(By Samantha Biggers) In my area, we have around 90 days until the first frost. Living on a farm that is our cue that winter is going to be here before we know it. With everything that has been going on it seems like it has been a whirlwind since the end of January when anyone that reads alternative media started hearing the first inklings of news about what would become the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
Regardless of how serious you believe the pandemic to be, it is impossible that it has not had a major effect on your life and those around you.
For transparency’s sake I want to make it clear that I don’t think it is all made up and grand conspiracy to get us all under control so to speak. If you do and you turn out to be right then we should all be totally horrified that those in power have the ability to pull the wool over our eyes and orchestrate a web of lies on such a massive level.
Pulling wool over sheep’s eyes works by the way. We have actual sheep and I tried it when helping my husband shear. That expression is rooted in truth.
While I don’t think the whole pandemic is a lie, I will absolutely agree that we are not being told the truth by mainstream media. Even if they wanted to tell us they couldn’t because they would get “canceled” or shut down. That is just the way it is if you play any role in alt or mainstream media today.
The level of civil unrest and deterioration of urban areas is not going to end anytime soon.
So what should the average person be thinking about now? How can we get through these hard times? I am going to layout a bare-bones sort of checklist that you might find useful.
Evaluate your food supplies and make a list of any gaps. Try to have enough food on hand to at least make it to Spring if at all possible. This winter might be a rough one.
Here is a short list of some nutritious and easy to store foods that you can buy now. Don’t forget how hard some of these items were to get at the beginning of the pandemic. Buy now while there is a better supply.
- Peanut Butter
- Cooking Oils and Fats
- Canned Meats
- Dried Fruit
Buy seeds for sprouting so you have fresh greens in the winter even if you have very little space. Any other garden seeds that you might need for fall and winter gardening and last-minute harvests you should get now. If there are some seeds still available for Spring crops and you have a little extra money you might want to get some now. We have made an effort to have enough seed to get started in the Spring.
As I have said before, it is not realistic to rely on bottled water. A few cases or bottles might be alright if you have the space but you need a better solution than that if water becomes an issue. A good water filter and some water storage containers that are reusable are highly recommended.
During hard times, water supplies may become contaminated. Aging utility infrastructure combined with a pandemic and unrest can mean that water lines don’t get repaired as quickly.
There are some excellent deals on fall and winter clothing from last season. Make sure everyone has a good pair of shoes suitable for the coming winter. Here is a link to an article I wrote on the best clothing to have on hand for SHTF.
Medical Supplies and Over the Counter Meds
It is important to go through medications and medical supplies occasionally and make sure nothing is too far out of date or damaged. It is pretty easy to use up some items over time and not realize what you are lacking. If you do not have a good medical kit and some basic medications then now is the time to correct that. You can put together a good kit just spending a little bit of money at a time. Got $10? Buy some bandages and medical tape. There is the start of your medical kit.
Evaluate prescription meds and refill sooner rather than later.
If you or someone in your family relies on medications, try to keep as far ahead as you can on refills. A lot of meds you can get a 90 day supply of. Make a note of how long you have to wait to get another refill and do it as soon as you can. My Dad usually waits until he his halfway through meds and then calls in his prescription. You never know when a med might become hard to find.
Create a defense plan if you don’t already have one. Inventory what you have on hand for security and defense.
Some items may not be possible to get right now but you need to know what you have to work with. You can also use everyday objects for self-defense if needed. Here are some links to a few posts that can help you formulate or improve your defense plan.
Items For Entertainment and Self-Care
It is essential to take your mind off of things sometimes. I find it practically impossible to do a lot of the time but I would never want anyone to be like me in that regard. It is not good nor healthy. Don’t be like Sam. I read a lot. My husband Matt encourages my little library. He built me some more shelves that I quickly filled over the last 8 months or so.
Self Care items can include a lot of things from a bottle of perfume you enjoy wearing to something as simple as special tea or candy. The little luxuries can make a real difference in morale.
Take a look at the things you use daily in your home. Is anything showing signs that it is about to wear out? What items do you feel would have a big impact on your life if they failed?
It is easy to take the things for granted that make our lives a little easier. Time and energy really add up if you find you have to do more and more the hard way or do without. I bought a new coffee pot and a toaster oven at the beginning of the pandemic. I added a perculator later just in case I need to make coffee without electricity. All those items are made in China and once the US consumes what is here, I am not so sure how much more is going to be imported anytime soon.
Child and Baby Care Items
During the pandemic, there were a ton of people complaining about not being able to find formula or wipes. Some were really upset about not being able to find a specific brand too. If your child has strict dietary needs then you need to be extra serious about having a decent supply on hand. Remember that powdered goat’s milk can double as formula in an emergency.
There were a lot of people buying up baby wipes for personal care needs that did not have children. Baby items can sell out fast when people seek them out as alternatives to adult products.
- Soap. A quart of Baby Castille soap goes a long way.
Automotive and Small Engine Fuel and Supplies
We have a small farm so we need to be able to mix gas for weedeaters and chainsaws. I have noticed that gas mix has become harder to find and a lot more expensive on some sites. It is important to be able to patch a tire. Fuel stabilizer can help keep gas from going bad and fouling carburators or causing other issues. We barely use our truck anymore because we are not going to town more than once every few months. Fuel stabilizer added to the tank is a good idea if you are not using your vehicle much.
- Tire Patch Kits
- Fuel Stabilizer
- Extra Gas
- 2 Cycle Gas Mix for Chainsaws and Weedeaters
Pet and Livestock Feed
I truly believe we will see shortages of feed for various reasons. Meat processors being shut down over COVID-19 means less byproducts for pet foods that require animal protein. That means dog and cat food but it also applies to feeds for some other animals. Corn is inexpensive at the moment but between droughts, floods, and farmers not being able to plant as much as was expected, at some point we are going to see some trouble with the pet and livestock food chain.
Stocking up on pet foods makes a lot of sense. My husband looked at me year’s ago and said that we needed to have more dog food on hand.
Ideally one would have almost as much or as much for them as you do for the whole family. That mean’s if you prep for 6 months out you need to try to stock up on 6 months of dog food. I will link to some of my past articles on storing dog food so that you can see your options for storage.
When I order dog food I get it from Amazon, Wal-Mart, Chewy, or Target. With supplies and shipping times varying so much based on the current economic conditions, I find it useful to have multiple sources that offer competitive pricing. There is already enough price gouging going on with some household items.
Chewy sells some livestock feeds too. I like that you can get high-quality hay replacer and even alfalfa or Bermuda grass bales at a good price. If you cannot get hay or run short, a quality hay replacer pellet can make up the difference.
Matt and I got behind on our firewood procurement but over the last few weeks, we have started to close the gap. We have to get firewood for two homes. My Dad has a wood-burning stove and he likes having wood heat in the winter. His house is larger, older, and not insulated anywhere near how are small house is. Firewood has to have time to dry out for best results.
Oil heat is not as common as it was but some still use it. Now is the time to consider if you need a refill. You can also buy heating oil at some gas stations if you just want to top off your tank a bit.
Utility costs could go higher in the coming months. If you use electric heat you may want to start budgeting now for a somewhat higher light bill. Some utility companies have an equal pay option that helps spread out costs over a year. This may be helpful for some homes. So if your average light bill is $1200 per year then you would pay $100 a month even if some months you used $150. You do have to pay any extra energy costs at the end of the year if you go over for some reason but for most people, energy usage tends to remain within a fairly predictable range unless there are major lifestyle changes.
It is important to have a back up method of heat too. Here is a link to an article on BDS about backup heat options for your home.
Work From Home Supplies
- Computers and accessories
- Cell Phone
- Office Supplies
I think it is a good idea to put work from home supplies on this list because the fact is that a lot of people are going to be working from home indefinitely. For a lot of jobs, it makes a lot more sense than a ton of people commuting to a brick and mortar building.
There have been supply chain issues for some computer related items and cell phones. Laptops and Chromebooks have sold quickly. Keep in mind that a lot of computers were sold as a result of a vast amount of children suddenly being homeschooled.
I learned the hard way about the importance of good wrist support and a decent office chair for typing. If you have not taken the time to create a workspace for the long term, now is the time to do it. It is pretty clear that the work from home trend is going to be the norm for a lot of companies in the future.
- Tablets. A lot of tablet computers are more affordable than traditional computers.
- Pens, pencils, paper, crayons, markers, etc.
- Projects and/or the supplies needed to create your own. There are some excellent companies that send out monthly science projects for example. You can also design your own homeschool experiments and projects to add to the homeschool experience.
I pay attention to a lot of prepping groups online as well as groups related to coronavirus. Some groups are just concerned community groups that are designed to make sure everyone is kept informed about the local COVID-19 situation.
The thing that many parent’s seem to agree on is that given the choice they are not going to send their kids back to the classroom this Fall. While the internet can provide a lot of great learning tools, you may want some other things too. Remember that ebooks can be downloaded for use it the internet is down or for use during times when your connection is tied up with other things. The more people using a connection, the greater the strain on the speed. With so many working and going to school from home, it can add up.
Here are a few links to articles I have written on my own homeschooling experience and how you can deal with pandemic related internet issues.
Remember that there are programs that can help you get internet or pay less for your connection if you have kids in school. The article I just linked to describes these resources. A lot of families are struggling and every little bit helps. If you can get internet for free or substantially less then that money can go towards other obligations during these uncertain times.
Consider how you will practice your faith. The power of faith during hard and uncertain times is great.
I am not here to endorse any particular sect but I do believe that practicing your faith is important. Many churches are offering live-streamed services. My friend at The Prepper Website, Todd Sepulveda, broadcasts a live service every week.
You may find that you want to set aside time each day to read scripture or to pray. Maybe you just want to do that once a week. Regardless of what schedule and customs you partake in, make sure you have what you need to practice your faith.
Remember that you don’t have to do everything at once.
It is easy to get overwhelmed when you start listing all the things you need to get or do. Small steps on a preparedness path add up over time. Also consider that although I talked about a lot of different things in this post and listed items to buy, a lot of you already have some of these things. You might look around your house and not need to buy any new small appliances.
You may already have enough rice put back. It is easy to lose track of what you have so going over things and checking for gaps can help you focus your resources on what you actually need the most.
Remember that people have gone through a lot of hard times in the past. It can feel like things are hopeless because we got used to living in a period of extreme prosperity due to cheap energy and easy access to inexpensive food.
We are used to the type of security and prosperity that only a huge global power could achieve. The contrast between how it is now and how it was is stark.
Wishing you the best during these uncertain times,