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Becoming Prepared: One Couple’s Story

basement stored food

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There are a lot of people in America today who are concerned about emergency preparedness.

Just like people were afraid of the Russians in the 50s — building bomb shelters and stocking them with all of the things that a person might need for daily life in the event of a nuclear fallout — these Americans, “preppers,” are preparing themselves for another kind of fallout. Whether it’s a hostile takeover they fear, an overreaching, over-intrusive government, or something else, people all over the place are getting ready for a catastrophe. What is shocking to me is the way that a lot of outsiders view these people as just plain crazy.

In my house, the focus on emergency preparedness began when my husband lucked into a pallet-load of MREs (meals, ready to eat) for the low price of free. Now, trust me, when I learned what he had gotten, I didn’t think it was lucky. My first thought was more like, “Where the heck are we going to put a pallet of MREs?” I had no idea what we were going to do with 400 pre-prepared meals, but we tediously started tucking them away in our basement, wherever they would fit on shelves, under tables, stacked ceiling-high in the corner. The amount of packaged food we had was enough for both of us to live on for a whole year!

Once we had the MREs, the obsession really began to grow in my husband. He was convinced that we needed to have more than just food stored away in the basement — that there were all kinds of things that we could find ourselves needing if something bad ever did happen. A lot of the time, I kind of brushed him off. It wasn’t that I didn’t see his point or that I didn’t think it was good to be prepared, but I just didn’t see an immediate threat on the way we lived our lives.

Could Famine And Hunger Come To America?

Around that same time, I was invited to have dinner with a friend of mine in her home and help sort out some of her little girl’s baby clothes that she wanted to give away. When we went into her basement, I was surprised to see several rows of shelves filled with all kinds of necessities, from canned food to soap, deodorant, unopened packs of underwear and socks. There were boxes stacked in the corner labeled “razors” and “batteries.”

“I know you probably think this is crazy,” she said to me as she led me through the maze of shelves to a storage room in the back, “But you’re going to think this is even crazier.”

As we stepped into the storage room where she kept her baby memorabilia, I was surprised to see a room full of modern-day weaponry. Rifles were hung from pegs on the walls next to Kevlar vests and body armor. There was a safe, bigger than a refrigerator, in the corner that my friend told me was filled with cash, bullets and knives. I didn’t think she was crazy, though. I was happy that my husband and I weren’t the only ones concerned about the future.

Shortly after that, a lot of talk came up about changing gun laws, limiting civilians’ rights to certain weapons, etc. My husband and I had a talk about where things were going with this country that we love so much. Let me set my disclaimer right here: we are not conspiracy theorists, pessimists or any other kind of “ists.” We don’t live every day with this overriding fear that President Obama is going to come to our front door and demand that we hand over our guns and our freedom. But freedom doesn’t mean what it once did. Every year, the government takes a little more power over us, our freedoms become a little more shortened, and there may come a day when they are shortened too much and we have to fend for ourselves. We don’t hope for that day, but there is no harm in being prepared for it if or when it comes.

We decided that we were not going to be left without a bone to gnaw if the big bad ever happens. So we cleared out a space in our basement and started acquiring the things that we saw a need for: Air mattresses, food (obviously), first aid, a generator, a solar shower, batteries, propane and gasoline (stored carefully away from everything else), weapons and ammunition. My husband learned to reload bullets so that we wouldn’t be dependent on sporting goods stores to sell us a $60 box of bullets that may not even be available in the future. I learned how to make lye soap and lotion from scratch and we stocked up on all the ingredients and tools for that, as well.

We didn’t bother collecting any other kinds of food to store up, though we do occasionally can our vegetables. Having been raised hunting and fishing, my husband was confident that food would never be a problem for us as long as he had guns, ammunition and fishing poles. I was confident enough in his abilities that I didn’t question it. After all, we haven’t had to purchase meat in the seven years that we’ve been together.

Based on everything we have stored up, my husband and I calculated how long we could survive. What we found was that without buying anything else, with no outside help whatsoever, the two of us could live for four years without ever having a need to leave our own property.

When you make the decision to really get started with emergency preparedness, there is a strong possibility that people will think you are crazy. People think we’re crazy sometimes, too. You have to ask yourself, though: When the time comes, who is really going to be crazy? Is it going to be you? Or is it going to be the hordes of people knocking on your door because you were the only one who was ready?

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  1. my only concern for you is that you depend on meat from the wilderness, and in a shtf situation so will every single person on the planet. your state has 1 million people for example and 50,000 hunters and fishermen. during a shtf situation your state now has 1 million hunters and fishermen, that could deplete the available wild game.

    • Your correct. there is a story I read recently of the situation in Europe during the 2nd world war. Every type of edible animal quickly disappeared. The assumption was so many people killed and ate them quickly and then starved. Something to think about, perhaps this is a good time to think about the diet of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, where they ate only vegetables and drank water (for 10 days). Yes we can survive on a vegetarian diet. I don’t I still like a good Sirloin, but have eaten veggies for an extended period to test my theory. I actually felt better. But doggone it, I like steak and beer…

    • I have heard about a time when Argentina was at it’s worst that a truck transporting cattle broke down and within minutes people came running and got the cattle killing them and dividing them up on the spot.

  2. Pretty good article that might help convince folks there’s sense in prepping. The part about hunting and fishing for meat is shakey though. Even though we live in a prime hunting area [I could literally fill our freezers from our yard], can’t delude myself into thinking it could be relied on for survival. Should the wrong scenario occur, people would be flooding from the cities and the critters would swiftly disappear. There will however, be lots of two-legged ANIMALS that must be taken into account. And then there’s that water thing…..

    • My hard assets aren’t necessarily for 4 legged animals. I “don’t” think of the two-legged kind as an entree though.

  3. raising your own animals, chickens, turkeys ducks, and aquaponics, where youll riaie your own fish as well, id think would be better in the long run, i fear the fish and game will be hunted to near extinction,

  4. “My God shall supply all of my needs, according to His riches in Glory. He shall give His angels charge over me, to protect me in all of my ways.”

    “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

    What do these verses say and imply?

    Do not fear. Believe in the miraculous. “Seek first the Kingdom, and everything else will be added to you.”

    • Prov 22:3
      A prudent man sees danger and hides himself;
      but the simple go on, and suffer for it.

      Genesis 41:34-36
      Let Pharaoh take action to appoint overseers in charge of the land, and let him exact a fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven years of abundance. “Then let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming, and store up the grain for food in the cities under Pharaoh’s authority, and let them guard it. “Let the food become as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which will occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land will not perish during the famine.

      Proverbs 6:6-8
      Go to the ant, o sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest.

      Proverbs 13:16
      A wise man thinks ahead; a fool doesn’t, and even brags about it!

      Proverbs 15:22
      Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.

      Proverbs 20:18
      Prepare plans by consultation, and make war by wise guidance.

      Proverbs 24:3-4
      By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

      Proverbs 27:12
      A prudent man sees evil and hides himself, the naive proceed and pay the penalty.

      Ecclesiastes 11:2
      Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth.

      Christian Emergency Preparedness:

  5. I have to agree with everyone else about the meat issue. You might want to think about canning chicken, beef, deer meat, etc. There are plenty of books and websites about how to do that. Also I didn’t see where you mentioned water. You either need to store lots of water or have a rainwater catching system or a well. Maybe all 3 would be a good idea, backups if nothing else. But I loved the articule and I hope you will write more about how your prepping. Your already miles ahead of other people who don’t think it will ever happen, who won’t be prepared when something bad happens. Good Luck on everything.

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