Food Storage: Prepper Style

Storing food for hard times, even the collapse of society as we know it, should be on everyone’s mind. There are more people living today than at any other 1 point in time, and there are more people now than all the people that have past, ever! With droughts, famines, severe weather, and cost of goods increasing, food will be hard to come by in the future.  How much should you store? How would you replenish your storage?

I like to watch different shows and videos talking about prepping for “doomsday,” extreme weather, collapse of society, civil unrest, and many other topics. Some of you reading the posts have experienced hard times and some have not. Those who have are more prepared to survive because of experience. Food is one of the necessary preps for other than ideal times to boost morale. But we have all seen the “preppers” that have gone overboard and ended up at the bottom of the ocean. Some individuals have stored food for 5-10 years or longer. Why? Are they using and rotating their storage so the food does not go bad or decrease in quality? I have been in houses where they owners bought so much food that they did not know what they had. Eventually, the jars of pickles turned white. Why? They bought too much, too often, and usually food they don’t even eat.

Many people say to have 3-6 months of food storage. This is fine depending on the situation. If it’s a hurricane, and you live in the coastal region that floods, then you are wasting your time and money. If you are in the midwest where tornadoes are prevalent and storing your food above ground, you are wasting your time and money. I laugh at the ideas that people have. If you are preparing for civil unrest and you live in an suburban or urban area and you are preparing to bunker in, then you better be well fortified. They riots in recent years have shown that the masses do not care if it is your property.

At any given time, we have  2-3 weeks of food. Our area is known for having wildfires and we will have to get out ASAP for that. On the other hand, the last tornado in our area has been more than 30 years.  Where we live is between a major Texas river and a ridgeline. It is rare for a tornado to hit such  spot based on geographical formations. I am not saying it will never happen, but it statistically low percentage.  Civil unrest would be the worst case for us outside a natural disaster. We do live in a neighborhood that houses are less than 150 feet apart. Also, we only have 2 ways in, not including heading out on the train tracks and crossing the train bridge. A river on the south and west sides, dense wooded area with steep terrain to our east, and a massive drainage ditch to our north,  it would not be hard to lockdown our neighborhood.  To stock up more than we could pack in our SUV and truck would be foolish.

When we leave during the initial stages, we would pick up supplies from various places that most would not think about. I do not share these ideas, nor have heard others ever mentioning these places on blogs or videos. Other preps for food we are doing is learning gardening. We are in our second year of gardening and doing quite well. We are making notes on how to improve on growing our crops, increasing the yield, and planting different vegetables that we will eat. You have to learn now to be able to have a chance later. Fishing and hunting are also ways we will be able to feed our family. I recently purchased a book, Wild Edible Plants of Texas. I will be using this book, finding the plants around us that we can pick to eat. I know this doesn’t seem that satisfying, but if it adds nutrition, then I will do it. I need to get out this summer and start looking for these plants and to try them. Remember, anything you gather, you definitely need to wash, just in case.

Now, if you are one of those that do have years of food stashed away, remember to rotate your stock so that you are not throwing money done the drain. Be aware of the possibility where you have to leave and you cannot carry all of your food storage with you. That goes for any preps.

If you have any thoughts on this, please reply to the blog to start a conversation.

Go, live life, and enjoy your freedom.

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Stocking Up on Gold and Silver

 I hear many people in the Prepping World talking about you need to stock up on gold and silver for the post-apocalyptic world. Yes, over the history of mankind, people have sought out precious metals. Yes, it allows for a standard bartering system, if the system was only standardized though.

During the initial phase of the  post apocalyptic world, food, medicine, and basic survival needs will be the key focus and many will barter for them. One cannot eat precious metals. Gold and silver will not save the hungry. Stocking food, weapons, basic necessities of shelter will be the goal of survival, or at least the smart ones.

Investing in precious metals have its rewards, before the economy collapses. Bear and bull markets, I don’t understand derivatives and all the ways the market, but I do understand the bartering between two individuals of goods or services.

In Katrina, there were reports of looting for tvs, electronics, and other non-survival goods. Why? You cannot use a tv to save you from a wall of water. You cannot eat those $200 pair of Jordans. Yes, you need footwear, but that was not the purpose of the looting. People did loot for food and survival gear.

Ammo! Ammo is something that many people do stock up on for safety purposes, but so fail to see the bartering positives of it. Depending on how much you have, you can barter with ammo. Bullets are a dual purpose prep; you can use it for protection or to  hunt game. Back in the 1800’s, saloons would you ammo for drinks. How many bullets can fit into a glass, later coined a shot glass. The saloon owner, or the barkeep, would then sell the ammo for profit.

Alcohol, especially vodka, have many purposes. The obvious, to get drunk. It also can be used as mouthwash, antiseptic, insect repellent, and bartering, just to name a few. Items like this will be something  will be invaluable. With so many uses, it would be something worth it to stock up, or find early during the decline. Better yet, learn how to distill vodka. Knowing the process will be beneficial to save money now and after the stock is depleted  during the breakdown of society.

If you have any thoughts on this, please reply to the blog to start a conversation.

Go, live life, and enjoy your freedom.

If you enjoy my posts, please follow me at https://welcometofreedomblog.wordpress.com . You do not need an account, just simply input your email to the follow field. I do not use your email for any other purpose besides for followers.

War: Bombing in Syria

President Trump ordered strikes in Syria. Russia is backing Syria.  Will they respond? Will this start a global war, WW3?

I am not here to talk about political aspects, but are you ready for a potential outcome? Do you have your plans in place to protect, feed, and shelter your family?

I know we have 2-3 weeks of food storage but not much more than that. I have tackle for fishing and other means to get protein. Living close to a major river helps, but we live in a suburban area. I believe most people here will think of the same if something that changes day to day life.  We have 1/2 of an acre, which will not sustain us for long. We do have a garden that is growing, but not even close to being harvested. Our 1100 square feet garden will only supplement our nutrition, and not satisfy it.

We may be ok to shelter in place, but we live way too close to a metropolitan area to be able to stay for long. Have you mapped your escape? Do you know alternate routes? In my travel throughout our region for work, I know many back roads through the area to get to my bug out location in north central Texas. Knowing alternate routes will help your stress level. If you only know of one way to get to your destination, I would suggest you map at least 2 alternate routes. Rule of 3 is a good rule to follow.  I look at the triangle, simplest geometric figure with the most stability, and apply the concept to other places.  I also have a paper road map in case cell service ceases to exists.

What do you take if you bug out? How long do you plan to be gone? Do you plan to come back?

To leave home, you need to take multiple items. Food, shelter, and protection. Food, load up any non-perishables. I know we have a couple of coolers, and we will load up any cold items that are essential for the trip and for the 2-3 days after we get there. Milk, for example, would be hard to take because it is bulky and have a chances to spoil. Now, frozen meats would be good items to take since they are packed with protein. Being frozen, they will keep longer. The more frozen food you can pack, the better. Fruits and vegetables can be added to a meal to stretch the protein. Things like pasta, rice, beans, and sauces are a food multiplier since it stretches  a small amount a protein out and to allow the individuals to get other calories in the meal.

Clothes and blankets are other things to take. You really don’t know how long you will be gone, so pack heavy and different seasonal items like jackets, long and short pants, and long and short sleeves. Shoes are a must. I am not talking about nice dress shoes but boots, tennis shoes, and sandals. Sandals? Why? Sometimes the only way you can bathe is in a river, and you want to protect your feet. Old shoes could work but you need to air out your feet. Sandals are good while you are at base camp and needing to let your feet breathe.

Weapons. Weapons are a necessity when leaving under a bug out situation. Protection is needed because if civil law is gone, band of marauders will try to take your things. Know how to use them and clean them. It wont be worth it if you do not know how to fire your weapon. There have been times where someone has all these weapons, but they hurt themselves because they do not know how to use the weapon. I remember watching an episode of Doomsday Preppers, and the father injured his thumb because he did not know how to use the weapon or help his son to use the weapon.

Toys and Games. Why? I have 2yr old and 4yr old boys and they will need things to do, as well as the adults. You need to have something that allows you to have some fun. One cannot sustain stressful situations for a long time. It will be a stress reliever. Most of y’all have been around kids when there is nothing for them to do. They  will drive you nuts.

Tools. It would be wise to take tools with you. For example, a hatchet is nice, but a nice axe will make the work easier. I have changed a water pump on an old Toyota Celica with pliers and a screwdriver, but the work would have been easier if I had sockets and wrenches. You never know when you need them. In my truck, I keep sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers as well as other tools to help me in the event of a breakdown or an emergency where you need them.

Now, everything is listed here for my family if we are able to take our vehicle/vehicles. Yes, I would take multiple vehicles. First, if one vehicle breaks down, you are not stranded. Second, you can carry more supplies or pick up supplies on the way. I have good ideas where I can pick up supplies since I pass through towns and countryside daily for work. I pay close attention to my surroundings as I am driving for supplies if I have to scavenge during my bug out scenario. You would have to strip down the amount if you are only on foot. If that’s the issue, then you would need to rethink what is necessary. I have already come up with a list for what we would take if vehicles are inoperable and a hand held vehicle for additional supplies and for the boys to ride on.

Our ultimate bug out would be to buy a property that we can have a good size garden that will provide most of our vegetables for the year. Also have an orchard that had variety of fruit trees, and enough land that can be hunted on for our own meat source. We would naturally supplement it with packaged goods of items that would be too time consuming for us. This property would also need a root cellar to store the harvest in, canning jars, and stock items. This will allow us to provide fresh foods throughout the year. I would also have a green house to keep a harvest going throughout the winter.

If we bug out, we plan as if we are not coming back. The reason we would not come back is if society does not restore order. Even in that case, our home would probably be in ruins because of people breaking in and taking everything. I would come back to check things out to see if it is worth salvaging. It would sadden us to see what we worked so hard for to fall to ruin due to people not respecting property. This would be the worst case scenario.

Always be ready! 5.11 Tactical  slogan. I take to heart because you don’t get a second chance.

Go, live life, and enjoy your freedom.

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Garden 4-2-17

Over the last week, we have received about 3 inches of rain. This was great since my rain barrel was down below half full. We had some plants really take off and some plants that are not.

 

I line my rows with cardboard. Has anyone used yard clippings for mulch? I am using mine for compost but looking for free material for mulch.

This is a quick update. I wasn’t  able to do much this weekend with a tournament, rain, and just being exhausted. Over the next few weeks, I hope to have some more updates showing the rapid growth of the plants. Please check my other posts in the different categories.

Go, live life, and enjoy your freedom.

 

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Fire! Fire!

My boys, my wife and I went “camping” in the back yard in the last few month. The experience was to see how the boys would react. They loved it! They are so ready to go deep in the woods to camp, or so they have asked. My wife and I are not so sure just yet on the deep woods adventure. State parks are the next step in camping for our family and looking to go this summer. We love the outdoors, but need to make sure they are ready for the challenge. So it got me to thinking about what would be important to know when we do go this summer. Food, water, fire, and shelter.

FIRE! Creating fire is one of the most essential lessons to learn. Most people do not know how to start a fire using primitive methods. I will have future posts about the necessities to survive.

Creating fire is pretty easy when you have dry tinder, dry wood, a good fire starter, and ideal situations. Many times people are trying to start a fire but they are working against the elements. Depending on if it’s a dire need based on a true survival situation or an experiment (camping included), one needs to know what to use and how to use their supplies. Survival skills do need practicing in order for that time when it does mean life or death.

My wife and I keep all of our dryer lint for making fires in our pit outback. I am looking to stuff paper towel rolls with lint for emergency tinder in a bug out bag situation. I will be sealing it in zip locked bag to keep it dry. The lint will be the first step to create a fire and the tube will be the next easiest piece to catch.

When the conditions are wet, some individuals use cotton balls and other will use cotton balls dipped in petroleum jelly as a fire starter.  It is key to have dry tinder. I usually keep something flammable in my bag to help to get the fire going. Crayons are good way to keep a small flame going. Light the paper and the wax will keep it from burning too quickly. Worst case, take lint off of your cotton garments and use that for tinder.

The main thing you need to go along with the tinder is enough of various sizes of dry wood. I keep a few knives in my truck at all times. In case of emergency where I am stranded, I can always at least make a fire. I use the knife or hatchet(don’t keep in my truck but should) and a blow-stick to hit the back of the blade with. Using this hammer and wedge method will allow you to slice your firewood into various sizes to have a better chance of success of getting the fire started. You can also use the knife to create wood shavings for tinder.

My main spark for fire is my fire steel. Some people will make fun of me but I have the Bear Grylls Fire Starter. Nice and compact and easy to use. I also have a magnesium fire starter. It does burn great, but trying to shave the magnesium into a small pile and start a spark into it usually sends all the shavings flying. Maybe I get too close to do it. Maybe I am not doing it correctly, but I am not a fan of the magnesium fire starter. I have waterproof matches, but not a great concept for a long term scenario.

I was that guy who just used lighter fluid and matches to get fire started. Those days are done (mostly) because there will be a time I need a fire but don’t have anything to start it with. Finding different methods that work. I have not tried the following methods: fire piston, bow drill, or with steel wool and a 9 volt battery. Now, the most interesting one I have never tried are Doritos.  The oils that the chips are cooked in soak into the chip and should be able to light that oil on fire and the chips will burn.

Practice your methods of fire starting, along with the rest of your survival skills, You never know when you will need to use them in a life or death situation. Go, live life, and enjoy your freedom.

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Thank you,

Richard

 

 

Month 1 in the Books

I’ve had my blog up for about a month. I want to thank everyone that reads it and sends comments. It has been a learning curve to learn the layout of the page, what the jargon means, and just finding followers.

At the start, I had my sisters look at the blog to see if it is user friendly. After working some of the kinks out of it, I posted it to my Facebook page. I got an immediate increase in the number of followers.  During this last month, I have been working on the garden, some projects around the house, and my full-time job of teaching and coaching. Some have asked how do you do it all?

Teaching a subject I am familiar with (Geometry) helps a lot. I show my students different things I build or have built in the past. They keep asking me why do I teach if I can build? I enjoy the thought of teaching and reaching the minds of today’s youth. I believe they need someone who enjoys the content and can actually show them the use of the content. I use an online classroom for their homework and tests, so I do not have anything really to grade.

With gardening, I work on the weekends, when given a chance. My sons love the part of digging, but once that was done, they tended to stay away from the garden. They help plant a couple of my seed cups ( http://wp.me/p8pCsM-21 ). I wanted to plant a lot of different vegetables and wanted a good crop. I was trying to find a tiller to borrow but we finally just purchased one. I am glad we did because I planted 2 more beds because my seedlings did pretty good.

During spring break, I had a chance to scavenge some 2×6’s from a local construction site. I dug some out of the dumpster and also asked the foreman if I can take some out of the trash pile next to the houses. This is where my outdoor dining table came from ( http://wp.me/p8pCsM-bD ).  I had many people comment and ask questions on this table.

This past weekend I joined many different groups on Facebook. I think this is how my blog will explode with traffic.  I am trying to find new avenues of how to broadcast my blog, find new followers, and make sure my posts are interesting.

Thank you for your time. If you enjoy reading about gardening, woodworking, survival skills, or how to create things for the house,  please follow me by entering your email on the right.

Planting Day 3-25-17

 

 

IMG_0289Today was a beautiful day. Sun was shining and a breeze. I got in super late last night due to rain delay and lightning delay for our game. Weathermen said 80-90% chance of rain yesterday, but I think they may have meant  80-90 sprinkles at our house or we are in a geographical bubble. So, I needed to water today. I didn’t get my pump set up yet but I got another bed planted.

Today, I planted my okra, and most of my cantaloupes. I spaced theIMG_0285 cantaloupe and the okra in the row of 1 cantaloupe to every 3 okra seedlings. I found a companion planting chart (http://permaculturenews.org/2011/12/02/companion-planting-information-and-chart/) and showed that melons and okra have a symbiotic relationship. I planted 60+ okra and about 15 cantaloupe plants. If they all make, I guess I will set up a road side fruit and vegetable stand.

For the rest of the garden, the corn is coming in great, along with the potatoes. The potato box needs another level. The third picture is a close up of a potato plant. I believe those little guys in the middle coming off the stock are where the potatoes will be produced. I cannot find anything online to tell me for certain though. I need to get dirt around these if that’s the case. There are a lot on the 20 plants I have. I have cardboard lining the walking/picking rows. I am trying to find some mulch to lay over it. I also have paper to line what I could not cover with the boxes. We did this in our front flower bed as a weed barrier, and worked like a charm. It helps with moisture absorption and retention, worm food, and weed barrier. I will biodegrade and will add nutrients back to the soil. Since I am a geometry teacher, I took all the old worksheets and will be lining the garden. I will have the smartest worms in all of Texas.

The squash is coming along nicely. I have a few plants that are about 8 inches across. This IMG_0291guy here is pretty nice. His little brother not doing well but I will keep him because I am doing a trellis (field fence) with the all my vine growing vegetables. Melons will not be so lucky. I will just trim them once onset of fruit is showing to make the plant pump more energy in producing the melon.  I will be using some fish emulsion this weekend as well. I was waiting for the secondary leaves to sprout. Most postings I have read for fertilizing told me to wait until secondary leaves are formed. Next feeding will be at onset of fruit. I will double check the different plants to make sure I am feeding them the right thing.

Yes, I see the grass growing next to the fence, and I will handle that. I will be trying the vinegar and salt mixture to see if it will solve my issues. I have some ants invading, so I will use the sugar, borax and water to get rid of them. The harvesters stripped my peach tree last year and I will not let that happen this year. I think my peach tree never reached its required chill hours to produce. Not a single bloom or leaf yet. Wait and see on this one.

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Garden Update 3-23-17

Plants are looking good. I am waiting just a bit longer to plant the cantaloupe and watermelon. The okra is doing awesome in my seeding cups and will be transplanted to the garden bed. My cucumber plants are not looking great but they are growing. The squash and zucchini are looking good and the green beans are sprouting.

I still have plenty of jalapeno and bell pepper seedlings, but they are not growing much. My wife went ahead and bought 6 plants from the store and they are doing terrific. I am still going to try to get the seedlings to grow. You cannot have too many peppers. Salsa, pickled, and just eating them on everything.

The corn is doing fantastic. I have a few that are 10 inches tall, and the others are looking well. My potato plants are already needing another level built. I have seen blogs and Youtube videos that tell you to add dirt when they are 6 inches, but I am letting them get about a foot tall. I think the little buds are where the potatoes actually are produced. I am letting them develop before covering. I have to be cautious because potatoes exposed to the sun while growing are toxic.

I got a pump for my rain barrel, I am hoping to hook it up this weekend (and it works). I am still looking to get another water tote (or 2) in order to have plenty or water for this hotter than normal summer that is predicted. I wish I could dig a well, but I don’t have time or the money to do it. The best way for me to store water is using rain barrels hooked up to our gutter system. A cistern would be ideal, but with our septic system located in the worst spot in our yard, it would be impractical.

I recently put in the compost bin (3 x 3 x 3) and it is almost filled up. I need to make a few more so I don’t overfill the original one. I have plenty of space to put them at the end of the garden. They will serve 2 purposes; for the compost and a border of the garden.

I need to weed the garden. I want to wait so I can see if the seeds sown directly will be disturbed if weeding early. I have seen some natural weed killer, and I am going to try some of it on the fence line where I couldn’t get the tiller close enough to break apart the roots and rake them out. 1 gallon of vinegar, 2 cups of epsom salt, and a 1/4 cup of Dawn. I am probably only going to make a small batch to test out. I don’t want to waste more than I need.

I am sorry I do not have pictures. I get home at dusk and there is not enough light to get good shots. I will try to get some this weekend.

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Outdoor Dining Table

IMG_0255

Over the weekend I made a table (mostly done). My wife wanted a table for the backyard so we have a main table when hosting things at the house. The table is made to allow people to use folding lawn chairs to sit at the table without too much trouble. I will be adding a cross piece underneath, and end caps (after thought and hope it works). The tabletop is 7.5 ft long as is and 3ft wide. It stands 30 inches to the tabletop. I found various lengths of 2×6’s at the local construction site (and their dumpster) and found almost enough wood to make all the pieces. I am missing 3 6 ft boards to finish it out. I need to go around to find them in order to finish the base.

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Even though the legs and cross members are hollow, they are plenty heavy. I ripped the 2×6’s down to get rid of the imperfections on the edges and the round over edges that they come with from the mill. The wood was weathered, muddy, and dinged up but with my planer, the wood looks great! After the small amount left to finish, I will stain it. I will also will be building a bench for the table, but that will be another weekend project.

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Garden Update 3-15

Its been a few days since I have posted anything. With the rain and getting softball fields ready for our games, I didn’t have time to sit down to post anything.

My main garden bed is completely filled and I have tons of seedlings left to plant. Today, I spent time preparing rows in a second bed with mapping out potential 3rd bed. I bought some okra seeds, soaked them in water, and planted them in my seedling cups. What happened, I have 90+ seedling cups now and most of the plants are looking really good. I will be giving some to my mother in law along with a few squash, cantaloupe and watermelon  seedlings. I am hoping we have a great spring and mild summer so my family can reap a good harvest this year.

Along with making rows, I planted my corn, green beans, chives, oregano, and a few extra strawberry plants. I am still trying to figure out a watering system that is cheap(free would be good) and maintenance free. It would be nice if I could pressurize my rain barrel to create water pressure so I could use a water hose to water the garden. Anyone with suggestions? I also need to put another level on my original potato box since the bigger plants are roughly 10-12 inches tall. It will be another week before the second box needs it second level.

Over the weekend, I also baited most of our fire ant hills. I can’t seem to get rid of them though. I look at the old hills and see all the dead ones, so the bait is working. I just have to be diligent on baiting. I also bought a broadcast fire ant bait once I mow later this week. I am mixing borax and sugar today and soaking cotton balls. I will try everything that is going to kill those pests just shy of dumping gas(want to but not going to) on the hills.

This was a brief update. If you like my post, please follow my blog by email and share. There are other postings in the categories listed to the right.

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