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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rain barrels coming soon.

Food and Water in Retirement

Now that we've covered finances and shelter that leaves food and water.

Yesterday I touched on new technology to provide energy, but when it comes to food and water we have to look to what past generations did before 24 hour supermarkets and on-demand tap water.

Naturally this means gardening, but it also includes things like canning and pickling, water conservation and even basic cooking skills.

My wife's 82 year old grandmother still pickles all her own stuff and my friend's elderly grandfather has the most productive garden in town.

Unfortunately the knowledge and skills involved in these activities have been lost over the last few generations; however with the internet, knowledge that our grandparents never had access to is easily and cheaply available.

One thing that I think everybody should be doing is gardening.  Almost anybody can plant a few veggies from the huge row garden to the apartment balcony planter boxes.  Ideally your garden should provide the majority of your food,  however if it only provides 10%, that's still less money out of your pocket.

The "Squarefoot Garden" method is popular among preppers for it's low-maintenance and high productivity. There's plenty of info on-line covering Squarefoot Gardening and I plan on adapting it to my tiny yard this summer (which I'll post pics of here).


Our Canadian winter's though make storing and preserving food very important. Canning and pickling is the traditional method but dehydration is getting very popular.  Check out Dehydrate2Store for great info on dehydrating.

Apart from growing and preserving your own food every prepper should be stocking at least a month's worth of food but the exact amount is up to you.  You should practice the "eat what you store, store what you eat" method where begin stockpiling the foods you already eat. 

Having familiar food during emergencies makes it easier if you have to depend on your supplies. Secondly, it creates a natural rotation of supplies and avoids unused expired food.

Lastly, you can actually save money by storing food in this way.  Since we're Canadians let's use our national comfort food as an example: Kraft Diner.

I don't know about you but I'm shocked by how expensive KD has gotten lately and I refuse to buy it when it's over $1. Because of this I buy multiple boxes whenever it goes on sale.  This way if the price goes back up I can wait because I've still got a dozen or so boxes at home.

If you do this for all your regular groceries you can save up to 30%!

Now this leaves us with water which depending on where you live is either a very simple solution or a rather difficult one.If you live in the country you simply need a well, but if you're in the city this isn't an option.

However, if you can't look down for your water, you can always look up: rain.

Every downspout on your roof should have a rain barrel.  You can buy the expensive factory made ones, or you can make one out of a plastic barrel or garbage can

My town has a by-law saying when you can and can't water your lawn so I love "sticking it to the man" by using my rainwater to water my lawn during "forbidden days".  In areas where your water use is metered, you'll also save money by using less water.

No matter where you live though you should practice water conservation to either lower your water bill, to preserve your septic system and/or lower the electricity by the well pump.  You can do this in a number of ways that I'm sure we're all familiar with: low flow toilets and showerheads, short showers instead of baths etc..

Well, I think I've touched on a lot of basics in this series of posts. Please leave any ideas or comments.

I don't know about you but I can't wait for retirement!

(Cross-posted at Next Best West)