Saturday, January 31, 2009

Somebody's Been Shopping

And it isn't just me.  I have been adding more preps, and I am seeing a lot of changes.

First of all, I noticed that ammunition of all types is getting scanty, and then there is the matter of a very obvious depletion in shotguns and rifles.  Several places are just out and can't even begin to say when more weapons will be available.  I got mine, I was cruising and being nosey.  And those that have recently been bought are the high end kind from the looks of the shelves.

Also noticed that ChinaMart is catering to the needs of a different clientle.  I saw a lot of different stuff on the shelves today.  I saw bigger bag of both beans and rice, and these were going quickly too.  Saw a lot of consumables like tortillas, corn meal mix, tuna and spam going into carts.  Not sure if this is people having to downsize their lifestyles or there is prepping going on.  Will they be able to cook from scratch?  

I also found a lot of dried bean products that I don't usually find, like great northern bean.

Hermit:  I found my food slicer and it works like a charm.  I have sliced and dehydrated a bag of Florida oranges, and several bunches of bananas.  Tomorrow I will be taking advantage of a $10 for 10 containers of mushrooms and will be dehydrating these.

My next plan is to dehydrate some potatoes as a practice run so I will be able to quickly get operations set up to harvest potatoes, blanche them, and then dehydrate them.  

My dehydrating operations lets me use my new slicer, dehydrator AND foodsaver do-hicky, and then I can fill mylar and seal them too.  Oh, yeah, I to use those nifty O2 absorbers.

Bought a bunch of ammo for rifle and shot gun.  I think I have plenty for my air rifle too.  I need to seriously get out and shoot that darn thing.

So, I need some input here.  Just how do you know that ya have enough of everything?

For crying out loud.  I have more coffee already, but how long is that going to last.  I have computed what we use during non-stressful times but is this enough?  Ditto for food, just how do you know how much to have.  

I have put away tons of fabric for future sewing needs, and that includes needles and threads.  I have enough soap, T paper.

What are other people's priorities?

I am working on some things that will at least make my life civil.  I am making a quilt for the master bedroom, just in case it does really get cold.  I have got patterns to make uni-sex pajamas.

I have made bulk taco and chili seasoning so I don't need to rely on packed store bought and expensive teeny wheeny  expensive packaging.  I buy bulk wheat, yeast, beans, and canned meats as back up.  My extra store in the freezer could get me by for at least 3-6 months.  We make our own bread

I sense a feeling of guilt from some preppers who had tried to convince family and friends to get on board with prepping.  I say you can't the be the all end all for everyone.

What ever is going to happen, I just wish the hell we get on with it.  Is it going to be any less if we delay a recession/Depression, let's just get on with it.

The garden is nearly up and running.  I will be canning tomatoes from the hydroponics garden in a couple of weeks.  The Romas and Watermelon Beef Steak, Tim Tom cherry tomatoes.  Romas will be for tomato sauce and paste.   Beef Steak will be for canning and salads.  Cherry tomatoes will be just for salads.

Da Da!!  I have officially come into the 21st Century.  I have gotten involved with solar energy.  Bought a small set up that can run a few lights, lap tops, recharge cell phone batteries, and even run a refrigerator on a limited basis.  It wasn't my plan to run a whole house on solar.  I wanted to learn more about the process and at the same time be flexible enough that I could gradually expand to have needed power for an emergency.

Both the garden and the solar panels are sure to tick of the HOA.  This will be a major opportunity to see if I can't get my neighbors into thinking about growing their own food, if for nothing more than safety and health reasons.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Been busy working and prepping

Yes, I have been really been busy seeing patients with the flu.  Gee, if you have a fever, don't ya think that at least one could at least start the Advil or Tylenol?  I am not going to rant on this subject but I do just wonder what people like this are going to do when they can't run to the ER/ED or off to the doctor's office.

I sort of jumped my personal shark.  I had been studying solar energy for awhile and really wanting to get started.  I have a lot of personal prepping priorities and the solar thing was not at the top of the heap.  Had a chance to get a good deal, so I might be up and running with enough stored energy to power a few lights, a microwave oven and a refrigerator.  Not sure at this point how much of this will operate at the same time.  I am meeting a goal of being able to provide at least enough power to operate the refrigerator.  Heat, lighting and recharging cell phones and laptops can be done in other ways.  BUT if I can get this basic plan going, I am going to try expand enough to really impact my use of the grid.   Will probably tick off the neighbors too.  But then again, we are in this economy together, so maybe I teach a few others to become more self sufficient.

Have also been reorganizing my stored goods, bought some more rice, and have noticed a few things.  1.  My store of toilet paper keeps getting grabbed for emergencies because I forget to put TP on my household shopping list.  Easy to fix.  2.  I really need to get some additional supplies for cleaning weapons.  Duh, did I think they would clean themselves?  3.  I have identified some items that I have sort of ignored and now must purchase; additional seasonings, oils, and baby butt wipes.

Tried the canned butter.  Wow, I will never even think about buying Red Feather or whatever.  I used the recipe that Mayberry linked to and tried it out.  When a jar is opened, it does not get too soft, and it does not require refrigeration either.

I am now in an obsessive-compulsive thing about inventorying my stores and making sure that I actually have on-hand and where stuff is located.  So my Excell inventory pages just had another column added for location of each item(s).  I am doing another count while I am at it too.

I am a very active reader of internet news, commentary and, of course, survival blogs.  I have noticed that more of my reading time is being devoted to survivial sites.  Lots of interesting things being done in surviver land but I see a lot of applicable things on "homemaking" and cooking sites.  Simply put, there are a lot of smart people out there who really expect they will have to be self sufficient in the immediate future.

Last weekend we were in ChinaMart and saw several shopping carts with lots of survivor type food; cases of beans, vegetables, bags of rice and the like.  Anyway, it was stuff that had long time storeability (is that a word?).

Georgia like many other states is just flat out broke.  It worries me about how people use to getting entitlements are going to handle all of this.   Georgia Medicaid is already feeling the pain with certain high dollar medications being denied.  Sorry but if the middle class who can't afford health insurance but make too much to qualify for Medicaid is footing the state's Medicaid program, then the entitled will just have to settle for what is on the ChinaMart/Kmart/Kroger $4.00 plan.  Sorry, this subject really gets my dander up and I get crazy when I see hard working people having to make hard choices when others have been given a free ride at the expense of the taxpayer.

Working on a concept for a rocket stove for heat and cooking.  More on that as the plan develops.

Working on possibly getting a couple of hens for increasing protein via eggs.  Apparently there is a group of chicken owners in the metro Atlanta area who have been successful in getting city and town ordinances changed to permit a limited number of layers, even in sub-divisions.  I am currently looking at designs for chicken tractors.  Going to tick off the neighbors on this too.  I see another education process on this too.

If my mother knew all of the things I have already done, am working on, and have planned for the immediate future, she would think I have lost my mine.  If I discuss any of this with her, I would only scare the living daylights out of her.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Musings on sharing during the coming hard times

In general, I have been thinking about what it might be like to live communally to survive the upcoming hard times.  Just don't you love my euphemism for depression?  My thoughts had been running to the need, no make that necessity, of having every person having a role in that survival.

That "role" meaning actively producing, making, gathering, repairing whatever it might be for the survival of the group.  No bums, no lay-abouts; every person having a mission to keep the hive well and strong.  That concept took me to thinking about the roles we commonly accept today in a non-survival situation.  Both men and women working in the community, and then coming home to a family life.  Each have home life roles too, depending on the situation.  Men generally mow lawns, repair, and share in household activities if so inclined.  Women frequently take on a greater role in the maintenance of the household-cooking, cleaning, and chores associated with upkeep of the children.  Ok, so don't shoot me on this...I am speaking in generalities here.  Some people (guys and gals) do more or less within their respective situations.  
IMHO, I think that in a SHTF situation, there will be an immense shift in the he-she roles at home.  Many families may not have two bread winners anymore.  Whoever becomes unemployed first will likely become a more dominant force at home.  How is that going to play out?  I can see this going a couple of different ways.

Say the guy's job goes first, and he assumes the stay at home role.  How is this going to shake out with the guy's wife being the breadwinner?  What about the high-flyer female CEO who loses her job and has to revert to being a stay at home mom and her new job being at the home? We are talking a matter of egos.

I think this will stress a lot of relationships if the he-she roles have always been delineated along traditional family roles.    I think maybe the less traditional family might have a better chance survival if both partners are active participants in household and child-rearing activities.  Just one of those things that have been niggling at the base of my brain for awhile

I have been reading about bloggers who write about gathering the extended family into a more or less compound-like setting.  I guess this would work if the members of the family have stayed in a single community and have remained an engaged extended family with all members knowing and accepting the quirks, strong points and foibles of the other members.  Never really thought about the consequences of reuniting family members in times of crises, especially when a particular family has been scattered to the winds and have gone their separate ways.  That is until recently.

A woman friend recently had her husband's brother and his family foisted upon their family.  The brother had lost his job and home, and there was little else that could be done to prevent this family from being homeless.  Without consent, this addition to her home has shattered her home life, sexual intimacy and left her with all the responsibilities of a now larger home environment.  The friend and her sister-in-law do not get along, the two children are boorish, spoiled and demanding.  What had been a tolerable set of in-laws, are now seen as invaders.

I wonder how people will cope if extended but not necessarily agreeable family members are re-united for the sake of survival.  Taking this concept to the extreme, how will we cope with unexpected family members showing up at our doors expecting to be invited in as guests?  Can we afford to have non-productive family members living off our largess without lifting a single finger to maintain the family unit?  

I am a loner with little to no extended family.  I wouldn't know how to cope with a huge extended family descending on me, expecting me to take them in and provide for them.  Loss of privacy, space and quiet would probably stress a lot of people.  

What do you think about this?  How will folks cope in a SHTF with unexpected family members showing up.  How easy will it be to cope with family quirks?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A new direction for my prepping

Not sure how this part of my preps got side-lined, but I realized that I really didn't have any rugged cold weather gear - as in clothes.  Ask and you shall receive!!  Lands End sent me their winter's end catalog and wow.

Picked up great winter jackets on sale, along with silk long johns.  Silk is great for layering without bulking up and restricting body movement.  The jackets are super warm - think cold Wisconsin winters (home of Land's End) and at the same time light in weight.  The best thing I bought was cold weather/snow hiking boots.  I kid you not, these are the most comfortable boots that I have ever worn.

Every thing is dark navy or black.  Now I look like a stealth ninja warrior.  Ha, ha.

Question.  How do I do a blog roll?  I have tried to do this several times, and put in my favorite survival sites, they look like they are in place, but they never show up on my blog.  Am I missing something here?  I am pretty good with this stuff, but now I am wondering.  Help!


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hydroponics pictures

This is for Hermit:  here are two  of the hydroponic pictures.  Teeny tiny tomatoes.  Finger is for prospective.  The picture on the left is broccoli plant.

An Email is on its way to you discussing hydroponics.

Hope this is a good enough teaser to get you interested in growing your own veggies indoors without the fuss of dirt, bugs, and back breaking work!!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Medical stuff

As can be seen from my profile I am in the healthcare industry.  BUT preparations for medical emergencies is one area that I am lacking, primarily because I was playing catch-up in food and water storage.  I am in the process of putting together a medical bag.  My bag will also have a guide for managment of injuries and events that could be encountered when there is a lack of quick medical assistance.

Many preparedness blogs have discussed the potential need for suturing wounds.  I agree this is something that we might have to contend with in the future, not knowing what medical facilities will be available and potential extent of an injury.

I am not talking about suturing deep tissue wounds or those types of facial wounds that require a plastic surgeon's touch.   We are likely to encounter knife lacerations, cuts from tin cans, and the sort of skin tears from tree branches.  

So that being said, I am starting with the art of suturing.  Not intending to re-invent the wheel, I have found a great Adobe file on how to do basic suturing.  This file includes detailed photos of equipment needed, how-to pictures, and then written instructions.  Credit to those mentioned on the first page of the PDF file!!!

My plan is to develop a guide book that will address emergencies we may encounter in the toughest and most extreme conditions.  One area that concerns me most is having an outsider come into my zone who is carrying some contagious illness or infection and may infect my family.  Just how should any of us approach sorting out potentially sick new comers (family or outsiders) who may come into our zone of influence.  I am worse casing this, but I see on a daily basis how the flu has spread.  

Other areas I am thinking about include:  labor and childbirth, and injuries that we currently take to the ER.  Would appreciate input for areas of particular concern.

I know there are preppers out there who are experts in herbs and other natural products.  How about some input for problems like nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, burns (beside aloe), natural pain relievers, etc.  Would love to include these in a guide for all of us.

Anyway, if you are interested you can e-mail me at, and I will forward the PDF file on how to do basic suturing.  This is a new email account, so if there is a problem, let me know by comment.

I would have put the PDF file as a link, but I couldn't figure out how to do it.

While I am on medical stuff, make sure your immunizations are up to date.  One of the most important is your Tetnus vaccination.  This injection is good only for 7 to 10 years, and the experts can't seem to agree on just how long.  But if you can't remember your last one or it is been awhile, get one and it might save your life.