I hope that what I have to say will help someone that is just getting started with their survival preparedness situation, SurvivalBlog has helped me in streamlining our preparations, and I believe in giving back some of what I have received. I have read many different blogs and forums, and come away with the impression that most of the blogs are for the arm chair survivalist that do not try anything for themselves, but only go on what they have read or heard. SurvivalBlog.com is one of the few that have individuals that seem to have tried what they say they have done and shared their experiences.
My experience with a survival mind set started almost a decade ago, but only limited for a few weeks or month at most. That all changed several years ago when I started really looking at the way our country was headed. I will admit that I still have a long ways to go, but with God’s help, and if the world will hold together long enough, I will get to where I desire to be. If not, then my family and I will survive with what we have on hand for a long time.
We do have enough for me and my family for at least a year, longer if we just go to two meals a day. My youngest daughter is almost 17, and I have 4 boys that range in ages from 19 to 33, then two older daughters and their families. You can imagine the appetite of young men so I have taken that into account. Only one son is married and has two small children. I have endeavored to teach my children to always be prepared for as much as possible, if only for a short time. Again, that has changed over the last couple of years. We live in a hurricane prone area, so it is imperative that we always have plenty of food on hand that can be eaten with little or no cooking. I am not talking about MRE’s. I do have two cases of MRE’s that I obtained during the last hurricane that was not eaten, but I like to store what we usually eat daily, and eat what we store. I read that on a blog and it made sense to me.
It was very difficult to get my wife onboard, but during the last hurricane a few years ago, she and my daughter went to my sister’s house because it was further away from the coast than our old house (built in 1925). My sister and her husband had nothing to eat but a few bags of chips and some crackers, and two bottles of soda. They did not even have matches to light the one decorative candle that was in their house. My brother-in-law had unplugged the refrigerator before the hurricane hit so it would not be damaged from power surges. Hence, all the food that was in the refrigerator and their freezer was ruined before it was truly needed. When communications was restored about two days later, my wife called and talked to one of our sons. He told her that we still had cold milk, and were eating fine. At the time, we only kept about two months’ worth of food on hand. It was two days later before she and my daughter were able to come home, and a month before we had electricity restored.
It was at that point that my wife fully came on board with storing extra food. There are times that she will say “I think we have enough”, but we are still building our “lauder” as she sometimes calls it.
There have been times that we were only able to add one or two cans or a bag of rice and beans every two weeks or so, but every little bit helps. There have even been a few times that we could not add anything, but had to use what we had stored just to make it for the week or two before we could buy something. In those cases, we were very glad we had something to fall back on.
It doesn’t matter if you have very little at this point. The time to start is now. Even if you have to do as we did during our lean times with just a few cans of something or a bag of rice and/or beans. You need to get something to hold you over during a natural disaster or the eventual TEOTWAWKI.
I have been an avid hunter all my life until the last decade or so. Hunting leases just became too expensive for my budget. I did try hunting the National Forest for a few years, but they are a dangerous place. You think you are alone, and then a bullet hits a tree just above your head. I decided that was enough of the National Forest for me. My sons’ still hunt the National Forest on occasion, but they too are not having very good success.
Because of where we live, I had built a range in my pasture years ago. I have taught all my children how to shoot firearms from the time they were about 4 years old. At that age, they do not have the concept of how to aim, but they enjoyed shooting with their dad. In my opinion, you can never be too young to learn gun safety. As they grew, their marksmanship also improved, and the enjoyment of just shooting. I still have the Chipmunk and the youth .22lr rifles that they learned with. My granddaughter that is now 3 years old has been shooting with her mom, dad, and papa using that same Chipmunk. That is the first thing she wants to do when they come to visit.
All my children now have their own .45 ACP Glock or XD .45 handguns, a 12ga. Mossberg pump shotgun, a .22 lever action rifle, and a main larger caliber rifle (MBR). My wife can handle the .45 ACP, but prefers her 9mm Glock, and a 20 gauge youth 870 pump shotgun. She is not into rifles yet, but I am still hoping that one day she will ask me for one. I do have a few extra rifles that have been in the family for a long time that she might be able to handle, but I would like to get her something she will enjoy and not be afraid to shoot. We also have several .22 LR handguns that we use for just plinking on occasion. We try to train with the handguns and rifles at least once a month depending on the funds available for ammunition. Ammunition can get expensive with that many shooters at one time. I do reload all our handgun ammunition only, and replace all that we use during our practices.
I was striving for everyone to shoot the same make/caliber/ga. to cut down on the different types of ammunition that I would have to have on hand. I would interject here that it doesn’t matter what you decide for your family. It is what you and your family are comfortable with. My daughter, who is almost 17 likes the Glock, but the XD45 fits her hands better. It is all in your size, training, desire, finances, and ability. Do not buy cheap, since cheap will get you hurt, or killed, or will break down when you need it the most. If you do not have the funds to get everyone their own firearm, buy quality, and each learn to use that quality firearm until you are able to purchase another.
At this point, I would like to say that you cannot go wrong by storing factory ammo for all your firearms. I trust my reloads but do not count it as part of my stored ammunition. I have not had a malfunction with any of the reloads that I have made, but that is not to say it will never happen. I am only human, and could make a mistake. I have read about various amounts of ammunition that should be stored for each firearm, but your comfort level may be different from mine. Personally, I am trying to store at least a thousand rounds of factory ammo for each firearm that we have. I am not quite there yet, but getting closer. At this time I have switched my priorities again. I am trying to build our food supply to a much larger level. That is my number one priority so the ammunition storing will be a little less for now. I am comfortable with what I have on hand, but not so much with our food supply. I believe that it could be over a year to years before everything settles down again, if ever. We also have lots of seeds for the garden.
My family has been truly blessed in that none of us have to take any type of medications. Therefore, it has been relative easy to stock what we think we might need. We have stocked Band-Aids and bandages of various sizes. Antibiotic creams and anti-itch creams, and large quantities of various types of aspirin are in our stores. I just recently purchased a blood pressure kit and a stethoscope. You just never know when you might need this. Along with the various salves and creams, we have items for stomach problems and for dry eyes. We are not as far along in this area as I would like, but we need so little (right now) in this area. We have lots of tooth brushes and tooth paste, dental floss, oral jell, emergency dental repair kits, and some mouth wash. Not to be left out, a lot of TP, and personal things for my wife, daughter, and daughter-in-law. Also we have some preventives. That is all I will say about that. Soap and shampoo will be at a premium, so we have quite a bit of that along with alcohol, peroxide, and disinfectant washes. We have also saved any prescription antibiotics and pain killers from the past. Most of these were for tooth ailments, and from my daughter-in-law. Babies are always taking medications for something, so she has saved them for me.
All my family’s teeth have been taken care of, and kept up with regular cleanings and any minor dental decays have been fixed.
We also have some medications and things for small children, including dozens of cloth diapers. The cloth diapers can be used for almost anything.
Needless to say, we do have other things for medical and personal hygiene, but this is just to give you a rough estimate to what we have on hand for a healthy large family. We didn’t collect all of these preparations overnight. Everything takes time. Just remember that you can only take one step at a time.
There are other areas that we could talk about having on hand, such as alternate power sources, heat sources, clothing, tools, retreats, children’s games, bug or ant solutions, or etc., but you may be able to only concentrate on one specific area at this time. Start there. Start where you are now, and do not get frustrated that it is going so slow, and you feel that you may only have a short time. Something now for your family is better than nothing while waiting for a government that doesn’t have the resources to take care of the millions that depend on it now as proven by the Hurricane Katrina. Your family is depending on you.