Bare Shelves Trending on Twitter and in your Local Store

A year ago, Candidate Biden blamed empty store shelves on “a lack of leadership.” Now President Biden is blaming empty store shelves on businesses. What a difference a year makes.

I am amused that the hashtag #BareShelfBiden was trending Thursday on Twitter. It’s another example of an issue we’ve been covering here for months catching nationwide attention. That means we are one day closer to panic buying and even more empty shelves.

It feels good to be ahead of the wave and prepare before others see the problem coming rather than getting swept up and washed away by the surge. Keep prepping; one day soon you won’t be able to.

The photo accompanying this article (above) is from our local Walmart earlier this week. Yes, they had some empty shelves, but it wasn’t terrible. The canned meat shelf, photo below, was better stocked than the vegetable shelf. I guess the late-to-the party preppers must all be vegans.

(But as a serious aside, while stocking some fruits and vegetables is good, I stock less of them because 1) I can grow or harvest them in the wild, and 2) because meat and meat-based canned goods like beef stew and chili are calorie dense with more protein and fat than vegetables, which you will need when in a survival situation.)

The canned meat shelf was better stocked than the canned vegetable shelf.

Either way, both shelves are far better stocked than those I saw last spring when the COVID-19 lockdown was at its peak. At this point, no one is starving because they can’t find the exact can of beans they wanted. Nonetheless, it’s a sign of the deteriorating conditions we are experiencing.

I wonder what the hash tags are going to be in a month? #JoeTheGrinch or #JoeStoleChristmas?

Are We Getting Used to This?

I think the real question is, are empty shelves becoming normalized? Did the shortages of COVID-19 make today’s shortages and empty store shelves so common that they don’t alarm anyone? If so, then that is a pretty big step backwards and shows that the downward spiral has our society firmly in its grip.

How long does it take to go from a few empty shelves to waiting in line for bread and milk? A decade? Five years? Maybe just 18 months? Will a few empty shelves blossom into many? Will we have to line up outside Walmart every morning, like shoppers do the morning of the Black Friday sale, hoping to rush in and get potatoes, a dozen eggs, some laundry detergent or new shoes?

It can’t be a good sign that we are experiencing third world problems like food shortages and electrical blackouts. We’re supposed to be one of the most advanced societies in the world and we’re exhibiting symptoms you would epxect to see in the old Soviet Union. Sure, we can develop a robotic pizza maker or an automatic burger flipper, but they won’t do us any good if there is no flour, pepperoni, or beef available. Why, that would be like creating a robotic dog armed with a rifle and not having any ammunition for it.

I Don’t Trust the Government

Keep in mind that the same people that told us inflation is transitory are also telling us that supply chain shortages are short term. (See yesterday’s article for more on why I think they are purposefully knee capping the economy.)

While campaigning a year ago, Joe Biden blamed shortages not on COVID-19 but on a lack of leadership. Well Joe, what’s your excuse?

Meat and Poultry Shortages Could Surge in November

A meat industry insider predicts more shortages will come as vaccine mandates force meat processors and packers to fire employees.

A friend of my daughter has a degree in poultry science (yes, that’s a thing) and works as a USDA inspector at poultry plants in the South. He warned my daughter that once the vaccine mandates go into effect November 1, there will be a drop in employees at poultry plants and meat production will slow down. He said this is likely to happen for beef and pork as well, but he only has first-hand knowledge of the poultry plants.

Let me put this in plain English: Expect meat shortages starting in mid-November and lasting months because of unconstitutional vaccine mandates aggressively implemented by the Biden Administration. Expect prices to rise even further.

Stock your freezer now. Blame Biden later.

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Prepper News Update for October 11

File Under “Don’t Say we Didn’t Warn You”

In this article on the new energy crisis, the Washington Post points out that some power plants in India are about to run out of coal, so we can add demand in India to that in china and Europe. They also report that in Asia, the spot price for natural gas jumped from $5 for one million BTUs in September 2020 to $56 this month. That’s a helluva jump.

Grocery Shopping Will Never Return to Normal

According to CNN, the pre-pandemic days of full shelves at the grocery store and plenty of food are gone for good. The y even used the phrase “Before Times” with the initial capitalization, like we are in the “End Times.” I kind of like “Before Times.” It sounds like something the survivors would say in a dystopian future. Hey, wait a minute….

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My Wife has been Bitten by the Prepping Bug

Some preppers complain about unsupportive spouses, but I’ve never had that problem. Lately, my wife is becoming quite gun ho.

I’ve been a hardcore prepper for a couple of decades. My wife? Not so much. She has been more than tolerant of my prepping, rarely complains about the money I spend, and is never obstructionist. She says nothing about the number of guns I own or the 5-gallon buckets piled up in our garage. More importantly, she willingly moved to our prepper property in the Appalachian mountains.

Lately, she’s begun showing tendencies of a more serious prepper. For example, I’ve caught her buying extra food at Walmart, something I usually do, and the last time she went to Costco she brought home a 25-pound bag of rice. Last week, she voluntarily ate two MRE entrees. (That’s a record for a woman who says she won’t eat Spam until TEOTWAWKI.) Then she told me she wants to buy a new holster.

The other day she asked if I thought the five cords of wood we had were enough for the winter. I explained it may not be, but I’m running out of storage space. My plan is to burn one and then replace it with new wood.

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Yesterday was “Eat like a Prepper Day” at our House

It’s important to test your preps so you know what to do when the SHTF. I recommend holding an “eat like a prepper day” a couple times a month.

I try to “eat like a prepper” at least once a week. This not only helps us use up and rotate our stored food, it allows us to test our stored food to make sure it is still good. For example, last week I ate a lentil stew MRE entrée that was made in 2014. Yep, it was fine.

For breakfast today, I made eggs over easy and served them over a can of corned beef hash. We usually buy and eat the Mary’s Kitchen brand of has from Hormel, but today I opened a can of Great Value hash I had bought from Walmart. We’d never eaten their brand of has before and I wanted to try it.

I had high hopes for the Great value hash because it has the same ingredients as the Mary’s Kitchen brand, and they are in the same order on the label. More importantly, the nutritional information is identical, from calories to grams of protein to the percent of vitamin RDA. This made me suspect that Walmart’s brand of hash is made by Hormel.

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Inflation Numbers Don’t Look Good

When business report their costs are rising between 3 to 11 percent, you know you are going t be paying more soon as the inflation cycle continues.

I’ve written about limits on limits on toilet paper at the big box stores at least twice in the past month, but Fox Business is finally catching on, running a story on the topic Thursday. However, the article did have some useful data relating to inflation:

“Both Costco and its suppliers are paying two to six times more for containers and shipping, 4% to 8% more for pulp and paper goods, 5% to 11% more for plastic and resin products such as trash bags, cups and plates and 3% to 10% more for certain apparel products. In addition, Costco has seen single-digit price increases for aluminum foil and cans for soda and other beverages and mid to high single-digit price increases on fresh foods, with meat leading the way with high single to low double digit price increases due to feed, labor and transportation costs. Commodities like oil, coffee and nuts are at five year highs, according to Costco’s buyers.

“He also warned that an ongoing chip shortage impacting Costco’s electronics and appliances will likely extend into 2022.”

Those figures, and other data from big corporations, are probably far more accurate than anything reported by the government.

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Ten Foods Every Prepper Should Have in Their Pantry

Need to know where to start on your food preps without spending a ton of money or getting ripped off? This list is a great starting point.

We’ve been getting back to prepper basics recently, including our Prepping Primer: Five Basic Steps for New Preppers. This article builds on that and gets a little more detailed in providing ten specific foods any prepper should have in their pantry. Best of all, if you are a brand new prepper, you can go out and buy these foods at your local grocery or big box store.

1. White Rice

Yes, plain old basic rice. You can get converted rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, long grain rice, or whatever you like best. It doesn’t matter. I don’t recommend instant rice or brown rice.

Rice is great for preppers because it is easy to store, has a long shelf life, is inexpensive, and is easy to cook. Once you make it, rice goes with lots of things, and almost everyone eats it.

Get as much as you can afford.

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Prices Rise but Some Bargains Remain at Sam’s Club

The prices of meat is rising from visit to visit, but there are still some good buys to be had for the prepper at Sam’s Club.

I just got back from a trip to the big city where I went to Sam’s Club, Home Depot, Lowes, Tractor Supply and made a couple other quick stops. Tractor Supply had the parts needed to correct the problems with the electric fence. I got lumber at Lowes (because Home Depot didn’t have what I wanted). I picked food and supplies at Sam’s Club, because for a rural prepper, no trip to the city is complete without a visit to a warehouse club store.

Rising Costs

Everything I see online suggests the peak of lumber pricing is far behind us, but someone needs to tell Lowes. While plywood pricing was down from its peak, the premium pine boards I bought to make shelving were more expensive than when I bought them this past winter. I paid about $35 then and I paid $39 now. Not what I expected.

At Sam’s Club, meat was more expensive than ever. I like an occasional rib eye steak. Last time we went shopping, they were $12.95 per pound. This time, the cost had jumped to $14.95. Crazy. They were cheaper than that at my local grocery store.

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A Prepping Primer: Five Basic Steps for New Preppers – Part 2

Too many beginning preppers don’t know where to start or focus on the wrong items. Learn from my experience and avoid stupid prepping mistakes.

This is part two of our series on five steps you should take to prepare. We covered steps one and two yesterday and recommend you read them first.

Step Three: Build To Three Months of Preps

Once you have completed steps one and two, your next step is to bulk up on food. I suggest you set targets: Aim to double your food supply so you have four weeks’ worth of food in your prepper pantry. Then double it again. After achieving two months of food storage, adding another month’s worth of food should be relatively easy.

Storing that much grocery store food means you will have to make things from scratch, so as you build your prepper pantry, start buying bulk bags and packs. When shopping at club stores, you can buy goods in six-packs eight-packs. We even buy ramen in a 48-pack. Then buy larger bags and boxes instead of the one-pound bags usually offered.

For example, buy flour and sugar in 25 pound bags and practice baking from scratch. Practice with bread and similar items, like rolls, flat breads, biscuits, etc. Then learn to make your own pasta and similar items like dumplings. By practicing your baking skills, you will identify things you need, from spices to yeast and baking powder, to cookware. Acquire these items now, as part of your prepping.

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A Prepping Primer: Five Basic Steps for New Preppers – Part 1

Too many beginning preppers don’t know where to start or focus on the wrong items. Learn from my experience and avoid stupid prepping mistakes.

I’ve been telling people to prep and talking preps here for 18 months, but there are still some people who want detailed instructions on what they should do. I believe that everyone’s preps should be customer tailored to their family size, their budget, their geographic location, their greatest fear, and a host of other variables. However, I’m going to work around that and present Five steps to being prepared for the end of the world as we know it.

Step One: Prepare to Survive Short-term Emergencies at Home

To start out, aim to have supplies that can support you for two weeks of disruption in your current home.

For example, nine days after Hurricane Ida roared through New Orleans, there were still 430,000 people without electricity. Your short-terms preps should be able to get you through an emergency like that. Unless you just moved to a new area, you should already know what to prepare for as many of the natural disasters recur every few years.

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