My Year Of Eating Like The World Ended (Report 2 – With Great Beard Comes Great Responsibility…)

Sunday, 9.16.2018

Okay – so I was planning to sleep in today.  Yeah, that didn’t work.  I forgot to top off  the food bowl for the beasts last night, and they were circling the bed at the butt-crack of dawn and pouncing on my chest trying to convince me to get up and put an end to the “Great Famine Of 2018” (anytime the bottom of the food bowl is visible, it’s a “famine” in Cat-speak).

Steady rain today, and again, surprisingly cold.  Planning to stay indoors and focus on the writing.  Finally finished a massive set of wheelchair reviews – now on to office chairs.  I love my job!  Learn something new every week. 🙂

OH!  Speaking of, I should say a bit about finances, because IMO, that’s an important part of prepping.

I’m juggling multiple balls at once here.  On the one hand, I’m a freelancer, so my income is highly variable and not predictable.  Some months are feast, others are famine.  Okay, famine is too strong a word.  By “famine” I mean in the same way that the cats think of “famine.”  Even on slow months, I’ve got enough to pay the bills.

Having said that – I’m working on a number of important projects simultaneously, and they’re all vying for attention – sometimes, in pursuit of various goals, I run short of cash, but if I’m at a critical juncture, I spend what I gotta spend and pay it off later.

Right now, the biggest projects are:

  • The pantry test (tossed the price of the freeze-dried food on my “regular expenses” credit card – I tend to charge all my day to day expenses and then just pay it off at the end of the month – easier to keep the check book balanced that way. Right now, that card is carrying a balance because I’ve stopped paying it in full, so I can focus on paying a loan I took out from Prosper at the start of the year.
  • Play The Planet – The overriding goal is, of course, to buy a ~10-acre farm, but it’s not that simple. I tried about a year ago, and the deal fell through in the eleventh hour.  Actually, I’m kind of glad it did, because although I had my down payment money, I wasn’t really “ready.”  So now, I’m prepping for another run at that, but this time, I’m organizing myself differently.In addition to having opened a savings account for the down payment money, I’ve opened an investment account (Acorns – fabulous little app) where I’m putting moving money (supplies, getting lights turned on at the new place, money to rent a truck and a couple of guys younger than me, and with stronger backs, etc.), and a third account for long-term investments (solar panels, FabLab, etc.)My targets for those are:
    • Moving fund ($5k)
    • LTI: ($20k)
    • Down Payment: $14k minimum (20% down on a 70K property), but my range is between 70-160k, so I’ll need up to $32k in the down payment fund. Won’t happen overnight, but I’ll get there.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Strategic Acquisitions – This is kind of an open-ended category. Stuff like, picking up the WWII army knife pictured in the last update, the big ass machete, a camp stove, rechargeable batteries, solar panels for recharging stuff on the go, etc. – On the one hand, you could say “prepper stuff,” but in truth, it’s just stuff I want and need to have to make life in the mountains easier and more convenient/predictable.  When I find a good deal on something, I’ll grab it and pay it off as funds become available.
  • Play the Planet Architecture and Infrastructure – This is another big, open ended category. Some site-specific stuff, and some tools that I’ll need when I get where I’m going (the table saw, for instance, was purchased last year with PtP in mind for the Workshop, which will be the precursor to the FabLab) –  I’ve broken what I want into several discrete projects, and as funds are available, I’ll fund another segment to keep moving the ball forward.

Then of course there are the mundane expenses – rent, lights, gas for the car, repairs for the car, etc. – in October, I’ll be going to the dentist to get two fillings – on the card it will go.

In January of this year, I took out some loans to gain traction on a number of the projects I’m working on, and then, ran up the balance on a credit card to deal with the recent spider bites, so my primary focus is paying those things off.  By the end of the first quarter of 2019, that should be done – I don’t like debt, so I try to limit my exposure and pay any debts off quickly.

It matters because IMO, even if a big disaster strikes, I’m betting the banksters will find a way to make sure they get their money.  For that reason, I don’t like being in debt.  I’ll run short term deficits if I have an important strategic goal in mind, but if it’s going to take me longer than a year to pay it back, I’m a bit leery.

The mortgage will be the exception to that, but even then, I’m planning on paying it in full fairly quickly – can’t really say ASAP, because again, there are other projects competing for funds, but I’m not gonna let it linger indefinitely, either.

Anyway – there’s that.  Finances are an important part of my general preparedness, so I spend at least some time every week making sure they’re in good order and I’m on track to accomplish my various goals and projects.  Recommended.


Breakfast: Fried Egg sandwich (est. 300 calories)

Lunch: Vegetable beef soup (500 calories)

Dinner: Vegetable beef soup (500 calories)

Coffee: 300 calories

Total: 1600

Note about the fried egg sandwich – that’s kind of a misnomer, because I always break the yolks when I try to fry eggs.  What I do instead is – I’ve got these fun little things that go in the microwave.  Egg goes in, lid goes down, and in two minutes I’ve got a close approximation of a fried egg.  Two of those and a bit of mayo from the fridge, on toast, a dash of salt and pepper, and I’m all set.


Monday, 9.17.2018

Breakfast: Vegetable beef soup (500 calories)

Lunch: Hot Pockets (480 calories)

Dinner: Hot Pockets (480 calories)

Coffee:  300 calories

Total: 1760

This is kind of a momentous day in the experiment – I just ran out of something.  The first casualty:  hot pockets.  They are no more.  No matter, I’ve still got plenty of supplies in the kitchen stocks, but it’s worth mentioning that things are running out.  The first of many…


Tuesday, 9.18.2018

Breakfast: Veggie Beef Soup (500 calories)

Lunch: Veggie Beef Soup (500 calories)

Dinner: Small Steak and Green Beans (370 Calories)

Coffee: 300 calories

Total: 1670 calories

Veggie beef soup supply depleted.  That marks the end of my care package.  It’s easy to overlook, given the impending arrival of a massive supply of freeze-dried foods, but if I fail in my attempt to live for a whole year off of the pantry supplies, the seeds of that failure have already been planted.

Something I have already done or overlooked in the course of my planning will ultimately be the root cause of the failure, so in a sense, if that is to be the outcome, I have failed already – I just don’t realize it yet.

A sobering thought that prompts me to pay at least as much attention to the stocks that are now gone as it does to the soon-to-be-arriving freeze dried foods.  They are a welcome addition indeed, but I have to wonder if they, and my tendency to be clever will be sufficient?  Only time will tell.


Wednesday, 9.19.2018

Breakfast: Pop Tarts! (400 calories)

Lunch: PB&J (230 Calories)

Dinner: Irish Cheddar Pub Soup (2 servings) – 560 Calories, w/ half a steak (760 Calories)

Coffee: 300 calories

Total: 1690 Calories

YAY!  The Freeze-Dried stuff has arrived!  I’ve just finished taking inventory and finding places to put everything. A few pictures attached of the unboxing and sorting, and then having everything on the shelf.

Note that some of the items (the copious amounts of chili I ended up with – see inventory below) wound up in the bathroom cabinet where the coffee and sugar are stored, simply because I had already overtaxed the bookcase and had nowhere else to put it.

The only potential wrinkle in the mix: I wound up with several packs of coconut lime curry and…I’m allergic to coconut.

Fortunately, I’ve got scads of Benedryl, so my plan is to make some as a test and take a Benedryl beforehand to see if I can eat it that way. If it gives me hives, I’m fine – if it sends me to the hospital…well…we’ll have to trade that. We shall see. It’s all in the name of science tho, so I’m game.

In any case, here’s the complete inventory:
** Note – All Breakfast items are ten servings per bag. All Lunch/Dinner items are 5 servings per bag

4x Strawberry Cream of Wheat
6x Strawberry Oatmeal 🙂
5x Gluten-Free pancakes 😀
10x Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal 😀 😀
9 x Multigrain Cereal 🙁
6x Strawberry Oatmeal 🙂
6x Apple Oatmeal 🙂 🙂
46 x 10 = 460 servings


10x Thai Coconut Curry 🙁 ?
10x Mac and Cheese 🙂
5x Chicken a La King 🙂 ?

10x Sweet and Sour Asian Rice 🙂 ? 🙂 ?
10x Tomato Basil Soup: :-/
10x Irish Pub Cheddar Potato Soup 😀 😀
15x Mango Habanero Chili 🙂 🙂
10x White Bean and Lime Chili 🙂
80 x 5 = 400 servings
Grand Total: 860 Eats


Also included in the inventory (tho not mentioned on the invoice) were a pair of honkin’ black spiders.  Given my recent less-than-stellar encounter with some of our local spiders, these did not survive long.

Note: So far, I’ve only checked the Irish Cheddar stuff, but the serving size listed is 1/3 cup on that (will check the others in time)

That’s not really a bad thing. I knew when I made the purchase that this was a subsistence level kit, and my plan from (almost) the start was to augment this stuff with other goodies I’ve already got stocked.


Three key lessons learned, now that I’ve had a chance to see the supply firsthand and experiment with it:

  • They weren’t kidding when they said subsistence level. I made two servings of the Irish Pub soup and it barely filled up a modestly sized bowl WITH half a steak added.  I’m going to be burning through this supply much faster than the # of servings would indicate, because I’m not gonna be eating that little.
  • The instructions called for slightly too much water. I pared it down a bit and it turned out just about right.
  • Measuring the servings out is a pain. Much easier to just cook up the whole bag and portion THAT out, reheating the leftovers later.

Also – much better to order exactly what I want, rather than getting a “grab bag” so I don’t wind up with stuff I don’t like as well or am allergic to.  Bleh.

In any case, this is exactly the kind of data I was looking for.  When I rebuild my stockpile at the end of this experiment, I now have a much better idea of what to get, how much to get, how much space that will require for my 1-year supply target, and I’ve already zeroed in on a number of things I’m lacking.

HEY!  One thing I just realized – I didn’t get my free spiffy rain barrel!  GRRRR….will keep an eye out for that, and if it’s not here by Monday or so – I’ll call and ask about that.


Thursday, 9.20.2018

Breakfast: Apple Oatmeal (260 Calories – double serving)

Lunch: Irish Pub Soup (w/steak)

Dinner: Finished off the Irish Pub Soup & Steak (3 servings total, so 1250 calories for the two meals)


Snack:  Tried some of that multi-grain cereal (180 Calories).  The Apple Oatmeal is wonderful…the Multi-grain Cereal…not so much.  It kinda tastes like hot, runny Sugar Smacks…kinda.  But – I’ve got a ton of it, so Ima eat the hell out of it anyway.

Coffee: 300

Total Calories: 1990

Got the spiffy rain barrel today – hurray!  A slow, leisurely day filled up with random household chores, Amazon Prime videos and writing.


Friday, 9.21.2018

Breakfast: Nothing

Lunch: Meatball Sub! (900 Calories)

Dinner: Spaghetti and Meatballs (1000 Calories)

Dessert: 4 Cookies! (440 Calories)

Half Coffee: 150 Calories

Total: 2490 Calories

Sharon arrived bearing gifts!  I got a fantastic card she made with her Cricut, plus a drone, plus cookies (Sand Tarts, my favorite), plus a huge container of meatballs! (I’m estimating the cookies at 110 calories each and each meatball at 75).

This, however, presents a conundrum.  The added food is a bit of a wrinkle – the cookies not nearly as much as the meatballs.  My solution was to trade her for them, giving her one of my roasts and one of my sirloin steaks in exchange.

The card is pure awesome, btw – it reads, “With Great Beard Comes Great Responsibility) – attaching a pic! (along with pics of the meatballs and cookies–plenty more cookies where those came from – just pulling them out in small batches!):






Saturday, 9.22.2018

Breakfast: Eggs! (split the last of them with Sharon, so my share was 300 Calories)

Lunch: Meatball Sub! (900 Calories)

Dinner: The last of the spaghetti.  (700 Calories)

Snack: 4 Cookies: 440 Calories

Half Coffee: 150 Calories

Total: 2190 Calories

Used up the last of the eggs and spent some time playing with the drone, playing outside, and watching Sci Fi.  Good stuff.  One thing – we noticed a YUUUUUGE wasp nest beside the house.  They must have gotten busy when I was in bed recovering from spider bite mayhem.  Not cool.  Next week, it looks like there will be a war on…


Weight: 332

BP: 153/64 (highish again, but not hugely so)

Standing Trade Deals

Just the one:  Rip apart two pallets and lend Mike my table saw as needed in exchange for 2 gals of milk a month, 6 eggs and a venison steak.  Took delivery of the eggs, steak, and one of the two gallons of milk this week, further bolstering my stores.

Until next time…

PS:  We didn’t eat nearly all of the meatballs.  I bagged the rest, eight to a bag, eight bags in all, and stuck those in the freezer so I can parse them out later.


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