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The term “at the twelfth hour” is often used to describe something or someone that is late. But in Month Twelve of 12 Months of Prepping, nothing could be further from the truth. More to the point, if you have been following along the Backdoor Survival series on 12 Months of Prepping, One Month at a Time, you have already taken major steps toward becoming self-sufficient if a natural disaster or other disruptive event should strike in your neighborhood or within your family group.
As we enter in to our twelfth month of prepping, we are going to take a look back at two of our critical areas of sustenance, namely food and water. And if you are just getting started? Well, let’s chat for a moment about why we are taking this staged approach to getting prepared.
Listening to the main stream media, FEMA, our government and even the ads from your local hardware and warehouse club stores, you will see that “preparedness” has become the common buzz word. The follow-on is that the term “Prepper” is also in the mainstream and has been used extensively to denote ordinary folks who want to survive and thrive in even the most chaotic of circumstances.
While being prepared and being a Prepper is not a bad thing, it is alarming to see what appears to be an overwhelming pressure to do it all now, to spend a ton of money, and to buy a bunch of stuff without consideration for what you need, how much, and why.
For many, the pressure is so great that there is a tendency to do nothing. And therein lies the problem. Doing nothing, if you really care about self-reliance, should not be an option. On the other hand, for many, excess cash to spend on preps is hard to come by these days.
It has been my hope that in these twelve months, you have been able to take reasonable care to acquire what you need at a pace you can afford and also, that you have acquired skills that will carry you forward for a long time to come. This has not happened all at once but rather at a reasonable and sustainable pace.
This is not to say that you are done. There are additional supplies and gear to acquire and an infinite number of skills to learn and embrace. Pioneer skills, for example. Old-time pioneer skills may never be needed but if the grid were to go down for an extended period (cyber attack, anyone?), having such skills to use ourselves or to barter will be priceless.
What I am trying to say, and perhaps not well, is that if you are just getting started, there is no reason to become discouraged. It is never too late to start.
And with that, let us jump right in to Month Twelve in Twelve Months of Prepping.
MONTH 12 SUPPLIES & GEAR:
- Expand your food supply
- Purchase some comfort foods & condiments
- Heavy work gloves
Most months I have been quite specific in specifying food to add to your emergency food supply. Now that you have some prepper experience under your belt, I encourage you to look over your existing food stores and think about how you want to both add-to and expand-upon the supplies you already have.
There are three ways you can go:
- Pick out those items that you want more of as a practical matter (beans, rice, canned goods)
- Purchase comfort foods such as candies and cookies
- Purchase a variety of condiments or add-in’s
Condiments Add Variety and Interest to “Survival” Food
My favorite addition to an existing emergency food supply is a variety of condiments and what I like to call add-in’s or enhancers. These are herbs, spices, sauces, and other items that are added to basic foodstuffs to enhance and change their flavor. The great thing about condiments is that when used in reasonable amounts, they are inexpensive. A little bit of any one condiment can go a long way plus, with a bit of mix and match, you can create infinite variety to otherwise boring meals.
Note: That is not to say that survival staples such as beans, rice, oatmeal, and pasta are boring. It is simply that consuming the same meals day in an day out can be tiresome and may result in food fatigue just when the calories are most needed.
My favorites? In no particular order (and I will limit this list to 10 items) are:
- Chicken, beef, or vegetable bouillon
- Canned salsa
- Canned pasta sauce
- Tabasco, Sriracha Chili Sauce, or other hot and spicy sauce
- Chili powder
- Salt and pepper
- Honey or other sweetener
- Soy Sauce
- Dried chopped or powdered onions
Your list may differ but at least these choices will give you some ideas for coming up with your own list.
Protecting Hands and Arms is Important, Too
The other purchase this month is some heavy duty work gloves. Following a disaster, you will likely need to clear debris and rubble and perhaps chop some wood for the fireplace or outdoor stove. Likewise, if the power goes out, you may need to start a fire to meet your cooking and heating needs.
Without gloves, you run the risk of incurring cuts, scrapes, and even burns on your hands and arms. Protect your hands and arms with a good set of work gloves.
These are inexpensive welding gloves
An inexpensive option that simply works is welding gloves. Welding gloves are thick and durable plus they are designed to put up with heat and abuse. Other options are leather garden gloves (frequently on sale during the spring and summer months) and of course, standard work gloves available from your local hardware store.
One other thing. It would be wise to pick up work gloves in various sizes that fit the hands of all of your family members. This is something that a lot of folks tend to overlook when purchasing multi-packs. It might make more sense to purchase work gloves individually and in a variety of sizes, even though you will save money with a multi-pack.
MONTH 12 TASKS:
- Check your water supply and rotate if necessary
- Check over your stored food and rotate if necessary
- Learn to cook dry beans
Depending on how you stored your water, you may need to rotate the old and replace it with new. This is especially true if you stored water in plastic jugs bottles you prepared yourself. This is not because water goes bad per se, but rather that a repurposed container may have contaminates that over time, will foul the water.
Water storage barrels that have been treated with the proper chemical additives are typically okay for five years or longer.
For most folks, having a 55-gallon water barrel does not preclude also having some do-it-yourself water storage jugs. These DIY water containers can fill the dead space in a freezer to help keep your food cold during a power outage. They can also be stored in hidey holes around the house; anywhere really, where you have some extra storage space.
For more information on water and water storage, read Survival Basics: Water and Water Storage to learn what you need to know to safely store water for the long term. There is also a wealth of information available in the series Emergency Water for Preppers: The Four Part Series.
As with stored water, there are some food items that for one reason or another, should be rotated out, used now, and replaced with fresh stock. For example, let us say that due to your particular home environment, the temperature in your food storage area is on the warm side, say 75 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Or let us say that your food is stored in an area where the temperature fluctuates wildly from one season to another.
For maximum shelf life, food needs to be stored in a cool dark place at an even temperature. As a practical matter, that is sometimes not possible, especially if you store items in a garage or within the confines of an apartment. There are six enemies of food storage so if you are not familiar with them, read Survival Basics: The Six Enemies of Food Storage to come up to speed on the do’s and don’ts of food storage.
Although it is important, do not become overly stressed by the food rotation process. Instead, look things over and if you feel some of the less protected items need to be used now and replaced with fresh, do so. Just remember to mark the dates on newly purchased items so that a year from now, you can do the same. And if you are lucky enough to have stored your food in a cool, dry area? Think about adding to your food stores as suggested in the supplies and gear section above or in the article 20 Items to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan.
Eat and Cook What You Store
As a side note, do you know how to cook the food items you have stored? This would be a good time to think about cooking with these items now so you learn how to use them in a survival or post-disaster situation. A good start is with the article Respect for the Lowly Pinto Bean where you can get your feet wet creating a delicious meal of beans and rice.
The Final Word
You might be asking “what comes next?”. I have had numerous requests to continue on with “Year Two of Prepping” and indeed, am considering expansion of the series along with creating a workbook with charts, checklists, and expanded resources and information.
For now, the best answer I can give you relative to what happens next is this: go back and review the monthly articles and fill in any gaps you may have in your gear and supplies. In addition, start adding to your survival library and begin to acquire additional skills that will help you survive when things go cattywampus.
Finally, do not give in to fear and paranoia. Take your time, do your research and make well thought-out and educated decisions as you make you way down the path of preparedness. Always know that you can come back and visit one of the many articles in the Backdoor Survival archives and further, if you have a question or something to share, leave a comment is the section below each article. Both myself and other readers are always willing to lend a helping hand.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Below you will find the items related to Month Twelve of Prepping. For more great items, visit the Backdoor Survival Gift Guide which not only includes gift items, but also items that belong in every Prepper’s emergency kit.
US Forge 400 Welding Gloves Lined Leather: These well-priced gloves provide complete heat and burn protection. They are made of soft and supple top grain leather for comfort and pliability, plus they have an internal liner gives more comfort and durability.
Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets: Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets make questionable water bacteriologically suitable to drink. Easy to use and the water is ready to drink in 30 minutes. One 50 tablet bottle treats 25 quarts of water.
Sriracha Chili Sauce: You might be surprised at the prices for grocery items. I often find staples, including condiments, less expensive online than at our local grocery store. With free shipping and no gas expense, it may make sense to do some comparison shopping.
Prepare Your Family for Survival: How to Be Ready for Any Emergency or Disaster Situation: This book will teach you the basics of water and food storage – where to start and what to work toward – as well as 72-hour kits and evacuation plans. This book includes numerous helpful guides to follow not only before an emergency, but during an emergency as well. Read my review:11 Ways to Prepare Your Family for Survival.
LifeStraw Family Water Purifier: The LifeStraw Family contains no chemicals, no batteries and no moving parts to wear out. It features a a high flow rate and is the perfect solution to your portable water purification needs – whether bugging in or bugging out. As of this writing, shipping is free.
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter: The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultra light personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out. It weighs only 2oz. making it perfect for the prepper. For more information, see my LifeStraw review.
Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage: This modestly priced book is about food: What to store, how to store it and best practices. It is a roadmap for showing ordinary citizens that long-term food storage is not something that will overwhelm or burden the family budget. I wrote this book and am proud of it. The eBook print version is available.
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