Looking Out For Your Own Selves

For those who have read my blog for a while, you know I believe in being prepared — as prepared as we can be for any given situation.  The tornado in Joplin kind blew my idea that I’m prepared!  Have you ever thought about just sitting in your living room on a quiet Sunday afternoon and the next thing you know, tornado sirens are going off, you run to your safe room and when you emerge, everything is gone.   Your home is in shambles and mostly gone.  Everything you own is gone!  Your cell phone doesn’t work.  You can’t call for help. You cannot call to check on friends or neighbors.  The power is completely off.  You climb over debris and try to get out only to find your vehicles are also demolished.  The entire neighborhood is demolished.  There are injured folks running around —  no one knows what to do.  Police and ambulances cannot get down the streets because they’re covered in debris.  As far as you can see, there’s destruction.  You know this is a huge disaster . . unbelievable that it could have happened in  your town . . to your home . . but it has!

What would you do?  I don’t have answers.  I put away food.  We have gallons of water.  We have medical supplies but what if they were all blown away?  I don’t know.  Luckily, most of the time those kinds of disasters don’t happen but we now know they certainly can and do.

But what about the things that are more likely to happen.  In a recent CNN survey, 48% of the people think we could face another Great Depression within the next 12 months.  This isn’t Glenn Beck or Fox News that so many are always quick to label as alarmists or right wing nuts . . this is a CNN survey!  This week I’ve heard other such dire predictions on the news.  Am I worried about it or am I trying to scare anyone?  No!  But I’ve always said when things get crazy, those who are prepared are a whole lot less likely to panic.

This is the time of year when fresh produce is coming into season.  If canning food is something you’ve kinda thought about doing but have never done, why not do it this year?  Learn how to do it!  It isn’t hard.  It is time consuming but it’s so rewarding to have lots of home grown food right at your finger tips all year.

Will there be another Great Depression?  Heck . . I don’t know and I truly don’t think about it much.  There’s not much I could do to change things.  If I knew for sure it was going to happen or not happen, I’d still pretty much do exactly what I’m doing — try to be as prepared as I can be.

As we’re looking for a house in Texas, I look at all the houses for sale in subdivisions . . on tiny, tidy, well manicured little city lots.  That’s fine for those who want to live like that.  I don’t.  I want to be where there’s enough land I can have a garden, and a pond where we can pump water for the garden.  I want fruit trees.  I want chickens.  I would like to have a milk cow but probably will not — maybe a few goats we can milk.

In the past month I’ve been reminded that we can never be 100% prepared for 100% of what might come our way but a whole lot of us can do better than we’re doing.  If you don’t feel the need to prepare . . don’t!  But, if you’ve been thinking about it . . stop thinking and get it done.  The thing I like most every day about having a stocked pantry is that I rarely buy anything that’s no on sale.  I’ll just use what I have in the pantry and when things I need are on sale, I stock up again.  That really helps when grocery prices continue to rise.  The last time our grocery store had Kool-Aid on sale 10 packs for $1, I think we spent about  $25 on Kool-Aid.  Now when I see it in the store and it’s not on sale, I just walk on by, smiling, thinking I won’t pay full price for it and yet we make at least one pitcher of Kool-Aid each day!

You really can save by buying on sale and not having to pay full price for everything you need and you don’t have to worry so much about things beyond your control when you know  you have plenty of food in storage.


  1. 1


    I agree so much! Although I have a ways to go on my road to preparedness, I’ve certainly seen the benefits in my small way. I’ve hardly grocery shopped at all since finding out we were moving, and it’s hardly mattered; gallon of milk & some coffee cream & we’ve been good to go and that feels great. Just wish I could have some space for a garden & such. Bet you hate not having a garden this year. I keep thinking it might not be such a bad idea to have a treadle machine.

  2. 2


    I’ve recently gotten into couponing and am working on building my stockpile. It’s nice to know that I will have food for the future that I am paying pennies for. 🙂

  3. 3

    Joan says

    Amen!!!! I’m with you, we rarely pay full price for any food item, it will be on sale and I will have coupon for more cents off on a lot of it.
    Canning isn’t rocket science. I dehydrate a lot also freeze some things. A generator is a backup for electric outage. DS usually hunts and we have the freezer full of meat at most times. He and several friends went on a buffalo hunt (people raise them and cull their herds) That is the BEST meat I ever had. Most people do not even realize they are not eating prime beef.
    Right now the peas and beans are setting on and the fruit trees have lots of small fruit on, so will be a great year. (assuming it doesn’t hail) Tomato plants are blooming too, so won’t be long we will have fresh tomatoes.
    We have basements here where I live, so most likely everything wouldn’t be gone if we are hit. We would eat and the water heater would have 30 gallons of water we could use to drink. Plus have water in bottles too. I’m with you prepare for what you are able to.
    As for the story about a depression, if you read and know history, we are in for some awful times soon.

  4. 4


    After Joplin happened I did decide that I need to have more in my storm shelter for “just in case” although I still need to that! I wish I had a large kitchen and pantry so that I could do like you and have a good stock of food and then buy on sale but I don’t have so I can’t. I do need to reorganize my kitchen cupboards though and get rid of the stuff I never use and then I would have a little more room for canned items that I always use.
    Disasters do get you thinking though don’t they.

  5. 5


    True, so very true!!! We have to really need something to not buy it on sale. Oh, and I love my coupons, it’s nothing for me to save more than I spend!! In addition, I go overboard canning every year, all the results of a wonderful garden. We buy a hog and 1/2 of steer and have it tucked into a freezer. I have joked with my husband that if we ever have a disaster, he better figure out a way for me to can the meat, so we can survive. But you never know when anything can strike. I’ve been in this house with my husband for 10 years, this is the first year I’ve heard the tornado sirens, and twice we’ve headed to the basement.

  6. 6

    Sandra Neel Hutchins says

    My parents not only canned tons of vegetables and fruits but they also canned home made sausage and chunks of beef. Their large cellar was like a grocery store with all the cans of food and piles of potatoes, pumpkins, etc.

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    pdudgeon says

    we are in the city, but in a building that is rated for f-4 hurricanes, and on the ground floor. the complex also has excellent drainage, so we don’t have to worry about floods.
    not a lot of storage space here, but we do stock up on canned goods and water during hurricane season, and have a manual can opener. our car is garaged, everything in the garage is up on shelves, and there are no tall trees nearby.
    we’re older and hubby is handicapped, so we can’t take care of a house and lots of land. we live within a mile of both the fire company and the local emergency center, keep our meds stocked up, and i have lots of quilts for warmth!
    and that’s about as prepared as we can get.

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    “We can never be 100% prepared for 100% of what might come our way…”

    So true. Yet we have to try. 🙂 I have been thinking about you and your move and how you will have your preps to move as well… It’s great you have corporate movers. They see this kind of stuff all the time and don’t even bat an eye. If you’re concerned, leave a copy of the Book of Mormon on the coffee table, or something.

    Everybody needs to be planning for rising food prices. I’m hearing horrible stats on the wheat, rice and corn crops for the south central part of the US, because of all the flooding and droughts. We are all going to pay through the nose. And some of us may go hungry. Time to get ready. Past time, actually.

  9. 10

    Margo says

    I also heard about the CNN poll yesterday. The results in any poll of this nature are always startling. The CNN poll mirrors what I have heard analysts talking about on Fox News for a while now. Knowing how close you live to Joplin, I am first of all thankful for your safety and the safety of your family, but I look forward to reading your stories regarding Joplin from a first hand experience. I have shared many of them with my family. Joplin continues to be in my thoughts. Your conservative preparedness inspires many of us to do the same, thank you. :0)

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    I’ve started doing more disaster prep – bought things like a small camp stove, a portable water filter which can be stashed in a bug-out bag, those five-gallon water bags and a few other things. I don’t want to buy an extra freezer to store stuff since I don’t want to have to worry about a long term power outage. And until I am comfortable about canning, I decided to look into dehydrated/freeze dried food options. So, I am slowly buying the cans of the various items. Some things that I tested, I won’t buy again since I’ve decided that I don’t need that much variety in an emergency. But, I have enough that I would be able to fix small meals/soups on a camp stove.

    I think the key is to think out a variety of emergencies and your time frames and then plan from there. Hey, Judy – that would be an interesting series of posts – you could give us “what-ifs”, we think about how we have prepared for it and then write our oun post and do the linky thing. We could all get new ideas from each other!

  11. 12

    Sandi P. says

    We have been thinking about this lately too. Partly due to the tornadoes in AL and Joplin and partly due to the fact that we moved in Jan. much closer to the coast than we have ever been before. When Hurricane season was drawing near (began June 1, if you didn’t know) the news channels and papers here were encouraging people to be ready and publishing lists of things to have. We decided not to wait until everyone else was buying it when we had one headed our direction. I now have a bin with some bottled water and some clean bottles for water, some things that could be eaten right out of the can or warmed up on our gas grill and hubby made sure both our propane bottle are filled. There are extra batteries for flashlights and a list of stuff to get when the warning comes (with a hurricane there is a little lead time) that we don’t need to store in the heat of the garage.
    Am I totally ready for a hurricane? Probably not, but I am better prepared than I was a month ago and as I keep adding to my “kit” I will be better and better prepared. If it doesn’t happen this year I take the food stuff out, we eat it over the winter and next spring I restock those things so it doesn’t get to be too old to be any good.

  12. 13


    Liz, dehydrated foods are a lot cheaper than freeze-dried, keep that in mind.

    Also Judy dehydrates a lot of stuff herself, and I’m trying it too (because I want to be Judy when I grow up). It’s fun and it’s working. I bought a big mesh bag dehydrator that I just hang on the clothesline on a sunny/windy/dry day and let it pull all the moisture out of the food for free.

  13. 14

    Tina says

    I started canning last summer. It was easy, but kinda hot. When things go crazy last Christmas, I gave all the teachers and Sunday School teachers home-made apple butter instead of a pile of Christmas cookies. Everything had been done months before; all I had to do was deliver it. Interestingly, the only ones who returned the canning jars for future use were men. Hmm.

    • 14.1


      Tina, two tricks to dealing with the heat: One is, if you have freezer space, throw stuff in the freezer till cooler weather, then thaw it out and can it. The other is, can outside. If you have a grill with a side burner, use the side burner for the canning. It’s a variation of the old idea of a summer kitchen away from the house.

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    I totally agree with you! My husband (of three years) thought I was a bit looney when he saw my food storage, especially since it was only for me at the time. After we got married he would tease me about buying more ‘stuff’ to only put down in the storage room, especially toilet paper, I’d keep saying no one wants to run out of TP.
    I am a canner, but was not that active; last year I decided that we needed to start canning. We canned diced tomatoes, salsa, spaghetti sauce, peaches, pears, and different types of jam.
    Last October he lost his job; today the food storage is almost gone (we still have one of the Costco size packages of TP left). Dinners have been getting smaller and smaller, but we are still eating. Yesterday was his first day at his new job (YEAH!), granted it is not the career job he wanted but it will be bringing in some money.
    After we get caught up with fixing things that have broken since October (garage door, dishwasher, things like that) I will be actively adding to our food storage again. I would also like to get an extra freezer and build a nice food storage of frozen meats and stuff.
    I also noticed that one of our large trees in our yard is now dead; we have decided that if we cut that tree down it would be a perfect spot for a garden.
    My suggestion for anyone who wants to build their food storage is start by buying twice the amount of what you normally buy in canned items. As you take something off the shelf, buy two more to replace it. Always look for the wonderful sales and caselot specials. DO NOT purchase anything that you know the family will not eat (it will just sit there getting overlooked and eventually it will spoil).

  15. 16

    Chris says

    We lived in the country for years and no grocery store or hardware store down the street. We canned and froze almost 450 quarts of food a year. We raised chickens and put 150 in the freezer. We raised turkey and had them cut into half so we could cook half a breast one leg and wing on a grill in no time. We went three days without Electricity, but I could light my gas stove top and make coffee and soup and anything from the food we had. The water issue because we were on a well was the most to deal with. The minute it rained and looked like a bad storm we filled 5 gallon buckets for the toilets and all the pots and pitchers I had got filled for drinking and cooking water. We had a battery operated alarm clock still have one. We now live in a mobile home and we have a fireplace for heat and gas stove and plenty of canned foods to cook with. I will fill the pantry this summer again incase the economy goes farther south also. Not a 100% chance of not running out of things, but I will be prepared as well as I can be.

  16. 17


    I get it. We live in earthquake-prone California. Not just anywhere in CA, but in the SF Bay area practically on top of the Humboldt fault and not too far from the infamous San Andreas fault. Preparation is the key.

  17. 20


    Even if there isn’t another Great Depression, things happen that keep you from running to the store as often as you’d like. Car trouble, health problems, just a kid with a fever on the day you planned on shopping…having a panty stocked with what you usually eat makes things MUCH easier.

    • 20.1

      gardenpat says

      There’s an excellent book out called- “It’s time to prepare, not panic!” by Barbara Salisbury that is a good place to start on the road to preparedness with not just food but an type of emergency that may come up!

  18. 21

    Linda B in MI says

    you are so very right and I could not have said it any better myself…I have not canned in years but I think I will this year, just keep hinting at it, I do forget….

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    I’m ok in the food department, weak on water storage and strong in medical care. This is very important to me because the baby has no health insurance, and my husband has left his job to go back to college and will lose his coverage at the end of this month. Between those two, I’ve become very active in educating myself HOW to deal with problems.

    My #1 arsenal is 100% Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils. A quick and easy way to tell if an essential oil is truly pure, it’ll be safe enough to take internally. If it says aromatic or topic use only, not good enough. In fact, it could make things worse, due to the synthetic chemicals it may carry.

    I use these oils every day, in every way. From minor infractions like mosquito bites to big issues like bronchitis. Oregano essential oil is a powerful antibiotic – strong enough to kick my bronchitis in 4 days and strong enough to tackle MRSA in several weeks, opposed to months that it usually takes for the doctors and their (synthetic) antibiotics.

    I use them all the time on my baby. To help him sleep better; get rid of his grumpy moods (works on husbands too! ;)); if he cuts himself, I have oils to help stop the bleeding and heal the cut faster; bumps, bruises and owies don’t scare me – I know I have an oil that will fix it.

    My extended family has benefited from the essential oils also. My mom used to get 3 migraines a week – despite a heavy-duty prescription; with essential oils she dropped down to 2 or 3 times a month. Mom also used the oils to help battle her depression in the wake of her divorce. They helped her not cry everyday anymore. She loves living with less pain.

    My brother has been fighting seizures for several years now, and Frankincense essential oil applied everyday helped him go from a seizure every other month to no seizures in 4 months. He started getting a bunch close together again… and he realized he hadn’t been applying the Frankincense. He’s Chad’s age, I’m sure he thought it was a lot of hookey, but he can’t deny the oils do help him.

    Please don’t think I only use essential oils alone, but they’re always the first thing I turn to when any of us need care. My husband wretched his back this morning, I rubbed some a muscle blend and this afternoon he was doing much better. No need to go to a chiropractor or pop insane amounts of Tylenol. 🙂

    I hope this will make you think about medical care beyond bandages, neosporin and stocking up on prescriptions. Having my own “pharmacy” at home allows me to take care of a problem right then, and then determined if it warrants more care than I’m capable – like a heart attack or broken bone. But I still can ease their discomfort (birch essential oil on the bone, ylang ylang or marjoram for the heart) until we can get the proper care – which may be hours or days away in a disaster.

  20. 23

    Cynthia H., El Cerrito, CA says

    The best *single* thing, in my book, to dealing with financial crises and other difficult times is to learn how to cook from scratch. I think most readers of Judy’s blog are already good scratch cooks and are prepared to this extent.

    But the amount of $ and the improved quality of nutrition for a household with a scratch cook vs. one dependent on microwave food, take-out food, and the like, is enormous.

    Now look at that enormous difference and add canning to it. Freezing is good, but what if the electricity is gone? Many natural disasters take the power grid down with them. I know: with meats and other goods, sometimes our work and other commitments prevent us from preparing them for canning in a safe manner.

    But with canned vegetables, dried beans/grains, and clean water, maybe a solar oven, edible and nutritious food can be prepared for quite a while even if the electricity and gas aren’t functioning. (Solar ovens don’t require hot sunny weather, and they don’t even require 100% sunny weather; look into making your own, if you’re hesitant to spend the $$ on an already-made one.)

  21. 24

    Cindy B says

    My SIL is an economist advisory, something like that. The one thing she has told the family is get out of debt now. Pay off or sell off. No debt is the key important thing to surviving any economic crisis and she says all indication is one coming that will be devastating.

  22. 25

    Susan ~ Patchkat says

    We dehydrate vegetables, fruits. Canning is hard work, but with hubby to help me with the huge, heavy pans, I put up salsa, tomatoes, relishes, peaches, apricots, red plums and jellies. I tried squash and it was so nasty (soft and mushy) that we won’t do that again. Have been reading up on canning chicken. I need a pressure canner for that. We have a freezer full of chicken, beef and fish along with a good supply of corn, green beans and diced tomatoes. I also freeze chicken and beef stocks. There is a basket full of dried beans and rice. Water would be our biggest issue….we don’t have enough stored because I don’t trust plastic bottles not to leach chemicals into the water.

    we have a coleman camp stove and a lantern with several bottles of fuel. We have a generator that will pull the coffee pot, or the refrigerator. Our stove is propane and we have a fireplace with a supply of firewood.

    I keep a good supply of candles on hand, matches and lighters and I have a wonderful treadle sewing machine!

    Our important papers are in a safe deposit box…any that aren’t, my geneology research work and the family Bibles are in a “quick grab” bag by the bedroom door.

    I need to add a change of clothes and toiletries for each of us, a week’s worth of cat food and our meds. Maybe a roll or two of TP.

    We have a partial basement that has a cot. There is a lantern, bag of blankets and a body pillow, a case of water…a shovel and a long, long prybar in case we need to dig out.

    We pray that we never need any of this, but if we do, we like to think we could survive for a week or two on what’s available.