Storage Suggestions & Ideas


Preparation is actually the ONLY moral thing to to do. NOT to prepare is like "asking for it." Meaning: asking the government to take total control of our lives when the y2k hits the fan. My second big reason is that by preparing NOW, we are sending economic signals to manufacturers and producers to hike up the supply of storage tanks, water purification systems, generators, staple foods. That will benefit everyone. Next year, when things are in short supply, it will be less clear just how moral it is to stock up.

Think of the news stories of parents in December mobbing each other in ill temper over such things as Cabbage Patch dolls and Tickle-Me Elmos. What will tempers be like if essentials are scarce? Will we have lotteries, or will we watch people hammering each other at the Kroger??

Here's one more reason why preparation is a moral stance (perhaps the most important one): the "Oxygen Mask" scenario. You know how the airline attendants always tell you, in the event of the loss of cabin pressure, to put on YOUR OWN oxygen mask before you outfit your kids?

If we able-bodied are not prepared, we may spend January 2000 scrambling to get our own selves taken care of, while those who are shut in, handicapped or institutionalized could be left with inadequate care. Thus moral reason #3 to prepare: to be able to care for the helpless, the "widows and orphans" with whom God seems highly concerned in the Old Testament. And the "least of our brothers" in the New.


I read that you can add Vitamin E to one's oil after opening in order to delay it from going rancid. Well, today I reached for a bottle of Canola oil (Hain brand) that was sitting on a shelf in my fridge and guess what I found listed as an ingredient: "mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) added to preserve quality."

RE: Olive Oil I buy it by the gallon ( Bertolli or LaRusaa brands) and if you buy it in the tin it will last at least 1 year ( I found one in the back of my cupboard) Opened about 5 months <IF> you keep it well closed And stored in a dark cool dry location

BOOKS: Book On Food Storage

I just received a great little book on Low-Cost Family Food Storage, by A. L. Evangelista, It's available through For a very reasonable price, I might add

CANNED FOODS: Storage Of Canned Foods

You will find storage techniques for canned foods.

Plus--- there isn't much we want to know that isn't on this "justpeace" page!

CANNING: Canning Sites

For those interested in home preservation, I found a couple of nice sites today:

Home Canning Magazine
USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, on-line (English and French) (English and Spanish)


If you plan to do much canning as part of your Y2K program, invest in plenty of jar lids. The rings and jars can be used over and over again as long as they are not in bad shape. Jars should not be used if they are chipped around the lip anywhere otherwise you may not get a good seal. However, you should never use lids more than once. The rubber-like lining of lids can deteriorate with time, but you can delay this if you store your unused lids properly...maybe in zip-loc bags.

Also, you can use paraffin to seal your jams and jellies: for these, you can use any type of glass jar that can tolerate heat. Many tomatoes nowadays are low-acid, and citric acid may be added to the jar to increase the acidity, or the low acid should be done with a pressure cooker. What you are protecting your family from is botulism, which is colorless, odorless and tasteless, but deadly.. It comes from the soil.

CANNING: More On Canning

I Do not use those fancy holders for the inside of the pot, using a towel on the bottom instead and only one jar ever broke and nothing else ever chipped. So you don't need to spend a lot to do it. Lots of jars are available at yard sales, check for chips and cracks and buy new lids and rings. I used a cheap aluminum pot I bought for $5 at K-mart to can things in because the boiling water has to cover the jars and I needed a pot large enough. I still use it for canning and it's also a great old thing to take camping.

I will admit that I plan to buy a pressure canner now. I read where someone put up 200 lbs. of beef for Y2K and did it in 21 straight hours. That intrigues me! Is there a pressure canner that exists that will hold quart jars? I can only find smaller ones for pint jars, even at Southern States. They also have great canning supplies, BTW.

Someone just asked how to bake bread on a grill: Again, I did lots of research on camp cooking because I wanted to expand my horizons and go beyond roasted marshmallows :-) One evening I made pizza on our 2 burner, gasoline camp stove, using foil as a base for each pizza and an upside down handle-less camping pot as the cover. It wasn't quite like homemade but everyone was hungry enough to enjoy it and gave it rave reviews. You might experiment with upside down disposable roasting pans or old pots and try to cook a round loaf under it on your grill. I understand that using metal boxes over fires, you can even cook cakes while camping. Check out some camp cooking websites or camping books from your library.

Although I don't own one, a Dutch oven looks useful. You put coals on top and underneath and slow-cook so it is like an oven/slow cooker. I would think that this could be done in a fireplace overnight or even a woodstove if you don't plan to keep a fire going all night for warmth. They work best with charcoal. You can also get a stand so you can cook right inside your fireplace if you have one. Also I suggest a cover holder to remove the extremely hot cover easily. Sometimes you need to put some coals on top of the oven. The holder will really help with this. There are some great instructions and recipes at


Anyone interested in canning might want to take a look at the FAQ for the Usenet newsgroup , which is posted to the group once a month and is available on the web at:

The compiler of the FAQ says he’d be *very unhappy* if you used this file as a replacement for such publications as the Ball Blue Book, The USDA Canning Guide, etc. This FAQ is a *complement to* these sources, giving the reader the sense of who has what expertise in the newsgroup, providing you with some great online sources, even giving you an international feel for what's out there in cyberspace. “I've tried to give you the icing on the cake--its up to you to get the cake!”

Botulism is so deadly that it behooves anyone who cans potentially dangerous foods to read and follow the directions given in the books cited above very carefully.

CANNING: Pressure Cookers

Thought I would share something I learned this AM. I called Presto (1-800-877-0441) after viewing their website for info about pressure cookers and canners.

Pressure canners: The customer service rep. suggested that you buy the small canner if you plan on doing more quarts because both 17qt and 22qt hold the same number of quarts which is 7. The 22qt. one is evidently considerably heavier and she said you would be glad you got the smaller one at the end of the day. However if you plan on putting up mostly pints, the larger holds more and the time savings would make it a better choice despite the weight.

I looked for a metal on metal one which was recommended to me but I ran out of patience so I ordered the Presto which uses gaskets. They said carefully maintained, a gasket lasts 2 yrs and they do not recommend buying them ahead of time.

Pressure cookers: Presto sells stainless steel and aluminum. Stainless is more expensive and stays better looking longer, but aluminum heats much more quickly. Sounds like the better choice for what we may face. Pressure cooking may be a practical option because it uses less fuel and less water.

----PART 2-------

I have a metal-on-metal aluminum pressure cooker which came from Lehman's ((330) 857 - 5757), manufactured by the Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry Co., Inc. ((414) 682-8627). It's the 10-1/2 qt size. The next size up is 15-1/2 qt and like the Presto brand, it holds 7 quart jars. The next size up from that, the 21-1/2 qt, also only holds 7 quart jars, but will also hold 4 half-gallons in case this size of container might be of interest. For those who are interested in the actual numbers for comparison, weights for the WAFC brand from the Lehman's catalog are 12, 15, and 18 pounds, respectively, for the sizes in my first paragraph. That's empty, of course.


Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) is made up of the fossilized skeletons of tiny marine animals. It is not good to breathe, so you should be a little careful of that. It does not make the bugs explode. They do not generally ingest it. When they crawl over it, it makes little scratches all over their bodies (exoskeletons) and causes them to dehydrate. It's that same action that makes it dangerous to your lungs. But it's fine to ingest in small quantities, and it's also excellent in your animals' feed. I've heard that it not only keeps the bugs out and helps keep it dry, but it may help reduce internal parasites in your animals.

Be sure to use *feed* grade or *food* grade D.E., and not the stuff they put in swimming


DE or diatomaceous earth is used at a ratio of 1/2c. to 50# of grain/product. We use this for long term grain storage, insecticide on garden plants (earwigs are our main target), and as a wormer for our goats. Our co-op carries it both in bulk and under the "Concern" label for organic gardening. There are 2 very different types of DE. One that is used as a filtering product (swimming pools) and NOT for animal or human use. It is hazardous to the lungs when breathed. The other is for agricultural purposes and as an additive for feed. The filtering DE is hazardous. The agricultural DE is not because of the different milling procedure. As an insecticide, agricultural DE is a natural product it is safer than a poison.

Here is an article on it that I received from an ag company. It describes the difference. It is natural, non-toxic, and as the article states, very effective.

I have some other info about grain storage and DE (Diatomaceous Earth). It says: Put about 2 inches of grain in the bottom of your 5 gal. bucket. Use 1 and 1/4 cups of DE to a 5 gal. bucket. Have someone sprinkle DE into the bucket as you fill it with grain to be stored. Seal tightly and roll or shake the bucket to cover all of the grain with the powder. --------- Begin forwarded message ----------

Diatomaceous Earth by Philip A. Wheeler

If as much time was spent applying diatomaceous earth (DE) to insect infestations as is spent writing about it, the pesticide companies would go out of business However, if someone doesn't keep writing about DE it seems to fade into the background. This could be explained by the fact that Dow, Monsanto, Union Carbide and other manufacturing companies don't really want their profitable poisons replaced by an inexpensive, non-tonic, naturally occurring, low margin material found in 27 countries of the world.

Diatoms Are the grass of the oceans and lakes. Just as green grass is the staple food of earth animals, Diatoms (algae) are the food of the ocean or fresh water grazers. These tiny organisms Are protected by a crystal shell which looks like a miniature sand dollar. When DE organisms die, the shells pile up on the bottom to form deposits. These deposits are then mined from underwater beds or from ancient dried lake bottoms.

Once DE is mined, it can be milled or processed into a myriad of types for an even greater variety of uses. Filtering and filler are the two main uses but DE also ends up in paints, cosmetics, drugs, chemical insecticides, etc. Because the milling produces different sized and shaped particles, it is important not to use the filtering type for agricultural purposes Filter grind has long crystalline structures which will puncture tissue and injure animals which inhale or ingest it.

DE used in agriculture must be milled until it is almost completely amorphous. This means it has no crystalline form left to cause damage to larger organisms Instead, it has small sharp edges which can damage tiny parasites, larvae, on stored grain, in animal manure, on infected plants and in the stomachs of livestock and people. Since it also has an attractive mineral composition, DE users have reported five distinct uses on the farm: grain storage, deworming, mineralization, deodorizing/absorption, and insecticidal dusting. Each use has its own folklore, facts and fiction associated with it so each will be discussed.

The EPA has approved DE as an additive in feed for use as an anti-caking agent and has exempted it from tolerance requirements as an inert, inactive ingredient in chemical pesticides. Any uses other than those presented here are strictly reports of what farmers have done with the material.

DE has been used for at least two decades as a natural wormer for livestock. It is believed that the DE scratches and dehydrates parasites. Some scientists believe that the DE is a de-ionizer or de-energizer of the worms or parasites. Regardless of the method of operation, farmers report definite control. For effective use, the DE must be fed long enough to catch all the newly hatching eggs or cycling of the worms through the lungs and back to the stomach. A minimum of 60 days is suggested at 2% of dry weight of the grain ration. Caution: do not give to very small pregnant animals such as cats, guinea pigs, etc. and do not feed continually to babies or very small adult animals such as cats, hamsters, etc. The material may be fed on a continuous basis to larger livestock for continuous parasite control and mineralization which is the next major use.

If you began feeding DE to your poultry or livestock and noticed a gain in production, what could the gain be attributed to? The obvious answer would be that the DE reduced the parasite population which resulted in decreased stress on the animal and increased food assimilation. But what about the "mineral" content of the DE? If oyster shell meal provides calcium, then finely ground DE may also provide a broad-spectrum of naturally occurring chelated minerals. These include calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphate, sodium, titanium, potassium and others. Numerous reports of gain have been reported when adding DE: to a ration. With lack of mineralization in modern grains, it isn't hard to conceive of mineral benefits from a finely ground natural mineral product. An Alabama study on hogs showed complete stopping of wood feeder chewing when DE was added to the feed ration.

Feeding at 2% of grain ration can take care of both deworming and mineralization. Most livestock will acquire a "taste" for the mineral if a small amount is mixed in with other feed. After acquiring a "taste" for DE they may take it free-choice.

The third major farm use can be an added benefit from the first two uses. Deodorizing and absorption are natural functions of DE. These will continue to happen as undigested DE passes through with manure. Reduced fly hatching is usually observed in manure from livestock fed DE. Some dairy and hog farmers are also spreading it in bedding (for odor and moisture control) in addition to that coming through the manure.

Fly control is a major problem with livestock operations. DE can be placed in tightly woven burlap bags and hung in doorways. Livestock will be attracted to it and work the bag until their heads are covered with powder which repels flies. In closed areas, DE can be fogged with hand cranked or electric foggers to wipe out flies. Livestock need not be removed and contamination of milk or feed is not a concern. Since the DE "kill" is always mechanical in nature, it is important that the material come in direct contact with the insect. Mixing DE with things flies are attracted to around the farm may cause them to ingest DE in their attempts to eat the attractant. Besides fly control, DE can be used as an insecticide on most crops. In 1943 the USDA found that DE had an 86% mortality against pea weevil. On California cotton fields, DE was found to be more effective than insecticides and the yield was substantially increased (Tucker, 1978). Other tests indicate that DE is effective in controlling aphids, brown mites, red spider mites, twig bores, oriental fruit moths and coddling moths in orchards (Alien, 1972: DeCrusta, 1979).

Field use of DE had several problems Not sticking to the vegetation is the main one. Apply DE when plants are moist from natural or artificial sources to aid sticking but re-application is usually necessary after a heavy rain. Putting a negative electrostatic charge on the DE has greatly increased in adherence to leaf surfaces. One company which has since gone bankrupt perfected an electrostatic applicator but widespread use never occurred. Adding an attractant may also be useful here and several patents have been issued for that purpose.

The last use to discuss is grain and flour storage. DE offers the only easy answer to chemical contamination of stored grain. Irradiation could be used, but cost and negative health effects make it very undesirable. This writer has kept wheat, oats, and spelt in open bins for two years or more with no insect damage by applying DE at approximately 7 pounds pet ton of stored grain. The DE was sprinkled into the auger by hand As an examination of its effectiveness, it was compared with malathion and untreated grain on 1,000 bushels of wheat by the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA. After 12 months storage, the DE treated material had 15 insects compared to 4884 for malathion and 16,994 for untreated.

Although 7 pounds of DE may lower the commercial grade of wheat immediately after treatment, the wheat maintained its grade longer than other treated or untreated grain. Flour yielding and bread baking qualities are not affected. The new patents allowing DE to be used effectively at 1 to 2 pounds per ton instead of 7 pounds should eliminate any grade deterioration problems. Recent grain board tests in Canada have proven in the field what the patents claimed on paper, i.e. DE protects stored grain without contaminating it. DE is not the same.

Differences have accounted for large variations in past testing on DE as an insecticide which has slowed the universal acceptance of DE for that purpose. This writer prefers fresh water diatoms to sea types for several reasons. The bio-activity seems to be better and the health ramifications of breathing the fine white dust seems to be almost negligible because of its 99% plus amorphous structure compared with a higher percentage crystalline structure. Since we now have electronic testing equipment available it pays to "check it out" before buying and using any DE.

Reprinted by permission of ACRES USA, INC., Kansas City, Missouri

Nutritional Research Assoc. Inc.'s FOSSIL FLOUR is a non-treated, non-milled, non-calcined fresh water form of Diatomaceous Earth. It consists of microscopic fresh water diatoms which were deposited millions of years ago and have since fossilized. Under microscopic examination each particle looks like a tiny glass spear which pricks the outer skin or coating of insects, worms, maggots, etc. causing them to dehydrate and die. The product is a fine powder, white to gray in color. Diatomaceous Earth is approved for use as an anti-caking agent in livestock and poultry feeds. Nutritional Research Assoc., Inc. makes no claims about diatomaceous earth other than for approved uses. Test results (University of Illinois) in 1966 show that the use of the product does not harm animals or leave residues in milk or meat.

FOSSIL FLOUR is packed and priced as follows:
2 Ibs. for $2.75
5 Ibs for $4.40
10 Ibs for $7.80
25 Ibs. for $17.95
50 Ibs. for $33.90
Plus shipping

Nutritional Research Associates Inc. P.O. Box 354, 407 E. Broad St., South Whitley, IN 48787 1-800-456-4931
--------- End forwarded message ----------


We made this mistake while living in Clarksville, TN. We had an attic room that seemed perfect for storing our buckets of wheat. However, I had to go up there one day during the summer....we even had central air conditioning....and about passed out from the heat. We then found that our nitro packed buckets had busted their seals, candles had melted, etc. It was a mess....we called Walton to find out if the wheat was still any good and they said to use it right away. We didn't have to worry about bugs in was too hot for the bugs to survive


Try Sears. That's where I got my vacuum bag sealer. peace, Darlene P.S. QVC home shoppers also sells these sealers. Just look up QVC on info or Yahoo. ;)

FOOD SEALER: Vacuum Sealer

When you purchase a vacuum sealer, please make sure that it is a PISTON-driven vacuum. The inexpensive ("cheap") ones use a rotary fan for the vacuum. We purchased a cheap one first, and returned it to the store, and then ordered a piston-drive one from Caribou Cry in Canada. Because of the dollar exchange rate, saved big bucks! Garage sales would be the best place. But just make sure you ain't buyin' a "cheap" one!


Misc. Survivalism’s Food Storage FAQ is at: and


If you prefer white flour, you can freeze this and kill any eggs in it. I usually buy 25 lb. bags of white and bread flour at Sam's, freeze overnight (you can divide it up and freeze over several days if you have a small freezer) and then we store it in storage containers you can get at Sam's, sometimes taking several months to use it. I have never had a bug problem this way. They sell containers that you could fit several of these bags in. You can't do this with whole wheat flour because it will go rancid.


Well, we are digging Mini-cellars in the flower beds. And we are storing many food items as well as water in PVC pipe with end caps, then burying them.

REFRIGERATION: Inexpensive Off-Grid Refrigerator

Jade Mountain has an ad for a solar powered medicine refrigerator, designed primarily for use in vaccination campaigns in rural areas of third world countries where electricity is non-existent. It's very pricey, though, more than $1000.. It might be something, however, that could be suggested to public health authorities, or hospitals, or large clinics, or even organizations of diabetics.

Another alternative would be a kerosene or propane gas refrigerator. Full size, they also cost in excess of a thousand dollars, but there are a lot of smaller ones made for RVs and mobile homes that cost a lot less. The best place to price shop something like that might be RV dealerships.

An even cheaper alternative would be to convert a car into an AC electric generator, by using a DC to AC inverter, which can be bought for less than $100. Crane Company has them for about 89 dollars. They are at:

I should probably mention that this particular option would be kind of an inefficient mechanical monstrosity that would burn gasoline (i.e. by keeping the car running to charge the battery to produce the DC current to convert to AC) and thus hardly can be considered a permanent solution, but it might provide a bridge during power outages that would keep temperatures from fluctuating too much in your regular kitchen refrigerator. But it has the advantage of being really cheap (compared to buying a generator or a propane powered refrigerator). You'll need some large outdoor-style extension cords. The inverter would sit on the front seat, plugged into the cigarette lighter, with the extension chord plugged into the inverter box, and running thence to your regular refrigerator.

It is important to take load demands into consideration in regard to the use of inverter. A small campus type refrigerator like those sold so reasonably in the stores require at least several hundred watts. The startup loads on an induction type motor may be twice its running load. That means a 300 watt motor may require a 600 watt or more inverter. Also, no electronic equipment should be run at it's maximum capacity, not to mention that it may be useful to run more than one item off of the inverter at the same time, like extra lamps, two-way radios, etc. Some of the new larger inverters have a 230VAC and 115 VAC output. These could run your well as well as your refrigerator. Without electricity, deep wells are a problem.

The 115 VAC inverters that you see advertised for under $100 are usually in the 75 to 250 watt range and will not perform the required loads needed for the little refrigerators. Companies like Statpower and Whistler make these little inverters and larger sizes that cost a little more but will have the ability to run the small refrigerators, electric drills., etc. without stalling on startup and without premature burnout.

This new generation of inverter is of the high frequency design and are generally smaller and cheaper than the more traditional ferro-resonant types. Some loads are sensitive to the "output wave" of 115VAC. This is the output form of the alternating current that can be seen on an oscilloscope. A waveforin from your local electric utility is a true sine-wave. (probably regulated by a non-Y2K compliant embedded chip!)

The modern high frequency inverters are smaller and lighter than the larger ferro-resonant inverters. However, these inverters do have a drawback. They make what is known as a "modified sine-wave output" unlike the utility grade "true sine-wave output" like the larger, more expensive ferro-resonant type inverters produced from the Heart and Trace brands.

Some computers and other sensitive electronic equipment will not function well or at all on anything but a true sine-wave output. The little high frequency inverters are now starting to become available with true sine-wave outputs but at a much higher price. Some companies now offer both output grades in their selection. Which ever way you go, do not buy the old square wave inverter of a few years ago. You can get them at flea markets, etc. but they are not a bargain at any price. About the only thing they are really good for is incandescent light bulbs. (non-resonant or non-inductive loads, i.e.. no motors!)

I have operated a small refrigerator on occasion with a 600 watt modified sine-wave high frequency inverter and have had no problems. This inverter works at load with over 90% efficiency. Even though the output is "modified sine-wave" I can still use it on sensitive electronics if I use charging transformers to the electronics instead of 115 volt direct connections. This "cleans up" the waveform. This means that you can charge VCR batteries, car batteries,, even laptops if you have a 115V to say a 12 VDC charger cord.

Running a 115V TV directly from the inverter may be a problem. You probably will not damage the TV but you could get lines, snow, reduced picture size, etc. However, this will probably not be your worst Y2k problem! (:>

For the price difference on the inverter types, the cheaper modified sine-wave inverter make a lot of sense except for only a few applications like the above mentioned.

Inverters make sense in general on loads like a refrigerator that are of inconsistent loads. A refrigerator will not pull any load until the compressor cycles on. To run a refrigerator on a gasoline generator would be terribly inefficient and noisy. An inverter uses current only when a load is present, like when the refrigerator cycles its compressor on. There is a small "idle current" that is required by the inverter in the stand-by mode but the idle current is negligible compared to the inefficiency of a gasoline generator running with no load, not to mention the wear, noise, fumes, fire hazard, etc., of a generator.

Another big advantage of an inverter is that they can run off of a battery that is maintained by a solar panel. FREE electricity from the sun. I don't know the future, but I'm betting that the sun will be here longer than any stored gasoline you have! I have one 45 watt solar panel and I can keep my small fridge going indefinitely if I do not open the door too often. Also, you can effectively double the efficiency of these small refrigerators by taping or gluing 1" Styrofoam on the sides and door to help insulate them. Keep the condenser coil in the back in a free flow of air for better circulation. If your unit has the coil embedded in the side panels, make sure that you do NOT insulate those areas. Those areas needs to be in a good air flow just like an exposed condenser in the back. If you do not see coils in the back on your unit, feel for hot spots on the cover for the condenser and insulate everywhere EXCEPT the hot spots where the condenser is. The hot areas need to be in the best air flow possible and uninsulated.

Even if your refrigerator pulls more watts than the solar panel can replace, the panel will help prolong the time needed between making other types of re-charging necessary, like cranking the car, the portable generator, etc.

For about $1000 you can put together a solar fridge with a large solar panel, high frequency type inverter, and deep cycle battery to keep insulin, etc. for as long as the battery remains serviceable. Even though you are keeping the battery charged, any battery has a finite life and needs to be replaced someday. If you are worried about battery availability in the future, a second deep cycle battery of the dry-charged variety purchased now could sit on your shelf as standby for a long time without degradation. When you finally do put it in service, you add the sulfuric acid electrolyte and charge it at that time. Only then will the life count-down begin on that battery.

I know some of this is confusing but it is really very simple to put this life saving system together without any previous experience. Just make your power available is greater than your power demands and the system cannot fail. Solar panels are good for at least 30 years and have no moving parts to wear out.

Same company also offers a Baygen radio, BTW, that they have converted to also be a lamp by adding a bright white LED flashlight.

Hope this helps. I would trust what your pharmacist has to say about the storage life of insulin. Bringing this to the attention of diabetic organizations could start some contingency planning that could save the lives of a lot of diabetics in the event of widespread power failures.

Also, if the power failures start in January, if you are in a cold area you could pack an insulated container with snow or ice frozen outside, or even keep it on a cold porch or something, which would work at least until summer (one hopes the power is back on before then).

REFRIGERATION: More On Refrigeration

Subject: Re: Insulin Storage
From: Mike Aimino <>
Date: Wed, 15 Jul 1998 07:15:42 -0400

At 06:51 PM 7/14/98 EDT, wrote: "We're desperate for off-grid refrigeration. My wife is an insulin-dependent diabetic, and without refrigeration, insulin has a very short shelf-life--- and my wife would have a very short life. Please help!"

If you have neighbors close by, and if their y2k-aware, or at least preparedness types, you might be able to go in with them on a generator. Some one the mid-sized diesel gen-sets provide enough power for several homes. They're expensive, though, so that might not be an option. If you go this route, then you and your neighbors can split the cost of the gen-set, the batteries, the inverter, wiring, fuel, etc.

Another option is a gasoline/propane generator. They're much less expensive, but also have a much shorter lifespan. They also use much more fuel than a diesel.

A third option is to connect an car alternator to a small, lawn mower sized motor. There are special brackets available at The Epicenter at The Epicenter also has inexpensive inverters on the same page.

Whatever option you go with, you should have a generator, an inverter, and a deep cycle battery to make a complete system. Such a system could easily run your fridge for a year (provided you have enough fuel).

I'm in the process of installing a backup power system, so I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have, direct you to someone who knows the answer, or just commiserate.

REFRIGERATION: More On Emergency Refrigeration

Coleman makes a thermoelectric cooler (12V) which can plug into a cigarette lighter and can keep items inside up to 20 degrees Celsius cooler than external temperatures. One of the coolers can even be stood on its side like a small refrigerator and even has shelves. They also make a 2 liter size. I've seen these coolers at Walmart and seem to think the larger one was @$100.00 (not sure). Hope this is helpful.


"The Seven Major Mistakes of Food Storage" by Vicki Tate you can get it directly from the author. Also:

New Cookin' With Home Storage Cookbook: $14.95 Shipping and handling First Copy - - - $2.50 Per Additional Copy - - - - - - - - $.75

The New Cookin' With Home Storage
c/o Vickie Tate
302 East 200 North
Phone:(801) 835-8283
Manti, UT 84642

Mrs. Tate also has the audio tape "Designing A Livable Food Storage," selling for $7.95, which includes postage and handling.


Just found out that Folders vacuum packed coffee can last up to 2 years on shelf. Once opened it will be good for about one month. Also, if you want to know how long something will last you can call the 1-800-numbers that are usually on the back of the packages. I called Lipton yesterday and they gave me the shelf life for their soups which where about 3 to 6 months.


Here is an extremely informative site:

SHELVES: Can Dispenser Shelves

A great idea to help with the rotation of our stored canned goods. When you put together your shelves,attach each right (or left) side just one notch lower than the other side so that there's a slight slant. Also attach with the lip up, not down, to hold cans securely. Lay cans on their side so they roll. It would be best to have only one layer per shelf. The shelves would have to be only about 6-8" apart.

Then always remove from lower end and add to upper end to replace. Works sort of like a dispenser.


The Mormons teach their people to use various places in the house such as the space under the beds and closets. The Christiansens, who write Full of Grace, have a monthly column ("Chantry's Pantry") which is where we share recipes because when they lived in cramped quarters their daughter, Chantry's closet was their food storage. I have a large pantry but, alas, no basement OR air conditioning. For seeds, I might go underground.

By sealing the seeds in a cooler or large PVC pipe and burying it, I can keep them at a pretty constant, cool temp

Went yesterday to a couple of bakery/delis and obtained 5 gal. food grade storage buckets for $1.00 each and 3 gal. for 75 cents. We are getting ready to "clear out" a large walk in closet for more storage.

Water, like everything else it seems, stores best in cool, dark places. A problem arises when you place water in plastic jugs on a concrete floor. After several months, the concrete "flavor" passes through the plastic and into the water. Besides being flat, the water tastes like you're licking the floor! An easy solution to this is to buy a couple of 2x4's and put the tanks of water on them so that they are off of the concrete. This is the same idea that we used when storing seeds, fertilizers, etc. We have many of the smaller, 5#, bag in the box type containers under all our beds. These are the easiest and safest way to store water for any length of time. The light weight metalized bags inhibit algae and bacteria growth. The cardboard boxes slide under a bed or stack in a closet. The boxes have handles for lifting and the bags have a spout (spigot) for easy pouring. They will also work in a garage, even in freezing weather. The bags are designed to hold 6 gal. of water but you only fill them to 5 gal. This allows for the extra space needed during a freeze. You can order these from Emergency Essentials at or call 1-800-999-1863 for a free catalog. I believe they cost about $20.00 for a set of 5 kits (25 gal. total)

The site address for the HUGE 200 gallon "bag in a box" water storage unit can be found at

STORAGE: Mini-Cellars

Mini cellars are for storing produce like apples, turnips, cabbage and carrots. Any produce that requires a cold moist environment to last very long. So you *wouldn't* want to store something like winter squash, pumpkins, peppers or citrus.

We dig ours on a slightly sloping part of a flower bed. The flower bed because it is less conspicuous. Cut off and save the sod from the top of the hole. Dig the hole three feet deep and two feet in diameter. Place a layer of straw at the bottom of the hole about 6 inches deep, or you can line with plastic first and then straw.

Next, place a your produce in the hole, place straw between each piece of produce, don't let any piece touch another. Then cover the vegetables with more straw. Continue on like this layer after layer til you get to about 6 inches from the top. Cover the top with a layer of straw. Next you need a lid made of wood or other sturdy material.

Cover the hole with the lid, then the sod. Press and mash the sod into the surrounding soil and water it a little.

Now about water.........

If you will line the hole with plastic and wrap the plastic loosely over the top of the produce after the hole if full, you will have a better time with keeping water out of your veggies. I use landscape plastic. Don't forget where you made your mini cellar...there's no worse feeling than not being able to find your stash! :)


To the question posed regarding vacuum sealer/packers: goto - they also offer high quality dehydrators as well as usage information.