Monday, March 12, 2012

What If Snakes And Vermin This Way Come?

Hi there everyone. Having just re-read my last posting and realized that it had a stark, dark and ominous feel to it. So maybe I should expand and clarify some more with this posting, I think;

Personally, I have never seen riots, raging hoards, or burning and pillaging masses first hand. Also I hope that I never do. However many people in my lifetime around the world have, and I have seen much of it on the news ~ at least what they will broadcast. So I try to prepare for contingencies that may happen, like shortages in food, goods and/or services, or maybe a power failure, or natural disasters, maybe even a possible economic meltdown, that could lead to a governmental collapse. Now I'm not saying that any of these will happen, just that anyone of them might happen. They could also combine into a combination disaster, rather like a domino effect. That is why am trying to be as prepared as I can be. So that I could be as comfortable as possible in the event of a crisis happening in "my neck-of-the-woods". No panic, just level headedness and preparing to roll with possible punches as it were. Now being of a level headed attitude, what to do and how to do it will go a long way, to surviving what ever it was that just may have disrupted common every day life. With all of that in mind and how my last post read. I felt that I should delve a little deeper into my reasons for not only this blog, but also for stockpiling food and turning to pedal powered transportation.

Let me start by saying that I am far from being ready for a crisis. But should one happen, then I think that at the start of it I might be a little better off than some. OK, where do I start? Mind set would probably be the best place to start a lesson of this magnitude.

I am reminded of a political cartoon that was posted just after Hurricane Andrew ravaged Miami and south Florida, some years ago. It showed a man and his family sitting on their front porch, with piles of guns and ammo all around them and with in easy reach. Rifles and shotguns on their laps, shoulder and hip pistols were worn along with dual ammo bandoleers on each. While sipping iced tea and eating sandwiches. Their front porch was all that was left standing of their home. A policeman was at the front gate standing outside of his patrol car and asking them what they were doing. The man's response was that they were having lunch while protecting their property  from snakes and vermin. The policeman's response was that all of the snakes and vermin were gone, all that was left were rampaging hoards of people scavenging what ever they could. The response from the porch was "Right, Snakes And Vermin". That my friends, is a level headed will to survive attitude to surviving in any situation. Now some may think it might be a little to extreme, but those who have seen mankind's animalistic dark side, I think may not.

Now my reason for switching from gas and diesel guzzlers, to pedal powered transportation is simple really, money or the lack there of it to better explain. You see that my personal economic crisis actually started in June of 2006. That's right two years and some months ahead of our national and world economic crisis official starting point. For those first few years, I kept struggling to try to return to the lifestyle that I had known before. Then slowly over the last four years stark realization has set in, and a determination to survive against the odds has taken root. My income can no longer support my former lifestyle. However it can sustain a lesser lifestyle, with quite a few changes. Some drastic according to some people who see pedal powered transportation as a sign of giving up. Instead of seeing the glass as being half full, or that pedal powered transportation is in reality a more economical form of transportation by far. Parents and siblings can be such harsh critics, especially when your path doesn't seem to follow their paths.

Now for some basics along the line of food. Here is a quote by James Talmage Stevens "Store what you eat. Eat what you store. Use it or loose it!" from his book "Making the Best of Basics: Family Preparedness Handbook". Now stored food has a shelf life, and if you don't eat it before it goes bad, then you are simply throwing money away. Also don't store food that you do not already like or will eat, again you will be throwing your money away. Also as you buy food for storage date it, so that your stored food can be rotated.  By that I mean that as you use your stored food ALWAYS use the oldest date first.

I have and use as a reference guide book "When Technology Fails" by Matthew Stein, published in 2008 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company On pages 55 & 56 is the place to start as a guide for calculating a year's food supply. I will paraphrase a little here to save on space, also the following numbers are in the book  For one American male consuming roughly 2,600 calories per day. Divide the following numbers by 12, for a 1-month supply or by 52, for a 1-week supply.

~ Grains-375 lbs. Store a variety like wheat, pasta, oats, corn, rice, barley and so on. I recommend a good hand cranked grinder to turn grains into flour. Of note here brown rice will go rancid in 6-12 months depending on how it is stored. Now don't forget that whole grains an also be sprouted, increasing their food value.
~Legumes-60 lbs. (dry). This includes beans, peas, lentils, seeds,and so on. Also soybean and alfalfa sprout salads make for good eating.
~Milk, Dairy Products, and Eggs-60 lbs. (dry). Nonfat dry milk keeps longer than dried whole milk. Dehydrated eggs and powdered milk greatly increase your cooking possibilities. Also a variety of cheeses can be made from powdered milk.
~Meat and Meat Substitutes-20 lbs. (dry). Dried vegetarian meat substitutes and freeze-dried meats are very light weight, and can go a long way to adding flavour to soups and stews. Now if you are hunting or trapping fresh meat, don't forget to make jerky out of the meat that can't be eaten in a few days.
~Fruits and Vegetables-10 to 30 lbs. (dry). Dehydrated fruits and vegetables are cheaper than freeze-dried, plus you can do that yourself.
~Sweeteners-65 lbs. These include sugar, honey, syrups, molasses and so on. Honey is preferred for its nutritive and antibiotic values, also honey makes a very nice wine called mead.
~Fats, oils and Shortenings-22 lbs. (2 gallons of liquid and 6 lbs of shortening). This includes butter, margarine, powdered butter, shortening, cooking oils and so on. Hydrogenated processed oils are non-nutritive, but will last for years (bacteria can't eat them, and our bodies can't do much with them either). Cold pressed oils such as olive, safflower and sunflower, provide essential fatty acids that our bodies need to metabolize foods, however they do not last as long. Storing a combination of oils offers a good blend of nutrition and longevity.
~Sprouting Seeds and Supplies-20 to 50 lbs. These provide live foods and essential vitamins and are great for variety and nutrition. For the best results, use untreated organic whole grains, beans, and seeds. I suggest alfalfa seeds, all types of whole grains, mung beans, soybeans, lentils and cabbage, radish and broccoli seeds.
~Leavenings-at least 1 lbs. of dry active yeast, 2 lbs. of baking powder and 2 lbs. of baking soda. Also don't forget about a live yeast like sour dough.
Miscellaneous foods and seasonings-1lbs. of each of your favorite spices, 10 lbs.of cocoa powder (for me coffee is also here as well but at double the volume), seasoning sauces, condiments, vitamins, minerals and other nutritional supplements including at least 8 lbs. of salt.
~Multivitamins (with minerals) 365 pills one a day.

Now to calculate food requirements in equal amounts for adult males:
food factors:                                                                              equivalent adult males:
multiply number of adult males x 1.0                                                                              ?
multiply number of adult females x 0.85                                                                         ?
multiply number of teenage males x 1.4                                                                         ?
multiply number of teenage females x 0.95                                                                    ?    
multiply number of male children (7-11) x 0.95                                                             ?
multiply number of female children (7-11) x 0.75                                                          ?
multiply number of children (4 to 6) x 0.6                                                                     ?
multiply number of infants (1 to 3) x 0.4                                                                       ?
                                                                                                                 Total          ?
Let me explain with an example; if your family consisted of one man (1.0), one female (0.85), one boy-7 to 11 (0.95), and one other child-4 to 6 (0.6), your family should store the amount of food needed for the equivalent of 3.4 men. So, 375 lbs. of grain x 3.4 (adult male equivalents) = 1,275 lbs. of grain to feed your family of 4 for one year. Now do the same equations in all of the above categories to find out how much food your family of 4 will require for a one years food supply. Then adjust for likes and dislikes and so on.

Now that you have seen how to go about surviving one year on your own, food wise you can start shopping more wisely. It can be a little over whelming at first I'll admit, but after a while you begin to plan to spend a little extra each week as you build your "stash-against-?". Oh, remember to buy in bulk when ever possible, and don't forget about sales.

In other postings we will explore clothing and shelter options along with transportation,
till then stay healthy and safe everyone ...

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