MESSAGE FROM TESS
Happy Friday to you all!
Our goal for the last year has been to learn different approaches to insulate ourselves from a multitude of disasters, be it natural, man-made or personal disasters that occur when we least expect them. My goal for all of you (as well as myself) was simple – to find preps that are multi-lateral and can be used for different types of disasters. Those who have actively pursued the suggestions made in the 52-Weeks to Preparedness should feel confident that a well-established preparedness foundation is there to fall back on. With only a few weeks left before this series is complete, we still have a little more work in front of us.
Forging a sense of community in the aftermath of a disaster can be a driving force in what propels a group or town to successfully thrive. Our knowledge and skill sets will play as large of a role in a thriving community as much as the preparedness supplies we will be bartering with. In our 50th week of this series, we will discuss the importance of having community is during an emergency situation and the relevance that bartering will have in an extended emergency.
Next week, we will discuss the controversial subject of personal protection during short- and long-term emergencies. Popular firearms and ammunition suggestions will be discussed, as well as some suggested safety protocols to follow.
Feel free to follow us on Twitter or Facebook. I love to link to great articles that I find on the web in addition to getting to know all of you in the preparedness community. It’s also a great way to get in touch with me if you have any questions.
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
PREP OF THE WEEK
Week 50 of 52: Bartering and the Community
One of my favorite chapters in Patriots was when the main characters were invited to a community market where they bartered with other like-minded individuals for supplies. Personally speaking, that chapter expressed hope – hope that our civilization would not crumble, hope that a community would flourish, that business exchanges would still carry on and ultimately, it was the beginning of a community coming together. If a long-term emergency causes an end to our existing monetary system and an end to the exchange based on fiat currency that our world currently operates in, people will resort back to bartering for skills and services in order to make transactions.
Living in a bartering environment means one must possess certain goods or skills that others find value in. As Brandon Smith writes on the subject:
“If you wish to survive after the destruction of the mainstream system that has babied us for so long,” he says, “you must be able to either make a necessary product, repair a necessary product, or teach a necessary skill. A limited few have the capital required to stockpile enough barter goods or gold and silver to live indefinitely. The American Tradesman must return in full force, not only for the sake of self-preservation, but also for the sake of our heritage at large.”
Check out Brandon’s excellent article on the barter system here. So what items or services would be ideal or deemed valuable for bartering in a long-term emergency? Ideally, for bartering in a short-term emergency, you want to consider the basic survival items that may seem to quickly disappear or items many did not plan for. A list of the top 100 items to disappear first can be viewed here.
Barter items can be purchased at the dollar store, the flea market or at liquidation houses. Many who are investing in bartering items purchase the smaller quantities of certain items. For example, if someone wanted to stock up on soda for a bartering situation, they would stock up on the cans and not the liter versions of the product. This helps you sell more products. Yard sales are also great places to purchase “trash to treasure” finds. Items that you can acquire and store inexpensively may one day be more valuable than gold. For an in-depth list of items to invest in for a bartering system, click here.
Don’t forget about the items that you can produce yourself. This goes hand-in-hand with the barter of skills. Stock up on the supplies you need to create the following items for a long-term flow of “income”.
- Fresh produce
- Ammunition (see *caution below)
- Home canned items
- Preserved meats (jerky, ham, etc.)
- Warm knitted or crocheted items (mittens, hats, scarves)
- Yarn spun from animal fibers
- Homemade candy
- Homemade soap
- Homemade candles
- Wooden or clay bowls and plates
- Herbal remedies
*Caution: Exercise great discretion when bartering with weapons and ammunition. It is entirely possible that those items could be used against you to take your supplies. These are items to be bartered only with someone you trust implicitly or as an absolute last resort.
If the grid goes down or the economy collapses in a long-term way, gone are the days of making your living doing IT work or ringing through purchases at the grocery store. You will need to become not only self-sufficient, but a provider of goods or services. Consider what abilities and knowledge you possess that can be shared with others. And further consider acquiring new skills that could be used as a bartering exchange during a long-term emergency. To see a detailed list of suggested skills for a bartering situation, click here.
Precious metals are the only form of currency that has stood the test of time. Keep in mind, that if you plan to use precious metals to barter with, it may be difficult to make small trades with. To circumvent this issue, invest in a supply of pre-1965 US silver coins:
- These will be useful as cash, due to their known bullion content, and low, easy-to-use value, when the paper money crashes in purchasing power. A dime is now worth about $3 and may be worth $30 or more after the crash.
- Silver is less likely to be confiscated by the government (not worth the political and physical effort). FDR did it for gold in 1933.
While you may be able to easily utilize gold and silver as a mechanism of exchange at the onset of a crisis to buy much needed supplies during a currency meltdown and use it to exchange for land or equipment during a recovery period, you may be faced with a period of time when no one will be interested in your PM’s. Selco of SHTF School points out that gold is not the silver bullet that provides complete insulation from TEOTWAWKI. When all hell breaks loose, as it did in the Balkans in the 1990′s, and a war is being fought right outside of your front window, gold and silver may not get you very far, as people are more concerned with the immediate need of getting out of harm’s way than they are with anything else. To learn more about money and wealth preservation during times of uncertainty, click here.
If you plan on purchasing larger quantities or diverse investments of precious metals, there are many different ways to acquire gold and silver. Here are a few of the safest:
• Purchase the pieces from mints or exchanges
• Purchase old pieces of jewelry or coins from yard sales, estate sales, thrift stores and Craigslist
• Purchase from reputable sellers on EBay
Mints and exchanges offer a sure thing. These businesses are built on trust and integrity. If you are investing a large sum of money into precious metals, gather details about the types of coins you are buying, especially if you’re buying gold. Acquire a coin caliper and/or testing kit to ensure you’re getting what is being advertised. To learn more on how to properly test and inspect precious metals before accepting them, click here.
To conclude, if studying preparedness has taught me one thing, it’s that we can’t go it alone. Psychologically speaking, we are social creatures and naturally prone to gravitate toward others. Bartering will not only serve as a way of trading goods and services, but will also serve as a way to bring the community together, to grow closer and start putting the pieces our community back together.
Preps to Buy:
This list is provides some suggestions. For a more in depth list, click on the links provided in the article.
- Matches and lighters
- Canning jars, lids and rings
- First aid items
- Water Filtration Supplies
- Sewing supplies
- Feminine Hygiene Supplies
- Fishing Supplies
- Fuel (e.g., gasoline, propane, kerosene, etc.)
- Sweeteners such as honey, sugar and syrup
- Carbonated beverages
- Small packages of food (e.g., bags of beans/rice, etc)
- Cooking oil
- Farm supplies (e.g., pesticides, fertilizer, etc.)
- Weapons, Ammo*
- Warm clothing
- Hats/Gloves/Mitten (think about these the next time you are at the dollar store)
- Hand sanitizer
- Dental care items (e.g., toothbrushes/toothpaste/floss)
- Research which items will be most valuable in an emergency.
- Make a point to research, take a class or practice one set of skills per month.
- Stock up on necessary items for bartering.
WHAT WE’RE UP TO
In the Home:
Like many of your children, my kids have started school and we have been trying to adjust to our new schedules. I’m starting to come to the conclusion that it’s more difficult for the parents to adjust than the kids. I am finding myself very disorganized right now and hope it is me still trying to unpack and get things settled down.
While the kids are happily away at school, I have been putting the finishing touches on my cookbook and have begun sending the chapters to the editor. I am very proud of how the Prepper Cookbook came out and believe it will serve as a great resource for short and long-term emergencies. The greatest aspect is that the recipes utilize all of the staple pantry items that we have in our existing pantries. So far, I have created 250 recipes to use for the book and have included some great preparedness information for what, where and how to store your emergency foods. Let’s just say that with the versatility of the food items I suggested, food fatigue will not be an issue if you have this book handy.
Don’t you hate it when bags and bags of food are sitting out on your counter tops waiting to be packed up? That’s what my kitchen looks like right now. Bags of sugar and flour are stuffed in every free nook and cranny we could fine. I have been so busy for the past two weeks that I haven’t found time to repackage our food that we bought at the LDS Distribution Warehouse.
If you have been following my Facebook page, you will see that I have been doing a lot of canning lately. I am starting to realize that although canning my own food is economical and more tasty, it also disappears off the pantry shelves more quickly too. I put up a huge amount of salsa the other week, and it’s all gone now. Someone has been doing a lot of midnight snacking… I am going to take some advice from a friend and go down to the local farmer’s market to stock up on some peppers, onions and tomatoes to make more salsa. Then, I’m going to hide a few jars just for me.
In the Garden:
The garden is starting to look great. It’s amazing what a little kaka can do! The chicken manure we spread last month coupled with the grass clippings and compostable foods have really turned the soil around. It also helps that the irrigation system we added is providing a constant supply of water.
I planted some seeds last week and we have small winter squash growing, green beans, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and turnips. I know that I planted some a little too late, but I’m willing to gamble a bit and see if the weather stays warm enough for them to produce.
STATS AND FACTS
We are all aware of Tropical Storm Isaac brewing in the Atlantic. It looks like it will hit South Florida on Sunday and other southern states will be seeing the effects in the early portions of next week. The storm has a large circulation that can create stronger and more devastating rains and flooding. To those of you who live in the effected area, prepare early and do not wait until the last minute. It’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.
To prepare for a hurricane you should take the following measures:
- To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
- Know your surroundings.
- Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted.
- Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.
- Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
- Make plans to secure your property:
- Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
- Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
- Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
- Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
- Determine how and where to secure your boat.
- Install a generator for emergencies.
- If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.
- Consider building a safe room.
LETTERS TO TESS
Do you have a preparedness question? One of the perks of my job at Ready Nutrition is to address questions and/or concerns that you may have with your prepping endeavors. Feel free to ask anything that is on your mind because no question is too big or small. You can email questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
This week’s letter addresses freeze dried foods and keeping bugs off of your food supply:
I have two questions for you:
- Do you recommend placing store bought packs of beans/rice/lentils etc in a freezer for a day or two (how long) to kill any insects which may be present?
- In your opinion are Freeze dried foods such as Mountain House worth buying? I read that once you open the container (60 servings or there abouts) the shelf life drops away. So for 2 people that could become a huge amount of waste.
Many thanks for your advice,
As far as your questions go, if you are concerned about bugs or insect eggs being on your food, you may want to consider taking extra precautions. This will only help your food last longer when it’s repackaged. there are three methods you can use to destroy any bugs or eggs before repackaging your food.
- Freezing Method – Freeze food for 72 hours.
- Heating Method – Heating the food in a warm oven at 150 degrees F for 15-20 minutes.
- Organic Option – Diatomaceous earth are the fossilized remains of diatoms. They are organic and are safe to use on food. Ensure that you use the food grade diatomaceous earth and use 1 cup to every 25 pounds of food.
And regarding your question on freeze-dried foods, although, I am more of a proponent for acquiring low-cost pantry items, I do absolutely feel that we should all have some freeze dried foods available in our homes. I have about a 6-month supply of freeze dried foods in my storage closet and try to accumulate more cans as much as our finances will allow. I like them because they do not require as much fuel, still have the vitamins and nutrients present and can last for 25 years. These items would be handy to have a backup to our backups.
According to the Ready Store, there are a few ways to maximize the storage life of this type of emergency food source:
- Temperature, humidity and light.
- Keep in stored in a cool, dry and dark location.
- Once the container is opened, keep the plastic lid on and include keep the oxygen absorber inside the opened can.
If you live in a low-humidity area, an opened can will last 6-12 months if using the storage suggestions provided above. Those that live in high humidity locations should use their opened freeze dried food between 3-6 months of opening.
So, you can see that this long-term investment does in fact, have a good storage life.
Thanks again and I hope this helps!
Be the change you wish to see in the world.