What We’ve Gathered In (So Far)

Can I just admit up front that with all of the economic brouhaha that has been going on, I am vacillating daily between panic and gratitude?

Well, panic might be a bit of an overstatement, so let’s go with worry.

Anyway, I worry about what is going to happen in the future, especially since McH practices his mad IT skillz in an industry that was already in trouble before the recent economic meltdown.  Now?  Who knows what will happen to that industry.  We keep taking comfort in the fact that he is one of the very, very few IT managers corporation wide who actually has an IT background, and the higher ups have told him that is worth a lot.  A LOT.

But, as I said on Monday, I am grateful for the teachings and counsel we have received throughout our lives.  I am grateful that we have at least a couple of months worth of food stored up, and I am grateful that, for the time being, we have the resources to increase it.

So we have been doing some “gathering in” the past two weeks, and I am grateful we can do it, but then I find myself panicking that we aren’t  putting as much money in savings as I would like.  Then I tell myself it’s okay because it is going to things to help make us self sufficient, so we shouldn’t need as much money anyway, and how blessed are we to be able to do this?, and then this little circle of panic worry/gratitude starts all over.

Have I bored you to tears yet?

Anyway, boring or not, I am going to start chronicling this gathering in journey, but I will try to make it interesting when I can.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to today since I just wrote a big check (though not big in an international adoption kind of way) that has me firmly stuck in the panic worry part of the cycle.

And for what did I write that check?

fruit trees

Rude the Dog checks out the new fruit trees.  We got two apple trees and two pear trees.  It wouldn’t have cost so much except we had to have them delivered from about an hour away.  There weren’t any local nurseries that had fruit trees.  Actually, there are barely any local nurseries.

Now I have to start researching how to care for these suckers saplings trees.  What do I spray?  When do I spray?  Do I even want to spray?  Organic would be preferable, of course.  Is there some kind of natural spray to kill the bugs and worms and such?  (I hate it when people say, “and such.”  I don’t know why, but I find it annoying)  I really don’t want to use chemicals; but then?  If times are tough it’s better to have non-organic food than no food at all, right?  And pruning?  I think that is supposed to be done in like February or something.  FEBRUARY!  It’s generally not a pretty month around here.  Though you never know, what with global warming and all . . . I remember one February my friend and I spent the entire day outside because it was 75 degrees.  That was around 1980.  Where was AlGore in 1980 when we needed him?

In addition to the fruit trees, we have purchased a wheat grinder/grain mill/whatever you want to call it.

wheat grinder

As you can see, it is manually operated.  This will be my new exercise routine.  I just have to remember to keep switching which hand I’m using or my arms will be very lopsided:  Popeye on the right and Olive Oyl on the left.  Except Olive Oyl didn’t have the flappy, flabby stuff.

We may, at some future point, buy the motor kit for it, though we’ve also discussed trying to find a cheap exercise bike on Craig’s List, hooking it up to that bad boy flywheel, and grinding our wheat that way.

We do actually have wheat.  100 pounds?  200 pounds?  I don’t remember exactly.  We also have a bunch of rolled oats.  Luckily we don’t need to grind those.  And then we have about 50-75 pounds of rice as well.  According to the little calculator thing I used, we should have 2100 pounds of grain for a year’s supply for a family the size of ours.  Think we’re a little short?  Umm . . . yeah.

So next month we are going to get more wheat and rice and oats and a few other odds and ends.  We are not getting all 2100 pounds of it, though.  We’re not that ambitious, or wealthy!  So we’re looking at about 300 pounds total of wheat, rice, sugar and the odds and ends.  I also might put in an order for some dried potato slices (think boxed au gratin potatoes without the sauce stuff, and in very large bags rather than itty bitty boxes).  We had 100 pounds of those at one point, but we ate them all.  Not at once, though.  No, those potatoes helped get us through a very rough financial spot about six years ago.  So I want more, but more than we had last time.  I’m thinking about 500 lbs.

I know, you all think I’m certifiable at this point.

Whatever.  At least my children won’t go hungry.

Aside from adding to our food storage a few hundred pounds at a time each month, we are looking at generators.  Did I mention that on Monday?  That should be our last major preparedness purchase, and we’re not even looking at a whole house deal.  No, just something to keep the fridge and freezer going in the event the power goes out.  My mother keeps telling me about outdoor wood-burning furnaces or something.  I guess they are like a shed, and you keep the fire going in there and have it somehow hooked up to your in-home heating system to keep your house warm.  We shall see.  This is the first house we’ve ever owned without a fireplace, so I’m feeling a little vulnerable to the cold.  You know, in the event of a power outage.

Doesn’t do my kids any good to have them all full and happy if they are frozen.  They’ll be like big fudgesicles.  Or wheatsicles.  Eeeeewwwww.

And George, if you’re out there, you’d really think Tewt the New would put forth more effort to find you.

9 thoughts on “What We’ve Gathered In (So Far)

  1. I don’t think you’re certifiable, you just want to be able to provide for your family. I’m sure this will wind up saving you money in the long run.

    Where do you get these gigantic bags of sugar, wheat, potatoes, etc? And how do you store it and keep yucky things out of it? We always talk about buying the really BIG bags of sugar and rice at Costc*, but don’t know where we’d put it when we got it home.

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  2. The wood burning stove in the shed works pretty well. You just need to make sure you have a generator to power the fan in case of a power outage and such (could not resist). haha

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  3. Sounds good to me, that is a great start!

    A note on living in the middle of nowhere and electricity. Something when you have nothing better to do (ha!) take a look at your electric lines. In one direction they will eventually end at a substation (fenced in little area with lots of wires and doo-dads.) The other direction they will end at someone’s house. Pray that house isn’t yours.

    For instance, in a large scale outage due to weather (ice storms, wind storms, etc.) the power company works to restore the largest people it can with each individual fix. So if the wire to the south of you breaks and connects to your home and 20 others than you will get power back long before the poor soul at the end of the line. Being out in the country usually means your more prone to wind outages as well.

    Sorry, I sound all doom and gloom and certainly do not mean to be. I guess I’m the type that likes to know what I’m facing.

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  4. metaphase

    I don’t know if you’ve talked about this on Mormon Monday, but I’d love to know more about having a year’s worth of food on hand, why everyone is supposed to do it, where it comes from Biblically, etc. Then, I’d like to know where you store all this stuff! I have no idea where in my house I’d put that much food..

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  5. Christina

    Okay, what do you do with the wheat? And why do I suddenly have “The Little Red Hen” running through my head? (“who will help me grind the wheat?” “then I will do it myself!”) I am such a poor cook that the best I can imagine doing is buying a boatload of giant cans and such from Costco. (oops, sorry, just said “and such”!) Maybe I should go reread Little House on the Prarie and get some tips from “Ma” …

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  6. Ooo — and idea for this coming Mormon Monday! Thanks!

    You grind the wheat into flour and bake with it! Or you can cook it whole and eat it as a hot breakfast ceral (actually pretty good with some honey on it), or you can sprout it and eat wheat grass, which is actually very good for you and doesn’t taste as bad as the word “grass” would make it sound. Other than that, I don’t know what you do with it, but I’m sure there are those who can make entire seven course meals with it.

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  7. It simply does NOT matter what you write about . . . you ALWAYS make me smile! Too bad you can’t gather, grind and stockpile humor . . . you and your family would be set for life!!

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  8. Nancy

    Pruning fruit trees – early spring, as in March. You can find a basic spray schedule here http://applesource.com/growtips.html

    Outdoor stoves – check out this site for a sort of overview http://www.fireplacesandwoodstoves.com/wood-stoves/outdoor-wood-furnaces.aspx
    Check out this site for pictures and an easy description http://www.burnritestoves.com/
    Check out this site for lots more sites to check out
    http://search.msn.com/results.aspx?srch=105&q=outdoor+wood+stove&first=1&FORM=PERE

    What do you do with wheat? People need protein to survive and the gluten in wheat is a good source of incomplete protein. Beans are also a good source of incomplete protein, and as luck would have it they each have what the other is missing (various amino acids). Eat them at the same time and you can stay healthy without traditional sources like meat, eggs and dairy. A little research will guide you on the right proportions.

    Wheat grass is high in Vitamin C.

    You can make cous cous out of wheat (go ahead and laugh).

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