Saturday, 11 July 2015

Prep Much? Discuss!

I think the word "prepper" has negative connotations if brought up in conversation with "normal" people. Saying you're trying to be self sufficient doesn't raise eyebrows in the same way (people still think you're nuts) but are they so different?

It always make smile, and it's normally taken out of all context. If they think you're a prepper they expect you to wear a tin foil hat and have a lead lined bunker in the garden and if you're trying to be self sufficient many just can't see the point of the effort for what you gain at the end.

But you can prepare for anything really and be more self sufficient/reliant- when do you start being called a prepper?

At its simplest I was talking to someone at a BBQ last week and they were asking how far away our nearest shop was and if we had to stock up as we couldn't just pop to the shops. We do our shopping weekly so we know how much of everything to buy to last us a week or more, we freeze milk and I bake bread most days from a store of flour I keep, fresh produce is growing normally and I keep a good stock of tinned goods as well. 

Going up a stage you have to think about something fairly common but unforeseen in the short term. Here we have to be prepared to survive a few days without power and being cut off by snow in the winter for up to a week. We live in the valley of a big hill and it can get quite cold. So I know we can heat our house through the use of wood (which I have a good supply of stored ready) and we have candles ready to use for light. I also know that this winter my wife is possibly going to have to give birth at home so I'l be preparing for that as well, researching what I'll need to keep close encase we're snowed in when it happens (unlikely but you never know). I've lambed lots of ewes so we should be alright on that one...

The next stage is preparing for the longer term but this is where you enter tricky territory and people begin to think  you're slowly going mad. 

My plan here is to slowly increase what I grow, store & preserve so that we only have to shop when we really need to or for cleaning and luxury items and things out of season. Not because I think the worlds going to end or the sky is going to fall on my head, but more because I don't want the responsibility of feeding my family to lie with someone else and be part of that system of control. If the media said to stock up for what ever reason, shelves would be empty in days (or hours even) and people are happy to look to the government to feed them but I doubt it would happen very smoothly. You only need to look at Greece at the moment to see how well that works out. 
The other is trust in what I buy, I want to know what we're eating & cook from scratch. It also save money which certainly helps with our finances. That doesn't mean I'm growing all I eat, we're no where near ready for that, but it does mean I can keep a large range of stuff stored so I know we can eat. 

So do you prepare? 
What do you prepare for? 
Where do you draw the line? 
And what do others think of what you do?

47 comments:

  1. Our plan is exactly the same as yours......to grow, store and preserve as much as we can, to cut down on shopping. We're doing this in preparation for OH's eventual retirement (in about 3 years or so), when our money will be less. To that end we're currently in the process of buying shelf units and plastic storage boxes, to hold all the extra supplies of dried/tinned goods and toiletries, which we'll buy when they're on special offer.

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    1. I'm planning on making more storage racks to hold cans and other storage food. Hopefully if I get a design nailed I might even try and sell a few. The door I made for the tins works so well and takes up so little space I think it would work in a lot of houses and help more people store food.

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  2. I come from a long line of people who believed in being prepared. My parents and grandparents were preppers. They just didn't know it. It was all about preserving the harvest before the bitter cold winters of Minnesota set in. If they didn't work hard preserving in the summer and fall, they didn't eat very well over winter.

    Because I live in an apartment, I can not garden, so I rely on grocery store sales and the Farmer's Markets, where I buy produce and meat to home can or dehydrate or freeze. And I stock up on other supplies as well. I realize this is not sustainable, but I am sliding towards 70 years of age and can not physically homestead. So I do what I can within my limitations.

    I am not preparing for any one event, but here winter blizzards are not unusual. I have been snowbound for a couple of weeks at a time in the past. And the fact that our government seems to have lost its collective mind is another incentive. And yes, most of my family think that my tin foil hat is on way too tight. But like I tell them, when everything comes crashing down around their ears, I will find them lined up outside my door with their hands outstretched. And truth be known, that's the biggest reason I keep on prepping. It would break my heart if my grandchildren cried because they were hungry and I had nothing to feed them.

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    1. I think you're right, our ancestors all had to be prepared to survive and did it just as a matter of course, but somehow now because we don;t have to it's seen differently.
      Many people tell me they're coming to mine if things happen. And I tell them if they bring nothing to the table they'll get turned away! I'd want to look after my family and neighbours though if I could. Nothing could be worse than seeing my children hungry due to my poor planning.

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  3. Ok I will hold my hand up and you can call me a prepper I am not really into wearing a label but if some-one wants to give me one I will wear it. What am I preparing for well life really, The world is going to pot the westrn world has become greedy and they want it now, my pension age has been moved a few times now and no doubt will be moved again and IF there is money in the pot for me when I reach the moving goal post it will be meager, my children dont stand a hope of ever getting a pension, the health service bit by bit is becoming privatized and I think th same will happen to education, I am preparing to become more self reliant and not rely on the powers that be to provide for me, I know should anything happen to my husband I can carry on, I dont shy away from manual work I have the skills needed to do most things, I can chop logs butcher an animal hunt if needed grow food, can carry out basic first aid and the list goes on, we have life insurance just in case and I have skills just in case. I could go on a write an essay about the subject so I will stop there :-)

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    1. Mine is the same I guess. I'm preparing for the life I want to lead. I don't want to have to go to the shops every week nor rely on anyone else as I get older. I also want/need to be that provider, and it just happens to be about food not money with me. My children should also have a completely different skill set from the average which should serve them well as they grow up, like it has for me, it I can teach them what they need then I'll be happy.

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  4. I'm not in the same league as you Kev, but we do try, instead of being lead by Government, supermarkets, we try and do our own thing, Dawn is right. Every thing is about money and status, 'look what I own'. I hate it, simple living having what I want, which is more about happiness, health, and the stress levels just disappear.

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    1. Exactly Marlene, you've hit the nail on the head there!

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    2. Couldn't agree more Marlene,
      I haven't brought a new item of clothes in two years, I'd much rather spend it on something useful than increase my status or what people think of me!

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  5. I'm not in the same league as you either Kev, I simply don't have the room, but I would be if I had. I do go shopping once a month for all the dry goods tins etc and once a week for the veggies (that I don't grow myself), & eggs etc, so I guess you could say that I normallly have a couple of month's worth of food to keep us going at any one time. My family have descended on me this week for a week's holiday, and I haven't actually had to go out and buy much stuff at all other than extra milk and a load of bananas for the granddaughter.....

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    1. I'm not as good as you think I am Sue, I have a long way to go but I'm on the right road for it! I'd like to increase what I have then do what Sol has done and see how long we could live off what we have stored or growing. I should be in a much better position for it after the summer hopefully then maybe I'll try it.
      Good work on keeping a couple of months worth of food - I think your ahead of me to be honest in the winter and spring months, summer and autumn is easier with what we have growing here.

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  6. This is a bit like taking part in a Preppers Anonymous" group. "My name is Gill and I'm a Prepper" (or something like) Actually I don't see myself as a Prepper, but I do see myself as being prepared - for all sorts of eventualities. I like the term self-sufficient, it doesn't have to mean growing all your own, but it does mean being self-reliant and learning whatever skills you can so that you can look after yourself and your loved ones in whatever situation you might find yourself. Just re-read that and I realise it might sound a bit pompous. it isn't meant to be.
    Gill

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    1. I like the idea of us all sat round in a circle looking at our feet as we all take turns to speak.
      "My names Kev and I have a problem..."
      I'm not sure what I see my self as but I like the idea of being prepared and I like being self reliant. Much of my twenties was spent gaining skills to help with this.

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  7. I don't know if you have ever seen the show Doomsday Preppers (US show), but that really showed preppers as being crazy and did not do much to show the rest of the people that prepping is a sane thing to do. It is a shame that something that is such common sense (as you say, particularly when you look at Greece) is being portrayed as totally nuts.
    I am slowly building my garden and storage supplies. I would really like to go off-grid as well, but that is an expensive, long-term proposition and other half is not really on board with prepping. So I do what I can myself.

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    1. I've not seen the show but I'll add it to my YouTube list to watch later. Show Editors can make anyone look nuts if they want to.
      Off grid would be great but it's just not a option on our budget at the moment. Our own water source would be great though. Maybe I could just dig a well! My other half isn't that keen on the prepping side of things and even hates the word.

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  8. I would sum it up as the "Normal" people have their plaster casts on display at Pompeii while any "Preppers" bugged out and their genes got passed on.

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    1. Like it! So many other examples through history but somehow we think we're immune now!

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  9. in my old house ( Seattle) i had three garden area, raised almost all our own produce. we had to move, so now we are in Utah. i have an acre lot, but no gardens set up ( the yard was grossly neglected). I moved my hens (8) and added four more this spring. I have been trading eggs for veggies with my neighbor. Our eventual goal it to raise as much food for ourselves as we can. I know how to can. My husband has been looking into solar power.
    When Hurrican Katrina hit the US, it was obvious the government wasnt prepared. If anything that should have taught people to prepare. Before we moved, we had two windstorms where we were without power for days. We were fine.

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    1. Trading with neighbours is, I think, the best and simplest form of barter there is. Sometimes I forget that I can't do everything myself and I will need to trade with others who are better at some things than I am (like I'll never keep cows so I could trade lambs for meat).
      I think when we see how the government reacts to a disaster it should make everyone think. But even if they reacted well I'd still like to be in charge of my own destiny rather than the powers that be. Sounds like you're a prepared couple.

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  10. Kev, I am not a "prepper", I'm a survivalist, with all that entails. I've been that way since 1986 and I don't lose any sleep at night about what the Sheeple might think of it.

    Younger people tend to think of "prepper" as being less "hard core" and therefore more socially acceptable. I'm ok with anything they want to call it. I applaud any individual who takes steps to provide for themselves and their families in times of chaos or disruption.

    I know your culture is radically different from mine, but the basic tenets of the survivalist/prepper/ordinary joe who wants to be safe are essentially the same. It's about providing for and protecting your family.

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    1. I think you've summed it up perfectly in your last sentence. Providing and protecting my family is key to me, in fact I can think of nothing else more important. I guess I'm just keen to encourage others do the same.
      I love using your survivalist knowledge that you've gained over the years, your blog is a great resource, thanks Harry.

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  11. Funny how now its prepping or self sufficiency etc. Where I was raised that is how people lived, they had gardens, canned. Raised a lot of their own meats. It was just called living back then. Hard working folks that took care of their families and provided food etc. for them. Now if you do these things your one of "those" people ROFL. Most everyone had wood heat, they knew if they wanted to be warm in the winter they needed wood. :O). Most all had well water, so yes if you wanted water in your house you needed a well. Its so funny because it was just working hard, making good responsible decisions and living.

    Given whats in our food these days I do all this as much for that reason. We like to eat food, not non nutritive chemical based stuff in a package. Our health is directly tied to what we put in our bodies. A good majority of what is in the grocery store is full of all sorts of lovely things that cause all sorts of horrible diseases.

    Sounds like congratulations are in order for you and your wife. :O)

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    1. Thanks for the congratulations! We feel a bit mad going for three kids, but twos great but three must be better!
      People no longer want to work hard. I have people walk around here and tell me they're jealous but the don't see the hours I put in everyday, most people get home from work and that's their day done, sometimes that's when mine begins!
      I certainly feel better for eating more of our home grown stuff, but I think cooking from scratch helps, at least that way you can see all that goes into your food.

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  12. As an apocalypse probably isn't going to happen anytime soon I am not adding another layer of anxiety to my life worrying about being cut off or going without electricity for days on end - I live on the south coast of England where it doesn't snow and the shops are always open. Even having a dry goods supply for an 'event' has backfired as in the past I had an outbreak of flour weevils and a few years later mince in my baking drawer.
    I think this is the time when we need to not compare ourselves with anyone in America but be realistic of where we live in this country which is so much smaller.
    It's sensible to store your own produce if you have the space and you are using methods which preserve as much of the nutrients in the food but fresh is best if possible.


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    1. Thanks for your comment Gigibird and it's nice when someone stands against the general consensus on my blog with a well thought out comment.
      I think we could be in a worse situation than America in some ways as so much of our food is imported our supply chain is influenced by so many other countries. We be much better off though as not everyone owns a gun in the UK like America!
      Mum had flour weevils a few years ago and had to chuck everything out and start again but there are ways around it. I store my large barrel of flour in a seal able blue drum and I try to keep somethings in kilner jars so they can be sealed also.

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  13. I'm sure 'the wife' would be pleased to hear you comparing her birth experience with lambing!!
    I'm not sure if it's the circles we mix in but I think a lot more people are interested in providing for themselves. I know from chatting to people that our consumer driven lifestyles aren't making us fundamentally happy. How often I've wished to give up a fast paced day job for looking after our house, garden and children. Is it that easy? Not if you hope to own a patch of land big enough to grow anywhere near enough to increase your self-reliance. But lots of us are trying to re-dress the balance, as much as possible.
    Does that account for more peppers, like Texan said, it used to be just a hard working lifestyle?

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    1. She's hear me say worse!
      Kirsty I really think it is just that we have a group of weird friends that are into this! Also I think there are fewer and fewer people out there that are really willing to work hard and put the effort in.

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  14. Kev, you mentioned Greece. It's interesting to see how self-sufficiency is helping people there now the supply of cash is limited. See http://uk.businessinsider.com/greek-villagers-secret-weapon-growing-their-own-food-2015-7?r=US, for example.

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    1. That was such a great link Matt that I had to share it on my Facebook page - it then got shared 7 times so thanks for that!

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    2. Glad it went down well. Hat tip for the link goes to the Root Simple blog. It's well worth following if you don't already - http://www.rootsimple.com.

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    3. I don;t but it looks a good resource - cheers for the heads up.

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  15. I would say there is a natural progression to prepping. When most start they are simply hoarding really which isn't bad but if you stop there all you are really doing is prolonging the inevitable. After I stock piled a couple of years of food and as I left the carefree/bullet proof age range I realized a couple of years ain't nothing especially in this slow moving train wreck collapse we are living through. The storage date for such things isn't nearly long enough for what we are currently experiencing. The only option was to produce your own as much as possible unless you want to turn into one of the dreaded "Looting horde" so many are afraid of.

    Much like what you mention I adapted into what I call sustaining. A sustainer attempts to make it possible to sustain themselves and their family for as long as possible with the barest amount of outside inputs for as long as possible. I doubt full 100% sustainability is possible for any single individual landowner or family however. The longer you make the projection the more impossible it becomes. Sooner or later you are going to need outside inputs of some type but why buy into a philosophy that accepts it sooner rather than later?

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    1. I think that's why we need to build our own communities of like minded individuals like we have here on our blogs. I'm lucky as I've made friends around me with different skill sets and similar mindsets that will be useful to trade with help each other out. That way you're not doing it on your own, your building on what you've done.
      I certainly agree with the natural prgression, and as I look back over the last few year I can see how I've got deeper into it. Mine started the other way around though, self sufficiency came first.

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  16. Yes. We are self-sufficiency preppers too for all the reasons you list. The only thing i find weird about prepping is the ones who just stockpile food. Wgat will they do when it runs out?

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    1. Personally, when my stash runs out I am going to become a cannibal.

      Just kidding.

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    2. We were all think of you then Harry! I'm going to book a holiday and come and set your garden up for you I think. there must be some bear proof wire we can set up so we can protect some raised beds!

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  17. We are of the same mindset as you, we just want a stock of our food to eat, which saves me the bother of having to rely on supermarkets. It is a wonderful thing to have food on hand, both in the larder and out in the garden.
    A good post, Kev, and it is good to see you moving forward with your smallholding.

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    1. I think again you're another that is ahead of me, you're so much better at preserving and it's somethign I really need to improve on. Hopefully a few of us are going to have a canning day in the summer and make a big batch of tomato sauce to can up.

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  18. I agree with everyone. I am most in agreement with Pioneer Preppy. Kev, you already know where I stand on this and have recently tested us and all of our stock pile, savings and not buying anything other than veg and milk. I can say it was a huge wake up call. Although I have convinced people, mostly our family and close friends that some stores our as I like to call it all our 'mise en place'. Like you the Greek think has be a little cautious. If for any reason we only the banks werent giving money out of the cash points or severe flooding, (which does happen in my area). Or just the small things like in France they block the ports, and we cant get fresh foods through there... remember when they blocked the fuel depots? These are all little things but means that the shelves will empty quickly. There is nothing wrong with being prepared for bumps in the road.

    All my school friends are Mormons, I saw how their families lived. 6 extra kids for dinner? no problem. No milk or bread at the shop? Take this home to your mum, with a wink.

    As one of those Mums used to say, What we do doesnt hurt anyone (referring to her well stocked house), but what we could do is save someone.

    My Family think I am a little crazy, but guess who they call if they want to know how to cook dried beans or whose house they would come to if things really went bad.

    Maybe we should all decide to collect certain foods that are on offer and maybe people will follow us. I know I sleep a lot better when we have the stocks in as we are both contractors. our money could run out, if someone decides that they no longer need us.

    Its also why I dont do people pictures on my blog. Yes a little paranoid. But its all good. I want to live with Kymber. Now that is the Pioneering spirit I need!


    Keep on, keeping on Kev. ;)

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    1. You know you are a true sustainer when you are planting things the next generation might get something out of but you won't or actually plan on your relatives coming to you rather than trying to figure out how to turn em away.

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    2. Kev - you know that we are preppers! we even ran the canadian preppers network for a couple of years (an offshoot of the american preppers network (which is much bigger)). but since we started our framboise manor blog, we have met many people who are like-minded and have a real sense of wanting to become more self-sufficient and it is uplifting to know that in the event of a serious happening, lots of people will be able to take care of themselves. i like Pioneer Preppy's ideas about sustaining and that's the direction we're headed in and i would say, it's where you, and a lot of others are headed. having read about Sol's family living off of their stores for so long was incredibly informational...and Sol - there's always a place in the canoe and on the beach for you!

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    3. Sol - Glad you don;t mind me keepin' on! I'm like broken record sometimes! I was very impressed with your experiment and it made me sit up and think how much more I need to do!
      I also love your story about your Mormon friends mums, that's how I'd like to be. There's no way I could be happy if my children were fed but my neighbours were all hungry, I want a community of people that are ready for anything and I want to encourage everyone to do it. That's why I don;t mind showing my face because I want to encourage people to take the plunge and start growing, and storing and preserving.

      PP - I want to make sure that my children have the skills they might need and I think that's along the same lines.

      Kymber - The blog for me hads been a turning point with all of this, I get ideas, methods, encouragement, and some of the energy I need all from read other blogs and running my own. It's also great to know how others around the world are doing things and to share our skills and our mistakes. I like the idea of the canoe as well but I think I'd be happy just catching a few fish up there and cooking them on an open flame.

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  20. Hi. Loving your blog and all the comments, hints and tips. My family and I are hopefully soon moving to a more rural existence and I think part of our intention to grow our own, make and keep supplies we are looking at preparing our boys to be self-reliant. Hubs intends to buy them each a beat up car when they get a little older, they are 7 and a bit and nearly 9, and show they how to fix it up and maintain it. I love cooking and baking so that will be my part of the plan to help them cook for themselves. After joining a school garden club our oldest cannot wait to get in the polu tunnel and start planting. My husband and I are also very keen to have a more traditional way of life.

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    1. I'm perhaps one of these people :)
      I'm still angry about our silly and greedy government - doing the wrongest decisions every day. - Years ago I understand I'm going crazy, only demonstrating against this governance and waiting for the end of the crash- so I bought land and growed my/our potatoes and vegetable. Trying to live more independent - in germany.

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