Food and Sundries Storage – Pt. 2, by Pete Thorsen
(Continued from Part 1.)
Keep in mind that if there is no grid power, there will be no refrigerator or freezer to store that meat. [JWR Adds: That is, unless you have an alternative power system. A generator is only viable in a short term disaster. For a situation lasting months to a decade or more, then photovoltaic power or perhaps a micro-hydro system is what you will need to provide power for refrigeration. An old-fashioned Spring House can also provide refrigeration, in some climates.]
And how are you going to be cooking everything? Plan ahead. If you have an all-electric house then how will you cook with no electricity? Even if you have natural gas (city gas) that will likely stop flowing to your house if the power is down for a while, so then what?
Do you have a propane gas grill with extra propane tanks? That will work. But if the neighbor sees you cooking on the grill (or smells you cooking up some barbecued cat, mmm!) He’ll be hungry and come over to eat your food.
A propane (or other gas) camp stove can be used inside your house to cook on, in private and in comfort. Remember to have extra fuel on hand for it. Yes, you can always cook outside with a campfire (or inside with a fireplace or wood stove). But you will need firewood, and the smoke will show everyone nearby that supper is cooking!
Many are afraid to use a camp stove to cook in their homes because they will be asphyxiated by the fumes or it will use up all the oxygen in the room, and everyone will die. That is hogwash!
Using a camp stove for cooking your supper indoors will not cause any harmful effects. You will use it for ten to thirty minutes and eat a nice meal and suffer no ill effects. But note that this is different than using it for heat where the stove burns for many, many hours at a time. Remember that maybe roughly half of the homes in the nation use unvented gas kitchen stoves that are either propane or natural gas. All of these stoves are essentially the same as a propane camp stove.
Another possibility is cooking with a solar oven. This is basically just a box with a glass front and reflective walls that you set in the sun to absorb the sun’s heat. There are many different solar ovens that you can buy or many plans and videos online that show you how to make your own. It can be as simple as a cardboard box with aluminum foil wings to direct the sun into the box and onto the dark pan sitting inside that box.
So you have all that food stored up for your family. And all that your neighbors have is a salt shaker and a fork. Do you share? This is a personal question and circumstances could easily change your answer. If you have plenty of food and the emergency situation is assuredly just a temporary one, then the likely logical answer is to share with your friends and neighbors.
But what if the situation is very likely to be long-term — a month or possibly even a year? In any bad situation, there will be beggars just like there are now only they will be in larger numbers and much more desperate. And desperate people do desperate things.
In the long-term situation if you share your food with a beggar and he/she/they move on they will return when they need food again. And if another person asks them where they got that food, they will mention your house. Soon your house will be the local soup kitchen and your stored food that could have lasted your family of four for a year is now almost gone because of feeding just the four of you are instead feeding ten or twenty or even more.
Then you tell all of them that the food is gone. They will not believe that and will assume you are just selfishly hoarding all your food now, for yourself. They will band together into a mob to take your food by force and if you or your family dies in the process that will just be too bad for you. Or the best case scenario is they just take all of your food and leave you and your family healthy enough to beg for food just like them.
Or maybe you are heavily armed and when you realize that you must save the remainder of your food for your own family and you will kill to protect the small amount of food that you have left. So now you likely have to shoot and kill all those same beggars that you have been feeding. At that point how have you helped them by feeding them? How have you helped your own family by drastically reducing the amount of stored food you have in storage?
The most logical answer is to turn away all the beggars in the first place. But again this is a personal decision you will likely have to make. Americans are overall a giving people. It goes against the grain to turn away those in need. In the aforementioned situation where a disaster is long term, you will have to live with whatever decision you choose to make. The best time to think about this situation is now, instead of then.
One answer is to give your extra food to the local food shelf or church, in times of need. Let them disperse the food to those in need, and the needy do not have to know the food originally came from you. This way you and your family are safer without anyone knowing that you have stored food, but still you are helping your fellow man.
Like I said, it is a very personal decision. I might have made you think that I am against giving to those in need. But that was not my intention. I was merely showing you a possible poor outcome if you did choose to share your food. Again, it is a personal choice to make, and obviously, circumstance would change what decision you would make. While making preparations for your family also keep your friends and neighbors in mind. Either get additional food to give away or plan on turning them away and not giving away any of your stored food.
What I’ve just described is one of the reasons that any preparations you choose to make for the future safety of your family should be a secret. Everyone who knows that you are ready for any emergency will promptly make their way to your house as soon as the electric power goes off or it starts to snow or any other possible disaster situation occurs.
They will demand to borrow your generator. They will demand to borrow some fuel for their generator. They will demand to borrow your gas grill and propane. They will demand that you feed them. Refuse, and things could easily get very ugly quickly.
If no one knows what you have, then it can be your choice if you decide to share something or not. Some old sayings are very true like ‘Loose lips sink ships.’ If no one knows that you have stuff, then it will be Your choice if you share. If everyone knows you have stuff, it will more likely be Their choice if you share.
Look at how many people behave at stores having a Black Friday sale: They get aggressive, pushing and shoving and often even fighting. If they do that now over saving a few bucks on something that they likely don’t even need, just think how they will act when they are starving and ‘think’ that you have food?
Hunting And Trapping
Are you planning on hunting for food? Well, so is everyone else. And the sound of a shot can be heard for a very long way. This can draw the guy that does not know how to hunt but does know how to shoot so he can take that deer you carefully stalked and killed. Also, there will likely be roving packs of feral dogs, and they will soon associate that the sound of a gunshot means food for them. Consider: A gut pile from a dead deer or a dead hunter someone else shot or perhaps you if you are busy gutting out your fresh kill. That will be both the dead deer and you on the dog’s menu. The dogs will get food from any of those scenarios.
Caution will be needed all the time. Many people will be trying to hunt for food, and even a poor hunter is lucky sometimes. Wild game numbers in easily-accessible areas will diminish rapidly until only the smartest and fastest animals are left alive. But that is for easy accessible areas. If you live in the boondocks far from any urban center, then the wild game will not diminish in numbers so quickly. Same with fish in the rivers and lakes though that will likely take much longer. So sure, supplement your stored food with fresh wild supplies when you can. But only depend on what you have stored, the wild stuff, whether plant or animal, will only be a possibility, not a sure thing.
Snares and traps will be very useful for an easy and quiet way to add fresh meat. Both are indiscriminate so they might get you a fat rabbit or a skunk or a cat or the neighbor kid. The snare you set in the deer trail could just as easily kill a kid running down the trail. As with everything use with caution and try to think ahead. Also, if someone sees you set snares or traps, they can make it a point to check them daily before you. Or just take them and set them elsewhere.
(To be continued.)