Enjoying what you’re doing or prepping without worry

This guest post is by Melody W and entry in our non-fiction writing contest .

We’re relatively new to official prepping. Prior to having a name for trying to get ready for whatever life throws at us next, we thought we just worried too much. It’s so nice to know we aren’t alone in trying to get ready for “Oh my goodness, here it comes again.” I discovered, accidentally, there are whole groups of people who try to get ready for whatever may come next and they made our efforts, in most areas, look really pitiful. That wasn’t hard to do because they were really pitiful.

We discovered a whole world of food storage: nitrogen-packed, freeze-dried, dehydrated, oxygen absorbers, dessicants, and many ways to keep much of the food that I was forever tucking away fresh and safe. The canning skills I learned growing up were suddenly a skill instead of a fading way of life. We finally have uses for the umpteen zillion containers we’d carefully washed and boxed up. We celebrated not being crazy!!

We quickly noticed that in the areas of each of our hobbies and interests we don’t have much prepping to do. There are a few areas that additional purchases were unneeded. Without purchasing extra fabric or supplies I can already clothe most of the people we know for about a decade.

I can also make them quilts, bandages, slings, filter bags, smokehouse bags, etc. with what I have stored. I also have the largest, it seems, collection of camouflage fabric, net, and yarns, owned by a person not in a business. That, of course, is why I’ve been buying all this stuff for years. It was NOT, I repeat not, because I have a problem with fabric stores that could be written up in Psychology Today.

I won’t get into some of husband’s hobbies that have proven to be so very helpful in prepping. I’ll just say that if it requires a tool of some sort, I’m pretty sure he has one even if he does keep a running Wish List of tools. Without tiptoeing into his area, we will also be able to stay very safe.

It’s nice to have one asset group that is increasing in value at this time. The one thing that he has done, and I have been prone to take for granted, is that he can make things, fix things, and work around things better than most people I know.

That has saved us much money in repairs through the years and made it possible for us to do some things we simply could not have afforded otherwise. That is a skill that comes in handy every time we have a disaster of any sort and if the stuff really does HTF, he is a natural resource to our family that we could not survive without.

Prepping has encouraged us to become involved more than ever in each other’s hobbies. My husband is always smilingly available to bail me out of whatever over-ambitious project I’ve embarked up at the time, such as the chicken breasts that were on sale for such a good price, I’ve filled the refrigerator with them. Now we will be canning chicken all night tonight because it is too hot right now to do it during the daytime. Likewise, I’ve become much more interested in his hobby purchases and have been caught looking through the hunting and camping supply catalogs picking things out.

He laughs and says for the first time in 30 years I’m not fussing about him ordering things. Many of the things he’s bought through the years that I have fussed about the most are turning out to be very practical purchases. Some of these things I can vividly remember being rather shrewish about at the time, it is so very hard to admit I was wrong. That’s odd because I never have any trouble admitting when he was wrong, hmmm.

I’ve also been able to indulge my book-buying fetish. I am amassing quite a library of gardening, medical, storage, survival, homesteading, and farming resources. I’ve also got a collection of old time wisdom books that I’ve found many useful pieces of information in. I can now, theoretically at least, raise any kind of garden crop desired in numerous latitudes.

I can do surgery on my kitchen table if someone will hold the book where I can see it; my family avoids the kitchen table a lot lately, I don’t know why. I can supervise the building of a root cellar, bomb shelter, hidey-hole, you name it. I say I can supervise because while I can read and understand all about it, I have the physical coordination and ability to just injure myself mightily. I am sure my husband, like many husbands, is most impressed with any additional supervisory skills I develop.

I can raise and butcher, theoretically again, most kinds of livestock. I haven’t been given the opportunity to develop my livestock skills due to my penchant for turning everything into a pet and my husband’s fear of 20-year-old cows and pigs living on the place. We did have a chicken for a while, she stayed in a rabbit cage in the house at night and in a little yard during the day. We brought her in at night because it was too cool outside. Then in the summer we brought her in during the middle of the day because it was too hot outside. This has fed my husband’s fear of livestock ownership. He keeps muttering about me putting cows in the laundry room on cold nights. He’s wrong, you know, the laundry room’s not nearly big enough, they’d have to stay in the living room…

We are thoroughly enjoying our new lifestyle. We learn something new every day and we are developing many new skills. That is important to do as we age so our minds don’t mildew. I’ve started a notebook for us on how to do/work/operate all of our set-ups. That way we can still function even if we hit a little mildewed spot in our brains as time goes by.
Happy Prepping and Enjoy the Journey!

This contest will end on October 10 2012 – prizes include:

  • First Place : $100 Cash.
  • Second Place : $50 Cash.
  • Third Place : $25 Cash.

Contest ends on October 10 2012.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of TheSurvivalistBlog.net. He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.

Comments

  1. I like positive people and believe there’s a 70/30 shot I’d enjoy having you (Melody) as a neighbor – trust me thats way above the base rate : ). But let me take issue with your article. Prepping should not be just a refocussing of our society’s rampant consumerism and need for entertainment into just another direction. Simply spending, reading, and watching the “survival industry” – it is a money making industry – is not a true path to providing for and protecting yourself and your loved ones. Carefully considering and providing for the base needs of your family (water, food, shelter, medicine) – and then protecting your lives and your life sustaining provisions is serious business. You may be doing things the right way, but it really doesn’t come across in this article. Maybe that is just your style and humor.

    We prepare for times when bad things will happen. VERY BAD things. People you know and care about will be suffering. If it was all just a fun hobby while you were accumulating your preps, and they are never needed I guess thats ok. But keep in mind that if something happens people around you who are not prepared will not find it just delightful that you have 6 months of canned goods on your shelf while their children have had no food for 2 days and are crying. They may demand your help.

    Have you carefully considered to whom and when you will give hand outs? How much you will give? How you will respond to demands or threats?

    Seeing the glass as half full is beneficial and desirable. Seeing the world through rose colored glasses might just be fatal.

    • I think I agree with Steven Harris (http://beforethestormhits.com) whose philosophy is that it’s easier to feed your neighbors than to shoot them. That doesn’t mean I’ll be handing out the freeze dried strawberries, bananas, or apples; however, extra corn, wheat, and rice along with some instructions on preparation will go a long way without going to war.
      He also offers a free family preparedness class at the URL above.

    • JeffintheWest says:

      On the other hand, it’s nice to read an article by someone with a sense of humor and who isn’t completely “ate up” with themselves or their “survivalist philosophy” once in a while. Prepping is serious business; so is war, but some of the best jokes I ever heard were told about ourselves and what we were doing during the First Gulf War…to say nothing of Panama (heck, we’d changed the operation’s name from JUST CAUSE to “JUST BECAUSE” before we even hit the beaches and airfields). The point being that you need to lighten up a bit and enjoy the ride along the way. Melody wrote a good article with a really good dose of self-deprecating humor, and I, for one, appreciate it.

    • Mel in FL says:

      Thank you for your input and your concerns. You are right, from the post I wrote you cannot tell just how seriously we are approaching our prepping. The post was really about being able to enjoy the journey. I learn no more if I am studying, planning, and implementing the three stages/sizes of water storage that we have decided would be best for us if I am unhappy than I would if I am happy.

      My marriage has been blessed mightily by being a solid relationship and we enjoy it and what we are doing. There is much joy in working in harness together. We’ve been married 30 years now, if we don’t enjoy each other and I can offer as a wife nothing but sad seriousness, then it would be more like 50 years in husband-time. I know that some couples are not so blessed in their prepping lives. I feel for them because that has to be so difficult.

      We are seriously prepping, we are seriously planning. We have worked together to develop our plans so we know what our committment to benevolence is, where we draw the line, where our best defensible positions on our land are and where our best fallback positions are. We have developed and are executing our plans for multiple storage places/types of food, water, medicine, defense, etc. If there were to be a fire or some problem with our home, there are other places on our land we have supplies available.

      I just chose for the post I did to share our enjoyment, I didn’t think anyone really was going to get up one morning and say, “Man, what I really want to do today, is read Mel in FL’s entire life plan.” And that’s just as well, because there are some details that I won’t be detailing, it’s just not safe. Thanks for reading.

    • Plant Lady says:

      “Have you carefully considered to whom and when you will give hand outs? How much you will give? How you will respond to demands or threats?”

      Yes, I have and am currently studying Fuedal Societies, Clan Structure and workings, Sharecropping, Tribal Organization, Indenture, Robert Heinlein and other science fiction dealing with the subject and the like…anything dealing with how the “haves” throughout history have dealt with the “have-nots”. What worked, what didn’t and what might work best here. We only have to look back to the French Revolution to see what happens when the balance between the Haves and Have-nots goes awry (as an aside, we are damn close to that point here in the US right now)! I am prepping to be a “Have” and studying social structures so I can arrange a decent, fair, relatively safe society in this area immediately after TSHTF so we don’t slide into total mayhem. Somebody has to do it, and it might as well be me (hehe). That way, I get to choose the type of society I will be living in after TSHTF.

      We have a little land, a goodly amount of knowledge and a lot of equipment that should allow us to survive and maybe even thrive. But I won’t be giving anyone a hand-out…but I may offer the right sort of person a job. We don’t have any kids and it takes a lot of manpower to survive and thrive in a more primitive-type society. We will need gardeners, herdsmen, woodcutters, builders, blacksmiths, ditch diggers, kitchen helpers, dairy helpers, teachers, traders, millers, butchers, security forces, people to care for the children and old folks and all sorts of folks. Luckily, my family has lived in this area for 6 generations on one side and 8 generations on the other, so we are related to the majority and “know” them and their families mindsets. Which families have a culture of hard work and which families work even harder to get onto welfare, disability and SSI. I will be choosing my “serfs” from the former category (hehe).

      And I have thought up what I think is a clever idea to get rid of those who just want handouts…a map to a little cache with food (rice & beans) 10 miles away, with a note inside with directions to the next cache – 10 miles further away (hehe). If they aren’t willing to work, they are unlikely to walk 10 or 20 miles back to my place. I am not willing to support others (since they had the same chance to prepare as I), but I will support them long enough to get them far, far away from here.

  2. What a delightful post! Every married couple should get some chuckles out of it.

    And there’s a second reason to keep your “set-ups” notebook: When our bodies are too feeble to do it ourselves, we can give the next generation all the wisdom they won’t listen to.

    • Mel in FL says:

      That’s a good point. There will quite likely be a good deal of our preps. and equipment left/available when we are no longer here, I’d better label my notebooks better so they next users can pick right up on where the info. is. I may not be able to run them through my “training course.”

  3. Prepping can be fun because instead of wringing your hands and worrying about what’s going on around you (or being in total denial) you are busy doing something. Makes all the difference to me.

    • Yup. And at the end of the day, you can look back on your prepping efforts with a sense of accomplishment. And accomplishing things and generally being useful and doing useful things is, in my opinion, one of the things that humans need (and has been sorely lacking in the newest generations IMHO).

      So be proud of those preps!

  4. Sounds kind of like me experiences in California years ago living in the high desert. Started with a pony and before you knew it we were overrun with animals which the children considered pets and not livestock. Biggest joke was when I bought feed for livestock intended for consumption since it was not taxed as most pet foods were taxed rather heavily and when daughter #3 questioned the purchase since she considered we only had pets. I had to explain the difference between livestock and pets. Her final question was did I intend to eat the pony Bucky. I told her that if I got hungry enough, absolutely. Standing joke from then on was Buckyburgers. Boys happened then and livestock and pets were forgotten and I had to sell them all off.

  5. Melody,

    This is the funniest post I have read on this blog. I can identify with so much that you have said, especially the part about enlisting your dh to help with over ambitious canning projects. LOL I read parts of this post out loud to my dh.

    • Encourager says:

      Oh, Melody! I am still laughing! I agree with Bam Bam. Funniest post yet. I can identify with the material stash. I was told by a very experienced quilter about the unwritten quilter’s law – break it and beware. She stated: “If you ever go into a county you have not been in before, you MUST stop at the first fabric store you see and buy some material. That includes counties in other states…or countries (whatever they call them there). If you do not follow this rule, the next project will be full of trouble. Make the material fairies happy, always!” So I explained this to hubby and HE told me about the old woodworking fairy… boy, have we been in trouble. My husband has yelled going through new towns “CLOSE YOUR EYES – NOW!!!”

      And I wish you were my neighbor, too!!!

      • Mel in FL says:

        I love that, I can certainly identify with keeping the material fairies happy. Finding out about the woodworking fairy explains a lot too… We went on an autumn vacation once in the mountains and two small towns very close to each other were having festivals. The first weekend was a quilt festival in one town, the other had a woodworking and molasses festival the next. Thank goodness we were in a small vehicle or we could have seriously hurt our savings plan that week. 🙂

  6. Tactical G-Ma says:

    Melody, I do like your enthusiasm. And I also understand your becoming attached to live stock. Back when I was little, my grandparents couldn’t afford anyone or anything that didn’t contribute. Even the dogs had a purpose, some hunted, some protected. I don’t think I could eat a dog or cat but everything else was fair game. I grew up with the survival mentality. It has served my family well. Some preppers believe the sky is falling. Others believe in a zombie pandemic. Truth is no one knows. Buying in bulk, back stocking, gardening, farming, and preserving food makes me feel safe. As do the tools, fuel, weapons, etc. we have amassed. If nothing else, we save money on our groceries and eat well. I heard hurricane Isaac was headed my way and all we had to do was take down the flags, put the umbrellas in the barn. Everything else was ready. That’s piece of mind. Enjoy life and keep prepping whatever your justification may be.

  7. I loved this. Made me laugh and smile. In a time when so much makes me afraid and angry, things I can do nothing about most of the time, this article reminded me that the prepping I do is because I enjoy doing it as much as need to do it.

  8. Hunker-Down says:

    It seems you have a highly ingrained OPSEC methodology. I like the way you tell us what you have and do without telling us anything, and make a joke at the same time.

    When I was in the 4th grade, we had piglets in the dining room on very cold winter nights.

    • Mel in FL says:

      Thank you for your OPSEC compliment. I try.

      It sounds like I could have enjoyed your family very much. You couldn’t let those little piglets get too cold!

  9. TOO funny! I laughed out loud while reading this post…..It’s good to occasionally make light of things. Laughter is good medicine they say. On a more serious note, having been a hobby farmer for about 5 years now, I have had to learn how to look at certain animals as livestock, others as pets. Chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys, and pigs do NOT get named! Dairy goats, however, are as dear to me as my two-legged kids. I am trying to mentally prepare myself for the possibility in the future that extra male goats will not be named, but will go to “freezer camp” instead! Blessings….

  10. recoveringidiot says:

    Thanks, that was a good one!
    My whole family were preppers and didn’t know it. Just the way it was back then, and when I got older I always thought of it as buying ahead. If I had a pile of stuff at home I could then only buy when the price was right and get a bunch of it. My late first wife thought I was crazy when we first married because I bought large quantities of non perishables and meat to freeze until she realized how much money it saved in the long run. When we were small my sister and I learned quick not to get attached to the on hoof food. That day always came when they were reduced to boxes and buckets of something to eat.

  11. Melody,

    Just because a lot of us do it, doesn’t mean you’re not crazy for prepping. It could just mean there are a lot of us crazies out here!

    Fun article.

  12. Encourager says:

    Let me apologize first because this is totally off subject!

    Help! I just harvested my very first, ever grown cabbage. By the time I got rid of the outer leaves I have the cutest ball of cabbage, about 5″ across. I have shredded it up for coleslaw and now am soaking it in cold water with a bit of salt. Is there anything else I should do? I will confess…I usually buy the pre-shredded bag of cabbage for slaw. (b-l-u-s-h…think pink) I will go now to shred a carrot. Dressing already made…um… purchased… =o}

    • Encourager, next time you make coleslaw, try making a dressing of sour cream with a little mayo and the juice of a lemon, plus salt and pepper to taste, maybe a bit of sugar if you like it sweet. Let it wilt/chill and hour or so and you’ll have a refreshing slaw with a twist.

      Congrats on the first harvest!

    • Encourager…congrats on your first cabbage…made me laugh, and am impressed, as my attempts have failed to result in a tight ball…just had lots of loose leaves – probably too hot here for success…anyway, am so LOL – good result…cheers.

    • Mel in FL says:

      Everyone helped you with your coleslaw it appears, but congratulations on your cabbage. Isn’t that a nice feeling, looking at that cabbage and thinking “I did that!!”

      • Encourager says:

        Hey Mel, I didn’t do that! God did that! It was actually a specialty cabbage – I picked up two plants somewhere. It was suppose to be small and it made enough slaw for four meals. Made fresh today from the other half and I have one more head left which I think I will try and make sauerkraut with it.

        But yes! Very happy it headed, I have never had cabbage head up, either, Chloe!

  13. Bob Wilson says:

    Real pleasure hearing from you. We share your interests and enjoy your humor and humanity. Life is meaningless without humor and preparing for the future is a means to continue and not end to life. I would welcome you as a neighbor and friend.

  14. Uncle Charlie says:

    Melody W: thanks for a very enjoyable article. It’s always nice to find that your “eccentricities” turn out to be good old fashioned common sense. Learning the difference between pets and livestock is not always easy unless you are really hungry or find out how good “slow” food tastes.

  15. karla from colorado says:

    Ah, Melody, now that I’m done wiping the tears of laughter from my eyes (I guffawed out-loud about ‘admitting when he’s wrong’ and even out-louder about everybody avoiding the kitchen table!!), I have to agree with Hunker Down – you told us all about everything without revealing anything. Perfect prepper methodology! Humor may be one of the best items in your storage bunker. 🙂
    Great post, thanks for the laughs and the insight!!!

  16. Melody…so enjoyed reading your post…big smile on my face and a few bursts of laughter – ’cause agree it is good to ‘celebrate not being crazy’…

    Welcome on board…and looking forward to more of your posts…cheers.

  17. Southern Belle says:

    Melody,
    I truly enjoyed your article and found myself agreeing with so much of what you said. I am new to this prepping world and have found supportive groups like the Wolfpack is so helpful. I also think that having a sense of humor is vital in maintaining a sane life after things get bad. I wish you the best in your prepping endeavors.
    SB

  18. Just4Rselves says:

    Great article! Laughed my butt off! One time we envited friends over for roast beef (really venision) sandwiches knowing they didn’t like the idea of us killing and eating bambi, but we wanted to show them how good venison is. Well turns out we got a deer that day and when they showed up my DH and I were cutting it up on the kitchen table. They ran into our living room and stayed there until we cleaned up. Well, they loved my roast beef so much, I just had to tell them it was deer meat. They have not been over for dinner since!

  19. Homeinsteader says:

    Well done, MW! As long as you maintain your sense of humor, you will WIN no matter the challenge! (Still laughing out loud!)

  20. SurvivorDan says:

    Wonderful symbiotic relationship. Mutually supportive. I wish that TFMrs.SurvivorDan and I could have formed such a team working for a common goal. Unfortunately, she thinks I and other preppers are all crazy. She’s still my best friend and I prep for her anyway.
    You folks sound like you are WAY ahead of the prepping curve.

    The adoption of livestock cracks me up. As a lad, I was given a pig to raise and ultimately butcher. He died of old age.
    Despite that, I hope to have chickens one day……..for the eggs and the alarm clock.
    God bless you both. Your positive (and well written) post made my day.

    • Mel in FL says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I feel for you regarding TFMrs.SurvivorDan. That has to be so painful, for your spouse not to believe in something so important to you. It says a lot to your character that you still prep for her anyway.

  21. Copperhead says:

    Melody W,
    Loved your article!! Yep, I get the “theoretical” part of it…my biggest problem is that I don’t have anyone to hold the dad-gummed book, so may just have to learn to do it!

    I definitely enjoyed the chuckle, thank you!

  22. Plant Lady says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful read! With the whole prepper mindset focused on doom and trying to avert it, a little humour is most welcome! Sort of like when my husband teases me about my chickens being on “assisted living” now (they are 4 yrs old).
    Don’t worry about those who may give you grief because of your joyous outlook…those folks could suck the joy out of sex talking about the biological imperative and the need for reasoned decision making and charts for fertility or lack thereof and the need for sober reflection on the most efficient use of time. Good grief!
    Anything you enjoy doing will get done,a nd done well…while those things you dread seem to keep getting put off, then done in a hurried, slip-shod manner. It is just human nature, so it seems to me that having a joyous outlook will make our prepping so much easier. The whole premise of prepping is expecting something bad to happen – but that doesn’t mean we have to be terrified and stone-cold serious every single second. God gave us the gift of being able to enjoy life…and I intend to use that gift to the fullest extent possible!

    • Yeah, I have to say after reading everyone’s comments I have to agree. It’s not easy facing the fact that you are the gloomiest soul on a survivalist blog : ).

      There were a lot of jokes in the piece about compulsive shopping and (my term) hoarding which is a touchy issue in my home of late. So maybe thats why I reacted poorly to what even I should have recognized as a joyful soul offering pure entertainment. So… discretion… time and place… foot in mouth… not unusual for me…

      Nevertheless, I will take this opportunity to encourage Ohio Prepper to consider writing an article for us about a (his?) reasoned approach to feeding unprepared but honest and good people in need.

      • Hunker-Down says:

        MikeM,

        Please block my posts from reaching your inbox.

      • JeffintheWest says:

        MikeM, I’d like to thank you for this last post. Now that’s what I call being both a good sport and taking “criticism” well. If more of us could learn to respond the way you just did, we’d all be living in a much happier place. I’d love having you for a neighbor and prepping team-mate! Good job!

        Oh, and I fully support your request to Ohio (or is that “Oiho”?) Prepper to write an article on his ideas there.

      • Mike M.,

        We all put our foot in it from time to time. The important thing is we recognize it, own it and then move on.

      • Mel in FL says:

        Don’t worry about your response MikeM. We all react to things based on where we are at and what we are dealing with at the time. I did not take offense. You could not tell from my post that I was not a bit “flighty.” Sometimes things are triggers to people that they may not even realize.

        I did respond to your first comment before I saw this one. You did bring up some valid points, some of which I addressed. Whether it is Ohio Prepper or someone else I am always interested in people’s approaches to helping others. It is something that we have a plan in place for, I am making food allowances, we have ideas of what we can/will do. But I fear that in a situation such as we may be facing in the really not too distance future, there are going to be a lot of hungry people, if for no other reason than our economy is slowly doing worse and worse. The long, grinding problem is likely to present a bigger challenge to our benevolence plans than if there were a disaster that could be helped and improved upon.

  23. Tactical G-Ma says:

    MikeM,
    You have every right to criticize Melody’s article without attacking Melody. I do believe that if her article was taken literally, there were holes we could drive a truck through. But, I have been having nightmares lately and what I got from the article is that we still have to live and love and be normal while preparing so something so serious. I believe your first statement had some great points. Maybe someone needs to do an article about the psychological effects and stages of prepping as well as the effects of trauma we will face when a life altering event occurs

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