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I am happy to be back home after being away for a week.  Now I can proceed with my bulk food storage plans.

Last week, I posted about shopping for food staples such as rice, pasta, pinto beans, etc.  in “Survival Food Shopping”  https://apartmentprepper.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/survival-food-shopping/.

We then bought the materials needed to package these foods for long-term storage.  These were purchased online as I could not find a local store that carries them:

–food grade five gallon buckets with lids

–1 gallon size mylar bags

–oxygen absorbers (300 cc)

The following common household items will also be needed:

–iron

–flat surface such as a leveler tool or a wooden table with a cardboard liner

–permanent markers for labeling

–labels or masking tape so you can label the buckets

–empty jar

–measuring cup

Most sites I read recommended five gallon size mylar bags to fit into the buckets.  We chose one gallon bags instead for the following reasons:

  • One gallon bags of staples are easier to transport than five gallon bags.  Since we live in an apartment, there is always a chance we may have to bug out.  If we had to leave on foot with only the bug out bags, we would be able to carry one gallon bags of food between family members.
  • Since the goal is to keep the food fresh for as long as possible, if we open up the five gallon bag, we would need to use it all up.  Since we are storing in one gallon bags, they can be opened and used as needed, without affecting the rest of the batches.
  • If we choose to, we can share one gallon bags of food with others in need, such as family or neighbors, without compromising the rest of the bin.

Here are a few of  the materials I have collected. 

On my next post, I will go over the steps that I am doing to store the bulk food items.

I am traveling for work this week and thus have been unable to post.   My work schedule is packed from morning til night, with no private time to be on my own.  And the hotel has very slow internet,  I am lucky to connect today.

I liked this article “Hypothetical SHTF if Traveling for Work” found in http://suburbansurvivalblog.com/hypothetical-shtf-if-traveling-for-work

on Suburban Survival Blog.  I am sure paying attention to the list mentioned in the post!

I will post when I get back to the home base.  Sorry for the light content, the work day starts!

This month’s project is to store some bulk items such as rice, flour, pinto beans, sugar etc.

I was originally hoping to participate with the local Latter Day Saints (LDS) Cannery that I had found out about after doing a search for mylar bags and bulk food storage.  I called them and found out information and pricing.  The facility is about an hour away, but it sounded good so I planned to go as the prices were very reasonable.  You don’t have to part of their church to participate, but you do need to be “assigned” to partner with a church group to do bulk storage.  Unfortunately, the week I was all set to go, I called ahead and found out they were having major construction and was not accepting any appointments in the near future.  They also did not have an estimate for when the work would be completed so it was back to the drawing board for me.

My husband and I decided we will shop for the bulk items wherever we can find a good deal.  We do not belong to a warehouse club; the membership fee is too steep for me for number of times we shop and items that we need, but that is for another post.

This past weekend we visited a couple of ethnic groceries and found good deals on many of the items on the list.  We found out about these stores by chatting with people at work about where to find good deals on groceries.  The Mediterranean store had excellent prices on rice and pasta.   They also had great prices on spices, honey, vegetable and olive oil.  These items were not on the “bulk grain” shopping list but they were too good to pass up.  We also checked out a Hispanic market and they had good prices on flour, sugar, pinto beans and legumes.

Now all we need to do is repackage the foods into mylar bags and 5 gallon buckets.  I will post about that adventure as soon as I get all the packaging materials together.

In my last post about using less of everything, https://apartmentprepper.wordpress.com/2010/09/19/using-less-of-everything-hair-product-update/, I mentioned the next project was trying to use less deodorant.

The main purpose to these experiments is to try using less of common products to make our supplies last longer.  A side benefit is the money saved from not having to buy new supplies as quickly as before.  Regarding the use of antiperspirants and deodorants, many people are concerned about the aluminum content of these products and the effect this may have on health.  Interestingly, I found the enclosed article on MSNBC, “Great Unwashed Raise Stink about Being Clean Enough”  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39937951/ns/health-skin_and_beauty/ Is there a trend here?

I am now ready to post the result of the experiment.

I tried the following on different days:

  • Using no deodorant, but bathing daily.
  • Using a natural Crystal Deodorant.
  • Baby powder
  • Baking soda
  • Rubbing Alcohol

I did the experiment on days when I was working from home.   I was the test subject and I also did the evaluation.  As a backup, my family also gauged whether the remedies were effective or not according to the degree of complaints.  The main variable was the weather on various days;  I also tried the remedies on days with no workout, and on days when I did work out.

To my dismay, we had several days of intense heat and humidity in our area.

  • On cooler days (under 80 degrees), with or without a workout, all the remedies worked well.
  • On very hot days (around 85-100 degrees or more), WITH a workout, none of the remedies work.  At the end of the day, I checked it myself and I felt need to run, not walk, for a second shower.
  • On hot days WITHOUT a workout,  a combination of the crystal deodorant and baby powder worked very well.
  • Baking soda applied under the arms worked as well as baby powder on a standalone basis.
  • Rubbing alcohol under the arms is supposed to be a good substitute, as alcohol kills bacteria; this remedy also only worked well on cooler days.
  • On very cool days (75 degrees and under), without a workout, doing without deodorant altogether, with a daily shower actually worked well for 24 hours.
  • During the experiment, I found I was having to wash my shirts after wearing only once, particularly on the intensely hot days.  Therefore we used more detergent on those days.  This gives me an idea that my next experiment will be to try to make homemade detergent to see if is works as well as store-bought.

As a conclusion, the use of antiperspirants/deodorant is only necessary on intensely hot days, as I did not find a substitute that works as well.  So I am not tossing out the underarm products as truthfully, I won’t feel “confident dry and secure” on those hot and humid days.  However, on cooler days these remedies all work very well.  I actually bought the crystal deodorant for everyone in the family as I was satisfied with the result.  I am pleased that we can actually cut down on using antiperspirants or deodorant depending on the weather and level of physical activity.  Just between us, I think the family is relieved that this experiment is over.  🙂

I like Halloween.  Every year I look forward to watching the kids dress up for trick or treating, looking at the carved pumpkins decorating the landscape and sneaking in a few bite size chocolates.   I even like scary books and movies, the supernatural kinds, NOT the mayhem and torture ones.  Not a whole lot of things really scared me… at least until I read the book One Second After did I feel a real chill down my spine.   Now I know what thoughts really terrify me:

  • Empty grocery shelves with no food or water
  • Having the family hungry and not being able to provide for them
  • Long lines at the gas station or no gas at all
  • Electricity being completely shut down by an EMP
  • Roving bands of criminals threatening us and being without a weapon
  • Pandemic of some kind, and having no medicines or antibiotics available
  • Becoming homeless
  • Being a refugee during a disaster

For a short time I felt paralyzed by all these scenarios and I was actually losing sleep over them.  Once I realized my real fears, I began to think of ways to alleviate them.  My antidote to being afraid is to become as prepared as  possible.  That is why I started prepping and the reason I started this blog.  If I felt this way, then certainly a few others must share these insecurities and we can encourage and learn from each other.  The thought of starting with nothing was discouraging at first, but it got better.  Now that I am doing a little something each week, whether it is buying a few extra cans of food or filling in a few gallons of water, or learning a new skill, I feel better every day.

A happy and safe Halloween to everyone!

Last night my husband was showing me how to handle a rifle.  I have had some experience target shooting with a pistol, but this time he wanted to make sure I know how to hold the rifle and use the scope properly.   The rifle was about three lbs., plus a couple of lbs for the scope.  We practiced positioning it correctly, aiming and carrying it around properly.  This morning I woke up and my arms and shoulders were sore.  We did not spend hours practicing, it was only about 30 minutes tops!  But I was using muscles I did not normally work out on a daily basis so I got sore.

When we were trying out backpacks, the store clerk added weighted pillows to the backpacks to position them correctly, and had us walk around for 20 minutes.  At the end of those 20 minutes, my back and shoulders were complaining–I got sore just testing backpacks.   I did not think I was completely out of shape: my normal work out routine includes 30 minutes of walking a day, or about 1 1/2 mile and free weights for about 15 minutes.  But again, the walk is an easy pace, with no backpack to weigh me down.

Which got me to thinking, how prepared are we physically if the SHTF tomorrow and we had to run out of the city on foot, carrying our bug out bags?  Living in the middle of the big city, we would have to travel at least 20 miles to get out,  more if we wanted to get further away.  Our bags would be at least 20 pounds, and we would likely be traveling in 80 degree weather.  It would be pretty rough!  I know I’d be huffing and puffing, stopping every couple of miles.  I don’t know about you, but how far do you think you can get on foot, with a heavy pack, in either heat or cold?  What if you were being chased?  The reality is, even with my usual daily walks to maintain weight,  I am not in good enough shape for TEOTWAWKI.  I don’t know if there is even a way to get in shape for this sort of thing, but I have to try.

So I am changing my workout routine.  I will continue to walk, but will travel longer and longer distances (only in safe areas, and with a weapon.)   I will do more strengthening exercises for arms and legs.   The rest of the family is also on board about getting in shape.  Once we are in better shape, the family and I will go on extended hikes with our heavy backpacks.  If you are considering adding or changing your workout routine, please remember:

  • Get a physical checkup with your doctor, if you haven’t had one in a while.  We did our checkups over the summer, so we know our baselines for weight, blood pressure, cholesterol etc.
  • Start slow:  Walk or bike 10 minutes initially, gradually increasing pace and time as you get used to the routine
  • Listen to your body.  If you are getting too tired, or the weights are getting too uncomfortable, stop, go slower or use less weight.
  • Don’t forget to stretch before and after your workout.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated
  • If taking walks, stay in known safe areas;  let someone know where you are going and be aware of your surroundings.

If things continue to stay “normal” as I pray they would, in a few months we’d be in better physical condition, maybe even lose a few pounds.   Taking up hiking would be a fun family activity, and if things in the city were to take a turn for the worse, hopefully this gives us a better chance to bug out and run for safety.