Quarantine Day 38: The Great Raisin Search

Today, we hosted the Great Raisin Search and I ended up getting quite a workout in the process.

Baking with raisins

My wife, who has been baking quite a bit, said we were running low on raisins and we should buy some.  “Wait!” I exclaimed, “We have raisins in our food storage stash.  Let’s open a can and see how they held up in storage.”  We like to test our preps, so she agreed.

That set off the great raisin search. I had promised her raisins, now I had to find them.

In our long term storage cache, I have two pallets stacked with boxes that hold six #10 cans each.  Every box is labeled with its contents.  Sometimes the labels are straight from the factory; sometimes they are my hand-written notes.  The problem is, the labels are on the end of the boxes.  Because of the way the cases are stacked on the pallets, the direction the boxes face, the pallet’s proximity to the wall, and the lack of space between them, we can’t see the ends of all the boxes. Admittedly, this may have been poor planning on my part.

So I had to unload all 40 cases, first removing all the items pile don top of them, turning each box so that I could see the labels.  There was nowhere to stack them, since our survival stash room is pretty full, so I ended up stacking boxes on top of each other in the hallway outside. 

I found dehydrated apple rings, dried apple slices, date bits, banana chips, fruit medley, and fruit galaxy, but no raisin.  I found the packing slip from one of our orders, and raisins were on it, but they were missing, as were a number of other items.  That means we took them to the retreat.

Having a retreat gives us redundancy and a destination if we need to evacuate, but it also divides our stash.  That’s one thing we hope to resolve when we finally move.  There’s an obvious down side to having everything in one location – if it goes up in fire or you get over run, you could lose everything —  but there’s an upside, too, as we learned today.

Repacking – Ugh!

While I had the pallets broken down, I used the Shop-Vac to suck up all the dead bug husks, clear out the cobwebs, and otherwise cleaned the place up a bit.  This is the first time I have ever disassembled and repacked those pallets, so it was a mess. But the boxes were all in good shape.

I had to carry all the boxes back into the stash room and re-stack them on the pallets.  I put the things I thought we would need or want least (like TVP) on the bottom and carefully put things we might need first near the top with the labels facing out.  Hopefully, the next time we need something, it will be easier to access.  I also set aside some stuff that is likely to be no good, like whole-wheat flour, which I am sure is rancid by now.

(For the record, don’t store flour.  Store the whole grains and grind them into flour when you need it.  We store lots of  red winter wheat because flour does not last, and whole-wheat flour doesn’t even last as long as white flour. Why did we even have a case of whole-wheat flour?  Because it came with a pre-configured package of 11 cases we bought on sale not long after Y2K.  This is the problem with buying a pre-configured package – you’re stuck with their menu and their mistakes.)

Restacking the boxes is a bit like a game of Jenga, because to keep the piles of boxes from tipping, you have to stack them one direction on the first level, which is two cases east-to-west in the back and three cases north-to south in the front.  Then on each subsequent level, we rotate the stacking layout 90 degrees clockwise.   I also like to leave a little room between the boxes to allow air flow.  The result is four layers of five boxes per pallet, with each layer a little different than the one below it.

In the end, we ordered raisins from Amazon.  They are supposed to be here next week.   And I added Raisins to our list of things we need for the next emergency.  On the plus side, it gave kept me busy for a few hours.

Ammo Shortage

I read today that the run on guns and ammo continues and is especially acute in 9mm, which is the best selling caliber, is running short.  Now if you are a prepper, you should have plenty of 9mm and the other calibers you shoot stocked up.  If you’re not a prepper, maybe this will show you why you need to stockpile ammo as well as food and toilet paper. And it’s easier and cheaper to stock up well before the sales run.

9mm ammo
9mm is in high demand and selling out in the midst of coronavirus fears. Photo by Jay Rembert on Unsplash.

The article in question shows several web sites that are sold out, and a few places I visited were also sold out.  But here are two online stores that appeared to have plenty of 9mm ammo in stock when we wrote this on April 20, 2020:

Anyone who has been in the gun culture knows that this is far from the first ammo shortage and is unlikely to be the last.  Most recently, .22LR was in short supply for two or three years.  People would wait outside stores for a delivery and snap it up as soon as it hit the shelf. Walmart even restrictied people to three boxes at a time.

Before that, I remember when .223 and 5.56 was in short supply because the government was placing huge orders during the war and that tied up most of the Lake City production. This meant less ammo for the consumer market, especially from Federal, whcih drove up prices by 75 percent or more.  Back in the 1990s, I remember there being a run on reloading components, especially primers. 

The lesson here is buy and stock extra ammo for all the guns you own.

Previously, we have recommended specific calibers and minimum stocking piling numbers.  Just remember, these are minimums.  Nothing stopping you from buying two or even ten times as much, except your wallet.

Prior entries in our Quarantine Diary are available in chronological order.

Author: The Pickled Prepper

Pete the Pickled Prepper lives on an isolated homestead on the side of a mountain deep in in rural America. He has been preparing for the end of the world for more than 25 years.