10 years as a side job while working as a truck driver. He was able to go into business supplying referees to local park districts and churches. It's growing but not quite able to sustain us yet, so dh is also learning computer programming during the day with a buddy of his who owns his own business and working his business at night. Truck driving is his back up should all else fail. Truck driving jobs are relatively easy to get when you have many years of experience, and are relatively good paying jobs.

 

I've been tutoring kids in math and reading/spelling, with an emphasis on dyslexic or struggling students. I also temp occasionally at my sister's law firm doing filing/organizing.

 

Outside of skills, we do a lot of "super-couponing" and save a lot of money that way, while building a small store of food. Today there was a big soup sale at our local grocery chain, coupled with a lot of other items. I was able to walk away paying $26.74 for:

 

72 cans of soup,

7 boxes microwave popcorn,

2 bottles syrup,

6 cans vegetables,

3 gallons of milk,

2 loaves of good bread,

4 jars of peanut butter,

4 jars of jam,

3 boxes cocoa mix,

2 cartons eggs,

12 pack of toilet paper,

1 big can of coffee,

2- 5lb. bags of flour,

5 bottles of ketchup,

1 can whip cream,

2 packs of gum,

1 candy bar (for the kids to split) ;)

 

I saved $132.00. Some of it will go to the local food pantry and some will get stocked on the shelves in our basement.

 

We've also been working hard at saving and getting as much as possible into the bank for the inevitable storm that will pass our way. Buying from thrift stores and not having a car payment go a long way in our ability to add to it.

 

We've been doing more gardening as well. More for the benefit of growing our own organic produce than saving money though. I was able to can a bunch of peaches, tomatoes and pickles and froze beans & pumpkin. Every little bit helps.

 

Great thread! I'm always interested to learn what others are doing. We live in the suburbs so can't have farm animals, but if we had more land I might consider at least some chickens. Maybe one day.

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Here's what we have been doing (updated from a previous thread):

 

1) Reducing monthly expenditures to limit potential impact of losing our one income:

- Eliminated mortgage, tractor loan, car loans and land telephone line.

- Reduced cellular expenses.

- Avoid any monthly expenses (no cable, satellite TV, etc.)

- Haven't reduced internet, yet, but will if job does not hold out.

 

2) Growing more and more of our own food:

- MomsintheGarden has 1000 sq. ft. of raised beds which she plants very intensively. Lots of GREAT food comes from there. This garden is inside a fence where deer cannot get to it.

- Last year we added a 1600 sq. ft. potato garden in which we planted 50 lbs. of seed potatoes. This produced several hundred pounds of potatoes, which was enough to get us through the year and have some left to share/trade. This garden is outside the fence.

- This year we have worked to expand that area to about 2500 sq. ft. In addition to the potatoes, we would like to move some crops out from the fenced-in raised beds. The idea is to grow as much deer-proof food outside the fence to gain more space in the raised beds. MomsintheGarden successfully moved all of the onions from within the fence to this new area this year. That freed up about 150 sq. ft of raised bed space. We are currently moving blackberries and asparagus outside the fence and building a new raised bed inside. This should free up about 200 more sq. ft. of fenced-in raised-bed space. Any suggestions of other crops which the deer should leave alone? Surprisingly the rhubarb is not safe from the deer. We may be moving that inside the fence very soon.

- Canning/freezing/root cellaring as much as we can to try to store food year round.

- We bought a chicken house last year and currently have 26 hens and one rooster. Some of the hens are new this year, so our egg production is just ramping up now.

 

3) Storing up consumables:

- Food. We're storing up long-term storables such as wheat and canned goods.

- Homeschool curriculum. We are fortunate that we have now graduated our two oldest so we have *most* of the materials we need for the others. We are now trying to purchase any additional materials that may be needed to get the rest of our DC through.

- Computers. We have a bunch of these. Hopefully we can get along for quite some time without any new purchases.

- Cash. We normally do not use cash, so it is a change for us to have any on hand. However, with the possibility of banking disruptions, it seems to make sense to have some around. How much is enough is anyone's guess.

- Entertainment. Lots of books and movies around. OTA and FTA TV are free, and with a DVR, they don't take over our lives. We also enjoy the Wii and Wii Fit!

 

4) Energy

- We have photovoltaics for electricity, but this system is currently in need my attention to repair a battery issue. This can run all of our needs, including the well pump, refrigerators and lighting, assuming we are very careful with consumption.

- Diesel tank is full. Unfortunately, only the tractor runs on diesel. It would be nice to have at least one diesel car, but I'm not sure I can justify the purchase.

- Propane tank holds enough for about 1 year of consumption. This is used by the cookstove and dryer only.

- Generator for worst-case situations. Need to convert to run off propane.

- Heat for winter. This is our biggest issue. We currently have a wood pellet stove and a heat pump. Each of these can heat our house, but they both require us to purchase energy each winter. I think if things get very bad we will need to purchase a wood stove and install a chimney. I had a chainsaw accident when I was 20, so I'm not looking forward to purchasing one of those!

 

5) Building a social network

- We've managed to find a local church which has suited us for the past five years or so! (No simple task, IMO!)

- We have started trading goods/services with a some of our neighbors. They are old-fashioned and we have some complementary hunting/gardening/farming capabilities/crops, etc. We would like to do this with more of our neighbors, if possible.

 

6) Building alternative income streams

- Building investments which may be able to provide income through the storm. Right now, junk bonds are my favorite!

- Looking to build our own businesses to provide long-term income from multiple sources. Solar energy and/or software seem like two obvious possibilities, but farming may be a possibility. It's pretty rocky, here, however.

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Here's what we have been doing (updated from a previous thread):

 

1) Reducing monthly expenditures to limit potential impact of losing our one income:

- Eliminated mortgage, tractor loan, car loans and land telephone line.

- Reduced cellular expenses.

- Avoid any monthly expenses (no cable, satellite TV, etc.)

- Haven't reduced internet, yet, but will if job does not hold out.

 

2) Growing more and more of our own food:

- MomsintheGarden has 1000 sq. ft. of raised beds which she plants very intensively. Lots of GREAT food comes from there. This garden is inside a fence where deer cannot get to it.

- Last year we added a 1600 sq. ft. potato garden in which we planted 50 lbs. of seed potatoes. This produced several hundred pounds of potatoes, which was enough to get us through the year and have some left to share/trade. This garden is outside the fence.

- This year we have worked to expand that area to about 2500 sq. ft. In addition to the potatoes, we would like to move some crops out from the fenced-in raised beds. The idea is to grow as much deer-proof food outside the fence to gain more space in the raised beds. MomsintheGarden successfully moved all of the onions from within the fence to this new area this year. That freed up about 150 sq. ft of raised bed space. We are currently moving blackberries and asparagus outside the fence and building a new raised bed inside. This should free up about 200 more sq. ft. of fenced-in raised-bed space. Any suggestions of other crops which the deer should leave alone? Surprisingly the rhubarb is not safe from the deer. We may be moving that inside the fence very soon.

- Canning/freezing/root cellaring as much as we can to try to store food year round.

- We bought a chicken house last year and currently have 26 hens and one rooster. Some of the hens are new this year, so our egg production is just ramping up now.

 

3) Storing up consumables:

- Food. We're storing up long-term storables such as wheat and canned goods.

- Homeschool curriculum. We are fortunate that we have now graduated our two oldest so we have *most* of the materials we need for the others. We are now trying to purchase any additional materials that may be needed to get the rest of our DC through.

- Computers. We have a bunch of these. Hopefully we can get along for quite some time without any new purchases.

- Cash. We normally do not use cash, so it is a change for us to have any on hand. However, with the possibility of banking disruptions, it seems to make sense to have some around. How much is enough is anyone's guess.

- Entertainment. Lots of books and movies around. OTA and FTA TV are free, and with a DVR, they don't take over our lives. We also enjoy the Wii and Wii Fit!

 

4) Energy

- We have photovoltaics for electricity, but this system is currently in need my attention to repair a battery issue. This can run all of our needs, including the well pump, refrigerators and lighting, assuming we are very careful with consumption.

- Diesel tank is full. Unfortunately, only the tractor runs on diesel. It would be nice to have at least one diesel car, but I'm not sure I can justify the purchase.

- Propane tank holds enough for about 1 year of consumption. This is used by the cookstove and dryer only.

- Generator for worst-case situations. Need to convert to run off propane.

- Heat for winter. This is our biggest issue. We currently have a wood pellet stove and a heat pump. Each of these can heat our house, but they both require us to purchase energy each winter. I think if things get very bad we will need to purchase a wood stove and install a chimney. I had a chainsaw accident when I was 20, so I'm not looking forward to purchasing one of those!

 

5) Building a social network

- We've managed to find a local church which has suited us for the past five years or so! (No simple task, IMO!)

- We have started trading goods/services with a some of our neighbors. They are old-fashioned and we have some complementary hunting/gardening/farming capabilities/crops, etc. We would like to do this with more of our neighbors, if possible.

 

6) Building alternative income streams

- Building investments which may be able to provide income through the storm. Right now, junk bonds are my favorite!

- Looking to build our own businesses to provide long-term income from multiple sources. Solar energy and/or software seem like two obvious possibilities, but farming may be a possibility. It's pretty rocky, here, however.

 

 

I was hoping you or Momsinthegarden would chime in:001_smile:

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What type of emergency to you anticipate that would last more than a year?

 

Growing up I heard of concerns where people should prepare for hard times. My grandmother had months worth of freeze-dried meals in her closet. These were obviously never used. Growing up, Communist Russia was feared. As an adult, Y2K was feared. There's always something.

 

I think the best way to prepare for unforeseen circumstances is to educate yourself and encourage your kids to receive an education in a field that pays a salary that allows a comfortable living. Also, I think it's important to network with others in your same field so that there's a potential to share good job opportunities. I think it's important to live under one's means even when times are good. This means saving as much as possible.

 

I think doing the above is better preparation for hard times than growing, canning, and storing away provisions.

 

(Before another controversy get started, I want to make the disclaimer that some people do not make enough money to save enough to get a cushion for hard times. However, many people can do this. This should be the eventual goal to protect oneself during hard times.)

 

 

Katrina really put this in perspective for me. There is a wonderful yet gritty movie called "Bridge over troubled waters" that is a documentary about 1 womans experiences before during and after the hurricane. She had/has a lot of personal failings but still the events she videotaped haunt me. For instance a group of adults with small boats filled with children made it to the Navy base hoping for shelter and were threatened with guns to turn around. Others who walked out of New Orleans were turned away by the neighboring county by armed law enforement.

 

But anyway, even though we live in a hurricane prone area...the Cheasapeake Bay, I don't think conditions like that could happen here due to being able to get to higher ground and also people around here do not rely on public transportation and instead have cars they could use to evacuate. But it got me to thinking about other circumstances. We do live on the Penninsula and if there was a major terrorist attack that took out the tunnels, our water supply, a few key bridges, or even the nuclear power plant we would need to be self reliant for quite some time. Or if the Swine Flu was a pandemic. My grandmother told stories of the 1918 flu pandemic that killed millions, and that was before wide spread travel. I can't imagine what will happen when we actually are faced with another, and historically, it will happen again eventually.

 

Because of those things I want to be more self reliant, perhaps not for a year, but probably for at least 3 months. I don't think it is doomsday preparations at all, and if it isn't needed you can still cycle through your food stores and buy in bulk during sales.

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We have a farm and could be nearly self-sufficient if we had to be. There's the issue of fuel and hydro, but we could feed ourselves, and the place is paid for, so no mortgage anymore. We spent the first 10 years of our marriage living on next to nothing so we could pay off the farm and other debt. I can't say we're entirely debt-free because we have an operating line of credit that has debt on it every year, and then (hopefully) when the crops are sold, we pay it all off and have a little profit left over.

 

I don't worry about it, though. If worse came to worse, we'd be scrimping again, but I can do that and we were always a happy family, so I don't see why that would change. I've learned to let go of the stuff and hang on to the people I love.

 

I also don't poke fingers at people who have unfortunate circumstances. I don't hinge the value of a person on how much money they have or don't have, and what kind of financial arrangements they've made or haven't made. I don't focus on the money, period. Money is a snake in the garden. If you (general you) can't understand that, you might end up a heartless shrew.

 

 

Where does this paragraph even fit in this thread? Does everything that gets discussed have to be turned into the thought that someone is looking down on someone, or poking at someone?

 

In fact I got interested in this because I believe it is a tenent of the Mormon faith. I don't know much about it, but I think it is a great idea if you have ability. If you don't or don't want to that is fine, but heck I feel like at this point if I said I was teaching my child French people woud think I was poking at someone who couldn't afford French or thought that Latin was better. Seriously.

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I live in a city, so the best I can do is community garden, can, and ferment some veggies. ;) I looked into getting some chickens on our tiny plot, but I couldn't get anyone to give me a straight answer as to whether or not it is legal.

 

Oh, we also turned our front enclosed porch into a green house. It gets pretty good light and we should be able to keep it warm enough in the winter. We have some stuff growing right now. It seems to be working so far, but it remains to be seen if it will work out.

 

That's about it. :001_smile:

 

 

This is where I really fall down. I can kill Ivy so the thought of being responsible for growing food is scary to me. I bought my husband a book about growing enough food for a family, but so far it is getting dusty.

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Here's what we have been doing (updated from a previous thread):

 

1) Reducing monthly expenditures to limit potential impact of losing our one income:

- Eliminated mortgage, tractor loan, car loans and land telephone line.

- Reduced cellular expenses.

- Avoid any monthly expenses (no cable, satellite TV, etc.)

- Haven't reduced internet, yet, but will if job does not hold out.

 

2) Growing more and more of our own food:

- MomsintheGarden has 1000 sq. ft. of raised beds which she plants very intensively. Lots of GREAT food comes from there. This garden is inside a fence where deer cannot get to it.

- Last year we added a 1600 sq. ft. potato garden in which we planted 50 lbs. of seed potatoes. This produced several hundred pounds of potatoes, which was enough to get us through the year and have some left to share/trade. This garden is outside the fence.

- This year we have worked to expand that area to about 2500 sq. ft. In addition to the potatoes, we would like to move some crops out from the fenced-in raised beds. The idea is to grow as much deer-proof food outside the fence to gain more space in the raised beds. MomsintheGarden successfully moved all of the onions from within the fence to this new area this year. That freed up about 150 sq. ft of raised bed space. We are currently moving blackberries and asparagus outside the fence and building a new raised bed inside. This should free up about 200 more sq. ft. of fenced-in raised-bed space. Any suggestions of other crops which the deer should leave alone? Surprisingly the rhubarb is not safe from the deer. We may be moving that inside the fence very soon.

- Canning/freezing/root cellaring as much as we can to try to store food year round.

- We bought a chicken house last year and currently have 26 hens and one rooster. Some of the hens are new this year, so our egg production is just ramping up now.

 

3) Storing up consumables:

- Food. We're storing up long-term storables such as wheat and canned goods.

- Homeschool curriculum. We are fortunate that we have now graduated our two oldest so we have *most* of the materials we need for the others. We are now trying to purchase any additional materials that may be needed to get the rest of our DC through.

- Computers. We have a bunch of these. Hopefully we can get along for quite some time without any new purchases.

- Cash. We normally do not use cash, so it is a change for us to have any on hand. However, with the possibility of banking disruptions, it seems to make sense to have some around. How much is enough is anyone's guess.

- Entertainment. Lots of books and movies around. OTA and FTA TV are free, and with a DVR, they don't take over our lives. We also enjoy the Wii and Wii Fit!

 

4) Energy

- We have photovoltaics for electricity, but this system is currently in need my attention to repair a battery issue. This can run all of our needs, including the well pump, refrigerators and lighting, assuming we are very careful with consumption.

- Diesel tank is full. Unfortunately, only the tractor runs on diesel. It would be nice to have at least one diesel car, but I'm not sure I can justify the purchase.

- Propane tank holds enough for about 1 year of consumption. This is used by the cookstove and dryer only.

- Generator for worst-case situations. Need to convert to run off propane.

- Heat for winter. This is our biggest issue. We currently have a wood pellet stove and a heat pump. Each of these can heat our house, but they both require us to purchase energy each winter. I think if things get very bad we will need to purchase a wood stove and install a chimney. I had a chainsaw accident when I was 20, so I'm not looking forward to purchasing one of those!

 

5) Building a social network

- We've managed to find a local church which has suited us for the past five years or so! (No simple task, IMO!)

- We have started trading goods/services with a some of our neighbors. They are old-fashioned and we have some complementary hunting/gardening/farming capabilities/crops, etc. We would like to do this with more of our neighbors, if possible.

 

6) Building alternative income streams

- Building investments which may be able to provide income through the storm. Right now, junk bonds are my favorite!

- Looking to build our own businesses to provide long-term income from multiple sources. Solar energy and/or software seem like two obvious possibilities, but farming may be a possibility. It's pretty rocky, here, however.

 

 

If this were a curriculum, and I needed a spine, where would you suggest someone who knew next to nothing start?

 

I am thinking that this is something that needs to be built up and I guess I would start with water. But do you have any suggestions how someone who knew very little could begin and then build up more and more as they got more knowledge and more resources?

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If this were a curriculum, and I needed a spine, where would you suggest someone who knew next to nothing start?

 

I am thinking that this is something that needs to be built up and I guess I would start with water. But do you have any suggestions how someone who knew very little could begin and then build up more and more as they got more knowledge and more resources?

That's a good question, but also a tough one. In many respects, that depends on your personal situation and your perception of the risks along with what is most important to you and your family.

 

In our case, the first step was to move from a community with a HOA to a piece of land with 20+ acres. This gave us a lot more options regarding how to prepare.

 

Beyond that, I would have to say that a backup electricity generator system or gardening are good first steps.

 

As you say, every bit of preparation requires learning and resources, so I fully agree that this can only be done over time. But at some level of preparedness, you simply retire! :tongue_smilie:

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Thanks for the link. I see the "Getting Started" area and it is just what I needed.
You are welcome! However, I must give the credit to JenC3, who posted the following message in another thread:
If you don't really follow what's been happening this past decade or so check out:

http://www.chrismartenson.com/

 

Watch the Crash Course and you have a better idea of where our future is headed.

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Last year we added a 1600 sq. ft. potato garden in which we planted 50 lbs. of seed potatoes. This produced several hundred pounds of potatoes, which was enough to get us through the year and have some left to share/trade.

 

RegGuheert, can you share what you use as a root cellar? That's an awful lot of potatoes to keep fresh. I'm trying to decide what to do with my apples, potatoes, and carrots this year . . .

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Where does this paragraph even fit in this thread? Does everything that gets discussed have to be turned into the thought that someone is looking down on someone, or poking at someone?

 

In fact I got interested in this because I believe it is a tenent of the Mormon faith. I don't know much about it, but I think it is a great idea if you have ability. If you don't or don't want to that is fine, but heck I feel like at this point if I said I was teaching my child French people woud think I was poking at someone who couldn't afford French or thought that Latin was better. Seriously.

 

:iagree:

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RegGuheert, can you share what you use as a root cellar? That's an awful lot of potatoes to keep fresh. I'm trying to decide what to do with my apples, potatoes, and carrots this year . . .
We have a split-level house. There is a four-foot high crawl space under the "middle" section of the house which SHOULD make a GREAT root cellar. But so far I have refused to crawl through the smallish door to the outside and move all those potatoes into that area only to have them be largely inaccessible most of the time. My strong preference would be to build a door into that area from the basement, but I have not been able to come up with an arrangement which suits the design of our basement. (If anyone has done this with a split-level home, we are interested to see/hear what you have done.)

 

We saved a 13' x 12' area in our basement for equipment, storage, pantry and root cellar. This room is normally dark, but unfortunately it gets hot during the winter months. Even still, we were successful in storing a year's worth of onions and garlic down there last year along with winter squash. MomsintheGarden has been very good about going through the onions every month or so and removing the rotting ones.

 

But you asked about the potatoes. Here is the current approach:

 

- We leave them in the ground as long as possible. This year we grew five rows of potatoes. When our old potatoes ran out this summer, we dug potatoes by hand as we needed them.

- Then in August I plowed out one of the rows, which produced about 100 lbs. These are stored in the dark room in the basement, which is cool during the summertime. We still have a good amount of these remaining and they are in excellent shape.

- Around Halloween, we will plow out the remaining four rows worth of potatoes. These will go into the garage on a row of Rubbermaid shelves against the wall next to the house. We place the potatoes into cardboard boxes on the bottom shelf. The boxes are covered with old blankets to block the light. The concrete floor helps to regulate the temperature of the potatoes while heat from the house prevents freezing during very cold weather. This location is right near the kitchen, so it is quite convenient. FWIW, our garage is insulated but not heated.

- In the springtime when the garage starts getting warm and we are no longer heating, we move the remaining potatoes into the dark room in the basement.

 

Still there is a lot of sprouting that goes on, particularly during the spring and summer. MomsintheGarden goes through and breaks off the sprouts about once each month.

 

We are still hoping to create a root cellar accessible from the basement, but until that happens, we have a workable solution for our current needs. And, as always, we are open to suggestions for how to manage this better!

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We have a split-level house. There is a four-foot high crawl space under the "middle" section of the house which SHOULD make a GREAT root cellar. But so far I have refused to crawl through the smallish door to the outside and move all those potatoes into that area only to have them be largely inaccessible most of the time. My strong preference would be to build a door into that area from the basement, but I have not been able to come up with an arrangement which suits the design of our basement. (If anyone has done this with a split-level home, we are interested to see/hear what you have done.)

 

We saved a 13' x 12' area in our basement for equipment, storage, pantry and root cellar. This room is normally dark, but unfortunately it gets hot during the winter months. Even still, we were successful in storing a year's worth of onions and garlic down there last year along with winter squash. MomsintheGarden has been very good about going through the onions every month or so and removing the rotting ones.

 

But you asked about the potatoes. Here is the current approach:

 

- We leave them in the ground as long as possible. This year we grew five rows of potatoes. When our old potatoes ran out this summer, we dug potatoes by hand as we needed them.

- Then in August I plowed out one of the rows, which produced about 100 lbs. These are stored in the dark room in the basement, which is cool during the summertime. We still have a good amount of these remaining and they are in excellent shape.

- Around Halloween, we will plow out the remaining four rows worth of potatoes. These will go into the garage on a row of Rubbermaid shelves against the wall next to the house. We place the potatoes into cardboard boxes on the bottom shelf. The boxes are covered with old blankets to block the light. The concrete floor helps to regulate the temperature of the potatoes while heat from the house prevents freezing during very cold weather. This location is right near the kitchen, so it is quite convenient. FWIW, our garage is insulated but not heated.

- In the springtime when the garage starts getting warm and we are no longer heating, we move the remaining potatoes into the dark room in the basement.

 

Still there is a lot of sprouting that goes on, particularly during the spring and summer. MomsintheGarden goes through and breaks off the sprouts about once each month.

 

We are still hoping to create a root cellar accessible from the basement, but until that happens, we have a workable solution for our current needs. And, as always, we are open to suggestions for how to manage this better!

 

I have this book, which has some great ideas: http://www.amazon.com/Root-Cellaring-Natural-Storage-Vegetables/dp/0882667033/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1286835963&sr=8-1

 

I'm leaning toward leaving them in the ground this year, until I have a chance to clean out our basement and make an area down there. They have some neat solutions for keeping them in the ground, such as digging a big hole and fitting a rubber garbage pail with lid and covering with straw, or something like that. I have to reread the chapter.

 

I'm also interested in year round gardening. I want to try to cover some of the beds this year and grow cold weather veggies through the winter.

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I think MomsintheGarden has this book. (It is a book and it is about gardening, therefore she likely has it! :D)
I'm leaning toward leaving them in the ground this year, until I have a chance to clean out our basement and make an area down there. They have some neat solutions for keeping them in the ground, such as digging a big hole and fitting a rubber garbage pail with lid and covering with straw, or something like that. I have to reread the chapter.
Yes, she has described some of these ideas to me. But I am into accessibility. Most of these don't suit my sensibilities there. Plus we have this awesome crawl space which would make a perfect root cellar. But how to make it accessible?
I'm also interested in year round gardening. I want to try to cover some of the beds this year and grow cold weather veggies through the winter.
MomsintheGarden has a pair of cold frames with thermo-pneumatic openers. (One is not yet assembled, though...:blush:) With these, she is able to serve fresh salads all through the winter except for February. She can best describe what she does in the cold frames and raised beds over the winter. I'll ask her to comment when she has a chance.
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I coupon as well and today this is what I got at Meijer, which double coupons. If it's free I get it to either use, give away or use as part of a fellowship meal on Wednesday evenings. Now I live a mile from Meijer, so I can swing in when I want, but we needed milk earlier, I bought

 

Three large bottles of Gain Dish detergent to donate to our church (sale 2/$4) had 3 $1/1 coupon.

2 boxes of frozen green giant spinach (free after printable .50 coupons doubled)

2 tubs of Land O Lakes spreadable butter with Olive Oil (free after .50 double coupons)

2 packages Old El Paso hard & soft Taco shells (free after .50/1 double coupons)

3 loaves of Aunt Millies bread .45 after .55 coupons.

2 Old Orchard 100% Juice Pineapple Orange juice, free, had .50/2 coupon that doubled and Meijer had a deal buy 10 items get the 11th free, so the 11th item was my free juice item.

2 lbs of bananas

romaine lettuce (3 pkg.)

and 1 gallon of milk

11.56 oop, got $3 On your next order coupon for buying the three Gain, so it was free. savings- $23.96

 

I try and shop like this most of the time, I do cook a lot from scratch and just do the best we can with what we have. It's the only way I can afford fresh fruits & veggies is by taking advantage of the other sale items. There are some things that dh just won't give up. (kraft mac & cheese :tongue_smilie:)

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Where does this paragraph even fit in this thread? Does everything that gets discussed have to be turned into the thought that someone is looking down on someone, or poking at someone?

 

In fact I got interested in this because I believe it is a tenent of the Mormon faith. I don't know much about it, but I think it is a great idea if you have ability. If you don't or don't want to that is fine, but heck I feel like at this point if I said I was teaching my child French people woud think I was poking at someone who couldn't afford French or thought that Latin was better. Seriously.

 

 

I think it fits for several reasons -- firstly, because this thread is obviously a spin-off of a thread that became a bash session on a whole group of people. Secondly, it fits because preparing for the future isn't always about YOURSELF. Preparing for the future isn't just about physical survival. It is also about spiritual survival. Part of that is also recognizing that anyone can fall on hard times, and whether or not they are prepared makes them no less worthy of human compassion, and that, as human beings, we're all in it together whether we like each other or not.

 

ETA: If you really are interested in the Mormon take on this, there are several Mormon websites that teach you how to stock up. Provident Living is a Mormon site with many useful references and tools, including a calculator to help you determine how much you need for your family for a year. If you Google further, you'll find tons of site and blogs with more info.

Edited by Audrey
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What type of emergency to you anticipate that would last more than a year?

 

 

Not read the whole thread yet, but I live in Christchurch New Zealand. We had no water or power or sewage for 3 days. There are people in the city who still have no water or sewage, and who don't expect to have any for up to a year.

 

The storage warehouses for supermarkets were destroyed. There where landslips on the road to the north so food could not come in that way. The docks were damaged at Lyttleton, the nearest ports. They shipped food to Dunedin and it came by road. It took time to get here. Christchurch was fine, people didn't horde and did share.

 

But this was a 'friendly' earth quake. We were very lucky. But I was very very glad indeed of my emergency store of food, camping stove, candles, matches and water. (You can never have too much water stored.)

 

Ask people in New Orleans how long an emergency can last. Even in the states.

 

Willow.

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When I first read the thread I thought it is not unlike us preparing for winter here on the mountain.

Power goes out regularly, therefore we need / have oil lamps, wood stove (wood split and stacked), a few canned items and dry snacks. We have a garden but nowhere near as large and prolific as has been mentioned here.

 

When these things happen we usually go into basic survival mode and can live for about 2 weeks without electricity. Oh yes, we also have a gasoline generator with full gasoline cans.

 

If who knows what happens and we have to survive for longer than that we will have to get creative. Fortunately we have a very friendly community and everyone shares their tools and skills.

Edited by Liz CA
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When I first read the thread I thought it is not unlike us preparing for winter here on the mountain.

Power goes out regularly, therefore we need / have oil lamps, wood stove (wood split and stacked), a few canned items and dry snacks. We have a garden but nowhere near as large and prolific as has been mentioned here.

 

When these things happen we usually go into basic survival mode and can live for about 2 weeks without electricity. Oh yes, we also have a gasoline generator with full gasoline cans.

 

If who knows what happens and we have to survive for longer than that we will have to get creative. Fortunately we have a very friendly community and everyone shares their tools and skills.

 

This is the group that will survive the best. After Katrina, I was struck by all the stories of small towns that no one thought of, and what they did to take care of themselves. It was neighbor helping neighbor, each contributing what they could and what they were best at.

 

If anything catastrophic happens, my dh will hunt, clear roads, and anything else that needs a big, strong man. I am a natural organizer, efficiency planner, etc. We have a lot to contribute - except money/stockpiled goods (well, we do have quite a bit of camping equipment!) I can only hope that if the apocolypse comes, we will be in an area where our contributions are valued, even if we bring no material goods.

 

As for living without electricity - I'll have to migrate north.:tongue_smilie:

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This is the group that will survive the best. After Katrina, I was struck by all the stories of small towns that no one thought of, and what they did to take care of themselves. It was neighbor helping neighbor, each contributing what they could and what they were best at.

 

If anything catastrophic happens, my dh will hunt, clear roads, and anything else that needs a big, strong man. I am a natural organizer, efficiency planner, etc. We have a lot to contribute - except money/stockpiled goods (well, we do have quite a bit of camping equipment!) I can only hope that if the apocolypse comes, we will be in an area where our contributions are valued, even if we bring no material goods.

 

As for living without electricity - I'll have to migrate north.:tongue_smilie:

 

It may not be very popular on this board, but I still believe that "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" is a beautiful ideal. Even if no government has ever been able to make a success of it, people still can. I would welcome you and share.

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Oh yes, we also have a gasoline generator with full gasoline cans.
I would like to get a propane conversion kit for our generator, but until we do, it would be nice to be able to access the 35 gallons of fuel in our large van to use in the generator. But of course cars these days are designed to prevent siphoning. I'm sure I could get the fuel out of it if I were desperate, but I'd rather have it worked out ahead of time. Has anyone successfully defeated the anti-siphon system on their vehicle for this purpose?
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I think it fits for several reasons -- firstly, because this thread is obviously a spin-off of a thread that became a bash session on a whole group of people. Secondly, it fits because preparing for the future isn't always about YOURSELF. Preparing for the future isn't just about physical survival. It is also about spiritual survival. Part of that is also recognizing that anyone can fall on hard times, and whether or not they are prepared makes them no less worthy of human compassion, and that, as human beings, we're all in it together whether we like each other or not.

 

ETA: If you really are interested in the Mormon take on this, there are several Mormon websites that teach you how to stock up. Provident Living is a Mormon site with many useful references and tools, including a calculator to help you determine how much you need for your family for a year. If you Google further, you'll find tons of site and blogs with more info.

 

Yep, we have great websites for food storage. Here are two of my favorites:

 

http://everydayfoodstorage.net/start-here

 

http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net/

 

Cute girls with great families...lots of wonderful ideas, recipes and helps. Feel free to ask if you have questions about LDS food storage.

 

Diane W.

married for 22 years

homeschooling 3 kiddos for 16 years

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It may not be very popular on this board, but I still believe that "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" is a beautiful ideal. Even if no government has ever been able to make a success of it, people still can. I would welcome you and share.

 

I wasn't thinking that far north!:lol: Really, though, I can clean poultry and other animals with no problem, dh was an Eagle Scout (with all the skills that come with that), and we used to have a minifarm - we know how to do lots of things, we're just flat broke!:D

 

Be looking for us!

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I would like to be more prepared than I am. Living in the city makes it a bit harder, especially since we rent. If we owned, I would turn it into an urban farm. We have a swimming pool full of water which we would use in an emergency. I used to store food but honestly it ended up being wasted a lot of the time.

I do have a vegetable garden- 2 in fact. I intend to set it up more professionally to really serve us and feed us what we actually eat, rather than jsut be a hobby for me.

We have chickens.

 

I love the whole local food/slow food movement and I support it. Farmers markets etc- even dh has come to realise how much nicer it is to shop at the Farmers markets than the supermarket. Real food, outside, real people.

I eat real food, and I know where various local wild fruit trees are.

We have spear guns for fishing if necessary. We would pick up nets and fishing gear if needed, quickly.

We are savvy- very savvy- with the 2nd hand market.

 

I do not really like the hoarding mentality although I can see it could be very useful if one were actually in an emergency long term and had stores of food. I can see the benefit in that. But I would ideally prefer to support existing systems of local food communities as a strategy in the city.

 

We have a motorhome which we are setting up with solar panels. As long as we could get petrol- obviously a dubious thing in certain emergencies- we could get out of the city and have a small home and power.

 

I think you in the U.S. might well be in for harder times than we in Australia, in the near future. Here we are still living in a bit of a fantasy, as we sell off our minerals to China at a ridiculous rate- but the crunch will come eventually.

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We are preparing for this type of emergency, but we have found our preparations to be quite useful in the recent past, such as when we were snowed in for three weeks last winter.

 

My husband and I have been convinced by this crash course that we need to prepare somehow, even if it is in a small way. We don't have a lot of money to just go out and make big changes.

 

We are going to start with keeping an emergency stash of cash. Next we plan on getting rain barrels, up to three of them, probably one at a time.

We already garden. We are going to put in an apple tree and a fig this year, in addition to the fruit trees we've planted in the past couple of years. Specifically fig because it can be used as a sugar substitute. I've started buying a couple of candles at a time to store, they will always be useful, no matter what. I will probably start buying some bottled water and propane for the camp stove as well.

 

Bigger plans for this year include insulating our attic and crawl space, but we have to save up for that. It would cost us $4000 to make our fireplace safe to use (long story) that may take a while.

 

I'm not so convinced that things will get so bad that we have no electricity and water, but I do think the standard of living is going to go back down to possibly 70's level by 2015. That is going to be quite a shock for many people and may cause civil unrest. I am so glad we live in a more rural area. Also, we bought our house before the bubble, so our payments are low and we will lose nothing.

 

I am toying with the thought of owning a gun, but the idea just makes dh and I so uncomfortable. I wish I knew how necessary that might be.

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I missed the bashing thread, but this is something we work on and I love hearing ideas from others. We don't plan on being sitting ducks regardless of what or how things go down.

 

**I would love for you to elaborate on growing wheat and adding the manual hand pump to the well.

 

 

Our water backup plan is a natural spring on our property, then filtering, this is doable but a little bit of a trek back into the forest that would not be quite so easy without ATVs. I have wanted to add a manual pump but dH says we would need to drill a new vein? (I think there has to be a way to add to the existing)

We have started a supply of lamp oil and wicks. We heat by outdoor wood burner- but this does need a power supply for the blower. Next we will be adding a flat topped indoor wood stove in the kitchen, for heat and ability to cook. I have also started a collection of cast iron cookware and have a good old fashioned percolator coffee pot. (I must have my coffee :D )

 

We have chickens for eggs, raise our own meat chickens, and some beef. We have not raised pigs yet, that is next, hopefully this coming year.

In the garden we do squash, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, beans, peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, and pumpkins. This also gives us our tomato juice, tomato sauce, tomatos and chilis, pizza sauce and salsa. It is a joint effort between my mother and I, and the kids have to help.

 

We have plenty of fishing poles, I plan to buy a gill net soon. The men here know well how to hunt and skin.

Oh, we have plenty of guns, so stop by here when the time comes you need one. :D :tongue_smilie:

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It would make me feel a little uncomfortable taking gas from a vehicle I may still need but in an ER where it comes to life or death I suppose nobody would care if the van has gas in it.

 

We keep a few large canisters of gasoline next to the generator but, of course, those would run out eventually. I have to mention the conversion to propane to dh. We have a 300-something gallon tank for propane. Are you proposing taking the propane from your tank to run the generator?

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We moved back to DH's family farm 2 years ago and purchased 22 1/2 acres including the house and outbuildings from his parents a year ago. His parents live across the street and his dad rents back the farm ground we have to farm it. DH works off farm in an ag related job.

 

What we have done so far

-purchasing the farm is step one-the land along with that of DH''s parents could easily support us and them.

-planted several permanent plantings

-raspberries

-blackberries

-asparagus

-strawberries

-gotten 6 hens and a rooster (ok we had some of them and moved them here)

 

 

What was already here or we had

-apple trees

-peach tree

-barn and livestock handling facilities-was a former dairy when DH was in high school

-wood stove in the house-we got a pellet stove this year, but the wood stove is still in the basement and hooked up. There is a woodlot on his parents property if needed in an emergency.

-we have a horse and pet sheep

-FIL has a huge generator-run by tractor that was used to run the dairy equipment when power was out.

-IL's just built a pond at their house and plan on stocking it

-DH can hunt

 

What we are thinking of in the future

-hand pump for on the well if power is out for long periods

-more garden beds

-blueberries

-maybe more chickens for us(IL's have 3 commercial broiler houses as well)

-have talked about getting a dairy cow-not ready to do that, but could if we needed one

 

Between us, IL's and another neighbor with an orchard, we could do pretty well-and likely grow enough food to sell or barter for other goods and services. Dh and I both grew up on farms and have ag degrees. We could likely raise about anything we needed. Dh is also very handy and can fix most anything. His dad is also good at building and fixing things. I know how to can and dry food. MIL and lady with the orchard were raised conservative Mennonite and Amish respectively and could teach me how to preserve anything I don't already know how to. The trick would be doing without gasoline/diesel. Old horse would have to be taught to drive and we'd have to buy some farm equipment from the large amish community around here. We would likely get another horse for that too and a buggy or wagon if it came to not having gas.

 

Another problem would be the beggars if it got super bad. How much are you willing to give away to everyone? even if that leaves you with not enough for your own family for the winter? That would be a major delema for us if the situation was ever that bad and long-lasting. I know I'm more hard hearted than DH in that regard.

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It would make me feel a little uncomfortable taking gas from a vehicle I may still need but in an ER where it comes to life or death I suppose nobody would care if the van has gas in it.
This is just for the case where we are snowed in. The vehicles become pretty useless and it would be nice to get to the gasoline.
We keep a few large canisters of gasoline next to the generator but, of course, those would run out eventually. I have to mention the conversion to propane to dh. We have a 300-something gallon tank for propane. Are you proposing taking the propane from your tank to run the generator?
Yes, that is what I have in mind. We only have a 100-gallon tank, but we also have some propane tanks on our camper which each hold 20 (or 30?) gallons. There are propane conversion kits available for many generators. I found one for mine, but it is not made by Honda, so I am holding out to see if Honda will sell one. I hate dealing with gasoline.
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This is just for the case where we are snowed in. The vehicles become pretty useless and it would be nice to get to the gasoline.Yes, that is what I have in mind. We only have a 100-gallon tank, but we also have some propane tanks on our camper which each hold 20 (or 30?) gallons. There are propane conversion kits available for many generators. I found one for mine, but it is not made by Honda, so I am holding out to see if Honda will sell one. I hate dealing with gasoline.

 

Very interesting! Do you know approximately if the converted generator would take less or more propane compared to gasoline? I mean would several gallons of propane run the generator way longer than the same amount of gasoline?

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Very interesting! Do you know approximately if the converted generator would take less or more propane compared to gasoline? I mean would several gallons of propane run the generator way longer than the same amount of gasoline?
I don't, but I've been kinda wondering the same thing. I'll see if I can find out!
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Some people are buying gold coins to stash instead of cash. Do you all think that is a good idea?

 

I have a generator on my want list. Everyone around here has one in case the power goes off in the winter, or they have a wood stove. We are renting, but I figure we can take a generator with us in 3 years, if we move when our lease is up.

 

So far, I have about 6 weeks worth of food stored. Some of it is in the upright freezer, which won't do much good if we don't have electricity in the future. I rotate the food upstairs for use as we need it, and just keep buying more when I find good sale prices for nutritious foods. My big thing is that I'm worried we will not have the money for food someday, so I am making sure we won't starve in the future. I have no place to store a year's supply, but I will keep on buying food until the storage area I have is filled.

 

I haven't bought any 5-gallon food safe, mouse and bug proof, containers yet, but I plan to when I can afford it.

 

We have a propane-fueled stove, so cooking won't be a problem. Our tank holds 100 gallons, but the propane people won't come out to fill it until it is 20% full. This may have something to do with the long distances they have to drive the tank truck throughout the countryside.

 

The oil tank holds 500 gallons. I wonder if it can be used for something else, since the furnace won't start without electricity. I also wonder how to get oil out of an underground tank.

 

I'm worried about a heat source because we have home heating oil, a pellet stove, and 2 propane-fueled fireplaces ... but all of that takes electricity to work. We don't have to wait for a Depression to strike the country -- if the power goes out in the winter for a few days, we will have to leave the house because popsicles can't cook.

 

We have well water, but since we rent, I'm not sure if a hand pump for our well is a good investment. I don't like the idea of buying gallon jugs of water and rotating it (since it expires and I don't need it except in an emergency), but I think I will, just in case. We do have a narrow creek running through here, and I suppose there is some way to purify the water.

 

I think it would be a good idea to learn about herbal or plant-based (they aren't all herbs) medicine, too.

 

We could have a garden. I don't have a green thumb, even when I follow what books say. I am considering stocking up on heirloom seeds. At least I would be able to grow food if the alternative was starvation. The landlord has given me permission to plant a garden, but I don't think he intends for me to grow crops on the entire 2 acres.

 

There are 4 fruit trees here -- peaches, plums, cherries. According to the landlord they bear copious amounts of fruit. He must have been hallucinating because we've lived here for 2 summers and not one speck of fruit has appeared.

 

DH says very soon after disaster strikes, all the city or town folk will be swarming the country looking for food and shelter. That is scary to me. I've heard tell all sorts of stories about how people will be violent and kill you for food, so we'd best buy some guns and ammo. Killing in self-defense is one thing, but what about turning away people who are starving? I would have a harder time doing that, I think. It would be like the grasshopper and the ant story IRL. I can't remember the ending -- did the grasshoppers starve?

 

PS I'm unlikely to kill anyone since we don't own a gun.

Edited by RoughCollie
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