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Sonlit Acres

Encouraging sustainable living

WHAT WE SHOULD LEARN AND WHAT WE SHOULD DO NEXT

As pictures of empty store shelves are posted all over social-media all over America, it should be teaching us a lesson about not having enough stored at home. 

Hang on, were hordes of selfish American’s really squirreling away 90 or 100 rolls of toilet paper? As the panic subsides, I think the answer will be clear.   Instead, the data will show that the fear of the UN prepared prompted panic in headlines about empty shelves which caused people that are normally quite rational to change their behavior by panic. These actions have led to short-term supply issues.  

Anyone with any sense of economics knows that modern supply chains rely on just-in-time ordering and delivery. In America's case supermarkets, production schedules are tailored precisely to demand, so that unused stock does not sit in warehouses or go to waste. With this or any future crisis, the supply chain has not run out of essential goods such as toilet paper; the difficulty is getting them onto the shelves quickly enough.

 Urban   families, unlike their Rural counterparts have their own version of just-in-time supply chains. They pick up milk on their way home from work. They buy a dozen eggs from a local store, rather than driving to an out-of-town supermarket to load their larder for the week. That approach seems to make sense. Under normal circumstances, the just-in-time system is convenient. Yet it is also, as we have discovered in the past couple of weeks, fragile. Until some disruption comes along and causes panic once the panic buying starts the system goes out the window.  

When the government declared a National State of Emergency and we were asked to stay home for the next couple weeks. In other words, self-isolate. From there this is the picture I have in my head, many people looked in their fridge, and then the cupboard and thought, OH NO!  And their trip to the supermarket wasn’t evidence of hoarding; it was proof that to many have been running an overly efficient supply chain, their homes and the new circumstances meant many had to think of having to stock up not over time but. RIGHT NOW! The shortages we are seeing now is caused by people adding as much as they possibly could just in case, they can’t get out again.    

When the news started reporting on empty store shelves, those frightening pictures convinced even more that there was a problem with food supply. And, like in a bank run, perception quickly became reality. Large lines started to form. Online slots for supermarket deliveries filled up, and on line stores like Amazon sold out. The situation spiraled. What happened in stores is well worth thinking about, because it tells us we have a serious problem with how we depend on our modern system of food delivery. As businesses have created ever-greater efficiency they have created systems that are finely tuned, but also subject to disruption.  

We have been trained that efficiency is to be desirable. We often don’t see, or don’t acknowledge, the risk of catastrophic meltdown.   Under perfect conditions delivery works fine. However, that very efficiency makes it less robust. Highly efficient systems have no room for error, or disruption as well as no spare capacity. That’s the problem because the perfect situation never truly exists or lasts. Events happen more often than you’d think.  

The coronavirus crisis has exposed our false economy. It’s too early to know how many of the changes caused by this pandemic’s lock down will last. But we already know that survivors of disasters, wars, and famines have a tendency to store food. These people today are called homesteaders and preppers. Some grow much of their own and others buy a little bit extra each shopping day so they can build up extra supplies and have them in the event something like this happens.

Regaining confidence in a system once you’ve seen how fragile it is, is difficult. What folks need to do is prepare themselves in the event it should happen again, and we know it will. Here is a post-coronavirus suggestion: Read the list below to give you an idea as to what and how much you should store to be comfortable.

It is reported that the average adult will consume the following amounts of fresh food per year. Taking these figures you should be able to figure out what you want to store and for how long you will feel comfortable. I don't recommend trying to stock up and put further burdens on our supply chain at this time. We need to think of other families as well. This disruption will pass in due time and once it does will be a good time to start stocking up. Since you have a little more time at home it's a good idea to start working this plan out.

 

Meat - 150 to 200 pounds
Flour - 200 to 300 pounds
Sugar or honey - 60 pounds
Fats or Oils - 60 pounds
Salt - 5 pounds
Powdered Milk - 75 pounds
Vegetables and Fruits - 600 to 700 pounds
Water - 375 gallons

The amounts above are good guidelines, but need to be considered
from the actual point of preserved foods rather than fresh foods.
Adding half again as much that is suggested would be realistic for preserved foods.

Meat:

During hard times, people can easily get by with less protein
than 150 pounds of fresh meat per year, the average is to near a
half pound of meat per day! A canned, cooked one pound ham, for example,
would be a real treat once a week, and would easily feed a family of four.
For weekday meals for a family of four, a 5 ounce can of tuna, canned
chicken, 12 ounce can of luncheon meat, or 12 ounce can of corned
beef can be used in a casserole (or whatever) and provide enough protein .

Flour:

The amount of 200 to 300 pounds of flour per year is realistic, as in very hard times most people would be making their own bread and pasta. Using a hand cranked mill to produce flour is a sure way to limit the amount of flour required, because milling by hand is hard work!


Sugar or honey:

The recommended 60 pounds is the absolute minimum needed, in reality
far below the actual amount desired, as sweeteners are the
carbohydrates needed for energy, and survival is hard work. It is obvious that the people that figured this amount wasn’t thinking folks would have to put up their own. This is a prime example of the consumerism frame of mind!

The 60 pounds listed does not take into account home canning, and the fact that people will make their own jellies and jams and can fruits, all of which require a lot of sugar or honey.

Fats or oils:

Again, this is the least amount needed, because 60 pounds of
fats or oils does not go far when used in baking, frying, and other
uses. In hard times, people actually require fat in their diet in order to do the hard work required of them. In every country which food is rationed, cooking oils are one of the first items of scarcity.

Corn oil stores for years, and so does plain, inexpensive hydrogenated lard. Not that I care for hydrogenated anything but in tough times it’s better than nothing. Rendering one’s own lard is in my opinion the sure way to go. My grandmother used to render it and put it in a 50 pound tin and store in the brook behind their house.

Canning Salt:

Whoever dreamed this up must have been out to lunch. Five
pounds of salt would be the recommended minimum per person per year, what about making kraut, salt preserving meat, or preserving salt pork or fish in a barrel of salt?

For those needs, a family should have no less than 50 pounds of fine grade, iodized salt per person, salt is available from a feed and seed store or ask a local baker if they will order you some in bulk. Salt is essential to life!

Remember the stories of the salt caravans in Africa and the Middle East, Salt was worth more than gold!

Powdered milk:

The 75 pounds per person is all right, but for cooking needs a
couple of cases of canned condensed milk is a real good idea.


Fruits and Vegetables:

In hard times, greens and fruits are indeed a must have plenty of food item, as they provide the vitamins and minerals our bodies require to remain
healthy.

Storing vegetables and fruits is where canning and dehydrating
really shines. Combine canned and dried veggies along with fresh greens from a garden and canned fruit juices, sauces, and soups and the 600 pounds per year becomes far more easily reachable.

Canned fruit juices contain essential vitamins and minerals that keep us healthy. Don’t be afraid to put them up.


Firearms and ammo:

 I’m not pulling any punches here, in hard times whether you like them or you don’t, there is no argument against the usefulness of a good firearm.


A firearm is a tool that is indispensable during hard times. I recommend that anyone purchasing one be familiarized and trained in their safe use! (Before buying or using one.) A firearm can protect you and your family against the threat from all kinds of predators. It will in the hands of a good marksman, put food on the table. There are many choices in firearms and one needs to make their choice depending on their own personal needs as to type and size.

My advice would be one good rifle and one good shotgun. With these two firearms one could keep a considerable amount of food on the table. If one can only afford to purchase a single firearm, I would recommend a 12-gauge shotgun. It is very useful in the taking of game at closer range with the proper ammunition, and will do a fine job protecting one’s family if need be.

A hand gun can be carried with ease and is not cumbersome, which makes it indispensable for the protection of you and your family, and like long guns are capable of taking game when in the hands of a good marksman.

How much ammo does one need?

I would recommend that one research this question a little before deciding on how much to keep, because the type of firearm you choose will dictate what kind of hunting you will do (whether it be small or big game animals.) and how much hunting you will have to do.

As a typical homesteader and hunter, I would say no less than 200 rounds for a center fire rifle, 500 rounds of a shotgun, and with .22 long rifle ammo being more economical I would say no less than 1000 - 1500 rounds.

This is only a suggestion and is not absolute; it is up to each individual to determine the needs of their families during hard times and to make their own determination. 

 

Trapping

Another touchy subject for many, but again in a survival situation, they too are indispensable.  They hunt while you are doing other important tasks in a survival situation. What they catch can be eaten even if at this moment your thoughts think what your catch isn’t too desirable. One must remember that much game will disappear quickly if things should go south.

My recommendation would be at least 6 #110 body traps and 6 leg hold traps the size of these will depend on the type of animals in your location.  A dozen traps can and will do plenty of hunting for you. I also suggest you do your research on how to when it comes to trapping. Practice now could make a difference whether your family survives or doesn’t.

Everything here will set you up to be prepared for a predetermined length of time. With that being said, it is wise to have a plan of food production in place and operating if something should come, whether it is man made or natural. To prepare to rough it until the system rights it-self isn’t a bad plan, but planning in case it never returns is the best plan.

I would also like to add that our favorite way to preserve foods is by canning what can be as well as drying. I would consider in my stocking plan to learn how to can, buy from farmers markets if you have no place to grow your own or take a trip to you nearest vegetable farm and buy your fresh produce.  Find a place to buy local farm raised meats if you can. If you can't then yes you can buy meat in the stores and can it as well. Look around for a book on how to can, it really is simple and then buy the latest edition of the Ball Blue Book, it's loaded with things to can and gives your time tables for canning. 

 

I hope you find what is here useful for you and your family.

 

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