Preparing

I haven’t explicitly said it, but most of you can probably tell that while I try to be frugal, I’m also extremely preparedness minded.

I personally worry that the worst might happen, an SHTF situation, but I think we can all agree that an occasional power outage will definitely happen. (I would wager that at least once a generation, something truly awful happens – hurricane Katrina, hurricane Ivan, 9-11, Californian droughts, the 2008 stock market crash) but let me not get ahead of myself. Even though I feel that events could seriously disrupt life as we know it, I know that not everyone feels the same.

Nevertheless, I want to have the ability to still be semi-comfortable if something like a power-outage occurs (or possibly worse). In April of 2020, the power was out at my house for a day and a half. That’s not really that long, but it was definitely long enough to have to learn to use the grill on the fly and do dishes outside.

I also started worrying about things in the fridge/freezer. I know how to dry meat to preserve it, but I didn’t want to open the freezer to get the meat and let cold air out. This is why I want to get a generator. Even though I know how to save the meat, that knowledge won’t be useful if I won’t open the freezer to preserve it. (I also want to eventually have a smoke house, but that’s a whole other discussion)

I didn’t worry about having food to eat, because luckily the hubby and I have been storing food. We haven’t been grocery shopping in over a month, and we haven’t run out of anything yet.

Even so, we don’t have much of a restock plan in place if we can’t eventually go to the store. We have planted potatoes (we planted other things, but there’s so much shade here that it’s not doing so hot), we have rabbits, and I know more than most about foraging. Even with that, though, that doesn’t take care of everything we need. And let’s be real. Wild edibles can keep you alive, and it’s fun to add certain things to dishes, but they usually aren’t a joy to eat exclusively.

Also, let’s talk about meat. I was totally plant-based for nearly a year, and I’m still predominantly plant-based. Plants are really, really good for you. However, just from a caloric intake view, it’s difficult to be both plant-based and self-sufficient. Let’s say you’re growing potatoes, one of the most calorie-dense plants. To get enough calories, you would need to eat all the potatoes from a single plant per day (1 potato had about 100 calories). Depending on how well the crop does, you may need to eat two plants per day. Unless you have acres of land, how are you going to plant 400-700 potato plants?

On the other hand, a single chicken has the ability to feed a person well for at least a full day or more if rationed. half of a chicken breast has nearly 200 calories.

In the micro, that’s not that big of a difference, but unless an area has a lot of predators, that’s only up to 400 chickens a year versus up to 700 potato plants. livestock also has the ability to have babies all year round, so a person wouldn’t need to keep 400 chickens at once. Plants get harvested once, maybe twice per year, so a person might have to grow 700 plants all at once. Also, chickens lay eggs, and that’s another food source. Plants don’t lay eggs.

If the land is there, one can absolutely grow enough food to be plant-based, but if the land isn’t there, meat has enough calories to feed a person on far less land. And I can hear the argument now, “But you have to feed those animals.” Yes, and that would probably exclude a lot of the livestock options. However, the great thing about animals is that they tend to enjoy things that humans wouldn’t eat. I have four rabbits That’s not enough to completely sustain my family, but I’ve been able to feed them weeds from abandoned lots and neighbors yards. I can’t grow food for me there, but the food for my food can grow there. I don’t have to own that land.

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