More Food And Time To Slow Down

Yesterday found me running to the store to pick up some more stuff.  This was the trip I was going to take the other day and didn’t.  The spousal unit and I both felt like crap, so we held off.  However, I felt ready to go yesterday, and she didn’t, so I headed on without her.

Lucky me.

Anywho, I did pick up a handful of things for the food stores.  For example, remember me being bent out of shape about being able to get so few cans of sliced carrots?

Luckily, the spousal unit isn't overly concerned about brand on sliced carrots.

Luckily, the spousal unit isn’t overly concerned about brands on sliced carrots.

And remember the peas?  Snagged some of those and some baby carrots, which we enjoy.

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We fleshed out the peas pretty well there.  Still not done with those, mind you, but we’re at a decent level for the time being.

I also grabbed some more packets of mashed potatoes.

The upside down thing is a trick my wife likes.  She alternates them to fit more in the space.

The upside down thing is a trick my wife likes. She alternates them to fit more in the space.

You may note the box with the Idahoan potatoes.  Let’s be honest; those bags don’t stack particularly well.  To the right, you can see the box we use for the smaller bags of potatoes.  However, I knew that wasn’t going to work for these bigger bags. (We usually fix two of the smaller bags.  With one of the larger bag, we get just as much food.)

When I put these in the cart, I threw in the box too.  At the checkout, I asked the cashier if I could keep the boxes on these.  She said sure because all they were going to do was throw them out.  So, if you need a way to put these on the shelf, try it.  The great thing is that you can keep the boxes so you don’t need to ask every time you buy them, but they make shelf storage so much easier.

AND THEY’RE FREE!  Isn’t that everyone’s favorite price?

Not shown in the photos are the 16 or so cans of yellow squash and onions I picked up.  We needed veggies, and we needed variety.  Right now, we have almost all the canned vegetables we eat regularly.

Additionally, I picked up a couple of experiments.  Right now, we just have canned chicken.  This will not be something we can keep up day after day, so we need some variety.  While my wife will be trying her mom’s salmon patty recipe later (using canned salmon), I grabbed a can of pulled pork and bbq sauce and one of roast beef and gravy.

The pulled pork wasn’t half bad at all.  We’ll be stocking up on this to serve with rice and some kind of vegetable.  It’s a bit too runny to use for sandwiches, in my opinion.  At least, that’s what I found when I made sandwiches out of it.  I wore more than I’m ready to admit.

We’ll try the beef soon, but I’m hopeful.  This could be excellent over either rice or mashed potatoes.  This, along with the pork and possibly the salmon, will give us a nice bit of variety.

Yes, I hear people talking about tuna, but honestly?  I’ve never really been a big tuna fan.  I want to be, but I’m not.  We’ll pick up a can here or there to experiment with, but until that happens, I’m not stocking it.

I also did a bit of math.  One shelf on the Edsal shelf will hold enough canned vegetables to feed my family for about 41 days.  There are five shelves.  I could, if pressed, put about three months of food on this one shelf.  Maybe.

Of course, there wouldn’t be room for anything else, but it’s nice to know how little space a few months of food can take.

Now, however, it’s clear that I’m going to have to slow down a bit.

It’s not because I’m ready.  Far from it.  There are so many holes in these preps that it’s not even funny.  I know there are.  Especially water.

No, I’m having to slow down because the funds are depleting.  Preps do me no good if I’m so broke I have to delve into them just to survive.

So, here’s the plan going forward since I have a nice start.  Each week, when I get paid, I’ll snag SOMETHING for the preps that isn’t food related, and I’ll spend an additional $20-25 on a food item for the food stores.  It will generally be all of one product.  Personally, I think that tends to show up more meaningfully for me.  A few cans

Personally, I think that tends to show up more meaningfully for me.  A few cans here or there feel haphazard and incomplete.  A case of something?  Now we’re talking.

This should be easily doable, though down the road I’ll probably have to adjust this.  I can’t buy a Big Berkey off of what I have to spend in a single week, after all.  Some stuff is just expensive, so I’ll have to save up a bit for those items.

Still, it’s good to have a plan.

A little later, I’ll try and organize my plan based on priorities.  I’ll be asking for critiques on this because it’s always a good idea to have others find holes in your plans.  They exist, and you may be blind to them.

On that note, however, I’m going to wrap this one up.  I feel much better about my food stores at this point.  I think we could shelter in place for several weeks so long as we had power and water.  Making it, so we don’t need power and water will be on the near-term agenda, and that makes me feel so much better about taking care of my family.

More On The Nom Nom Front

Food is still an ongoing project for me, so I went out and got some more food.

Pretty easy, huh?

Seriously, I knew that despite all the purchases last week, we were still a long way from ready to roll.  There just wasn’t enough variety to keep us going strong day after day after day.  We needed to fix that.

Since the wife and I needed to head out anyways, we decided to hit the local grocery store for some goodies.

If I had to rely on what I could get in a grocery store if the balloon went up, I saw just how screwed I would be.

I like to buy a lot of cans.  20 or more of vegetables, to be honest.  I couldn’t do that yesterday.  Why?  Because, on a Tuesday afternoon before most folks have gotten off from work, there weren’t 20 cans of anything we ate on the freaking shelves!

Yeah, so not good.

We were shopping for peas, carrots (both of those separately), and some squash and onions (those in one can).  Since my wife is such a picky eater when it comes to veggies, these are probably about all we can stock up on that she’ll eat.  However, we bought out everything they had and still didn’t have the 20 cans.  On the peas, we could only grab ten cans.  Ten.  That’s almost nothing for a family of four.

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Ten cans of Le Seur early peas. About half of what I wanted to get.

I grabbed some more canned chicken since that’s practically a staple here anyways.  All eight cans.  Eight.

Luckily, we had chicken already and were just adding to it.

Chicken looks better because I'd already picked some up.

Chicken looks better because I’d already picked some up.  You can also see the ten cans of chilli I picked up.  Put it on rice, and it’s pretty good eating.

Seriously, anyone who thinks they can stock up for the apocalypse with one last run to Publix is deluded.  Try it sometime and you’ll be disappointed, that’s for sure.  And this was in good times.  Imagine if everyone else is panicking like horses in a glue factory?

Luckily, we’re planning a trip to Walmart, which tends to be much better stocked.  We’ll pick up some more of everything there, as well as Armour beef stew that we prefer.  We’ll snag a bunch of that to go along with the baked beans and chilli we already stocked (would have liked more chilli though), all of which will be stretched with rice.

Yeah, I know the Chef Boyardee stuff is frowned upon by some preppers, but I have a 14 year old son who is home for the summer.  This probably won't last the week.

Yeah, I know the Chef Boyardee stuff is frowned upon by some preppers, but I have a 14 year old son who is home for the summer. This probably won’t last the week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We used these a lot, and since the expiration date is sometime in 2018, I picked some up.

We used these a lot, and since the expiration date is sometime in 2018, I picked some up.

I haven’t figured up how long I’ve got food for, but I’m guessing at least a month now, if not more.  Not too shabby.

On another front, I got a new pretty in the mail today.  A Mora Companion knife.  I’ll try and spend some quality time with it today and get a review of it up tomorrow.  So far, though, my initial impression is pretty good.  I’m already planning on getting one for everyone else in the family.

I still need to work on water, which is a biggie, but I’m looking at possibilities for that.

More Food For The Family

Yeah, I already talked about food a bit the other day.  Well, last night I transferred my 50 lbs bag of rice into mylar bags and sealed them up.

That’s a first for me.  You see, while I always talked a big game I never actually had done any of this.

Luckily, all the theory pretty much prepared me to actually do this thing.

Just the buckets.  That big box of rice is what we're using now and I don't count it as stores.

Just the buckets. That big box of rice is what we’re using now and I don’t count it as stores.

Well, OK…the reality is that it’s just not that difficult a thing.  You put the rice in the bag, drop in an O2 absorber, then seal it up.  I’ve heard some people throw the rice in the freezer to make sure anything in the rice is good and dead.  Personally, I’m not sure I’m wild about that.  It’s another step and how is anything going to grow without oxygen?

So, I skipped it.

Now, a few notes from my own experiences.

First, I used one-gallon mylar bags rather than dropping a five-gallon bags.  This was more about using the rice.  We don’t really have anywhere to keep an opened bucket of rice without raising questions.  So, I decided to use one-gallon bags for storage.  That means we can open one up and pour it into a canister and not raise any eyebrows.

One gallon mylar bags. Three fit easily in the bucket.  Since it's a five-gallon bucket, however...

One gallon mylar bags. Three fit easily in the bucket. Since it’s a five-gallon bucket, however…

Next, my buckets.  As you may see from the photos, they’re just some blue buckets from Lowe’s.  I can see some of you cringing right here and now, and I empathize.  However, here’s the thing to remember: The rice never touches the bucket.

The rice is vacuum sealed.  The mylar will keep out anything and everything except rodents.  That’s why we put the rice in buckets in the first place, right?  Well, when it’s sealed in mylar, the bucket being food safe just isn’t as important as it might be otherwise.  Especially since the bucket is really just used as a container for holding the sealed bags.  They’ll literally never be opened in the bucket.

Now, there’s a downside to this.  Primarily, I could only manage to put three bags in each bucket.  That’s 15-18 lbs, rather than the 35 lbs that a bucket can normally handle.  However, even that has an upside.  My wife can easily handle one of these buckets while a fully loaded bucket might be more problematic for her.

However, for the most part, this method will take up more space than if I’d just used five-gallon buckets.

Now, another note about Lowe’s buckets.

OPSEC is one of my hallmarks.  With the blue buckets, should someone see them stacked in my house, there’s absolutely nothing that would scream “FOOD!” to them.  In fact, it’s a home improvement store.  It’s probably something to do with one of the billion or so projects I’ve got going on here at the house, at least in their mind.

Now, I’ve still got to label the buckets.  The trick here is to label them so that it won’t raise any further questions.  Probably labelling the lid will work on that front.  I’d do the bottom, but that’s just begging for problems.

Still, it’s kind of nice to have such a nice cushion for a change.

The thing is to expand that so I have even more of a cushion.  That’s what’s next.

Review: Edsal Heavy Duty 5-Shelf Shelving Unit

If there’s one thing preppers probably don’t have enough of, it’s…well, it’s everything.  However, we tend also to find ourselves short of shelves to put our preps on.  That was where I was, so I hit up Amazon to see what I could see.

DSCF0002That’s when I found this, the Edsal Heavy Duty 5-Shelf Shelving Unit that just called to me.  Well, now that I’ve put it together and put some stuff on it, it’s time for the review.

This is a 72″ tall, 36″ wide, and 18″ deep solid metal shelving unit that’s designed to be both durably constructed while simple to assemble with a minimum of tools.  That’s a very tall order for anything.

Did it succeed?  Let’s find out.
Continue reading

Food, Glorious Food!

The real mark of a prepper/survivalist has got to be food storage.  Gun folks don’t always have food stored, and neither do your bushcraft crowd.  No, we preppers do food storage.

However, that’s something I always slacked off on in the past.  It’s what I beat myself up over time and time again because I knew I needed to store food.

Well, today was kind of a big day at the house. Continue reading

Down With #10 Cans!

The venerable #10 can is popular with a lot of preppers.  These are the big, industrial-sized cans you see on the shelves of Sam’s that are loaded with green beans, peas, carrots, or whatever.  They’re awesome, right?

Well, they’re popular with a lot of preppers, that’s for sure.  It makes sense.  One can with a lot of food, often at a discount because of the bulk, is a wonderful thing when you’re trying to store a lot of food.

However, I’m not a fan. Continue reading