Quarantine Day 63: Stocking the Little Extras

Canned meats on a shelf

I’ve said that one of the biggest lessons the coronavirus pandemic has taught me is that we need to store more junk food and snacks.  This may be good for a laugh, but it’s also true! 

One thing that our coronavirus quarantine has proved to us is that once we are in decent shelter and have food and water taken care of, we to need ways to entertain ourselves, something special  to eat occasionally, and things that will remind us of normalcy.  Otherwise, we’re going to go even more stir crazy than we are now. There’s also the danger that six months or a year in, we’ll get tired of our limited food options and redundant menu.

A Scenario

Let’s say that you are at your retreat or your home and some cataclysmic disaster strikes.  “Ah ha!”  You think, “Just what we have been prepping for.”  You have buckets of rice, oatmeal, wheat and beans, shelves of canned goods and dehydrated food, and more guns than you have trigger fingers. You feel pretty good about where you stand.

Over the next week or so, a couple family members and a few friends you had been counting on stagger in to help you hold the fort.  They tell terrifying stories about stripped store shelves, riots in the cities, mile-long traffic jams on the Interstates, running gun battles, and national guardsmen who charge travelers $50 or 5 gallons of gasoline to let them off at an exit.

There you all are, living in a house with three times its normal head count, meaning no one has much privacy.  What little power your few solar panels generate is going to pump water, keep your radios charged and your freezer humming.  The phones are dead, the Internet is down, and your battery powered radios only gets a few stations.  Everyone is spending four hours a day standing guard, and eight hours doing other work, mostly by hand.  You foresee a day when the propane for the stove runs out, and you know your septic system isn’t rated for this many people. 

Yeah, you’re alive and better off than 90 percent of the population, but the celebration doesn’t last long. Living like this is tough on people raised in the 20th and 21st century. In a situation like this, you need discipline and will power; you need a strong leader and a chain of command.  But you also need something with which to reward people.  People need something to do for fun and to relax after a long day.  You need to have celebrations when the harvest is in, when the wood is all cut, or when you shoot an elk.  You are going to need a way to perk people up, to give the something to look forward to, to reward and incentivize them, and to remind them that there is hope for the future.

And nothing does that like a chocolate cake.  Or depending on the audience, a bottle of bourbon.  I know chocolate chip cookies lift my spirits, and hot chocolate on a cold morning warms everyone up.  A candy bar, a cupcake, or possibly what may be the last bag of Cheetos on earth could be the little extras that help when its cold, dark and people are down and depressed.

What We’re Changing

Based on our experience with coronavirus, we’re going to do more than add snacks to our preps. We already have 10 decks of cards, but we’re going to make sure we have some of the board games we used to play when the kids were at home.  Simple things like Uno, checkers and backgammon.  Maybe we’ll buy a few other games.

We’re going to get a large portable hard drive and store a ton of movies on it.  We rely primarily on streaming, but having a laptop computer that runs on batteries and holds a couple hundred of our favorite movies would allow us to have an occasional movie night to look forward to.  We’ll also keep backups of our PDF documents like how-to instructions and books on it.

Right now, our food storage stash has pancake mix, biscuit mix, hot chocolate, and chocolate pudding in #10 cans, but not many more treats.  Yes, we have dried fruits in #10 cans, MRE side dishes, and a few MRE desserts, but a very limited supply.   There is stored sugar and grains, and grinders to make flour, but we need to add things like blueberry muffin mix, cake mix, brownie mix, and other baking mixes.  We probably should stock some Jell-O and other “instant” desserts.  We will also to get more banana chips, freeze dried blue berries and strawberries.

A cupcake
When you’ve got the basics covered, its the little extras that make surviving worthwhile and give you something to look forward to.

Right now, our food storage stash has pancake mix, biscuit mix, hot chocolate, and chocolate pudding in #10 cans, but not many more treats.  Yes, we have dried fruits in #10 cans, MRE side dishes, and a few MRE desserts, but a very limited supply.   There is stored sugar and grains, and grinders to make flour, but we need to add things like blueberry muffin mix, cake mix, brownie mix, and other baking mixes.  We probably should stock some Jell-O and other “instant” desserts.  We will also to get more banana chips, freeze dried blue berries and strawberries.

We’ve found canned chicken to be a real boon and we probably have used a can a week during our coronavirus lockdown.  We will definitely be adding more of it to our stash in the future. 

We’ve already added chocolate to our last-minute shopping list, which encompasses things we hope o be able to buy at the last minute, but I think some other sweets and baking mixes are going on it as well.

It’s A Journey

Prepping is a journey, and you can move ahead at your own speed.  The coronavirus not only reinforces the value of prepping, but it’s a great learning opportunity. Our lesson may just be that its the extras that make surviving worth while.

Quarantine Day 63: Stocking the Little Extras

Author: The Pickled Prepper

The Pickled Prepper has been preparing for the end of the world for about 25 years and figures he’ll keep going until either it catches up with him, or he catches up with it.