Monday, July 28, 2014

Mormons, Survivalists, and Overproducing Homesteaders

There's a funny thread that runs through both survivalists and the Mormons' food storage methodology, and that is the idea of the Two-Year Plan, or having enough goods to last you two years, without needing to visit the grocery store or raid the neighbor's pantry at gunpoint. 

I pondered this Mormon/Survivalist common idea for a long time, wondering who started it first, and why.  And then there was this summer, and now I know exactly how and why the Two-Year Plan developed.  At least I think I do.

Both groups took the Two Year idea from earlier agricultural societies.  Back in those times, you put up two years' worth of a crop whenever you could, in case the next year produced a shitty crop -- or no crop at all -- due to circumstances beyond your control, like weather.

My tomatoes, as well as the tomatoes of most of the folks around here, may be heading for such a year.  It's been extremely windy, also warm, but also quite humid.  We can go from a 70 degree day to a 106 degree day in 24 hours.  

And the tomatoes are responding by producing a lot less fruit than normal, and losing a lot of their flowers before they even have a chance to be pollinated. With this weird summer happening now, it appears that the fruiting season is going to be substantially shorter than normal, and if frost happens at approximately the same time as usual, we will still lose our ability to grow tomatoes at about the same time as we normally do. Meaning there are going to be a lot less tomatoes produced for canning. 

Last month (before the weird weather had really set in) I went through the pantry to figure out exactly how many quarts of tomatoes we'd used these last 365 days, and found that we used exactly half of what I put up last year. 

It turns out, I actually carried out a two-year plan without ever intending to, which means in addition to survivalists and Mormons, there is actually a third group that has a Two-Year Plan, and that is homesteaders who got out of control with their canning and accidentally oversupplied themselves. Can I see a show of hands?

But this is not a bad thing to do, when you think about it, so don't be too hard on yourself if your hand is up. It turns out, the Mormons, survivalists and your great-grandparents were on to something.

Especially in these times of extreme climate uncertainty, having a two year supply of things you can preserve from your land is great, because as temperatures and other conditions grow more and more unstable and unpredictable, you never know when that shitty season is going to happen.

Add to that potential disasters, such as the huge solar flare we missed a couple of months ago (by nine mere days!) and there's a certain wisdom found in the habits of some Mormoms, survivalists and accidental overproducing homesteaders, who manage to put up more than they can use in one calendar year. When Mother Nature gives you more, preserve more.  

You won't be sorry you did. But if you don't, you may very well be sorry you didn't when that inevitable shitty season hits.


  1. I'm sorry you've had a bad tomato year! That's interesting about the two year plan. Makes perfect sense. Redundancy is important with any crop I'd imagine. I'm so regretting my lazy lack of garden this year. It's turned out to be the most lovely summer. More like a summer in mid coast Maine than swampy Ohio! Does make me wonder what could be in store for winter.

    1. Aw, I'm sorry about your missed garden, that's never a good feeling. But sometimes time and/or circumstances just don't allow you to plant. Next year! As for winter, I'm wondering what we have in store too, since we're quite "swampy" this summer lol. Maybe we got your weather, and you got Maine's!