Taking Prep To The Next Level

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Besides financial judgments (which are being discussed here regularly), I know we're focused for most of 1999 on prep against the possibility of supply-chain breakdown for ordinary goods: shoes, durable clothing, durable housegoods of various types, etc. The kind of thing we would need for making it through a very deep, long recession or depression ....

Course, we did most all of the core energy, food and basic supply prep in 1998 (obviously, most new GIs must focus on this first). You could call that "Level One" and what we're doing now, "Level Two".

I assume others of you are moving along similar lines? If so, what kinds of stuff are you focusing on and/or where have you found neat deals? Clothing? Kitchen tools? Garden tools?

Here is a small example. We have gravity-fed water, which is awesome, but realized I should get two or three years worth of those simple little $20 Walmart filters we use. It doesn't have to be TEOTWAWKI for those to be unavailable, yet, if they were out-of-stock for a loooong time, it would needlessly affect quality of life.

Here is another example, along similar lines: we have plenty of kitchen knives but they're mostly cheap and they break regularly. Hey, we can always go down to .... and get more, right? What if we can't until 2003 or so?

I know not all of us can afford to replenish/harden our basic goods this year (don't get bummed by this thread and BTW, it's amazing how much cheap but durable stuff can also be located if you're shrewd and inventive), but would appreciate your thoughts and related experiences, tips.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), February 14, 1999


Good points, Big Dog. I, too, feel we are about ready when it comes to foodstuffs and other items that spring readily to mind. For those who have generators and a good supply of fuel, don't forget something as simple as light bulbs. Intermittent use will wear them out more quickly. If you're on a septic system, stock some Rid-X. For those of you who believe in guns and ammo, go buy yourself a reloading kit, along with the powder, primers and bullets. Much cheaper than buying ammo by the box. Go to Sam's and buy batteries (AA, AAA, D and 9-volt). Get a couple (or more) walkie-talkies. You can get them at Radio Shack for about $120 and they have a range of almost a mile. May come in handy. I'm sure there are other things I haven't even thought about, so I'll stay tuned. Hope this helps.

-- Vic (Roadrunner@compliant.com), February 14, 1999.

Sythe, bicycle generator, several years worth of garden seeds, wheel hoe, coffee cans to make cheap garden irrigation system (See Steve Solomons Book Water Wise Vegetables Sasquatch), cream separator to make butter, non-electric kitchen ware- coffee grinder, pasta maker, stainless steel commercial grade kitchen tools (tongs, spoons, bowls etc), stove top waffle iron and popcorn maker, beeswax and rendered tallow for soap, candles and salve, alcohol 120 proof to make tinctures, medicinal herb garden (comfrey, thyme, st johns wort, sage etc), yarn and sewing supplies to keep clothing in good repair, treadle sew machine cistern (large), hand agitator scrub board and wringer for wash, plans for bio-diesel and methane digester, lots of sourdough starters, using attic as dehydrator, making large smoker out of old freezer and the list goes on....

-- EC (Jhnck1776@aol.com), February 14, 1999.

We are focusing upon backup renewable if possible sources of heat, water, food and light. We buy NiCads and candles each week. We have two rechargable lanterns and will add two more soon. WalMart has 8 watt lanterns good for 1000 charges for $35.Two in use and two in charge. We use small solar panels up to 10 watts to recharge. We are also purchasing flashlights and more flashlights and plenty of extra bulbs.

For heat we will soon add a 1000 gallon propane tank to the 500 gallon tank we currently have. We have a wall mounted propane heater which does not require electricity. We have timber but instead will use Aladdin lamps as backup light and heat. Will soon buy 55 gallons of K1.

For water we have a good size pond and a much smaller pond for water if need be. Have 3 55 gallon food grade drums for a cistren to be filled from the pole barn roof. Will store plenty of bleach.

For food we have purchased non hybrid seeds. Will this spring be planting as many fruit trees as possible or the budget allows for. Will have a years supply of food in by this summer, mostly canned, etc. but also 3 months of freeze dried as backup. In March or April we will purchase rabbits, 3 does and one maybe 2 bucks. Also will be raising 50 chicks, mostly for the eggs as I am not a lover of chicken meat. Catfish from the larger pond will provide meat varity.

I have yet to put away a good supply of 223 ammo. I do expect a heavy crackdown on guns and ammo by the government by the end of summer so I better get off my duff on this one. Also we have four legged pests to deal with sometimes especially if raising small farm animals. The cougars in particular are becoming a problem here.

I have a question for anyone with experience. We have an electric wheat grinder as well as a hand cranked one. What watt inverter and how small a solar system can I get by with and power the electric wheat grinder? Yes I am lazy but at 50 that old hand crank dosn't look attractive.

I am a programmer with some years of experience but this thread is much more interesting to me than geek talk.

-- Ed Stevens (ed@terraworld.net), February 14, 1999.

Even putting together a mammoth list on this thread will be tremendously useful, to me, at least. I've already been helped by the first few threads.

Since we're in snow zone, super-durable snow shovels (most of the ones you see these days are ticky-tacky). Snowboots. Hats. Gloves, lots of them. One really durable sled for the little kids.

Make sure truck is really ship-shape (tires ... et al). Lots of oil change capability, for instance (and don't forget that for your generator).

Think "mending" (sewing has already been mentioned) supplies, not just for clothing but tools and other small machinery. Extra stuff on-hand to do small house projects (leaks, holes ...).

Books (hey, second-hand), paper, pencils, crayons, pencil sharpeners .... especially if you have kids and are home-schooling, as we are.

Ed, why not a small generator (approx. $500) for grinder and the like? If you're careful and only using intermittently, you can plenty of grain from it, to say the least.

Another thought: we do have nearby friends who are packing big generators and lots of fuel. They have no problem with our bringing our own electric grinder (K-Tec, cool, we're too old also) from time to time and doing a whole bunch. And they have hand grinders in case ours breaks ....

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), February 14, 1999.


We thought about a generator some time back but discarded the idea due to cost. By this I mean that I would go with a deisel generator due to the long fuel storage time. We do have plenty of room to store fuel but with the other stuff the generator is a budget buster for us.

I did bring a discarded 1500 watt UPS inverter home from work and sometime ago an engineer on this forum supplied me with the specs for using it in a solar generator setup. I do need to take the Excel file he supplied to work where we have Excel on some of our machines and print it off. Then I can take this with the inverter to the local electronics repair shop and have the alteration made.

Then I need to purchase a solar panel, 50 to 75 watt and a deep cycle battery or two from the local auto supply store. Just priced them today at $51 for a 95 amp hour battery.

I think that for $500 we can have a decent solar system. It won't run the frig but a couple of lights, small TV and that electric grinder and I will be most happy. I am rather sold on solar as it does so well with our lanterns, etc.

-- Ed Stevens (ed@terraworld.net), February 14, 1999.

We have a new grandchild, and as anyone with children knows, kids seem to need a new pair of shoes every couple of months. But, ALL shoes are imported. We are buying a new pair (of increasing sizes) every couple of weeks and setting them aside for post-Y2K.

-- No No (nono@nogo.com), February 14, 1999.

The new phase for me is focusing on how to use my property (land) to produce more food and income.

I've decided that there is no way on God's green earth that I can maintain today's lifestyle if the worst happens. So I'm not even going to try.

Once I've taken care of the basics (food, water, shelter and heat) I am starting to raise small livestock (chickens, rabbits and sheep, to start), expand my veggie garden (especially by planting more perennial crops) and have enough items on hand so that I can store at least a one year supply of food that I've grown by myself.

The extra food I grow will be my cash and barter income.

One other thing I'm taking into account is the maxim: Budget the luxuries first. If you do that, your spouse and family will have an easier time coping with the reduction in their standard of living.

-- tom (tomt@virginianet.net), February 14, 1999.

Replacements or parts for brands (or colors?) I'm addicted to, like the Eureka vacuum bags I can't find in the best of times; specialty bulbs for my microwave, oven, etc.; and several gallons of my favorite Sherwin Williams paint in case I'm employed next February with nothing better to do. Lots of cat food (the girls are *very* discriminating). I am replacing my roof this spring so I can match the section I started a few years ago, and while I can still afford it (I'm guessing prices are going way up).

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), February 14, 1999.

No No,

Regarding your grandchild's shoes. Don't forget. Many little ones are hard to fit because they need extra wide shoes in the beginning. Then they thin out some by the second year. Of course, that may only apply to my little tanks (projected to hit the 6'8"+ range), but I hear that it's very common.


-- David (David@BankPacman.com), February 14, 1999.

The Bear bunch has been gathering "stuff" for several years now and has an *extensive* list of things we believe are necessary to live without - let's call it - support of the supply chains. We started this kind of thinking while living in Alaska and visiting friend who didn't get into town but *twice* a year, some only once. When you see some of these peoples homes you get an awfully good idea of just how musch stuff you might need.

Rather that post long lists of items we'd rather give you some questions for you to ask yourself. Reason 1 - everyones situation varies: climate, age, location, infrastructure already in place, etc. Reason 2 - Thinking through the process is just about as important as getting the "stuff". It is the beginning (or continuation for some) of the process of becoming self-sufficient.

These questions have been thought about and talked about many time by the Bear bunch and close friends.

Question 1 - How hard is it for us to make if we HAD to make it by hand? Go get Carla Emery's book The Encyclopedia of Country Living before you do anything else. You can learn how to make a LOT of things from it. But MANY things that are fairly essential for "normal" living are VERY difficult to make by hand. Needles come to mind first.

Question 2 - How vital is it for us? What are things that we have used maybe not recently but in the last 10 yrs that were vital at that time.

Question 3 - How expensive is it now vs. how expensive might it be if the supply lines were interupted. Example: Is it made at ALL locally. If not it will probably be very expensive post whatever. This is one of the reasons everyone list will be some different.

Question 4 - How long will it store? If it's something that we will use anyway and we have the space to store it we think having a 10 yr supply is not unreasonable.

Question 5 - What might sort of fit into the above catgories but also have good trade value?

Question 6 - What would be nice to have as a "luxury" item if we had been down on hard times for a while? Example: having, say, a small necklace for a special gift for a daughter who will turn 16 two years from now might be the nicest thing in the world at the time if we had nothing else to give her - giftwise.

Greybear, who might change his mind and post some of the lists later.

-Got pencils?

-- Greybear (greybear@home.com), February 14, 1999.


In the northern states which experience cold and snowy Winters, extra warm clothing is a must. I found a nice heavy brown coat for $8 at a local thrift shop. Wal*Mart had a clearance sale on Winter clothing and boots. I have wondered if this will be the last Winter where I'll be able to purchase inexpensive Winter clothing. Last month when my area was hit with an extremely heavy snow, I didn't get the laundry done. I had only one week's worth of underwear and T-shirts. I ended up 4-wheeling it to K-Mart and bought a whole week's supply. Obviously I'll need to purchase more if the power grid shuts down for an extended period. I've given up on the idea of obtaining a generator. I'm going lowtech with a cast iron wood stove. There's only so much room where I can place my tanks of extra gas, and those I intend to use for refueling the vehicle. More tools are a must! If you can find some at good prices and of high quality, get extra which can be shared or bartered. Because I didn't truly GI until OCT98, I've been combining both "levels", and I'm going broke fast. I very much wanted a super new computer, but the coming hard times have redirected my cash flow.

What is the Third Level?

-- dinosaur (dinosaur@williams-net.com), February 14, 1999.


Please post your tips and lists.

Got time?

-- dinosaur (dinosaur@williams-net.com), February 14, 1999.

I'm ordering 150Lbs of green coffee beans this week. It keeps for years and is not hard to roast in a pot with a lid(just keep it shakin). Great barter item as well.

Got caffein?


-- LM (latemarch@usa.net), February 14, 1999.

Don't forget first aid supplies and a good first aid book. Aspirin, bandages, pepto bismal, hydrogen peroxide, toothpaste, etc. may be invaluable. Take a first aid course. You may save a life or maybe just an arm or leg!

-- nurse (rtf5653@aol.com), February 14, 1999.

Bicycle parts: tires, tubes, hand pump. Clothes line and pins. Duct tape, wasp spray, ant killer. Wind-up clock, #5 wash tub, fire extinguisher. New surge protectors, new smoke detectors. Extra tires for each vehicle, extra battery, too. Replacement windshield wipers. Extra plywood and 2x4's. Decks of cards, board games, dominos. LOTS of books!

-- Gayla Dunbar (privacy@please.com), February 15, 1999.

Gardening tools; sharpeners for knives, shears and scissors; fabric and thread; hair brushes, scissors, barrettes/clips/elastics; shoe repair kit, extra soles, awl, etc; mouse traps... I can think of more things than I have money for, unless I win the lottery LOL.

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.net), February 15, 1999.

dinosaur asked --- what is the Third Level?

Cross over to the baseline prep thread that is also live today. The third level is implementing a "rural bug-out plan" (unless you're already rural ...) NOW.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), February 15, 1999.


If you are going to have extra tires, make sure they are MOUNTED on WHEELS or know someone who can do the job. Auto and truck tires are REAL TOUGH to mount without the proper equipment and tools.


-- Chuck, night driver (rienzoo@en.com), February 15, 1999.

Especially for those who aren't used to long hours of home gardening--one or two of those "garden scoots," you know, seats on wheels. Definitely helps the worn-out knees and creaky back of this

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), February 15, 1999.

Salt: We have 200 lbs. of canning salt so far. Get non-iodized salt for food preservation. Extra guitar strings.


Paper: I'm taking home boxes of paper from work that has been printed on one side. Paper takes all kinds of sophisticated chemicals and processes to make; it could easily be in short supply. Get a couple of cases of regular office paper for bartering. The printed-on-one-side stuff is for your own correspondence and could even be used as substitute T.P. (ouch!).

-- Franklin Journier (ready4y2k@yahoo.com), February 15, 1999.

Amen -- moving to Level II!! Galvanized steel tubs, folding clothes- drying racks, old-fashioned washboard, Bissel sweeper (not vacuum cleaner), dozens and dozens of white wash cloths (can buy in packages of 10-12), lots of extra socks and underwear (they seem to develop holes before any other article of clothing). Instead of replacing our carpet as planned this summer, we are installing hardwood floors. Three children, two dogs, one cat--and no vacuum cleaner???Ech!

-- Brenda Parker (BParker201@aol.com), February 15, 1999.

Ed Stevens, The experts recommend 6-volt golf cart batteries connected in series instead of marine type deep cycle 12 volts. You might want to look into that before you muy.

-- Puddintame (dit@dot.com), February 15, 1999.

Crocks of various gallon sizes for making vinegar, pickles, and saurcraut. Canning jars and extra sealer lids. Quality whet and honing stones for sharpening knives, pruners, sissors, scythes. Drip system supplies. Water windmill. Replacement flue pipe for the stoves. Stove cement. Paper: writing, drawing, ring binder, steno, art, journal/diary. Pencils, pens, colored pencils, crayons, water colors. Music books, guitar strings. Darts and dart board. Work gloves. Rolls of barbed wire, orchard fencing, metal fence poles. Extra chain, ropes, and a come-along. Plastic and metal plumbing supplies: joints, lengths, valves - tape and glue. Rolled roofing and composite shingles. Animal cart. Bicycle cart. Several yards of canvas, bolt of cheesecloth. Bricks: cement, red, fire. Cement. Citronella oil. 5 year calendar. Stainless steel dairy buckets.

-- Mitchell Barnes (spanda@inreach.com), February 15, 1999.

Gayla, Chuck - Your suggestion about extra (mounted) tires makes so much sense. I'm thinking in particular that this mild winter has exploded in potholes. At least the DPWs can afford to get around to filling them *this* year. But maybe not next year. I remember losing both of my right tires to a persistent a hole a couple years ago, so a set all around would be a great idea. I am also sending out all of my rugs to be cleaned next fall, could be the last opportunity for quite a while.

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), February 15, 1999.

Didn't read every word of postings, BUT, saw only ONE reference to buying boots . BOOTS AND SHOES !!! Think of all the WALKINg you and the kids will do !! I used to wear out very thick soled work boots/ shoe in three months flat AND that was only an eight hour day. Eagle

-- Harold Walker (e999eagle@freewwweb.com), February 17, 1999.

Looking for a good deal on Y2K lighting, water filters, and grain mills? Check out the links below:

Cooperative Preps: Aladdin Lamps, etc.
http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=001p 2y

Cooperative Preps: Katadyn Water Filters, etc.
http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=001p IM

Cooperative Preps: Corona Victoria Grain Mill with Large Hopper, etc.
http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=001p JE

Stan Faryna

Got 14 days of preps? If not, get started now. Click here.

Click here and check out the TB2000 preparation forum.

-- Stan Faryna (faryna@groupmail.com), November 22, 1999.

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