Hey guys, I wanted to take a moment to talk about food storage. Our home includes myself, my wife and our two daughters that are elementary school age. We live 10 minutes outside a town of about 200k, we are in the country, but not far. We are basically in a rural residential neighborhood. We have lots of family close by, most within a 10 minute drive, some even within a 10 minute walk.
So we need to establish some goals.
Where do we live? Who lives with us? If we have to leave, how far would we need to go to be with our tribe?
What scenarios are most likely?
I am not new to this, when our first daughter was born, I spent about $1000 on mountain house in #10 cans online before we got out of the hospital. Holding that little baby in my arms flipped a ‘serious’ switch. I have built on that stash ever since. And don’t get me wrong, bolstering the pantry is great, but it’s important to know where you are at. Don’t want to be super heavy on proteins with nothing to stretch them. Adding food to the stores hasn’t been a problem. We even invested in a freeze dryer unit last year so we can freeze dry our excess eggs, but I am terrible at inventorying our stores. That’s about to change.
Life has been terribly busy the last 5 years. My responsibilities at work have grown and we bought a house that we did a large addition and remodel on. That took multiple years of late nights after work and weekends to accomplish. Things are finally getting to the point I can start squaring this stuff away better. No, I am not a real farmer, not even a real hobby farmer, nor a true homesteader, but working towards those goals. I did some quick math this weekend and we have enough rice and beans to eat it twice a day, for 4 months. That’s 1/4 cup servings of pre-cooked dry goods. My kids would get tired of that real quick, but it’s nice to know that it is there.
Short term goals is putting away some salt for long term storage and I would like to have 100 dozen eggs freeze dried before the end of the year.
Let’s talk about water real quick. Since we have a well, water storage is not as large a priority, but I do have 100 gallons stowed currently and some more drums to clean out bringing me up to 220 gallons stowed total. I also have a bathtub liner that will hold about 70 gallons. Going by the 3 gallons per day per person, I’d like to have about 360 gallons for our family. That’s a comfortable month without having to really worry about water. I also need to look into a manual back up pump. We have generators and fuel stored, but hard to say how long that will really last. My storage drums can easily be converted to rain water collection barrels, I need to get some flexible down spout material on hand to do that. Watering the garden will be a concern.
Things that you can do right now: add to your pantry. Buy twice as much of things you use everyday. Pastas, canned goods that you actually eat, cook oils that you actually use, salt, spices, peanut butter, whatever it is. Buy some extra on every trip, and rotate through. Make it a habit to replenish the pantry before your out of anything. To me, it’s far more likely that I need to keep the family comfortable for a few months in an event like we faced in March/April 2020 when the stores were running out of food vs an all out grid down situation.
Cooking fuels: we have a wood stove insert in our fire place and we can cook a little on it. We have a few different propane grills and I have several cylinders. I would like to get more equipment to more easily cook over an open fire. There is a lot I can do with my Dutch oven, but there are things that could make life easier.
I don’t plan on leaving my home. I have places we can go should that be necessary, but it’s more defensible than other places. We have most of what we need, we have good neighbors. We are going to continue working on food storage. My extended family is all fairly sensible about this stuff, so I am fortunate there. If I were living in an apartment with just my wife, I probably wouldn’t keep any long term storage except for maybe some mountain house meals, and have a fairly well stocked pantry.
Anyone have any tips or perspectives they would like to share with the group?