Hi Everyone. My name is Marti Shelley. I’m so happy to be working with Kris and his team. I’ve never thought of myself as a “prepper” – more like a “preparer”. (Is there even a difference?) I’ve been canning food since the 70’s. (Long time, right?) I have seven children and 18 grandchildren. I’ve learned so much over the years and made many mistakes, and am still learning. I invite you to join me this year as I focus on getting better prepared for ANYTHING. (Maybe not a Zombie Invasion, but I don’t discount aliens.)
I’ve been thinking about my upcoming garden and when to start my seeds indoors for planting. I’ve already started my tomatoes because I want them to be about 12 weeks old when they go outside. And then I found this gem: Seed-Starting Date Calculator | for Starting Seedlings Indoors | Johnny’s Selected Seeds It’s an interactive worksheet. YOU put in your last frost date (I put in March 1) and it tells you when to plant your seedlings indoors so they’ll be ready. Awesome!
If you are wondering what that looks like at my house, here you go.
The plants just sit on my kitchen counter. If it’s a nice day, I take them outside for some sun, but I set a timer and only let them stay outside for an hour or so. They’re babies after all. All my windows are tinted, so they don’t get good sun inside. Anyway, starting your plants inside is a good way to get extra growing time. In my zone (9B), once the temps start reading 95-100, plants shut down. They don’t like the excessive heat. So I want as much harvest as possible before that happens.
If you don’t know your zone: check out this page https://www.gurneys.com/hardiness_zone
You put in your zip code and not only does it tell you your zone, but tells you which plants will grow best in your area.
LONG TERM FOCUS: January – Oats
My focus this month is Oats. Oats are part of the “whole grain” section of storage. The recommended amount to store is 400 lbs of whole grains per person. If this seems like a lot, consider that it includes wheat, rice, oats, and many other types of grains. Also, consider that 400 lbs are barely over 1 lb a day.
We don’t eat a lot of oatmeal at my house, because we have access to fresh eggs. But in a crisis, oatmeal could become a staple food. My father remembers that during the depression, they often ate oatmeal for dinner just to have something filling to eat.
Oats are available in #10 cans through several sites (just google it). But, your best bet is the grocery store. Oats usually sell for about $3.25 for a large cylinder container. I just buy them and stick them in the back of the closet – no special packaging necessary provided you don’t have rodents or a water leak. I DO have oats in #10 cans, but I find they have a smell I don’t like when opened. Some have suggested that you air them out by pouring the oats back and forth between bowls. I’m sure that when the time comes, I’ll find a way to cook them or flavor them so they are edible. Meanwhile, just buy and store as is. Number 10 cans can be stored for years! If you are storing as is, be sure to rotate. Don’t like oatmeal? Try making no-bake cookies. (The recipe is below) Yum!
SHORT TERM FOCUS: Pancake mix
You don’t need pancake mix, of course. You probably already have ingredients to make pancakes. But the mix is just so darn easy – and frankly, I like the Krusteaz mix better than homemade. The problem with the add-water mix is that the leavenings will go bad after about a year. You can add some baking powder to the mix for another year, but then, it’s just not good anymore – looks and tastes like sawdust (just guess how I know this?). So now I only store what I can eat in a year. For the two of us, this is a Family Size open on the shelf, and 2 more in storage – dated, so I can rotate them. Is it enough for a year? Probably not. But then I’m not throwing away food either.
72 HOUR KIT FOCUS: small water bottles and Sillcock key
Water is heavy to carry around. I don’t have any water in my 72-hour kit. Instead, I have an empty water bottle and a Sillcock key.
Never heard of a Sillcock key? Check out this video from DropForged Survival Key to the CITY! Most Important Urban Survival Tool!
You will need a water bottle to carry water if you have any dehydrated or freeze-dried food in your kit. I do. In fact, I have oatmeal. Which means I need water and a small metal pot. Something like a mess kit will work.
I also have a flat of water I can throw in my car if I need to evacuate. If that is your plan, make sure you write water on your “What I Need to Grab In An Emergency” sheet that is taped to the inside of your kitchen pantry door.
FOOD STORAGE RECIPES: (just in case you actually have to eat what you have stored)
Five-Grain Quick Bread
From the Betty Crocker Whole Grains cookbook
Quick breads do not have yeast and don’t need time to rise. AND, this recipe is loaded with fiber from the oats and wheat flour. Great to serve with soup or when entertaining.
1 c. 5-grain rolled whole-grain cereal OR old-fashioned oats.
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 tsp salt
Whisk dry ingredients together.
1/4 c. cold butter. Cut into flour mix.
1/2 c. golden raisins optional. (I like raisins, but not always in bread. I’ll probably omit this.)
In a small bowl mix:
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
Reserve 1 TBS of this mix to brush on bread before baking.
Stir buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients until moistened. Turn out on the floured surface and knead 5 – 6 times until dough is combined. Shape dough on a greased cookie sheet, into a 7-in round. Cut a large X 1/4 inch deep into the top of the dough. Brush top with reserved buttermilk mix.
Bake 30-35 min at 375 degrees until the top is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool slightly before serving.
This is a pretty common recipe and can easily be found online if you want nutritional information. (I’m pretty sure there is none — nutritional value that is)
½ c. milk
2 c. sugar
½ c. butter
¼ c. cocoa
Boil together for 1 minute. Remove and immediately add:
¾ c. peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 c. oats
Drop by spoonfuls onto tin foil or parchment paper. Let cool.
LIST OF LINKS:
This is a link from Johnny Seeds. I actually order a lot through them.
This is from the Gurney’s Seed company. It is an interactive page.
This is a YouTube video explaining what a Silcock key is and how to use it. I just chose one at random from another great prepper in the YouTube community.
Hi Marti. I like your article and found it informative. Looking forward to your future articles.
Thank you for the recipes, and the links. I enjoyed reading your contribution.
Glad you enjoyed it!
This is a wonderful introductory article Marti. Thank you for posting and especially for joining Kris as a regular contributor! Welcome! I look forward to reading your future posts. I picked up a garden planner this year that I think may earn an honorable mention. It is available as hardcopy which is my preferred method of everything preparedness related. Clyde’s Garden Planner is a slide chart that comes with an instruction sheet for customizing the planting zone for each unique user. I think this is also worth a look to the reader. I have a couple of questions for you.… Read more »
Hello Marti –
Oh my goodness!
I am so grateful, and impressed, about the wonderful content that you have provided in your introductory article!
Looking forward to more.