That Scary First Step

The family prepping journey has been underway for a while now. I say family but in truth most of the time I have marched alone. My family just indulges me. Ahhh, the perks of being mama bear in a household of men!

“They” out there say the first step of this journey is to decide what you are prepping against. I’m not totally in agreement because I say we can imagine all sorts of catastrophes but will the difference between an EMP or a bad storm dismantling the power grid matter? As time goes along certain situations may dictate some decisions. For example Florida hurricanes or other flood regions might encourage you to set up waterproof storage a bit higher off the floor. Earthquake regions might need straps or other devices to prevent your stocks from falling off shelves and shattering if in glass containers. Of course later you may want to invest in some form of security or protection.

For now I want you to just begin your personal journey. Don’t dive into worrying about the expense of storing every food item imaginable with the 25 or 30 year shelf life. Don’t even start off worrying about where to store all those buckets. Rather just begin right here at the real beginning.

I learned quickly that if I always shopped “just in time” or every other day or so, my food pantry would empty quickly. That meant we would be in serious trouble if one of us was ill or laid off from work. Having to run to the store when ill or when money is non-existent is just too scary and stressful. Then I noticed that Wal-Mart was out of one of our family’s favorites. The store manager explained that storms had disrupted supply runs from the manufacturer to the warehouse who in turn could not deliver to the local distribution point to the 3 local stores. That made the spot on the shelf empty. So consider what would happen if transportation was disrupted for any serious length of time. The stores rely on distribution points that run empty according to experts in only 3 days.

It was here that I realized I need to consider some form of backup or emergency supplies. Buying 900 pounds of wheat to be ground into flour was not a viable option at this point! Instead I took time to write a simple list of our favorite family meals. It looked something like this:

Spaghetti carbonara

Minestrone soup

Baked rosemary chicken with potatoes

Sausage and peppers

Hot dogs

Meatballs

Meatloaf

Shepherds pie

Lentil soup

Chicken and rice

Naturally the list grew longer as I paid more attention to menu planning. I took this short list and then expanded it to include all the ingredients needed for each recipe. I included even the spices and salt. Now on each shopping trip weekly I would attempt to buy all the supplies for one extra meal. When finances allowed I would also splurge on a bag of sugar and 3 pounds of salt. Often I would toss in a one pound bag of dried beans at the cost of $1.69 or a pound of rice at a similar cost.

After a month or two it was time to take a more serious approach. Our finances were stagnant while gas and food and utilities were going up. Knowledge is priceless as are skills. I began to do more research on the Internet. I created folders on my PC for Prepping Hints and Tips, Garden Tips, Recipes, Canning and Preserving, Survival Tips and so forth. In the prepping folder went tips on how to determine food amounts to work towards storing and how to properly store them. The survival folder include articles on how to purify water and personal hygiene tips if the sewer systems is failed due to flooding for example. Eventually I collected 3 ring notebooks I found for 25 ¢ each at a garage sale. Then I printed out and organized topics to have in order to access in an emergency situation. In addition to this I also saved bookmarks on the PC to favorite websites. There are some interesting web forums where all points of view are shared and discussed and where you can learn a lot from others.

Taking a practical easy approach to learning has me to avoid becoming stressed. It can seem frightening and overwhelming but the average family can’t afford to build huge underground bunkers or want enough military hardware to start a war. The calm comes when you realize there is room for you to be any kind of prepper you want to be. If you decide to become a fanatic, that is okay… but if like myself you simply want to be able to feed your family and survive comfortably in an emergency, that’s okay too. Like the folks in Katrina ravaged New Orleans or Sandy hammered Long Island, it is important to not depend on government to be your caretaker. They may not be able to get to you for days. Shelters are not fun places to survive unless there is no other option. Be informed. Do your own research. Be able to have a personal opinion and to be able to explain it to others.. Some will agree and others will not. That is the way it is throughout most of life in general anyway. Noah, I’m sure, had a few dissenting neighbors who enjoyed laughing at him for many years. We know Joseph met a few of the advisers to Pharoah who disagreed with his dream interpretation too. In the end as the rain began Noah’s family came on board. And we know those grain silos Joseph built were popular for seven long years!

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