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Where do you draw the line between prudent and overprepared/underprepared? - Page 4

post #61 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaraBoo View Post
Honestly,I don't want to live the way people did in the "good old days." I didn't think those days were so good.
I shouldn't laugh, but the way you worded this makes it sound like you were there...I can't get the picture out of my head of a 125 year old lady sitting at the computer posting away on MDC.

In all seriousness though, I hear what you're saying, and I agree with pps who have said nobody is really looking foward to hard times, some of us feel that a reduction in materialistic consumerism would be a good thing, but none of us are arguing that starvation is good. None of us are saying Ooh I can't wait until we lose power, it'll be so much fun. As pps have pointed out though, refusing to acknowledge the possibility doesn't make it less possible. That said, if you don't want to stockpile, or you don't think it's necessary, that is totally your business, and I don't think you should feel forced to prepare for something you don't think will happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post

So I guess my question is........if I bought some books or just read the manuals, would it be easy to teach myself?
YUP! I taught myself how to sew, I'm learning how to can and starting a garden. Most of this I learned from getting books from the library. I learned how to knit by asking a friend to teach me. You can learn a ton of great skills from books, or find someone who can show you. (Volunteering at a nursing home if you have time is a great way to learn about the old ways, if you don't have friends/relatives who can tell you) If you're worried about wasting money on a sewing machine, try sewing a bit by hand first. I learned how to sew with just a good old needle and thread by hand, and made a few things before considering getting a sewing machine. You can see if you really enjoy making things yourself, and if it's something you'll keep with before you make an investment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by p.s View Post

The largest pantry in the world would not, and did not help: the Jews of Axis countries or Eastern Europe, Katrina victims, tsunami vistims, Myanmar refugees,
people who lost their homes in the Sichuan earthquake, inhabitants of recent tornado and flood zones of the Midwest who had to evacutate their homes, etc.
Not entirely true, although I understand your basic argument, you're saying (I think) that there are many situations in which stockpiling is useless. Which is true, sometimes there are things you can't prepare for, but the situations you chose are not really great ones. Many of the wealthy jews DID stock up on items of value when things began looking unsafe. They traded items of value for protection and a hiding place or travel out of the dangerous area. For those that stayed and hid, the ate their stockpiles of food while hiding. The jews who made it to safe countries by bartering with items they stockpiled would say they made the right dicision. Katrina victims were also helped by their stockpiling, those who did have food and fresh water on hand fared much better than those who did not. When the water began rising, many brought their water jugs and food bins to highest point of their attic, or even onto their rooftops, and they ate and drank while many others died, and most of the ones with food an water shared with those who did not if they could reach each other.
post #62 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by p.s View Post
.

If I'm down to my last meal, and I die a day, or month earlier b/c I share it, to me, that's an honorable way to die.
that's a great way to live (seriously), but, what if it comes down to your *child's* last meal? Would you give that away to someone else? I think that's what those of us who are prepping and say, "No, if it came down to it, we'd keep it for ourselves" are thinking.
post #63 of 87
I'm so intrigued by the sharing/prepping perspectives.

For those who say that they'll share their resources, does that include money? Like, if your neighbor needs some extra cash to cover his/her mortgage for the month do you offer them some? And what if it meant that you couldn't pay your mortgage....would you give it then?

I guess I see food and money and other resouces in the same light. I've worked hard and sacrificed so that I've got some resources built up. If other people haven't done that then that's their choice, you know? I'm not asking them to take me and mine on a ski vacation now so that I can continue to save, so why would they think it's OK for them to take a ski vacation and ask me for my savings later?

I mean, obviously, if you've got plenty of "extra" it's nice to donate and share the wealth, but in a "push comes to shove" situation....our ideas of "extra" might change considerably. And I don't think any of us are giving every extra bit of money, food, etc. that we have to the needy.....does that make us hard-hearted? People are dying every day NOW from hunger. Am I hard-hearted b/c I'm not taking my family down to bare bones meals to save those folks? I just don't think so. I don't know. Interesting, for sure.
post #64 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkey's mom View Post
I'm so intrigued by the sharing/prepping perspectives.

For those who say that they'll share their resources, does that include money? Like, if your neighbor needs some extra cash to cover his/her mortgage for the month do you offer them some? And what if it meant that you couldn't pay your mortgage....would you give it then?

I guess I see food and money and other resouces in the same light. I've worked hard and sacrificed so that I've got some resources built up. If other people haven't done that then that's their choice, you know? I'm not asking them to take me and mine on a ski vacation now so that I can continue to save, so why would they think it's OK for them to take a ski vacation and ask me for my savings later?

I mean, obviously, if you've got plenty of "extra" it's nice to donate and share the wealth, but in a "push comes to shove" situation....our ideas of "extra" might change considerably. And I don't think any of us are giving every extra bit of money, food, etc. that we have to the needy.....does that make us hard-hearted? People are dying every day NOW from hunger. Am I hard-hearted b/c I'm not taking my family down to bare bones meals to save those folks? I just don't think so. I don't know. Interesting, for sure.
I agree. Right now, while we have enough, we donate each week to the food pantry at the church and monetarily at the mission each month. But if times get to a point that I have to choose between helping others and keeping my family alive, I'll put my family first. Charity is one thing, but when your family is going without to show a good face to the public??? No, I don't care enough about my reputation to let my family go without so that people think I'm a generous person. That's MY line that I draw.

And if I have been telling someone for years to make a few sacrifices to their "leisure" to put a little extra back and they didn't listen... I agree. Why is it okay for them to have their cake and eat it to, when I've been putting back flour all along? That is the ultimate attitude of entitlement.
post #65 of 87
I just finished two books--one on Germany at the very end of WWII, and one about the German occupation of Guernsey. Basically, everyone was starving. I am pretty sure if the people around me didn't have enough to eat, I would share, especially if I were in a more advantageous position.

I think if the situation were real and immediate, there would a human face I would be staring down, and judgment for whatever my neighbor failed to do, if they or their children were starving on my front porch wouldn't enter into my not feeding them.

Taking food out of my own children's mouths--that's a sticky wicket. But back to the thread title--where do you draw the line? When do you say, well, if I give you a cup of brown rice that means a month from now there's nothing for Sally...I don't think I could do that. I think my reaction would be more immediate and if I were faced with someone whose suffering was more immense than my own family's, I wouldn't be able to stop myself from helping them.

Another wrinkle to ponder, is that the future is uncertain! Some people think they know A will happen, other people are convinced B will happen. But none of us know exactly what our individual futures hold. So, while I can understand the feeling of not wanting to share what you have thoughtfully and prudently stored up--if unforeseen circumstances rip it away from you, and you find yourself with nothing--wouldn't you hope someone else would help you?
post #66 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by madskye View Post
I just finished two books--one on Germany at the very end of WWII, and one about the German occupation of Guernsey. Basically, everyone was starving. I am pretty sure if the people around me didn't have enough to eat, I would share, especially if I were in a more advantageous position.

I think if the situation were real and immediate, there would a human face I would be staring down, and judgment for whatever my neighbor failed to do, if they or their children were starving on my front porch wouldn't enter into my not feeding them.

Taking food out of my own children's mouths--that's a sticky wicket. But back to the thread title--where do you draw the line? When do you say, well, if I give you a cup of brown rice that means a month from now there's nothing for Sally...I don't think I could do that. I think my reaction would be more immediate and if I were faced with someone whose suffering was more immense than my own family's, I wouldn't be able to stop myself from helping them.

Another wrinkle to ponder, is that the future is uncertain! Some people think they know A will happen, other people are convinced B will happen. But none of us know exactly what our individual futures hold. So, while I can understand the feeling of not wanting to share what you have thoughtfully and prudently stored up--if unforeseen circumstances rip it away from you, and you find yourself with nothing--wouldn't you hope someone else would help you?
I agree that a lot of issues here are sticky and subject to varying points of view. I don't know exactly what I would do if a family came to me asking me for food in the middle of a crisis. I'm sure it would be on a situational basis. How many people? how much do I have? what are the prospects for replenishing the food before the rest runs out? *can* I even refuse them (ie...defend my stockpile)? do they have skills/items for which I can barter? So, I'm not saying an across the board, "Too bad for you." Yes, like most things in life, my exact response would be dependent on the circumstances.

However, what set a lot of this off was velochic saying that, no, she probably wouldn't help her sister. And the reason behind that is that she has *offered* to help her sister stockpile, her sister has the monetary resources to do so, and is STILL refusing to do so, expecting that velo will bail her out, if necessary. Frankly, I wouldn't help her, either, especially if it meant my child doing without in a significant way.

There is a big difference, in my mind, between poor, disabled, uninformed, etc. people who DON'T have the opportunity and/or means to prepare, and people who willingly refuse to do so so that they can play grasshopper while the ants work.
post #67 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by madskye View Post
When do you say, well, if I give you a cup of brown rice that means a month from now there's nothing for Sally...I don't think I could do that.
If you knew that the one person to whom you gave brown rice would tell 10 other people that you have that brown rice... and that those 10 people could easily overpower you and your family and take it ALL away... would you still give that cup of brown rice?

(This may seem extreme to us, but after Katrina, a man was shot over a bag of ice.)
post #68 of 87
I think there's so many variations of "help" in this sort of a scenario. I mean there's trading for items and services and then there's Joe Schmoe and his whole family showing up on your doorstep expecting you to feed and tend to them indefinitely, you know?

It's hard to imagine every scenario and how one would react.

I know there are so many people in my community who have way less than what we have. And I'm pretty sure some of them are currently suffering (hunger, heat from no A/C, etc.), but at what point to I give and give from my resources until I'm in their same position?

There's a saying, "You can carry the message but you can't carry the mess." And that's kind of how I feel about all of this. If people are not willing to make sacrifices for their retirement/future/emergency/etc., then they shouldn't expect other people who have been making those sacrifices all along to carry their mess. And I don't think it means that you're cruel or uncaring to make sure that you and yours are tended to even though others aren't.

Does Velochic deserve unlimited access to her sister's Wii? No, it's not her's. If her sister wants to share, then that's surely generous. But if she says, "No, Velo...I bought this for my kids and you can use it on occasion, but not right now/all the time," that doesn't make her mean in my eyes. If Velochic wants unlimited Wii access then she should buy one herself, right? And likewise, if her sister wants unlimited access to food and funds down the road, then she should get them for herself.

I don't know....it's hard to imagine scenarios where food is such an issue. We (collective) have had so much access it's surreal to envision it not being there and how we would react. Logic and emotion are so different!
post #69 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by madskye View Post
When do you say, well, if I give you a cup of brown rice that means a month from now there's nothing for Sally...I don't think I could do that.
If you knew that the one person to whom you gave brown rice would tell 10 other people that you have that brown rice... and that those 10 people could easily overpower you and your family and take it ALL away... would you still give that cup of brown rice?

(This may seem extreme to us, but after Katrina, a man was shot over a bag of ice.)
post #70 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by madskye View Post
I think if the situation were real and immediate, there would a human face I would be staring down, and judgment for whatever my neighbor failed to do, if they or their children were starving on my front porch wouldn't enter into my not feeding them.

...

So, while I can understand the feeling of not wanting to share what you have thoughtfully and prudently stored up--if unforeseen circumstances rip it away from you, and you find yourself with nothing--wouldn't you hope someone else would help you?
This is me, too. I can't honestly say I'd enjoy being the ant who bails out the grasshopper, but at the same time, if someone were on my porch begging for food, and I had that food, there's no way I could say no. The greatest poverty of all in my mind is poverty of spirit, and no one is poorer than the one who won't give.
post #71 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
If you knew that the one person to whom you gave brown rice would tell 10 other people that you have that brown rice... and that those 10 people could easily overpower you and your family and take it ALL away... would you still give that cup of brown rice?

(This may seem extreme to us, but after Katrina, a man was shot over a bag of ice.)

No, it actually doesn't seem extreme at all. But another thing that could happen is I could refuse and my neighbors could come back as an angry mob, take all my stockpile, and kill us all.

Also, another extreme scenario...your sister's Wii might be worth a lot of $$ or food on the black market after the world goes topsy-turvy.

There's also the thought that the people who show up on your doorstep, looking for a handout, might have something else to contribute, some knowledge or connection or skill that you don't have.

No man is an island, and all that. I think it would be harder to go it alone than to form a new community and pool resources.
post #72 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by madskye View Post
No, it actually doesn't seem extreme at all. But another thing that could happen is I could refuse and my neighbors could come back as an angry mob, take all my stockpile, and kill us all.

Also, another extreme scenario...your sister's Wii might be worth a lot of $$ or food on the black market after the world goes topsy-turvy.

There's also the thought that the people who show up on your doorstep, looking for a handout, might have something else to contribute, some knowledge or connection or skill that you don't have.

No man is an island, and all that. I think it would be harder to go it alone than to form a new community and pool resources.
Oh, I totally agree. And the angry mob is probably my biggest fear because we are pacifists and will not own firearms. We're toast in that situation.

And I do, very much believe that if times got *that* tough that new communities would form.
post #73 of 87
Lots and lots of posts here and too many for me to quote and respond to individually.

I'll just share my perspective as I was one who stored food long before the economy took a turn downward.

I grew up in an agrarian community where folks always put in a garden and everyone canned and froze the garden excess. It was just the way things were done. We didn't do it because we were afraid the economy would collapse. I suspect at least part of it was due to low incomes and memories of leaner times.

For those who worry that they don't know how to do something, the best investment, IMHO, is skills. If you can learn from books, go visit your local library. Both canning and sewing manuals have great pictures and step-by-step instructions. Your local community extension office will be a great resource as well. Some even have classes for adults.

If you need to be taught in a more hands-on method, see if you can sit in with some 4-H kids while they learn. Some sewing shops offer classes (for a fee).

As for equipment, previous posters have mentioned it but it bears repeating - water bath canning can be done with ANY large pot that will boil water and hold pint or quart mason jars. I got mose of my canning jars either free through Freecycle or low cost at garage sales. I check them carefully for cracks before each use. The only new items you *must* have are new lids. They run under $2.00/box in most areas. New rings are nice, but good condition used rings are fine, too.

Pressure canners are pricey, but for our family it's a worthwhile investment. I like the convenience of having home canned meats and soups in my pantry. I can buy local organically raised meats and put them up for later use.

Sewing equipment can also be found at a low cost. I admit it, I'm a hoarder when it comes to my notions and fabrics. But it's not because I fear that clothing will disappear from our economy. I love sewing and can't pass by a 10 cent zipper or fabric at 50 cents a yard.

I've purchased many a sewing machine at $5 or $10 at garage sales only to pass them on to someone else who needs one! I think the best sewing machine for a newbie to use is a well maintained 1950's or '60's Singer Featherweight. They're workhorses that will take care of your basic sewing needs are typically widely available. Ask around in your community to find out if families have one they're not using anymore. In my area just about every household with a woman over the age of 60 has one.

Sewing patterns are available here for anywhere from a nickel up to a quarter. You can also google online to find free tutorials and printable patterns. In a lurch you can always take apart a garment and use that as a pattern adding in a seam allowance.

Now to address those folks who think food stores are a waste because they're not used and if you need to bug out it's money wasted:

I eat what I store and store what I eat. Yes, if my family had to evacuate we'd only be taking along our 72 hour kits and whatever excess we could transport. But that isn't reason not to store. I'm not storing food only in case of natural disasters. We store for so many reasons and that is just one of them. I don't think being prepared is ever a wasted effort.
post #74 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by KariM View Post
....
For those who worry that they don't know how to do something, the best investment, IMHO, is skills. If you can learn from books, go visit your local library. Both canning and sewing manuals have great pictures and step-by-step instructions. Your local community extension office will be a great resource as well. Some even have classes for adults.

If you need to be taught in a more hands-on method, see if you can sit in with some 4-H kids while they learn. Some sewing shops offer classes (for a fee)......
:

It's reasonable to keep a certain amount of food/water around, but I really think it's "skills before stuff". You can lose or have stuff taken away from you, but you'll always have knowledge/skills.

What really brought this home for us was when our home & both storage outbuildings burned in the wildfires last year - all our "stuff" is gone, but I still know how to ID/grow edible plants, even if the books are gone, I still know how to make & spin on a drop spindle, even though my wheel is gone, etc.
post #75 of 87
Hmmmm. . .I have really been asking myself about these moral issues a lot lately. In another thread (not a fan of referring to other threads, but I think it bears relevance) I questioned the actions of bystanders who witnessed a horrible crime. It was pointed out to me that we all have "hero fantasies" and what we think we would do and what we actually would do when faced with crisis might be different animals.

Here's what I would I hope I would do: before things got to a starvation level, I hope I would take to initiative to help people start community gardens (maybe something to work on now?).I'm also a writer; maybe I should right an article (non-alarmist) on getting back to basics (there have been a few in that realm around here). I would share what I could with a starving family, but not to the extent my own children would suffer. Maybe this is my hero fantasy.
post #76 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ary99 View Post
Here's what I would I hope I would do: before things got to a starvation level, I hope I would take to initiative to help people start community gardens (maybe something to work on now?).I'm also a writer; maybe I should right an article (non-alarmist) on getting back to basics (there have been a few in that realm around here). I would share what I could with a starving family, but not to the extent my own children would suffer. Maybe this is my hero fantasy.
In some cases, that is happening already. There are community gardens in many towns.

I have formed a loose co-op with neighbors on either side of me, however they are also good friends. I have a garden that is 1/2 in full sunlight and 1/2 40% shade. I am growing our lettuces and cooler-temp foods. One neighbor is full light and is growing hot/sunny crops like tomatoes (although I have tomatoes, too) and the other side wants mostly beans. We're all sharing... bought the plants together, help each other in our gardens and will all harvest together. We're responsible to can our own leftovers. But there are already people who come together to help each other out.

I suppose that is why I have the mentality that if you aren't going to listen and you're not willing to work, then looking here for a handout isn't going to get you anywhere. If my family members were willing to work the garden with me, put some sweat equity and money into it, then they're welcome to share. I'd love to teach them. They are unwilling and would rather simply drop by to pick up a bag of veggies (cleaned, please!!).
post #77 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahbazin View Post
You can lose or have stuff taken away from you, but you'll always have knowledge/skills.
: Well said!
post #78 of 87
I'm not going to debate that skills are important. I absolutely agree that they are.

However, in my mind, it is very important to have reserves. Part of this is purely practical. If a cataclysmic event happened in December here (Pittsburgh, PA), I could be very well screwed if I don't have food and winter clothing/protection reserves already set up. I am trying to learn more about foraging, and doing pretty well, in my mind, for a newbie. I'm ahead of the popular curve, so to speak - I've had 3 people this week alone ask me what I was picking (mulberries and tart cherries), and if they were edible. I also know of a couple of poisonous plants in my area (common nightshade is everywhere here). But, my knowledge is NOT enough that I could sustain my family purely on what I find on the land for a winter. My husband is an excellent shot (10 years in the infantry will do that to you), and we have a rifle, so, we could hunt, but, I don't know how far that would get us, especially as, at this moment, neither of us are well-versed in processing meat. So, until I (we) attain that level of proficiency I keep reserves.

I know how to sew. I know how to quilt. I could easily repurpose fabric in the house, if necessary. But, I don't yet know how to spin wool from the non-existent sheep on my property. My knitting skills are rudimentary (think scarves and blankets, nothing involving dropping or adding stiches), and my crocheting skills non-existent. So, I keep reserves (which is also economical...a year ago, when DD was 11 mos, a friend of ours asked, off the cuff, if we'd like her daughter's preschool wardrobe that she was going to drop off at goodwill...so, in 2 years or so, I have an entire wardrobe (literally) for DD).

In Pittsburgh, those are our immediate concerns (other than the roaming hordes...and I'm not kidding...i think things would get very sticky if we were forced to stay here during a Katrina-like event just due to the population density).

I don't worry *too* much about water. We have some water for the immediate period following a disaster, and live exactly 3 miles (by road - probably less over land/road combo, but more if the tunnels are out) from the confluence of three major rivers. Purification is an issue, and we are learning about that, but, water is not as great a concern as it would have been in other places I have lived.

Every bit of knowledge I acquire is valuable, but, at the same time, I do think it's important to have a cushion in the form of tangible goods. I think the key is to balance everything out...if you are an expert shot, great at processing meat, have abundent clean water, a productive garden, great foraging skills, know how to sew, knit, etc. then perhaps reserves are not as important. If you know none of this, then, yes, I think reserves are absolutely vital. Obviously, it's a balancing act, and, ideally, everyone would be self-sufficient (or nearly so), but, it's not reality. I'm constantly surprised by adults who literally cannot prepare a basic meal or sew a button on, let alone can the berries they picked themselves and fashioning an article of clothing from scraps. At the same time, I know people who literally put me to shame by their extensive knowledge and dedication to self-sufficiency.
post #79 of 87
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post #80 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
Charity is one thing, but when your family is going without to show a good face to the public??? No, I don't care enough about my reputation to let my family go without so that people think I'm a generous person. That's MY line that I draw.
I don't think most people give just as a way to "seem generous" to other people - probably you don't either. But the way you phrased this really struck me, and highlighted a general dis-ease that I have with the "prepping" mentality. I'm worried that those of us who prep will spend SO much time and energy on the prepping that the effort of it will change something fundamental about how we see community. It ends up being an "us vs. them" situation, which is IMO the most dangerous result we could have.

I read a book years ago called 'The Christian Agnostic' that re-imagined several of the 'miracles' of Jesus. The author's take on the loaves-and-fishes miracle was that Jesus "produced" all that food from the hidden folds & pockets of the robes of the people at the wedding, simply by being willing to share his own. There already was plenty, but the people were so fearful of not having enough, and so resentful of others for not having enough, that they were hoarding it. Once they had the example of sharing, and followed that example, they all had enough.

Hopelessly naive? Probably! And other posts have had really thought-provoking questions about where this line would be drawn - yes, there already ARE people starving, while we waste food. Yes, it would be hard to help a neighbor with a mortgage, after watching him live beyond his means.

But I guess my worry with actively prepping is that it seems to lead to MORE selfishness and me-first-ness, when what will be needed is much much less.
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