Show Me Your Friends and I’ll Show You Your Future

I have a close friend who is about 10 years older than I am.  I’ll use the name Jim to protect his privacy.  Jim has had a struggle most of his married life.  One business failure after another, having to move about every other year as well as dealing with parents and sibling deaths and personal failing health.

Jim has had a very tough life and as a result, he’s struggled with his attitude.  You could always count on Jim to have a bad attitude about something.  Granted, he had plenty going on in his life that would put just about anyone in a bad mood, nevertheless, Jim had developed it into a real art.

Now I’ve always prided myself in being a very positive person.  I laugh a lot and make plenty of jokes and people often ask me wondering how I can always be so happy.  If someone asks me how I’m doing, my response is always “Great!”  I’ve always felt it was a true gift from God that I was blessed with a strong positive attitude.

Whenever I was with Jim, I would make a conscious effort to encourage him to be more positive – primarily through my example rather than preaching to him.  I hoped that if I continued to show Jim how to be positive regardless of any external influences or conditions, his life and attitude would improve.

I believe I made some small measure of progress with Jim but it seemed as if his bad attitude was so deeply seeded that my efforts simply weren’t sufficient to make any meaningful difference.  I believe the primary reason for this was his desire.  I don’t believe Jim really had a desire to change.  He had become comfortable with his poor attitude and simply didn’t have any real motivation to modify it.

As a result, I found myself starting to avoid regular association with Jim.  It was simply wearing me out, constantly trying to help Jim with his attitude.  If someone doesn’t want to change, you’re just wasting your time and energy trying to force them to do so.

I had a discussion about a similar subject with my grandson a couple of weeks ago.  An issue came up regarding a friend of his who had started doing things that had the potential of creating real problems.  This friend was making choices that could lead to decisions that would negatively impact his future and the consequences of his actions could be severe.

The natural tendency, due to their friendship, was to continue hanging out with him and trying to be a good example and positively influence him.  Unfortunately, that is seldom how the scenario plays out.  Once again, it’s all a factor of the desire one has.

Let’s look at a hypothetical example of how such a relationship usually plays out.  Let’s assume there are two individuals, Kelley and Sammy.  They are close friends and have grown up playing and spending a lot of time together.  In Kelley’s teen years, Kelley begins to make decisions that lead down a path of disobedience and experimentation that could have life-long consequences.  Breaking the law becomes an exciting adventure and lying to parents is a regular occurrence.

Sammy sees what is happening and knows Kelley’s decisions will lead to pain and regret so Sammy decides to continue spending time with Kelley in an attempt to sway Kelley back to the right path through Sammy’s good example.  So how does this usually play out?  Does Kelley forsake the bad behavior as a result of Sammy’s good example or does Sammy eventually join  and follow Kelley’s bad example?

The unfortunate facts show that it is far more likely for Sammy to eventually follow Kelley’s bad example than for Kelley to follow Sammy’s good example.  So why is this the case?

First, if Kelley does not have a desire to change, there will be an ongoing and increasing frequency of making bad decisions.  As Kelley and Sammy spend time together, Sammy will be under constant pressure to join Kelley in a variety of bad decisions.  In an attempt to persuade Kelley to make better choices, Sammy will have to constantly battle with Kelley in a friendly way.

Sooner or later, Sammy will begin to tire of the ongoing battles and will often unwittingly begin to give in.  Initially it will be with just small things but over time, accepting and embracing bad behavior will become more comfortable for Sammy until both Kelley and Sammy are making similar bad choices.

So what’s the solution?  A phrase comes to mind, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”  In other words, one must make the conscious decision to choose the type of friends that will inspire, uplift and motivate one to become better.  It’s like learning to be a good tennis player.  If you want to become a better player, you must play those that are better than you.  You will never become a better player by always playing those who are worse than you.

Spending less time with previous good friends is not an easy decision.  I so enjoyed my friendship with Jim but had to make the hard decision to distance myself from the negativism that can poison one’s attitude.

So what does all this have to do with preparedness?  There are many out there who think preppers and crazy fanatics and that it’s a foolish waste of time and money to prepared with food storage and emergency preparedness items.  If you are convinced that being prepared for difficult times ahead is the right thing for you and your family, you will need to distance yourself from the “nay sayers”.

Align yourself with like-minded individuals who will encourage you and support your efforts to become better prepared.  There are far too many negative people in the world and luckily, in most cases we have the freedom to spend time with them or not.  Don’t let the negative ones destroy your positive attitude because you felt an obligation to try and convert them.  They need to come to the decision to prepare on their own.

Meanwhile, continue to be a good example with a positive attitude and those who are ready will be attracted to your light and want to follow your lead.

Is Patience Really a Virtue?

I took my family to the cemetery of July 4th.  Now I know what you’re thinking – this guy has mixed up the holidays confusing Memorial Day with Independence Day.  Well, you’re kind of right.  You see, my father was born on July 4th so we have a tradition to visit his grave site on his birthday.  My dad served in the US Army and fought in Korea.  He always loved a parade, loved patriotic music and would get emotional about our freedoms and the flag.

So we arrived early in the morning and spread out a blanket and told stories about my mom and dad as we played patriotic music and had muffins and juice.  It’s a wonderful tradition and one we look forward to every year.

The cemetery is 170 years old and encompasses 250 acres.  There are over 120,000 persons buried there.  Needless to say, this cemetery is huge and covered with trees with rolling hills.

After our little morningside, we wanted to try and locate some of the gravestones of the early pioneers and church and civic leaders.  Due to the holiday, the sexton’s office was closed where they have a map so we relied on good old Google to find the grave sites.

I was once again amazed on how you can locate and learn just about anything through Google but I was also reminded just how impatient we’ve become in having access to a world full of information.  I became slightly irritated on a couple of occasions when after my “OK Google” command and following question, I did not receive an instantaneous answer.  What an imposition!  I had asked a question and had expected an immediate answer.

We have become so spoiled over the recent years with ever-increasing instant access to anything we want to know, we have lost the attribute of patience.  Remember the saying, “patience is a virtue”?  Most of us today don’t seem to be interested in that virtue.  “I want what I want now!” is more of what we see, hear and feel.

This lack of patience has kind of crept up on most of us.  Bit by bit as technology has improved and our lives in general have been benefited, our personalities have changed into creatures that in many cases need to detox from technology and just slow down and get back to the basics.

I have sensed a lot of stress (and felt some myself) when it comes to preparing and acquiring sufficient food storage for one’s family.  “We’ve got to get it all now before it’s too late”, seems to be the feeling many folks have.  Setting the appropriate pace and taking things in stride will definitely make the preparedness journey far more manageable.

I came across a wonderful article entitled “Feel Disconnected? Try Slowing Down” by Charlotte Larcabal that I want to share with you.  It addresses this issue perfectly.

“I love waiting,” said no one ever. But maybe they should.

If you rank standing in long lines right up there with spiders and snakes on your list of personal nightmares, you’re not alone.

Whether we’re standing in line, sitting in traffic, or watching for the bus, we hate waiting.

Luckily for us, wait times are truly becoming the stuff of nightmares: a dreaded possibility but not a daily reality. We live in the age of zero wait times. Technology is speeding everything up so much that we have shorter attention spans than goldfish (yes, really).  When the need to wait does arise, we try to fill our time—usually by turning to a mobile device.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with technology or efficiency, but a rapid pace and constant distractions might be keeping us from something more important.

More Than a Quippy Scripture

Not long ago, I was feeling spiritually adrift. I couldn’t understand it. I was going to church, rattling off prayers, and glancing at my scriptures. I occasionally felt spiritual promptings, but overall, I felt somewhat disconnected.

As I told Heavenly Father this in an anxious prayer, these words came to mind: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

It was as if the word still was highlighted, underlined, and in bold type.

I may have been doing all the right things, but I was doing them at high speeds and with shallow focus. I had adopted a distracted approach to living the gospel.

No religious practice could bring me deep spiritual connection if my participation was cursory and distracted. It was much more than a quippy scripture. To come to know God and to connect with the divine, permeating knowledge I was craving, I needed to slow down and be still.

Heeding that prompting wasn’t easy. But it made all the difference.

Now, Slow Down There …

The scriptures teach that those who “diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”

Let’s break it down: Learning the mysteries of God requires diligently seeking. It’s a consistent and intentional practice, not a onetime google. Next, the mysteries don’t pop up; they gradually unfold. This process takes time. And that time is critical! The time we take to ponder and seek gives us time to connect to the Spirit, by whose power answers come.

A prophet declared that meditation—“deep, continued reflection on some religious theme”—is “one of the … most sacred doors through which we pass into the presence of the Lord.”  By slowing down, we can open a door to revelation. We can transcend the world’s pervasive ideals and connect with the divine. We need that door. We need to slow down.

It Takes Effort

For me, slowing down meant kneeling and speaking out loud as I prayed. The reverent posture and my own audible words helped me focus better. Slowing down meant studying from physical scriptures and taking physical notes. It takes more effort and time, and that increased effort and time is a good way to “awake and arouse your faculties,” thus allowing the Spirit and the desire for truth to “work in you” and that seed of testimony to “get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit”.

We can find almost any information with a few keystrokes, but spiritual understanding and conversion require time and diligent effort. How you slow down and devote effort to the gospel isn’t important, just that you do! When we are spoon-fed information, we eliminate much of our personal participation in our own learning. We eliminate chances to connect with the Spirit.

We can certainly embrace the technology and advances that make daily tasks easier and enable us to use our time more efficiently. But we can’t afford to adopt the distracted living and shallow thinking that so often come with it. Instead of dreading the need to wait, we can embrace it as an opportunity to slow down, meditate, and deepen our connection with the Spirit.


Beat the Heat

I came across an article from James Woods of CNN that addressed the issue of summer being hot.  I kept waiting for some real news but nope, the report was simply stating that summer is hot.  I thought, is this some new revelation to these folks at CNN?  If so, I can’t wait for the follow up story in six months stating that winter is cold.

I had to laugh when I saw this Batman cartoon.

I guess this really speaks to the fact that more and more people are losing touch with reality.  Milk comes from the grocery store, not real cows. It’s not possible to communicate with others without the use of an electronic device.  And the weather never really changes cause it’s always comfortable indoors.  News flash – if you go outside once in a while, you’ll notice the weather actually changes.

This is really concerning to me because the world around us is in the process of changing, and not for the better.  It will become more and more important for individuals to learn how to be self-reliant through actually dealing with real-world scenarios.

I know individuals who have no idea how to even check the oil level in their vehicles and others who would starve if they had to bake a loaf of bread.  There are those who throw things away just because they don’t know how to fix them when a simple turn of a screw or a new battery would make the item work like new.  Unfortunately, we’re turning into a pathetic, pampered, totally dependent group of people that will be the first to die when things get tough.

So, how do I really feel – discouraged and sad.  Mostly sad because there will be so much unnecessary suffering.  Not that hard times won’t affect us all, but those who spend just a little more time developing their survival skills rather than numbing their minds with countless hours of social media, computer games and Netflix, will have a much greater chance of not only surviving difficult times, but thriving.

Now back to the CNN article – yes, heat can be a real problem, especially for the elderly and those who have life threatening medical conditions.  Humidity is another potentially dangerous factor that can totally sap your energy and make it almost impossible to function outdoors.

I live in a dry, arid climate where temperatures of 90 or 100 degrees don’t create any real hazards or concerns.  But if one were to add 80% or 90% humidity to those temperatures, being outdoors could be very challenging if not life threatening to those who are especially sensitive.  Take a look at this heat index to see how humidity affects temperature danger levels.

So if the grid goes down, what should we do?  How can we keep the temperatures down in our homes or how can we shield ourselves from the heat if we’re forced to spend most of the day outdoors?

In many states where humidity is high, it usually not only gets hot in the summer but really hot, and humid. Going outside is like entering a sauna. Many who live in these states work outside while others may work in large metal buildings with no air-conditioning.

Nevertheless, it’s surprising how few cases of hyperthermia are treated as a result.  A big reason is they work yearlong in these conditions. The seasons change gradually, and their bodies adapt. Even then, when it gets in the high nineties, their bodies need help. The smart ones have learned the tricks on how to survive the heat.

How You Adapt to the Heat: Sweat, Blood and Oxygen

Our bodies adapt to the heat in several ways:

●   We sweat more. Sweat evaporating from skin is a great cooling mechanism. To survive the heat our bodies double their sweat production and start sweating at a lower temperature.

●   Our sweat starts containing less salt, so there’s less depletion.

●   Our heart becomes more efficient, pumping more blood per beat. That blood circulates from our core to our skin surface for cooling.

●   Our cells use oxygen more efficiently. Our metabolism slows, and so does the heat it produces.

These body adaptations are called heat acclimatization, and it takes a week or two.  So a sudden heat wave can catch our bodies by surprise. Enter the tricks on how to survive.

How to Survive the Heat If You’re Not Adapted

If you work outside:

1)   Drink a couple glasses of water, juice, or sports drinks per hour because dehydration makes hyperthermia worse. Heavy laborers need as much as a quart or two per hour. It doesn’t have to be ice cold. In fact, that can cause stomach spasms. If it’s water only, add a teaspoon of salt to the first couple of quarts per day. Limit your caffeine, sugary drinks, and alcohol, as they actually dehydrate you worse. And caveat: If your doctor has suggested limiting your amount of fluids or salt, get his or her advice on what to do.

2)   Do the heavy work before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.

3)   Take frequent breaks in the shade. Fan a little.

4)   Wear loose, breathable clothes.

5)   If you’re going to be in the sun a lot, don’t forget frequent suntan lotion, and consider a wide-brim hat.

If you’re inside with no air-conditioning:

1)   Open windows and use a fan. Good air ventilation is essential.

2)   But remember, when the heat gets in the high nineties, fans may make you feel more comfortable but cannot cool off your body temperature. Also, a high humidity can make it difficult for the sweat to evaporate. This can be especially dangerous for people whose bodies don’t adapt as well anyway, like elderly people, kids younger than four, and people with a chronic illness or who are being physically active.

3)   What does work is a cool midday shower, bath, or sponging.

4)   It’d be great if you could visit an air-conditioned facility (mall, senior center, adult day-care) during the hottest part of the day.

5)   Check on your at-risk family, friends, neighbors twice a day. Make sure they’re drinking fluids and look okay.

Know the warning signs

Heat stroke victims usually don’t recognize their own symptoms. Their survival therefore depends on their co-workers, family or friend’s abilities to detect symptoms and seek first aid and medical help immediately. While the symptoms vary from person to person, they include dry, hot skin (due to failure to sweat) or profuse sweating, a very high body temperature (often exceeding 105 F), hallucinations, confusion, seizures and complete or partial loss of consciousness.

Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, thirst, nausea, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, and elevated body temperature. Heat exhaustion can quickly progress to heat stroke.

How to Deal with a Mice Infestation

Walt Disney chose a mouse to be the quintessential icon of his empire.  This mouse has become the most recognized and beloved vermin in the history of the world – yes, Mickey Mouse.  Why did he choose a mouse?  I guess when it comes right down to it, a mouse is actually a fairly cute, none-threatening creature.  If fact, many have made pets of them.

In fact, a member of the mouse family – the pack rat, looks more like Mickey Mouse that a regular mouse.  The pack rat is a little larger than a mouse and has big round ears just like Mickey.  Unfortunately, I’ve had far too much experience with both mice and pack rats.

Our rustic cabin in the mountains has been the home of countless numbers of mice and pack rats over the years.  In spite of every attempt we’ve made to put out poison and plug the holes to make the cabin as mice free as possible, those little buggers are able to find their way in.

I must admit, there were times these little critters provided some entertainment in the form of sheer terror for the females in our family.  This usually happened in the middle of the night when you could feel the mice running over your sleeping bag or hear them climbing the walls and scampering across the floor.

I’ve been wakened in the night to the sounds of wrenches, toys and baby bottles being dragged across the floor by pack rats as they tried desperately to stow away their new found treasures.  They loved to collect all kinds of items for their nests.  I guess these critters felt that the cabin was really their domain and we were just occasional visitors.  They may have been trying to let us know the cabin was their turf and we should hit the road.

We had one very disturbing experience with the mice at our cabin.  Our water system was fed from a mountain spring through 2” black PVC flex tubing that supplied a total of nine cabins.  Our cabin is at the end of the road and is the last one connected to the water.

The owners of the cabin just up the road from us decided to try and make a parking space for their vehicles close to the road.  In the process, the tractor they were using tore up and severed the water line leading to our cabin.  When we arrived that weekend, needless to say, we were just a little upset as we had no water.

After a fair amount of time trying to do a quick and dirty repair job so we’d have water, I opened the valve pressurizing the plumbing in our cabin.  As we’ve all experienced when we turn on a faucet after the water has been turned off at our homes, it sputters and coughs blowing air with short blasts of water before the line is completely filled with pressurized water.

As I opened the cabin’s kitchen faucet, it sputtered and coughed followed by a blast of blood, guts and mouse fur!  Yes, a mouse!  Apparently, a few mice had decided it would be a fun adventure to climb inside the severed water line.  When I reattached and pressurized the line, they were in for the ride of their lives – literally!

Well, you can imagine how my wife felt about using any water from the cabin ever again and it took quite a bit of effort to clean out all the faucets in the kitchen and bathroom and then sanitize the line.  Bottom line – regardless of how cute Mickey may be, his family can destroy our food storage and create havoc in our lives.

I thought it might be helpful to discuss the issue of mice infestation and how to naturally get rid of these critters.  Here is an article that addresses this issue fairly well:

How To Get Rid Of Mice Infestation Naturally

On the homestead, you will often have chickens, food storage, or a garden. That’s what most of us do, anyway, right? It makes the homestead, “The Homestead”. Unfortunately, chicken feed laying around, compost bins with leftover chicken scraps, garden produce growing, and food storage containers can also attract another common aspect on the homestead.

Mice. A mice infestation is not the definition of fun. Truly. Having just 2 mice can mean many more in just a short time. Chemical baits are not always the best option, as they may poison the owls that would eat the mice.

Some signs of mice infestation:

●  Cereal boxes or bread bags chewed through
●  Kitchen towels are shredded (pulling threads to build a nest)
●  Mouse droppings on the floor, in drawers, or near food storage
●  Hearing scurrying in the walls

How many mice are considered an infestation? For most of us, it only takes ONE to become an infestation. Fortunately, there ARE natural ways to get rid of mice. Unfortunately, having cats isn’t always the answer. My cats like to bring LIVE mice into the house and release them. This must provide entertainment for them, watching them scurry as I scream, but I digress. So, I went to my readers and asked for their help. Here are the best ideas for getting rid of a mice infestation.

First and foremost, what you need to do when you discover you have a mice infestation:

●  Keep all food covered and stored in hard plastic containers. They can easily chew through bread bags, ziploc bags, and cereal boxes. Remove these items to hard storage containers, or store in the refrigerator.
●  Keep dishes and food crumbs cleaned up. Mice can be attracted to even small bits of leftovers.
●  Remove inside pet food dishes at night, and store that food in a hard plastic container. Nothing says “free buffet” like a dog or cat dish full of food.
●  Be sure to keep outside animals’ feed cleaned up and stored in plastic containers. We use 55 gallon sized garbage pails with tight fitting lids for this.
●  Close up any holes you can see under sinks or in walls if you can. Add some steel wool pads to the hole if possible, since they are unable to chew through that to get back in your house from that space. This is especially important if you don’t have a finished basement or a slab foundation. Any hole you can fit your thumb into is big enough for a mouse to climb through.

How To Get Rid Of Mice Infestation

Method #1 Use snap traps with peanut butter or cheese loaded in there. Snap traps are the kind you “set” and are spring loaded. The mouse climbs onto the trap, pulls at the food, and the spring goes off, snapping a metal bar across their neck or body. The mouse is usually killed instantly by this. The trick to this is to have the food near the spring so the mouse can’t get the food out and still escape. (yes, they have done that) Traps also need to be placed in direct line of where the mice scurry across the floor. Place them along the wall, since they do not usually deviate from their path.

Method #2 Use a 5 gallon bucket. Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of water. Take a paper sack and cut the top a little (inch or two) larger than the top. Lay it over the top opening, fold excess over the edge and tape it down. Making sure it’s pulled tight. Then take an Razer knife and put a cross or x in the paper. Spread a little bit of peanut butter on the center. When they walk to the center to get the peanut butter they fall into the bucket and drown.

Method #3 Peppermint leaves, or peppermint essential oil. Mice are repelled by the scent of peppermint, so laying some peppermint leaves on their path, or soaking a couple cotton balls in peppermint essential oil and laying those on the path will help keep them at bay. Of course, they may also encourage the mice to gain another path, so make sure you cover up their entry holes before you try this.

Method #4 Use Moth balls around the house. Fill the holes mice would climb in with moth balls to help repel them. Laying some around the outside doors may help as well.

Method #5 Chickens are excellent mousers. Chickens can sometimes be better mousers than cats are. If possible, let your chickens free range where you see mice outside and they will often catch them.

Remember, have mice loose in your preps can destroy hundreds if not thousands of dollars of food storage.  Mickey really doesn’t care if your preps are ruined so get aggressive and let him know who’s boss.


“The World Owes Us a Living”

I remember as a young boy waking up early on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons on TV.  It was a magical time for kids of my age where we could be swept away into an exciting and entertaining world of animation while our parents enjoyed a relaxed morning knowing the kids would be glued to the TV for a couple of hours.

The type of cartoons we watched were certainly different that what’s available 24/7 today on cable TV.  I’m honestly quite appalled at what is being fed to our kids today by way of so-called cartoons.  Sure, many of the cartoons of our day had a significant amount of violence (I still love to watch Wiley Coyote and the Roadrunner although I always wondered why Wiley had the money to purchase everything imaginable from the ACME company in an effort to catch the roadrunner but yet never spent any of his money on food), but the cartoons of today are often devoid of moral principles, the law of the harvest and consequences of our choices.

I happened to come across a couple of classic cartoons from yester-year that had such great messages, I thought I’d share them with you.  The first one is titled “The Wise Little Hen”.  The lesson of the law of the harvest is taught quite clearly here.  What you sow, so shall you reap.  The government isn’t going to step in and give you what you haven’t earned.  Boy, things have really changed!

The next cartoon deals with a similar situation in “The Grasshopper and the Ants”.  The grasshopper doesn’t feel a need to prepare for the winter when food will be scarce and just dances around playing his violin singing “the world owes us a living”.  Meanwhile, the ants are hard at work preparing for difficult times ahead.

The Bible tells us that there are times when those who have chosen not to repent or prepare are left to suffer the consequences rather than be saved as the grasshopper was.  The story of Noah and his ark is one such instance.  Those who listened to the counsel of the prophet, which had been given for several hundred years, to prepare by boarding the ark were saved. Those who didn’t listen to the counsel of the living prophet and didn’t board the ark died. The lesson is very brutal and hard. There are, however a few interesting points to be presented.

Noah was a just and and obedient man in his generation and he, along with his three sons, walked with God. Noah’s daughters, who had married wicked husbands, did not heed their father’s counsel and died along with the other wicked. How hard it must have been for Noah and his wife and sons to not extend mercy to their family members, especially when it started to rain. The question might be asked, “why didn’t they open the doors of the ark and let them in, or perhaps others in”? The answer is because the Lord wouldn’t let them.

The Lord had foreseen the problem and had taken care of it by taking it out of the hands of Noah. We read that the Lord shut the door or shut Noah and his family into the ark. “And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.” Genesis 7:16

I am sure that when the rain started and the floods started coming up that there were a lot of people who were suddenly very repentant and asked to be let into the ark. Could you imagine what it sounded like for those inside the ark to hear the screams, pleas and pounding of those, including children, outside of the ark? And yet the Lord in his wisdom did not give Noah the difficult choice of whether to show mercy and open the door and save them also or not. The Lord took Noah out of the decision making process on the issue. Instead we find that the Lord suffered them to receive the just consequences (death by drowning) of their non-action to heed the counsel of preparedness.

Of course the important lesson of Noah’s Ark is applied to us specifically by a prophet of God concerning following the prophets counsel regarding food storage. “The Revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah.”

So the decision is ours.  The Lord will not force us to be obedient and follow the council to provide for our families both today and in future times of need.  We can choose to be like the grasshopper, thinking the Lord will provide without our needing to do anything on our part.  Or we can be like the ants that know and understand through common sense that throughout history, there have been times of war, famine, drought or economic collapse and these possibilities will continue to try the wisdom and obedience of us all.

Oil and Fats – More Valuable than Gold

On March 4, 2018, I posted a blog about a boy growing up in war-torn Germany, how he survived and what he learned.  Here is a quote from that blog:

“Hans made an interesting observation at the end of his story.  He related how there were a number of industrious individuals who were somehow able to establish access to certain food items that were made available to survivors for a price.  Paper money had no value and was not used but precious metals including jewelry, wedding rings or any form of gold or silver was used to purchase these food items.  The most valuable commodity of all was food itself and the most valuable food item was “fat” as Hans put it.  In other words, the richest individuals during that time where those who had some supply of oil, lard or some type of fat.  This was highly sought after for the energy, calories and flavor it added to the limited supply of bread or basic grains that could found.”

War-Torn Germany – How Did This Boy Survive?

If we choose to learn from the experiences of others, it would make sense to do the research and make the investment of acquiring additional oils and fats for our food storage.  This can be a tricky business since many oils have a relatively short shelf life.  I must admit, over the years I’ve thrown away over 40 gallons of oil because I didn’t rotate it or store it properly.  I’m hoping with the information in this blog I can help you better prepare through not only storing extra oil and fats in your food storage plan but preserving it for a longer shelf-life.

Oils and fats have different shelf-lives depending on the type of oil and storage conditions. Under normal storage conditions, your oil will last from a few months to three years or more. Sealed, canned shortening powder will last three to five years but does not perform the same as regular oils. You can extend these storage times with a few tricks outlined below.

What Causes Spoilage?

Oils and fats are vulnerable to the usual causes of food spoilage: microorganisms, oxidation, heat, light, pests, and time. For properly stored oils and fats, oxidation is the most common cause of rancidity, aided by time, temperature, humidity and light. How to assist in protecting your oils and fats from all of these causes will be discussed in this article.

How Long Does Oil Keep?

Unopened oils keep longer in the refrigerator or freezer.  Once opened, moisture can become a factor so keep oils and fats in the pantry after opening.  Moisture in the oil can shorten its shelf life as much or even more than the cooler temperature preserves it.  If a cool, dry place is available, such as a basement or cellar, that would be a preferred location for storing opened oils.

Shelf Life of Common Oils and Fats

Flavored oils, such as chili oil, truffle oil, and garlic oil, spoil faster than pure oils, so it is best to store oils in their natural state and flavor them as needed or store only enough flavored oil for short-term use.

Extending Shelf Life – Protecting Oils and Fats from Microorganisms and Pests

Exposure to microorganisms and pests will spoil your fats quickly, so care should be taken to protect oils from these problems. Microorganisms are not usually a problem if you store the oils in a clean environment, properly sealed or covered. Microorganism growth is faster in a warm environment and slowed or stopped by cold temperatures. If you do suspect contamination for any reason, throw it out. Oils spoiled by microorganisms may not exhibit any signs of spoilage but can cause illness.

Pests are more of a problem with oils and fats. If you see any signs of rodents, such as signs of chewing or infiltration, consider the oil or fat spoiled and use it for non-food purposes such as making candles.

To prevent problems with microorganisms and pests, store your oil in clean, dry, thick plastic buckets or metal cans. Metal is best for preventing rodents.

Protecting Oil and Fats from Oxidation, Humidity, Heat, and Light

Oxidation is caused by exposure to air and is accelerated by heat and light. Storing your oils and fats properly slows oxidation.

Preventing Oxidation:

Store oils and fats sealed, vacuum packed, or flooded with nitrogen to exclude air
Keep them in a dry, dark location
Refrigerate or freeze them unopened
Add an antioxidant when appropriate
Date and rotate your supplies

If you cannot vacuum pack your oil or flood it with nitrogen, another way to exclude air is to completely fill the bottle before sealing it. Choose a glass bottle or jar and fill it to the rim. Clean the rim and seal the jar. Check your fill by turning the bottle upside down to observe the size of the air bubble. Ideally, you want no air, but a tiny bubble may be the best you can get, depending on the bottle. Adding an antioxidant before sealing gives you additional protection.

Using an Antioxidant

Antioxidants will prolong the life of your oils by blocking the free radicals that cause oxidation. They won’t prevent oxidation completely, but they will slow it down considerably. One option is adding rosemary essential oil to your oils after opening. Other antioxidant oils include oil of oregano, sage oil, and Vitamin E.

To reduce oxidation, you only need a small amount of antioxidant oil, between .05 to 1 percent. Approximately 3 drops to 2 teaspoons of antioxidant oil per quart of oil. The larger amount is ideal and offers the best protection, but it also adds flavor to the oil. Adding 3 drops or more of rosemary oil per quart gives you a reasonable amount of antioxidant protection without noticeably affecting the flavor.

You may want to consider using antioxidant oils when transferring oils into smaller containers to increase the shelf life of the opened oil.

How to Tell if Oil is Rancid or Spoiled

Oils and fats are usually labeled with a “Best Used By” date rather than an expiration date. Stored under normal pantry conditions, your oil should last beyond this date. However, by following these recommendations, you should be able to extend this storage time considerably.

As oil ages, it changes in color, clarity, and texture. These are the beginning signs of spoilage, but the oil may still be usable. When the oil is rancid, you will notice an unpleasant taste and smell. At this point, consider it spoiled. It won’t make you sick, but it does lose its healthy properties and may become unhealthy over time. It doesn’t taste good either, so you are better off not using it. It might still be useful for purposes other than cooking or eating.

How to Store Fats to Extend the Shelf Life

The best way to store fats and oils is in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. For normal storage, this means in a pantry, away from the stove or other heat sources. You can increase your storage time considerably by storing oil and fats in the refrigerator or freezer if you have the room. They will probably become cloudy and solidify, but this is normal and not a sign of spoilage. Remove them to room temperature for an hour or more before use, and they will return to their liquid state.

Storing large Quantities of Oils and Fats

To get the best prices on oils and fats, purchase them in large containers. However, when you are ready to use them, consider transferring amounts to small containers since the oil spoils faster once opened. Always rotate your oils and fats to keep from wasting your investment. Plan on re-packing the oil or fat immediately after opening.  Pack the oil or lard tightly into a canning jar and cover it with a warm, dry lid. Then I vacuum seal it to remove the air. Before vacuum sealing, you can also add an antioxidant oil as listed above to prolong the shelf-life.

There is no question adding extra oil to your food storage will require more vigilance in your rotation plans but as time has proven, it will be more than worth it when the times comes you are forced to reply on your food storage.

Watch and Be Ready

It seems like seldom does a week go by when there is not some form of natural disaster affecting the lives of countless thousands of people somewhere in the world.  It’s happening so frequently nowadays that it seems we’re getting used to such events and they don’t seem to instill the same level of emotions or fear and concern, unless you’re one of those who are directly affected.

As I viewed several videos of the Kilauea Volcano and the resulting earthquakes on the Big Island of Hawaii today, I couldn’t help but think about the awesome power of Mother Nature and her ability to change landscapes and lives within moments.  I also read articles and watched videos detailing the eruption of the Fuego Volcano in Guatemala where more than 100 lives have been lost so far and in some spots, a mixture of gasses and volcanic matter reached 1,300 degrees totally devastating everything in its path.

It’s so very sad to see people’s lives and futures destroyed in this manner and it becomes very evident just how puny and insignificant man is in trying to control the elements.  Mother Nature will do what she wants, when and where she wants regardless of our planning and desires.

My mind then shifted to the scriptures where we were warned in the last days these types of natural disasters would occur in greater frequency.  Matthew chapter 24 in the New Testament spells out quite a few signs of the times and specific occurrences we should be watching for.

6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

The Lord goes on to tell us to be ever mindful of the signs of the times and by so doing, we might be better prepared to provide for ourselves as well as our neighbors when he states, “Watch, therefore, that ye may be ready.”

Watching so we’ll be ready certainly makes sense to me but I’ve found the Lord’s timetable isn’t necessarily the same as mine.  I must admit, watching can sometimes be wearing.  In fact, it’s easy to become impatient and just wish for things to accelerate.  I mean, if the Bible tells us things are going to get worse before they get better, let’s get it over with.  Sometimes I feel like I’m watching a train wreck in slow motion – things are definitely getting more trying but life just seems to keep going, regardless.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not promoting Armageddon to take place tomorrow.  I do indeed enjoy my current lifestyle and time with my family.  If I could wave my magic wand, I would want things to stay as they are and not continue to go downhill.  So I try and enjoy each day for what it is realizing it’s as good as it will ever be today.

So how do we balance enjoying the moment and “watching” so that we’ll be ready?  I do believe it’s a delicate balance.  There will always be those who take it to the extreme on one side or the other.  Most of us know those who insist on keeping their head in the sand and ignore all warning signs and move forward each day as if the conditions of their lives will never take a downward turn.  These are those who often scoff at the idea of food storage or preparing for difficult times ahead and tend to view those who do choose to prepare and fanatics who have gone off the deep end.

Then there are those who take prepping to the extreme.  Every moment of every day seems to be focused on preparing mentally and physically for the end of the world.  It’s difficult to interact with these folks socially because even casual conversations seem to be diverted to a discussion on some type of preparedness and the pending doom and gloom of events that will change the world as we know it.  One would think that constantly focusing on the potential negative of the world would give one major ulcers!

As I reflect on the Lord’s counsel to “Watch, therefore, that ye may be ready”, I can’t help but think of the saying, “A watched pot never boils.”  Yes, if we’re watching so intently that we never take our eye off the “preparedness ball” so to speak, things will have a tendency to drag out and we will waste our time worrying and being concerned.  Watching does not mean focusing on nothing else but preparedness, but it does mean keeping it on our to-do list.  Be prudent – put first things first in your life.  Keep your family relations, your spiritual well-being, your health and finances strong so you’ll be far better prepared in every regard to not only help and bless the lives of your loved ones but those around you as well.

So yes, the threat of war, natural disasters, economic concerns and a myriad of other potential life altering events will continue to increase in frequency and intensity and will be totally out of our control.  Our decision is to take control of those things we can influence and become better people.  We have to opportunity to become a true asset in helping and blessing the lives of others in times of need rather than a liability.  So please, continue to watch and be ready as you live your life to the fullest.

Will Your Garden Survive a Drought?

Planting a survival garden requires you to foresee and prepare for a number of possible scenarios that could kill your plants and leave you without a source of food. One of the most dreaded of these scenarios is an extended drought. Many plants are unable to survive more than a few days without water.  In a survival scenario where no rain is falling, providing water to them can be a real struggle.

While it’s important to devise a plan for watering your plants during a drought, it’s also beneficial to have plants that you can rely on to survive drought when the weather turns hot and water is scarce. The plants listed below are all able to survive without water longer than the average plant and can handle the heat quite well. If you live in a part of the country where drought is a possibility (which is most of the country), consider including these plants in your survival garden.

Once the plant has been established, eggplants are able to survive droughts better than most vegetables. Eggplants are a heat-loving plant and won’t begin to wilt until daytime temperatures exceed 95 degrees for an extended period of time. Eggplants will also still set fruit in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees so long as they have some moisture and nutrients.

Fig trees need ample sun in order to thrive, but they aren’t particularly picky about the soil they grow in or the high temperatures they’re exposed to. Come time to harvest, fig trees will yield a bounty of sweet, sticky fruit.

It’s recommended that you water figs every five days during the summer months in order to yield the biggest fruit, which isn’t a lot, especially considering that figs are able to survive and yield fruit with even less water. Add to that the fact that fig trees love the heat and are easy to care for, and you’ve got a plant that is well worth considering as part of your drought-preparedness strategy.

In addition to having some heat of their own, peppers handle heat and droughts quite well. It doesn’t particularly matter what variety of pepper that you plant, as most all peppers are fairly drought-resistant. Larger peppers such as bell peppers will naturally provide more sustenance, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with mixing up your pepper plants for more variety – provided, of course, that you can handle the heat yourself!

Oriental Persimmons
If you’ve ever had the misfortune of tasting a wild persimmon that isn’t quite ripe, just the name persimmon alone might put a bitter taste in your mouth. However, the flavorful oriental persimmons have little in common with their wild-growing namesake.

Oriental persimmon trees produce tomato-sized fruit that is fairly firm and sweet. What makes oriental persimmon trees drought-resistant is the nature of the tree’s root system. Most fruit trees have roots that are shallow and branch out. Oriental persimmon trees, however, have a tap root that goes deep into the ground, allowing the tree to collect water even when all the water near the surface of the soil has dried up and other trees are struggling.

Sweet Potatoes
Most varieties of potatoes don’t do well in hot climates and instead prefer cooler soil. This is not the case with sweet potatoes, however, as they do quite well when the weather turns hot. Like any other variety of potato, sweet potatoes are full of carbs that will keep you full and energized in a survival situation, and they have a high yield relative to the amount of area they take up.

A southern classic, okra is considerably more drought-resistant than most vegetables and does well in hot, summer weather.  Okra pods can be added to soups and stews, grilled, or battered and fried. The last method is the most popular way to cook okra, as any other method leaves okra quite slimy – an off-putting texture for many. Prepared correctly, though, okra makes for a delicious dish that you will be able to enjoy when there’s not enough rain to keep other plants in your garden alive.

Pomegranates have gained a lot of popularity recently among natural health enthusiasts thanks to the fruit’s powerful antioxidant properties. Hailing from the Middle East and the Mediterranean, pomegranate trees are used to the heat and are quite drought-resistant.

Getting the fruit out of a pomegranate’s fleshy outer shell requires a little bit of work. However, the sweet morsels inside are well worth the effort.

Natal Plums
Natal plum trees are among the heartiest of all fruit trees. Not only are the trees drought-resistant, they’re also able to grow in a wide range of soil conditions and climates.

With a wintertime harvest, natal plums won’t provide any food during the drought. However, they’ll be able to survive the drought and provide you with food in the winter that follows.

Simply looking at a carrot and understanding how the plant functions will let you know why carrots are more drought-resistant than most vegetables. The part of the carrot that you eat is the plant’s root, meaning that the carrot is able to extend deep down into the soil and collect water that other plants can’t.

Black Eyed Peas
Like most plants native to the Southwest, black-eyed peas are plenty capable of surviving a drought and hot weather. The peas themselves contain very little moisture, meaning that little water is required to produce them. Combine this with a relatively deep root system and black-eyed peas are plenty capable of producing food when the weather turns hot and the rain stops falling.

Also known as a red date or Chinese date, jujube trees are a drought-resistant fruit tree native to the Chinese mainland. Originally, jujube fruits were quite sour. Over the past few thousand years, though, growers have tweaked the species to produce a fruit that is much sweeter and more enjoyable.

Jujube trees may not be the most well-known fruit tree. However, their resistance to drought and ability to produce fruit in hot climates make them an option worth considering.

Horned Cucumber
As a general rule, most varieties of cucumber are fairly drought resistant, and the horned cucumber is even more drought resistant. This unusual cucumber is quite different from the cucumbers that most people are familiar with, as the fruit it produces is spiny, bright orange, has a jelly-like texture, and is said to taste like a cross between a lime, a cucumber, and a banana.

One of the main sources of sugar aside from sugarcane, beets handle the heat and drought quite well. The deep purple tubers grow and are harvested much like potatoes. If you don’t wish to make processed sugar, though, don’t worry; beets are quite tasty in salads, pickled, or mixed into other dishes.

Given the amount of water in a watermelon, it may come as a surprise that this fruit grows best in long, hot summers and well-drained soil. While watermelon will naturally need some water to produce fruit, you won’t have to worry about the high heat wilting the plant and killing off its fruit.

Malabar Spinach
Ordinary spinach plants don’t do particularly well in a drought. Malabar spinach, however, which grows on a vine and tastes similar to the spinach you’re used to, loves the heat and can survive a drought quite well. Since you’ll have a hard time getting most leafy greens to produce in a drought, Malabar spinach is definitely a green you should consider planting in order to incorporate leafy greens into your diet during a drought.

Most every variety of beans, from bush beans to pole beans and beyond, are able to handle the heat and drought incredibly well. The best part is that you’ve got a lot of options considering all the different varieties of beans that are available, meaning that planting several different types of beans in your garden will add plenty of variety to your drought-time cuisine.

Kei Apples
Kei apple trees originate from southwest Africa, which is enough alone to tell you that this fruit tree is able to handle the heat and drought. The Kei apple tree grows up to thirty feet tall and produces smallish, bright yellow apples.

Kei apple trees are also able to grow in high salinity soil. However, they do prefer the dry air of higher climates, meaning that growing them in a humid climate may prove difficult.

Squash is one of the few vegetables where the hotter the temperature is, the bigger the fruit they produce. This goes for all varieties of squash, both summer squash and winter squash alike.

This fact enables you to plant vegetables with both a summertime and a winter harvest and ensure that they will be able to survive any dry, hot weather that comes along.

What’s Your Level of Preparedness?

I was talking with a friend the other day who was some-what boasting about all the things he’d acquired to provide for his family in the event of some potential disaster in the future.  I must admit, I was pretty impressed with the long list of things he rattled off and the amount of money he said he spent to “get ready”.

I’m one of those that prefers not to say too much about what I’ve put away for a rainy day, especially if I’m talking to someone I don’t know very well.  So when others want to start talking about all their preps, I’m all ears and just listen and ask questions to learn as much as I can about potential areas where I could improve.

My buddy started listing things like his food storage (over a one year supply for his family), water storage and purification systems, first aid, solar panels, wind turbine, a huge amount of split fire wood, 800 lbs. of charcoal briquettes, 200 gallons of propane, and the list just kept going.  I can’t even remember all the things he mentioned.  I would stop him every now and then to get details and clarification on an area where I felt I was a little weak.  It was actually rather entertaining.  It’s almost as if he was about to burst his buttons, he was so proud of his accomplishments and he just couldn’t keep it a secret – he had to tell someone!

I made sure I complimented him several times for his accomplishments (I could sense he really wanted that validation) and asked him what his next step was and if he was going to continue adding to his supplies.  He looked at me kind of funny, almost as if I’d somehow just missed his entire presentation and stated, “Dude, I’m done!  I’m ready!”  It now came more into focus, he felt he had completed his homework assignment and he was now giving his oral report and wanting not only a very high score, but a significant amount of praise.

And you know what, that’s OK.  At least he took the assignment to prepare seriously and did a great job and his best in accomplishing that task. (Just a side note, this guy is pretty well healed financially so he definitely had the where-with-all to get it done in a hurry.)  If it had been a race, he chose the 100 yard dash and sprinted to the finish line.  Unfortunately, for most of us, it’s far more than even a marathon, probably more like an ultra-long distance mountain run similar to the Hardrock 100 Mile Endurance Run in Colorado.  This race has 34,000 feet of ascent!

For most of us it will take time, both to figure out what is the best solution for our family’s needs as well as needing to work within our budgets.  While we’re moving down this preparedness path, it’s helpful on occasion to grade ourselves as to the progress we’re making.  This will assist in possibly providing needed course correction that will help us get to the finish line as quickly as our conditions will allow.

I came across an interesting rating system recently that helps bring the priorities of prepping into focus.  It rates one’s preps into five categories.  Take a look at these questions and grade yourself on how you’re doing by way of preparations and see which category you fit in.

5 Levels of Preparation

Level 0:  Every emergency is a disaster
Less than two weeks of food in the house
No water purification system
No bug-out bag
No defensive weapons
No way to produce their own food
No physical gold or silver
No tangible assets to barter

Level 1:  Can Survive Two Weeks of Minor Emergency
Have sufficient food and water for two weeks of emergency
Able to heat their home for two weeks without relying on the power grid by use of kerosene heater or fireplace
Able to cook their meals for two weeks without relying on the power grid
Has a first aid kit
Likely has no defensive weapons
Must leave their home after two weeks due to lack of preparation

Level 2:  Can Survive One Month of an Emergency
Likely has a portable power generator and sufficient fuel for one month of operation
Has handguns or shotgun to defend their home
Has a month’s worth of food storage
Has sufficient prescription medicines for 30 days
Has enough batteries for powering a portable radio for 30 days

Level 3:  Can Survive Three Months of an Emergency
Has a deep-short term pantry
Likely has a water purification system
Likely has defensive weapon for each family member
Likely has some type of neighborhood safety watch or 24 hour security watch rotation at the home
Has stocked wood to burn in fireplace and/or wood burning stove
Has communication gear to keep track of local and world events
Has means to recharge batteries without relying on power grid
Has three months of prescription medicines

Level 4:  Can Survive One Year of an Emergency
Has a deep short and long-term food pantry
Likely has their own garden to produce food
Likely has small-sized farm animals to produce protein (chickens, goats, rabbits)
Has a deep supply of ammo (2000+ rounds per weapon)
Has a spare weapon in event of damage
Has means to produce herbal medicines to replace prescriptions
Has a long-term store of antibiotics
Likely has dog for security watch
Has full 24 hour rotation of security watch on the home (requires 6 adults)
Should have secondary off-site storage of food, weapons, and ammo
Is ready to bug-out with full hiking and camping gear, if security situation degrades
Is able to educate their children at home

Level 5:  Can Survive Indefinitely from their Home during an multi-year SHTF or TEOTWAWKI situation
Has a fully functioning large garden or small farm for food production
Is able to can and store the results of food harvest for the coming year
Is able to harvest seeds for next year’s planting
Is able to raise multiple generations of farm animals (cattle, sheep, horses)
Has horses for local and distance travel
Has enough ammo to last a generation (10,000+ rounds per weapon)
Has spares of each weapon and lots of extra magazines
Able to generate their own fuel (bio-diesel, alcohol)
Likely has fully functional solar power bank with deep storage batteries
Has natural on-site water sources for farm and home
Has home-based business to generate income
Is able to build new buildings and make any necessary repairs to existing buildings
Is able to provide excess food for charity
Has a secondary residency (such as mountain cabin) for full bug-out
Is prepared for minor surgery and child birth at home
Has stores of gold and silver for barter
Is able to produce their own clothing (from raw wool or raw cotton with spinning wheel and small loom)

I’m fairly certain most of us would prefer not to consider having to live under the conditions of levels four or five.  Many are still struggling with trying to complete the requirements of level one.  My purpose of sharing this information is not to overwhelm or depress you but to possibly assist you in understanding what it really takes to become truly self-reliant and provide for an uncertain future.  Choose the level where you feel most comfortable and work on it as a family and you will experience the peace of mind and sense of security you deserve.

Our Food Supply is Fragile

For as long as I can remember, the availability of food has not been an issue.  If we run out of something, sure it’s an inconvenience but knowing that item can easily be replaced by just running down to the local grocery store makes it really a non-issue.

I believe this is one of the primary issues why most people don’t take the time or make the effort to prepare for the possibility of not being able to go to the grocery store.  The idea seems foreign and unlikely for most.  Surely the government will do whatever it takes to keep food on the shelves, right?

Unfortunately, far too many good people live in a bubble of complacency assuming all is well and life will continue to move forward as it is today.

The fact is, today is as good as it ever will be.  If one believes in the Bible, it’s quite clear that in the last days things are not going to get better.  There will be more wars and rumors of war, more natural disasters, more contention between once friends and even family members.

Or as the Apostle Paul describes in 2Timothy 3:1-5: This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”  Do you see this happening around you or in the government today?  Yes, we are definitely in the last days!

Food Doesn’t Grow on the Shelves

Grocery stores don’t stock weeks of food anymore. Most keep only 72 hours of food on the shelves. They re-stock based on just-in-time delivery of food supplies. If the trucks stop rolling in your part of the country during a crisis, the store shelves will be emptied almost immediately. In fact, expect a shortage of mainstay items like milk and bread to occur similar to what happens before an approaching hurricane hits. Those who are aware of the problem but who haven’t already made preparations will engage in a last-minute rush to buy a few extra supplies.

Transportation is the Key

Without transportation, farmers can’t get their crops to the wholesalers or food processing facilities.  Food is heavy, generally speaking, and it requires trucks and trains to move it around — a literal ARMY of trucks and trains, weaving their way from city to city, optimized and prioritized by computers. If the computers freeze, the whole transportation infrastructure will shut down.

Transportation also depends heavily on fuel, which means the oil-producing countries in the Middle East have to be able to produce the oil that gets refined into diesel fuel here in America.  So, in other words, your food supply depends on Saudi Arabia being alive and well.  Do you trust the people in charge in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and Kuwait with your life?  If you don’t make preparations now, you’re trusting them by default.

Cities Depend Entirely on Rural Land

Did you know cities would be ghost towns without the supporting imports of food from the country?  We should all thank the farmers a little more, because they literally keep us all alive. Cities are like concrete islands. You might think a city is self-sustaining until you really think about it, but underneath it all, that city is a ghost town without the people in the country supporting it.

You may already know that city people and country people have very different views on politics and life in general.  Country people tend to be more religious and more conservative.  City people tend to be more liberal.  So there’s more than a little animosity between country people and city people.

When a crisis hits, and the country people find they are without electricity and fuel, they will still survive, for the most part, because they’re used to surviving.  But do you think they will really put “saving city people” high on their list of priorities?  I don’t think so.  Any food that’s harvested from the fields will be kept and stored by the farmers themselves. They will NOT be shipping this stuff to the cities unless they have excess goods and can find a transportation method that still works (and has fuel).

Unfortunately, if some emergency powers acts are signed into place by the President, the Federal Emergency Management Association will have the legal power to actually confiscate and redistribute food. This makes it all the more likely that farmers will harvest it and HIDE IT in order to keep it.  And that means even less food making it to the cities.  Bottom line? Cities where food can’t be delivered will eventually be gutted, looted, evacuated and likely burned to the ground.

You Need to Start Stocking Food

You can do a lot if you start early. Unfortunately, “early” might have been yesterday. Now we’re way past early, and you need a reasonable plan to get food supplies that will store well and don’t cost too much.

An important aspect of storing food is assuring you store a wide variety of foods to avoid appetite fatigue. There are those who think providing variety in the diet is relatively unimportant and that if and when the time comes they’ll eat what they’ve got and that will be that.  For healthy, well, adjusted adults under ordinary circumstances or for those who have the vital survival mindset this might be possible without too much difficulty.  However, the reason for having a home food storage program in the first place is for when circumstances aren’t ordinary.

Times of crisis produce stress – possibly physical, but always mental.  If you are suddenly forced to eat a diet both alien and monotonous, it is going to add that much more stress on top of what you are already dealing with.  If your planning includes the elderly, young children, and/or infants there is a significant risk they will quit eating or refuse to eat sufficient amounts of the right foods leaving them unable to survive.

This is not a trivial problem and should be given serious consideration.  When it’s wheat, day in and day out, wheat’s going to start becoming unpopular fast. Far better to have a variety of foods on hand to forestall appetite fatigue and, more importantly, to use those storable foods in your everyday diet so that you’ll be accustomed to eating them.

In his book, “Making the Best of Basics”, James Stevens mentions a post-WWII study by Dr. Norman Wright, of the British Food Ministry, which found the people of England and Europe were more likely to reject unfamiliar or distasteful foods during times of stress than under normal conditions.  Consider the positive aspects of adding variety and comfort foods to your storage program.

So please consider the following, unless you are already familiar with a particular type of food, do not put large quantities of it into your pantry.  Sure, there may be great health benefits to eating quinoa or lentils, but most likely your family has not made a habit of eating such grains or legumes.

One of the best ways to overcome this concern is to focus on freeze-dried entrees with real meat you know your family likes.  It just doesn’t make any sense to load up on whole grains and basics when what you really need is more comfort foods you know your family will like and eat.  In addition, the thought of going to the effort of making a meal from whole grains versus just adding water to a freeze-dried meal, especially in times of stress, just doesn’t make sense.

Please take the time now to assure your family has an ample supply of the food they will want to eat and are easy to prepare as well as having an extended shelf life.