I know there are many preppers out there who are getting ready for "something" to happen. While I think that listening/reading/watching them can be helpful, I don't know if something bad is coming at us or not. However, I do think having a good supply of self safe food(s) available for 'just in case'.
Where I am living we get told at the beginning of 'storm season' (tornado season), we are told to have a emergency kit just in case we have one hit near us and there is no power what will you do for food and water? So instead of just waiting for one instance of one season to hit you. Where I live in Missouri we could have a blizzard, if we do; and I live in a very rural area. When would I receive help? When would the roads be clear enough to get food from a store? If the power went out after it thankfully I have a wood stove for heat. However my cook stove is electric.
Look back at first Katrina, and then Sandy. Both of them had issues with people getting food, Katrina was, pardon this; a clusterf###! Then with Sandy parts of the cities were without access to food for a week. What would you do in this situation? The biggest problem for a city is that 90% of your home is electric. I know in the Chicago area most people have gas stoves and heat, unless you have matches what will you use to light your stove?
I would like to see people keeping some extra foods that are shelf stable that can be eaten without cooking, while I know this is very limited in scope for the people who are picky eaters. But, let me ask you this. What would you prefer? Not having any food or having something you can eat though you do not like it?
When I go shopping I tend to buy an item or two that I am not planning on using right then. It gets put in the pantry for later use, whenever I find tuna on sale or peanut butter I buy lots of it. I don't like peanut butter, but if I had to I'd eat it.
Now with that said, I have a comment on something that has popped up all over the place.
#1 Buying MRE's for your emergency stash
#2 Buying tons of dried foods for your emergency stash
#3 forgetting to account for water
Lets start with #1... How many of you out there who think MRE's are a good idea have eaten them before? I know I have only tried one type, Silver has tried many as he was in the military. I was lucky the one I tried which I think was a chicken parma was good... not the best I'd ever had though. I have been told by a few people (Silver included) that the tuna one is horrible, Silver thought it looked like and smelled like cat food. Also each MRE is suppose to be 3,000 calories which for most people is the total calories you need. The cost can go anywhere form $5-$12 a piece, which if you bought canned goods the MRE's would be more in cost. You also need to check the dates on the MRE's as sometimes the ones you can buy are out of date... or they were rejected by the military.
#2 What good will dried anything do you if it needs to be re-hydrated with hot/warm water? Or even cooked, if you have no way to heat or cook something? I know dried fruits can be eaten as is, how long before you get ill from just eating fruits in an emergency situation? Dried foods can be wonderful, but they need water to be edible aside from dried fruit... and sometimes the dried fruit needs water. If you try to eat the dried foods dry, you will probably eat more than you should as they won't be very satisfying unless eaten in large quantities. That said I do think they have their use, if you have the water available and the ability to cook the items that need cooking.
#3 I think this one is the most important, people don't tend to think of water when they store food for emergencies. Now, I am the first person to say to not buy bottled water, however. In the case of storing water for long term buy bottled water, you need about 3 gallons a person per day. Which is a lot of water, and if the power is off there will be no water coming out of your taps, eventually in the cities the tanks where water is stored will run out.
Now some other things you should have for an emergency. Extra blankets, if you have no heat you will need them to keep warm. Also flashlights, WITH extra batteries; you'll need them at night and in dark corridors. A fire extinguisher, a working one; also not a "kitchen sized" one as they don't put out anything the average one lasts maybe 20-30 seconds. What happens if you do manage to get your stove going and it catches on fire? You'd need that extinguisher for that possibility. I'd also suggest having something to entertain your kids if you have any, I know that when I was a kids power outages didn't bug me as I read like a book worm. I know most kids are not like I was though.
You should also have a GOOD first aid kit, and I don't mean one of those under $20 ones at Wal-Mart. They are not really helpful. Ask your doctor what they'd recommend in one for emergencies. Also maybe take a class on first aid, you never know when it might help.
Now please note... this is not a comprehensive list... nor is there any such things as a "magical list" that will work for everyone. I am no expert on this stuff, but I know what makes sense to me; and what I have observed. Make the decision for yourself.
Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...
Now I mentioned in my previous post about this cook stove that Silver made for us last year. Now it was very easy to make. It has metal from what Silver said was a commercial stove that was left on our property and we discovered it when we moved here. He took the metal squares from the base and took the legs off which were later used to hold pots over the fire. The metals squares though were filled with large rock then gravel. The other piece of metal is that back piece, which was also in the original base.
The next thing Silver did was put two standard cinder blocks on the rock/gravel filled base and then filled them with again rocks first then gravel till full. Now I want to say you SHOULD let them sit a day or 2 to let the stones and gravel settle. Otherwise they will get hollow spots in them. Then Silver put the flat cinder blocks on top of the standard ones, just offset enough for the leg "grate" to go across. Now that back piece of metal is held in place with a cinder block that is filled with concrete that we found on site with a rock on top. There was also a broken flat cinder in back to cover and uncover holes on that metal based on how hot you want the fire.
Now here is the only main problem, once you heat the cinder blocks and they get wet. You CANNOT remove them or they will crack and/or break. While this can be built in lass than an hour with all the materials like I said take the time to let it settle the gravel before finishing it off.
Now like I said we are going to do a cob oven and stove, and we aren't quite going to be doing the "standard" way of doing it. Now I wanted to embed this but I have yet to find the way too so here is a link to the "type" of cob oven we want to make.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lGTGUo6tyQ&feature=channel_video_title
Now in case you were wondering why I am showing you a spot of "dirt" (it's actually clay). Well this is where we are going to build the stove and oven. This is the clay from our root cellar dig out (which we are still doing). After we filled in some "wet spots" on our property where we walk we just had the kids pile it here. Silver went out and hoed it down then raked and hoed it flat on one side. Then "tamped" it down a little to make it very flat. This will be our starting stop for both the stove and oven. The plan is to have a space between to hold wood for both. Now the stove will be redone in a more "rocket stove" manner with the outside covered in cob to help keep the heat in while we cook.
This of course is the metal base from our first wood cook stove. Boy, did we have fun when we took the old one apart. Seems the local wasps had built a nest in one of the cinder blocks. It was pretty big too.
Now I'd like to point out that it's 2 pieces of metal in squares measuring a piece 2ftX24inX2in. So they aren't really all that big, but together they work well. Silver of course had to level it to make sure it was perfect.
Isn't that a pretty level it's a 6ft level that we only spent $14 on it at Harbor Freight Tools. Silver took me to their stores a few times and I was pleasantly surprised by them. I had never even heard of them until Silver told me about them. Anyway, I personally think a 6ft level is a very good tool for any homesteader whether you are "urban" or not.
Now a few things have been done here. First Silver took the broken flat cinders (yep all the old ones broke like I mentioned above) and placed 4 pieces in the 4 corners of the metal to hold it in place. Then he put in rock and then filled with gravel. It has been sitting for 3 days now, partly due to the fact that it was raining yesterday.
We also had (at first) the kids put those rocks along the front, for decoration mostly. Silver went back through and straightened it a bit, and added more. He's good at eyeballing pieces that fit together.
Then he went and put gravel all along the flat surface that we are going to build on. Now the plan is to spread some concrete dust over it and let it dry in place hardening it to prevent "wash out". the hope is also that the gravel pieces will make little channels for water to go through. Silver thinks it will be pretty as well.
That is what we have so far, we need to do the concrete on it before we do anything else and for the cook stove we need to get some more cinder blocks. Silver wants to use earthbags for the base of the oven, we'll see what we can manage. Well at least the "platform" isn't the only thing we need to concrete. We also need to do the stairs into our home as it's just wood holding gravel. We've had to re-make those steps twice now so we REALLY need to get the concrete in it.
I'll update this as we go along.
Be Well, Be Safe and Blessed Be...