TOTM June, 2015 - Mistakes made, lessons learned

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by ghrit, May 31, 2015.

  1. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    As a prepper, you fall in a range bounded by "jump in and do it all NOW" or taking too much time for planning. Either way, you got some things right and missed a couple things along the way. Did you stock up on long term storage foods that you don't normally use and have to rotate stock by throwing the old stock away or eat stuff you don't like (but know will sustain life if you need it.) Did you improperly store your fuel supply such that it got contaminated and you luckily found that out accidentally? Did you get a standby gennie that was easy to start with a single pull when you got it, but now (being older and wiser) wish it had an electric starter?

    Tell us about your successful preps and your disasters and recommendations for good practice and "not to do" stuff.
    To start, I got some lentils, known as nutritious. Hate 'em. I have some #10 cans of various stuff that, if I rotate it, I'm condemned to eat it for several days, difficult to maintain a varied diet that way. (Also wish I had that electric starter on the gennie.)

    (With a belated nod to motomom34 for the germ of the idea, Mistakes but lessons | Survival Forums
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
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  2. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I'll trade you your lentils for my sweet potatoes. no matter what I do to them they remain only life sustaining, but lentils.....mmmmmm
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
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  3. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    Well, a very long time ago, 'way back before I bought my very first Gorilla Suit, I bought a large quantity of wheat berries and stored them away in two large containers.

    Well, that was a mistake, lemmetellya!

    When if came time to try out my new hand grinder, I popped open a barrel and found that most of my wheat berries had become a seething mass of mega-maggotoids.

    Ditto for the other barrel.

    Two seething masses.

    If I'd had chickens back then, they'd have been in Protein Heaven.

    I didn't, so I had to dig a mass grave for the seething masses. I made it a deep one and packed it down very well.

    What I learned from that little fiasco was to package small to avoid large losses, and to freeze everything before it went into the buckets. And then to fill the buckets up with Nitrogen, just to double-sure.

    Further seething masses need not apply.
  4. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    I once trusted food grade plastic buckets. All were packed with hard red winter wheat by a "respected" long term food supplier from a long term storage Co. Three of the 5 burst in the next 5 years of storage.

    Later I purchased freshly harvested hard red winter wheat from Arrowhead mills, in 50 lb paper sacks. I packed it in clean ammo cans using plastic liners and co2.

    To date no movement from within and no cracked steel. Also double protected outer of Ammo cans and store on insulated mat off the floor.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2015
  5. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    Well done!

    I too, prefer to seal my meals in steel.

    I have my shelves loaded with Christmas cans. Most cost about $0.25 apiece. That saves a lot on storage containers, and bugs (or rodents) would need Roto-Zip nibblers to gnaw their way in (or out).
    Gray Wolf, JohnSteven and Ganado like this.
  6. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Oh man...This is a great topic.

    I bought a TON of canned salmon. First, I must ask -who the hell eats canned salmon? Anyway, that was a mistake. Now some pics...

    DSC00037.JPG Dehydrated foods are the way to go (especially for a single guy), but try to buy quality if you do. The Mountainhouse #10 cans are my preferred method for long-term storage. These Wise food buckets are decent for a bug out, but the taste isn't the best. Yeah, I ALWAYS try what I choose to buy, now.

    DSC00038.JPG Seriously? Do you know how bad this stuff is for you? I cycled canola and vegetable oil OUT of my stocks, but still have some around to keep for burning or barter, I guess.

    DSC00039.JPG NO! It shall only be SPAM, or no SPAM AT ALL! This stuff is horrible *yuck*

    DSC00040.JPG Keep track of your cans. I stocked my sauerkraut along a "new" shelf at the time, but it froze in winter. Ouch.

    DSC00041.JPG I stock lots of sardines in small tins we may all be used to seeing. But, check out this bulk can from Goya. Really? I have never had the desire to eat that many sardines. At least I always keep a can opener handy with every tote. Whatever.

    DSC00042.JPG Outdated spaghetti sauce, anybody? This batch is only from 2011. I buy small tins now and use them in rotation, too.

    DSC00045.JPG Canned fruits? Yeah, this sh*t goes bad. Not on my list of stocks any more.

    NOW A LITTLE OF THE GOOD: (for balance)

    DSC00043.JPG Red Feather canned butter. GET YOU SOME. Trust me.

    DSC00044.JPG Grabill Country Meats -Quality. Only ingredients: salt, pepper, MEAT (tasty, too)

    mh10. Mountain House excellence. GET YOU SOME!
  7. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus


    You could try stating it with a suitable cordless drill.

    Note: Using this method has its hazards and may void your purchase warranty...this post is for entertainment and educational purposes only...but in a pinch if your life depended on starting your generator....
    UncleMorgan and Ganado like this.
  8. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Canned Salmon is very good for you, Brokor... And lots of Folks eat Canned Salmon. The Brits buy about half the world yearly production. The U.S. .GOV use to serve it to School Kids at lunch, before "Mochelle" got them to eat SawDust, and Apple Slices.... It lasts for DECADES, in a can, and if nothing else, it makes Great Weasle Bait....
  9. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Yes, BUT do YOOOU eat it regularly? Hrm?
    I don't like it. Not even for survival. Lots of better foods out there. That's why I posted "I always try what I choose to buy now". And LOL@ "the Brits". Yeah, they know about great tasting food. :p
  10. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Actually, NO, I do NOT eat Canned Salmon... I use it for Martin Bait.... I see what goes into those cans.....
  11. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I don't care for canned salmon either although I love fresh salmon broiled and chilled. Same for smoked bluefish. I really enjoy them cold.
    Seacowboys and Brokor like this.
  12. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Just don't be stupid like I was and go out and buy three cases of canned salmon and think, "gee...this should last me a while" -longer than you think. Man.

    chelloveck, UncleMorgan and RightHand like this.
  13. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    Glad to know I'm not the only one. Why I thought I need 2x, 5 gallon buckets of hard red winter wheat and dried corn idk. Hard read doesnt even make good bread. What wasni thinking! Also by the time we got the rice eaten, what we liked to eat had changed. I don't eat rice anymore but we had it to finish. Quantity of even good items is important as well.

    55 gallon water barrels that had lemonade in them was a huge mistake. I never could get the lemon taste out of the plastic.

    My next cistern is going to be concrete and I'm going to let the moss grow on the sides like we had as a kid. I still can't stand the smell of lemonade. Lol
    Sapper John, UncleMorgan and Brokor like this.
  14. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    I learned after 3 years of trying to grow spinach that just because in the grocery stores all the spinach bundles come from Mexico does NOT mean they are a hot weather crop. Gardening is the one thing I am constantly learning about.
  15. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey

    As far as food goes, I've always stored what we like to eat. Everything is rotated and used accordingly. The biggest issue I have with the #10 cans is that there are only two of us now and most of the time that's a lot of whatever to eat once it's opened. It takes more space, but for us I prefer smaller cans or something that can be resealed or repackaged easily.

    I can't base this on anything other than my own observations but I believe that our home canned stuff lasts longer than a lot of store bought. @Brokor's pic of the spaghetti sauce is a good example. We are using canned tomatoes and sauce that was put up back in 2011-12 by my MiL and it's fine. Same for some different veggies and fruits. We depend on the freezers for a lot of storage as well. I've taken some flak for that in the past, but I don't see the problem. The freezers and an extra fridge have their own shed that is wired for power as well as being on the genset power for backup, the shed has it's own solar panels and batteries as well.

    I have some friends in Tx that told me "Dude, you gotta have buckets of grains and beans. You ain't gonna be able to get flour, you'll have to make it." Now that may be true at some point, but have you ever ran one of those hand grinders? Or a hand meat grinder? YEAH,NO THANKS. Our grinders are now powered, and it's still a PITA. Imagine doing that every day? We store FLOUR now. Vac sealed and in the freezer and in buckets and Co2ed. We like red beans n rice as much as the next guy, and probably more than most so the 20-50 lb bags of rice get broken down into useable sized bags and treated like the flour in buckets. Samesame for salt,sugar ect.
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  16. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    I guess the old saying "Store What You Eat and Eat What You Store" just about says it all.

    I've seen a website where a certain system of food storage was recommended that included preplanned meals for a year at a time. Everything you ate was mapped out, with no spontaneous menus allowed.

    On the plus side, it rotated your entire store of food every three years (with no waste!). On the minus side, it sharply limited what and how much you could store, while you were basically condemned to eat the same five meals in rotation for the rest of your life.

    Noooooo, I don't think so.

    Into every menu a little variety must fall. And if that can of garbanzo beans in chili sauce gets overlooked in a dark corner of the pantry until it explodes, well, it must not have been tasty enough to hunt into extinction.

    I find that having no dark corners in the pantry helps, and having the longest term storage items right out with everything else helps, too.

    With my longest term storage food, I keep the costs down by running an Excalibur dehydrator. (Found it in a thrift store, of all places, for a pittance of a price. Yee-ha!) I dehydrate a lot from the garden, and also do commercially frozen corn & green peas, and a little homemade jerky when the prices are right.

    I've found that chopped up beef jerky (I use a large guillotine paper cutter) mixed into a few handfuls of assorted dried veggies (plus spices) makes a super soup mix that can slow-cook all day and be a one-pot meal in the bargain. I fill up a dozen or so 1 qt. Mason jars at a time and then work my way through them at a steady pace.

    Dang! All of a sudden I'm hungry!
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  17. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    Back in '98 I was following all the "rules", and the rules said to stock lentils so I did. Never mind I hate lentils and don't eat them. Also split green peas. I might make split pea soup once a year and that's pushing it. I learned that much like the 2 5 gallon buckets of pintos I set back, split green peas turn to rocks after half a dozen years as well. Kind of hard to rotate when you stock food you don't like. Derp!

    I eat canned salmon.... I don't care what they throw in the can. Still makes good salmon patties, balls, loaf, dip, I even toss it on salad straight out of the can. The only salmon you can get where I am is farmed and dyed, and it cost more than steak. The mistake I made was canned in water tuna. I still have a few dozen Great Value cans of that dried out tasteless crap. How can tuna be so frikkin dry when it's soaking in water? Tuna in oil from now on.

    Freeze dried stuff. I'm a Thrive fan. Seriously they have freeze dried guacamole. But not all freeze dried is worth eating. I made the mistake of doing #10 cans without trying first. They have small "pantry cans" but you pay way more per serving so I skipped that little step. Well the bacon TVP is basically those nasty crunchy Baco-s fake bacon sprinkles. Blech. The ham is the same. I could get 4 TVP cans for what one of the real thing cost, figured if I was hungry enough to open those things I wouldn't care. Turns out the older, wiser me cares. Note to self, always get the little pack and TRY it before ordering a frikkin case. :/

    Incidentally I store flour and it's lasted for years (which is good now that I'm all Primal and sheet and don't hardly use it). I took the 25 pound bags and tossed them in a freezer for a couple of weeks, then mylar, O2, bucket w gamma lid. I have a bucket in the kitchen now, opened, that's 5 years old and it's fine. I made beer bread for the Mr the other day and he ate it like it was Christmas.

    But the biggest mistake I ever made? Taking a break. Letting prepper burnout take over. Being the only prepper in the house makes it even worse, because if you take a day or a week (or in my case nearly a year) off then it doesn't take long before you're back to square one and wondering who ate all the mac&cheese.
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  18. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    Yah, fer shoor!

    Gardening is something nobody ever finishes learning how to do.

    We need a thread about "Gardening Mistakes I Have Made".

    I'm sure it would be entertaining and educational, and I could write about some of the truly COLOSSAL blunders I have made.
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  19. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    @ditch witch If I remember, or you remind me, I will send you a Case of 1/2# Red Salmon, this fall, for just the cost of Postage......
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  20. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    You are a good man. Songs will be sung about you. :D
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