It has gotten harder to find quiet time to write here on my sweet little blog. Between the garden, this blog, growing and learning my Thrive business while creating websites and social networking for it has all been keeping me busy enough for three of me. But don’t mistake a lag in postings for having neglected, or even slowing down on my preparations. Oh, contraire! I stay true to prepping each and every day! For me, prepping is as natural as breathing. The problems that I fear so much have not gotten any better.
The economy is still a disaster. We still have unacceptably high unemployment even with fuzzy counting by this administration. The housing market is no better. America’s debt continues to rise and I watched our POTUS mention more stimulus! This country’s leading law official, U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder is playing political games before Congress while a brave border agent lies in his grave and a family continues to grieve. We have a government attack against the very basic principles of the catholic church’s position on human life, jeopardizing freedom of religion. And the cherry on the top? Planned Parenthood now has a facility in a school! We can talk about these things until we are blue in the face, but I realize the “Hope & Change” which will work best for my family is in my pantry. But I can not contain my joy for Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin’s victory over the heavy-handed tactics of the big unions! I’ll admit, it does give me hope for November. But let’s get back on message here.
This photo of one of my pantries is a small sample of the things I have done toward my preparations. Canning, pickling and dehydrating. I have gained many skills to have healthy, shelf-stable food ready for me and my family in any emergency. Unlike store-bought foods, I know and can pronounce every ingredient in each jar. In this sample are pressure canned meats and vegetables. A lot are pickled and even more are dehydrated. The food was prepared from the freshest of sources, most from the farmers market.It’s become second-nature for me to use absolutely as much of my food as humanly possible and buy food when it’s on sale. An example was our Easter ham. To feed three adults and two toddlers, I bought the largest bone-in ham while it was on sale. I estimate we didn’t eat even 1/4 of it. But that was the plan. After a great feast to celebrate Christ’s resurrection and leftovers for sandwiches, the rest was cut into pieces. The ham and bone were saved and put in FoodSaver bags and into the freezer. I wound up with two bags at least 12″ to 16″ long filled with delicious ham. Some time later, I pulled the bone and one bag and yielded 17 quart jars of awesome ham and beans. I’m hoping to finish the second bag soon with another batch of the same. All this to practice and hone the skills to always safely preserve food as it is available. There just may be a time it becomes quite scarce, but my family will not be effected. But I’m still struggling on my bread-making skills. Thank goodness for electricity and my Emeril bread machine.:-) But I will master it soon.
As part of my food preparations, I could not ignore the things I cannot grow or preserve. A wide variety of fruits, vegetables, meats, beans and rice are just not possible for me to grow myself. So when I got serious about food storage – back in the day – I began purchasing freeze-dried, dehydrated and powdered foods, things like ham, roasts, beef, chicken and turkey. I bought powdered peanut butter and honey, two very important staples in my home. Powdered butter, eggs and sour cream. I also stocked up on powdered milk, potato flakes, strawberries, banana and even powdered shortening! I had no preference when I began purchasing these foods from what company I ordered from. I really was wingin’ it, watching You Tube videos by other preppers and general Google searches. I found companies like Honeyville, Auguson, Thrive and others. But I was sold on Thrive almost immediately. Hands down, the best tasting food when I compared similar products with all the manufacturers. Don’t get me wrong. Thrive does not carry every product out there. The peanut butter, for example is not sold by Shelf Reliance/Thrive, so I have no problem buying it from Honeyville. However, I have a HUGE, negative view of and experience with Auguson Farms and will personally never buy a product from them again. But my experience with buying canned foods, Shelf Reliance and Thrive foods has such a huge selection, they were my “go-to” preference. They (we) really do carry almost everything a diligent prepper needs and wants.
One thing that set Thrive miles apart from these other companies was their philosophy of not only buying food storage, but using it for your everyday recipes. Through them, I learned how to convert from “conventional” cooking to a much easier way with their food. When I began building my storage, it never occurred to me to actually use it for everyday meals! The more I learned from them and the more I cooked with storage products, the more I preferred it over traditional cooking. I was saving money, discovering delicious new recipes and learning how to convert my families favorite recipes to be prepared with Thrive and freeze-dried food. I’m sure we all do this. When we find a great bargain, we can’t wait to share it with our family and friends. I am no different and was quick to share what I was learning with stored food. As I shared this exciting discovery with my friends and neighbors, they all reacted with the same surprise and pleasure as I had. And most of them are not even preppers! Just by sharing my experiences, I began to see my friends and families converting to seeing the prudence of having an emergency supply of food and supplies, but also cooking with it for the pure convenience of it. When these friends began showing interest in using some of Thrives product, I decided to become a consultant. It allows me the platform to help people learn why food storage and emergency preparedness is so critical. I can now say, thanks to the forward-thinking of Shelf Reliance, that I use and serve prepared food storage to my family every day! I’ve learned and now live by the preppers golden rule. Store what you eat, and eat what you store. It’s healthy, full of great flavor and much more cost-effective. And let me tell you this, the time-saving aspect of using this food is incredible. No cleaning and cutting fruits and veggies, minimal clean up if you count dusting your counters after putting the dry ingredients together, and virtually no waste because it’s already prepared and cooked. So this concludes the “good” or “happy” part of my prepping updates. Now lets move onto the gardening.The weather here in Washington has been dismal. I think we have had about 2 weeks worth of sun and warm weather, and they were not consecutive. The garden is growing, but ever so slowly. The potatoes, cucumbers and tomatoes are doing rather well. They are strong and you almost see them grow. Even so, there are no flowers or fruits bearing yet. Nothing is dying, but the rest are barely plugging along and have barely grown at all since I took them out of the greenhouse and transferred them into the garden. Even the strawberries are lagging, which kinda surprises me. I have them planted in a new Garden Stick and thought they might do better and grow faster. They aren’t doing any better or worse than any other plant, just all the same. All I can do is pray and hope they all stay healthy until the “real” summer arrives. I was counting on a very large crop this year to help support and add our supplies through the fall and winter. It really brings home just how vital crops were to the lives of earlier generations. Even though I’m worried, I know the canned supplies will be there. So you see, I am still as committed to prepping. I still do something every day, even though time has not been available as much as I wish to post all the fun and wonderful things I am learning in preparing for hardships “others” will endure.
Happy prepping, friends. And remember, store what you eat, and eat what you store.