Monday, September 6, 2010

Monday Musings

It's Monday, but just barely. This week I've had to keep a running list of things to share with you, which is great. That means there are many of us living the principles of preparedness daily and sharing what we learn and do.

First, some findings on oxygen absorbers. If you've been to the cannery you are familiar with the little white squares we drop into cans right before they are sealed. These magic packets ensure the shelf life of foods and it takes two or three of them per #10 can. Contrary to what I'd been taught, it takes 12 of them when you are filling 5 gallon buckets with food. 12 - wow!

Sorbent Systems is a company that sells oxygen absorbers and their site details the math behind the science of absorbing oxygen. This site is a great resource to have on hand. Print their page and put it with your preserving supplies. For your reference, 1 ml = 1 cc and the absorbers we purchase at the Church Cannery are 1500 ml each. (Disclaimer: Always double check my math.)

It's good to remember too that some foods, due to their shape and size, will allow for more oxygen to remain in a container. Think of rice and oats. There's plenty of room between pieces, unlike flour, for instance. Make sure you use adequate oxygen absorbers for your product and your packaging.

Second, I've noticed a couple of things lately in the grocery store that are worth sharing. Maybe they are common knowledge to everyone else, but just in case you live like I do (several things on your plate...) I'll share. As a result of my coupon clipping experiment this year I have noticed that grocery stores have good sales in the first and third weeks of the month - when most people get paid. However, on the second and fourth weeks, when you don't have as much money, they lure you in with sales on things you absolutely must have. Milk and cereal are usually on sale the second and fourth weeks. You go in for milk and wham! You have a cart full of stuff you didn't plan on, for more than you wanted to spend.

The other thing I've noticed is that containers are getting smaller while prices are rising. In doing our food storage inventory I was counting quarts of mayo and Miracle Whip. Kraft has reduced those jars to 30 ounces, when they used to be 32. The store brands I've checked remain 32 oz jars. Every penny counts so you really have to watch these guys!

Third, there was a little discussion this week about Home Depot buckets and lids. A few of us needed lids to fit our food grade buckets and they were found at HD. These are not food grade plastic because HD doesn't deal in food. (By not dealing in food, they avoid a relationship with the FDA.) They will always tell you their goods are not food grade. They are correct. Will we die from using them? I have no idea. I hope not. The only reason I bring this up is to encourage you to use wisdom in storing your foods. Any container can be lined with a food grade Mylar bag to alleviate any concern you might have.

Finally, I happened upon a phenomenal opportunity this week. I needed a new filter for my wheat grinder and called the company to order it. Something made me ask if they might have a group deal on grinders? Yes, they do! This is the mill I purchased from BlendTec six years ago. I love it. I have no complaints and no problems to report. Here are the details on a group purchase:
1-4 Grinders $159.95 each
5-9 Grinders $149.95 each
10 or more Grinders $139.95 each
There is an $18 per mill shipping charge and a one time $4 residential delivery fee for the entire order. All mills must be purchased in a single transaction with one credit card and delivered to a single address.
Idea: If you need a grain mill, why don't you take 6 months to save up and we'll buy them next year? A grain mill is an investment. No one needs to break the bank to buy one, but if you store grains it's a must-have in your home. If you are interested, let me know. You are welcome to come over and see mine at work. I grind up a bucket of grain every few weeks so just call me. I am happy to facilitate this just like we do all the other group deals.

The pressure cooker with quarts of chicken has just finished processing in my kitchen so I'm off to bed now. Whew - finished my musings before Tuesday this week.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We seek after these things

I love technology. From really old technology, like the remote control, to surfing the web on a cell phone, I think it's incredible that we can do what we do. That being said, there is less stress when I am away from it all and have my hands in the Earth. There is great value in Heavenly Father's creations without any accoutrements or touch screens. I loved Sister B's talk on Sunday...the pioneers didn't have Satan's attacks delivered via pop up while they emailed their mom. We live in tough times.

But we know that. And that is why we live the way we do. We seek after good things. We seek after knowledge and learning. We seek to provide for ourselves and prepare for what is unknown, but not unforeseen.

Today, knowledge came to me through technology. I thought it worth sharing. The Old Farmer's Almanac (link to story here) shared recipes for making many household products like soap and toothpaste. Technology has been kind enough to provide us with bottles of everything we need, but they sometimes come with a hefty price tag and lots of ingredients we don't necessary need (or know how to pronounce). I found it a comforting reminder that Proctor and Gamble is not the only - or original - source for cleanliness. It is, after all, next to godliness. With knowledge, I can use Heavenly Father's creations to take care of my family. Knowledge is good.

- Anne Burns

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Strawberry Season

I feel like strawberries mark the beginning of summer - the first fruits, if you will. Their arrival brings hope and sunshine and... strawberry jam!

This post is just a nudge of encouragement for you to try something new. If you think of food storage as buying and storing, you might be missing some of the fun. Making your own foods and storing them is one of life's little pleasures. There is something about opening a jar of food you've preserved yourself that really boosts your confidence. Strawberry jam is a great place to start. It's pretty easy to do, with very simple directions inside the box of pectin. The window of opportunity is small with strawberries as the season lasts only 3 to 4 weeks, but it just began so you've got time!

Bigelow's Berry Farm in North Branch began picking on Monday, June 7th. If that's your neck of the woods, you can reach them at 810-688-2181. (Trust me, if you live a little further away, it's worth the drive.) There are lots of berry farms here in Michigan so ask around for one near you.

Take the plunge. Next November when the toast is warm and you pop open your very own jam, you'll be glad you did.

- Anne Burns

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fair Photos

Dutch Oven Cooking - yum!

Door Prizes - Great Prizes, Great Winners!

Sherriff's Office Retina Scans

Girl Scouts with Identity Theft Protection in a Disaster

Church members and representatives from many community organizations all coming together to educate and inspire...What a terrific day!

Emergency Services Fan

While the 72 Hour Kit display was my responsibility at the 2010 Fair, I was relieved by none other than my mother for a few minutes so I could play "attendee." I took our children around to see the booths that interested them and you know exactly where we ended up...outside.

I'd like to take liberties now and express personal thanks to the Lapeer EMS team and the city fire department. They could not have been more accommodating to a mother of five small children if they'd passed out PB&J sandwiches.

Tim, with EMS, spent so much time taking the children through the ambulance and explaining all that happens inside. He even did a radio check to the hospital just to show them how it all works. The lights and sirens were lots of fun and he put on a good show. Such a treat for them! Yesterday as our oldest drove through Lapeer with her father she said, "Hey - there's the ambulance from the Preparedness Fair!" Great memories were made there. Thank you, Tim.

After our virtual ambulance ride, we mosied on over to the fire truck and Sparky the Remote Fire Dog. Yeah, OK, we RAN to the fire truck. And we stayed a long time. What a treat to get into the truck and have so many questions answered by a very knowledgeable fire fighter. The hoses, the axes, the chainsaws and all the tools were fun to see. The inside of the truck was really great! So great that we captured the moment forever. Many thanks to such a great crew. They made the Fair a great experience for our family.

- Anne Burns

Fair-ly Wonderful!

The 2010 Emergency Preparedness Fair was a phenomenal success. While specific crowd tallies are a little difficult to figure, a fair assessment is that about 150 people attended. (How many ways can we use that word???) We had amazing community involvement, an incredible amount of knowledge shared, and terrific resources were everywhere. No one walked away disappointed. Here are a few photos from the big day. If you missed it - you really missed out, so we'll look for you next year!

Fair held at the LDS Church on Oregon in Lapeer
Sparky the Remote Fire Dog
72 Hour Kits

Lapeer Master Gardeners

Nature's Better Way Herb Specialists

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Door Prizes

The Fair is only 2 weeks away and it is going to be great! If you are thinking, "I need to be ready for an emergency, I'm just not sure where to start," this is for you. If you are already working on your preparedness, then you'll find information, resources and products at the fair to help you on your way. And if you are a preparedness freak (a loving term) like me then the Fair will be like Christmas morning!

Come early and plan to learn a lot. When you arrive, stop first at the door prize booth. (Start with the best stuff, right?) Door prizes include a 72 hour kit, freeze dried foods, a portable potty station and more.

Remember our Red Cross Blood Drive too. Did you know that only 38% of people are eligible to give blood and only 8% of them do? We hope you'll be generous with that extra pint you carry around and give it to the Red Cross. Send an email to to make an appointment today. The cookies alone are worth the sacrifice.

-Anne Burns

"The government will take care of things..."

As we watch the world around us pummeled with natural disasters and economic crisis, we still hear people say things like, "the government will be there if anything happens." To prevent us from falling into complacency (and ignorance), we need to be aware of the reality of government help. This is just one article detailing the resources held by the government for emergency management.

A friend recently shared seeing a billboard in a major metropolitan area, purchased by the government, admonishing people to get a 72 hour supply of goods that would carry them through until help could arrive in a disaster. How much better would it be if we could take care of ourselves and not rely on anyone else for support?

Many months after the fact, few talk about the fun had in the New Orleans Saints' football stadium by thousands of misplaced Katrina victims. No one recalls the danger, the fear, the lack of resources to care for those people.

If we have a plan for our emergency, regardless of what shape it takes, we won't be fearful. We can avoid the danger, the panic - and the rush for bottled water.

Plan now to attend our Emergency Preparedness Fair. Get your family on the road to self sufficiency. It's not too late to begin.

-Anne Burns

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Food Storage in 3 Easy Steps

Deals to Meals is a terrific resource for information on beginning your own food storage journey - or continuing in the effort with renewed vigor! This young, hip, Utah mom has turned her love of family and food storage into a business and she supplies the Utah valley with weekly updates as to what is on sale in their area. While this is of little use to those of us in Michigan, her site is packed with free downloads (food storage inventory sheets!), recipes (she posted MY wheat bread recipe, which I stole from a friend in Troy), and terrific how-to videos for so many different areas of preparedness. Check her out for sure. This one is my favorite because it's a terrific overview of what food storage is and what it looks like for a family. When you see the Best Wheat Bread Recipe (and it is!), scroll to the bottom of the page and watch the 3 Easy Steps video. It will breathe new life into you, I promise!

Side note on $aving money as you store up: CouponMom is a resource that lists the grocery deals for a long list of stores nationwide. It's FREE! They scour the ads, connect them with Sunday paper coupons and save you a ton of time. If coupons are not your thing, it's still much faster than going to each individual store to see what's on sale. Food storage is much easier if you buy only what is on sale and buy it in bulk. That way you never pay more than .59 for a can of tomatoes again.

- Anne Burns

Beef Jerky at the Fair

I'm just too excited to keep this to myself anymore. Inspired by so many others who are constantly adding to their family's preparedness, I have made beef jerky. I stopped at H&S Meat Market in Lapeer (where Saginaw Street meets M-24, behind the filling station) and purchased an eye of round. Big deal for me since I usually only talk to the butcher at Sam's Club to ask for a big roll of 90% lean ground beef.

Alton Brown of Food Network fame had what I think is the best recipe for homemade beef jerky, so I gave it a shot. There are lots of factors in the drying process and I've still not perfected that in my kitchen, but I'm telling tastes really good!

First I tried the oven process (lowest setting, door propped open) and then I tried the dehydrator. My vote goes to the oven, but watch your time. It doesn't take nearly the 12 hours Mr. Brown suggests. Here is the recipe.

OR stop by my booth (72 Hour Kits) at the Preparedness Fair on May 22nd. I'll have samples of the jerky and recipes for you to take home and try yourself. Beef jerky is so expensive in the store; this is a great way to save money and learn a new skill all to benefit you and your family!

See you at the fair!
- Anne Burns

Monday, April 5, 2010

This is getting a really good way.

We have yet another fabulous booth at the upcoming fair! Randy Hund from Cass River Bulk Foods will demonstrate homemade laundry soap and an all-natural pain killer made from burdock leaves. Those are two very welcome skills for emergency situations and every day use. Talk to Randy at the Preparedness Fair on Saturday, May 22nd from 1 to 4 PM. Bring your questions too - anyone that knows how to do these two things knows a lot of other stuff too!
See you at the fair!

The Booths...they keep comin'!

Our Preparedness Fair gets bigger by the day it seems as we announce another newcomer. "Dutch Oven Cooking" will be presented by the illustrious Hoyt Family. This is no Romper Room program, this is for people who intend to eat when the microwave doesn't have power. The Hoyts will be outdoors with information on seasoning & cleaning your Dutch oven, meal preparation and recipes, and just how to manage those hot coals. They'll answer any questions you have and share a wealth of experience gained through years of camping. When you arrive at the building for the fair, they'll be the ones with the fire outside. Stop by!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Physically Prepared

Let's say you walk into a room and suddenly are confronted with an emergency situation. There is a very hungry lion looking at you to provide his next meal. How is your body going to react? Reaction to an emergency situation or even simply a short term stressful event will depend completely on you being ready physically, emotionally and spiritually for it. Today we will discuss the physical readiness you need to have.

In our example, the hungry lion will cause a set of processes to kick in. Your eyes transmits the image of the lion to the brain which accesses your memory banks and decision making. A signal is sent from the brain to the adrenal glands signaling the necessity for adrenaline. Adrenaline is put into high gear which will increase your breathing rate, raise your blood pressure, and increase your heart rate. A signal is then given to the blood sugar system and fatty acid system that there is an immediate need for quick energy. Finally, the system is set and the brain gives the “all clear” to fire up the muscle tissue You scream and run and you live to fight another day.

There are a few things you must do to prepare your body for the stress response. First, it is important to be physically able to move. This is done through a consistent exercise program that involves what I call “lengthening and strengthening” exercises. You need an amount of cardio exercise to get your muscles and breathing system in shape. But you also need long stretches of the muscle tissue to prevent injury. You need a clean blood flow system, you need proper nutrition, adequate daily hydration, and proper sleep. Also be aware of medications you may be taking which interfere with your body's response.

With constant training of your body and good health, you should be able to handle most any stresses or emergencies that come into your life.

- Dr. Robert Skouson

New Booths

We have two new booths to announce for our May 22nd Preparedness Fair - great news! The first is Loving Hand Clinic, a free medical clinic that serves the Lapeer community and surrounding areas. Stop by to learn about the services they offer in case your emergency includes medical care AND find out how you can be of assistance to others in need.

The second booth is "Spiritually Prepared - Being Calm in the Storm" hosted by the full-time missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Having our lives in line with the gospel before an emergency occurs will help us endure the trial much more sanely. Come by the LDS missionaries' booth for insight into being ready on the inside.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Free, or Almost Free

Our preparedness coordinator, Renee the Great, brought us an article by Carolyn Nicolaysen, a preparedness expert who writes for Meridian Magazine. She owns Totally Ready and writes The Totally Ready Blog too. She is a great resource as her personal experience spans so many forms of natural disaster. She write prolifically on pandemics and man-made disasters as well. In this piece she details Thirty Things to Prepare That are Free, or Almost Free. Now, what's not to like about that?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Prepared in an Earthquake

In the last 90 days we have seen amazing footage from several earthquakes around the world. My personal favorite is the woman running from a grocery store carrying a very large package of toilet paper. The video was shown hundreds of times in every looting story in the media (I think she was the only one looting...), but it never lost poignancy. No matter the emergency, there are basic needs we will all continue to have. We need to be prepared.

Michigan is not known for it's earthquakes, but I don't think that negates our need for preparation. We may not be famous for them, be we've had a few memorables. From USGS...

The earthquake of August 9, 1947, damaged chimneys and cracked plaster over a large area of south-central Michigan and affected a total area of about 50,000 square miles, including points north to Muskegon and Saginaw and parts of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. The cities of Athens, Bronson, Coldwater, Colon, Matteson Lake, Sherwood, and Union City in the south-central part of the State all experienced intensity VI effects. Reports of damage to chimneys and some instances of cracked or fallen plaster, broken windows, and merchandise thrown from store shelves were common over the epicentral area.

The last line is the part that got my attention...merchandise thrown from store shelves. We have shelves in our home that hold Mason jars of food. Every time I walk by them I am careful not to knock something off. Wonder what might happen during an earthquake? More common than the epicenter occurring in Michigan is feeling the tremors from a quake that occurs on the New Madrid fault in Missouri. That has happened several times in recent history.

One of our favorite preparedness blogs has an extensive post on preparing your family for an earthquake. The Prepared LDS Family discusses everything from those shelves to teaching your family members what to do in an earthquake. Read this. It also explains that the email forward you received on the "triangle of life" is WRONG and a FRAUD. Since we might not spend every day of our lives in an earthquake-free zone, it's a worth our time.

-Anne Burns

Build a Reserve

Gradually build a financial reserve, and use it for emergencies only. If you save a little money regularly, you will be surprised how much accumulates over time.
President Gordon B. Hinckley has taught: “Set your houses in order. If you have paid your debts, if you have a reserve, even though it be small, then should storms howl about your head, you will have shelter for your wives and children and peace in your hearts” ("To the Boys and to the Men," Ensign, Nov. 1998, 54).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Without Power

Generators. A fascinating subject, especially if one does the research to understanding the power requirements of your home, i.e., just how many watts do I need anyway to power my home? This is but one question of many you could ask and says nothing of the social/political ramifications, for there are forces in the world that do not want you to be self sufficient. In this thesis I will try to tackle some of them.

First and foremost, I will not try to determine how many watts or the type of generator you might need. If I were, it’d be like me picking a mate for you and there are simply too many tastes to do that properly. Generally I will talk about many aspects of the thinking and get you on the right road.

One thing before we get started, safety and common sense are needed to keep you and your family members alive while using a generator. They must never be run indoors! To say nothing of the danger of handling gasoline, there are other dangers as well, so beware!

We need to determine whether we are going to provide generated electricity for short term or long term outages. Short term being may be from a few hours to two weeks. A call to your electric company, at the time of the outage, usually fields a phone message to the estimated reconnect time. This usually occurs when a storm goes through or a tree falls over one of the power lines that supply your neighborhood. Long term, could be described as more than a month to infinity. And infinity is possible. As this is a Preparedness Fair that I am writing for, and we live in the times of a terrorist threat, let’s just err on the safe side and become PREPARED! Short term, long term, according to your needs, your budget, and it’s your call.

Now, let’s consider the most important fact of all. In my opinion, put this in the front of your mind while researching all of your requirements: A Home Generator is only as good as the Fuel Source, i.e., type and amount.

Modern gasoline fuels start to break down and deteriorate within days or weeks after they are made. Broken-down gasoline can gum-up carburetors and worse, make the generator useless. Of course any automotive parts supplier can sell you inexpensive gasoline stabilizers and they will usually extend the life of gasoline for a year or so. Keep in mind, you cannot just keep re-stabilizing your stash of gas and expect positive results.

Diesel generators and their fuel fair far better. Diesel fuel can be stabilized for extended use and they last much longer than gasoline, but like gasoline it does have a shelf life. Un-stabilized shelf life for gasoline is generally 6 months to a year and diesel shelf life can be up to a couple of years. Properly stabilized and stored fuels can increase this time, somewhat. This is all “kinda-sorta,” because conditions vary and your results may be different, but not by much.

The start-up cost for a diesel generator is much more costly than gasoline generators. Whereas a decent gasoline generator will last maybe a year or two with constant use (purchase price $500-$2000 and more) and a good diesel generator will survive fifteen-twenty years of continuous use (good ones start in the $5000).

Of course, for any generator you will need a large supply oil filters and multi-viscosity oil for the crank case, and spare parts - the kind that wear out with normal use. They are usually inexpensive and easy to install. As a side consideration, these things are very thirsty and if you don’t want to go outside twice a night to refill the supply tank, some kind of external tanking is a must. The gas tanks on most commercial generators run, under load, for anywhere from 2-4 hrs on their supplied tank. Models with larger tanks can be bought, but an eight hour run is fairly rare to purchase. The good news is that you can, with a modicum of skill rig up a better tank system, checking the oil at least twice in a 24hr period.

For my money, I like propane fuel. Propane has an indefinite shelf life. You can get external tanks delivered, up to 2000 pounds, without permits. They burn incredibly clean, thus extending the life of the generator engine. With multiple tanks and watching your total wattage burn carefully and a supply of engine/generator wear parts, a ten+ year supply of energy is not only possible, but doable. Best of all, propane can run a properly setup diesel generator as well. I know of one propane generator running a hunt camp/lodge, which has been running continually, except for normal maintenance shutdowns, for some 35+ years now. Again, start-up cost for such a generation machine is considerable and much less money can keep you comfortable, until you either run out of fuel or the generator breaks down.

It’s really quite simple to determine how many watts you may need and at the end of this thesis you will find some very helpful Internet calculators to do it with.

Yes, you could get by with a 1500-watt generator. It won’t run your furnace (1/2hp furnace motor will surge 2300 watts at start-up, and continuously run on 875 watts), but it would run your refrigerator and many lights. After the fridge gets cold you could unplug the fridge and plug in the Freezer or run the freezer at night. By jockeying things around, one can get by on a much smaller output generator. In a total short term power outage you could even get by with one of those 500-watt portable generators, turning out the light in one room before going to the next.

When calculating your needs, keep in mind that for a furnace surge, you’ll need a 2500-watt Generator (this is a little more than what we need in the above example of 2300 watts) for start up. After the motor gets going you’ll only need 875 watts, leaving 1625 watts (2500w-875w=1625w) to do other work. A good strategy in this circumstance and an overall thinking process for the use of these useful machines goes like this: If you need the furnace for an extended period, then use the generator to start up the furnace ONLY, then engage the summer switch so the fan keeps blowing constantly, never turning off until you disengage it. The furnace fan is the major source for the surge. If you incorporate this thinking into your generator use, then in this example you’ll have that nearly 1625 watts left over for other usage. I say nearly 1625w, because there is some power that is used to run the other parts of the furnace and if you exceed the rated watts of the generator, you’re going to pop a fuse on the generator itself. Keep lots of fuses around while you are learning how to use your generator in an actual power outage.

In short order you will learn which appliances you can run and when.

In these times you never know when a Katrina lays in store to make your life interesting.

Do be not discouraged, do a little homework, use the Internet, and become PREPARED!!

- Tim LeGendre, Lapeer, MI

Food Storage Confessions

I admit it, I used to cringe when I heard others talking about food storage. I wished the whole concept would just go away and I wouldn’t have to hear about it again! I tried to think of reasons why the counsel was not good for me. I know there are many of you who feel the same way. My feelings were mostly the result of guilt, because I was not prepared years ago. The task of accumulating a year’s worth of food to keep my family fed in case of emergency seemed insurmountable, and I was reluctant for a few reasons:
1. Lack of money

2. Lack of time

3. Lack of know-how

(those are really just my excuses, see below for the real problem)

4. Lack of faith

Eventually, I came to a point when I realized that when we follow the counsel of church leaders, we are always met with success and blessings in our life. I grew to discover that this principle applies to obtaining food storage as well. Even though I didn’t have much spare cash and my hands were full taking care of small children, I decided to just start becoming prepared. I didn’t obtain a food storage all at once - it took a few years to accumulate. We have to begin by taking “baby steps.”

Some suggestions:

Did you know that our church recommends storing at least three months’ worth of foods that we eat on a regular basis? (For most of us, we’re not talking wheat kernels here.) For my family that means storing lots of peanut butter, jelly, cereal, spaghetti noodles, soups, pasta sauce, and macaroni and cheese. Oh yeah, and chocolate chips, too. It’s easy to collect these kinds of foods: next time you go to the store to buy two boxes of cereal, purchase three and put one in your food storage. When canned corn goes on sale, pick up a case of it. Now you have begun. Continue to grow your three-month supply this way over time.

Wheat, dry beans, and powdered milk may not be our favorite foods, but they do sustain life, so it is important to have them on hand. (See for a complete list of foods to store long-term.) I know the thought of obtaining these bulk necessities may seem daunting, but here’s some great news: wheat, rice, beans and oats are now available pre-canned and boxed! All you have to do is drive to the Home Storage Center, pick them up, take ‘em home and put them in the basement (see for pricing and hours). It’s easy, reasonably priced, and you can fit a couple months’ worth of these staples in your car at once. Go with your friends and ward members to the home storage center and can additional bulk items once every few months.

You’ll be amazed at how quickly your supply blossoms once you begin making regular efforts. The peace of mind that comes from being prepared is irreplaceable. Come what may, we will have enough to eat when we are follow the counsel of our leaders and obtain a year’s supply of food.

- Michele Shinedling

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Four Levels of Preparation

Everyone has different abilities and interests in preparing for what is ahead. Here is a list of items broken up into four levels for your consideration.

With just a little money what can I/my family do to survive for a one year period of time with no outside help, and no electricity, bare minimum?
Basic Food... 400 lb. Wheat, Legumes, Cooking oil, yeast, baking powder, learn how to cook from scratch, learn how to sprout, clothing, (winter especially), good hiking boots, gloves, (winter and work), hats, water for two weeks, water purification means - filter, iodine tablets, colloidal silver, simple shelters/tent(s) for family if need to leave home for any reason (tube tents??), sleeping bags (0 degree if possible), 22 rifle with 5000 rounds of ammunition, basic first aid kit, Simple survival tools (knives, hatchet, cooking pot, etc.), roll of plastic, (3 mil, 6 mil preferred), nylon cord, duct tape, matches/lighters, candles, books on how to cook with food storage, general survival methods, 5 empty gal buckets, scriptures, pay off credit cards, lots of tin foil, bread pans, small hand wheat grinder, small pocket radio, rechargeable if possible, flashlights...

I have the bare basics, now what can I add to it that will make life a little better? A step beyond the basic survival level.
Variety of spices, flavorings, lots of tomato paste, sauce, different legumes, rices, grains, canned/dried vegetables, canned/dried fruits, various sprouting mixtures, anti plague/disease materials (colloidal silver), herbs (black ointment, cayenne, etc.), shotgun 1000 rounds, (bird hunting, home/family defense), prepare garden near house, use heirloom (non-hybrid) seeds, books.... how to, sanitary napkins, diapers (cloth), toilet paper, flashlights, cooking, dutch oven, cooking fuel, some homeschool teaching materials, pay off all unsecured debt, sewing kits, better quality wheat grinder...

If my family could not occupy our home or were forced to leave, for a long period of time, maybe during winter, (because of earthquake, flood, plague, tornado or other), how would we survive if there was no outside help of any kind?
Large bore large game hunting rifle, 3000 rounds of ammunition, rechargeable devices, JP extreme cold weather suits (pants first) for family * Good camp cook equipment, utensils, 3-4 4 gal pots, (8) 5 gal buckets, 2 porta-potty lids, more water and water purification supplies, 2-3 rolls of plastic (clear -&- black), survival how to books, tarps, cord, better tents (4 season outfitters tent) much homeschool teaching materials, reduce all future cash needs - pay off vehicles, pay down mortgage, set aside cash reserve, camp stoves (wood/coal), hand tools, axes, saws, shovels, pickax, plastic garbage bags - heavy duty, knowledge of square foot gardening, clear tape, roll of heavy twine, portable oven, dutch ovens, portable wood stove, large hand crank wheat grinder, musical instruments and music, Hymn book...

I have provided well for my family and have the funds available to do more... what can I do to help others?
Double your food storage....expand to 2+ years, bicycles for every member, 2-4 solar panels, battery pack, laptop with infobase, encyclopedia, classics, teaching tools, printer -&- paper, tools; garden, carpentry, leather working, wood carving, small power tools, how to books, videos (small TV/VCR combo), full JP suits for family, snow shoes, extensive herbal, natural medicine knowledge and skills, nursing training, heavy duty sewing machine (foot pedal preferred) thread, cloth, needles, tools, trading items chocolate, candy, sugar, knowledge and skill in pottery making, manual throwing wheel, binoculars, telescope, spotting scope, prepay your own utilities, taxes, etc. 1-2 years in advance, pick up truck/trailer, solar chargers, small generator and fuel, communication devices trailer, truck to haul stuff (extra fuel), 4-wheeler, large or small bore gun for every member of family 5000+ rounds, dry pack veggies/fruits, how about a mobile command/repair/medical center, a super get-away vehicle...RV and utility trailer.

OTHER IDEAS (that may or may not have been covered)
Vitamin & Mineral supplements, yeast culture knowledge, cleaning supplies/soap, (laundry, dish, hand, shampoo, all purpose cleaner, toilet cleaner), fuel (fire wood, lantern/stove/heater fuel, and gasoline/diesel for your vehicles/generators), shoes, clothing, blankets/sleeping bags, field expedient tools: (assortment of knives, garden tools, shovel, ax, hatchet, sledge, wedge, rifle for shooting game, chisels, hand drill with different sized bits, hammers, a good supply of different size nails, rope, saws, pry bar, chain saw, (extra two cycle oil), outdoor cooking equipment, back packing equipment, battery radio with extra batteries, tarps, matches, something to read: Survival manual, Bible, special interest literature, etc.

No Cotton (only in blends) any synthetic is better than cotton; Long Johns---poly propylene, allows moisture off the skin; Boots---if you use the rubber pullover do 2 sizes bigger than the boot; Socks---polypropylene, army issue, good cool weather; Pants---wool, Swiss, Swedish, US, camo, (BDU), pant liners, shell to stop the wind; T shirts--use as much synthetics and blends as possible; Coats---3 is good, make one a fish tail parka; Gloves---loose fit, mittens are best; Hats---can add a 1/2 inch piece of foam to the top of a hat, protect your ears, face mask, poly propylene liner mask; blankets--wool, country blankets, French blanket; Sleeping bag--- (Rating on commercial is about 20 degrees off what it is rated. So if it's rated for 0 degrees then add 20 degrees to that), extreme cold bag which should be rated below 0 degrees, if you have lighter bags can put two together, a sleeping hood will also make a big difference, good pj's, no cotton. Can use a tarp over sleeping bag for warmth and windbreak. Have a good insulator under your sleeping bag or bed, use closed foam of barrier. Two or more can share the same bed and stay warmer; Add insulation to the tent and floor insulation.

Consider as a final goal - a well organized neighborhood ready for any problem.

Remember that...
Wealth does not guarantee happiness
Luxury does not build character
Work is a wonderful principle, essential for success

Don't forget to...
Pay your tithing
Stay out of debt except for a house or business
Live on less than what you earn
Save for a time of need
Learn to distinguish between needs and wants
Develop and live within a budget
Work for what you get
Be honest - integrity will never go out of style
Promote excellence

Thursday, February 25, 2010

5-gallon Storage Buckets

A great opportunity was discovered recently to purchase 5-gallon storage buckets at a really cheap price. As I was spreading the good news, several people asked, "What do you use them for?" Since I love a dangling preposition as much as anyone, I thought I'd blog the answer! This list is by no means comprehensive, but in my experience they work wonderfully for the following:

Wheat/Oats/Rice - We've been admonished to use our food, not just store it. While wheat is good on the shelf for 30 years, it does a body good too. I've found that a 5-gallon bucket of wheat is much easier to manage than six #10 cans. I'd have to grind up several cans of wheat to make bread whereas having only one open bucket is logistically easier for me. Ditto for how quickly we use oatmeal and rice.

Portable Potty - Let's talk about the most important use for a bucket! Purchase this from your favorite retailer and place it on top of your bucket to make your very own emergency toilet. (We have several children, so I don't go 5 minutes without thinking of a toilet.)

72-Hour Kits - Depending on the size of your family, these buckets can serve as easily portable, dry storage for a First Aid Kit, toilet paper to accompany above toilet, extra clothes, food, etc. I've even known families to make individual kits in 5-gallon buckets when each person could carry their own.

Container Gardening - When space is at a premium and you'd like to have fresh vegetables, drill a few holes for drainage and you have a garden. A friend grew fabulous tomatoes on their apartment patio in such a bucket. Wonderfully prepared.
Have your own ideas on how to use this water-proof storage unit? Send them to I'll blog your ideas too!
-Anne Burns

This Just In!

We are pleased to announced the participation of the Lapeer County Health Department at the 2010 Preparedness Fair. They will supply information and resources on Communicable Diseases and Prevention.

If you or your organization has an interest in a booth at the Fair, please contact us through this website. The community counts on the fair as one-stop-shopping on all Preparedness topics. If your expertise fits, send email now to

Friday, February 12, 2010

May 22 Preparedness Fair Booths

  • What will you find at this year's Preparedness Fair?

Everything you need to help get your life in order and be ready for any event.

  • What kind of "events" are we talking about?

Natural disasters, unemployment, medical emergencies, communication outages, power outages, legal issues and much more.

  • Who will be there?

So glad you asked!

Girl Scout Troops 11388 & 11916 with Personal Information Document Binders/Identity Protection in Disasters

CERT - Community Emergency Response Team

Wheat Sprouting Demonstration

Homemade MREs and Food Dehydrating Demos

Attorney Todd Courser on Elderly Law and Wills

Lapeer County EMS on Basic First Aid

Lapeer City Fire Dept and Sparky the Remote Fire Dog

American Red Cross Blood Drive from 10am to 4PM

Boy Scouts of America

Food Storage and Tasty Treats

Lapeer Amateur Radio

Lapeer County Sheriff's Department with Fingerprinting and At-risk Elderly ID kits

Emergency Management by Mary Stikeleather

How to assemble a 72 -Hour Kit

Lapeer Regional Hospital on Emergency Medical Situations

MSU Extension on Agri-terrorism (tentatively scheduled per growing season)

Representative Kevin Daley with state maps & preparedness

Personal Document Preparedness

Family Emergency Plans by the Girl Scouts Troop 70114

Alternative Heating in Emergencies by Tim Legendre

D. Foley with Employment & Resume Preparedness

Spiritually Prepared

President Henry B. Eyring said, "The great test of life is to see whether we will hearken to and obey God’s commands in the midst of the storms of life."

No matter what is in the pantry or the propane tank, we will find life's challenges difficult to endure if we are not standing spiritually on firm ground. The granola bars might sustain us for those first 72 hours, but the preparation that is most important "must be started far in advance because it takes time. What we will need then can’t be bought. It can’t be borrowed. It doesn’t store well. And it has to have been used regularly and recently," said President Eyring.

Read the entire article here and make your own family plan for being spiritually prepared.

Using Your "Storage"

Recently someone said, "We have food storage, but I don't know what to do with it. I'd rather eat vegetables from the freezer than a can..."

We won't debate the nutritional value of frozen vegetables vs. canned here, but we will address using the food stored in your home. I grew up with cans of Sam Andy under my bed. Dehydrated ham, flour, potatoes, my parents stored it all. When I spent some time in their home in 2008, those same cans were in a whole new closet and my mom was so proud of her food storage. After 39 years, she should be proud! She and Dad can survive a whole lot longer on those cans than they could when 8 kids were at home with them...if only it were edible.

"Food Storage" is a much beloved term and I doubt I'll ever stop using it. Here's the newsflash...The Church has stopped using it. Family Home Storage is the new term and it includes everything that our families will need to survive. It also means that we use what we buy. As my mom can attest, if you don't use it, you will lose it. She and I threw out many cans that day in 2008. Rancid flour was just the beginning.

"Rotate your food storage" was the admonition when I was growing up atop those cans of food. I was 28 years old when someone finally explained what that meant. It means using our food and here's how to do it:
  • When a new box of crackers is brought into your home, first it receives a date. Write the date you bought the food on the container.
  • Place that box BEHIND the box of crackers that is already on your shelf.
  • Subsequent boxes of crackers get the same treatment - the date of purchase and a place behind the existing boxes.
  • Eat the older food (check the date you wrote) first.

Congratulations - you have just rotated your storage! This will also help you track how long it takes you to need more "crackers." Last night I opened a jar of pasta sauce dated 3/09. It was the last of my older jars and I figured out that 12 jars lasts us almost one year. Here's a tip: have a dedicated "home storage pen." In our home every marks-a-lot pen is referred to as a food storage pen. The point here is that everything in your home is home storage. There should be no difference between what's in your kitchen and what's under the bed. We should be using it all, and replacing it when supplies are down.

Many people live by the motto "store what you eat and eat what you store." Good advice! The prophets have long counselled us to store foods that will maintain their nutritional value during long-term storage. This means many of us have "buckets 'o wheat" somewhere in our home and are scared to death to open one. What would we do with all that wheat? Here's a start - make some pancakes. It doesn't take a massive investment in a wheat grinder, it only takes a blender and they are tasty! This recipe is so flavorful we eat them without any syrup or sauces. They are nutty, yummy and wholesome and you'll feel so liberated when you open up one of those buckets! Go ahead, get brave and use that storage.

Whole Wheat Blender Pancakes

1 C whole wheat berries (that's what is in your buckets)
1 C milk
2 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp salt
2 T oil
2 T honey

Place all the ingredients in blender and run on highest setting for about 5 minutes. Make your pancakes on a griddle sprayed with Pam. They are not as fluffy as white flour pancakes, but they are delicious. (An 8-cup blender is needed to double the recipe safely.)

-Anne Burns

Preparedness Fair Booths

The 2010 Preparedness Fair is off to a roaring start with participation from so many community organizations and businesses. To date there are 20 booths planned.

Many thanks to these groups for their involvement.

Stay tuned for a complete list of displays and vendors planned for May 22nd.