By Jason Herbert

I’m a big “goals” guy. Without goals I often get distracted and find myself accomplishing nothing. So as the year comes to an end, and a new one begins, this assignment came across my email at a perfect time. I describe myself as a “budget minded prepper” who tries to be as prepared as possible without breaking my family’s budget. I also consider myself a “homesteader,” that is I TRY to hunt, catch, raise, or harvest all of our family’s food. I’m proud of what I have accomplished, but there’s always room for improvement. Here are my prepping goals for 2016 in a logical month by month plan that isn’t too overwhelming.

January – Brewing

I’m an avid home-brewer and have made some great beer and wine throughout the years. That being said, I’m still dependent on yeast from the store for my brews. In the case of a long-term emergency, alcohol will be a valuable currency for several reasons, and I’d like to be able to make it completely on my own. Right now I’m currently experimenting with “all grain” brews, which is the pinnacle level that a master brewer can achieve, but I still need to buy yeast. I have grain seed, and I already grow my own hops, but I have no source of yeast. So, I plan to figure out a way to brew with naturally harvested yeasts. Some brewers already doing this harvest yeast from other beer. Others who are going way back in time simply let whatever they brew is sit open and hope that eventually natural airborne yeasts will set up shop. Either way, I need to get better at this, and January is a perfect time for an indoor project like brewing.

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February – Rice

I have no way of growing rice. I do know that people harvest wild rice, but as cheap as rice is, my time will be better spent elsewhere, so in February I simply plan to stockpile rice. I personally like to vacuum seal as many of my food preps as possible. At the local dollar store or other discount grocery stores white and brown rice can be purchased very cheap. I plan to stock up and vacuum seal it all. I store my food in food grade 5-gallon buckets. I’ve seen others store rice in all sorts of ways. The key is to keep it airtight and dry.

March – Water

Along with storing rice, I don’t have enough water. Part of my long-term bug-in plan is to simply harvest rain water from my home’s gutter system with a few rain collection barrels. But it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan. Right now if we had to bug-in, and really hole up, like in the case of a dirty bomb or other situation where it isn’t safe to go outside, we don’t have enough water to get us through very long. I simply plan to purchase as many gallons of drinking water as possible. Depending on who you talk to, these should be opened and treated for storage. My plan is to leave them sealed, and use bleach to disinfect in the case of an emergency.

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April – Ammo

Ammo month! It’s also my birthday month, which I tend to get money from well-wishers (still at my age). And with my extra birthday money I plan to buy more ammo, plain and simple. I really don’t have any groundbreaking ideas here other than to continue to stock on on ammunition for the common calibers we currently have such as .22, .223/5.56, 9mm, 12 gauge, and 20 gauge. That’s it, plain and simple, I’m dedicating this month to stockpiling more ammunition.

May – Livestock

At this point spring will have sprung and everything will be giving birth. May is a great time to start a chicken flock or invest in other animals. We already have a bunch of hens and a very protective and amorous rooster – so our flock continues to perpetuate itself by hatching our own eggs. Others who haven’t started yet can simply buy chicks. Goats, rabbits, pigs and even cattle are on my radar, so who knows what will happen? But one thing is for sure, the month of May will have me expanding our livestock…somehow.

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June – Recruiting Partners

There is strength in numbers and June is the time to host a family bonfire and start to have “the talk.” I always get different reactions when I start to bring up the topic of self reliance and prepping. I also take quick note of the company’s reaction, and I know soon enough if they’ll be invited back for more gatherings. Basically, I have two types of friends – people we love to socialize with and people who we could survive with. The latter is a much smaller list. For my prepping partners, I look for people who: 1) live close enough and 2) have something to offer. My brother who lives halfway across the country is my prepping mentor, but I know in an emergency I wont be able to count on him for much help and vice versa. My strategy for recruiting partners is simple. Like I mentioned earlier, we host a bonfire cookout at our house, and I show the guests how we live. If they seem impressed and have questions to ask, I continue to develop the relationship. If they are simply appreciative of the fun evening, that’s fine too. But when the moment of truth comes, I simply ask: “How are you preparing for an emergency?” We have many gatherings at our home, and I can count the family’s in our “group” on one hand. So this year I’d like to recruit more.

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Next week we’ll have the other six months of the year in Prepping Resolutions: July – December.

Images two and four courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.