Although nobody is actually following this blog, I've decided to pick it back up again as a way of keeping myself organized and on track. In the time since I last wrote anything down, the world has seen tremendous change. Oil is back to it's 2008 price of $110/barrel, gas is expected to hit $5/gal by Memorial Day, and the threat of rapid inflation is looming on the near horizon. Combined with the Euro Crisis and expected Greek default on May 20th, this could create a very difficult environment for a lot of people.
I haven't been sitting idle, though. Last fall, we purchased a tiny Geo Metro XFi. If you are unfamiliar with this model, it's a 1.0L 3 cyclinder hatchback that is geared for gas mileage with a higher top gear and lightened cam. This car, on a bad day, gets double the gas mileage of our Subaru or Chrysler. On a good day, it can nearly triple their fuel economy. Combined with our 250cc Honda Rebel motorcycle, we are ready for $5-7/gallon gasoline. Our plan during the summer is to remove our Subaru off the insurance to garage it for much needed maintenance, which will save us $60/month in insurance premiums. Adding the motorcycle is only $20/month, so we still save $40/month just in insurance. Then we cut our fuel budget roughly in half. Most days we will drive the Metro into work, but on the nights where the kids or the wife have activities, I'll take the Rebel into work (75mpg) while she takes the Metro to church and town. That should save us about $300/month in just excess fuel costs that we can set aside for maintenance and preps.
Today we are putting in a fence on the front of our yard. Well, to be more exact, we are having it put in, as fence building has never been my strong suite. Too many times in my childhood I found myself pulling steel fence posts back up and having to realign them with the intended fenceline. This will allow us to expand our garden and put in a small chicken coop, which is something we have wanted to do for years.
We've also picked up a pistol for my wife this year. She gets beat up too badly by the shotgun, so a pistol was our plan for her in regards to protecting herself and the children when I'm at work. Our talking to my sister and brother-in-law also helped to encourage them to do the same, so my wife and my sister can learn the finer arts of handling handguns. We chose the Springfield XDM-9, as the 9mm shell is cheap to practice with and not as intimidating as a .40 or .45ACP. Plus, it's standardized caliber-wise with many of our friends and family members, so if we find a good deal on ammunition or reloading supplies, everyone benefits. We also found a nearly local company, Freedom Munitions (http://www.freedommunitions.com) that sells their Blaster practice ammo for a song, 1000 rounds for $166 shipped.
Our primary focus isn't on guns, gold, and beans, though. We have already started our spring cold season crops and even a few indoor garden plants. Our goal this year is to expand the garden, and we have been spending the winter composting and building up our garden beds with fresh rabbit droppings, shredded newspapers, and pine chips to create a nice compost/mulch. Our rotary composter has been doing very well, and we will actually be sharing compost with our neighbors due to it's efficiency.
We've also made a few new acquaintences. There is a rather large prepping community in our part of the country, and we have been talking to our neighbors in that community to share advice and plans for local disasters. We share seeds to lessen the risk of cross pollination, which also allows us to learn about new heirloom varieties and even entire crops that we've never considered before.
I can't promise that this will be updated as often as it needs to be, but I will do my best to update as needed to keep myself on track and to document my plans, my goals, and my accomplishments as we continue moving away from the consumerism lifestyle.