Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I'm a Prepper, He's a Prepper, Wouldn't You Like to be a Prepper Too?

I have a confession to make.  Bear and I are preppers.  I still consider us fledgling preppers since we’ve only begun truly prepping in earnest within the last 3 months or so.  A lot of people ask me Why?  It’s a valid question, sometimes asked incredulously, other times asked out of genuine curiosity, but it’s a question I’m happy to answer, because I think preppers can sometimes be put into that “crazy person” category by people who don’t understand it, or who’ve never met someone who practices preparedness. 

Freud would say to go back to my childhood, since all issues stem from there, and in this case, he’s right.  My Grandmother grew up through the Great Depression, and that mentality of always having a fully stocked pantry, cabinets and freezer passed on to me as well.  An empty cabinet fills me with anxiety, while a fully stocked kitchen makes me feel more secure.   Our family went through some lean times when I was a child, but there was always food to eat.  Gram knew the best way to stretch a pack of chicken breasts, or a cut of meat, so it’d give our family at least 2 meals.  She passed that onto my Mama and me. 

The other factor was a bad case of the “What ifs”.  Granted, the family joke is that I’m such a worrier, I’d worry about the baggage retrieval system at Heathrow International Airport if there were time.  They say it like it’s a bad thing, too!  But I digress…Bear and I always had items in the house in case of a natural disaster or really bad storm – extra bottles and canteens to store water in, flashlights, lanterns, candles, some canned goods, first aid supplies, military surplus items - but it was only enough to get us through a few days at most.  That always bothered me, and the what ifs crept in.  What if we were without power or fresh water for a month or more?  What if there was a disruption in the food supply chain?  What if there was a Zombie Apocalypse?  What if one of us lost our jobs?  It would be our own personal economic collapse.  The rest of the world would go on business as usual around us, but our life as we knew it would cease to exist.  While we have a buffer in savings, our money isn’t going as far as it used to.  How long could we survive off our savings before it ran out?  In this economy especially, the thought preyed on my mind more and more often and I knew we had to do something to ensure we’d be able to survive should a worst case scenario come to pass. 

In the South, so many of the people are remarkably self reliant.  They can hunt, fish, fix and grow just about anything.  If they don't know how to do something, they know someone who can, and they'll happily share their knowledge with you if you'll just set on the porch a while with them and visit.  Here, hunting and fishing is something that's not just an adult male dominated hobby.  Parents take their children out hunting and the kids learn how to handle a gun safely at a very early age, bait their own hooks, and take satisfaction in the fact that they helped to put that venison stew on the table, or caught some of those fish for the fish fry.  It's a big contrast to living in New York City where people were mostly "shelf reliant", and if you needed something fixed, you called the building super and waited for them to take care of it.  For us, prepping is just an extension of life in the South.  We're learning how to become more self reliant and less shelf reliant. 

I look at prepping as taking my Grams Depression Era mentality an extra step further and mixing it in with the Southern "country folks can survive" attitude and making sure my family will be ok should we face an emergency or crisis.  Now, instead of worrying about the “what ifs” I know we’ll be OK, and that gives us the calm, level heads needed when facing an emergency. 

In upcoming posts related to prepping, I’ll be covering making room for food storage for those of us with smaller spaces, how we track our food storage calories to see how long the supply will last, the joys of oxygen absorbers (no seriously – they are amazing!), how we made our own gravity filter, and getting friendly with my beast of a pressure canner, nicknamed Megalodon.  Of course, they’ll be non prepper posts thrown in there as well, but admit it, you’re just a wee bit curious, aren’t you?    

Till next time, y’all!  

Why prepare for 72 hours if a storm can leave us without power for a week or more?

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