Category: long-term food storage

Sat. Jan. 14, 2023 – non-prepping hobby day, and heading out…

Cold and damp.   It was 44F when I woke up yesterday, didn’t get much above the mid 50s in the shade all day, and was 38F when I went to bed.  I expect that to continue today.   At least it is supposed to be clear for a couple more days.

Did my pickups.   The damage to the scratch and dent freezers is less than I thought, so hooray.  One is perfect, one has the dent mostly confined to the access panel over the mechanicals  (easy to straighten), and the last one has about 6 vertical inches of the back corner edge pushed in a little bit.  They should all work fine, with only one even having noticeable damage.

I’ve been chatting with various of my sellers and I think I can say that this economy is wearing on them.   They look tired and beat up.  I’m pretty sure that isn’t a good thing.

Today I’ve got my non-prepping hobby meeting in the morning.   Then I’ll come home and take down the Christmas stuff that’s outside.  I don’t have to be at the BOL at any particular time, and the decorations need to come down.  I haven’t managed my time well enough to do it before now, but time is up.   Then I’m headed out.   I will probably stay until late Monday.  The kids have Monday off, but my wife doesn’t, so they will not be joining me.  It does make certain tasks easier if I can cut off power or water for an extended time.  And if the weather gets any colder I’ll feel better about being up there and having an eye on the situation.  It’s almost always colder there than here.

I’m moving some more food up there too, frozen and canned, and some bulk buckets.  It occurs to me that salted pork would need a whole bunch of salt.  And some buckets.   Hmm.  More for the list.  If every bucket you have is in use, how do you replace one that you dropped and broke?  Or what can you brine that ham in?  Or put up some windfall food?   The bucket is the unsung hero of prepping, but how many do you have that aren’t in use?  What if you couldn’t just run to Lowe’s for another few?  EMPTY buckets are important preps too.

So  stack up a few!



Fri. Apr. 29, 2022 – Lots of catching up today

Clear and pleasant again, with some clouds.   It sure was nice yesterday, with only an intermittent threat of rain from some cloudiness, and a bit of humidity later in the day.

Finished up my shade tree mechanic LARPing.  Got the Ranger running, and picked up a replacement wiper for the rear window of my Expedition.    I c’nae believe how hard it was to find the correct wiper, or why Ford went with a completely different attachment means for that one wiper.  AdvanceAutoParts, and Autozone had me running around, but O’Reilly had the parts I needed.  I’ll check with them first next time.  I bought a second wiper as a spare and it was the last one they had.  More reinforcement for the idea that if you think you might need it, you better stack it.

I also shipped my ebay sale and couple of other things I’ve been putting off for no good reason.

D1 had a play at school last night and tonight, so we went to see that.   Every kid was miked, ever mic was too loud.  I know I’ve got hearing issues, but I couldn’t get but one word in 10.   Daughter is following in the wife and my footsteps with her work backstage.  Mixed feelings about that.  It was a great learning experience, and it put us both where we are now, but times change, and I’m not sure I’d want to be working in the industry now.

I suppose that is true for most parents.

Today I’ve got a couple of pickups, and some driving to do.  Then I’ll have more sorting and stacking at my storage unit.   Wife and D1 are headed to GS camp for the weekend after the curtain comes down on the show tonight.   D2 and I are home alone.   Might just load up the truck and head to the lake after swim practice Saturday.  There’s plenty to do up there, if I get bored with all the stuff that needs doing here…

WRT site issues here, please keep reporting them, but bear with us as Rick tries to sort it out.

And for pete’s sake, stack some food.  Don’t forget fats.  Peanut oil stores well, and can be used in place of butter in most cooking.  Lard in sealed plastic buckets should last a long time too.   With the decrease in sunflower oil exports from Ukraine, people will have to buy other oils, which will put pressure on them as well.   Get some, even if you don’t use much now.  It’s relatively cheap, stores for a long time, and is an important prep.  Salt and vinegar too, in mass quantities, mainly for food preservation, and a few jars of ‘pickling spice’ wouldn’t be a bad idea.

FWIW I like multiple smaller containers, rather than one big one.   It lasts longer if you don’t have a giant container open, you can more easily share a smaller container, and if one is spoiled the rest will still be ok.  To me, multiples are better, even if the unit cost is higher.  The most expensive prep is one you have to throw out without using.    Had a rat (might have been the possum) gnaw a bottle of peanut oil this week, made a mess on the shelf.   That was just one liter damaged, not the whole supply.  I could have used what was left in the bottle for frying I suppose if desperate, or as lamp oil, but I just tossed it and replaced it.   That might not always be an option.  So….

Stack something.


Tues. Apr. 26, 2022 – everyone should know how to tell at least one good joke, and a couple of bad ones…

Cooler and wet today as a followup to yesterday.   It did finally rain yesterday.   It was about 3pm when it finally hit my neighborhood.  Temps dropped 10 degrees and the wind picked up.   We had some pretty hard rainfall, and the gutters filled up.   My gauge says only 0.43 inches, but it certainly seemed like more.

It was raining cats and dogs by the lake, so countrygirl begged off delivering my crazy thick and heavy fence pipes.  I’m ok with that.   Whenever they get there, I’m not ready for them anyway.   I did spend some time looking over the old victory garden stuff to see if it would help me plan my garden.   I have an approach, if not an actual plan… and maybe it will refine itself over time.  Still no word from septic or structure guys.   At home, we can’t seem to get an HVAC guy to replace our system now.  Waited too long maybe, because they aren’t calling back.  We’ve got a short window before it gets really hot up in the attic again, so I’d think they would be anxious to get as much done before then as they could.  Maybe they are, and I’m just not on their list.

I also did not get anything done with my pickup not starting.

I did play a couple of games of backgammon with D2 before having to pick up D1 from school.  She’s got afterschool activities going on, so I get to be the taxi.  Looking back, I can’t believe the amount of driving my dad did to pick me up from MY afterschool activities.  My high school wasn’t close to our house at all, and there was a lot of snow and ice involved during the winter.  It explains why I got a license and a car at 16.  Also why I had so many tickets and wrecks.

Today will be some prepping, as I’ve got meat to repack and freeze.  Then some auction stuff if it’s dry enough for me to pull stuff out of the storage unit, and if the pickup truck is running to take the stuff to the auctioneer.  Then some pickups that are all things for the BOL.   Busy day in other words, although some may slip if it’s wet.

I’m trying to stack all the things.   For some reason, a bunch of auguson farms 30 day buckets have been in the auctions here.  I’ve gotten 2 so far.   They are not worth the money as they are very low calorie per day, and pretty much all plant based, and mostly carbs and sugar from what I can see.  Still, at the price I paid, they are a decent addition to my long term stores.  In other words, half retail or less.

Stack it up, it’s changing fast.  And not for the better.



Mon. Jan. 31, 2022 – this month is finally on it’s last day…

Cool and kinda damp today, with the possibility of some real hard rain according to  I guess we’ll see….    Sunday was nice, cool but sunny and decently warm in the sun.

This January took forever to pass by.  Usually I feel like the days are flying by, but with 5 weekends, this month dragged.  I don’t know why I want it to be past, but I do.    I don’t think great things will be happening in February, but at least it won’t be January.

Spent yesterday watching auctions for stuff for the new place, while also doing other stuff around the house, and I blew it.  I let something go that I really wanted and would save both time and money at the new place.  Got distracted…

Then made dinner.  Which brought me this thought.  I can talk briefly about one of my storage options, the freezer.

I freeze bread.  I find that bread products keep really well for me in the upright freezer. I don’t do anything special, just put them in the way they come from the store. I freeze regular loaves of Sara Lee white sandwich bread, with at least 2 and usually 3 in the freezer at a time.  We use about 2 loaves in three weeks, so  they do turn over regularly.  I like the Sara Lee because it holds up to spreading peanut butter.  A lot of the white breads don’t.

I freeze naan bread.  (indian flat bread) It’s pre-baked, and just needs to be warmed up, so it’s a quick and easy way to get a bit of bread with a meal.  It does come in a sealed plastic bag.  It lasts for a year or more in the freezer, doesn’t take up much space, and is a solid “go to” for me.  Very easy to warm for use too, spritz with water and throw on the grill or in the oven (whichever you already have hot) for a few minutes each side.  I think if things get really shirty, flat breads will be the way to go vs leaven breads.  Much less time and energy to cook than baking.

I freeze english muffins.  Thomas’ to be precise.  Again, I just chuck them into the freezer in their store packaging.   They store well for a long time.

I freezer a 300 pack of wheat tortillas too, but also have a 300 open in the fridge for normal day to day use.  They last in the fridge for months.

I thaw the white bread, and the english muffins all at once for the week before use, but the naan I heat from frozen.

Hamburger buns and hotdog buns do well too, but do get ‘freezer burned’ if left too long.

It is very convenient to have bread in the stacks and to not have to head to the store every week.

One other option deserves mention, my Costco has 3 packs of shelf stable bread.  They are loaves of sourdough and are vac packed with some sort of absorber packet.  They just need to be heated to ‘crunchy’ and they are great when you are looking for a crusty hearty loaf in a hurry.  They are still good after the best by date, but the absorber starts to stain the crust black.  I just cut that part of the crust off and ate the rest.

Of course, you can bake from scratch, kit, or with a bread machine.  I’ve done the machine and still do for holiday breads.  It’s very easy and a great way to get good bread on demand, and save money while cycling through your stored bulk.  I’ve found the loaf doesn’t last long once made though, and if we don’t work hard at it, we don’t eat it before it gets hard.  So the store bought breads are a better value as they last long enough to get eaten.

There it is.  Compelling content!  Exciting discussion!  Friendly folks!  Random factoids!  Red Lectroids!

If you haven’t been stacking bread or bread-like food items, I hope you can throw some in the freezer now.  They’ll probably be good later too.

Stack all the things!  Including bread.


Tues. Jan. 4, 2022 – school’s back in session… and kids are SO grumpy

Cold again, clear, sunny, but cold. 36F when I went to bed, and not expected to freeze, but that is ‘see your breath’ weather for sure. I know, some of you are laughing right now. I’VE got the clothes and accessories for it, but a lot of people don’t. Not that I care all that much about them, they can prep too. It gets cold often enough here that a wind proof shell and a couple of layers should be in everyone’s closet.

I spent most of yesterday working at my desk trying to find money in shoeboxes. Not literal cash money, but stuff to send to auction. Found a bunch too. I checked a couple of spot prices on ebay and I don’t think I’ll get as much as I first thought, unless the auction brings better than ebay prices, but you never know.

Today the plan is to head out to my client’s house and clean up some outstanding issues before the programmer comes back down Wednesday or Thursday. It won’t be a super early start for me, as I have to make a pickup on the way, and I’d like to move some stuff to storage before I head out. We’ll see about that.


Speaking of moving stuff around, one of the things I did in the beginning of the wuflu response was to bring a bunch of long term disaster items home from storage. When it looked like movement restrictions might be put into effect, I brought home a bunch of storage bins and buckets that made up my “ebola” stacks. By that I mean the panic buy (over the course of months, so not really ‘panicky’, just hurried) of bulk and long term storage items that I stacked up in case ebola got loose over here. I suddenly wanted to be able to stay home for 45-90 days without leaving the house for anything so I massively increased the amount of bulk food I had stacked. Of course that was in 2014, so that food was between 5 and 6 years old.

Most of it had just been put into black bins, with the lids on, and literally stacked. They were stored in a ‘cool dark place’, but I didn’t stabilize them or repack them. All of the bulk food was edible. The wheat flour has an ‘old’ flavor, but it’s edible with no ill effects. It would work fine in pasta, tortillas, or sourdough bread. The rice had no noticeable changes. Nothing was heavily infested with bugs. The canned veg were all fine. Canned tomato paste, not so much. UHT milk? Ugg. You might have been ok eating it, it wasn’t bloated, but it turns to something like tapioca pretty soon after it’s expiration date. Canned meat was all fine too (kirkland chicken mostly.)

Compare and contrast with my storage at home, in my garage. I had much higher ‘breakage’ in the heat and humidity. Cans rusted, and were covered with rat urine. Boxed goods that weren’t in a bag inside the box got stale. Some of the ready to eat meals changed consistency. They didn’t swell, so they probably wouldn’t kill you, but I tossed them. Flavoring packets got hard and stuck together, and often had an ‘old’ smell or taste. In general, if it had fats or dairy in it, it didn’t fare as well, although it all outlasted the ‘best by’ date by a large margin.

We’re still eating peanut butter, katsup, Miracle Whip, and hot sauce from the ebola stacks. The ketchup is a darker color but tastes the same. Miracle Whip too, darker but tastes fine. Mustard isn’t as bright yellow. Peanut butter separated from the oil despite me flipping the jars whenever I noticed. That’s easy to fix with a butter knife and some ‘butter churning’ action when you open the jar. Nutella separates too, but into more than just oil and nuts. It will mix right back though.

Peanut oil lasts a long time past ‘best by’ if it’s in the dark. It’s my go to fat.

I did move all the ebola bulk from bins to buckets over the summer. When I put it in buckets, I used “hot hands” chemical hand and foot warmers to act as oxygen absorbers. When they worked, the buckets dented in a little bit. If I had ‘cool and dry’ here at the house, I probably would have left them in the bins and original packaging, but I put a lot of it under my covered patio, up against the house, and I figured I needed to give the buckets the best possible chance of staying good.

Now that I’ve mentally transitioned to living like this as ‘normal’, and prepping for whatever is coming next, it’s time to move a lot of the bulk back to offsite storage. I’ll move the newest stuff there and keep the old ebola stacks close by.

One last observation- with a lot of stuff, I left it in the original packaging even though it went into a bucket. I could fit more if I dumped it in, but having some additional separation makes sense if the bucket is breached or you have a bug problem, then it’s not automatically contaminating the entire bucket contents. Three bags of pasta might still be sealed, while the fourth got eaten before you noticed the problem. I’ve also made a few buckets with different stuff in them, like one bag sugar, two bags flour, some yeast packets, a carton of salt, and a bag of cornmeal. Might be a pint or two of peanut oil in there too. I didn’t worry too much about the ratios. Water and any of that in any proportion would work fine in a real disaster. People are a lot less picky when they’re hungry.


Anyone else made the transition from “we’re living in a pandemic, I’m using my preps” to “this is what life looks like now, time to get ready for what’s next”?

Anyone really use their stacks? (besides TP and PPEs)

Think about what you’ve got stacked, and stack some more…


Sun. Dec. 19, 2021 – whew, getting chilly

Cooler to cold, damp to wet. It’s all a matter of degrees. After the rain yesterday the temperature dropped 20F and the wind picked up. 52F, damp and windy, feels pretty darn cold here in Houston. Today should be pretty cool too.

I did some pickups, mainly to meet with the auctioneers. I got a squishy commitment to take some more of my stuff to the local auction where I did very well. Then I went by my secondary, moved a couple of things around, unloaded some stuff from my truck, and came home.

Dinner was leftover crock pot carnitas, but with bread and veg, instead of tortillas and rice and beans. Worked pretty well. Pork shoulder is cheap, $1.79/pound and even less when on sale. You can prep on a budget, even putting away protein, if you shop carefully, and eat the food poor people traditionally eat.

I guess I moved enough stuff out of the house because my wife put the tree in the stand, and set it up in the “play room”/ library. There is a truckload of stuff in the foyer now, but I’ll deal with some of that today if the weather is clear. It was too wet to decorate, so we’ll do that today. Some of the other inside decor went up, and the house smells like the tree. It’s beginning to feel like Christmas to me.

Peter over at BayouRenaissanceMan has been reminding people about inflation, food shortages, and the need to build up pantries. Some commentors sound like they’re in good shape. Peter suggests people get to 30 days of food. I think that’s a great start but you better have a whole bunch more, if only to supplement whatever you can find, if things go further pear shaped. And y’all know I think they will. If the situation with fertilizer shortages causes changes in plantings, and subsequently reduces the food available next season, prices will go up further. Scarcity will increase too and this comes on the heels of the floods and reduced harvests of a couple years ago. Stockpiles are reduced already. Everyone eats, so food insecurity is a very destabilizing thing. Make sure you have options and choices. I was thinking yesterday about the government cheese of my youth. I loved that stuff and would love to have a couple of those giant bricks in my stacks. I suspect that there are a lot fewer warehouses full of .gov stockpiles than there were in the 80s…

Desperate people do desperate things. Plan ahead and prep so you don’t have to.

Stack it up.


Sun. Dec. 5, 2021 – maybe I can do some outdoor stuff

Possible rain. Yesterday was overcast most of the day and then we got a rip roaring gully washer around 4:30 or 5pm. Really came down. Nice and clear air when it was all done though. Killed any thoughts of a second trip to storage though.

I did get one load out of the toy room and foyer. One more today and then maybe tree shopping. I’ll let you all know how that goes.

Turns out that I have some stuff in another local auction. The lady who I did the pokemon cards, and collectible toys through finally relisted stuff that either went unsold, the buyer didn’t pay for, or didn’t make it into the previous auction. I’m hopeful for a good sale.

On ebay I got a low offer for some books, but I did sell a dvd today. At least that proves ebay is showing my stuff to people. They have always penalized me in the past for putting my store on vacation hold. I better get some more stuff listed and take advantage of it.

And I need to put out a whole bunch more rat poison…

I bought all that was in the store last time. That is definitely something to stack…

Stack what you use all the time. Stack stuff you only use infrequently but couldn’t substitute. Stack stuff you put off buying until you need it. Get spares for critical stuff.

If you see it, buy it. Stack it high.


Sun. Nov. 28, 2021 – to sleep, perchance to dream

Another overcast day with misty light rain? We’ll see. That’s what Saturday ended up being. Kinda cool too. Never got more than a misty drizzle, barely got the concrete wet.

I ended up watering the citrus in pots. One of the trees had all the leaves curled and faded, just like it got too cold. I didn’t think we got that cold here while I was away. It’s HARD to keep citrus alive in Houston.

I am going to get 3 more grapefruits from the other tree in a pot. Hooray for me. The collards are growing again, and the tomatoes continue to fruit. The tomato thing is weird. No way should we be getting fruits at this point. My wife likes it though, so hooray again.

I might hit the small HEB grocery later today. I let fresh stuff run way down because we were out of town, and I’d overbought. Our usage patterns have changed. We aren’t drinking anywhere near the milk we were. No cereal for breakfast either. And we are drinking more other stuff like soda, and I don’t like sharing with the kids 🙂

Keep in mind that your use may change too. Part of “store what you use, use what you store” is adapting to those changes. Unfortunately, you may end up with more in storage than you will use. UNLESS the “event” comes. At that point, you’ll be glad to have it, no matter what “it” is.

But in normal times, yeah, it’ll be a bummer to have two extra cases of oatmeal (or 10) if you no longer want to eat oatmeal. There is some risk in stacking it high… On the other hand, you don’t know when you’ll need it until you need it. Better to have it than not.

Speaking of eating, while others may not be, RBT’s advice was to go to the food disto center anyway, so that no one wondered why you were able to skip it. Reading the Mandibles, wherein an economic collapse happens to the US and the titular family, I’m re-energized to top up my food stores. Most scenarios will have you still existing in the community, so it might be worth having some clothes that are a size or two too big. Why? So you can look thinner than you are at a glance. The baggy shirt I’m wearing as I write this catches my eye every time I walk past the mirror. It HANGS. I look terrible. Which could come in handy. There are other reasons to have clothing bigger than your normal size, like hiding weapons or armor under it. Or if things are bad, layering for warmth. The bigger clothes let you get an extra layer or two. There might end up being really good reasons why a female might want to wear very baggy clothes, or a child might want to bulk up a bit. I’m sure your imagination can fill in the blanks.

I hope it’s all just intellectual wanking, doom pron, but I look around and the trajectory doesn’t seem to be headed toward “better”. Sarah Hoyt thinks it will be short but really bad, and then we’ll prevail. I’m not so certain. I think we’ll drift ever worse for a long time, until change has to happen, then things will get better. There’s a lot of ruin in a country, and in society too. Alcoholics and addicts usually have to come pretty close to rock bottom to change. Societies too.

So stack it up. Plan your garden. Practice your skills. Teach your children well.


Wed. Oct. 20, 2021 – so much to do

Another cool and not rainy day. I was going to write “dry” but it’s humid enough that the word ‘dry’ just doesn’t fit. Although with the cooler temps, the humidity is less of an issue. And it still got scalp-scorchingly hot in the mid afternoon when the sun came out.

I actually did a lot of stuff yesterday, but because it was bracketed by chauffeuring daughter 1 around, it felt like an unproductive day. Orthodontist, vet, client, pickup, drop off, school, home, cooking something new, relax, crash, wake…

After all the worrisome behaviour, by bed time puppy Zeus was back to his normal activity level. Still not as eager to eat as usual though, and will be getting extra observation.

Solved my client’s immediate maintenance issue, but further confirmed that we’re not ready for his ‘rip and replace’ upgrade. That is going to have to move up my priority list.

And I need to kick out some more work on my industrial ‘pallet’ auction. I can’t wait too long or I’ll be in the dip between Thanksgiving and February when sales dry up for everything not Christmas related. I missed my window and it sucks because now I’m trying to fit it along side everything else.

Time management skills, I’m lacking them this month.

But what else can you do but keep on plugging away? That’s the secret ingredient for success in most things- keep showing up, keep doing the work.

It’s true for disaster preparedness too. Steady consistent progress, or equally valid, periodic repeated surges of activity, either one will advance you toward your goals.

So keep stacking. Friends, skills, stuff. You’ll need all three and more when the revolution comes.


Mon. Oct. 4, 2021 – nose to grindstone

Hot and humid. Rain later. Maybe. For some people. It got pretty hot yesterday despite being somewhat cloudy and overcast for part of the day. It was so humid I had sweat rolling down my back at 6pm in the shade, standing still and cleaning my shelves. Oh yeah it was humid.

Has some back issues in the morning so I took it easy. Then I decided to finish cutting the grass (battery died with about 10 x 10 ft left.) Did that. Wanted to get set up for craft time with daughter two and that triggered the rest of the day’s work.

Which I detailed yesterday in the comments. Mostly it was a cautionary tale about food storage and expired puffy cans. CHECK YOUR STACKS. Time and heat are the enemy. Stuff just isn’t lasting as long as it should. WELL past best by date, but still I expect more. I will probably do some more work on cleanup and replacing stuff on the shelves today, depending on weather.

The rest of the day I’m hoping to get to my storage unit to load some stuff up, and drop it off. And to get some stuff done on my daughter’s projects would be nice. Stuff is slipping.

I’ve got to fit in a Costco run too.

This week is short and busy, with the school theater pickup tomorrow, and going to WDW at the end of the week, and I’m hoping for the ransomware delayed auction pickups to actually happen too. Days are FULL.

And time is short. China is flexing on Taiwan. Bad things will happen to the US and world economy if China moves on them. Violence and division here at home are ramping up too. Keep your eyes open and your head on a swivel.

Check your preps. Fill your gaps. Fix what’s broken. And stack it high.


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— Harold Combs — welfare check — haven’t heard from you since you talked about going walkabout….
Let us know how it’s going…..

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