I like Commander Zero, but of course he belongs with the philosophical adherents to Yuppie Scum Luxurious Prepping. Because he can afford high priced preps, everyone should be able to ( not that I’m trying to be unfair. He is correct, in a sense. Even a minimum wage worker could afford to Yuppie Prep. If that was ALL they did, just living like a bare assed savage, lived in a hovel and had a bicycle for transportation, not having a wife, that kind of thing. My contention isn’t that folks CAN’T but rather don’t WANT to, and so frugal prepping makes sense ).
There was a guy that just taste tested forty year old freeze dried foods and they were as processed and tasteless as the day he bought them. Groovy! For longevity. But what was the cost? $10k in 1975. That is $80k today if converted to gold ounces. There were, maximum, three years worth of calories ( I assigned a maximum amount of calories to each can, so what follows is actually understated ). Which translated to $21,000 a year today. This isn’t too far off what it would cost you today, especially since most commercial units assign you a ridiculously low number of calories per day, not much more that the Jewish workers on starvation wages got.
Commander Zero responded that most people only use freeze dried as a supplement rather than for all their calories. Okay. Let’s just go with one pound of meat a day, assuming you had a fresh source of fruits and vegetables and didn’t eat dairy. That is still $5k a year, JUST for meat. I already did the math for you earlier, if you wet canned your meat. One fifth the price. Yes, you gave up longevity. Figure a maximum of five years for home canned meat. But commercial wet packed meat isn’t too much more expensive than the most expensive home canned ( I don’t include beef in my calculations, because of the high costs due to Texas losing its aquifer. Right after I get done writing this I’m off to Kroger to buy boneless pork for $1.09 a pound ).
And I’m not even advocating prepper food commercial wet canned meat. Those are about one third the cost of freeze dried. Just regular canned meat at the store is one fifth the cost of freeze dried ( if averaged over several types. But even if you don’t buy lower cost fish or what-not, the price is no more per pound than the mail order wet can meat, even if not as healthy. And you can buy less each time, making it easier to budget ). Yes, it all has heavy salt content. So does freeze dried. What confuses me is why anyone buys freeze dried meat when commercial wet canned meat is so much cheaper. Yes, you have longevity and low weight compact storage with freeze dried. Or, do you?
Studies have been done on several occasions on the longevity of wet can foods. Aside from the vitamin loss, foods last for decades unaltered. As long as you don’t store canned vegetables susceptible to vitamin loss, or high acid foods ( pineapple, tomato products ) which can corrode the can, you can duplicate the shelf life of freeze dried ( you might wish to add an extra outer sealant such as wax to assure this, as you know companies are cheaping out on quality. The added expenses is just for future candles, anyway ). At one third the price.
As far as the compact storage, I don’t know how much you are really saving over freeze dried. Unless you are living out of a van or in a tent, surely the difference is negligible. So that leaves weight. $15 a pound for meat so you don’t have to hurt yourself lifting a one pound can from the supermarket. Now, yes, you are actually saving because of inflation. In forty years the cost of gold went up eight times, so I’d image the price of meat did also. So I grant you that you are no worse off in that aspect. HOWEVER!
There are two important caveats to that. One. When you buy freeze dried food, do you REALLY expect that the apocalypse isn’t going to happen for four decades? The guy wouldn’t have spent the equivalent of $80k if he wasn’t panicking and thinking the US wasn’t imploding. He wasn’t worried about inflation forty years from now. He was worried about eating in forty months. What I’m saying is that no one buys freeze dried, at the price it is, without expecting to need it soon. Really? You are telling me there are people optimistic enough who think NOTHING will go wrong for ANOTHER four decades?
If you worry about food inflation, don’t pay the premium to buy freeze dried, just put the $3 a pound of meat in gold right now. Then wet pack meat at home for the same price and rotate it. Now you have BOTH a supply of food on hand, AND the ability to offset inflation for double that amount of food, all at less than HALF the price of freeze dried meat. The second caveat is, after 1975 we had oil left to continue industrial meat production. Oil is highly deflationary in that is allows extremely cheap labor ( all those oil slaves ). Forty years from now, there will NOT be any oil still being pumped from the ground.
Price inflation doesn’t mean crap then. You won’t be able to buy meat at any price ( because there will only be famine and warfare and absolutely no trade ). You can have three times the amount of meat now, buying grocery store wet can meat. MORE meat is exactly what you want. MORE food, MORE ammo. Supplies on hand immediately is far more important than worrying about inflation. It is starvation verses a philosophical concern over vanished wealth. So to be clear, no, I wouldn’t store gold instead of food. That was just to illustrate a point. That the promises of freeze dried are overblown hype. You could store gold ( silver might even be better, as far as usefulness in trade or barter being low denomination ) for short term, pre-collapse food inflation, though.
There is ALWAYS another way to skin a cat. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you spend, as long as you are maximizing the value for each dollar. There are always better ways. And, no, freeze dried isn’t completely without merit. It is fine in niche situations. Just beware it is the lower value solution most times.
END ( today's related link http://amzn.to/2DNwyWA )
* By the by, all my writing is copyrighted. For the obtuse out there
It would ideally be nice to have a rural plot as well as surface water nearby. Think of all those refugee/victims in wars etc, Fleeing with their animals. They valued them as kroger was not open. Maybe small scale hobby of chickens,rabbits,dwarf goats,dogs. If you can weather a conflict, and stay unmolested then some meat can be "raised". An analogy is the movie "King Rat" lessons abound.ReplyDelete
Damn, that was a good book. Should be read by all.Delete
Buy it at that link and I'll get a commission.
Rabbits are quiet, easy and quick to increase or decrease size of "herd" as needed. Easier and quicker to butcher than a chicken. Livers are also good, and plenty of fat around kidneys (domesticated rabbits).Delete
Manure produced can be added directly to garden without composting first.
Kept in hutches with hanging wire cages about 5 feet above ground, predator loss is zero. With chickens, even shut up tight at night, something always manages to get a chicken here and there.
In my experience, chickens are hardy and handle dumbassness from unlearned handlers. Bunnies just die off at the slightest provocation. That is just me, your mileage may vary. But I also like the option of eggs rather than meat.Delete
Try a couple of both to see what works in your situation. Just a note though, if you intend to pretend 'normality' including vacations for the family, taking care of the animals while on vacation is a bit of a pain - butchering an entire flock or herd before a trip is a lot of work, and any 'pet sitter' you might get will be only so-so for actually caring for your animals, and likely to be a severe snoop investigating all your caches and hidey holes.Delete
I keep a flock of laying hens along with the rabbits and agree the eggs are worth it. Currently 13 or so eggs per day ( to feed 2 adults, 3 elementary school-aged children).Delete
Eggs are great because they are ready to go and don't involve butchering. As an aside, you can boil eggs in a solar oven without water. Place in cardboard carton, from memory about 30 minutes if temp is 350ish. Can put eggs all together in a bowl or something, but where ever they touch you get brown spots on cooked egg white. Just cosmetic though.
Chickens vs. Rabbits from a feed point of view: chickens are like feathered pigs and will eat a wide variety of kitchen cast-offs not suitable for rabbits.
As far as rabbits being more delicate, I would agree as far as heat is concerned. They adapt to cold better. Direct sunlight will kill.
My structure is an A-frame roof with no sides built into a giant Autralian Pine which provides shade to the metal roof. I built an air gap between metal and tar paper covered plywood that is under the metal. Don't know if this helps insulate or not.
The cages (Bass supply, order direct from Midwest business. Good prices, you can't buy roll wire and make yourself cheaper. Choose option of "Galvanized After" welded floors for longer lived cages. Although I have replaced old floors with local purchased wire to stretch cage life). Meant to say the cages are hung at a level where the rabbits floor plane is about one foot lower than roof edge. This helps them catch any cooling cross breezes and ventilation is very good. Excellent ventilation is important because aside from cooling, it eliminates the rabbits breathing ammonia from urine and manure collecting beneath cages. The ammonia can cause heath problems.
I'm in SW Fla. which sucks most of the year for heat and humidity.
The best book on rabbits is Rabbit Production by McNitt. On Amazon, pricey, used copies and different editions exist. Textbook format, hands down the best source I've seen.
I imagine you could mix and match chickens and rabbits by season, since chickens are tropical birds after all. But perhaps look into guinne pigs ( spelling ) instead of rabbits?Delete
JJ-vacations suck. You must leave the wire. Animals are a good excuse to NOT take vacations. More money saved.Delete
I’m not an authority on rabbits as is anon above. However, over the years we have had them. Yes, heat is the big killer here. In hot climates I think it’s best to have the pen on the ground, and allow the rabbits to burrow. Of course you will have to bury some wire, or build a redwood or cedar box that goes below the ground, so that they can burrow to escape the heat, but not burrow out. On the other hand, we have had them get out and sort of “free range” if you will. This actually isn’t a bad way to go as long as you secure your garden area from them. In this way, you can take them as you need them with a pellet gun, or what have you, and they are less dependent on you. Predation will take some, but they still seem to have a high survival rate, mostly due to the fact that they breed like mexicans (okay sorry, but I wasn’t gonna pass that one up :D ). The main advantage of rabbits to me, is those valuable furs. You can have coats, and hats, and gloves, etc.Delete
I think that between rabbits and chickens/guinea fowl, a homesteader will do alright.
I think with that kind of experience you are enough of an authority.Delete
I would have never guessed that people actually laid down cash to store the freeze dried food for long term storage. I was looking at buying some one time for backpacking, and remember being floored at the price they were charging.ReplyDelete
I decided then and there that I’d be taking the econo route, and substituting the pricey dehydrated stuff, with dehydrated potatoes Au gratin, dehydrated mashed potatoes, cream of wheat, etc. No way I was gonna spend $5 or $6 a meal for that other stuff. This was some years back too. Some people must have it so good, that they find it easy to waste money. There’s some yahoo (possibly more than one) living close by me that blows off some large semi-auto practically every night. It’s not controlled firing either, judging from the rate of fire.
Even at only 35cents a round, I would be scared to blow off a mag full of 223, especially if it was being drunk and going after a coyote.Delete
I was recently asked to make some .223 for a friend and got the components, all first class (Winchester primers and powder, Hornardy 55 grain bullets (SP and FMJ), and 2,000 pieces of once fired military brass for a per round cost of $0.203. Best I could do. That's for a run of 6,000 rounds, loading the brass three times.Delete
Not a bad price these days. I've probably loaded at least 100,000 rounds of .223 so I have a routine established.
As you say, there is most always a less expensive way.
I know you are the pro, so this is for the minions. As a warning, do you know if your once fired brass is from a M4 or a SAW? The SAW really damages the brass I've heard, diminishing the reloads.Delete
Just an FYI...Occasionally Palmetto State Armory will run specials on 5.56 loaded ammunition. They just had a special with 420 rounds of 55gr FMJ M193 on strippers in a new metal 30 cal ammo can for $130, including shipping. If you figure $10 for the can and $10 for the strippers this brings it down to around 26 cents a round for new ammo. Today (2/7/2018) they're running a similar special on 62gr M855 rounds. And the new brass means not having to deal with any issues with once-fired milsurp cases like crimped primers and dented cases.Delete
Rifle and SAW fired cases often get mixed together at the .mil practice range so it can be tough to guarantee rifle-fired only. I've heard that with SAW-fired cases you can get a lot of dented rims that complicate reloading but haven't personally experienced that with the bulk milsup 5.56 cases I've bought in the past (knock on wood).
IMO, unless you have a lot of free time on your hands the small price difference between FMJ reloads and on-sale new FMJ ammo makes reloading rather uneconomical. If you're talking about non-mil soft point ammo it's obviously a whole 'nother story...
I don't know, ten cents a round diff might not seem like much, but if you are putting back twenty thousand rounds...Delete
Good question. Given that the military expends millions of round a year in training, and that I see maybe a few thousand, I have yet to notice a difference. Until recently I had a source at Ft Irwin, the big training center, who could give the providence of what he scrounged for me. Got some very nice Jap brass when they had an outfit training there.Delete
Brass does have quality, but generally differences are too slight to matter for any practical purpose. I would advise avoiding Mexican or Chink brass, but that's about all
Weapons with fluted chambers, mostly H&K, very much distort brass, but I can work with it, albeit with fewer reloadings. Brass from smooth chambered automatic weapons, M4 or SAW, seems much the same.
You don't talk about reloading very much: do you think it has a useful place in your prepping schemes?
I am not impressed by the notion that it is cheaper than cheap factory. My sunk cost in tools, benches and spare parts is considerable.
But the equipment and skills makes me independent of market fluctuations, both in price and availability. Of course, buying wholesale in units of 10,000 or so helps with per unit cost, but is not available to the normal 'minion,' as you put it.
Still, being able to reload ten rounds of .303 Brit wouldn't cost much and might make a big difference five years into the apocalypse.
You might recall I'm a big fan of the Lee loader. $35 compared to $350 plus for what is considered normal ( seemingly ) for a "real" reloader. Not because I'm all skeert of investing money. Look at all the extra land I have, for nothing but Just In Case. I just don't see any need for high volume. The Lee was made for survivalists with war surplus husbanding their rounds. As such, there isn't much to discuss with reloading here. It would be like trying to talk about the Corona grain grinder. Simplicity itself, nothing to see here, move along.Delete
$10 a magazine for 5.56 and $48 for a bottle of good whiskey: prepping for the very-soon self-induced TEOTWAWKI!ReplyDelete
I have a few pouches of dehydrated, but the serving sizes are dismal. They expect you to supplement with fresh and dried to get anywhere near a decent 1200 calorie meal, which is now "cooking" and not as convenient as "boil water, tear pouch, wait, eat". MRE's are almost that convenient and loaded with first-world military calories (remember to drink a quart of water before the MRE and another quart after the MRE or _suffer_).
Animals are a great way to concentrate feed into meat. Chickens eat the ticks/fleas from your yard, making it safer for you. Don't name the animals; they are working.
The hair is great, but I disagree that oil will not be extracted. It will be pumped, but you will not get to burn it in a motor vehicle. Oil can be worth much more than as fuel to transport peasants to jobs that keep them from making revolution. Dow Chemical and DuPont will always be able to pay for chemical feedstocks and many of these are oil-based. You will then be able to use your saved gold/silver to buy synthetic rope, bike tires, or aerogel insulation, which you will pick up in-town on your bike. You will be poor like your neighbors, but it will be equally-distributed material poverty of "importada" (the US Dollar is an internal currency only, so you can get enough domestic products, but imported things at some multiple of current pricing due to Import Duty , border payoffs, and Dollar-undesirablity), thus "fair".
A lot of things can disrupt oil flow. War. Civil war. Lack of spare parts from overseas. Our globalized imperial economic/cultural system is melting down. How adequately would we administer a "equally poor" distribution system? We can't handle this one very well.Delete
Distribution-failure (compared to now, but it's actually The Plan) will start with the non-elite not getting deliveries. Then, the checks will be interrupted. ATM's will stop working ("Please contact your financial institution concerning this transaction error. Have a nice day."). Military escorts of supplies will begin after trucks get stopped and looted on the highway. This is really expensive, but can go on for a while, like the Rhodesian Bush War. If the power/water/gas stays on, there will be a slight delay before burning the cities.Delete
Without going into much detail, unless asked directly, I have raised chickens and rabbits (and geese, ducks, goats, and beef cattle) for over a decade.Delete
For ease of husbandry and production, chickens win hands down. You can turn your chickens loose to forage; not so with domestic rabbits.
You may need to coop chickens up at night, depending on your local predators, but that's pretty easy.
Altho not as common, geese eat grass and are hardy.
If you are prepping, you must consider the need for outside feed source with any animal.
Go with chickens. Arrange to hatch eggs and the flock is immortal.
Now I'm hungry for a fried egg sandwich.Delete
I think freeze dried is a nice add on, once you have all your necessary grain and beans for a year, then got all the wetpack veggies and meats, THEN you can add in a little freeze dried, and rinse and repeat for each additional years of storage food. Eventually since wetpack is only good for less than 10 years so to keep building your stockpile eventually you will be buying only grain and a little freeze dried supplements. BTW wine, soy sauce, and a few other flavorings will last as long as any freeze dried as well. My 5 gallons of soy sauce in a pail is still as good now as when I bought it from a restaurant supply house nearly a decade ago (AND that is with the seal broken all that time, as I started using it immediately and still have about 3 gallons in it). Since I have difficulty tolerating gluten the soy sauce makes the rice or beans taste much better - and the poorer cuts of meat marinated in taste pretty good too.ReplyDelete
Wet pack is good for more than ten years. Remember the study on the tinned meat from the sunken ship? Tested good on century old ingredients. I only had to eat my 12 year old canned meat as I hadn't treated the cans and the surface rust turned to deeper pitting. Good call on soy sauce. I really need to see about my own bucket ( I don't think we have a supplier here since the last one went out of business ).Delete
Think about seasonings to help with a boring diet. We will be eating lots of goat and rabbit, so we grow horseradish, garlic, and various herbs. Soy sauce does keep indefinitely and is a great enhancer.Delete
Our motto: Goat 28 Ways!
I just ate a tin of kippered sardines packed in 2008, "best by 2013), and pretty darn yummy in 2018. It has been stored about half and half the time in "cool dark place" and other half in walk-in cooler at +38F. There are more for later years.Delete
I should say "don't know if we still have a reasonably priced supplier" for the bucket of soy sauce. Just my 3-400 pounds is going to taste like wet ass without it ( plenty of other seasonings, but mostly higher salt than the soy ).Delete
I'm amazed canned fish is still reasonably priced. Grab it before SoyLent Green ocean die-off.
Another aspect of canned over freeze-dry is that because of its cost, one is much less likely to ever eat their freeze-dry store. Its just too expensive to eat and replace routinely unless it truly is apocalyptic SHTF time. Consequently it may never be eaten! Canned food on the other hand can be eaten anytime since its replacement cost is similar to what one eats anyway. If you eat what you store and rotate, then there is no difference at all in cost and a five year supply will always be less than five years old.ReplyDelete
I'll stick with rice beans and wheat. One of the reasons I've weened myself of meat is that it doesn't store well over the long term. I don't miss it.
I don't know if I could wean off meat. I have cut back to almost nothing ( compared to when I was involved in vigorous physical labor at work. In my thirties I was eating a half pound of wheat and a pound of meat a day ) but I'm not sure I could eliminate it during normal times.Delete