Seems like sometimes I juggle everything just fine, and then other days I drop the ball somewhere, and sorry, dear readers, today it was the blog post. :) Last night I was too tired to do anything but fall into bed and make sure my shoes were off. :)
We are going to talk briefly today about the five things you should absolutely be stocking up on in the next couple of months. Living in rural America sure gives you a far different perspective than living in a big city. You can actually SEE the farms struggling (or closing), the farmers feeding winter hay to get their stock through, talking about the weather and the poor crops (or good crops--it all depends where you live).
But no matter where you live, people ARE starting to talk about the "possible" coming food shortage and how they are not looking forward to (or wondering how in the world they will deal with) the higher prices on food.
I wanted to point out a couple things. Some of the more "intellectual" among us scoff at those "average joes" who are worried about feeding their families. They talk about how America has more food reserves than most other world nations put together, and how we will weather this crop loss and drought just fine. I wanted to address this argument only, even though I have heard others of a similar nature, because I have someone I really care about who is dealing with this attitude from family members.
Listen to me. Since 2004 we have strategically used up, or passed out our extra food reserves in America. We do NOT have the food reserves we had even five years ago, due to crop losses, and the needs of other nations for our food. The world is changing. There is more demand and less supply, The dollar has weakened against other, stronger currencies, such as the Chinese and Arabic monetary supply. Those countries are used to paying more for what they want, and they will get what they want. Even FEMA, on their main page, states that the maximum number of meals that they are able to supply in a certain period of time will never exceed more than 17 million +. What if there were multiple disasters at once, as we saw this time with the Derecho storms, hurricane, and forest fires? And how many people would be able to survive on those meals when the total number of Americans is well over 300 million people? What if it was a sustained struggle to survive, say, even until the next growing season? Who gets chosen to be fed, and who doesn't? For how often and how long? Do you see what I mean when I say it is time for us, as Americans, to stop thinking someone is going to swoop in and save us, and do for ourselves... and THEN when something like that does happen, we are grateful for what we have on hand and thankful for whatever comes our way in that manner? If you do your research, you will find many alarming numbers, and those are from all over the board of political and intellectual persuasions. What will it take for some people to actually consider doing something for themselves and NOT see it as a weakness or conspiracy idea???
Will we starve, here in America? No. I don't think we will. I think we will be pulling our belts a little tighter, and making do as we are very good at doing. We will be insulated from a good portion of what is coming, for a time. But for other countries, many already dealing with food shortages, that depend upon our nation for their relief supplies, I see a very bad time coming ahead for them.
Of course, I could be totally wrong. It was not long ago that President Obama signed into law, through executive privilege, a law that states we will live by our agreements with other countries in regards to sharing our food, even if we ourselves are experiencing shortages. A lot of farmers cried foul when that was signed into effect back in January or February, and a lot of Americans in the know were deeply concerned about the far-reaching implications of that kind of an order. But for most of those people who didn't hear about it (since it was not covered in main stream media, or spun to look positive, generous even), they don't know, and don't care as long as they can get their food from the grocery stores.
Interestingly enough, it was that same bill that puts those of us who believe in food storage, canning, food preservation, and feeding our families through the tough times, in a position where we potentially could be put on a watch list since we have more than 72 hours of food storage on hand for our families. I find it incongruously strange that FEMA, the agency responsible for managing areas during national disasters, recommends a minimum of 72 hours of food set aside for the average family, but stands behind recent statements that a family should have two weeks or more on hand. Talk about the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. Which should we listen to? An executive order? Or the agency in charge of managing disaster areas?
Well, I contend we should listen to the Lord.
There are more than enough people who have been saying for a couple years that we should begin to set things aside. As the world population has grown, as disasters have increased, as the needs of the world have grown and production shrunk, more and more people have become aware of what a fragile thread so much of what we are used to, really hangs on. The first rumble we remember hearing about a couple years ago was knowing cotton was going up due to the flooding--purchase your shirts, etc, now before that hit. Next it was peanut butter. This year it is something else.......but far more basic that those things. It is the bread of life itself..........our wheat, soybeans, and corn. The basis of 75% of all foods on the processed shelves in the middle of the grocery aisles.
So when you ask what are the top five things I should be stocking up on right now, my answer is very simple.
- anything that contains Wheat that you would normally use a lot of--and if you are not a bread baker, or a person who does much baking, either build into your budget an increase of as high as 50% beyond what you are spending now, or learn to bake your treats and your basics. You can check out my posts on learning how to do just that by clicking here: Making DO without Missing a Thing Series. It will give you ideas, simple mixes, etc, on how to start doing that, and making it almost as convenient as buying it from the store. Then go and either stock up on flour or if you want to go all the way, buy a wheat grinder and stock up on wheat grains that you can purchase for cheap now and will last you a long time.
- anything that contains Corn or Soybeans that you use a lot of. That, as I said above, covers a very large amount of things in the average American diet. Decide what you simply can not live without, and put some of it away. In December when those prices skyrocket, you will thank me for it. Remember we are not just talking about something like corn meal, but corn syrup, corn by-products, etc. That can be syrups, baking supplies, even some soaps and personal items.
- Meat: You are going to be seeing lots of sales on meat in the next couple of months as the farmers rid themselves of livestock they simply can not afford to feed. It has already begun around here, and my husband, who works part-time as a butcher, has already informed me of bacon, chicken and beef sales that are already planned as stores are trying to get ready for the glut on the market in coming months. Once those sales are gone, then you will see prices skyrocket possibly beyond what the average American can afford, and if you think it is expensive to buy steak now, wait until then. Learn how to use different kinds of beans along with the meat and you will find ways to stretch your budget even further. Click that same link above and start reading. I cover all of that in my series listed above.
- Pet Food: most pet food is corn or soybean based, some as high as 85%. If you have furry friends that mean the world to you, and you want to be able to afford to feed them, get a metal trash can and fill it with as much pet food as you can afford. It should be shelf stable for up to a year. I would hate to think of people having to give up their loved companions because they just could not afford to feed them, or themselves. Watch what I say---there WILL be stories of folks who choose to feed their pets instead of themselves, and will need help. Breaks my heart, but you all know how possible that scenario is. My mother is someone who, in her late 60's, counts her little pets as family, and I know that would be a choice she would make. How many more are there out there just like her?
- First Aid Supplies. As our budgets are compressed further and further, more and more people will be making the choice to not go to the doctor since they can not afford even the co-pay. It is a classic pattern see time and time again over the years of history, and no amount of Obama care is going to change that. Learn how to make some natural remedies on your own, work on preventative care for your family, and invest in some good materials to have an at-home first aid kit. I will be doing a follow-up series on this later this fall, so be sure to keep checking back for that sometime in September. Meanwhile, you might want to bop on over the series Growing Your Own Medicine to learn a little bit more about some common herbs and how to use them in treating your family.
I could go on and on here, telling you the myriad of things you should be thinking about stocking up on, but instead, let me add just one. When you read the stories of the many people who have been through disasters recently, over and over again ONE thing comes up.
Many Blessings to you and yours,