Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New forum

In an effort to condense all our efforts into one location, we have started an online message board/forum.


Come and learn, share information, discuss skills and meet others of like mind.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Alternate source for grains

Copyright 2009 Robert Henry

Editor's note- we are not "advising" people to store feed grains. We have made that crystal clear in numerous videos. However we keep getting the question "when I go to the feed store, what do I ask for?" So we decided to answer it here.

As I've covered before numerous times, the only difference between "feed" wheat and standard wheat is the amount of CLEANING done to it. A farmer does NOT plant a field and say "that there is gonna be PEOPLE wheat" and another field where he says "that there is gonna be ANIMAL wheat." There is NO two varieties.

The difference comes when it hits the processor. Standard "feed" grains are DOUBLE CLEANED. What this means is that they will have slightly more chaff and dust than TRIPLE CLEANED wheat- which is the standard for "people" wheat.

Now for folks that cannot find regular wheat in their local areas, this offers a possible alternative to shipping cross country.

1. Don't go into a feed store asking "can I EAT this stuff?" Liability is the key concern of just about every business now a days. Also, "Cleetus and Festus" at the feed store often times have no real idea about this. Your shopping for your "very picky" horse. You've had him get "sick" before because some grains were treated, you read this article saying that whole grains were better for your prized horse, etc. Then Cleetus and Festus will just think your the typical idiot yuppie.

The best choices in grains that you are likely to find in a feed store-

*Wheat- ask for whole wheat aka "kernals" or "berries" you do NOT want "wheat middlings" "wheat bran" or any form of ground or processed wheat. Whole wheat. Suggest that if you don't know what this should look like that you spend some time online viewing pics of it so you know what it should look like. Do NOT expect Cleetus and Festus at the feed store to know their product, sorry but that's been my experience with it.

I've bought a lot of wheat at feed stores, some for me, most to grow, all has been "feed" wheat except one bag that was more costly and was officially called "seed" wheat. The seed wheat was NOT treated, although it may be in your area, if in doubt ASK. "Treated" means something sprayed on the seed to keep it from rotting and/or getting bugs, etc. it means different things to different people but the bottom line is- you don't want anything for food that has had pesticides directly on it.

*Oats- oats have a hull that would have to be processed off to get what your likely familiar with- oatmeal. You may be able to process oats and have that equipment, you may not. Your NOT going to get quick rolled oats from the feed store. Quick rolled oats is what you get with the little quaker guy on it.....

In other words, probably skip the oats.

*Corn- whole kernal corn, NOT ground corn. Here again we want the whole kernal, not a processed form of it. A lot of "seed" corn is treated and you WILL SEE the purplish tint on the entire seed. If in doubt, take a handful and run it under water or get it wet, if your hand turns purplish color, it's likely treated.

The general idea is to go and find what you need, purchase 1 bag and take it home to check it out. Now, if you are not "used" to feed products, you might assume that the slight "smell" you get when you open the bag is mold or pesticides. It's hard to describe smells but I would say the "normal" smell of clean feed wheat is just kind of an "old" smell (even if it was just packed), to me all bagged grains kinda have that smell. If it's pesticides it will smell more like chemicals, hold a handful up to your noise and look over it carefully, it's going to be pretty obvious.

Unless their is some really grave circumstances, "I" would not buy grains from a feed store right now i.e, SUMMERTIME. Here in the south the best time to buy is in the fall and winter when the bug situation is less or non-existent. This may not be a problem in your area, but it is in a high heat, high humidity area.

Hope this helps.

As always you can email any questions to


Websites of interest to you-




Sunday, March 8, 2009

Reinventing the wheel

Just for some yesterday I looked at the tires on our car. I thought to myself, you know, 7,000 years of the wheel and no one has improved upon it? What's wrong with people? Surely "I" can improve on tried and true methods.

So I took the wheels off my car, I squared off the edges just a little bit, figured this would make them more aerodynamic. Then I thought, "you know tires are so darn expensive anymore and not "good for the environment." So I came up with a solution to that, "I'll make these new squared off tires out of recycled walmart bags!"

I mean really, everyone has a cabinet full of them at home right? Surely they would be as strong and last as long as rubber right?

Does this sound ridiculous to you? It should.

Although it isn't any more ridiculous than some of the crap I've heard lately with people trying to "reinvent the wheel" when it comes to long term storage of food.

"I'll use mylar balloons instead of buying mylar bags."

"Soda bottles will work for long term storage." Who cares that they are designed to bio degrade in a few years, would be impossible to tote a quantity of them, have no light barrier and their long term oxygen barrier capability isn't known.

"Mason jars are easier to use than mylar"- yeah like a chimp couldn't pack CORRECTLY for long term storage with mylars and oxygen absorbers like we've taught folks for years now. If my dogs had THUMBS they would be packing all our families food for us! No matter that glass jars are no light barrier, very easy to break and COSTLY to use for any decent quantities.

One idjit on a forum even mentioned "sewing up little sacks of rice" in old scraps of clothing to use as a psuedo dessicant. I think like many, he was confused as to what oxygen absorbers really do.

Folks, it's way too late in the game to be PLAYING GAMES. Just like my humorous little story at the beginning of this episode, don't waste time trying to re invent the wheel. The research has been done for you, DECADES of storage have proven their worth, why screw around with half arsed methods? Do you want to find out 5 years from now that your half way methods didn't WORK and now you are short on food due your poor packing methods or trying to be the Benjamin Franklin of food storage?

We've layed it all out for you how to pack and get the same quality as you would pay big bucks for from commercial sources-


Stop squaring off the tires and put the walmart bags away!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Food grade?

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Food grade?

Their has been lots of discussion over buckets. What is food grade? Do I "need" food grade buckets? Do I "need" food grade buckets if I'm using mylar?

Some things in life can be skimped on. You can eat rice and beans daily and save yourself a pile of money on your grocery bills. You can move to a smaller house and learn that 2 people don't need a huge Chipboard McMansion to live in.

I try not to skimp when putting away food. Finding out that a container failed or that you have an infestation when rotating your food years from now may just be an inconvenience. Opening the food and finding this when you REALLY need the food- i.e, an emergency constitutes a good deal more than just an inconvenience.

Not to sidetrack but here again is where I think QUANTITY can help as well. If I'm convinced that all I need is 5 buckets of rice, 2 buckets of beans and that will make me good to go (don't follow that advice btw), and years later I find that 2 of the buckets of rice got infested and are no longer edible, I've effectively just cut my food storage by 1/3. That means 1/3 less time period where I have food to eat.

Let that sink in please.

Not to say that quantity alone can overcome a problem with poor packaging, nor SHOULD you purposely package poorly, but stuff DOES happen, and having a little more than even you "feel" like you need might save your bacon one day.

OK back on track....

Buckets- look on the bottom of the bucket for the three arrows chasing each other and a "2" in the center of it. This is HDPE 2. I know I know, someone will say "that doesn't make it food grade, rabble rabble rabble rabble!" I would tell you to call Ropak- the biggest bucket manufacturer in the U.S. and ask them what they would recommend for packaging grains. Then call Waltons, Honeyville or any of the professional packing houses that pack superpails and ask them what grade of bucket they use.

I'll save you some time here- HDPE2 is what is used.

"But it's NOT food grade, rabble rabble rabble rabble!"

Go and see Sally the counter gal at the local bakery. If your looking to pack food on the cheap, she is your new best friend. Ask to purchase for a small amount ($1-2. each) their used icing buckets. BEHOLD! What marking is on the bottom of those buckets? HDPE2! And just think, that icing wasn't packed in mylar liners, that FOOD (the icing) was in physical contact with the side of that HDPE2 bucket!

Firehouse subs sells their used pickle buckets for $2.00 Here again, these are HDPE2 buckets where the pickles were (GASP!) in physical contact with the side of the bucket.

Here is where the analytical types are going to freak- these buckets would not be considered "acorrding to Hoyle" food grade buckets, yet food that is eaten EVERY DAY is in physical contact with these buckets.

In short, if it's HELD FOOD IN IT and is HDPE2, it's "safe" to use.

What you DON'T want to use-

Buckets that have held ANYTHING with chemicals in it- cleansers, cleaners, acids, etc. I don't care if you are using mylars or not, stay away from stuff like this.

What MAY work with mylar-

Buckets that have held sheetrock mud. This cleans up with water and the buckets can be cleaned pretty well. IF and I want to understand that word, IF you are using mylar you might could get away with using old sheetrock mud buckets.

Personally, I would stick with bakery buckets, pickle buckets and/or buy new buckets.

5 gallon buckets can be purchased new at Lowes, Walmart and Home Despot. (pun intended). Where possible shoot for the white buckets. There's been a lot of hype about buckets with any type of coloring in them. Some folks think they are up there with Obama and the antiChrist... LOL

In my experience of storing food for 22 years, we have used MANY buckets that were green, red, even blue. Up till the later part of the 90's, our buckets were packed WITHOUT mylar as mylar and absorbers weren't readily accessible. Other than oxidation resulting from no oxygen barrier (that's what the mylar does, a bucket itself is NOT an effective oxygen barrier), we have seen NO problems with colored buckets. Your results may vary.

The important thing, especially late in the game, is to DO SOMETHING. If you over analyze things, their is a reason not to do anything. You can't allow yourself to get paralyzed into INACTION due to that.

Get moving, time might be short. Good luck.

Don't forget to "follow this blog" - see the button on the right. That way you will automatically get updates as we post them.

Feel free to post any questions/comments to the blog here or email me with them.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Source for mylar and o2 absorbers

This is one of our most commonly asked questions.

We purchase our mylar liners from


Wendy is a great person to deal with, quick to ship and her prices are right. That says a LOT coming from a cheapskate like me :)

For what it's worth, don't worry about purchasing more of this than you currently need. Mylars store very well and oxygen absorbers WHEN LEFT UNOPENED remain effective for quite some time. At Casa de Henry we are still going through oxygen absorbers left over from our cannery operation in 1998-1999 for our personal storage. I have yet to see a failure in a package of unopened absorbers. Figure 10 year storage life on these if your doing your part. Most specifically this means keeping them out of sunlight. The plastic bag that the absorbers come packed in will likely degrade in sunlight fairly quickly.

I've said this before but it's worth saying again, when you set up your packing run, try to use ALL the absorbers in a sealed packet at one time. Some folks seem to have good luck with placing absorbers in a mason jar after opening the package- I NEVER HAVE.

"Oh but I might waste 4 of them." No nice way to say, don't be cheap! Double up on your absorbers if need be. If you have no more food to pack and have a couple oxygen absorbers left over, toss them in an ammo can with your long term ammo storage. In my opinion, it's better to do this than to try to reseal the bag or put them in mason jars.

Oxygen absorbers are designed to (drum roll) ABSORB OXYGEN. Therefore as SOON as they are open you need to be putting them in bags and begin to seal the bags. Now if 5 minutes goes by, that's no big deal, but if 5 HOURS goes by, that's another matter.

Keep in mind also the tremendous amount of money you will be SAVING on packing yourself versus buying commercially packed. Therefore, dont' quibble over losing a few pennies on a couple of absorbers, be glad you saved potentially HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS.

Bottom line, the phrase so many people liked from the videos- "Don't step over a dollar to pick up a dime." ;)

Next edition- assuring a good seal on your bags


Tuesday, December 16, 2008


We have started this site to help folks pack their own food for long term storage. Through explanation, pictures and video we will help you to put away food for hard times.

Your questions are always welcome, email us at

and we will be glad to help.

We already have a series of videos on youtube that we authored for our friends at "PAW Productions" that can be found at this link-


Our goal is to help your family be better prepared for any emergency, this includes a loss of job or income where use of food storage comes in very handy.

I've been storing food since 1986 and for two years from 1998 through the end of 1999 operated a cannery where we packed in excess of half a million pounds of food for long term storage. Some of this was packed in #10 cans and some was packed in Superpails using the same methods shown in the video linked above.

Be sure to sign up to "follow" this blog so you can get updates automatically.

Thanks for stopping by!
Robert Henry