The world’s weather is in turmoil.
Odd, dangerous, and deadly weather is in the news everyday it seems. When the weather is consistently severe the food supply becomes tighter. Dangerous weather makes it difficult to successfully grow and harvest food crops. If you are a farmer you know this all too well. If you are not a farmer you see the reality of it in the grocery store.
Food prices are higher. The cost of food, noticeably beef, has been on the steady increase for some time. Drought, late frost, hurricanes, monsoons, and tornadoes are all impacting your ability to buy food.
Is war with China and Russia on the horizon?
The US is unhappy with China’s military ambition. China questions US intentions in Asia. The United States’ ongoing shift from the Atlantic to the Pacific reflects the concern felt by the powerful that China’s enormous influence must be countered. History shows that the US likes to respond to problems militarily rather than diplomatically.
America and Europe make no attempt to hide their desire to see Assad overthrown in Syria. But those pesky Russians keep getting in the way. They have repeatedly blocked efforts in the UN to punish Syria. Now the Russians have sent advanced anti aircraft missiles to Syria to help them defend against the kind of attacks the West launched against Libya. The Russians are even sending MIG fighters to Syria. The US and Europe are less than pleased.
Will the tension between the United States, Russia, and China lead to war? Some say World War III has already begun.
You are not worth as much as you were.
According to a recent article Americans have lost 55% of their wealth since the beginning of the recession. The economy is in shambles. Low wages, a glaring lack of available full time work, and the ongoing recession make life miserable for the10.4 million Americans who live in poverty. If you are waiting for things to get better you should know that investor and author Jim Rogers is predicting global depression. Rogers has a history of getting it right.
What are you doing to protect your family?
Dangerous weather, war, uncertainty, and failing economies are all problems that we must deal with in the here and now. They are frightening and unpleasant to think about. Maybe that is why so many don’t think about them. Maybe that is why so many people, so many families are frankly unprepared for the difficulties that can come to us without warning.
If the grocery stores closed, (or were mobbed) what would you eat? What would your kids eat?
If the water treatment plant was taken off line by a powerful storm, what would you do for clean water?
As the wired weather continues, crops fail, and food prices steadily climb how will you mitigate food inflation?
As the economic problems we face continue to grow what will you do to hang on to your savings?
A food supply:
Do you have a food supply? If you do then you likely already understand that you have a store of wealth and a wall of security that can feed you and your family during the hardest of hard times.
When I was a boy I enjoyed the blessing of having two grandfathers who loved me and wanted to pass on their experience to me so that I could learn from it.
When they talked – I listened.
During the Great Depression their circumstances where very different. One of my grandfathers lived on a farm. The other lived in town.
As the effects of the depression made themselves known my grandfather’s father, a furniture maker, lost his job. Work was impossible to find. He became ill and his family suffered. I remember my grandfather’s stories. He told me he never got in trouble for skipping school because his mother knew that if he was not in school that there would be fresh fish on the supper table that night. Food was scarce. Meat was no where to be found. I remember my grandfather often saying, “We called gravy ‘every time,’ because every time we had a little grease we made gravy.”
Life was very hard for my young grandfather and his parents and siblings. They suffered but they survived. Those kids went on to make happy and prosperous lives for themselves.
Obviously they had no idea a depression was coming and were not adequately prepared. Grandad told me that he hoped “none of his family would ever have to suffer through those times again.” He passed on his experience, his story, and a warning. There are modern-day warnings sounding all over for those with ears to hear them.
As for my grandfather who lived on the farm he said, “We were as poor as we could be but we didn’t know it. We ate out of our garden and off the land. We canned and dried everything that came out of our garden for the winter. We sold a little cotton once in a while and twice a year dad went to town and bought or traded for one hundred pounds of flour and fifty pounds of sugar.” The farm provided for their needs. They kept on as they always had. There was little in the way of money or material possessions but there was plenty to eat.
In town when the jobs dried up so did income. When illness struck there wasn’t a safety net of the kind we are now accustomed to. People suffered.
On the farm life continued much as it always had. There was a little cotton to sale. Other than that crops where grown, canned, dried, and eaten. Some hunting occurred. Milk came from the cow. The chickens laid eggs. When the stopped laying eggs they provided Sunday dinner.
Few of us live on the farm anymore. That doesn’t really matter. Most of us have a little bit of lawn that can be planted in food crops. For those of us who do not have a lawn now is the time to learn about container and window gardening. Now, before the real hardships come, before the safety nets fail, is the time to put up a food supply to carry you and your family through the hardest of the hard times.
Here are a few suggestions to help you build your food supply:
2. Grow a garden and learn to can and dehydrate your harvest.
3. Shop the ads for the best bargains, clip coupons, and buy a little extra each time you shop. Then put it up and watch your supplies grow. Forget brand loyalty and stock up on bargains.
4. Store what you eat and eat what you store.
5. Learn to cook the foods you are storing.
6. Utilize a system that will protect your food storage from vermin and the elements. I like mylar bags and five gallon buckets.
7. Don’t talk about your food supply with others. When the hard times come people will be desperate, even good people. Your food supply, (which you may be generous with anyway) will be an inviting target for looters.
Don’t get caught after the storm with nothing to eat only to find the grocery stores closed or wiped out.
All the food in the world will be of little use to you and your family if you do not have access to clean water. It is a very good idea to store clean drinking water. However it is unreasonable to expect to store all you need as it just takes to much space to do so. You will need 1 gallon per person in your household each day for drinking and cooking. For a family of five that is five gallons a day for drinking and cooking. Don’t expect to bathe or wash with only a gallon a day per person. For bathing and washing you will need an additional gallon per person per day. In other words for drinking, cooking, bathing, and washing you will need two gallons of water per day per person. A family of five would require ten gallons a day.
Are you beginning to see the problem? You can bet that any water source you have identified that is not from a spring will be full of nasty surprises.
If you are able to set up a rain barrel, (multiple rain barrels or even a cistern) to catch rain water now is the time to do so.
Now is also the time to learn how to purify your drinking water by boiling it, adding iodine, or bleach.
A quality water filter is a great way to clean the water that comes out of your rain barrel. You should note that water you take from a pool, creek, lake, or river can be filtered and treated for bacteria but taking the dangerous chemicals out of them is much more difficult and that kind of filtration will be out of the reach of most people when the need arises.
When I was first married I lived in a town where the local water supply was compromised by drought. We had water put up in two liter bottles. While our neighbors carried bottles and buckets to the trucks that brought water in each day we managed just fine on our supplies. Understand that I am not boasting – I am really very grateful that we had a little something put by for just such an emergency. In more recent times we have received numerous warnings from our water utility not to drink the tap water without first boiling it.
Clean water is a luxury that most people in the world do not enjoy and one that can disappear with little or no warning. Learn to harvest the rain. Learn to treat what water is available.
Rationing During Wartime:
Most of us did not live during the last World War. There is no longer a collective memory of rationing and sacrifice. However if we find ourselves in a major with with China and/or Russia, it is likely that American’s will learn once again what it means to sacrifice. When sugar, fuel, and luxuries become scarce and rationing is the rule those who thought ahead and put things by for hard times may still have access. Items that are in very limited supply may be used to barter and make life generally more comfortable. They may also make extraordinary gifts to loved ones and those who are struggling.
I wonder if we will ever see ration books again. Oh some of you will say don’t be silly that would all be done digitally – like welfare is done these days. But think about it – if we are at war with Russia/China those systems are unlikely to stand up to the cyber component of the conflict.
It would be much better, I think, to think ahead now and set aside the things you do not wish to do without.
In a world were governments can take your money from the bank with nothing more than a keyboard, as was done recently in Cyprus, it is a good idea to turn some of that digital currency into hard assets.
A food supply is a fine thing but once food becomes difficult to obtain how to you maintain your food supply when it begins to dwindle? How do you preserve some of your purchasing power when the economy is a shambles? What is there to keep your wealth in your hands?
It is a good idea to invest some of your wealth into hard assets that you have control of.
Gold and silver are fine for those with excess funds.
A good food supply, purchased when prices are lower, then eaten when prices are higher creates a hedge against food inflation.
Buy and store seeds now. They may not be available later.
Having tools during difficult times can provide you with the ability to earn money and have things to trade.
The means to cut wood to provide fuel to keep you and your family warm in the winter is particularly rewarding when the wind is biting and the mercury is dropping.
When I was a kid we were, (among other things) wood cutters. My dad believed boys who were working would have little time to get into trouble – he was right! We cut, sold, delivered, and stacked wood year round.
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The right tools can mean the difference in subsistence gardening and having the ability to raise enough produce to sell or trade.
Livestock provide meat, dairy, eggs, wool, skins, and the potential for income.
Having the foresight to dig a well sooner vs. later can provide you with ready water if the tap runs dry.
Sturdy clothes and shoes are difficult to make and nice to have when what you are wearing finally wears out.
A good sewing machine and a little knowledge of its use can provide you with clothing and yet another opportunity to earn an income or barter for what you need.
Owning your own home – however humble it may be, with a garden plot can mean the difference in being homeless or not. That garden plot can mean the difference in being hungry or not.
Canning requires infrastructure. Do not expect to read a book on canning and then being ready to go when things go south. You need jars – lots of jars. You need lids, rings, a hot bath caner, a pressure caner, and various implements. These are things that you cannot can without.
Brass to Tacks:
Many are comfortable with relying on the government. I’m not here to make any judgments. I will say though that the government can only provide a safety net when there are enough people still working to fund it through taxation. When the economic reality of unemployment, recession, famine, war, and crisis fully assert themselves that safety net may simply no longer be possible.
Each family must be prepared to provide for themselves.
When times are hard you need food to eat. You need clean water to drink. It would be nice to have some sturdy clothes and shoes to wear. It is a good idea have skills and tools that will allow you to earn and trade to acquire the things you need.
Depressions happen. Weather happens. War Happens. Famine happens.
When it happens again – will you and your family be prepared?
This article first appeared at Barking Window
Earl Griffin’s site Barking Window presents news that affects us all. Real news. Real issues. You’ll like some of the sources. You’ll hate others. You’ll probably feel the same about the articles. But it’s all here for a reason – to inform. You won’t find partisanship here. You will find news that defies the right/left paradigm. You will find articles critical of government and industry. More still, you will find news here that rails against tyranny – in all its ugly guises. Make Barking Window part of your day, everyday.