Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Archive for the ‘Updates’Category

The State of Food Storage at SurvivalClub South

When we moved to the Farm, my wife and I left the bulk of our food storage at SurvivalClub North, just in case we ever needed to go there.  However, now that we will very likely bug-in at the Farm, I’ve been slowly (too slowly for my taste) trying to gather another years worth of food.  In the plus column, I have a dedicated climate-controlled space at the warehouse, with pest control.

Even so, we’ve been fighting the mice recently and lost about $50 worth of short-term food.  Something about the mad heat of Summer pushed them inside, as I haven’t had a problem with them in about a year.  I know Tomcat advertises their bait is better than peanut butter, but they’re full of it.  Of the 2 snapped traps (both missed, but we must have wounded the mouse, as we can smell him dead wherever he crawled away to), both had peanut butter, even though there were several Tomcat baited traps nearby.  Honestly, Tomcat bait isn’t very appealing either, I’d steal the PB any day!

I think they are coming in via the drop sealing.  We used to trap that in our previous home’s basement, and I need to do that here as well.

Although I didn’t open up the blog today to talk about mice!

My brother Tom, his wife and his 5 kids are in town visiting from Deathtrap Island (England).  I had a little heart palpitation when I took a bunch of our short-term snacks and munchies over to our house for when they are in town.  My mind was running to ‘You know, I have quite a bit of food for my wife and family…but not so much when you are looking at a crowd of 7 extra bodies.’

Our current short-term food storage (basically, foodstuffs we eat every day…soups, canned veggies, PB, etc) is currently at around 270,000 calories.  That equates to exactly 30 days for my my wife, Nana, and myself at 2000 calories, and the 3 girls at 1000.  That would mean less than 15 days if something happened when my brother’s family is here. (ugg)  I have another 200lbs of longer term rice and beans; but that might only equate to another 15 days.  Double ugg.  I’m now realizing how woefully low our food supplies are down here, and I will definitely be taking some trips to Walmart over the next 2 weeks to at least double our short term supplies.  My wife probably has another 150,000 calories in the pantry and freezer at home, but in the face of the locust horde of kids currently at our house, that’s not much.

As I was counting up the calories, some obvious things popped out at me:

  1.  Peanut Butter might be the very best survival food.  At 6600 calories per jar, it’s space/calorie ratio is among the best available foods (that people would actually want to eat).  It stores well, at least a couple years at the 76 degrees I have my storage room at.  However, this lead me to:
  2. I need to store more crunchies to put it on, and rotate through them.  I’m completely out of Big Cheez-its and Triscuits, which I usually keep about 7 boxes of on-hand.  I can eat peanut butter out of the jar with the best of them, but the girls will want some normalcy!
  3. As mentioned yesterday, green beans blow in terms of actual nutritional/calorie content for the space it takes up.  I’ll check on how many calories cans of spinach or peas have when I next shop.
  4. No surprise, pasta comes in number 2 in terms of caloric density.  With our pool open for the summer, I’m not much worried about the water situation.  I’ve also done some scouting, and found 2 water sources within walking distance of the property.  However, we haven’t gone into drought yet this year, so I’m not convinced they will be there year-round.  Just something for me to keep an eye on.
  5. It’s not for everyone, but I always have some mobile liquids on hand, as you can see in one of the photos.  Gallon jugs of water and apple juice.  Might not be a great use of space, but until I’m actually out of space, its good for my morale!

I had a long conversation with someone looking to start storing some food this week, and like it sometimes does, the conversation got very long-winded about OTR and MVTR properties of bags, and what was the best bag to use, etc.  I finally gave my go-to answer, as I was worried he was overcome by ‘research paralysis’, and I told him to just start storing SOMETHING.  And that’s pretty much my philosophy for any of you out there reading this who don’t have anything stored.  You can see how I’m doing things, I’m not ultra organized.  I just try to be consistent.  Having extra peanut butter, Pop Tarts, and Ramen on hand will never hurt you.  But if you lose your job, or God forbid something truly awful happens, you’ll be glad you did.

Just do it people!

11

08 2017

Advice and Beans Updates – Spring 2017 Edition (Personal Edition)

So we finally did it.  We escaped the deathtrap peninsula we lived on in Suburbia just outside of Nashville, TN.  No longer do I fear the rising floodwaters of a broken dam or being trapped in an EMP nightmare with 30,000 other people on a 5 square mile strip of land with only 2 ways out.  We bought a 40-Acre farm in Lewisburg, TN about an hour and a half south of where we were living (About 40 minutes north of the Alabama border).  We did keep the house in Hendersonville and are renting it (kind of, as the tenants only pay occasionally).  We also upgraded the business from the little 3000 square foot rental location to a 6000 square foot building we purchased.  It’s provided us a lot more opportunities and we’ve taken a stab at some other little businesses in addition to Discount Mylar Bags.

After the kids are bad.

I love the small town feel (there’s an open drive-in theater two lots down from us!), and I will live and die in this place.  My wife doesn’t even ask if I want to run to Nashville for something…because I don’t want to, and likely never will.  I could putter around in the warehouse or on the new farm for the rest of my days, without ever stepping outside of town.  To all of the customers who made this possible, you will never understand how grateful I am for you.  With Trump in the White House, our market has seen some pretty significant declines, and I hear the same for almost every prepper-based business.  We’re attempting to retool and refocus in different areas as quickly as we can, but no one ever knows what will happen.  For me, it’s enough that we’re here and we’ve kind of created a lifestyle where my wife and I could pay most of our bills selling stuff from Goodwill on eBay.  Plus, they let us keep our kids in cages as necessary.

Not the brightest animals.

We’re on our 2nd flock of chickens, as the first were killed off over the Fall and Winter.  (I hear that’s pretty common with a first flock).  We’ve upgraded to a nice large coop and have 6 great hens (1 passed just recently to an infection).  I had to put down our rooster Cluck Norris last week as he attacked one of my 3 year old twins (and has even attacked my wife).  It was the first, and hopefully last, time I ever pointed my Glock at a living thing.  Though it was a little nice to know that my carry pistol works!  We have a new turkey that wanders up to say hello to the chickens around sunset, I keep meaning to put a flock block out for her.

The thing about 40 acres is there’s always something to do.  My wife and I are not outdoorsy or farmy by nature, but we’re trying.  We all went tooling around the property in the Suburban on Sunday putting fire ant killer on any mounds we could find.  My wife is working on a small garden, and my Spring project is trying to fix the fences (so we can get some goats) and carve out a walking path around the property (it’s just about a mile walk along the outside of the entire property)

Our beloved Coco passed (she ran into the road, which is still too close for comfort), but it was almost a necessity, as she, despite being 3 pounds, killed 3 of our first flock of chickens.  My wife, who was a trainer by trade, says chicken-killing is a trait that is hard to break for a dog.  Ellie, our new border collie mix, loves to get along with everyone.  She’s our hero right now, as she pulled the rooster off of Dagny when it was attacking her, and damn near killed it.  For as sweet a dog as she is, it’s nice to have another set of eyes (and teeth) looking after the girls.

Mancamp in the back 40

Life is busy, but beautiful.  We’ve found a church we love, and we’re working to start making those important connections in a small community.  This past weekend I passed the Technician test to get my Ham Radio license. (Call Sign KN4DCA) I plan to join our local ham club and emergency response team.  I am even considering starting a little ‘Survivalclub’ Meetup to see what the town has in the way of preppers and survivalists.  Down here, I suspect they’ll be quite a few folks who far surpass anything we’ve done.

My families main food storage is still at SurvivalClub North (as another just in case), so I’ve started again down here.  However, my focus here is a lot different, and encompasses everything I learned helping our group lock down our needs at our first location.  If I find the time, I’ll try to do some updates and let you know how I’m doing things differently down here in comparison to when we first started prepping.

Again, thanks to all who helped make this amazing journey possible!

11

05 2017

Upcoming Blog Giveaway – Running 03/31/14-04/07/14

Hey everyone, just a note to tell you that we are sponsoring (with about 4 others) a blog giveaway taking place from March 31-April 7.  We are a sponsor, and are giving away 5 – $50 gift cards to the store, and there are 4 other participants as well, including one giving away a 9 tray Excalibur like the one we use…its awesome and you’ll definitely want to enter to win.

How it works:

There are currently 17 blogs in the giveaway.  Every person can earn a total of 2 entries by liking 2 social accounts (Such as Facebook and Twitter) of each of the sponsors linked at any of the blogs (I’m not actually a participant but a sponsor so you won’t be able to get an entry here), so if you like all 10 social accounts of the 5 sponsors, you will get the maximum 10 entries into the contest.  All the entries will be put into a virtual hat and presto, out come winners!

I’ve been highlighting one of the participating blogs per day over at our Facebook page if you want to check it out (and like us!).

If not, here is the full list (forgive the formatting, I hate copying and pasting from Office, but its better than retyping it all!).  You should go check some of them out; I’ve been reading a bunch of them over the last couple of days, and most of them have beautiful, interesting blogs…I definitely have blog envy!

Full List of bloggers participating:


1. Jennifer Osuch
2. Jane Adams
3. Laurie Neverman
 
4. Jamie Black Smith
 
5. Linda Loosli
 
6. Angela Paskett
 
7. Julie Sczerbinski
 
 
8. Adrienne Urban
 
9. Chris Ray
 
10. Mike Prunty
 
11. Dan DeLaiarro

12. Tammy Trayer
13. Bernie Carr

14. Jodi Moore and Julie Wise

15. Sharon Pannell

16. Colleen Anderson

17. Angela England

Untrained Housewife

27

03 2014

Update Winter 2014: Babies, new Mylar Bags, Wholesale Website for Survival/Prepper Store Owners

Hey y’all, looks like its time for my semi-annual post!  Yes, my blog is sad, I know, but someday I will be able to warp time and space and clone myself 7 times so I can get everything done every day that I want to!  I actually have a couple of posts lined up so it’ll have a flurry of activity for February at least.=)

My beautiful bebbies!

My beautiful bebbies!

Personal Life Update:  And these babies are why; please welcome Dagny Abigail (left) and Liberty Belle (right), our beautiful twins, into this crazy world!  Prepping is an act of preparing for the unexpected.  And while the girls were definitely unexpected, my wife and I had already ordered our life in such a way that what might be a crazy emergency for those who don’t prep, for those of us who do it was more like ‘Groovy, scary, crazy, but in the end, it’ll be ok!’  I’ll have an entire post on how my wife and I felt and acted before, during, and now, in terms of living a prepared lifestyle.

New Product Update:  We’ve gone back into production for another full truckload of product, due to arrive in late March (Lord I hope the cold is long gone before having to spend the day unloading!).  Included in the new shipment are a couple of additional bag sizes in the awesome ShieldPro material.  Like all of our new styles, these were requested by customers.  (So if you think of something you need, let us know, we just might make 10,000 of them!)  I’ve added a new small zip-seal bag, a 6″x6″.  I’m always surprised by how many of our 4″x4″ bags we sell to folks wanting to store spices and supplements in their 5 gallon buckets.  I’ve had requests for something just a touch larger but not as big as our 1-quart bag (8.25″x8.25″), so we’re getting a test run of 10,000 units.  We’re also adding another zip seal to the line, ensuring we will now have a zip seal available in all our main sizes.  It is a 2-gallon Zip (14″x20″), a size I’ve been surprised to find some folks storing water in.  I’ll do some testing of that process myself and if it goes well, will do another post on that subject.

New Business Update:  A pet project I’ve had on my mind since I started Advice and Beans was a wholesale website designed just for prep store owners.  That project is now coming to fruition, as through negotiations with the previous owners, we were able to acquire the premiere domain name for our niche.  Our wholesale site is now live at www.mylarbags.com.  Like most folks who have sold food storage supplies, there is one place on the ‘Net that comes up first in most search results and offers wholesale Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers (among other things).  However, after dealing with that company for a good long time (over a year), I came to understand why most people leave them quickly:  incredibly poor customer service, overpriced shipping, and inflexibility.

Mylarbags.com is our answer to that 700-pound gorilla.  We are making it as easy as possible for prep-store owners (whether brick-and-mortar or online) to source their goods.  First, our prices are better or competitive to anyplace on the ‘Net.  And that doesn’t count the additional discounting for pallet and truckload sized orders.  Everything on the site offers free shipping to the Continental US, so there is no going back and forth trying to nail down what that will cost. (one huge pain point I have had in the past with wholesale suppliers)  There is even an additional discount for orders paid with Cashier’s Checks, ACH, or Postal Money Orders as we pass on the savings from not have to pay a credit card processing fee.

We offer kitting in any combination the customer needs at a very reasonable cost per unit.  So we can ship in bulk if you need, however for folks doing gun and prep shows, our pre-made kits are a great time-saver.  If you like, we can even source kit-bags with your 1-color art (and appropriate lead time) as low as $.20/unit.  I am also personally available (as always!) to answer any questions or offer any advice to make your business successful.

So if you run a survival store or know someone who does, I hope you will send them our way and let us show them how customers should really be treated!=)

It’s looking to be an awesome 2014!  On top of the above, we’ll run some giveaways (my wife picked up yet another copy of a Rawles’ book I’ve read twice!) starting next week, hope to see you here!

 

27

01 2014

How We Do Business – Mylar Bag Edition

Hey everyone, I know it’s been a while!  While it has been quiet on the blog, we have been very busy behind the scenes trying to serve our customers better.  I’ve been thinking about doing a video encapsulating our philosophy of doing business, and what makes us stand out.  We have the best return customer rate in the business, and I thought we would share some of the reasons why.  If you’ve been on the fence about ordering from us, I hope this gives you some indication of how far we will go to serve our customers!  If you don’t know the address, here is our online store!

1)  Same Day Shipping – In the beginning, there is very little to differentiate one seller from another.  One of the ways we have done so from day one is offering same day shipping for all orders that come in until 3pm.  And many days if I can manage it, I’ll ship everything that comes in until about 5pm, stopping by the Post Office on the way home to drop off packages which miss the regular pickup.  Getting your package in the mail ASAP is very important to us.  We work 7 days a week (about a half shift on Saturday and Sunday) to make sure you get your item as soon as humanly possible without using Express Service!

2)  USPS Priority Mail Shipping for most orders – Whatever else one might say about USPS, I can attest that Priority Mail is the best reasonably costed standard shipping method available today.  UPS Ground can compete for a certain geographical area, but no one else guarantees 2-3 day shipping times (In TN and parts of surrounding states, some folks have told us they got their package the next day!).  This includes Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.  If you need your order as quick as possible, you can trust us to get it there.  Just today, we had several customers on the phone who thanked us on getting their order to them ASAP.

3)  We Value Your Privacy – I am a privacy nut myself, and so we go out of our way to protect yours.  First, we use discrete packaging, meaning nothing will ever show up on your door with a big ‘Survival Stuff Inside!’ or giant ‘Discount Mylar Bags’ plastered all over the box.  We have many folks who specifically request plain packaging, and this is to let everyone know we don’t have ANY outer packaging with our name on it.  The only place you will see our name is the return address as required by our shipping carriers.

4)  We Value Your Privacy, Part 2 – For all orders placed online, we NEVER see or have access to your credit card information.  It is handled in exactly the same manner as it would be at a department or other retail store…invisibly and behind the scenes.  Only our credit card processor actually sees your credit card number, so you never have to fear one of our employees gallivanting around Europe using your credit card!

5)  We Value Your Privacy, Part 3 – While I’ve thought about doing one, we don’t have a mailing list.  We don’t, and will never, sell your email to anyone for any reason.  I hate junk mail in my inbox, and many of the survival stores are terrible about sending out a ton.  The only way I would send an email to a customer is if they asked me to do a newsletter, and only then if they chose to opt in.  This is currently not in the planning stage, so if you’d like to see one, let me know.

6)  Free Shipping over $50 and on all kits – In the beginning I tested out ‘Free shipping on everything!’  That wasn’t very funny when I had dozens of folks placing orders for 2 Mylar Bags at $.25 each.  Needless to say, we lost our shirts and had to change that policy quickly.=)  We know $50 is a lot of money to some folks, and so we also offer free shipping on all our kits (located here).  Our goal is not to make money on shipping, and we only have the minimum charge to cover the cost of processing and packaging small orders.

7)  When We Screw Up, We Fix It – This is perhaps the defining aspect of how we run our business.  While we do our best to get all orders out the door perfect, inevitably we’ll mess one up.  However, you have my promise that I’ll fix it, quickly!  Your satisfaction with your order is our only concern.

8)  No Hassle Returns – Something not quite what you pictured when you bought it?  No problem, you are welcome to return anything at any time for a full refund!  Again, I only wish I could get the same from many of the places I order!=)  We’ve accepted returns from customers who had their product for a year and finally said to themselves ‘I’m never going to do this’.  And that’s OK, ship it back to us and we’ll refund it.

If there’s anything we can do serve you that we’re not currently doing, please let me know!  We are working on getting some new bag sizes in to fill requests of customers, so I hope you’ll check back!