Monday, September 6, 2010
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
Saturday, June 12, 2010
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
Saturday, May 8, 2010
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 email@example.com to make an appointment today. The cookies alone are worth the sacrifice.
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.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
Sunday, April 4, 2010
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
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
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.
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
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
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
LEVEL 1. BARE BONES SURVIVAL BASICS
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...
LEVEL 2. ADDING VARIETY TO THE BASICS
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...
LEVEL 3. WELL PREPARED
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...
LEVEL 4. EXTRAS FOR SELF AND OTHERS IN A GROUP
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.
FOR WINTER SURVIVAL
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.
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
Thursday, February 25, 2010
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, February 12, 2010
- 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
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 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.)