Can You Finish Prepping?

by “Jen”

Several days ago Bob emailed me to ask if I’d be willing to post articles on this site. He’d offered before and I turned him down each time because I’m concerned about OPSEC and didn’t want to leave any kind of electronic bread crumbs back to me. He again assured me that there wasn’t much risk but I didn’t want my IP on record. I finally agreed that he could post my emails as long as he made sure to strip out any possible identifying information and that it was okay to post them as articles from me if he cleans up any misspellings or typos. I’ll keep using the fake names Bob gave us.

So onto the question that has been on my mind. Can someone ever finish prepping? Everyone says you can’t but I’m not so sure. People say that prepping is a lifestyle and a state of mind and for us that’s true. We really started prepping in late 2014 or early 2015. Before that we were only about as well prepared as most people living in rural areas. Every time David and I got together with my brother and his family we’d talk about the breakdown of law and order, black rioting, cop shootings, and all the other bad stuff that was happening more and more. There wasn’t any one moment when we all decided to start prepping, it was just something that we gradually started to do. I don’t remember how I came across Bob’s blog, but once I did I read several of his posts and then went back and read straight through the last couple of year’s worth. He seemed to have a no-nonsense approach and wasn’t trying to sell anything to preppers so I emailed him and things took off from there.

At first we just took Bob’s advice about what and how much to buy. We treated prepping as urgent at first and probably bought a lot of stuff that we might not have if we’d taken things slower. But that’s OK because by panic buying we got a good solid start very quickly. Before long we were up to a years supply of food and other essential supplies and the sense of urgency gradually disappeared. Then we started filling in the weaker areas and before long we were at a level that we were all comfortable with. We ran several weekend exercises to test our preps and get all the kinks worked out. Now we’re OK on supplies and are mostly just replacing what we use.

That’s not completely true because we’re still gradually adding stuff by the case or two so our supplies inventory continues to grow. We also talked about Bob’s idea of continuing to add cheap bulk staples to extend the time our supplies will hold us and to have extra for friends and neighbors. When Bob mentioned that Walmart had 5 pound bags of macaroni on sale for less than $2.50 each we went ahead and ordered 200 bags. Our UPS guy probably hates us more than Bob’s hates him but that order by itself increased our supply of grains by about three person years. Same thing on other cheap staples like flour, rice, sugar, and beans. We’ll keep doing that until we run out of space to stack stuff because it’s comforting to know that we can feed our group for years if there’s a really long emergency and still have extra to give away to friends and neighbors.

Once we got to a good level of food and other consumables we started focusing on other aspects. We now have a good solar power system installed, a big propane tank, and a cooktop and water heater that run on propane. We’ve made improvements to our perimeter security and hardening the house. Our communications have gone from non-existent to pretty good as has our lighting and surveillance gear. Our medical preps are in good shape. As of now we’ve pretty much finished the major purchases so from that angle we are finished prepping.

I keep a notebook and pen on my nightstand because I still wake up some nights when I think about something we still need to do or learn or buy but overall we’re in great shape. We’re all aware that prepping at any level can’t guarantee anything. All it can do is give us a better chance and we’re all comfortable that we’ve done as much as we can and that’s all anyone can do. Many people would probably think we’re doomsday preppers but that’s not how we see it. We’ve simply made minor changes to our lifestyle to help prepare us for bad times. If that makes us crazy preppers in some people’s view that’s OK with us.

Monday, 20 February 2017

08:51 – It was 39F (4C) when I took Colin out this morning, but with no wind. Today I’ll be working on taxes and Barbara will be filling containers.

There’s been a lot of email back-and-forth between Cassie and me about canning meat. She’s decided to go full-speed ahead with it, but I’m still not convinced it makes sense. It’s perfectly safe, assuming one follows official instructions to the letter, but what I question is the cost of canning meat. When you add up the cost of the meat itself, the canning jars and other supplies, the fuel, time, and effort, commercially-canned meat starts to look better and better.

That said, I do keep six dozen new quart wide-mouth canning jars. Those are there only for an emergency, when I’d use them to rescue the meat in our large freezer. With 72 quart jars, I can can about 150 pounds of meat, which is about the most that we’d have in the freezer.

I recommended the Keystone Meats to Cassie. They offer ground beef, beef chunks, pork, chicken, and turkey in 14.5-oz and 28-oz cans. All have a best-by date five years out and in reality will remain appetizing and nutritious far longer than that. Walmart sells all of them on-line at $6.28 per large can except the beef chunks, which are $7.74/can. All with free 2-day shipping. If you compare the price of their canned meats with that of fresh meat, you’ll find that the canned stuff is pretty competitive.

So far, we’ve used the Keystone canned ground beef, chunk beef, and chicken. Barbara prefers fresh, but agrees that the canned stuff is fine, particularly for stir fry, casseroles, slow-cooker meals, and so on. Since I was thinking about it, I went ahead and ordered 12 more cans of the beef chunks, along with a fresh small can of Nestle Nido dry whole milk (to compare with the older can that’s a year past its best-by date), another tub of lard, a box of Walmart dry instant mashed potatoes to try, a #10 of Augason non-fat dry milk to try, and another 10-pound bag of Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix.

And, in a breakthrough, Jen has finally agreed to let me post one of her emails to me, which I’ll post as a separate article after I post this one. She asked me to clean it up before I posted it, but all I did was fix a couple of typos. She’s also concerned that her writing style might be identifiable to people who’ve read other stuff she’s posted on the Internet, so I went through her post and changed some of the phrasing, although not the meaning.

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