Monday, September 21, 2015

Survival is Homesteading - The Best Food Storage is On the Land





Over the years my ideas of prepping and sustainable living have changed. In fact those ideas have changed a lot. At first I really thought long term food storage was the ultimate goal to prepping, survival or whatever you want to call it. Then I started getting close to my maximum storage capacity of food and realized that idea was simply a sham. Nothing more than a pipe dream and ultimately just a drop in the proverbial bucket in the terms of whats coming our way.

On the Small-Hold we have a very modest old two story farm house, three outbuildings each about the size of a single wide mobile home, a couple of smaller storage sheds attached to the barn, a barn that is about 100' x 50' with a loft about a third of that size inside and finally an old equipment shed that is enclosed on three sides. I couldn't tell you how much actual covered square feet that comes up to. All but the old equipment shed have electricity (not that electricity would be relevant in a grid down situation) while only three buildings have anything you could call climate control, again something to say goodbye to when TSHTF.

After I amassed a years supply of stored food for two people (started out being my son and I) and I looked at the spare bedroom which was now over half filled with tubs, buckets, boxes and cans it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out I was on the wrong track.




I swiped the above picture from some so called survival and preparedness site. It claims to be enough canned and packaged food to last one person an entire year. Now my old eyes aren't what they once were but I cannot come up with enough individual cans or packages to equal out to even one a day for a year myself. At best I am coming up with one a day for about 9 months, but we won't quibble.

Make that a family of three and I hope you got an entire bedroom decked out in shelves for storage.

Want to go the MRE route?




Here is supposedly a years supply of MREs for one person. Make it a family of three and you are still talking a good sized walk in closet minimum.More than likely going to take up the guest bedroom some too.

Are you getting the picture the same way it came into focus for me yet?

Then consider in order to keep this food stored you need to keep it in a climate controlled environment.

Yet one other important factor managed to wiggle it's way into my mind as the years went by. That was those very same years. At 21 a year seemed like eternity by age 40 I was wondering how those years could go by so fast.

A year is nothing people. A collapse like we are heading for is more than just the grocery store closing for a year or two. Simply hoarding canned and package food will do nothing for you but start a very short timer going the day things fall apart. There is a real reason 90% of the population was tied to the land for survival before fossil fuels and that is because the best food storage isn't what you store in your house it's what you store on the land itself and in very crude climate controlled arrangements. Grain bins, hay lofts, hoofs in the field eating grass.

In point of fact it is easier to store a years supply of fodder for livestock than it is to store a years supply of meat already processed. Of course it is a lot more work.

Survival is homesteading and lots of labor not storage. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is either selling something or trying to make themselves feel better about their own ultimate situation and drag you down with them while they talk about the best pancake mix to store or something. It's hard work, it's fighting off vermin, it's animal husbandry and farming or at least very large scale gardening.

It isn't hoarding and looking at magazines while you wait for your next delivery.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!


37 comments:

  1. You put into words my own thoughts about surviving long term. We have a smallholding in France, and we are gradually learning to live off the land. I watched many videos about preppers on YouTube and think that they could only survive short term because they do not understand how to work the land. Good post. Made me think.

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    1. Vera - Welcome and I added your blog to the roll. I guess one problem is short term means something different to some of us than others. To us a year, two even three is pretty short term but to others that is long term. Even three years isn't much time to learn to produce for yourself.

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  2. i agree with you in some ways PP - but then i think everyone's situation and outlook is different. for example, we don't keep animals here at the Manor. why? we don't want the bother or the responsibility! do we grow and preserve as much of our own food as we can? yes! do we take advantage of deals on freeze-dried foods, grocery store discounts and have more stored dried lentils (which we don't even like) than you can shake a stick at? yes!

    but our situation is different than others. we have access to unlimited fish and seafood from the ocean, unlimited fish from our various rivers and lakes, the recently-created beaver dam at the bottom of our country road is filled with trout getting bigger and bigger and we can hunt wild rabbit, deer, pheasant - and if we have to - we'll eat the chickadees (and the lentils)! if we have a bad garden harvest, we'll eat our preserves from the year before. if we have a second bad harvest - i guess we'll be busting out the MRE's (and the lentils). but we have easy access to every kind of berry known to man and we know how to forage for wild greens.

    your smallhold is a completely different set-up from ours. and i love to read other blogs about trying to be self-sufficient in order to learn about how other people go about it. when our flour runs out - i guess we'll be making cotton-tail flour like the M'ikmaq used to do. or learn to do without.

    we're big on "learning to do without". for example - there will be no more lemons or limes. but we have wild sumac growing all over the place. everyone has their own perspective....and everyone can only ever try to do the best that they can do.

    sending much love! your friend,
    kymber

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    1. Kymber - It's one thing to live off the land. I have always agreed fishing is a viable alternative to farming. Some disagree as they say the oceans are being picked clean these days but I really don't know enough about it to take a side except to say it probably varies and it's obvious your area provides plenty for you guys up there.

      There are always exceptions too. At least 10% of the long term survivors will find an alternative lifestyle even away from the coasts. My point is more that survival is going to be work for so many as it becomes the rule rather than the exception.

      You're right though everyone can only do the best they can do but being honest with yourself and others is part of that or so I would think.

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    2. Historically, even archeologically (no one left to write the history) speaking, ocean-water front property has been shunned in post-collapse, or even highly fragmented (the Baltic through much of its history) times. The problem is that water is the best method of transportation when you don't have fossil fuels to burn. I think the sailboat- fishing idea works well as a short term idea, but the groups that survive are going to go the same route very quickly.

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    3. So you are saying there be pirates and vikings coming that way?

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    4. When people run out of food, and have access to boats, I suspect more than a few will become pirates. Shoot, even when people do have access to food, when law-and-order are eliminated from the equation, a certain number of them do become pirates. The waters edge was viewed as very dangerous territory.

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    5. PP and Russell - we are an island of crab and lobsterfisherman. we have a ton of boats. environment canada has predicted that because of water temperatures changing on the entire eastern seaboard, that within the next 10 years, the waters off of maine will be too warm for lobster - so mainland nova scotia, cape breton, pei and newfoundland will be where the lobster will go. the canadian government has jumped on this idea and is funding all of our lobster operations!

      in the event of pirates - we got boats and weapons and can very quickly become a coast guard. look up the "cape breton liberation army" and you will see just how serious my island is!

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    6. OMG Kymber is suggesting there is or could be a Canadian Military again :)

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    7. OMG - there's a pair of boots that i need to dust off and use again!

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    8. I think those boots are just as much a story as the Canadian military. Pics or it isn't true :)

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  3. PP,
    you are correct.
    we cannot farm, or even garden much, where we are.
    and we are growing old. [looking at a hip replacement myself in the next 6 months].
    also it is foolish to think every year will bring a good harvest. look at the weather this year and next year is prophesied to be the same.
    know farmers who just plowed everything under because of the incessant rain.
    but...have as much stored as small space and limited budget allow.
    it is a buffer. that's all.
    but am glad to have it.
    always hoping for better in the future no matter how dark it looks.
    that is what keeps human kind going through the ages.
    thank God, there is almost always something to harvest if you know where to look. acorns, cattails, wild berries.
    love your blog and all the links.
    deb

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    1. DH - Or certainly food storage is still important as you say. It's mandatory but it is a part of the preparation process not the end goal of prepping as some seem to think it is. In grid down situation you can only store so much for so long and without electricity for climate control that time is much shorter.

      Foraging is also an option as you point out but in the end I wonder if foraging is really less work than farming. I somehow doubt it over the long haul especially when there is competition to boot.

      It isn't just hoarders who are in trouble or denial either. Large farmers are as well if they do not learn to diversify. Crops were bad for many this year but animal forage had a bumper year around here and honey production is looking really good as well. I guess if we were in a grid down situation it would be sweet meats for us for the Winter.

      I think that should be my next post!!!! Thank you for the comment!!!!

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  4. I am right with you on everything you said. We would watch those prepper shows on TV when we had what ever channel it was and I never saw anyone doing the amount of work I was doing. They were buying food and firing hundreds of rounds of ammo at targets. After 50 years of shooting I don't need to practice, it seemed like people were having fun and trying to avoid work while surviving, of course there were exceptions but generally it just didn't seem right. I studied my colonial ancestors who lived in the mountains and tried to follow their example. The one thing that I can't seem to replicate and also you didn't touch on was that they had a close community with like minded neighbors. I traced how many came over on the same ship in 1753 and they were German and acclimated with Scotch and English who were the earliest. They also had contact with the natives that had survived. They all worked together out of necessity even to having an organized militia to defend against western Indians who were paid to attack by the French. Anyway they helped each other, they didn't celebrate diversity but were brought together as a community especially by monthly militia drills which forced them by law to work together. I don't know about you but we are really missing anything resembling this type of close community though I believe it could come together quickly if there was no central planning government as a strong local community is at odds with central control and they don't want you to organize.

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    1. Sf - I believe you are 100% correct on both how it is and that the community you speak of will return. Common ground and survival tends to cut through the cultural difference real fast I think but until we have a common ground I doubt we will see it again and even fewer people will speak of it. Most people are simply not honest enough with themselves to notice it let alone talk about it like you, I or others will.

      I am not sure why that is which makes it a topic hard for me to address without pissing readers off :)

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  5. Yep, homesteading is our goal, but have acquired skills in the medical field to survive a bit longer in suburbia. We plan on purchasing land within the next two years and we are actively searching and researching the lands around our work.

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    1. K - Well there is always the other 10% that are not specifically tied to the land. I will say you are honest enough with yourself to realize that the medical side of that 10% is one of the most secure. As I said to SF above being honest with yourself is important and rare. It's probably the most important survival trait anyone can have.

      Once you start homesteading AND have medical knowledge you would be set for life I imagine!!!

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    1. XTex - I am trying!!! I need to get my small scale grain growing project going. The Buckwheat this year was a complete failure.

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  7. It's rather like these people who buy survival seed packs and yet have not only never grown anything but also have unimproved land. Most probably haven't even got sufficient tools to do so.
    Stored food is important but it's only a backup plan not an actual sustainable lifestyle!

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    1. Ro - No kidding. I have to kinda laugh at someone who wants to call themselves a prepper and can't even grow a tomato.

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    2. Nothing will humble you quicker than try to grow a garden in good times, let alone when you need to.

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  8. I started taking an interest in prepping about 7-8 years ago I was part of a big prepping forum and met many UK preppers, I got caught up in all then suddenly a light bulb moment, I had been learning foraging skills, growing food and planning for a small holding for almost 40 years and reading and learning skills to go with a life change, I had been prepping for 40 years and no amount of tin cans were going to cut it for me, I had many a lively debate with preppers about this, they were and still are convinced that stock piling is the way to survive, for me the way to survive is to work with the land you have, growing food, harvesting food and learning how to save seeds, grow in adverse conditions preserving storing, animal husbandry, foraging, hunting are all skills in survival, I am no longer part of that prepper community, I am doing what I always dreamed and worked towards doing, together we are doing if for ourselves :-)

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    1. Dawn - One way or another 90% + of all the survivors after a collapse will be working the land. I sometimes wonder just what these hoarder types think. They seem to think they can survive in isolation for a year or two and then pop down and find a place. My bet is by that time all the good spots will be taken.

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  9. I am envious of your set up 😉.
    You are preparing in all areas, I refer your blog often! I think you have the right ideA

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    1. LW - Thanks you are the best and coming along nicely yourself too I think from your posts.

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    2. Thanks PP, life is treating me well these days, thank you!

      I really am trying to learn and do as much as I can, but I really think you have the best long term plan out there.
      The Amish do it, they do use generator power, but if they didn't have it, they would be ok. They harvest everything by hand, with horse power.
      I truly wish I had found yours, and several other blogs so much earlier in my life.
      Thx for your knowledge!

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    3. Lw - Different groups of Amish do it differently to say the least but yes I think they would be fine in a collapse situation as long as they were part of a larger community that defended them anyway. Self centered survivalist often criticize the Amish for their pacifistic beliefs but in the end they are still contributing to the overall Macro survival of their communities. Ina way Kunstler kinda alludes to that as well in his books although the Christian sect he writes about isn't Amish nor pacifists.

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  10. I saw your "discussion" with the know-it-all Fast Eddie at Gail's site.

    FYI - best evidence on Easter Island is that they were killed off fairly late by European disease, not per resource over extraction. At least that is the thoughts of people looking at current research.

    The 100% die off question is one of geographic disbursement. It is unlikely that "Americans" would all be wipeout out 100%. But folks in certain areas could. I would guess that some of the Sea People (1700BC~) probably died out 100%. Some of them were able to conquer new lands (The Philistines apparently), but those that failed to beat the local groups likely did die out. But, I would also grant that the few folks that got left behind in their area of origination (unknown) where able to eke out an existence. A lot of the big disasters sure look like localized climate changes, not self induced collapse.

    The scariest, and best done argument in that long thread was the nuclear fuel pile discussion. But one suspects it mean that cancer would become very prevalent for those who could live long enough to be effected. Not that life would end.

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    1. Russ - That Fasteddy guy is an idiot. according to him no one can defend themselves against the military types but he has no clue where most of the military types even come from.

      The spent fuel rods is a problem and one I have written about long before I ever saw that guy post a comment. They do bother me as I am within 50 miles of a nuke plant myself.

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    2. I did not see your conversation, but I am fifty miles or so, less as the crow flies, from a nuclear power plant. I don't know that I can shelter in place?
      PP, what would your scenario be in that situation?

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    3. LW - Well I am within the 50 mile radius of a nuke plant myself. Truth is though in a grid down situation just about everyone in N. America East of the Dakota's is screwed if the spent rod storage areas lose power and it stays off. The plant near me is generally always down wind but it won't matter the ones out West will radiate us anyway.

      Pro - Nuke people always talk about how safe the plants are but it ain't the plants you have to worry about it's the spent fuel rods especially for the first 25 to 30 years as they are too hot for dry storage. The spent fuel pools are also over packed to the gills. They were all suppose to have been emptied about 6 years ago but Obummer put the nix on that plan and so they are all still in the over crowded pools.

      In a complete collapse there will be no one to keep the generators or plants running so what happens to the pools? What if they cannot get diesel fuel to them forever? The one we have locally can be flooded with water from the Missouri river but what happens to the fish and wild life in the river and those down stream?

      Nuke plants need to be shut down until a safe way can be found to deal with the waste in my opinion.

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    4. agree entirely with nuke shutdown. dangerous!!
      when i was a kid the propaganda films from the gov't. included a few about 'atomic energy; the gentle giant'. !!!!!
      brainwashing the elementary schools.

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  11. Though we differ in what we eat :O), I agree. Land is key and one doesn't even have to have a huge amount of land. What I have seen bloggers grow on 1/10th of an acre is mind boggling! There are some very good gardeners out there!.... For myself if I have a piece of dirt that I can garden I am good to go. Honeyman is as well, though he does like some animal mixed in with his meals. Lordy knows we have enough wild pigs here to feed many carnivorous people! Its nothing for there to be 30-40 of them right out behind our house in the evenings, plus deer, plus our pond has bass. Even in Texas which I call the devils play ground because of the climate :O) ... I can raise a lot of produce. Plus one can't forget foraging, even in this super hot climate we have plenty of native growing plants that are edible. Yes I can and preserve food every year but that is only viable for 2 yrs in most cases. Well ok not the dried, the dried food stored in air tight jars will last a lot longer than 2 yrs. I still find it amazing that what my grandparents did ...just life, now is viewed as preppers, They grew gardens, canned, worked the land because that is what their parents did and so forth. It was taking care of your family etc... Now its prepping :O)... But yes I agree a piece of dirt is a good thing to have!

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    1. Texan - The dirt and the skills. Ultimately I think hunting and foraging would end up taking more time and effort than actually growing it yourself as the natural supply winds down and you have to forage out further and further. The real disservice and problem arises when someone attempts to convince people that all they need to do is hoard. These preppers should shoot for maybe a year or so of stored food and then work on the skills of producing their own not wasting more time and money on more stored food.

      Give a man a fish scenario I think.

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  12. PP,
    i have also, in reading my favorite web sites, considered that sooner or later the stores must peter out. nothing is forever. i have considered how merely one pregnant beetle in the wrong place can bring disaster to desperately needed food stores.

    we have just learned, yesterday, that city water has been polluted for over a year by fracking chemicals, which contain powerful carcinogens, and other lovely things like fecal material. we are being told after at least a year of contamination.
    however much food and defensive gear you have, without clean water what can you do?
    in a collapse medical care becomes scarcer even as cancer rates increase due to dirty water.

    there are so many factors to attend to now, and so many to be aware of to come, that 'prepping' isn't just for future possibilities, but must be for everyday.

    we each do the best we can as far as money, life situation, and knowledge level allow.
    thanks for your site. much info and all free!! thanks again.
    deb

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    1. DH - Been seeing boil orders all around my area for over a year now. I think there has been at least one within the area everyday. The infrastructure is falling apart slowly but surely.

      Words of wisdom in your comment.

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