Category: long-term food storage

Fri. June 9, 2023 – there’s always an excuse…

Cooler, but damp and warming up later.   Probably get all the way to hot.   It certainly followed that path yesterday, but ended in “cool” when the front rolled in around 6pm.   Gusts and 10 degree temperature drops say “excitement is on the way”.   So we retreated to the cars.   Well excitement never arrived at the swim meet, but the cooler temps were appreciated.

I did my pickups yesterday.   Got D1 from the airport.  She’d been with grandma for the last week.  Got a couple more pickups done on the way home, and then got D2 to swim.   Not a lot of time in there for messing around with restacking food on the shelves.

Maybe I get it done today.   If not, most of it is under cover or in covered bins and can sit for another few days.   I say ‘maybe’ because I’ve got two pickups in the morning (stuff for the BOL), lunch with my sibling who is in town, then possibly a quick trip to my client’s to tweak some things before the weekend…  It’ll make him happy and his wife too, so IF I can make the timing work it is worth doing.

Then load the truck for the next trip up to the BOL and head out.   No non-prepping hobby meeting on Saturday because of a scheduling conflict with the venue.

Full day.   Full night.   Full life.

Over at BayouRenaissanceMan, the inevitable commentor when Peter brings up food shortages.. “But I don’t have money or room for those things.”    Might be true for a very limited subset of people, mainly those in care or institutions, but it’s REALLY unlikely.   As shown here by RBT and me both, and in innumerable other prepping sites online, you can MAKE room and it doesn’t have to be expensive.  It’s easier to find reasons not to prep than it is to prep, but the reasons don’t sound very convincing to anyone who has begun the journey.

The best time to plant a tree might be 5 years ago, and the same might be true for prepping, but there won’t be any stored food in 5 years, or any new trees if you don’t start NOW.  Stop looking for reasons not to, and look for was TO prep.   There are lots of resources out there, and  a whole bunch here, just use the keywords on the right.

Get started stacking up food and other preps.   If you already have some nice stacks, congrats!  Now do more!  Take control of your life and your future.  Take this step to ensure both.



Thur. June 8, 2023 – some thoughts about food storage

Damp and cooler, but getting hot later.   It was 94F in the shade by late afternoon yesterday.   Then it rained, just enough to mess me up.  I’m hoping for dry today.  Got lots to do.

So yesterday, of all the things that need doing, I chose to attack the food shelves that had been despoiled by the rats, and the possum, and the exploding peach cans.   Joy.   Just moving all the cans to milk crates took a while, and I haven’t cleaned them yet.   Threw out a couple dozen.   Mostly  peaches, but also some other failures due to rust or acidity.  A case of tomato paste.  A case of tomato puree.   A half dozen condensed milks.   Some random veg.   There might be more as I clean them and restock the shelves.   I know I’ll have ‘breakage’ due to my extremely bad storage conditions, so it’s just part of the cost, but it sucks to have it all at once and for it to mess up other cans too.

I moved 6 months, one meal a day for 2 adults and 2 kids to milk crates.   It’s my minimum, my version of RBT’s “iron rations.”   One can meat, one can veg, rice.   Of course I have more, breakfast and more canned and dry food, but 6 months fits in 12 milk crates.   Stacks really well too.   Plus the buckets for the rice, one bucket per month.    32 cans per crate.  Roughly the same for meat.  There is a bit more variation in the size of the meat cans.   So two milk crates and a bucket will feed you a nutritious meal a day for a month.  You and your family.   You won’t get fat, but you won’t starve either.   Add a bucket of flour or tortilla mix, and a crate of soup cans and you get two meals a day.   The cans leave a bit of room at the top of the crate that could be filled with oatmeal in bags, or repackaged pancake mix too.

It’s all very compact for storage and isn’t crazy expensive.

For box meals, retort pouch meat, and mixes I’m still using shallow tubs with lids but you could pack that into either buckets or milk crates too.   I just find it easier to treat the tubs as ‘drawers’ and have access to the contents without un-stacking a bunch of stuff.   And for day to day, I’ve got the cans in FIFO racks.  Those racks were FILTHY from the burst cans, and the rodents.  I ended up pressure washing them, using a scrub brush and clorox cleaner on the shelves, and then pressure washing again..

Lessons learned, fruit in cans is not a super long term storage item.   Fruit in the cheapest Hill Country Farms cans is REALLY not a long term item.   Rust is  the enemy of cans.   The FIFO racks are very hard to clean and keep clean.   From now on, I’ll be putting a waste paper basket trash can liner over each bucket in storage.   The lids get filthy and opening a gamma seal lid is a 20 minute ordeal of cleaning before opening to be sure you don’t drop cr@p in and contaminate your dry food.   Clear plastic liners over the buckets should help tremendously.   The shallow tubs worked.   They protected their contents from cross contamination, and predation, and when a can inside popped, they kept the mess confined to the one tub.

If I was designing a storage/pantry system from scratch, I think I would build it around buckets and milk crates.   Each milk crate holds about 32 cans with some space at the top.   Mix your veg, beans, and other cans so each crate has a variety of food.  Do the same with your canned meat or pouch meat.  Fill a bucket with 25 pounds of rice (just shy of 3 cups to the pound, btw, and 200 calories a cup.)   Stack a few months worth in the closet.  Both buckets and crates stack well.  Pull two crates and a bucket at the start of the month, and refill them to rotate back into storage before the month is over.   You could decide to skip the rice and add another crate of veg instead.   Top off the crates with breakfast food like oatmeal or pancake mix.   Add a crate of soup for lunch.   Campbells cans are a bit smaller but not enough to get more in a crate.  There is more room for breakfast or condiments though.

Compact, sturdy, organized, and moveable if needed.  Easy to rotate.  Plus you can see at a glance how much time/food you have.  Easy to share if you want to.  Hand them a bucket and two crates.


Busy day today, I don’t know if I’ll get the remaining shelves cleaned and everything put back.  I’ve got pickups, an airport run to do, swim meet this evening, and all the normal domestic bliss…  I’m pushing my client into next week when the gear arrives.  DirecTV can wait a week for their gear.

Stack some more food.   You know you like to eat.  And if you don’t, I’m pretty sure you don’t like to starve.   Having at least one secure meal a day could make the difference for you and your family.



4 milk crates, and 2 buckets per month and you are living large.

Wed. June 7, 2023 – justanother, justanother dayayay… justanother…

Another wet day, slightly cooler, may change as the day goes on.   No one knows.  Yesterday ended with light rain, some thunder, and then nothing for the rest of the night.   It was a little bit cooler, so that was nice.

I did auction stuff most of the day.   I also bought the cams for my client, along with a replacement switch, and surge suppressors for the ethernet lines to the outdoor cams.  Maybe they’ll help, maybe not, but they are relatively cheap at $12 each, so worth a try.

Today I might head out there, I might not.   D2 has a camp physical scheduled for the middle of the morning, and swim practice at 5pm, so that means I start late, and finish early.  Still might be worth getting out there.   Or I could wait another day and maybe some of the cams will be here too.   There is value in ‘showing the flag’ and I do get paid for each visit.   I do try to make the visits COUNT though.

I’m sure I can fill my day with something…

Maybe I should do some shopping.   I moved a bunch of chicken to the BOL, so I have room in the freezers here.   Pork looked like it was headed down on my last store trip.   I’m fine with picking up shoulder, loin, or ribs if they’re cheap.   I should also replace the cans that were damaged when the fruit cans ruptured.   I’d prefer to do that when they are on sale, but IDK if waiting is a good idea.   There is always the tension between buying when the stuff is available, and hoping that the price will be lower later.   Most of the cans I bought for around $1 each, and they are almost double that now.  I’m not confident that they will ever go on sale again… although the irregular and unofficial sale rotation should be hitting canned veg in a week or two at my local HEB.

Shopping regularly and having a feel for what goes on sale and when can help you stock up for less, and economize even during normal times.   Supply chain issues and a worsening economy can disrupt that though, and sometimes it best to buy it when you see it.

I  guess we’ll see.

If you see stuff you buy on sale, stack it up.


Sun. May 21, 2023 – two one hump camels humping.

Slightly cooler, maybe some rain, maybe.   Yesterday was nice.  Hot, sunny, but nice compared to Hell or Cincinnati.  Didn’t do any work in the attic though, I’m not a mad dog, or Englishman.

Did do some stuff around the house.   Not as much as I’d hoped.   Had some interruptions that knocked me off track and limited what I was willing to start.   Did get the coffee machine fixed, so that will leave the kitchen and go to the ebay pile.  Now to do the same with the other, bigger one.

D1 has a birthday sometime in this last week or next, so we’re going to do some birthday activities today, while her friends are available.   With the school year ending this week, and the start of summer activities, there won’t be much time to get all of them in one place.  There is a bunch of stuff for her sitting around until her birthday party and getting that cleared up will help with the stuff in the house too.

I forgot to mention my trip to the grocery store on Friday.   Lots of gaps on the shelves.  One thing they were out of is the eye drops I use.   I’ve got more in the stacks but like to replace what I use when I use it.  I don’t have to try to find a new supply right away if I have them on the shelf.   That’s why we prep.   I also didn’t see as many discount coupons, and the stuff I bought wasn’t on sale.   I saved only about 2.5% vs my normal 10-12% by using store coupons and closeout discounts.   If this turns into a trend, we’re in even bigger trouble.

This past week I spent a lot on eating out, and prepared meals.  Normally I try to cook most nights but between school stuff and general malaise, I wasn’t able or wasn’t willing to cook dinner.   The difference in cost is getting to be quite large.   I’ve started pulling back by preference but if this keeps up, we’ll NEED to pull back.   Since we are in good shape, I can’t imagine what people less well off or well prepared are faced with.   IDK if they are continuing to spend out of habit, and eating up savings or going into debt, or if they are faced with pulling way back, and suddenly (like the lady I mentioned previously that had to choose a hamburger helper meal for the first time).   For most people I think there comes a point where it suddenly and undeniably comes to their attention, and they HAVE to make big changes, or go broke.   What are you guys seeing?  Are you cutting spending?  Is it out of prudence or need?

It’s late to start stacking, because costs have gone up and choices are down.   With that, I’m tempted to start eating down my stacks to save money, but for what and when?   I still think it is a good idea to be building up reserves and the time to be using them is yet to come.   So keep stacking, when and what you can, and let me know when  you think the time is right to start using what you are setting aside.




oh yeah, the title.  Second to last time I was up at the BOL, I really didn’t expect to see camels mating.   But I did. And yeah, it really is as awkward as you think it must be.


Mon. May 8, 2023 – another week closer to the end of the school year…

Cool and damp.  Got some rain yesterday, expect we’ll get a bit more today.   Wasn’t hot, but wasn’t cool either.   I have tried a bunch of things to get my weather station reporting again, but nothing seems to work.   I’ve tried changing the outdoor unit 2x, and I have two different indoor units showing different things.   A third couldn’t find the outdoor unit either.   Something is interfering with the signal is all I can think.  Probably a cheap USB charger, but I can’t correlate the malfunction with any particular changes.  I’ll have to go on a hunt, so that’s farther down the list for now.

Did some sorting and cleaning up for the return of my bride…   got some of it done.   Pack is once again united.   Girl Scouts had a nice weekend.  I got some minor stuff done.   Rain put a damper on any outdoor stuff for me.  On the other hand, I didn’t have to do any more sprinkler work.

Today I’ve got a couple of pickups I can do, and a couple of things that are weather dependent.   We’ll see what we can get to.  I’ve got a bunch of stuff to go through for my  non-prepping hobby quarterly swapmeet/sale next weekend.  Don’t know if any of it will sell, but won’t find out unless I try.

Might have purchased some needful things in an auction.   I won, but this auctioneer will often pass items that don’t bring enough money.   Since I’m a bottom feeder, and need to get stuff cheap, I might not actually get it at my low bid.  They passed on a bunch of other stuff.   People waited too long to empty their safes and prices have come back down.  No one is buying Del-ton for what they had listed as a starting bid, but consignors haven’t realized that apparently.  I’m actually surprised any of my bids held up, let alone three.   I’ll have to find some cash somewhere if they DON’T pass on my bids.   Winning at a low price hasn’t been an issue for me for some time.  I feel a bit like Commander Zero this week.

There are always opportunities during times of trouble for the person with preparations and resources.   Keep your eyes open, there are bargains out there.

And you want to add to your stacks.


Wed. May 3, 2023 – we’re in the beginning stages, but it’s definitely kicking off

Cool and damp, warming to hot and moist.   Or just raining all day.   Or is that tomorrow?  We’ll see which liar is closer to the truth.    Yesterday was not horrible.   Overcast and muggy most of the day though.   Sweaty.

So I did outdoor stuff.   ‘natch.   Cut the grass in the back.  Because my life is fractally complicated, that meant fixing a string trimmer first.   I brought a good runner home from the BOL because I’d dropped it and cracked the fuel tank.  I knew I had a non-running one, same model, that I could steal the tank from.  So I did.   And the tank  has a pinhole leak.  Dang.   So grab another non-runner, see what we can do… realize it’s a four stroke, put regular gas in it, and it starts.  Doesn’t run well, but runs enough to use the string trimmer head (after a trip to Lowes for string, bar oil, and a chainsaw chain… which I forgot).  Knocked down the stuff that would stop my mower, got the mower running and cut the back yard.

Blew a lot of leaves and mess to the yard, and mulched that.   Then tackled a non-running pressure washer.   Determined that it had spark, but no fuel.   Cleaned the carb and it still wouldn’t fire up.   The air cleaner housing is an integral part of the idle circuit, and once I figured that out, I got it to start and run.   I can’t find the air filter and cover.   They are here somewhere but I started poking at the washer a couple months ago, and can’t remember where I put them.   Without the restriction of the air filter and housing, it won’t run properly… but it does run, hose and gun work fine.  Shelf that for now.

Blew some of the debris off the canned goods shelves.  Didn’t get all hazmat suited to tackle that yet…

Checked that my ham antenna wasn’t in danger of coming down.  It’s not plumb, but I can’t get to the bolts to plumb it, and so it’ll be fine for now.

Put the backup weather station in place.   Still getting the incorrect temp and humidity I was getting with the old one.   Something must be interfering with the radio signal.  Shelve that for now.

Hit two stores looking for the aloe gel I’ve used for decades to treat sunburn.   Didn’t find it.  Ordered it online.   Tried to shop local…  and they had the brand and the product, just in a juice not a gel.   I don’t drink the stuff, I use it topically, so the gel (which is pretty watery anyway) is better.  I tried.  Amazon got their skim.  Product manufacturer got the money, but the locals missed out. It should be here today.

One good thing from yesterday- my grapes are going nuts.   The vine froze back to the ground, but has recovered to grow up the trellis this year.  I didn’t expect any activity until next year, but I noticed that suddenly I have bunches of grapes all over the vines.   This is the vine that has never produced, and didn’t really flourish.   I had some limited fruit on the other vine a couple of years ago.  This year I did nothing, and I will probably be getting fruit.

Peach tree is about half dead.  Apple tree is thin but flowering.   Blueberry bushes look weak and spindly this year. I’m not optimistic that I’ll get much fruit, not that I get much, but yield has been increasing every year, until now.

I have to get the sprinklers working again, so that will be today’s project.  At least, I’ll begin replacing the vacuum breaker and see what that entails.   Probably would be easy if all my plumbing stuff wasn’t at the BOL…  I’ll probably have to shop.  I didn’t bring the stuff home because I still have the sprinklers up there to get sorted.   Maybe I’ll get lucky.

I’ve let stuff go for too long.   Now I’m paying for it.  Stay on top of maintenance projects.   If TSHTF, you’d be wishing you had.   Heck, if you need it for normal everyday life, you’ll be wishing it was working.

Things seem to be accelerating.  We are definitely already past the point where we were predicting stuff would be, when it started heading south.  Layoffs, bank failures, bankrupt retail, mass migrations, decreases in services, cities deteriorating farther, faster, it’s all actually happening.   The violence and further schisms can’t be too far away.

Stack while you can.  Get your stuff in order.   Plant some food.


Tues. May 2, 2023 – you say you want a revolution, weeeellllll ya know….

Cool and clear, warming later… kids had great weather for their field trip yesterday.   The whole school went, and they had a great day to be outside.  Today should be more of the same.   Cool, but hotter in the afternoon.

I got some of my stuff done.   Did two pickups.   Had an interesting chat with the auctioneers.   One I hadn’t seen in a long time, that does mostly salvage and municipal surplus, said she is seeing the beginning of another bankruptcy cycle.   She’s had a couple of businesses call her to sell all their stuff before it gets seized and sold, and a bank looking to do the seizing…   There are definitely cycles in the economy, and if she thinks she’s seeing the beginning of a downturn, I’m willing to believe it.  She’s been in the liquidation business pretty much her whole life, and that’s several decades as a successful business herself.

I am waiting on a part, so I won’t head to my client site today.   I’ll be doing stuff here, mostly sorting and stacking, but also I better get started on the cleaning and upkeep stuff too.   I’ve let it go far too long out of distaste and other things to do, but I really can’t let it go much longer.

Sometimes we just have to pull up our big boy pants, and man up.

I used to have a quote on my wall, credited to Goethe, but I never could find the source,  that resonated with me.    “Who must do the difficult things?  – He who can.”    There is a slightly different version credited to the author Trevanian in his novel ‘Shibumi’  – “Who must do the harsh things?  He who can.”    My teenage self could have gotten it mixed up, although why I’d have attributed it to Goethe, I can’t imagine.   (Loved ‘Shibumi’ btw, don’t know if it would stand up now, but I re-read it many times. JerryP would sometimes mention Trevanian…)  ANYHOW…

Cleaning up the possum mess in the garage and on the canned goods shelves barely qualifies as “difficult” or “harsh” but not only am I the only one who can, I’m the only one who WILL do it.  Eventually.   Today.  Maybe.   When I have no more chance to procrastinate.  Or later.  If I get to it.  Someday.

Stack it up.  And keep it in good shape.



Wed. Apr. 26, 2023 – sometimes I wonder what I’mma gonna do….

Cool and clear?  Maybe clear.  Maybe not.  It did clear yesterday, in places.   Typical Houston, with threatening skies but no rain where I was.   I could see rain in the distance…

So I used the Expedition for my  errands.  Didn’t want to get rained on in the pickup.  Dropped stuff off at one auctioneer.   Picked stuff up at two others.   Some was resale, but most was actually sprinkler system parts.   I’ve got a lot of work to do on sprinklers at the BOL.

Today should be working here at home.  I found more exploded cans and they leaked all over.   That led to other cans being nasty.  I’ve got to do some sorting and triage.  And cleaning up.   Of course there are ten things to do first to make room and time for that…  it’s fractal.

But I’ve been putting it off for a while, so it’s time to deal with it.   Unless it’s raining.   Then I’ll have to find other stuff to do.  That shouldn’t be an issue.   😉

Stuff needs maintenance and that takes time.  But the proverb about ‘a stitch in time’ will prove itself out one hundred fold if you ignore it.  Don’t be like me, stay on top of important stuff.

Anything spoiled will have to be replaced, and that will take away from your stacking.

And what do we say about stacking?   Stack it up!


Tues. Apr. 11, 2023 – you are thinking too much…

Cool and clear?  The national map has us on the edge of weather for the next couple of days.  That usually means no weather for us.   Monday didn’t rain, but after a promising start the overcast came back and it threatened to rain all day.

Didn’t feel great, so stayed in.   Took a nap.  Cleaners came and went.   Did some sorting and cleaning.  Found some things that will need closer looks and maybe some repair.  Stacked some more stuff for the BOL.  Picked up the kids from school.  Only 20 minutes late.  Practically on time.

Today I hope to sort a few more bins and drop some off at the auctioneer.   If not, more cleaning and sorting is on tap.

Speaking of, I dumped some more food that was just too old.  Only a few ‘box’ meals, but they were cheese based, and the cheese powder has gone off.  4 years past ‘best by’ is a lot for a fatty milk based product.   Mad Max, I’d have saved the pasta, it was in plastic and probably fine.   I’ll replace the boxes this shopping trip.  There is still some ebola era stuff on the shelves, and not all of it is in good shape.   Just another task on the list.

I noticed that I’ve been taking new box meals to the BOL, and not restocking here.   I need to catch up.   We do eat a lot of them, relatively speaking, and stocks are lower than I like for an item we eat regularly.

Also really need to do something with the garden here.  It’s actually  getting late…

Always something to do.   Find the time to join me in stacking the things.  All the things.


Mon. Apr. 10, 2023 – let’s get this party started…

Cool and damp, but maybe no rain?   We’re sorta in the rain zone, but who knows.  Yesterday was overcast most of the day with occasional sunlight.  No rain though.

I did family things all day.   Egg hunt, Easter baskets, breakfast, bread making, and dinner prep ate most of the day.   What wasn’t used for that got spent catching up on some auction stuff, while youtube vids played on the other monitor.   Kids were wrapped up in their own stuff most of the day.   We did play a game after dinner.

Today should be more cleaning and sorting.   Housecleaning service is supposed to come by and do the heavy lifting.   I just have to get some stuff picked up and put away.  If it’s clear, I might even get over to my storage unit, and do some sorting there.

If it’s raining, I’ll do more cleaning and paperwork here.   Tax time is upon us, and some stuff needs to be put in order before sending to the accountant.

There is also the not inconsequential task of cleaning and sorting the cans on my pantry shelves.   Some more fruit cans popped in the pantry area, and now I’ve got a real mess.   Far more damaged cans than I first thought, and extra possum mess besides.   No wonder the little beast was hanging out- some of the stuff in the very back was leaking.   Well, I know I’ll have losses due to poor conditions, and some of the stuff is approaching 10 years in the stacks, so it’s past time to go through it again.    It’s a bio-hazard and needs to be addressed soon.

Even with FIFO policy, and can organizers for much of it, there is food we don’t normally eat and food we only eat occasionally in the stacks, so we don’t rotate through the whole stack before it REALLY ages out.   I can accept that.   I’d rather have the food on hand.   No way to know when the last trip to the supermarket could be, so I maintain the level I’d need if today was that last day.  Well, I’ll  be below it with all the breakage, until I can replace it.

And I might not replace all of it.   If I assume we can get to the BOL or travel between them, I can split the resources between them.   If I assume that we may be stuck at either place, then I need full stacks at both locations.  The reality is that I might never get stuck in either situation, and I might never need the stuff.   But having it is what prepping is about for me, so I’ll probably waffle back and forth, starting by splitting the stacks, and building both sets back up to full.

First step is cleaning and saving what I can.  And that might happen today, or later this week… depending.

So stack it high, but realize that you will have losses, and you  might not need it.  Like a gun or a parachute, it’s much better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.


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