Wednesday, March 16, 2016

guest article-post 2 of 2 today

GUEST ARTICLE ( regular days article posted prior to this article-scroll down )
Why Prepare Now?  

by Idaho Homesteader

You have probably heard it said that it is better to be prepared an hour to soon than a day too late.  Personally, I have found several reasons why it is prudent to stock up before you need it.

1) Limited inventory in the pipeline.  

Back in 1999, I decided to gather all my pennies and buy an Aladdin Kerosene lamp.  My husband and I had moved off-grid and our main light sources were wall mounted propane lights.  An old fashioned hanging Aladdin Lamp which gives off the brightness of a 60 watt bulb would be the perfect thing to brighten our dining room table.  I [placed an order through Lehman's catalog in September thinking that this would be more than enough time to receive the lamp before Christmas.  I wasn't even thinking about Y2K.  Long story short, we finally received our lamp in March -- 6 months later.

The market for survival/off-grid/camping supplies is normally pretty small.  When everyone decides to stock up at the same time, supplies are quickly exhausted.  If you really want or need something, I would recommend to get it before the herd awakes.

2) Ethical reason.

By purchasing your stockpile early, you can leave what inventory is in the pipeline for others who didn't prepare in advance.  We've all seen the pictures of the empty grocery store shelf when a big storm is expected.  Personally, I would feel bad taking the last loaf of bread and seeing a mother with small children behind me looking at an empty shelf.  

When you purchase your supplies early and over time, you enable the just-in-time inventory system to keep up with demand.  In fact by following a regular plan and buying "x" number of something every week or month, you are increasing the inventory at your local store because they will order more to met the anticipated demand.  So when a disaster does strike, there is actually more stock on the shelf for others to purchase. 

3) It's cheaper.

When you take the time to draw up a "wish list" of things you would like for your stockpile, you can keep your eye out for sales.  I know that I will use approximately 2 cases of olives every year.  So when the holiday season rolls around, I wait for them to go on sale and buy my year's supply saving almost 50% over normal prices.  I have also used my wish list to pick up old tools at yard sales and thrift stores.  I have found the older steel tools to be much better quality than what can be bought at the big box stores today.

Over the years, I have also expanded my basic food storage (wheat, beans, oatmeal, flour, sugar, salt) to include some freeze dried foods from Mountain House.  I have been able to afford this by waiting for sales.  Most of my freeze dried food has been bought with a discount of 25-50% over regular retail price. I don't buy much because it is still fairly expensive but by doing this over several years, I have a nice variety of proteins (chicken, hamburger, ham, sausage, cheese), vegetables (broccoli, peas, corn, tomatoes) and fruit (apples, pineapple, strawberries, pears) to round out my basic food supplies.  On a side note, I prefer to stockpile ingredients over prepared items.  It gives me greater flexibility when making a meal especially as our taste change over the years.

4) Less stress.

I don't know about you, but I hate feeling panic and stress.  By stockpiling early, you don't feel the urge to rush to the store and race around putting odd left-over items in your cart so you can survive the storm.  Over the years, I have position my family to be fairly well prepared so we can face almost everything that is thrown at us.  When calamity hits, I can spend my time dealing with the few things that can't be prepared for.  

Several years ago, my husband fell with a ladder and broke both elbows and his wrist.  He faced surgery, pain, no movement of one arm for a few months and no way to work.  I had a lot on my plate to worry about but I could feed my children, pay our bills, heat my house, etc. This enabled me to focus on everything else that needed to be done.  

When disaster strikes, it can be overwhelming.  By preparing early, you can lessen your workload which is especially helpful when you really don't have the time to be focusing on mundane things. 

To sum up, all of us will face hard times throughout our life. This is a given.  It could be something personal like unemployment or bad health to a regional or nationwide disaster.  Since it is inevitable that we will face challenges, doesn't it make sense to prepare while it's convenient and not wait?  

* Be smart 

* Make a plan 

* Get started

  • Idaho Homesteader


  1. IH, great insightful post. Again I compliment your writing skills. Thanks for the article.

    1. Thanks, Night shift.

      Idaho Homesteader

  2. A few years ago I gave Aladdin Kerosene lamps a look but decided they did not offer the value I needed. My reading of the specks for them told me they required new mantles too often, a few hundred hours of burn time, not enough in my opinion for a grid-down situation. Mantles are a consumable component that it seems go through shortages at times. And they are $15.00 each. They also break unexpectedly. Yes they are cool lamps and provide nice ambiance to a home, but the fact you have to have a lot of mantles, wicks, a few chimneys and they burn a consumable fuel gives me a less then rosy perspective as to their usefulness. I don’t mind the $150.00 to $230.00 price of the lamps if it were a one-time purchase, but in today’s world there is a better choice, that being Battery-powered LED lighting that can be charged by solar panels. These give you an ongoing light source that is FREE to keep running for years and years. Hard to do better.

    For this reason I went with LED lights, I have several of them and they all work well.

    Here is one brand I have been using for almost a year. I have the 3-LED and 10-LED ones and they light up a room well. They are solar rechargeable, every few days I put them in the window during the day. I use either one (I switch off) to read at night and have never had them go dead.

    3-LED one

    10-LED one

    The 10-LED one is the best one, but both work great.

    I also have several LED lanterns that run off AA & AAA batteries. I use Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable batteries and a Maha C-9,000 charger (runs from 110 & 12-volts) to keep them charged. I have several 100 & 50-watt solar panels to run the charger, and I have a Goal Zero +10 solar panel that charges USB things and AA & AAA batts. so I’m good if the grid goes away.

    I really wanted to like the Aladdin Kerosene lamps (they look nice) but they are not nearly as practical as in the past. If I ever find one at a garage sale I will buy it, but even then I think I would sell it because they demand such a high price.

    Chuck Findlay

    1. The only advantage I see with keroscene is if they heat the well insulated room. Then they are good for up-grid living. So you could just plan on them for now with solar back up for after the collapse.

    2. You're right, Chuck.

      Our Aladdin kerosene lamp is now stored away.

      Back in 1995 when we were building our house, the light du jour were compact fluorescent. And at the time they were really expensive ($10 or more). So we decided to go with wall mounted propane wall lamps and kerosene lamps.

      Even by 1999, LED lamps weren't widely available and they were expensive. That's why we went with the Aladdin.

      Now our house (along with a little cabin I am building) is all LED. They take so little energy and the price is now very reasonable. (I just bought a 10 pack of LED bulbs from Costco for under $30.)

      When we first started our homestead, there was no satellite internet in our area, no Amazon (with its wonderful 2 day delivery), no YouTube, and very few books on the subject except for hippy books from the 1970's that we use to find in the dusty corners of used book stores. Back to the land living in the 1990's was considered a strange and "something just not done" concept. We were truly bucking the trend.

      Even Lord Bison had to give us his nuggets of wisdom by a mailed newsletter called "The Walter Mitty Papers". If I remember correctly, I saw it advertised in the classified section of a survival magazine.

      Folks wanting to live off grid and who are trying to learn about homesteading, don't realize how easy they have it now.

      Idaho Homesteader

    3. I think I advertised, if only once per mag, in Soldier Of Fortune and Backwoodsman. I can't remember doing ASG, but I could have. I really should do Backwoodsman again. Under $20, scar a few more new minions for life.