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.