Storms? Disasters? Inflation/Deflation?

OUCH - Sam's finger after losing a bit of skin while trying to pound stakes for the garden.

While Sam is nursing a hand that she managed to scrape a few layers of skin off while trying to help pound a few stakes, I thought I’d share a bit of our philosophy behind “Beyond TP and Milk.”

This past weekend, I saw a news report about average folks becoming preppers. Well, not like we think of as survivalists and preppers, but realizing that they should consider how they might be more prepared after surviving Covid lockdowns, political unrest, and various trials of Mother Nature.

Here’s the news video link from CBSN aired on March 12, 2021:

Another one from CBSN aired on December 30, 2020, was the piece about buying chicks to have eggs for their family in the future:

Both of these videos show the average person beginning to re-think preparedness in relation to their families, ordinary people having experienced some pretty extraordinary circumstances during the past year.

When Sam and I talk about sustainability and being prepared,

… we aren’t necessarily talking about guns, a hidden hideout in the woods, or years of food storage. Most of us are unable, or choose not, to do that. But we have experienced empty grocery shelves and the change of lifestyle resulting from the lockdowns of the past year – job upheavals, financial situations in turmoil, homeschooling our children, delayed product deliveries, and more. Many folks had to run from fires, floods, or deal with snowstorms, and loss of utilities.

As a result of these experiences, many more of us are trying to learn new ways to be better prepared. No more rushing to the grocery store in the eleventh hour. No more fear of ‘what will I feed my family?’ No more waiting for the customary stores inventory-on-demand, waiting for ships and planes that are behind schedules, delivery delays by the post office, and other things out of our control.


I often ask folks if they are prepared to grab a “go-bag” in case of impending emergency? What would they include if they didn’t know when, or if, they would return to their home? So the basics begin there. Here are a few items to consider:

  • important documents (laminated if possible or in a waterproof folder)
  • medicines for several days to several months plus possible prescription copies
  • basic first-aid items
  • personal sanitary items that may not be easy to find in a disaster
  • extra clothing – ideally offering you a few layers
  • food items and water
  • batteries, radio, flashlight
  • blankets

Of course, there are a host of other items you may consider, but that’s a good start. There are many online sites that will give you lists as well as your county emergency services, etc.

Home Garden

Sam’s focus has been to have you think about your family’s well-being, especially in food sustainability. A garden that gives you healthy, fresh foods and offers a variety that can be canned or frozen. A bounty that can give you a sense of security no matter what the grocery stores have available. But we both know that along with these items for our own families, a bit of abundance gives us items to barter. Remember, when times are tough, having something to ‘trade’ can make a tough situation a bit more comfortable.

As we hope for a loosening of all the ‘safety’ precautions in coming months (or years), it’s easy to think the rough times are behind us. If that is how you’re thinking, STOP! 2019 was an amazing lesson. It can happen again. It can happen anytime. We can throw our arms up and say, “Oh, I didn’t think it could happen to me.” Or… we can learn some lessons and figure out at least a few basics that will allow our families to feel a bit more secure.


I highly recommend including everyone in the planning. Children can be quite creative and I think it adds to their own sense of security. They can have a backpack of items that will be important to them if they had to get out of the house fast, or if the electricity was out and they had to entertain themselves. It also can give children a sense of control by choosing what matters to them. You can even play a game and have them use their backpack of items for a day or a weekend to test their choices.

Preparedness is not fear. It’s the opposite. It’s being ready. So don’t forget the lessons you learned during the past year. Consider how you might make a similar situation safer and more comfortable by being prepared.

Between us, we have over 100-years of experience and Sam’s only 39! If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common sense approaches to sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word. 

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