Musings of a fairly new and mostly broke ‘prepper’

This is a guest post by Michele

[This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win a number of prizes including an 84 serving storage bucket of Wise Food Storage, 500 rounds of 9mm ammo, a NukAlert a copy of my book The Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat and a copy of my CD It’s The End Of The World As We Know It – And I Feel Fine . For complete rules and list of prizes see this post.]

One Second After by William Forstchen scared the ‘you know what’ out of me. Not that I didn’t have somewhat of the ‘prepper’ gene in me prior, I have always been someone who kept a really full pantry, telling everyone I must have either starved to death or watched my kids starve to death in a past life. I had a good 6 months worth of food and water saved before Y2K, which has long since been eaten, and not replaced until a year or so ago.

Back then, I worried about only my children and myself, now I have grandchildren too, and am also planning for my mom, my brother and his wife, his kids and their spouses as well as cousins and their kids (how do you tell your cousins and their kids to go starve?) and I’d like to get to a point where I could help my neighbors as well. Storing food for 6 people for a few months was a lot easier than for 40 for a year or two – two years just in case TSHTF in the fall and I don’t have a garden in and/or the garden mostly fails one year. I only have my one modest income and a fairly high mortgage, so have to prioritize my money. I am continually trying to find ways to prepare as cheaply and efficiently as possible – considering both my money and storage space. I’ve cut back my living expenses everywhere I can so I can buy food for storage – $20 is 50lbs rice!

When I started, I was so seriously lost about what and how much to store. I got one of those free food storage calculator programs on-line that allow you to figure out how much food storage you would need for ___ amount of people for ___ months (you fill in the details). When I plug-in 40 people (I only figure for adults – kids grow up) for 12 months (my first goal) the amount of food required was quite overwhelming – 6000 lbs wheat, 1000 lbs corn and oats, 2000 lbs rice – you get the idea. So while I use that as a long-term goal, I also broke it down into one month and three months, etc. It is still daunting, but more manageable broken down in smaller amounts of time AND really nice to use as goals for my quiet little celebrations. I was very excited when I could feed my family for 3 months!

Fortunately, you can alter the food storage calculator program adding other foods along with the amounts of those foods that you assume you would need (for example, I use the value of wheat and plug that into rice). So while I do store a lot of wheat, my main storage for filling tummies is white rice and COSTCO carries 25 lb bags for around $9.

The main staple most programs and information on-line seem to use is wheat, which is cheap, versatile and has a VERY LONG storage life. Nice, but I’m allergic to wheat, and I know that many people are either allergic to wheat or gluten intolerant and don’t even know it. Switching to a wheat based diet would KILL many people, and it is not a nice way to die.

Wheat can be sprouted (and I’m not allergic to it after it is sprouted). Home sprouted wheat grass is gluten-free (provided you are careful not to include any part of the seed kernel) makes an excellent mid-winter green, especially good if you have no other and, if dried immediately after sprouting (before it turns green) and ground, it makes malt, both for sweetening and beer making. I bought several cookbooks and How to Live on Wheat by John Hill is probably the best book I’ve read on cooking with home storage wheat.

It is VERY important to make sure your food storage can be used to make fairly familiar foods, I have heard that some children would die rather than continually eat unfamiliar or unpalatable food. Some of my grandchildren are picky eaters, so I now include among my food storage purchases, powered cheese, hot cocoa mix, cocoa powder, Tang – that sort of thing, to make some of the meals sort of what they are used to (taste like junk without being so). Now that I have quite a bit of food to fill tummies, I’m diversifying by adding other types of food and lots of spices in addition to continuing my ‘bulk’ food storage.

I found several websites that help me think of the things I haven’t – this site being my major one (thanks so much M.D.!) along with Food Storage Made Easy’s baby steps. Some of the better reference books in my opinion are Crisis Preparedness by Jack A. Spigarelli (heavy on the how’s and what’s of food storage – and food is important folks) and How to Survive the End of the World as we Know it, by James Wesley Rawles. I know that I am not an expert and may not be able to think of everything, nor have the money for it even if I do, so I’m carefully prioritizing and certainly glad so many resources are available to me – and yes, I print stuff I consider important. I cannot rely on having electricity or a computer in the event of an EMP – either man-made or solar initiated.

The Mormons have a lot of information about food storage, and are more than willing to share with non-Mormons like myself. They have taught me to do dry canning of the bulk foods I purchase at the Bishop’s Warehouse, and they have stuff like Hot Cocoa mix that is INCREDIBLY cheap next to buying it in those little 1 oz packages. I also carry in my purse the order form from the Provident Living site. I use it to compare prices while out shopping and mark them down on that order form.

I frequent the dollar store for first aid supplies and the feed store for bulk amounts of powdered antibiotics and for re-cleaned wheat and corn, which may not be as pretty but is perfectly acceptable for human consumption. The local WINCO’s bulk food department is one of my favorite places for beans, legumes, spices, powdered cheese, mashed potatoes, etc., and they will order any of their bulk food items in the big bags for you, saving you even more – if you have some way to store it (you can buy the mylar bags and oxygen absorbers from the Mormons very cheaply and they seal with an iron). Don’t forget, you need a couple of grain grinders if storing whole grains. I don’t store flours, they go rancid fairly quickly.

Fats were a concern. As much as we think we need to be a fat-free society, fats are necessary to survival. There are many vitamins that require fats for assimilation, not to mention to flavor food and for energy. Most fats do not store for long periods of time without going rancid. Butter flavored Crisco is one potential and I have stored some, but I do not care for hydrogenated fats. I recently found Ghee – which is clarified butter and has a very long storage life and has a subscription program, so they auto ship my 56 oz jar of Ghee every month for just over $20, and it makes one small part of my storage prep easy. I also store Skippy peanut butter and hope that with the hydrogenated fats mixed into it, it will keep longer than the ‘best by’ date on the jar.

I bought a house that was bank owned and a former rental. I am replacing the yard full of stickers and weeds with medicinal herbs, bushes and flowers instead of useless and high maintenance grass (my front yard looks a bit like a cottage garden). I’m making medicinal tinctures, and salves – all so much easier than I ever imagined they could be. I’m now using my apple peels to make vinegar, also very easy and a new tool in my survival toolbox.

I live in the country, and everyone around me has several acres as well, so I’m scouting out places to hide some of my stores. A fire or raiding party could be disastrous to the survival of my family without places to ‘squirrel away food’.

I found instructions and patterns for homemade reusable/washable feminine sanitary pads. While I am long past the need for them myself, my children, nieces and grandchildren are not. It seemed a much easier solution than trying to stock up on year’s worth of these products and they are fairly easy to make. If I could only find an easy replacement for toilet paper…!

I keep an old microwave oven with the cord cut off in the basement for use as a Faraday cage. I store my ham radios there – walkie talkies would be good too – maybe soon. Faraday cages can be made of cardboard boxes and aluminum foil as well I understand, but you can usually find broken microwaves for free and for me the accessibility of being able to just open the door to the microwave to get my radio is attractive.

I’ve joined a gym and began to slowly work out. I found I was almost always short of breath when doing simple chores around the house. My workouts are not very long, but that’s OK, I’ll get to where I want to be eventually. I took a one day ‘Wilderness Survival 101’ from Sierra Survival – We built shelters to withstand high winds out of plastic with no grommets, learned several different ways to procure safe water, learned to identify numerous plants for making tea-soap-cordage-food-medicine, learn to navigate using five primitive methods, traps and snares, weapons, making fire, knots and rope systems, rescue signals, and tracking. We learned an incredible system on how to keep toasty hot and dry, even if it’s sub-zero, by utilizing the items in my survival kit and small twigs. It was well worth every penny I spent on it.

I bought a 12-gauge shotgun, and I regularly purchase shells (Thank you Wal-Mart for having such cheap ammo). I knew it might eventually be a necessity, but got a slap in the face when the man I was carpooling with (I’ll call him “Mark”) informed me in a smug tone of voice that he didn’t need to store food for himself or his family, bullets were cheap and had an unlimited shelf life. My son’s and I discussed it, and decided to standardize on guns, so we could buy only three types of ammo, 12 gauge shells, .45 and .22. This is the part of ‘prepping’ I like the least but since “Mark’s’ comment, I’ve gotten a little hardened. “Mark’s” comment also helped my choice to purchase a pump shotgun, because I now figure that if the “CLICK CLICK” of my 12 gauge shotgun doesn’t make someone immediately stop in their tracks or turn and run for the hills, they are intent on doing me and mine harm, and yes, I could certainly pull the trigger without a second thought.

Maybe this might not be an issue for you, but another thought I’ve had to deal with is new babies. While I’m long past this possibility myself (thank God), some of the family I am prepping for is still fertile and in a really big SHTF situation, birth control might be a little hard to come by. Sex is fun, and certainly a comfort in stressful times – and as we all know, sex often leads to babies. I still have most of my baby equipment (grandkids) but no one still has any of the small size baby clothing or infant items. Thrift stores and craigslist have been great for procuring inexpensive or free baby items. My concern is not cute or in perfect, stain free condition, just serviceable items. I’ve also been asking family members to pass on the clothing the grandkids have outgrown and I store it.

Big people clothing is important too – not everyone may come with a bunch – or come with the wrong season’s items, so I’m trying to store some larger sized winter clothing – better warm for all than fashionable for smaller people. I’m not quite as concerned with summer; they can all walk around naked in the summer for all I care. Good serviceable shoes are more important to me and I have not come up with a way to deal with all the different sizes without choosing to buy shoes over food. Maybe I should just buy a bunch of leather hides and a punch tool to make moccasins – I’ll take suggestions…

I bought a bunch of those 5 gal Homer buckets from Home Depot – useful for almost everything, and a rub board for washing clothes. There are also websites with ‘recipes’ for homemade CHEAP washing powders, and I’ve printed those and bought the necessary ingredients.

That’s about everything I’ve thought I wanted to pass on. I know I haven’t thought of everything, so I would love to read your posts with suggestions for things I’ve missed. I hope my musings may help one or two of you with things you hadn’t thought of either.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of 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.


  1. While it’s commendable that you would like to help so many, how difficult is it going to be to rotate your stock when you have so much that will need to be used before expiration before the need may arise? If TSHTF soon, then you are prepared. But you also need to be prepared to wait awhile. Therefore, you’ll have expiration dates to worry about and then replacing the used stock. Just some points to ponder.

    • Yes, Michael, you are right. Most of my preps are the type that stay good for a long time, but things like peanut butter, etc will need to be rotated out and replaced in a few years. Hopefully before the items begin to reach their use by date, I’ll have most of my 2 or more years worth of main storage, and can afford to replace it – maybe donating the nearly expired stuff to one of the local food closets where people will eat it immediately.

      Another really good thing I’ve found from having storage is – a few times I ran out of an item – and could just walk out the back door and down to my storage and grab one. I’m made a pact with myself that anything I use from the storage gets replaced next paycheck + 2.

      And, maybe, I’ll eventually meet a wonderful man to share my life and food storage expenses with!

      • That’s great that you have the issues worked out; I just wanted to see if you had thought it through and apparently you’ve got that covered. As far as finding a wonderful man, I’m in Texas…LOL.
        Actually all my time and money is wrapped up in nursing school for at least another year. I decided late in life to change careers and I also figured medics of any kind will be an asset in any type of SHTF scenario.

        • Bravo for you, Michael. I’ve been a registered nurse for 6 yrs now and was a LPN for 16 before that. If you are really wanting to hone your skills for a.SHTF scenario, spend a yr or 3 in the ED or ICU. If there is a level 1 trauma unit near you, try to get on in ticu. Many fire depts also look for RNs to ride along with their paramedics. Good luck to you in your endeavors. Hang on in this last semester…I remeber that one being the toughest!

          • Thanks for the input; right now I’m going for my LVN(I believe it’s the equivalent of LPN). I do hope to get to be able to possibly work in the ER. I may try later to advance to RN(that’s about another 4 semesters and a lot more money) but I want to get back into the workforce soon and get a little more experience under my belt. I’ve already been through CNA training, and I understand my first semester of clinicals will be in rest homes doing a lot of what I did in the CNA clinicals. I will be busy for awhile; it’s listed as 18 credit hours on this semester but with the labs and clinicals, they say it equals out to about 35 hours. That’s not including the time required for study and homework. It’s probably a good thing that I really don’t have a life right now, because that would eliminate one for the next year.

  2. Schatzie Ohio says:

    If you are going to store washable feminine pads why not store packages of those cheap washcloths that Walmart sells for “reusable TP” You can put the used ones in a diaper pail with a presoak liquid in it until you need to wash them.

    • Encourager says:

      You can also make ‘toilet wipes’ out of old flannel; softer on the tush. Cut the rectangles about 4″x 8″ so you can wipe, turn and wipe again. As Schatzie says, have a bucket with a lid with water and a bit of detergent in it, perhaps a bit of bleach, too. For women, since we use TP every time we sit, a separate smaller bucket for that. I also heard of using sponges as the Romans did. Each person has their own sponge which gets washed immediately after use, rinsed in bleach water and hung in their own spot to dry.

  3. Towfer D says:

    Sounds to me like you have a good handle on things and are obviously more prepared than I am. I note that you didn’t mention water storage/purification, but I’m assuming you have that covered too. The only real suggestion that I would have is that you should consider adding a hunting rifle to your armory, 30-06 would probably be your best bet. You should be able to fine ammo pretty much anywhere you go. You’d have to be an execellent marksman to take down a deer with a .22 (although not impossible) and you get more range than hunting with slugs in your 12 gauge. Just my $.02 worth…

    • I’m thinking that if TS really did hit the fan, within 3 months at most, there will be no deer to shoot, nor many rabbits, birds, etc. There are an awful lot of hungry people out there that will hunt everything to near extinction while trying to survive.

      • templar knight says:

        Michele, you need a center-fire rifle, whether it be for hunting or long-range defense. A shotgun or handgun just can’t reach out there and stand off an attack, something that we all need to consider. Someone suggested the 30-06, which is great, but does have pretty good recoil. A .308 would work just about as well with less recoil issues. I have both.

        • Also, remember, in certain SHTF situations .308/762 NATO can be taken off the bodies of blue helmeted thugs. I’d go .308…

        • You are both right. I passed your suggestion on to my boys who are much more able to purchase a rifle right now than I am, and they will know which one to get – I’ll just end up buying the ammo (they tend to use all theirs for target practice).

          Templar Knight – just curious, are you someonne frm the St. Clair/Sinclair line? If so, we are distant cousins.

        • axelsteve says:

          I like the 308 however if I had to choose between a 308 and a 06 I would go o6.Better to have too big than too small

        • Boadicea71 says:

          I haven’t scrolled down to read the rest yet but Templer is right. For this same reason I’m headed to Big 5 next month to buy a riffle. They have on that’s $115 and the ammo is inexpensive. After shooting the guns up past Strawberry I realized that I don’t want anyone that close to my home. The riffle will come in handy for home protection and hunting. (now everyone is going to laugh at me). I’m also purchasing a crossbow. I hear there is a place to practice archery over at the lake. My though process is this. Would I rather them hear the ‘whoosh’ of an arrow as they come to take my food and wonder what it is? Or would I rather take my riffle or shot gun and draw attention to my food/ammo supply. These people are going to be crazy like Hollywood Zombies out for our food. Like the ‘flash robbers’ in Wisconsin. Bad part is, we don’t survive a giant fall or have the abilities to jump seven stories up like they do in the movies.
          I love your post. Single too and totally understand.

    • axelsteve says:

      You can`t go wrong with an 06.A hishool buddy was once berating me for my o3a3 springfield.He was bowing down to the false idol of the m16 him being delayed entry marine.He said my o6 was a relic from the past and the m16 would put it to shame.I asked him if he would like to pace off 8 or 900 yards(not meters) and from an offhand position we would see who would be left standing,my 5 rounds to his 30.He declined my offer.You can really reach out and touch someone with an o6

      • I love my 30.06 but the .308 having a more recent historry with our military might be easier to resupply. My GOOD bags have Lee precision Field Reloading Kits in them. These kits are all the tools and dies needed to reload one round at a time in the space of a paper back book. Except the hammer.

        • templar knight says:

          azyogi, where did you find the Lee Precision Field Reloading Kits?

          • Nor Cal Ray says:

            They are available thru Amazon, or at least they were. I got mine there. They are also available thru the Lee website.

  4. Auntie_Em says:

    Thanks, Michele. I am also a mini-budget prepper. Your ideas are useful. Prepping can seem like an overwhelming task when money is nearly nil—but the need for everything is so urgent. It’s easier to wrap my brain (and wallet) around ideas like a 20$ for 50# of rice. ..and an old microwave as a faraday cage (or also cheap—cardboard box lined with foil.) Canned ghee is a great long term storage choice for dietary fat—I also froze olive oil….which I understand, freezes and thaws well while retaining it’s quality.

    • Encourager says:

      Thank you Auntie Em! I never knew you could freeze olive oil…great idea. Although my freezer is getting kinda full right now with frozen veggies from the garden, which I am very thankful for. I also like the idea of using an old microwave for a Faraday cage. Will put that on my to find list…I tossed one two years ago, a huge monster…darn.

  5. Well I must say I admire you for taking care for so many people. It must be satisfying and daunting.
    As I look back on it I have always had about 4 to 6 months worth of food in the house and really not realizing that I had prepped for anything but just having the stuff on hand.
    I am not as prepared as you are, away and far from it. But at least I didn’t just sit on my fanny.
    I think Mark (and those like him) is the first to be put out of his misery. I hate it when there is an assumption taken by others. But he has failed to realize that now you assume he is trouble.
    I truly think you have a good handle on everything.

    • The problem with Mark (and those like him), are that too many people have the same mindset, although not always in his threatening way. Folks in New Orleans had days of notice of a potential catastrophe heading their way, yet many simply sat around waiting to be rescued. I don’t understand it, and it’s probably part of my nature that I never will.
      I was told by a wise friend many years ago, that how you measure yourself is the answer to a simple question. When something bad happens, or is happening, do you say, “Someone should do something about that”; OR, “I should do something about that”. It seems to me that if you’re reading this, you’re already in the last category, and I thank you for it.

  6. Michelle, You’ve certainly got the “mothering” instinct but it doesn’t seem fair to try to carry the whole preparing load by yourself. Some of the family members should understand the pootential threats and be at least partly responsible for themselves.

    And don”t forget the need for a reliable water supply.

    • Southern Girl says:

      I’m with HB on the idea that all the people you are planning for should help carry the load. Right now we store for 12, there are only 7 members of the family; but like you said families do grow. Our plan is to also go up to twenty or more when other family members join the group. These other family members have started their our stores and when the final group gets together we will be able to food that many people as well as some who were not or could not store. Talk to them; you may find that they are willing to help but a small amounts like you are doing. A group with a little builds up to a lot as a whole.

  7. I’m serious about wanting suggestions on things I may have missed and would love to get your comments.

    • DadDeDeux says:

      Hi Michele,

      I’d like to trade a few ideas with you about prep. Based on some of the details of your post, I’m guessing we don’t live too far apart. Can you email me at cmskellington at hotmail? Thanks.

      • DadDeDeux gave me several wonderful ideas – but the biggest one for me was using a pool to store water. In a month or two, pools will be on sale, and with that and a cover, my downspouts can be diverted to fill it up with lovely rainwater.

    • JO (Georgia) says:

      Do you have general purpose cloths stored up? We keep a store of things like old cloth diapers, flour sack towels, etc. around and use them like paper towels. Also made some cloth napkins to use regularly. Its saves a ton of money in paper towels and napkins. We also have a good store of old sheets, to use either for their intended purpose or for the cloth itself later.

  8. Well thought out and presented in a straight forward easy to understand manner. Good article. You may not feel like it, but you are so far ahead of most people prepping. How much space does it take to store all your stuff? You are mastering skills that will be more important than supplies. That’s great. My hat is off to you.

    • Actually, it takes quite a bit of room to store all this stuff – thus my scouting for places to squirrel it away. I’m mostly looking for places close to my property, but not necessarily on it. Since everyone around here has property, and there are a lot of absentee owners, and hills to dig into, there are plenty of potential places to store stuff off my property. I will NOT store any metal buckets, or use any nails in framing (cutting and fitting boards together) so it should not be able to be found with metal detectors.

  9. Michele, You are a wonderful lady to put all your relatives’ needs before your own. Surely, you can get some of them to help, even if just providing a bit of cash from time to time to help with the monumental cost of providing for 40 persons. Have you asked them? I don’t have nearly as many persons to provide for but still, in addition to myself,
    (my wife died nine years ago) I have a daughter and SIL who do not have the means to stock up for themselves…..and a son who is beginning to do some prepping, mostly arms and ammo. I’m not able to bug out when the times comes that I should do so, so I’ll have to bug in and my “kids” have said they will come to Dad’s house when tshtf. Good, I’ll need their help to ward off the zombies who will be looking for something they can steal from others. I also have several good friends who will show up to help me protect the “castle”. Therefore, I’m preparing for at least six other mouths to feed. I’m sure there will be persons knocking on my door looking for a handout and, if they have children, they will receive a care packet. Do try to get some help from some of your relatives, Michele, rather than doing all by yourself.

    I feel certain God will rward you.


  10. Sounds like you have a good handle on things. As far the shoe problem, I have a friend of mine, Primitive Bob, he is making his own sandals out of old tires. He figures they should last a lifetime. Just a thought. Thanks for sharing your prepping adventure.

  11. For food, I think that fat is the hardest thing to store. Luckily I am in Florida, so I can get fat from avocados and coconuts (I just planted 2 avocado trees and know all the neighbors with coconuts). I am not sure where you live, but if I were you, I would be looking at getting some nut trees or even oaks since acorns can be a good source of fat. You can actually grind acorns and make baked products and stews, etc… if you are desperate enough. I have 3 oak trees in the back and I plan to use all the acorns if TSHTF.

    • SaratogaPrepper says:

      I’ll have to look up some recipes or something for acorns. I never knew that! I could find the entire site here with the acorns in my backyard. I have to wear a hardhat when I mow the lawn.

      • google ‘grandpappy’ – he has recipes for acorns…also egg-less recipes, plus the usual beans, rice etc…cheers. Chloe.

    • Acorns are toxic. Make sure you know how to prepare them before eating them!

      • As far as the OPs post, I highly recommend to anyone and everyone to learn an actual combat-based martial art. Excercise is well and good, but it is terrifying how fast a person can wear themselves out in a fight–even for someone who exercises regularly! Further, and I know this sounds dumb, but learn what it feels like to get punched, and how to take a punch. The more tense you are in a fight, the more energy you burn, more panicked you get, and the faster you tire yourself out and make potentially life-threatening mistakes.

        • And that is why I have taken up karate at the age of 61. I did my first live sparring last night and upset my partner because she didn’t expect me to be so focussed and get through her blocks so easily. She kept talking loudly about “karate granny” taking over. I was bothered about the number of elderly people getting beaten up, not to mention just falling over their own feet and I didn’t want to be either of those. After only a couple of months my flexibility is improving and my hip problem isn’t slowing me up at all – in fact it seems to be improving as well. Just choose a martial art that will take any disability into account and not expect everyone to be a flexible 22 year old.

          • No joke, I don’t worry about the dudes that have 100+lbs on me anymore. I worry about the women–especially the older ones. They fight with the understanding that this very well could be life and death. Guys–especially the younger ones–seem like they fight more to impress or look badass. Of course, there are always exceptions, but when sparring with a female, I’ve encountered one or two that didn’t come out the gate with getting down to business on their minds. And after the first punch, the others followed suit.

            Glad to hear you are enjoying it! Empowering, eh? =)

      • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

        You have to leach the tannic acid out of them, which requires lots of water. American Indians ate acorn mush here in California – it was one of their staples.

      • They have to be leached which requires running water thru the ground pulp.

    • Acorns must be soaked three times to remove excess tanins.

  12. briankegebein says:

    hi5 on the info

  13. Off topic again: Sorry
    I am looking at bread machine’s. I want to use electricity as long as I can and I am not happy with store bought stuff of late it taste’s awful and someone that is around the grocery bread has perfume on and it seeps into the bag and bread.
    I like the lightness of the store bought cheap bread, especially for toast. I do not like the dense breads, homemade or bought. So do any of you know of a good bread recipe book and or recipe’s for just regular bread?
    Would sure appreciate the help.

    • Lorenzo Poe says:

      My family’s favorite is Buttermilk White Wheat

      1 1/2 cups buttermilk
      1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
      2 tablespoons raw sugar
      3/4 teaspoon salt 3 cups all-purpose flour
      1/3 cup whole wheat flour
      2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
      Mix, set aside to rise. Divide in half and place into bread pans to rise again, then bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.
      Or press flat on a cookie sheet, indent with finger tips to set a cracker like appearance, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt for bread sticks.

    • Judy(another one) says:

      I love this bread recipe: As I like whole wheat in my bread I sub 8 oz. of whole wheat flour in and 2 TBSPs of flax seed meal also. This is a no-knead bread recipe. The other thing I do is use an 8″ cake pan lined with parchment paper because I want the loaf to be taller. After rereading your comment you may find my changes a little dense.

    • breadmomma says:

      100 % bread flour I use 3 lbs. of flour to start.
      61% room temp. water for water .61 X 3 = 1 pint and 13.25 oz.
      2% dry yeast for yeast .02 X 3 = 1 oz.
      2% salt for salt .02 X 3 = 1 oz.
      4% sugar, honey or diastatic malt powder .04 X 3 = 2 oz.
      3% fat, oil, shortening, butter,margarine, schmaltz .03 X 3= 1.5 oz.
      4% non fat milk powder .04X 3 = 2 oz.
      mix all ingredients in mixer with dough hook till dough looks smooth, texture like bubble gum, we call it window pane.
      Let rise covered one hour, weigh out 2 lb. dough, round off, shape into loaf, place in greased bread pan, proof till slightly above pan top, bake at 375 till internal temp of 200 degrees.
      enjoy…I use a good unbleached bread flour such as king arthur, or harvest king or pillsbury best for bread..
      give this a try for some really good PBG white bread.
      this is a real pro formula…( I am a CMB) I used this at home without fancy equipment and it works fine…if you are into whole grains, substitute half flour for half whole grain. to make it a little more interesting, add 1 oz. flax seeds, or 3 oz. oatmeal to the batch. enjoy all.

  14. Storing that much food for that many people… you must live in a converted warehouse. hehe

    Off of the top of my head, some things to consider… You’ll want to make sure that the floor you’re putting all of the food on can support the tonnage. I’ve had acquaintances who’ve done some stupid things and snapped some floor boards. The last thing you’ll want to do is have to move/lose that many items because the floor caved in.

    Rotating anything short term for 40 people who aren’t contributing is going to be pretty much undoable as well unless you’re very well off, but it sounds like you’ve already got the notion that you’ll want things that will sit for at least 10 years or more. It may lack variety, but it’ll keep the belly from the back bone.

    For Water, rain barrels that attach to the house and shed gutters (assuming you have a shed) would be a great way to get a little extra. Being more in the country you may already have well water, but if not, considering getting one put in might put a lot of concerns there to rest. That’s one of my largest worries in prepping.

    Having a means of cooking and heating is also a major logistical concern, especially on that scale. Solar Ovens (plural for that many people) would help on some days. If you have the lumber nearby multiple chainsaws with gasoline to run them would make life easier for a time, but having axes, wedges, and saws as well as instructions for those who’ve never cut down a tree before would be better for long term. Dutch Ovens and Cast Iron cookware would be invaluable for when you can get fires going, though a large cast iron kettle for greater quantity might involve less effort. Winter sleeping bags would be a must (depending on your area) as most houses don’t have functional wood burning fireplaces/ovens in multiple rooms of the house these days. Alternatively, kerosene heaters and fuel might be stored in quantities to allow you to get through a winter or two.

    • I’m sure you are correct about the weight of my storage breaking floor boards. Fortunately, I have most of my storage on the ground and cement slabs. There would not be room in the house to store it all anyway since it’s only a 2 bd (+ little office), 2 ba 1380 sq ft home. If I really had to put up 40 people – we’d have to hang people from the ceiling – even with the storage shed and garage.

      Yes, I have a well. However, it is not necessarily the wonderful thing you may think. My well is over 200 ft deep – so hand pumps are out. For me at the moment – no electricity means no water – and I live out where there are only 97 people on the same electric line – so when the power goes down, the electric company is not in a big hurry to fix it – especially if another line with more customers on it goes down at the same time. I am trying to buy barrels to store rain water in so I don’t have to walk down the hill and drag up creek water.

      I have aquired a lot of blankets, but not enough, and sleeping bags are not free (so far) so that is an area I’m definately lacking in. Fortunately, I do have a wood stove and lots of trees, and bought hand saws, in case no gas for the chainsaw. I also have lots of practice cooking on the woodstove because of electrical dependability (see above). Since the summers can get a bit toasty here, cooking in the house would not work AT ALL, so I do need to figure out someway to cook outdoors for a group of people – and not set the woods on fire.

      I am so grateful to everyone who is adding comments and suggestions. Thank you

      • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

        Michele, storing your food and preps on a cement slab is fine AS LONG AS the stores are not sitting directly on the cement/concrete. You must have something between the buckets/boxes/bags of food and the cement. Using 2×4’s is ideal, so are old wooden pallets. Get them off the floor, let some air circulate under and around them (so don’t stack them side x side, but allow an inch or two between them). Moisture is the problem, so let the air circulate to avoid moisture from building up. But I have a feeling you already know this. 🙂

        As for prepping for 40 people on a small income, good luck. I doubt they will all be able to get to your place should TSHTF, so maybe you are actually prepping for 1 for 100 years? ROFL

        • Fortunately, most of my immediate family live within 20 miles. I made them all a 72 hour pack with the most everything they might need for a 3 day walk, and hammered them with the idea it MUST be kept in the car at all times. In the event of an EMP, most cars would become useless junk (except maybe gasoline storage), and they might have to walk to my house. There is not 3 days worth of water in each one, as they could get heavy because each pack is customized for the amount and age of all family members, but there a 2 qt plastic canteen and iodine in the pack (dual use – disinfecting wounds and water purification), with instructions on the how to disinfect the water.

      • Lake Lili says:

        Michele –
        1. you may want to look at building a summer kitchen. Check out your local “heritage” village and see what was built locally. Screened-in summer kitchens provide space not only to cook daily meals but to preserve in the high heat of summer without making your sleeping spaces brutally hot. In a pinch, the space can also be used as a dorm.
        2. We have a lot of acorn trees and use their nut flour. It is A LOT of work to process and we don’t do it every year at this point. This site had some terrific recipies.
        3. A vry warm but light weight option to blankets is to take two flannel sheets and quilt a space blanket between them. If you want more heft, I have also added a layer quilt batting.

        Great article – thanks!

  15. Muddy Fork says:

    My wife is also allergic to wheat gluten and prepping for her has been difficult at best. We too substituted the wheat for rice along with extra corn and beans. I curious as to what other ideas or products you have found.

  16. Michele, could you post a link to the ghee you get from Amazon? I can’t find any that size with the subscribe option.

    • I can’t either at the moment, maybe they are low on it and will offer it again later. The company that is currently listed for this item is both charging a lot more AND charging shipping. Hopefully it will be back on Amazon again soon – I just ordered it a couple of months ago.

      Here is the information from my subscription so you can check for it:

      Items Ordered Price
      1 of: Nanak Pure Desi Ghee, Clarified Butter, 56-Ounce Jar [Grocery]
      Sold by: LLC
      (with the subscription)
      Order Total: $20.90

  17. robert in mid michigan says: maybe .com either way he has a lot of ideas on foraged foods and such how to prepare acorns, and some recipes for them. if you live in an area with water look for cattails as well.

    grow a big garden and inlist (draft) your children to help harvest and can the produce they will then help you prep and will be learning a valuable skill as well.

    as others have said make sure you have the water taken care of.

    grand pappy also has an article on making sandles from tires.

    raise some chicken and rabbits to help reduce the cost of putting meat up.
    to help rotate food explain what you are doing to your children and if nothing else maybe they will trade thier new stuff (peanut butter for the stuff they just bought.

  18. The only thing that concerns me (I care for my fellow Americans, as much as I shouldn’t) is many Preppers are building their food supplies based upon S.A.D. The Standard American Diet and it is full of danger yet People don’t even realize it.

    My hope is a few of you may check out these links and realize carbohydrates are Not a good thing,… not that I don’t have a bag of rice myself because the stuff lasts forever and something is better than nothing,… but the S.A.D. is downright bad:

    Primal Dissent — a Dialogue with Mark Sisson

    Healthy, Moving, Modern Humans — Not Cavemen

    Food Storage Program for Paleo Dieters

    • Clark – Wow!!! I finally found another “primal prepper” .. I have eating VLC or ‘Primal’ since Jan 2010 and it has changed my whole life – not to mention my physique and energy / overall health.! I read a lot of Dr. Eades, Sisson, Taubes, and several others pretty regularly. I have made the same observation about SAD preppers as you and have tried to explain the whole foodtastrophy to folks that are addicted to carbs – not with much success. I woudl hav ethought that teh typical prepper would understand that they have been completely hoodwinked about food and health by our wonderful govt and medical inductry. There are lots of benefits to our way of eating that gives us an edge over SAD eaters – even if we can’t store up food like wheat and rice. For one, the ability to easily fast for multiple meals without any sugar withdrawl and woosiness is a major benefit. I have focused on hunting,trapping and foraging as my prime primal sources for when my canned / dried foods run out. Thanks for the links ! A little story yu may appreciate.. I was in Sam’s tonight with my teenage son and he was suggesting we buy a 50lb bag of rice (for preps) I said back that I would have to be really bad off to eat that &^% , and he said – ” No Dad, it’s to trade or to feed to our SAD friends and family.” Oh.. OK good idea.

      • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

        Do you guys think the Chinese are suffering from eating a rice-based diet for the past 13,000 years? Can 1.5 Billion Chinese be wrong?

        • Well, Lint Picker (Northern California) I wasn’t talking about Chinese eating a rice-based diet for the past 13,000 years, I was talking about Americans who are heavily investing in high carb and processed food storage in an unbalanced manner unlike the Chinese who had a more primal balance to their diet consisting of raw foods and unprocessed foods.

          How Bad is Rice, Really?

          “Where rice belongs in your life depends on where you fall on the metabolic derangement continuum.”

      • Don’t worry those on Prime and SAD with both suffer. Those on prime will over hunt and kill off all wild life with in months of total shtf, those on the SAD diet will not have stores to provide their food will resort to hunting and fishing until everyone depletes all wildlife deer, hogs, rabbits. Those that raise animals and fish ponds will need to team up to take security guard shifts to protect livestock and fish from outsiders. And will also have to grow at least the basics of corn, beans, peas, lettuce, kale, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, and other edible plants. Having a good supply of fruit trees and bushes that blossum and provide fruit at different seasons will be a life saver.

        You are looking only at your point of view, you need to see the big picture or you will limit yourself which can be deadly in teotwawki shtf. Remember limited food sourced country wide, world wide. Oh and people are less likely to be allergic to rice.

        • Allie, you’re being a bit overly dramatic on some points, imho. Those on prime will Not be able to over hunt and kill off all wild life with in months of total shtf no matter how hard they try.
          Go hunting or fishing some time and see how “easy” it is. Even with non-conventional methods it’s not easy.

          I myself think the Free Market at some point after SHTF will step in and provide food for People.

          Remember, limited food sourced country wide, world wide, it has always been this way. If there is an increase scarcity of food, supply will be increased so long as government does not get in the way.

      • Cool comment, Scout.
        We’re far and few between.

  19. Also, Michele said, “Since the summers can get a bit toasty here, cooking in the house would not work AT ALL”

    Do you suppose your ancestors would disagree? There are many People – even today – who cook in the sweltering heat and do ok. Just the other day I heard about a couple who didn’t have air-conditioning yet they made breads to sell.

    Just saying,… it’s more of a want than a need.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      The biggest problem with cooking outdoors pertains to OPSEC. Cooking odors will attract the hungry, the bloodthirsty, and other lowlife human refuse.

      I have some supplies for the truly needy, but I will not be a target for the zombies if I can help it. No cooking outdoors, especially not in the warmer months. I’ll either cook in my own kitchen and sweat or in a tent or in a barn, with updrafts and not open windows. To paraphrase Pillsbury: Nothing says “come get me” like somethin’ in the oven.

      Cook using a solar oven and you won’t need to worry about the summer heat, you’ll welcome it.

    • You are absolutely right – I was just being a wimp. However, your comment reminded me that if TSHTF and everyone moves in with me because I’m the one with the foresight to put food aside – I can delegate the hot job and just supervise the cooking! I like that.

  20. mountain man stuck in the south says:

    I have found a great source for free cloth. I am a contractor and was working on a local motel, I asked the head house keeper if she had any old sheets I could use as rags. She laughs and gave me 2 big garbage bags. Most are fairly new with cigarette burns. Some are stained. But all have been run through the industrial sanitize machine. They are good quality 100percent cotton. My wife has used them to make work shirts, quilts, napkins, rugs, baby clothes, diapers, and all kinds of other things. We now stop by about every month and she gives us three or four bags of sheets, towels, blankets, and bead spreads. We always take her a little gift as a thank you.
    Most of what we get is in good shape but has a small blemish that makes it not good enough for the rooms.

  21. Wow, Michelle sounds to me like you are doing great. I have probably enough set by for 12–18 months for my DH and me. But adding a few teenagers and their parents could take that down. I am doing more gardening now as to learn more before it is needed. If things got really bad, we would all be happy to have wheat and/or rice and hope to enrich our diet any way we can. As far as toilet paper replacement: I have a 5 gal. bucket that I am putting rags into to use if necessary. Cotton, flannel, old towels, any absorbent soft old clothing (not good enough to give away) I have been cutting with pinking shears and putting into that bucket. If that time comes, I think I will also keep some empty dish soap bottles that could be filled with water to spray cleanse really messy areas first. Then the used rags/cloths should go into a bucket to soak in bleach water or other disinfectant til washed. In fact, I think I would like to have 2 buckets available. One marked #1 and the other marked #2

  22. For Michelle:

    God bless you, dear Lady. Your post, whether you know it or not, will save lives.

    One or two or a dozen readers will begin to ‘prep’ and that will be your reward for the time taken from your day.

    As for ‘growing’ your own food. One of the first things to fail in our country will be ‘good order and discipline.’ All one needs to do is look across the pond at the UK and Greece.

    Therefore, “law enforcement” will be minimal in rural areas. They will be a concerned for their own families as we will be.

    That said, then, a prepper might/should [?] consider hemp. It will provide one of the most nutritious food oils and food seeds known to man. Learn which variety will grow best in your ‘bug out’ area. Learn how to harvest the seeds and oil.

    Also, a prepper should consider Marijuana for its medicinal uses.

    Make sure your head’s on right and your hat’s on tight.
    It’s going to be one heck of a ride.

    All the best.


    • I’m wondering if some of the readers here sincerely want to prep, but are so overwhelmed with the massive undertaking, they just don’t know where to start or have very little cash to start with.

      If an article about starting food preps is something people would like to see, I’ll try to gather up all my information and write it down.

      I started prepping when I was on unemployment, and literally only had about $10 to $20 every two weeks – if I didn’t need to buy anything for myself or the critters. Even with that tiny amount of money by being consistant and buying a few extra, your food stores begin to grow much faster than you can even imagine it would.

  23. As far as the toilet paper issue, I remember my grandparents having a supply of corn cobs in the outhouse that had been saved from the harvest for just that purpose…for what its worth.

  24. SrvivlSally says:

    What an enjoyable article. Sounds like you are doing just fine with prepping and to add in all those loved ones, they surely are going to have it good with you around. Maybe keep the rubber soles off of tennis shoes and attach nice full leather pieces to make shoes out of, that way they will have a leather shoe, coated in vaseline to waterproof them, which will have a good sole that will not wear out as fast as leather-bottomed types will do. Rocks and other rough surfaces will tear up a good piece of leather fast. I used to wear leather gloves to sort rough materials and I would spend at least $5 a pair a few times a week back then. The soles of the bottoms of leather boots are generally sewn (always make sure that they have been) and you would be able to remake boots in the same manner, as long as you have some good string for it. If the kids like marshmallow creme, you could always top their hot chocolate with a little of it-letting them know that it must be stretched out. If they do not like you doing that in the beginning, you can bet, deep down, they will be glad when all is said and done. Toilet paper is not easy to replace but if you learn how to make your own paper you may be able to get by. When we are out of the white stuff, we will be setting up five gallon buckets with lids and after filling them about 3/4 full with water, we will add an appropriate amount of bleach so that it is more sanitary and safer to have around, to place used toilet rags into and wash them once a week or as needed. During a good rainy day or a few days with rain, provided there is gravel or something that the water can be run into, hanging them on a line after a good plunging and wringing, they will be rinsed well. If injured, elderly or sick, it would be much easier to handle wash day with arthritis, bursitis, fractures, respiratory infections, back backs, muscle strains, etc. Saving everyone’s old and even worn out clothing would be good. Jackets, shirts or pants with holes in them can be remanufactured into new items. I like to save my old, holey, jeans and use the back pockets to patch knees if need be or even the seat should it wear out for any reason. The material can also be used to make bras, slings, rope, pillows, pillow cases, gloves, hats, quilt-style shirts or jacket liners. I can take a shirt and make a hat out of it, a pair of socks, toilet rags, cleaning cloths, hair ties or whatever I can imagine. Clothing can also be used to make tents, curtains, awnings for shade, camouflage for bodies, vehicles, etc. Used to be that pairs of long-legged panty hose, the kind that had the terrible seam in the center going down one side and up the other, would work to temporarily replace a non-serpentine belt in older cars. I do not know about today’s panty hose and how well they would do that sort of job nowadays. For those children that would rather die than to have something in their stomachs, it might be good to be firm and stand ground if they fuss because some of them can be pretty rotten when they throw a fit. Belts are a good item to have on hand as well as bars of mild soap, the kind that does not burn the tongue too much but will foam quite a bit and cause a user to look rabid. Just make sure that batteries and fresh film are available for cameras for those special, will be reflecting about your bubbly looks later on, moments.

  25. AnKayelle1 says:

    You might want to consider stocking up on ginger ale since ginger is good for upset stomachs.

    • It sure is, and so is the sugar in them believe it or not. Ginger ale in bottles or homemade ginger ale could be stored, but if it’s in cans, the acid will eat through the cans in a few years and you’ll have empty cans and a serious anu problem.

  26. Ghee Man says:

    You can make your own Ghee! Clarifying and canning butter is easy to do and requires nothing more than canning jars, an oven and a pot to melt the butter in. This is a large portion of my fat storage solution.

    The following YouTube video is just one of many that explain how it’s done:

  27. Papaya enzyme will store longer than ginger ale and works better. Some can be found in the vitamin section, but it’s main use now is as meat tenderizer. A few extra bottles for meat, and one or two more for tummies. The active ingredient is sometimes called papain if that helps.

    • I have also bought papaya spears and pineapple rings from Winco by the box (they will order the bulk items for you by the box if you ask) and sealed them into mylar bags – as BOTH are good for digestion – along with ginger.

  28. sheri (IN) says:

    Good write up Michele. I am trying to be sure I have enough for my sister and my nephew. She is the only relative I have close to me. Everyone else is far enough that it might be tough to get here. I think about my elderly neighbors, too. I know I can’t save everyone, but I would like to help as many as I can, within reason.
    We’ve had quite a few articles here about OPSEC and being very careful about who you tell what. Just be sure that those you try to help don’t tell 2 friends….and they tell 2 friends…and so on. I think most would agree that if you choose to help a larger group that won’t help themselves, don’t tell them you are doing it. Keep it a big ole surprise until absolutely necessary and then tell them if they tell anyone, the door will be locked when they arrive. Don’t get me wrong, I too would not be able to turn a child or elderly person away, but you have to be careful. Your life could depend on it.
    Good detailed article. It seems like you have thought of a lot of the little things that many would not (me included) : )

    P.S. I’m trying my damnest to have a 10 year supply of TP on hand. I’m up to 528 rolls! Will be adding more this week 😀

  29. One thing that helped me when I first started , was a person posed a question to me . They said look around at everything you own , and ask yourself , what do I have that I can use if whatever happened ? look around at whats in your house , garage , your tools . etc. ……. you may have more than you think , before you start with preps , and an idea of where to start prepping.

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