House cleaning is like stringing beads with no knot at the end of the thread.

"Usually the Lord gives us the overall objectives to be accomplished and some guidelines to follow, but he expects us to work out most of the details and methods." -Ezra Taft Benson-

Thursday, February 14, 2013

How are you doing?

I was looking around one of my new friends blogs and was impressed to talk about something. The toughest time of year for many seems to be AFTER Christmas. Why? Because many spend beyond their means, and then the bills start coming for using that darn plastic card.. and to top it off, the low percentage rate you thought you were getting is actually over 20% up to 35% on what you owe!  That adds up super fast, especially if you are only doing the minimum payment. You will never pay it off that way.

I was talking with my son about credit cards. After our discussion, he said,"It seems to me that the credit card is just another of the Devil's vices. I mean, you use it to help your family and then it turns out to hurt you instead.".. YES!!  He understood! 

When I was leaving home, I was told the only way to build credit was to use a credit card. This is not true! You can also build credit by saving for your purchase and then buying it outright. Credit is a two edged sword. When you pay for everything in full, your credit score doesn't matter. Being debt free does!

Ok, so now onto what I was really impressed to write about. FOOD STORAGE.

Food storage or what is in your pantry/larder is important for those times when you can't shop, for whatever reason. I have been on medical leave from work since October! I have not gone grocery shopping since then. My hubby will pick up milk, cheese, maybe a bag of onions.. but we have been living on food storage. It isn't that hard, what is hard is diversity. I don't need to go to the store, I just need a menu plan and I am set. I have everything I need. Well, if the chickens lay their eggs I have all I need. But in December, like clockwork they stopped laying.. So what did I do??? I pulled a bag of flax seed meal out of my freezer and used it to substitute for eggs in my baking. Not loving it to death, but it works. I prefer the eggs to be honest, but be honest with  yourself. When the SHTF, you will be in survival mode along with everyone else, and unless you have all your animals in bed with you, most likely you will see them disappear either slowly or quickly overnight.

OK, now on to more of the topic.. Planning weekly to build up your storage. Now if you don't already have at least a 3 month supply, then you need to do that first. Here is a link to Valerie's site. She has a way to build up your 3-month supply.

After you have your 3-month supply,  you need to get your water storage. Now some places I know are unable to store water bottles. But I know of many places, even in the U.S. where they catch rainwater and use that. Just remember to boil it before drinking! Again, Valerie to the rescue. She mentions that Fred Meyer or Kroger usually has sales on their bottled water of 24 count 16.9 ounce bottle cases for about $2.50. AND Sam's/Costco also has a 32 count 16.9 ounce bottle cases for about $4.48. If you were to pick up 1 to 4 a week, you could have your water storage super quick! You can store these under beds, in closets, and even make a table out of them, and cover them with a table cloth. Get creative.

Next you need to build up your financial reserve. Now if you are in debt this may seem impossible. But it isn't. Set aside $2 per person per week in your family. So if it is only two of you, that is only $4 a week, put into savings. If it is 10 of you, then you put aside $20 a week. I know that seems like a lot when you don't seem to have any money. But pay your tithing on your gross first, then pay your savings, then pay your bills. The key to this is to not touch it! Don't think, oh I really want to go shopping, and pull out your savings.. that defeats the purpose. It is your rainy day fund, it is for your future, not for your whims.

Finally, you can work on  your long term supply.. Which is super easy. No need to make a major purchase. Remember we are building, not blinking, into existence our food storage. So if you see something your family eats, and it is on sale for a good price, and you can afford the purchase, get it, but not just one (unless the sale says limit one). If you use one per meal, get 4 or 6 or more. What you can afford. BUT don't get greedy. Will you honestly eat that amount in a year? or 3-years? before it goes bad? Put logic into your purchases. Yes, grains go rancid, cans leak, plastic breaks down, freezers die, power outages.. Don't put all your food storage into only one element.
Store bought canned goods
Home canned goods
Food grade buckets
See many options for how to store your food.

NOW, conditions will play a role in what you can store. If you don't have a freezer or canner, you aren't about to buy half a cow (side of beef) because you haven't a way to preserve it. Same goes for any meat.
And if you don't have a way to store grains without mice getting into them, then it wouldn't be prudent to buy 600 pounds of grains in bags. Mice love bags, they also love mylar. Even if Walton feed says it is ok to store in the bag, you will hate it and the mice will LOVE you for it.

We house sat for about 9 months while the owners were away. In the basement, they had their food storage. They did almost everything right. They blocked the light from coming in the windows, closed and sealed the forced air heater vent. And they had some amazing shelves for food storage. Problem was, the rodents found a way into this oasis of food.
The top shelves were all empty canning jars, stored upright without lids. EVERY single jar had rodent urine and feces in it, and a few had dead trapped mice in them.
Next shelf down was canned goods.. um.. Rodent urine is caustic and smelly! Turns out every single can had to be thrown away because the urine ate through the lids! And so what was in the jars was now rancid and stinky, and leaking all over.
The bottom shelves had bags upon bags of wheat from Walton Feed. It looked good, but when you went to move a bag, you discovered it was empty, or nearly empty!! ALL 30 bags had a hole chewed into it, and all the bags were supposed to have 50-lbs of wheat in them.  A couple were about half full, the rest were way less than half full. One only had a cup of wheat left in it!
There was also a built in shelf on one wall, this had bags of cereal, small bags of beans, small bags of rice, sauce packets from McDonald's, boxes of hot cereal..... It was rather comical to find a pile of shredded silver stuff. Upon further investigation, we discovered it was the backs of and lids to the sauce packets! The mice literally shredded the backs and lids off, licked them clean and put them into a pile! The packet containers were also licked clean. In this same shelf area, we discovered the hole the rats and mice had made to get into the food storage room, it was HUGE!
We banged on an exterior wall (same one with the hole), and you could hear the grain moving in them! YUP, hundreds of pounds of wheat storage were now in someone else's larder!  And we would have to tear walls open to get to it!
Into the next room, the bathroom, we discovered piles upon piles of old newspapers. I know they were saving them for making fires, but no one used the basement or 2nd story fireplaces because the draft was wrong in the chimneys and you would get smoked out. Also this is where they had a linen closet full of toilet paper. Well, we removed all the newspaper and recycled it. Then, as we pulled the toilet paper out, we discovered nests, lots and lots of nests. Those darn mice had pulled the toilet paper rolls apart and made nest after nest! Cases and packages of TP.. AND Yup, every single roll was covered in urine and feces, and blood (from birthing).. It was gross.. We pulled everything out and threw it away, only to discover the mice had chewed a hole in the back of the cabinet to get in..
One night my brother was babysitting while we went to the Temple. He saw a little mouse claw reaching for a cheerio on the forced air register!!  FROM THE BOTTOM!!  Yup this house also had the mice using the heating system as a highway!

Well, we no longer live there. Now we are on our farm. We have all sorts of wild life here: Bald Eagles, Elk, deer, black bear, cougar, opossum, skunk, raccoon, rats, mice, squirrels, lots of birds... I am not fond of the Elk, deer, bears, skunks, opossums, coons, rats or mice or squirrels.. BUT I do work at keeping them at bay so my garden and orchard may grow. Nothing a few mice/rat traps and cats can't take care of. As for the coons, as long as they leave my animals alone, they are fine. I know the Bald Eagles are eyeing my chickens, but nothing I can do about them. OH, they eye cats too, and small dogs, small kids, rabbits, baby animals.. yes, they are aggressive, specially when they have eaglets!

OH, sorry for that tangent.. My goodness.. OK,  OPTIMAL FOOD STORAGE CONDITIONS!!!!
The cooler the storage area, the longer the food will store. Under 60 degrees is preferred, under 50 degrees is better and under 40 degrees but above 34 degrees is optimal! This would be for canned goods, grains, oils and fats, herbs, etc...
My food storage room has an air conditioner in it for summer, and NO HEATER. Because my freezer is in there, it usually keeps everything above freezing. OH, if your oil looks like it has mold growing in it.. It does NOT, it is just cold and is solidifying. It will go back to "normal" when you bring it closer to 50-60 degrees.

How do I store my food??? In a temperature controlled room:
Fruit: dehydrated, frozen, home canned
Vegetables: dehydrated, frozen, home canned
Meat: dehydrated, frozen, home canned, in coops (still alive)
Herbs: dehydrated, home vacuum sealed in jars
Grains: canned in #10 cans with O2 absorber, food grade buckets
Pet Food: Metal garbage cans
Toilet Paper: linen closet, "table", top shelf of food storage room
Soaps and toothpaste: on shelf in food storage room
Seasonings: home vacuum sealed jars, in jars they came in
Pasta: #10 cans with O2 absorber, food grade buckets in store packaging, bulk in food grade buckets
Crackers: in store packaging in food grade buckets
Medicines: food grade bucket, on shelf
BEANS: #10 cans with O2 absorber, home vacuum sealed in jars, home canned, food grade buckets

One problem with home vacuum sealed jars, is sometimes the seal fails, specially with powdered items. Works fine for nuts, dried fruits/veggies, herbs.. usually
I LOVE my food grade buckets. They hold between 20 and 25 pounds, are square, 4 gallon size, and most have handles for easy carrying. My round 5 gallon buckets hold 25 to 30 pounds. I have had buckets since 1993. I use them DAILY!

Well my goodness, I hope this helps some of you. I seems to write about more than I was planning. Please get your 3-month supply, water supply, financial reserve started  and then start your long term storage!! 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for writing! The hardest part of moving overseas was leaving my food storage. You are inspiring!