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Monday, November 2, 2020

Must-Have Supplies for Self Reliance by Amanda Hartvigsen


Old Homestead House and Farm

          

Must-Have Supplies for Self Reliance.

Guest Post By Amanda Hartvigsen
Freelance Writer

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The goal of every homestead is to be self-reliant. Meaning, the ability to take care of our own needs without depending on anyone else. Even without the acres of land one usually associates with a homestead, this mindset is something we can all learn from and work on!


When Covid-19 hit the USA no one could have prepared us for the mayhem that followed. Going to the store and seeing empty shelves, no meat, no eggs... it was unsettling, to say the least. Like most of you, I'm sure, I went into survival mode. I wanted to make sure I had everything I needed to take care of my little ones!


Unfortunately, I don't think those days of uncertainty are behind us. In fact, I think our fall and winter months could be pretty scary, but I am determined to be even more prepared this time around and I want to help you do the same!


Worst-case scenario... nothing happens and we're all extra self-reliant... WIN



Basket of Fresh Picked Home Grown Vegetables


Let's not forget to mention how great it feels to have a bunch of your own canned foods from your garden to use! You do what works best for you! If you don't have a lot of room to store food, adapt the best you can.


Related Reading: Start Pressure Canning Now!



Food Inventory


I can't stress this enough! There is NO point in going to the store and buying a bunch of stuff you don't use or you already have a ton of. It may seem daunting but write it all down! If you're more tech-savvy, make a spreadsheet. Whatever will keep you the most organized, just write it all down.


Make sure to include quantity so that as you are figuring out meals, you know how many of each you have. (ex. I have 20 quarts of spaghetti sauce so I make sure I have enough noodles and then I'll know I can make spaghetti 20 times).


Plan Out Meals


Now that you know the contents of what you have, take some time to sit down and think about what you can make with it all. Try to think of things that you already know how to make (What if the power is out and you can't look up a recipe online)


Some of my most loved dishes are ones that I just threw what I had together with no recipe and my family loved it! You have 3 boxes of pancake mix? Ok! Breakfast for dinner! Don't be afraid to think outside the box!





Complement What You Have



Over the years our parents have given us food storage for Christmas (yay for being an adult) and we have LOVED it! So needless to say... I have a LOT of potato flakes in my storage room! They are in big #10 cans that can last for 30 years! It's great knowing we have those potatoes! I try to cook with them so I know how to use them and because of that, I know that if we need to use up those potatoes...


I'm gonna need to make some extras to make them more palatable like gravy, ingredients for Shepherds Pie, soups, casseroles, etc. If you have an abundance of canned beans that's awesome, just make sure you have other things you can add to them too so you can make something everyone will eat.


Carrot Soup and Vegetables



Soup


There's not much that can't be eaten if put into a soup. Make sure you have a good soup base! For a couple months I couldn't even buy chicken base or bouillon cubes at the store! Now, I grab some every time I go to keep on hand so I can whip up a quick soup!




Flour and Wheat


Luckily flour is super cheap and so versatile. If you know what to do with it you can go use a lot of flour! We go through so much at our house. I bake a lot, and I know how to use it so for us it's a really good staple to have on hand.


Wheat, however, is another story! Yes, I could buy huge quantities of wheat, but at this point in my life I don't have a wheat grinder (I want to get one and learn though!) so it doesn't really make sense for me to stock up on it. If you do though, GO FOR IT!



Short-term Storage


Short term storage is the foods that you eat every day that don't have a huge shelf life. Building up a supply of those items is just as important ( I'd say much more) than the long term items.


An easy way I have found to build this up is to buy in bulk as much as I can. Utilize Sams Club and Costco. I usually shop once a week for all the meals I have planned for that week.


Let's say I'm making my taco soup recipe, instead of buying the 1 can of olives the recipe calls for, I'll try to buy a case of olives to use in the future. This builds up a supply of what you normally use anyway and helps with the short term storage goals.




Long-term Storage



Long term is those awesome 25-30 year shelf life items. Your #10 canned and freeze-dried foods. There are so many options to choose from here.


As a precaution, I think it’s important to have some of these items because they do last so long, but we don't eat these types of food regularly so I don't purchase much of this type of food.


We do buy a lot from our church's local cannery where we can get #10 cans of rice, pasta, potato flakes, etc., by the case so that we can use them in the long term as well as the short. I personally wouldn't spend a ton of money on long term storage, I focus more on the short because I use it every day.




Water


It is ESSENTIAL to have a storage of water! It is something that everyone will have to approach differently depending on their space/storage situation.


For some, a few cases under the bed may be all you have room for, while others can store big water drums.


Another idea is to install a rain barrel in your yard. The most commonly-found types hold 50 gallons of water. Although you wouldn't be able to use that water for drinking unless you purify it, that water can be used for cleaning and bathing so you could keep your stored water for drinking.




Related Reading: Why You Need a Rain Barrell Now!


One thing that I will say about water is that if a situation occurred where you knew there was a possibility that you may lose your water source (i.e. earthquake, big storms, other natural disasters) fill up your bathtubs! That way you have at least something! We also like to keep purification tablets and Lifestraws in our storage as well.



Cat and dog snuggling

Pets


Don't forget your pets! If food is scarce you're not going to want to have to feed your dog or cat from your pantry. Make sure to remember them in your preparations also. We try to buy things like hay, oats, other feeds for our animals in bulk too just to make sure everyone/critter is taken care of.




Household Items


As we learned back in March, things like toilet paper, paper towels, sanitizing wipes, will fly off the shelves. Don't forget to stock up on feminine products, medication, and vitamins (kids and adults), laundry detergent, dishwasher tablets, etc. Think about a day in your life and make sure you have well-built storage of all the things you use daily.


My Dad always told me to never let my gas tank go below half full. I use that wisdom when it comes to my toilet paper as well!



I know this list looks like a lot and especially like a lot of $! I know we can't all afford to go spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars. But I will say that if you are smart about it, and buying things that you TRULY use every day, it's money well spent and money saved when you can shop from yourself instead of hitting the store again.




There has never been a more important time than RIGHT NOW to start getting yourself prepared. Once things go bad, it's too late. 



Think of skills you want to learn, how to maximize what you have, and what items you need to purchase, to make sure that you and your families are safe, secure, and self-reliant!


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Guest Author Spotlight: Amanda Hartvigsen
www.thehartshomestead.com

Amanda lives on her 1-acre farm in a small farming community in Utah. She loves raising her 3 little boys and a variety of animals on their small modern homestead. Amanda is all about finding joy in a simple life and inspiring others to do the same.

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