Prepping the self-sufficient way wasn’t always my idea of the way to get prepared. When I started out on this journey, I was left with the feeling that if I didn’t have a Costco membership and a room full of guns I’d never be able to be prepared enough to handle any large-scale disaster. This would have been a huge undertaking for me. There are 9 of us, we are a very large family by today’s standards, so for my family to keep stock of everything that is on all these preparedness lists, well, we’d have no living space and all we’d have is storage space.
With only about 40% of people in America being prepared for emergencies, that means that about 60% aren’t even considering the possibility that something could happen on a large-scale. Many families across America only have enough food in their homes to make it about a week. They believe that if anything would happen on a larger scale that the grocery stores would be stocked within a few days and the Government would come in and supply them what they need in the meantime. But with events like Katrina, we know that the grocery stores will not be stocked in just a few days and the Government, well, they are lacking tremendously in this area.
If I thought in terms of the modern-day Prepper, I’d be spending a lot of money on my food storage and preparedness supplies. I’d need to purchase or build a warehouse on my property to store everything that I would need in the event of a large-scale disaster. We are taught to have approximately one year’s worth of water and food stored up for long-term emergencies and although I agree with this, I don’t believe running to our wholesale membership club and purchasing nothing but #10 cans of veggies and soups is the way to ensure that my family is going to be fed long-term.
When thinking in terms of survival, we go by the three’s. We can go 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. The question is, how can we ensure that we have enough water, food and medicine for the long-term and do it self-sufficiently?
Prepping The Self-Sufficient Way
The general rule of thumb for water storage is, three gallons per day, per person for drinking, cleaning, cooking. Well, in my case, that would be 27 gallons of water per day. If I wanted to store enough for a year, well, that just isn’t going to happen. Even a family of four would need to keep approximately 12 gallons of water per day stored and I personally do not know any families who could possibly store that much water. There are not many of us who have the room to store that much water. And then we are also left with the question, what happens when the water runs out?
It really would be more logical to learn your area, see if there are any streams, ponds, lakes or rivers near your home. Learn how to gather and purify the water you find. Sure, it’s okay to have a few gallons lying around in the event of a short-term emergency, like if the power goes out due to a storm, but for long-term storage, learning how to do it on your own is a better option. If you have the storage space and it’s legal in your area, you can always consider a rain-catchment system. There is no need to be running to the store to purchase gallons upon gallons of water. You aren’t going to find a grocery store or a tap running with fresh clean water if things should ever go south. Learning how to find, purify and store water is a much better option.
Growing your own food
Learning how to grow your own food is optimal. Even if you live in a small space, you can still container garden on a balcony or in your driveway. You don’t need a homestead or farm to grow your own food and although you may not be able to grow all of it, some, is always better than none. By learning how to grow your own food, it puts you in a position that you don’t have to worry if the can goods do run out. You won’t have to worry about anyone taking a run into town for food, you’ll be able to grow your own and you’ll be able to rely on yourself.
By shopping with companies like Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, you’ll be able to purchase non-gmo seeds that will produce seeds for you for a life-time. They are also able to be kept for up to 10 years, provided they are stored properly.
The amount of preservatives and chemicals that are found in the food in our grocery store’s is phenomenal. It always floors me whenever I read a can of veggies at the store and find that there is more in that can than just veggies and water. The whole thing kinda gives me the heebie jeebies. Thinking that so many chemicals need to be added to fruits and veggies so they stay fresh longer, well that just changes the nutritional value of whatever it is your eating and not for the better, plus, you really don’t know what you are putting in your body.
Home food preservation has been around as long as humans have been. I can remember my nana, she was always prepared for emergencies and she was certain to put enough food up for herself and her family for at least the winter. Her cabinets were lined with rows of home-canned spaghetti sauce, fresh peaches, strawberry jam, homemade sauerkraut and so many other items I couldn’t list them all. But, there are so many ways to preserve your own food without being subjected to all those chemicals, drying, home-canning, pickling, salting, freezing, curing, and smoking are just a few ways.
Unless you are lucky enough to have a medical professional in your preparedness community, you are going to need some alternatives if you should get sick if things should ever go sour. Many preparedness websites suggest stock piling antibiotics or fish antibiotics (which both expire), but just like canned food from the grocery store, it will eventually run out. A better option is to take the funds you would invest in fish antibiotics and put them in to learning about the medicinal uses of herbs. Herbs aren’t just used to make your meals taste better, they have so many different medicinal properties to them and they are so much better for you than man-made products. I know from personal experience that garlic is excellent for ear-infections, cloves will stop the pain of a toothache in a heart beat and ginger is the best at healing any stomach issues I might be having.
Don’t get me wrong here, I am a huge Second Amendment supporter and yes I do believe that if you want to own a small arsenal, that is perfectly okay. But….you need to have a backup plan. There will be no gun or bullet manufacturers if things go south. How will you get new bullets? Well, now would be a good time to learn how to reload. My dad had his own den in the basement that I wasn’t really allowed in. He’d sit in there for hours at a time and make his own bullets. This was a skill he passed along to my brother and one I wish he would have passed along to me. If you know how to make and reload bullets, then it won’t matter if there are no stores to go buy more, you’ll be able to do it yourself. You’ll increase your chances of staying protected and you’ll also increase your chances of hunting for your meat. It would also be a really good idea to learn how to make your own arrows for bow hunting. This was another skill that I remember watching my dad do. He would set up a table in the living room, turn on the TV and sit with my brother for hours making their own arrows for bow season. My father is now 70 years old and bow hunting is his favorite way to hunt.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have a lot of money to be more prepared. You don’t need a Costco or Sam’s Club membership and you don’t need to own a warehouse to store it all in. All you need to do is go back to the basics and start doing things on your own. Personally, I prepare because I know the Government isn’t going to help me or my loved ones, if things go south, grocery stores are going to be empty and closed and there aren’t going to be doctors hanging around to take care of one of my children if they get pneumonia. Why should I depend on them now to fulfill my needs when I can do this myself and for a fraction of the cost. If we’re going to prepare to live a self-sufficient lifestyle, then we should be doing it self-sufficiently.