Is the Sh*t Hitting the Fan Yet?

Sometimes when the news is bad and it seems like every elected official is violating their oath to uphold the Constitution, you have to wonder how close the poop is to the impeller.

My mind is somewhat boggled. So much stuff is happening at once and very little of it is good. I have to ask myself, how far away is our SHTF moment?

When you have a parabolic curve, it climbs slowly, but before you know it is shooting straight up. I can’t help but wonder if we are at that inflection point. I hate to be an alarmist, but some days it seems like we must be approaching it.

There are protests in countries all over the world, including the U.S., France, Iran, Cuba, Guatemala, Tunisia, Australia, and South Africa. I expect they will get worse as shortages increase, prices rise, and we go into more lockdowns. In the U.S., I expect we will see protests as the end of the rent moratorium results in upwards of 12 million people unable to pay their past-due rent and now subject to eviction.

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In Search of Meat for my Survival Stores

I don’t want to live on grains an greens alone. I am a omnivore unless given the opportunity to be a carnivore. But that’s difficult to accommodate when prepping.

I priced rabbits today at Rural King and they were about $42 each.  Yikes!  After buying chicks for just a few dollars each, I was shocked at the higher cost.  Of course, rabbit pens would be cheaper and easier to construct than the chicken coop and run.  I think three does and a buck should generate enough bunnies to butcher eat at least one per week.  I figure my start-up costs would maybe $300 plus food. 

I’m not ready to take that step yet.  I want to get the chickens laying and butcher and eat a few birds first.  They are my proof of concept, so to speak.  Can we breed and raise enough chickens to help feed us during a collapse or food crisis?  Will my chickens survive the weather and the predators long enough to lay eggs?  Will they become broody enough to hatch their own eggs and raise their own chicks?  Can we feed them if there is no commercial feed available? 

Maybe I will consider rabbits next year.  In the meantime, a dog is probably ahead of them on the list. (Don’t worry, the dog is not for eating. If I want to eat dog meat, I’ll just kill a coyote.)

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Prepper News Update July 20

Posts may be sporadic or even absent for the next few days as my daughter and her family is visiting and I’m busy spending time with them.  Consider it my vacation.

Be safe and be prepared.

Here’s a few headlines for you:

India COVID Deaths Off by “An Order of magnitude”

India reported 414, 482 deaths due to COVID-19, but the real figure could be between 3 and 4.7 million, according to a recent study.

Delta now Responsible for 83 Percent of COVID Cases in U.S.

The Delta variation is spreading rapidly in the U.S.  This article from Yahoo Finance also reports that 99.5 percent of deaths-related deaths in the U.S. are now in non-vaccinated individuals. 

I have not endorsed or recommended vaccines, recognizing that people should make their own decisions based on their own beliefs, but I have to admit that the decision not to take the vaccine is looking riskier and riskier.

Some Popular Restaurants Facing Shortages of Food

Not too many weeks back, we warned you that some restaurants were facing shortages of chicken.  Restaurant supply chain problems seem to have spread to Taco Bell and Starbucks which have both warned customers of some food outages.  Taco Bell, for example, is reportedly experiencing issues keeping hot sauce in stock.

Prepper Shopping Basket Inflation Report Shows Surprising Results

The CPI is up, headlines are blaring about inflation, Wall Street is worried, yet when we compare prices for prepper pantry staples now and in January, inflation seems to be missing.

Despite the hue and cry about food inflation, preppers looking to stock their pantry with staple items that have a good shelf life can do so without spending more than they would have in January. A summary of our results comparing the prices today with those we recorded 22 weeks ago on January 24 follows:

Prepper shopping basket inflation report results

Clearly, Amazon is an outlier here, with prices well above the others. If we remove Amazon from the equation, we get the following:

Results minus Amazon.com

Note: full details on our methodology are at the bottom of this article.

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Three Reasons to Stock Up Early

Some say its never too late to start prepping, and that’s generally true. But start now; there are some advantages to beating the rush.

So you’ve finally decided that prepping makes sense and now you have to decide what to buy, how much to buy, and over what time period you will buy it. This will be determined largely by your budget and how much money you have to spend on prepping. Because prepping can get expensive, most people build up their supplies over time by setting aside a certain amount to spend per paycheck or per month.

When you go down the list of things you need to feel prepared to withstand a disaster, food will probably be a big expense and the one that takes the most storage space. Sure, you could put together a bug out bag, buy guns and ammo, or even invest in a big four-wheel-drive truck or SUV for bugging out, but food is more likely to save you than almost anything else you could acquire. Yes, water is critical, but you can spend $500 and have water pretty well taken care of. Food is going to demand more money, more thought, and more preparation.

I’ve written about what to buy and how to get the most for your money’s worth in an earlier article. So let’s talk about when to buy, as well as when NOT to make large bulk purchases.

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How to Cut Back on Spending and Live Frugally During Inflation

When inflation hits, costs outstrip raises and cost-of-living increases, making it difficult to maintain your standard of living. Here are 52 things you can do when inflation hits.

Let’s fast-forward six months or a year and imagine that the country remains in the grips of a wave of inflation. The amount of money you spend weekly to put food on your family’s table has increased 50 percent. Gasoline is $5.39 a gallon. It cost $1,350 to fill your propane tank and you know you usually have to fill it at least three times over the winter. You don’t have to be a budgeting genius to realize you have to do something different or you will run out of money leaving your belly, your gas tank, or the propane tank empty.

What will you do?

First, don’t panic. It accomplishes nothing and leads to despair. There are steps most families can take to reduce their expenditures, and hopefully you only have to do it for a couple years before things stabilize and your financial situation improves.

Second, you must accept the fact that you cannot continue to live like you have been. Some sacrifices will need to be made and the sooner that you accept that and move on, the better. It’s going to be an adjustment, but it’s better to pick where you will sacrifice rather than going hungry when the cupboards are bare.

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Prices are Rising, but Inflation is Only the Tip of the Iceberg

Inflation is going to be bad, but the broader economic and social disruption it can kick off are even worse. Are you prepared?

With some ammo manufacturing leaders stating that they are back ordered anywhere from 12 to 24 months, most shooters have admitted to themselves that high ammo prices are here to stay. About the only thing I can see that would send prices down would be the election of a Pro-Gun Republican president combined with a recession that causes commodity prices, including lead and brass, to drop.

I used to reload to save money on ammo prices. Now you can no longer get powder and primers. Even the hardware is in short supply; good luck ordering something like 9mm or .300 black out reloading dies. Even simple equipment is often back-ordered three months or more.

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Problems in the Food Supply Chain Causes Shortages, Price Increases

Empty grocery store shelves are so last year… or are they? As food service at restaurants and hotels restarts, expect more food supply disruptions.

When COVID-19 started and restaurants closed down, food packaged for sale to restaurants suddenly have no destination. As sales shifted from restaurants to hones, there were food shortages because plants that put 25 pounds of chicken in a box or sold millions of pounds of French fries to fast-food chains could not repackage them for sale to consumers. Farmers poured milk down drains as school lunch programs ended, farmers plowed potatoes under, and warehouses for frozen foods were filled to their gills.

Now, the re-opening of restaurants is causing disruption again, this time in reverse. The sudden demand as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted is challenging the supply chain. Even corrugated cardboard and refrigerated truck availability are limited. According to the article “Food Supply Chains are Stretched as Americans head Back to Restaurants” in the Wall Street Journal:

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Prepper Shopping Basket Shows Surprise Decline in Food Prices

Despite what we see at the grocery store, our prepper shopping basket held surprisingly stead since January. Fuel prices, however, are up an average of 13 percent.

Back in January, we established a basket of goods that a prepper might buy when they were stocking up. This contained common prepper foods like Spam and Tuna, baking goods like flour and yeast, rice and beans, and noodles, including ramen and mac and cheese. We shopped at four stores online: Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Costoco.com, and SamsClub.com. Our plan was to shop the same items at the same stores to determine how inflation has affected the Prepper Food Basket.

When we compare prices collected yesterday, May 8, with those collected on January 24, 15 weeks ago, the average prepper shopping basket price dropped 9 cents, from $75.42 to $75.33, a decrease of less than 1 percent. Not the inflation we were expecting to see. (Not we detected and corrected an error in our original data. The $75.42 reflects that correction.)

The average price of individual items, however, varied considerably. For example, Quaker Oats jumped 32 percent, due to a price increase at Sam’s club, while chicken-flavored ramen dropped by 42 percent, due to prices normalizing at Amazon.com and Walmart.com

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Why Preppers Should Stock Herbs and Spices

In our global world, we rely on distant countries to produce many of the things we rely on every day, from spices to shoes. That will go away in a collapse.

When my wife read the book World Made by Hand, which I reviewed here in early April and encouraged her to read, she said to me, “I am going to stock up on black pepper and cinnamon.” Why? Because the characters in the book had run out of spices and other products they did not produce locally, including black pepper and cinnamon. They could grow all sorts of spicy peppers in their gardens and make hot sauce, but they could not get peppercorns or grow the tree from which cinnamon is produced.

I should note that my wife grows herbs, including rosemary, basil, thyme, mint, and chives. She often runs out the front door while preparing dinner and returns with a handful of greenery. My wife has multiple recipes that use rosemary (which grows prolifically once established) and has made her own pesto sauce from our basil. We could also grow garlic, onions, oregano, and mustard, but can we grow vanilla beans, nutmeg, or cloves? I don’t know.

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