Your prepping time line and other dimensions in prepping

I wanted to become as prepared as circumstances would allow. 

Self-sufficiency was another goal, although I understood that the same circumstances would influence the degree of self sufficiency that would be realistically achievable.

Gardening and seeds are part of that self-sufficiency, but I learned quickly that it is necessary to have food stored. Food storage is a part of self-sufficiency for me.

I assembled resources like timeless, solid reference books. The items included in my preps were meant to cover obscure, but important possibilities that could occur in a disaster, like eyeglass repair kits.

Disaster duration was another factor that influenced the way I prepared. How long could I survive for?

History and current events, both of which exist on entirely different time lines equally impacted how I prepared.

The Covid-19 pandemic taught me much about how other people can react in a crisis, and further, how their reactions can impact my preparedness.

Certain items became very hard to get and even today the supply chain can be erratic. Prices skyrocketed as well which affected the ability to purchase, as did limits placed on various items during the pandemic.

Shopping became a high risk venture. Pick and pay grocery shopping had it’s limitations. I would pick up my order, check it, run into the store for missing items that weren’t there when the order picker assembled my order.

There was a time long ago when I was elated to finally have three months of key nutritional foods in storage. Three months became six months, then a year. Today, I store three years of key foods and am working on expanding this to five years or longer.

A freeze dryer is on my priority list. I want long term food storage.

My prepping time line is progressively increasing as the world changes and evolves in ways that worry me.

Circumstances change over time. How has the affected your preparedness?

As your preparedness has evolved, how has this impacted your prepping time line?


  • Comments (15)

    • 6

      Good morning Ubique,

      Re: Circumstances changed; affect on preparedness;

      Here, my 2 big changes of circumstances were – and remain so – 

      –  the large influx of people allowed to move in here.  Zoning regs were changed.  Building permits were like freebies for the olden times gasoline stations and banks …… drinking glasses made of glass, road maps, banks’ trinkets. Insurance was subsidized.  FEMA flood insurance covered more at less cost.  It wasn’t really “insurance”. It was a housing subsidy. Since roads were not made larger, I knew vehicle evacuations were a death trap.

      – the other change: large area involving terrorism.  This matter restricted vacating certain perils like a wild fire by taking Zodiac into the Bay.  The waterways would be “off-limits” to mariners.  Was told of draft “Notice To Mariners” prohibiting entry to Bay. 

      Too many people with inadequate roads (and inadequate drainage ditches) meant my preparedness now leaned more to sheltering in place. If boat cannot be launched into water, then prepared to just use boat equipment and supplies here at shack and walking area.  Equipment is still fish nets rigged for various shoreline uses.  The windmill electric generator will be used here at shack.  So, too, the RO distillery.  It’s the small portable one in 2 “suitcases”.  It can be carried to the shore line for “making drinking water”. More rope and lines than needed.  Place already loaded with this.  All the supplies typical of an emergency life raft – from signaling mirrors to flares and strobe lights to high-quality long storage foods (no longer like olden times such as the “Mutiny On The Bounty” open row boat), can be used.

      My time line about the same …… inconveniences and annoyances present but not affecting the adjustments …… I always anticipate the major changes thrown at life.  Costs were always considered and budgeted for. 


      I can’t discuss on the web the “recently” changed circumstances re stocking RX pharma.


      Break-proof cases for glasses ? Eg PVC D-I-Y case.

      • 3

        Good morning Bob,

        You have experienced the aftermath of population influx and security issues post terrorism. External factors are a good point to remember re how we prep. The changes over which we have no control. 

        Your point about SIP and using preps and supplies in a different way than originally planned is also a good example of building flexibility into our preps.

        Understood re rx issue. I got ahead of that curve many years ago.

        I like the PVC DIY case for glasses and other items. It reminds me of the tube carriers constructed out of plant life by various tribes.

    • 5

      Gardening and seeds are part of that self-sufficiency, but I learned quickly that it is necessary to have food stored. Food storage is a part of self-sufficiency for me.

      Food storage has always been a critical component of self sufficiency.  Most can’t grow food year round, so you have to grow excess & preserve it to make it thru the winter months.

      For a prepper, food storage is even more important.  When I plan for surviving an extended crisis, where self sufficiency will mean the difference between survival & starvation, I plan on the event occurring at the worst possible time… at the end of the growing season.  At such a time, you can not rely on your ability to ramp up food production for months.  For each of us, that interval is different.  The warmer your climate and the longer your growing season, the shorter your interval of living off of stored food.  Crazy folks living in the far north 🙂 , have a much longer interval and have to store more.

      • 3

        Hi Redneck, 

        “I plan on the event occurring at the worst possible time…at the end of the growing season.”

        That is an excellent point. If we plan for an event occurring at the worst possible time, then we cover our bases better.

        Up here you don’t care about storing more shoes and fancy things, it’s all about warm boots and storing the food 🙂

        Learning about the climate differences has certainly helped me to understand gardening and food storage issues. The types of seeds I store are now changed also.

        I will be posting a seed thread later today or tomorrow after I seed again and get the rest of the garden beds done. (The fence got finished yesterday) There will be a list of seed that survived our crazy weather and what I did to protect them. The planting date will also be included. It’s not a huge list but in a separate post everyone can see it and maybe it will help them out.

        The vegetable and variety that was hardy enough to survive our recent weather might help other preppers find seed that will work for them.

    • 5

      Kudos Ubique on your pantry!

      When younger I mostly thought seasonally, I was a carpenter and there was an on and off season so I stocked up when I could because lean times were a certainty. Later I was more of a small-time corporate stooge and there was the ever present doom of a pink slip hanging over my head to motivate me. Then when I became more of an independent I was motivated by being a sole operator without much safety net. Post 9/11 I became concerned more with the fossil fueled economy and bugged out.

      Big picture, like all children of the 60s, I grew up under a mushroom cloud, then witnessed the upheaval of the 70s and political erosion since. I read Rachel Carson, Paul Ehrlich, Club of Rome, Joseph Tainter, Peter Turchin, et. al. and take it for granted that dramatic change, if not collapse, is near inevitable —whether or not in my lifetime or even in the span of a lifetime.

      Charles Hall’s idea that as the energy it takes to extract fossil energy increases, eventually there will not be enough surplus to run the show as we are accustomed, is always in the back of my mind.

      Post 9/11 — which I saw as the initial blow in the energy wars, we bugged out to a farm on the Ozarks Plateau. We experimented with basic subsistence for 15 years. Honestly that had always been a dream and it was great fun for a while. I was proud to go from $100k+ to barely $10k/yr income. But the fracking glut postponed the energy crunch and our kids grew and became more independent so we sold out and have been concentrating on building a cash cushion. After a few flips we are back in small town Missouri with some cash and semi-permanent location.

      So generally, my ideas are both more specific (current job, business, etc) and more general (energy, secular cycles, environmental degradation) than is typical in the prepper-verse. Many of the threats most discussed are of the Overnight Armageddon variety: EMP, widespread political/social unrest or war, government overreach, etc and are IMHO, low probability. Typical preps: guns, Rambo knives, BOBs are near extraneous—not that I don’t have some ;^)

      I’m 64 and the best prep I’ve ever actually deployed was cash money. Not to say I haven’t, on occasion, been happy to have a full fuel tank, a few water jugs, first aid supplies, big garden, full pantry, etc, etc. But guns and BOBs would have done absolutely nothing for me the last 15 months when my income went to near-zilch. What I’m getting around to saying is I’ve found 2 ways to be resilient, a near self-sufficient homestead or a butt load of cash. Subsistence farming is a full time job and land is increasingly expensive. And what’s more, because of efficient (read “fossil-fueled”) modern farming and manufacture, the opportunity cost (both real and perceived) of true subsistence self-reliance is huge and the labor return tiny.

      Oh yeah, my timeline (LOL):

      • Short term
      1. 30 years of declining growth, wealth transfer, debt accumulation, mercantilism, fossil/raw material depletion and diminishing returns should be obvious to any neutral observer.
      2. Increasingly there are no neutral observers.
      • Medium term
      1. Modern first-world lifestyle is based on virtually free fossil energy and endless growth
      2. Conventional oil production (from oil trapped in reservoirs) is 85% of supply and apparently peaked in 2005, EROEI per Hall is falling
      3. Global warming is creating unexpected weather anomalies that will continue sapping societal resilience
      4. Population growth is reversing, free energy is over, endless growth is ending, resilience is waning

      Resilience is the ability to bounce back from the unexpected. By definition, the unexpected is that for which one hasn’t prepared—a pandemic shutdown as just past for example was never discussed in any prepper forum I can remember, yet has affected the lives of countless millions, billions in fact.

      Since it is impossible to stockpile a lifetime of every type of supply, the best one can hope for is some of the basics and the flexibility of a little cash.

      • 4

        Thanks Pops!

        Your story and the evolution of your prepping is very well told. The way you have described it helps myself and other preppers understand how prepping is part of our life’s journey.

        That journey is enmeshed with a greater history and your examples of historical events and how they affected your prepping can also help others.

        Fracking has left problems up here, contaminated water being one of them. We can solve energy issues, but I hope it is without the proprietorial aspect that is evolving with some of the technology.

        I agree that the threats won’t be from the “Overnight Armageddon” variety. My leaning is environmental shifts and our ability to adapt.

        I think that there will be some social unrest from the financial implosion due to over consumption and returning high interest rates on the heels of Covid and how it has affected the economy.

        However, my feeling is that the social unrest will come in the form of quiet desperation and burnout. Simply put, I think people are world worn and weary now. There are many islands instead of community.

        My Dad survived the Great Depression and he said: Stay out of debt and cash is king referencing tough times. Debt restricts what you can do in an emergency.

        The ability to barter skills is also helpful.

        Thank you for a great reply, much appreciated.

    • 8

      Three years of food!? That is incredible. You will have to do a follow up post on that telling us more about it. I would be curious to see your family solely living off of it for a month and seeing what you would improve, add, and change.  And what do you do for things like butter, eggs, milk, bread, veg, fruit, and meat.

      • 3

        Isabel, the point of food stores is to keep you alive during an extended crisis… not continue your existing lifestyle.  To continue a somewhat normal lifestyle you have to work towards self sufficiency. 

        Eggs come from chickens.  I’ve raised them in the past & still have the whole setup.  In a crisis, I would barter & trade for some pullets from neighbors.  Butter & milk come from dairy animals.  Many may do without but I have several neighbors with large herds of cattle.  So having those commodities in a crisis is not out of the question.  Many here garden & store seed to ramp up production in a crisis.  My go to veggies are the three sisters (corn, pole beans & winter squash), collards & amaranth.  For fruit I have over 150 fruit trees plus blueberries, blackberries, & muscadines.  Meat would initially come from what we could hunt & then transition to what we could raise, such as the chickens & hogs.  I also have a pond stocked with many hundreds of grain fed catfish.  Bread would initially come from the stores.  I store more wheat berries than all other food combined.  Later would come from corn meal & ground amaranth seed.

        The native Americans lived a great life without modern conveniences.  We can learn much from them.

      • 2

        I like corn meal and would like to use it more often but I’ve only been able to come up with corn bread with it. What are some things you have made with corn meal before?

      • 5

        A southerner like me would say, why do you want anything besides cornbread?  🙂   It is a staple for us.  A big pot of greens & some cornbread is some mighty fine eating.  Mexican cornbread, where you add in chili is a family favorite.  As a prepper, I think greens are essential to live a healthy life.  They are easy to grow and down here, with collards grown in the cool months & amaranth in the hot summer, we can harvest greens at least 10 months out of the year.  Add cornbread from the dried field corn, and that seriously is a filling, nutritious meal.

        Johnny cakes come to mind.  My understanding is the native Americans taught the Pilgrims how to make them.    Corn spoon bread is another favorite.  We of course use it to batter our fried catfish and who doesn’t eat corn tortillas?

      • 5

        Hi Isabel, the cornerstone of my long term storage is whole dried corn. Together with beans they are pretty much the cheapest, longest storing complete diet. Of course you can grind it to make meal but you also cook it just like any dried seed, bean, pea etc. 

        Use it as an ingredient in whatever soup, stew, goulash. 

        And just like other dried seed you can sprout it for fresh “Greens”

        and make sprouts into a sun or fire cooked “bread” (search on Manna or Essence bread)

        and store some lime to make hominy, for grits or just eating.

        Hominy is mixed with lard or some kind of oil to make masa for tortillas, enchiladas, tamales and on and on.

        Soaking dry corn in lime water or lye is called nixtamalization and the process softens the “hull” but also releases B vitamins that are a required nutrient.

        Or just grind the dry kernels for cornbread

      • 5

        I’ve added those ideas to my recipe book and will give them a try. Thank you for your suggestions Pops and Redneck

      • 4

        Hi Isabel,

        We store what we eat on a regular basis. For us it isn’t “special” food for the most part. So for us, “living off it for a month” is our normal diet. We try to eat healthy. The only items I can say we don’t eat regularly are the lard and shortening. I love to bake but husband is a type 2 diabetic, so I have reined in the baking, although I do bake whole grain bread.

        The biggest thing I plan to change is the freeze dryer. 

        Here’s what I keep in storage:

         I store canola, olive oil, lard and shortening which replaces butter or margarine as a fat source. I think my canola container is 28 litres and the last one lasted me five years. Fat is important to store as our brains don’t function well without it. Normally lard and shortening aren’t the healthiest fats to use, however, in a protracted crisis, increased labor and physical demands will burn off the fat consumed.

        I store frozen and dehydrated vegetables and am going to switch to a freeze drier for longevity. Currently, fruit is canned or dried. I keep raisins, prunes, applesauce, pineapple, peaches and fruit cocktail on hand. Frozen blueberries and strawberries as well. I use and store Vitamin C also.

        Meat sources other than meat in the freezer are legumes and canned tuna. With the freeze drier, I will be able to freeze dry beef and chicken. For now the legumes and tuna are sufficient. I keep protein stack on hand also. I have considered keeping dried eggs but there are some risks with them. I may keep dried eggs later depending on storage time. There are many recipes that don’t require them for baking, so the only reason I would keep them is for the protein.

        Cereal is covered with old fashioned large flake oats. I also keep flax, wheat bran and wheat germ. Rice is mostly brown rice although I do stock white rice. I prefer the nutrition of brown rice. Some say it goes rancid but I have never had that happen. My basement is very cool and good for storage.

        I have yeast, but if there was no yeast, I could do sourdough starter (which does require a new yeast starter batch with time). There are many unleavened breads which can work well also.

        There are tinned and powdered milks stored. I also stock iodized salt, other salts, pepper, hot sauce, chicken and beef boullion, spices, herbs, condiments etc to prevent food fatigue.

        Sugar sources are maple syrup, white and brown sugar, raw honey, molasses and blackstrap molasses.

        I think that’s most of it other than the non-food items, toiletries, etc.

        I hope this helps.

      • 5

        I’m taking diligent notes and will be looking into these ideas further. Already adding some to my grocery list. Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge.

      • 4

        Hi Isabel,

        Forgot to add white and whole wheat flour, large boxes of baking soda, and baking powder. The flour is kept in large food grade plastic drums with tightly sealed lid. The food is protected from insects and moisture.

        I plan to buy a Country Living Grain Grinder with Oat Roller and eventually will only stock sealed pails of different varieties of wheat and oats. Fresh flour and rolled oats are nutritionally better and taste better also.

        One caution regarding large or bulk items that I mentioned on another thread. Be careful of large containers of an item where you take small portions out of it for use.

        I purchased a large container of mustard, took some out for use upstairs and closed up the big plastic drum like container. It had a white plastic screw top lid.

        When next I needed mustard, I was shocked to see mould on the inside of the plastic lid. The mould was growing on the cardboard liner inside the lid. I would have never thought to check for that especially with something like prepared mustard.