Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Have An Overwhelming Urge To Prep? Here Are 25 Things To Do Now!


Some people are now finding an overwhelming urge to prep and/or prep harder. Whether it is world events or personal crisis driving that urge to prep, they just feel this need to prep or to get their preps in order.

This is not a bad thing! While some preppers will caution you against panic prepping, getting yourself and your family prepared for the next crisis is a good thing. In fact, you should take advantage of this urge to prep!

Some preppers, myself included, are feeling a need to get their preps in order and make certain we have enough water and food to last a while. I certainly don't have a good feeling right now about world events and that has made me look at what I need to do too.

So what can you do to take advantage of this urge to prep?

1. Get your water situation in order. Make sure you have enough drinkable water for at least two weeks, but a month would be better. They say a gallon of drinkable water per person per day. I stock up on the gallon size jugs and 24 pack cases of bottled water.

2. In addition to your water situation, keep some bottles of juice, tea, soda, and other drinks on hand. You can also stock up on powdered drinks to add to water. Water gets boring after awhile and having something to break up the water monotony will certainly keep the loved ones from getting crabby (hopefully)! Just be aware if you stock up on powdered drinks, that you might need more water to have with those.

3. Stock up on easy to eat food. If you lose power for any period of extended time, you will want food you can open, eat unheated, and be filling. That means having a healthy supply of canned vegetables, fruits, ready to eat soups, meats, and prepackaged meals (canned spaghetti, ravioli, etc.). You will want crackers, granola bars, cold cereal, muffins, survival bars, protein bars, and anything else you can eat without heating it up. I know most of you will have access to a grill, camp stove, volcano stove, and other methods to cook food, but you may not be able to go outside either. Again, I would have enough for at least two weeks, but a month would be better.

4. Buy a manual can opener. Scratch that, buy at least three manual can openers. Just in case one breaks or is misplaced. In addition to that, buy a bottle opener too. They also come in handy to open canning lids.

5. Buy trash bags. You will want the small kitchen size, the 13 gallon size, and the large black (33 gallon) ones. You may need the small ones for bathroom using purposes and to take the trash out every day to keep the home sanitary. The other sizes are just handy to have for all purposes.

6. Buy paper plates, cups, bowls, napkins, and towels. Buy plastic cutlery. You may not have a way to wash dishes. You will want something you can eat off of and throw away/burn easily.

7. Buy toilet paper. You really can't have too much of this stuff. You will always use it.

8. Buy a few more five gallon buckets. You can store water in them, use one as a toilet, wash laundry with a plunger in it, use to clean, and much, much more. Having a good supply (10-20?) of five gallon buckets will help tremendously.

9. Stock up your pets' and livestock food and water. You don't really want them to go hungry or struggle to feed them from your supply! We keep our dog food and chicken feed in steel trash cans with a tight fitting lid to keep the critters out of it and keep it fresher. We keep the cat food in five gallon buckets with a tight fitting lid for the same purposes.

10. Buy some more ammo and practice shooting more. Having a little more ammunition on hand will only help your cause. In times of crisis, you never know who might show up at your house. Ammo is also a good bartering item if you need to use it that way. Practicing your shooting will only help you feel better about your skills and gain confidence in using your gun of choice.


11. Have a way to cook outside the home? Whether you use your grill, camp stove, volcano or rocket stove, a campfire, and more, you need to find ways to cook food in case of no power or limited power. If you are using any of those methods, you need to keep your propane tanks filled and firewood stocked. You would not be out of line if you got more propane tanks (1, 5, 10, 20, or 30 pound) and/or had a very healthy stock of firewood and charcoal. Don't forget to get some matches and lighters too!

12. How are you going to see in the dark? Stock up on candles, flashlights, lanterns, lantern oil, matches, lighters, wicks, a few candleholders, and batteries.

13. Get your bug out bags and 72 hour kit ready to go. You may not be able to stay where you are and you will need to leave quickly. Having these ready to go will be a time saver and possibly a life saver!


14. Buy some external battery chargers, battery packs, and solar chargers for your cell phones. I know the other devices can be important, but having a working and charged cell phone can be a life saver and a game changer. Keep these things charged at all times for emergencies. Some of you might say that in certain situations a cell phone will be worthless, but I don't really want to take that chance. I would rather have one charged and ready to go than to be stranded without a way to communicate or get warnings.

15. Have things to entertain yourself and your kids. You should have a healthy supply of books, games, puzzles, craft projects, word searches, workbooks, and other toys to keep everyone from killing each other. If it is just adults, most of that stuff is still good to have on hand. If you like to knit, crochet, and do needlework, have some projects on hand to work on. You don't have to spend a lot of money on this stuff. The thrift stores are usually well-stocked on these things.

16. Consider your personal needs. Keep plenty of baby wipes, body wipes, toilet wipes, hand sanitizer, sanitary items for women, deodorant, baby powder, foot powder/spray, and whatnot on hand for times when the power is out. Other people's body odor can really be a bad thing. Being unsanitary can cause illnesses. Staying clean as possible will help you feel better.

17. Check the first aid kit and get it stocked up! Bandages, antibiotic ointment, gauze, tape, adhesive bandages, and more are all things you do not want to run out of. You can make your own first aid kit or buy one, but make sure it is ready to go at any notice. I would keep a really good one in the house and shop. I would also keep them in the cars just in case you need backup in the house.


18. Check your over the counter medications. If you are fond of taking ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen now, you don't really want to run out during a crisis. I would make sure to have multiple bottles of those pain relievers. I would also have on hand cold medicines, cough syrups, acid reducer medicines, multivitamins, Vitamins C & D, and any supplements or other medicines you take on a regular basis. Research and start practicing natural remedies too.

19. Keep up on laundry, dishes, and anything that takes water. If you lose power for an extended period of time, the last thing you want to worry about is how to do dishes and laundry without running water. Make sure the dishes are done every day and the laundry is done at least 2-3 times a week.


20. Get your plans in place. What will you do if you are at home and need to leave? What if the kids are at school? What if you are at work?  How will you get home and how many ways can you find to get home? What will you do if you are at home? What if you are stranded in another town or at another relatives' house? Play all the scenarios you can think of in your head and make a plan on paper for them. Memorize those plans and make sure your family knows them too. Then practice, practice, practice those plans.

21. Do you have addictions? How will you cope? Whether it is to nicotine, drugs, alcohol, sugar, caffeine, social media, and more, you will need to figure out if you can quit cold turkey, deal with the withdrawal, or have a plan in place to slowly wean yourself off these things. Ideally, now would be a good time to quit or at least cut back, but that is your personal decision. Just be aware that you may not have access to those things and will need to live without them.


22. Do you have a way to heat your home without power? If you don't, now would be a good time to figure out how you are going to deal with the cold. There are many ways to keep yourself warm, but finding a heater that works indoors without electricity would be ideal. If you can do a propane fireplace, that would be good. If you can do a woodstove, get one installed. Just make sure you have a way to stay warm. Also, have a battery powered carbon monoxide detector and extra batteries. No one wants to die that way.

23. Go for a walk. Get some exercise. Work out and get your body in shape. Whatever you need to do to handle the physical demands that a disaster or crisis may require of you. There are plenty of armchair preppers, but being in shape will give you the advantage. You will feel better, have a clearer head, resist illness, and be able to handle the stress better.


24. Practice living without electricity and running water. Spend a day doing that will be a big eye-opener to you and your family. One day will not compare with being without power for a week or longer, but you will have an understanding of what you need to do to be prepared.


25. Do you have a baby? Someone with special needs? An elderly person living with you? What special considerations do you need to make for them? Do you have extra diapers, wipes, and formula? Do you need to deal with oxygen tanks? Write down everything they need in a day and a week and figure out how you will deal with those things. Having a plan and being prepared now may mean the difference between life and death later.

Some of these things will be easy to do and easy to implement. Some of these things are harder and will take time to practice and implement. Some of these things will cost money and some are free. Some of these things involve self-improvement which is part of prepping too. Most of these ideas involve living without electricity and running water which will be a big problem for most people.

If you are getting started in prepping, these things are key for getting started. If you have been prepping for awhile, you should take the time to review these things and find your holes. You may think you are totally prepared, but there is no room for arrogance in prepping.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Friday, August 4, 2017

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish In August


There is so much you can do in August! Summer is still here, the weather is mostly nice and hot, and the days are still long. People's gardens are producing like crazy and the farmers' markets are overloaded with the garden goodness. Kids are getting ready to go back to school if they haven't gone back already.

We still have plenty to do though with prepping. Prepping shouldn't ever stop. I am half way through Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse by James Wesley Rawles. Talk about an eye opener! This is a fictional novel, but that shouldn't stop you from reading it. The scenarios presented in this book so far are very realistic and has made me think about a few things in a new light.

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish In August: 

1. Time to stock up on office supplies. Back to school sales are going on right now. I like to get stocked up on reams of printer paper, notebooks, pens, pencils, printer ink, and flash drives/memory cards/SD cards. This is also a great time to replace printers and/or laptops because they are marked down almost as well as on Black Friday sales. You can also find good quality backpacks for bugout bags, get home bags, and everyday carry bags.

I justify stocking up on office supplies as prepping because I will still need these things if I still have access to power and WI-FI. Most of my work can be done on a computer and I need these things to keep up with business. If the grid is down, I will be back to doing a lot on paper.

2. If you haven't learned how to can food yet, you need to learn this month. If you are starting from scratch, I have a very good blog post about what you need to start canning. Whether you planted a garden, got produce from a friend, or went to the farmers' market, now is a good time to learn. You can start with something easy like canning green beans or using Mrs. Wages packets to make salsa and pizza sauce. You do not have to start our canning anything complicated. I try to only can food that my family will eat. Even I have had some hits and misses. However, in my opinion, canning is one of the top ten skills you need to learn for homesteading and prepping.


3. Whether you are canning your own fruits and vegetables or need to buy them, this would be a good month to get stocked up on cans of fruits and vegetables. If you think you have a good supply, now would be a good time to inventory your fruits and vegetables stockpile. Take note of what needs to be eaten up and what needs replacing or replenishing. I would pay special attention to anything tomato based. I have come across a bulging can or two in the last year and eating those are a definite no-no due to botulism.

Even if you think you have a good supply of canned fruits and vegetables, I would still add more. I would try to buy these by the 12 packs if you can. Being in flats makes the canned goods easier to stack and store. Aldis is a good place to buy canned fruits and vegetables by the flat or case if you cannot can your own.

4. Now is also a good time to get your important documents and pictures onto a flash drive. This flash drive may save you a good deal of headache and time when you lose those important documents or insurance cards. I would scan them into the computer and save them to the flash drive. If you have this done, you may want to update the information if you need to.You may want to do this twice and keep one on you and one in the safe. I would also take pictures of your vehicles, license plates, recreational vehicles and plates, VIN numbers from those things, and upload them to the flash drive. You never know what you may need to report to the insurance company and have replaced. I would also do this for anything valuable in your home. You can also take a video of each room and upload it to the flash drive also.


Do not forget about your kids' valuable information. If they have state provided IDs or driver's licenses, get those uploaded. Our school sends us a Student ID card with their school picture on it and I would also scan that on to the flash drive. Any birth certificates, social security cards, life insurance policies, passports, and even important medical documents should be on this flash drive.

5. Time to check your everyday carry. Do you have an everyday carry? This is what you carry in your pockets and purse. These are the things that you will need if there is an emergency or you may need to defend yourself in some way. These are the things you cannot and should not live without. I keep a lot of things in my everyday carry, but I noticed the other day that my everyday carry bag needs updating and possibly some rethinking about what I want to carry. You should do this every so often just to keep what you have on hand fresh in your mind. While you are at it, if you carry an everyday carry bag, clean it up and organize it too.

Some additional things to do in August:
1. Check your planting zone. If you can, plant some more things in your garden. We have a second planting of peas right now and I hope to add beets and carrots to the garden soon. If you use hoop houses or cold frames, you can plant more and really extend the life of your garden. 
2. Now is a good time to order strawberries, blueberries, and garlic to plant in the fall. When they come in, plant them right away and water often and well. You will have a great crop of strawberries and garlic next summer.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

"If You Haven't Got Your Health, You Haven't Got Anything"


Yes, that is a direct quote from "The Princess Bride". It is one of my favorite movies of all time. I could quote most of that movie easily, but it has been that quote that has been on mind lately.

We really do take our health for granted. We live in this bubble for a long time and believe that we are invincible until one day we aren't. It seems like, all of a sudden, we can't walk as much as we used to. We get tired a lot more easily. We can't breath as well as we used to. An extra 30-100 pounds have creeped onto our bodies. We are wiped out after a half day of work.

I decided some time, with some encouragement, to want better for myself. I wasn't the only one. I had one friend get a wake-up call about her health. I have had more than one friend and relative find out they had Type 2 Diabetes and/or have significant thyroid issues. We have all talked about how hard it is to lose the weight now, eat healthier, and get the right treatment.

I finally decided to get my breathing fixed and get my allergies under control. I have been complaining for years to the doctor that I cannot breath through my nose. I have been told it was congestion, allergies, swelling from both those things, and possibly a deviated septum. I have been taking allergy medicine year round for almost six years and seasonally before that.

My regular doctor did not want to pursue this. I find that very disturbing since this has been impacting my life. I don't sleep well. I am out of breath a lot because I am not a natural mouth breather. I always have a lot of sinus pressure. I believe it has had an effect on my weight gain/loss. However, since the allergy medicine was working on some of the symptoms, they were fine with that. I even pursued a sleep study, but I passed the preliminary test (a pulse oxygen machine overnight) with flying colors.

I finally called in May to get into an allergy/ear, nose and throat doctor. I couldn't get into testing until yesterday. I self-referred to a doctor. I haven't done that except one other time for one of my children. I wanted answers and thank goodness I did!

You know what I found out? I don't have allergies. Not one allergy. I went through the allergy testing and found out I was unnecessarily taking these medicines for years! This doctor listened to me and he knew right away what was probably wrong with me. All he had to do was look in my nose to know. He also gave the very uncomfortable experience of having a camera up my nose to make sure nothing else was wrong.

What was wrong? The turbinates in my nose are enlarged and swollen blocking off airflow. I haven't been able to breath through my nose for over ten years (at least) because of this. This can be fixed and rather easily! I am using a combination of two nose sprays and, if that doesn't work, a simple ten minute in-office procedure will fix it.

This is minor compared to what a lot of people have wrong with them. I realize that, but it was starting to really impact my quality of life. I have a few more health issues I would like to pursue, but this one seemed to me the most important. I have wanted to work out, sleep better, and lose weight. Not being able to breath through my nose was impacting all of that!

The point of all of this is to get your health taken care of. Do not be afraid to ask for a specialist. If your regular doctor doesn't seem to be listening to you, ask for another doctor. Otherwise, self-refer yourself to a specialist who can give you answers. Most people are not hypochondriacs. They know something is wrong with them and it needs to be fixed. It is just a matter of finding that doctor who will listen to them.

I have several things to say about the health industry, but this is the most important. There are good, mediocre, and bad doctors. Their hands are tied by a lot of things like policies and insurance. The good doctors will continue to find solutions and do the best they can by you. The mediocre doctors will just look at your symptoms and give blanket treatments/responses. The bad doctors will just not care because they are being paid by more than the hospital. The good doctors will be hard to see because they are well-liked and their schedule is full. However, a good doctor for you may not be a good doctor for someone else.

I still believe in home remedies, natural cures, and a holistic approach to medicine. I will probably never stray from that. However, sometimes you do need a conventional doctor. This is one of those times.

It is easy to put your health off until tomorrow. We often put ourselves last and we can pay the consequences for it. If some major crisis happens and we can't get access to medical care, we are too late and we will probably pay for that. If you find yourself without help, can you do all the work or are you too unhealthy to do that?

I know what my answer would be which is why I am trying to lose weight now, eat healthier now, and getting any health issues addressed now. We don't know what tomorrow may bring, but we need to be ready to face it.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Clean Out Your Freezers With Me In August!


I declare August as National Clean Out Your Freezer(s) Month.

Why? The reasons are endless...

  • School is starting soon for us and may have already started for you.
  • Summer bounty is flowing in from the garden.
  • There may still be meals in the freezer from last year's freezer cooking binge.
  • There may be meat from 2014 in the bottom of the freezer.
  • There may be frozen vegetables and fruits from 2012.
  • You may have a storage shortage in the freezer.
  • You may have to get really creative in order to put even more in the freezer!
  • You may have leftovers from two Christmases ago still frozen in your favorite containers...

Most of those, if not all, are a true story in this house! I bet they are true for your house too, but I will not point any fingers. I have a full-size chest freezer as well as the freezer in my refrigerator. I am going to concentrate mainly on the chest freezer, but the other freezer will be looked at too.

No matter if you are a prepper or a homesteader, this needs to be done. You need to keep rotating your stock or you might lose it to freezer burn or worse. You have to make room for any garden produce you might freeze. If you are into frugal living or sustainability, food waste is your enemy. Losing food to sheer negligence or lack of organization is a detriment to everything you are trying to attain. 



How should we go about cleaning out the freezers? However works best for you.

I would recommend doing an inventory of all the contents of your freezer and using up the oldest food first. If some of that food is badly or obviously freezer burnt, pitch it or feed it to the chickens if the food is safe for them. You don't need to eat bad freezer-burnt food for the sake of saving money - trust me, I have done that and it wasn't pleasant!

If you want to put the freezer inventory on a spreadsheet, I would recommend this one from Lesa at Better Hens and Gardens. If you want to do just printable freezer inventory sheets, I really like the printable from Fun, Cheap or Free. She also gives great tips!

Now I am one of "those people" who think food that frozen and still looks good is edible. I don't take much stock in dates on frozen food. However, for this freezer cleanout, you should probably eat the oldest food first due to making room for new and better tasting food.

Now, if being this organized makes you twitch, you can do a simpler method(s) that I have also used myself. You can work from right to left/left to right in the freezer. You can just grab a basket, find the oldest food, put that food in the basket, and vow to eat that up first. You can just open the freezer, grab the first thing you see, and make something with it. You can do whatever floats your boat in this challenge.



At the end of month, when you have eaten down your freezers, you should probably spend some time on Labor Day weekend or before cleaning and defrosting your freezers. Goodness knows they will need it! You will be able to see how gross they have probably become!

For this to be fun for everyone and to follow me while I do this, you can follow me on Instagram where I will post regular pictures of what the freezer looks like and what we are eating. You can also follow me on Facebook where I will also post pictures and encouragement for you all.

Please join me in this Freezer Cleanout Challenge! I would love to see what you are all doing as well! You can tag me by using the hashtag #lifeinruraliowafreezerchallenge. If you all use the hashtag, you should be able to see what each other is doing too! We can encourage each other!

Let me know in the comments if you are joining and what you want to accomplish in this challenge!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Saturday, July 22, 2017

10 Reasons You Should Be Gardening!


One of the most important skills to learn is gardening. The ability to grow your own food and maintain your own sustainability is a key point in homesteading and prepping. While you may not be able to produce all your own food, you have the capability to produce a lot of it. You can also garden just for pleasure. You can also garden for your long term food storage needs by canning, freezing, and drying your produce.

There are many ways to garden. No matter what method of gardening you choose, the results are the same. With a little hard work, weed control, and commitment, you will have produced your own food and gained a skill that, sadly, most people do not have.

10 Reasons You Should Be Gardening:

1. You produce your own food! This is the best thing about gardening. You can walk out to your garden and pick what you want to eat with your supper or as your supper. Eating what you produce is a great feeling. Your hard work produced food to provide for you, your family, and possibly neighbors and friends!

2. Gardening can be therapeutic. When you are feeling a little down, tending to the plants and watching things grow can lift your spirits. When you are feeling a bit frustrated or angry, pulling weeds can be a great outlet. If you are feeling pretty happy, the garden can keep lifting your spirits.

3. Gardening can decrease stress levels. See number #2. However, pulling weeds can be the best therapy and keep you from possibly hurting someone other than the weeds. And trust me, the weeds can handle it!

4. It's a skill that needs to be learned and passed on. Many people do not know how to garden. They will remember that their parents or grandparents gardened, but they had no interest themselves in learning. We need to be teaching and encouraging the next generation to be growing their own in some way or form. Whether it is growing food in containers on an apartment balcony, a community lot, raised beds, or in the ground, gardening skills need to be taught and passed on.


5. You eat healthier. There isn't many doctors, nutritionists, or diet gurus who will tell you not to eat your vegetables and fruits. Adding vegetables and fruits that are homegrown to your meals will help you be healthier and feel better too.

6. You will lose weight and burn calories pulling weeds and tending plants. Gardening has been proven to burn calories and even help lose weight with the exercise you get tending the garden.


7. Family and couples can work together. My kids are often out in the garden working with me. This year they did a lot of planting of seeds, onions, and potatoes. We worked on planting in straight rows, seed spacing, and identifying plants. They help with weeding and harvesting. They also love to eat what comes out of the garden. Watering the garden has become a couples activity with Rob doing a lot of the watering including setting the sprinkler and coming up with new watering set-ups. You can involve your kids and your spouse if you want to. (I also understand wanting some "alone" time in the garden too!)

8. You can have a chemical free, organic garden. We try very hard to not have chemicals in the garden. If you want a chemical free, organic, non-GMO garden, you can have that. You get to control what is planted, what is sprayed, how to control the pests, and other inputs. Basically, it is yours to do with how you want!

9. You can save money at the grocery store. Vegetables and fruits rarely taste or look as good as the ones I grow. Nothing beats a homegrown tomato! Eating fresh vegetables from the garden and preserving the extra bounty will save you a fair amount of money on your grocery bill in the summer and the winter.

Learning a new way to stake tomatoes this year

10. You can experiment and learn new things while gardening. You will learn when you planted way too much zucchini and even your neighbors hide from you to avoid getting one! You will learn that you should only plant vegetables your family will eat and you will freeze/can. You will learn to try something new every year and see how it does. You can experiment with different types of tomatoes, peppers, and squashes. The garden is one big science experiment sometimes and, even though you might depend on what you produce, you can always try new things and change what you want to do.


Gardening is a skill you should be learning. It has many benefits and perks as you can read. I would encourage everyone to do it!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Prepper's Total Grid Failure Handbook: Book Review


One of the topics that come up for discussion at our house is living off-grid or what we will be doing if the grid fails. Our whole house is electric which causes stress and anxiety because we are so dependent on the grid. To alleviate that stress and anxiety, we have been looking at ways to become less dependent on the grid.

When this book came in the mail, I was ready for it. We have needed the information that Prepper's Total Grid Failure Handbook provided.

First of all, I love their focus on renewable energy and using renewable resources. One of the many flaws I see in prepper's off grid plans is that there is a heavy dependence on fuels (gas, diesel, and propane). Those supplies will eventually run out even though you hope to not be without power for that long in those situations. I would rather spend the money on renewable resources that will not increase our dependence on the grid and on the supply.

Second of all, I really, really appreciate the technical information that the Fiebigs provided. Everything was broke down to understand the different off-grid energy power sources. They had recommendations for items and systems they used.

We didn't know what system would fit our future and present needs. We didn't know the technical information behind a solar panel system. We didn't know what could handle the wattage we could be using and what appliances we can not use on a solar panel system. The Fiebigs provided the information in a way that we can understand it.

We were lost on generators too. While we still see generators as a back-up solution and not a permanent one, it was good to know the pros and cons between different types of generators. We didn't know which one was best. Now we have a better idea of what generator would be best for our needs.

Third and last, I liked that they talked about their trials and errors too. They have lived this off-grid life for five years. They started out small with a 15 watt solar panel and kerosene lamps. They have come a long ways from that first day they went off-grid. I liked how they shared this information and what worked best for them.

The Prepper's Total Grid Failure Handbook: Alternative Power, Energy Storage, Low-Voltage Appliances and Other Lifesaving Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living by Alan and Arlene Fiebig has a permanent spot in my reference library. I have a feeling we will be using it often! I hope you take a look at this book and add it to your reference library too!


Thanks for reading,
Erica


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish In July


July is the time of the year that flies by so quickly. There is never enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished. The weather is hot and very humid (at least in Iowa it is!). The garden is growing like crazy. The grass and the weeds are either having a competition to see who can grow the fastest or the grass is burnt up and the weeds still need to be mowed.

For July's prepping accomplishments, I tried to keep the list easy to do since this is a busy time of the year! Some people might find some of these things a challenge and that is good.

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish in July:

1. Make a meal list using only food storage foods. I am including everything in the food storage. However, I am going to make two lists. One list will involve the refrigerator and freezer foods because, in some instances, you will still have access to those foods. If you lose power, those foods need to be eaten first. My second list will only include foods that are shelf stable. Those meals will come from canned food, commercially canned food, food buckets, freeze dried food, and whatever else doesn't involve a refrigerator/freezer. In this list, I will also make a note if the recipe needs additional liquids like water, broth, and juice so I can be sure to have plenty on hand.

2. This month I am focusing on stocking up on breakfast foods for my food storage. I want to make sure I have a good supply of oats (steel cut, rolled, and quick), cereal, granola ingredients, granola bars. oatmeal packets, powdered eggs, pancake/waffle mix, and whatever else we like to eat for breakfast. Your breakfast stock up will depend on what your family likes to eat for breakfast. I am including quick grab and go breakfast foods as well as homemade breakfasts because you do not know what you will need and if you have the means to make a from scratch breakfast.

3. Find three ways to disconnect from the grid this month. Electric bills in July can be horrible because of so many people using air conditioning. This drives up the on-peak demand usage which gives you a higher bill. Nevermind, the additional stress on the grid which can cause blackouts and brown outs. Find a few ways to disconnect from the grid. You can used propane powered items like a smoker or the grill to cook your meals. I have done enchiladas and casseroles on the grill just to keep the heat out of the house. Make your own solar oven to bake bread in. Use your solar chargers to charge your electronics. Dry your clothes outside. Do what you can to use less electricity and practice being off grid however you can.

4. Buy some extra gas cans and stockpile fuel. Buying your gas cans now will save you later when a crisis happens and everyone wants them. I would buy at least 2-3 each for gasoline and diesel. If you don't have anything that runs on diesel, you can skip that. I would fill them with unleaded gasoline if you can find it. We can still get 91 gas as opposed to 87 which contains more ethanol. Gas with ethanol goes stale quicker than unleaded gas does. You can add something like StaBil in the gas to make it last longer.

I would also stock up on propane, butane, and kerosene if you have items that use those fuels. You can buy propane cylinders in 20# and 30# that will work with majority of space heaters and grills. If you are not sure, ask your local propane serviceperson. They will be able to help you. We keep 3-4 20# propane cylinders for our grill and heaters. For kerosene and butane, buy an extra few gallons depending on what you use and your storage capabilities.

5. Time to take a good look at your vehicle. Is it ready for emergencies? Is it well-maintained? Does it need something fixed? How are the tires and brakes? Now is a good time while the weather is nice to give your car a thorough cleaning and restocking. Organize your emergency supplies so you can find what you need without tearing the car apart. Fix the broken lights and make sure all the rest of the car is in good condition.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


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