Food Storage: Store to Thrive Not Just Survive

Okay, so I’ve moved from Massachusetts back to Florida.  Back into hurricane country, not that I mind, I used to be used to it, but it’s amazing how unprepared we are, even here.  So in the interest of preparedness, mostly because I once went a week without a freaking shower and wished I was dead (I was still young and thought it better to be dead than miss a shower; how cute was I?).

We think about disaster preparedness and forget that some of the stuff we really need, really care about (like cleanliness . . . and water) are pretty easy to obtain, even without our happy faucets and the local government declaring something safe.  So I’ve been thinking about preparedness, as I’m sure we all are even if not in the path of the next big hurricane. I’ve been doing some stuff to help me should the lights go out and the city water stop flowing (there are some fabulous hand-crank and/or solar lanterns out there!).  It should be noted that even in the case of a hurricane near-hit, we get cut off, we lose power, our roads are clogged, washed-out, or deliveries otherwise stopped.  Roads are flooded, bridges closed . . . I’ve had to drive an hour into Alabama to get to a class normally only half an hour away.

What I wouldn’t have given back then for one of those KFC wet wipe things! Imagine, no water, no way to get where you’re going, and you feel . . . icky.  You heard the storm was coming, so of course you filled up the bathtubs and other containers, but you don’t dare waste that water until you know how long you’re stuck.  What would you give for one of those containers of wet wipes we keep in our cars?

People need a butt load of water as it turns out, but yay! the liquid in canned fruits and tuna and vegetables will do just fine in a pinch.  That’s not to say you don’t need water, you do, but you know how to get and store that stuff (rotation is good if you’re storing it in the home, do little things like keep your kettle full, your garden hose full, stuff like that.  Seems silly, but hey, people count the water in their hot water heater as emergency water. Actually, so do I.  Water is important.  Anyway . . . ).

I decided I’d grow some food; geez, if the produce prices aren’t daunting enough, think about how expensive it will get if gas prices really hit 0’s goal of $7/gal (or Chu’s of $9/gal).  As of now, I’ve grown a grand total of four pole beans. That’s 4.  Total.  And that was three about a month ago, and one a few days ago. This is pretty sad.  I’d be dead if that’s all I had to go on . . . three pole beans forever ago and another one the other day.  Who the hell knows, I may get raided for some sort of growing a vegetable crime we’ve yet to learn about (as far as I know, we can grow whatever we like, we just can’t give our produce to our neighbors. Legally.).

Anyway, happy as I was with my first three pole beans, and I have to say I was pretty darned happy (did a bit of a happy dance and everything), it’s not really life-sustaining for even the week or three that we’re “down” because of a hurricane.  So . . . you just have to have stuff in the pantry, don’t you?  And I’m positive that any conservative reading this has more than a few cans of this and that in the pantry, but just in case . . . now is the time.

Get some extra cans of whatever when you go to the store.  Don’t underestimate your family’s needs; get lots and lots and lots of stuff, as much as you can afford, and stick it away in the pantry.  And screw 0 and his very real EO that says the government can come and take your stores.  That’s wrong on every level, and I, for one of tens of millions, will not comply.

To illustrate a bit that point about not underestimating needs: when I first moved, much of my money was tied up in that move, so I was “living on my stores” in many ways (sure, I could still get bread, milk, eggs, cheese, etc., but the illustrative point was .  . what if i couldn’t?).  I have to say one thing about “best by” (“sell by,” etc.) dates . . . bull!  I am a survivor of tomato sauce and soups and diced veggies that were two, three years past their “best” or “sell by” dates.  Oh, sure, I sniffed ’em, eyed them somewhat skeptically as I held them up to the light . . . but they were fine.  I cooked ’em up and ate ’em and am here to tell the tale.  Canned food is good stuff, the expire dates . . . *shrug*  I don’t really care about that so much as what the stuff looks and smells like.  Now, obviously, I’m not an expert, I’m just giving you my experience.  You decide on your own.

Almost everything comes in cans these days, don’t depend on frozen stuff, if the electricity goes and you have no generator (or no way to fuel that gen), then what?  Anyway, what I thought, in some strange dream world of mine, was sufficient for three months barely lasted two weeks.  I guess I was thinking subsistence “living” rather than nutrition or actually living, much less building a life.

We are Americans.  Our goal is never to scrabble by, to barely survive, to barely sustain ourselves.  No, we need nutrition and energy and the hope that both provide.  Don’t build your stores on the basics needed to survive; we are Americans, for God’s sake, build those store to thrive.  Buy vitamins, canned vegetables, fruits, buy rice and beans and nuts, buy candy (sugar and flour), store lots of water, buy lots of stuff that you and your family can not just weakly subsist on but can turn into the energy and motivation needed to fight and rebuild.

Whatever hurricane or tornado or flood or whatever disaster may strike us, it’s not enough that we survive.  We must thrive.  Our American spirit does that, but without proper fuel, it can only do so much.

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8 thoughts on “Food Storage: Store to Thrive Not Just Survive

  1. Wow Fuzzy… maybe you should teach a FEMA class or something! There’s actually a lot of “basic but commonsense” stuff at Ready.gov, but your post has such a … personal touch!

    • heh, thanks, Velcro. A lot of this stuff is just common sense or FEMA preparedness, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed when trying to research disaster preparedness, so I thought a short, happy post would be good. Besides, it was quite a shock to learn how badly I’d underestimated food needs for even a few weeks, and I thought I couldn’t be the only one who might do so. We need much more than we think we do in case of a short-term disaster. Obviously, this wouldn’t work in the event of a zombie apocalypse (heh), but I’m not really anticipating that (or sure that I’d want to survive it, come to think of it).

  2. Very good advice. Us? We have 2 months of food and 10 years of cleaning supplies. You might starve but you’ll be welcome to freshen up here.

  3. Agreed! These are all things the LDS Church teaches and has been teaching for years, not just for major catastrophes, but for minor emergencies as well. My husband had a health issue last year, which to any person with a “normal” job it wouldn’t have been a big deal. But because he’s a pilot, he was required to not work for six months, event though all of his tests showed he was fine. I was so thankful that we had a bunch of food and toiletries in storage. It made living on his disability pay not so painful. I would for sure be stocking up if I lived in hurricane regions, but all of us need to have food/water storage because none of us know what’s ahead at any time in our lives.

    • Such a great point, Tammy. We never know what life will throw our way, when we’ll be laid off (especially in this economy) or otherwise without an income.

      LDS is right, of course, we need to stock up for ourselves, our kids, and our neighbors. If possible. As I said, I totally underestimated actual needs, so I’ll have to take a look at that as I move forward. But having stuff on hand is really just basic common sense.

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