Not Prepping … Just Prepared

It would seem that once there is a TV reality show about something than you can assume that it’s gone mainstream enough that the denizens of the mainstream media world are interested. So it seems to have happened with ‘prepping’ – that is, being prepared for the zombie apocalypse with a garage or a bunker full of shelf-stable and dried foods, a water purification system and a couple of cases of munitions. Meh … a lot of people went nutso over this just before New Years’ Day 2000, and there always has been a lunatic fringe … but then ensuring that you have a plentiful supply of food, drink and supplies on hand used to be pretty mainstream, actually. It was called ‘getting ready for winter’ in the 19th century, especially if you lived on a homestead half a day’s journey from the nearest general store. It certainly has been a requirement for LDS church members, as I discovered when I lived in Utah. It seemed pretty sensible for me, actually – having an emergency stash of food.

I remember my mother telling me of a friend of hers, whose husband was laid off from the Lockheed assembly line. They bought a hundred-pound sack of dried beans, which formed the largest part of their daily meals until he was employed again. We never were forced to that extreme, Dad being regularly employed, but on occasion my mother finished out the last day or two before his paychecks arrived with barely a handful of dollars and change to buy groceries with. The grandparents remembered not just the Depression, but hard times before that. They always – especially Granny Jessie who was raised on a farm – had a stash of foodstuffs on hand. So, it always seemed quite natural to read in the Little House Books, of how Pa and Ma Ingalls planted a garden, harvested from it, stored away potatoes and squash in a root cellar, butchered a pig and smoked the hams and made sausage, made apple butter and wild-berry jam. I don’t remember if Ma made cheese from fresh cow’s milk; but I do remember descriptions of churning butter from it.

Mind you, my own parents weren’t that hard-core about do-it-yourself food, but they had the can-do-it-yourself attitude about a lot of things, including landscaping, home renovation and shade-tree auto repair. I came away from the assignment in Utah with a full-size freezer, a dehydrator with a lot of extra trays, and a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer with a lot of extra attachments … like a sausage stuffer, for instance. It just seemed quite natural to get interested in home brewing, and home cheese-making as well, as the results have been so delicious … and doing this had the added benefit of me being able to write fairly knowledgeably about a 19th century homemaker doing all this. Although – I am not hard-core enough to do all this over a wood-burning iron stove. But there is something very satisfactory about eating a slice of home-made baguette with a slice of home-made cheese on it, to eating fresh salad greens from your own garden, tomatoes and beans and squash that you picked just that afternoon.

We’ve just started doing jams and pickles and relishes of our own, in addition to all the other things. How much better than the purchased food will they taste? I’m beginning to think the next thing will be keeping hens for eggs, and I just don’t know how the neighbors will feel about that. Keeping a small cow for milk, though – that is definitely out. The yard is just not large enough.

8 thoughts on “Not Prepping … Just Prepared”

  1. People who live on small farms can be self-sufficient and are difficult for the State to control. Victor Klemperer wrote about a family friend who sheltered him on her farm during the last days of WW2. The farmers were the only German civilians who had enough to eat. The govt may try to take your crops but how can the govt even know how much you produce? Big govt is always hostile to the kulaks.

  2. This is similar to the late 70s when there was a lot of interest in becoming self sufficient, especially in food. My office manager was Mormon and she gave me some publications on things like milling wheat, which is easier to store when it has not been milled to flour. I’ve forgotten a lot of the details but survivalism was a Carter byproduct and, if we are unlucky enough to see Obama re-elected, it will come back strong. Sturm Ruger sold a million guns in the first three months of the year and has stopped taking orders until they catch up. Obama has been the biggest boon to the gun industry ever. I can’t imagine what it would be like if he got a second term. Fortunately, they seem to be pretty inept so far.

  3. The public at large thinks you’re crazy until the apocalypse comes – then they would try to kill you go get what you have.

  4. …then they would try to kill you go get what you have.

    Which is why I don’t understand why the “Doomsday Preppers” people are going on TV to announce “Hey, we have all this food & water stored for when The End comes!” Wouldn’t you want to keep that quiet?

    Some people are just dying to be on TV, I guess.

  5. Yeah,I would have thought that Opsec Rulz in that case. There was a long essay that I read online somewhere or other, I think it was written by a person with an interest in preparedness, who was distilling the various experiences during and after Katrina. That was one of the very key things that he advised; keep it quiet. Don’t tell your neighbors, unless they are ones whom you trust absolutely. If you are sheltering in place in your home, after a disaster, don’t even advertise to the local law or civil defense personnel that you have anything more than a couple of cans of tuna and a jug of water if they try and get you to leave. Just stay very low-key about it all.

  6. When T.S.H.T.F. it would be nice to know exactly which s**t it’s going to be beforehand.

    It might be instructive to learn about what refugee/survivors did in the past. WWII refugee/survivors, especially, since these instances are probably well documented and numerous.

  7. Right off the bat, I know what one woman internee – Agnes Keith – did in Sumatra, when it became inevitable that the Japanese were coming, and she and her family would not be able to get away. She bought a huge supply of vitamin tablets and suppliments which fortunately did not take up much room in a suitcase. She had a toddler son and whatever happened, she wanted to keep him healthy.

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