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Friday, July 29, 2011

Greensboro Cannery getting new managers

Brother Midkiff emailed me that he and his wife are down to their last month as managers of the Greensboro Home Storage Center, the church's dry pack cannery. The new managers will be the Mangums, and their assistants will be the Paynes.  Bro Davis will be there till early 2012.
The email address at the cannery is
the phone # at the cannery is 336-668-2284
the fax # at the cannery is 336-668-4212
"The Mangums told me that for now they will keep the same schedule we've used; ie open by appointment only, available to be open Tuesday and Thursday mornings, Wednesday evenings and the mornings of the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month. The August calender still has some Tuesday and Thursdays open but the next available Saturday is the 2nd Saturday in December."   Brother Midkiff

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tropical Storm Don to Hit Texas

The weather reports are giving the first reports that Tropical Storm Don is probably going to hit Texas on Saturday.

What if it was North Carolina instead?  What if that tropical storm turned into a hurricane?  What should you be doing right now?

Well, if you were like everyone else that lives in this state and has a clue, you would be preparing for power outages, high winds, and flooding.

If a tropical storm or worse, a hurricane, was coming through here, you would want to bring in all your lawn furniture.  Make sure you had enough batteries for your flashlights.  Get propane for your grill.

Fill every empty space in your freezers with soda-pop bottles filled with water, to make lots of ice.  (A full freezer stays frozen longer without power.)

Have many different types of food that you could eat without electricity.  Easy to warm-up foods, that don't require much to prepare.

Lots of water stored in empty soda-pop or juice bottles in case the city water got contaminated or had no power to operate.  You can buy drinking water if you want, but about 3/4 of the water you use is for washing, so you can store that water for free by storing tap water.  (Just put it in the bottles.  According to, city water that is chlorinated does not need extra treatment.)

Do ALL your laundry.  Run your dishwasher a few hours before the storm hits.  No need of having stinky laundry sitting around, or having to hand wash a whole load of dishes if you can help it.

Fill up all your cars with gas.  If gas stations have no power, gas won't pump.

I'm sure you can think of lots more things to do.  But please think about it.  Some parts of Cary had no power for 9 days after Hurricane Fran.  So you want to prepare ahead of time.

Bucket Opener Tool for 98 cents

I have paid around $12 for a metal one of these, and around $4.50 for this same type of plastic one from Emergency Essentials.

But I found this one at Northern Tool and Equipment in Cary, for $0.98.  You should all get a couple of these, how else are you going to open all those buckets of wheat?

It is called a "5 Gallon Lid Opener" and it is in the paint aisle at Northern Tool.  (All those professional painters need them to open those gigantic buckets of paint.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hay expensive, grass gone, cattle getting sold

"The smallest U.S. hay crop in more than a century is withering under a record Texas drought, boosting the cost of livestock feed for dairy farmers and beef producers from California to Maryland.
The price of alfalfa, the most common hay variety, surged 51 percent in the past year, reaching a record $186 a short ton in May, government data show. Hay and grass make up about half of what cattle eat over their lifetimes, so parched pastures are forcing ranchers to find alternative sources of feed, pushing some spot-market corn to the highest ever.
Farmers in Oklahoma and in Texas, the biggest producer of hay and cattle, may harvest only one crop from alfalfa and Bermuda grass this year, compared with three normally, said Larry Redmon, a state forage specialist at Texas A&M University."
"Rising feed costs are prompting a reduction in cattle herds and eroding profit for milk producers. The USDA yesterday forecast retail-meat prices may increase this year as much as 7 percent and dairy products may jump 6 percent, more than the rate of overall food inflation at 3 percent to 4 percent."

Ballard: "We're in the last days---you can quote me on that."

Elder M. Russel Ballard said at BYU-Idaho on Jan. 30, 2010, as told in the Church News. 
"Excerpting entire passages of scripture from Matthew 24, 2 Nephi 28 and Mormon 8, Elder Ballard firmly established that ancient prophecies regarding the last days preceding the Savior's second coming aren't just being fulfilled but are coming to pass at an accelerated rate.
"I'm telling you what the Savior said would be the signs of the acceleration towards that day when He shall come," he said. "We could stay here for a couple of hours talking about all of the prophecies of what will occur in the last days. We're in the last days---you can quote me on that. And it is moving more rapidly."
Conditions that Elder Ballard specifically cited as fulfillment of prophecy and signs of the times include "pornography and how real affection and how true and real love are being disturbed by Satan and his minions." (see Matthew 24:12); "an acceleration of the gospel going to all nations" (see Matthew 24:14); and how "Mother Nature is letting its power be seen throughout the world at a more accelerated pace" (see Mormon 8:30-31).
(as quoted in the Church News, Week Ending Feb. 13, 2010, p. 3)

(Some of the above was also quoted in the August 2011 Ensign by Elder Allan F. Packer, in his talk entitled, "Solidly Anchored in Our Testimonies")

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Black Cans for Solar Oven

You can also save some large cans and spray paint them black.  (Most of these had held kidney beans or spaghetti sauce.)   Use black High Heat Grill paint, you can find it in the spray paint aisle of any hardware store.  I just lay the cans and bottles on the grass and spray them.  ( The grass gets mowed later and then the evidence is gone.)

You can use these instead of pots and pans inside your solar oven.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Useful Little Solar Oven

Here is a homemade solar oven.  I sprayed a large glass pickle jar and lid with black High Heat Grill Paint, you can find it in the spray paint aisle of any hardware store.

Put a strip of tape from top to bottom.  Spray paint the whole jar and lid black.  Then pull off the tape strip (this creates a clear place where you can see if the food is boiling.)

Just spray the outside of the jar.

Buy oven roasting turkey bags, or oven roasting poultry bags.

Fill the jar with something that only needs heated, like a can of soup.  Put on the lid.  It won't come to a boil, it will only heat up to about 160 degrees.

Puff the bag around the jar.  Seal it with a twist tie.  Set the jar on something to insulate it from the ground (mine is setting on a block of wood.)  Set it in full sun.  (This will not work on a cloudy day.)

If you dump a can of soup into this jar, it will be hot enough to eat in about a half an hour.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Got Gardening Tools?

I am not a gardening expert, I have only been gardening for 3 summers now.  But I got to thinking, what will happen when there is no longer food at the store?  When we have economic turmoil, or natural disasters that stop our food supply arriving, or when the droughts get so bad there is no food being grown elsewhere?

 If we have to grow all our own food, I am really going to have to step up my game quite a bit.

So far I have been doing four little 4' x 4' gardens.  They are small enough for me to kneel down and dig with a hand trowel.

But if I have to go into full-scale production, I need better tools.  I just purchased this hoe and this pointy shovel.  And eventually, I hope to buy about 3 more of each, because, face it, the whole family is going to have to be out there shovelling and hoeing at the same time, and we will each need our own tool.

Sometimes you can find shovels and hoes at yard sales, that is where I hope to find more of these.  (Good luck getting to the yard sale before I do.)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

More news on the beef sell-off

The drought in the central plains states is making conditions untenable for raising cattle.  Ranchers are selling off their cattle so fast, slaughterhouses are now at capacity.  So that means beef might be much cheaper for awhile, but watch out, the prices will be much higher later.

Beef Prices May Jump As Drought Creates Cattle Surplus
"Ultimately, the drought will affect what customers will pay for beef at the grocery store, cattle owners said.
Since a mature cow only has one calf per year, it will take years for the ranchers to rebuild their herds. That could cause the price of beef go up as early as the end of this year."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Drought cripples southern U.S. Farms

Drought cripples southern US farms

July 17, 2011    By Gregory Meyer in New York

While you read the following quotes from this article, think of the implications for your food storage.  

"The Lone Star state is at the epicentre of a once-in-a-generation drought stretching from Arizona to Florida. The US’s southern underbelly is scorched like meat on a grill....
The drought has spawned wildfires, turning grasslands to ash. In Texas, the leading cotton producer in the US, 59 per cent of the cotton crop is in poor condition or worse. Harvests of hard winter wheat, prized for yeasted breads, have plummeted in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas as yields and acreage contracted. Ranchers cannot feed their cattle on parched pastures....
The state has more than 13m cattle, more than any other. But the size of the herd, dwindling for years, may shrink faster as ranchers are forced to sell calves and breeding cows they cannot feed.....

The USDA estimates the just-harvested domestic hard winter wheat crop will this year total just 791m bushels, down from 1bn last year. Wheat prices, which took off last year after a grain export ban was declared in the Black Sea, have remained supported by the dismal US outlook...."
Doesn't this make you want to buy more food, while it is still available in the store?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cattle Sell-off

(I hope that link shows you all the news headlines about cattle auctions.)

I have heard from several sources that cattle ranchers in Texas are selling off their cattle because of the drought.  That means that there is will be a glut on the market for a short while, and beef prices may go down temporarily.

But beware, because after all those cattle are butchered, there will be a huge shortage of beef, because there won't be many more to sell.

I am going to get a lot of beef and can it in the next fews weeks.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Someone just asked me where was a good place to get buckets for storing food.

Here is my off-the-cuff answer (I don't have time to check the prices right this minute.)

The best deal recently was through Wanda M. in the Chapel Hill ward.  I think they were $3 or $4 each.  She might do another order in a few months.

Then I bought some through Emergency Essentials, they are $6 or $6.50 each.

Lids through Wanda M. and EE were similar.

People tell me they ask for free buckets from bakeries, Sam's bakery dept, ChickFilA pickles, candy companies.  But you usually have to wash them out yourself.  And buy new lids for them.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sandwich Style Whole Wheat Bread

(Kimberly Bloomfield sent me this email.  Thanks, Kim, for permission to put it on my blog.)

Hi Amy!

I saw on your blog that you are in search of some sandwich style whole wheat bread.  I'd love to bring one of my loaves over (I'm baking today) for you to try.  With all the work you do for our ward, it's shameful I haven't done it yet.  It's soft and perfect for sandwiches.  Not a hint of crumbles. I got the recipe from a friend who's a professional baker.  I'm going to send the recipe in this email, both with cup measurements and with weight measurements. 

 I purchased a kitchen scale a while ago when I started doing cakes for Sally and then I converted my bread recipe to weight measurements.  The difference has been night and day with consistency from batch to batch.  A pound and a half of flour is always a pound and a half of flour but you can't say the same for a cup of flour!  Plus, you just measure everything into the mixing bowl and don't get any measuring cups/spoons dirty.  I taught Jenny M. how to make it and she's had great luck.  Hopefully these directions will seem pretty straight forward - I love non-complicated recipes.  If you want, you can come over any time and see the process in action, just to get a feel for what stuff should look like.

Another note - I buy vital wheat gluten at in their grocery section.  I get eight (small) boxes at a time and signed up for their auto-shipping option and saved 15% on top of their low prices.  It ends up being the best price on the internet.  And since the gluten doesn't really go bad, I don't worry about getting 8 boxes at once.  I bake so much bread with it that I generally go through a case every 3-4 months.

Another note - I prefer red wheat in this recipe.  I love white wheat for other baking things (cookies, pancakes, waffles, etc) but the red wheat seems to give me more consistent results and better flavor.  The white wheat is still great, it's just my back-up when I run out of ground red wheat and don't feel like getting everything out.

Another note - the amount of powdered milk I used is the amount that the package says will yield two cups of milk.  Check your label if you think yours is different.

Dan's Whole Wheat Bread (cup measurements)

5 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup Vital Wheat Gluten
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 T salt
2 T yeast (instant active)
2/3 cup powdered milk
2 cups slightly warm water

Dan's Whole Wheat Bread (weight measurements)

1 1/2 lbs whole wheat flour
60 g Vital Wheat Gluten
58 g brown sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine
25 g salt
22 g yeast (instant active)
46 g powdered milk
2 cups slightly warm water


1)  Put all ingredients in your mixing bowl.  Mix until everything is just combined.  The dough will be shaggy and there will be pieces of butter that aren't fully mixed in.  This is okay.  They will knead together beautifully later.
2)  Cover the shaggy dough with saran wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes (this gives the wheat a chance to absorb the liquid so that when you start kneading, you can judge if it needs more liquid).
3)  After 30 minutes, knead for 12 minutes (I use a KitchenAid, Jenny uses a Bosch and it seems to be consistent between the two mixers).  The dough should be smooth and elastic.  If, after a minute or two of kneading, there is still flour left in the bottom of the bowl, add water a teaspoon or two at a time.  When I use the scale measurements I'm almost always exactly perfect with the moisture level.
4)  Form a ball with the dough, cover the bowl with saran wrap or damp towel and let rise for one hour or until just doubled in size.
5)  Punch dough down and divide into two equal pieces (when I use my scale, it's just over 700 g per loaf.)
6)  Shape into two loaves and place in bread pans.
7)  Let rise until double or tripled in size (takes between 1 and two hours depending on how warm your house is.  for me, in the summer, it's about an hour.  Winter, it's longer).
8)  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until the crust is a beautiful deep golden brown.  I go closer to 30 minutes but have noticed different pans cook differently.
9)  Immediately turn out on to cooling racks to cool.

This slices and freezes beautifully.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Brigham Young commenting on Gold and Wheat

“Were I to ask the question, how much wheat or anything else a man must have to justify him in letting it go to waste, it would be hard to answer; figures are inadequate to give the amount. Never let anything go to waste. Be prudent, save everything, and what you get more than you can take care of yourselves, ask your neighbors to help you. 

There are scores and hundreds of men in this house, if the question were asked them if they considered their grain a burden and a drudge to them, when they had plenty last year and the year before, that would answer in the affirmative, and were ready to part with it for next to nothing. 

How do they feel now, when their granaries are empty? If they had a few thousand bushels to spare now, would they not consider it a blessing? They would. Why? Because it would bring the gold and silver. 

But pause for a moment, and suppose you had millions of bushels to sell, and could sell it for twenty dollars per bushel, or for a million dollars per bushel, no matter what amount, so that you sell all your wheat, and transport it out of the country, and you are left with nothing more than a pile of gold, what good would it do you? You could not eat it, drink it, wear it, or carry it off where you could have something to eat. 

The time will come that gold will hold no comparison in value to a bushel of wheat. Gold is not to be compared with it in value. Why would it be precious to you now? Simply because you could get gold for it? Gold is good for nothing, only as men value it. 

It is no better than a piece of iron, a piece of limestone, or a piece of sandstone, and it is not half so good as the soil from which we raise our wheat, and other necessaries of life. The children of men love it, they lust after it, are greedy for it, and are ready to destroy themselves, and those around them, over whom they have any influence, to gain it” (Journal of Discourses, 1:, p.250).

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Our Food Supply is Fragile

Grocery stores don't stock weeks of food anymore.  Most keep only 72 hours of food on the shelves.  They re-stock based on just-in-time delivery of food supplies.  

If the trucks stop rolling in your part of the country during a crisis, the store shelves will be emptied almost immediately.  In fact, expect a shortage of mainstay items like milk and bread to occur similar to what happens before an approaching hurricane or ice storm hits.  

Those who are aware of the problem but who haven't already made preparations will engage in a last-minute rush to buy a few extra supplies.

Don't be one of those people!  Have your food supply already inside your own house.  Be prepared!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Do the Best We Can

“Perhaps in the past accumulating a year’s supply of food may have been a little intimidating......” says Dennis Lifferth, managing director of Church Welfare Services. “But this new approach asks us to do the best we can, even if all we can do is to set aside a can or two each week. If the prophet asks us to do something, we can find a way to fulfill the commandment and receive the blessings.”

“This new program is within everyone’s grasp,” explains Bishop Burton. “The first step is to begin. The second is to continue. It doesn’t matter how fast we get there so much as that we begin and continue according to our abilities.”
"Family Home Storage: A New Message", Ensign, Mar. 2009, 56–60

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How to make bread just like store-bought

Crystal Godfrey made two videos, teaching you how to make bread that is just as squishy as store bought bread, and that doesn't crumble or fall apart when you make peanut butter sandwiches.  (I hope it works for me.)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Preparing for What?

Before buying anything you should sit down with paper and pencil because you have some decision making to do.
Your first decision to make is "What are you storing food for?"  What situations and circumstances do you think might occur which would cause you to need your food and would prevent you for easily being able to get more?  

Make a list of everything which you think has some significant probability of happening.  This process is called "scenario planning."
Will you be unemployed? 

Will you be sheltering-in-place in your home because of a pandemic or nuclear disaster? 

Do you think you will be fleeing from your home?  

Will you have electricity? 

Will you have access to water?
Plan your food to meet the needs of each of these scenarios.  Get the cooking fuel you need in case you don't have electricity.  Store water in case your city water fails.  Think through each scenario and see what foods and supplies you need.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"Events will come along so naturally..."

Elder Cannon in 1879: Cannon, George Q. Journal of Discourses. 21:264-272

Now I would not, for the world, say one word to lessen in the minds of my brethren and sisters the importance of these events; I would not say one word to weaken your proper expectations; but my experience has taught me that the Lord works in the midst of this people by natural means, and that the greatest events that have been spoken of by the holy prophets will come along so naturally as the consequence of certain causes, that unless our eyes are enlightened by the Spirit of God, and the spirit of revelation rests us, we will fail to see that these are the events predicted by the holy prophets. 

You take two persons, one who has the Spirit of God, whose mind is enlightened by that Spirit – the spirit of revelations, the same spirit that rested upon the prophets who wrote the revelations and prophecies we have – you take a man of that kind, and then take another who has none of that spirit, and put the two together, and the one man’s eyes will be open to see the hand of God in all these events; he will notice his movements and his providence in everything connected with his work and they will be testimonies to him to strengthen his faith and to furnish his mind with continual reasons for giving thanks to and worshipping God;while the man, who has not the Spirit of God, will see nothing Godlike in the occurrences:nothing which he will view as supernatural (as many suppose everything which exhibits God’s power to be), or nothing which he will accept as a fulfillment of prophecies; his eyes will be closed, his heart will be hardened, and to all the evidences of the divinity of these things he will be impenetrable.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Why I can meat

You might be wondering about yesterday's post.  You might say, "Why should I can meat when I have plenty of freezer space?"

My main reason for canning meat is that I want my year's supply to be shelf stable.  I keep a few things in the freezer, but with the hurricanes and the ice storms we have in North Carolina I do not trust the freezer.  I don't want all my food to go bad at the exact same time we have a disaster.

I am lazy, so I buy canned chicken.  I don't see the need to can my own chicken since the price is so good at the store.

I have ten or twenty cans of canned Hormel ham, to add to beans.  And I buy canned tuna.

But the store doesn't have canned ground beef or canned pork or canned roast beef.  So I have to can my own.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Article warns "No Food at Any Price"

Here are the first and the fourth paragraphs in the article:

"The global agriculture supply situation has worsened and a failure to boost food production fast enough to meet demand may lead to shortages, said investor Jim Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings."

"Monthly food prices tracked by the FAO have surged nine times in the past 11 months and last month stayed near a record reached in February, as global demand for corn and wheat outstripped production and drought and flooding ravaged harvests. "

Read more: Jim Rogers: Boost Crop Production or ‘No Food at Any Price’ 

Price of Pressure Canning Some Pork

Last week I found some pork loin on sale for $1.95 a pound, and some pork butt roast on sale for $1.89 a pound.  I bought $60 worth of meat.  (Note:  I won't buy the butt roast again, I threw away about 2 or 3 pounds of fat.  So I think the pork loin was less money per pound because I didn't throw away any of it.)

It took me 4 times filling my big pressure canner with almost 8 bottles at a time, and I came out with 30 pint bottles of canned pork.  That turns out to be $2 a pint.

It is my estimate that a pint holds a similar amount of meat as one of these 13 oz. cans of canned chicken that I can buy at Sam's.  A 5-pack right now costs about $8.55, so that is about $1.71 per can.

I don't want to bottle my own chicken because buying it already canned is such a good price.  I have a year's supply of chicken.

But I am trying to can pork and roast beef and ground beef because I use those also, and wanted them in my food storage.

It is nice to know that the pork turned out somewhat similar in price to what I could buy the chicken for.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Good price for Katadyn Hiker water purifier

I bought several of these for my kids last Christmas for around $47 each.  Since then, I have only seen other types of filters for $100 and up.  Then I saw these again on sale at REI for around $60 and bought a couple more for gifts.  And now Emergency Essentials has them again for $47.89.

If you are looking for a water filter for emergencies, this seems like a good price.

(Owning one of these is one of the reasons I don't mind storing my water in clean juice bottles.  I know that I will be putting my drinking water through a filter before drinking it.)

July Provident Living Challenge

Do one of these by the August evening Relief Society meeting and get a prize!
A.  Buy a shelf-stable three month supply of everything for a soup lunch.
Have soup for lunch, and include any additions such as crackers or croutons that you normally eat with soup.  Think of shelf stable items such as bottled juice or boxes of jello  or pudding to go with the meal.
Determine how much you need to feed your family for one meal.
Then buy all the ingredients for 13 meals.  This is the equivalent of eating soup for lunch once a week for three months.  
B. Know what you use. With a permanent marker, write the day, month and year on toothpaste tubes, shampoo bottles, dental floss, hair products, contact solution, dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, and other supplies.  Draw a line on the bottle to show how much was in it on that date.  In some cases, it may take two months to get a good idea of how much you use. 

 When the item is empty, you will know approximately how many you will need for a year's supply.  If you use it up in a week, you will need 52; in a month, 12, in two months, you will need 6.
For items such as toilet paper which have wrappers, save the wrappers for two weeks.  At the end of the two weeks count the wrappers and, now you know how many you need for a year.