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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Dry Pack Canner for the Morrisville Building

The Morrisville Building has received its Dry Pack Canner!   Appointments to use it should be made through me.
Now that we have our own canner, you will be able to can all sorts of dry commodities, such as wheat, flour, sugar, powdered milk, macaroni, rice, oats, etc. in the comfort of your own home or garage.  
But first, you have to obtain some empty cans and lids.
I just spoke to Sister Mangum, who is in charge of the Greensboro Family Home Storage Center (or “cannery”).  That is where you will have to go to buy the empty cans and lids.
We can buy the empty #10 cans for $0.75 each, and the metal lids for $0.15 each.  A plastic lid is $0.10.
You will also want to buy one Oxygen Absorber to put inside each can.  They are $0.10 each.  All dry canned food items must contain an oxygen absorber so that creepy crawlies don’t hatch out in the food and start to reproduce.  The oxygen absorber makes it so that IF a bug hatches, it will immediately die from lack of oxygen.
The ONLY EXCEPTION is white sugar.  Do not add oxygen absorbers to white sugar, it will turn into a solid brick.  There are no bug problems with sugar, so it is fine to just seal it inside the can without treating it.
(Canning at our church building is strictly forbidden, for insurance reasons.  I think the Church does not want to be held liable for any food safety.  I cannot even do any dry canning demonstrations in the building.)

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Reminder about the Greensboro Cannery

The Family Home Storage Center (or “cannery”) that is closest to us is in Greensboro.   You can make an appointment to pick up bulk food there, or to can the food into cans, by calling the cannery at 336-668-2284 or Sister Mangum at home at 336-584-6019.

Here is more information about the cannery:
Why would you want to go to the cannery?
In general, food from the cannery is about the cheapest you can get it.  Sometimes, one thing or another is cheaper at Sam’s or Costco, however, that item wouldn’t be in a bug proof container.
Buying the food at the cannery enables you to can it inside #10 cans and know that it will be good for 20-30 years.
Sister Mangum said they are open Mondays and Tuesdays in the daytime, on Wednesdays in the evening, and on the 2nd and 4th Saturday in the morning.  With those limited hours, you have to get an appointment way in advance.  Right now the first opening is April 16.
Each time I have been there, I have been put in a group of 3-7 people, and we all helped each other can our food, and got out within about 3-4 hours.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

More ward members: No Heat Challenge responses

We turned out heat off when we got home from church.   It was the Sunday that it was cold and snowed in the night.  The kids slept in their warm camping sleeping bags.  They loved it and slept really well.  My husband and I slept with a couple extra quilts on top our our usual down comforter.  We were comfortable too.  Even though it was so cold outside, our house never got colder than 55 degrees.  In the morning, we turned our gas fireplace on to see if it would heat up the house.  The heat went upstairs and raised the temperature a couple degrees after being on for couple hours.  If we had to use the gas fireplace for heat, I would tape sheets or something similar to the walls by the stairs so the heat couldn't go upstairs.  Trapping the heat in the family room/kitchen would probably keep us warm enough.  - A.B.

We did the challenge.  Our indoor temp only got down to 69.  I've forgotton to turn the heat on at night before during winter months.  It has never gotten below  63.  I think we'll try the challenge again anyway looking for a colder weather night!
One thing of note...with all of these challenges I thought it might be a neat opportunity to teach our children gratitude as well as "preparedness" skills.  With this most recent challenge, our 7-year-old was NOT happy.  She did not want to be cold!   - L.H.

Our family did it - but really no comments (we were cold but just "lived with it" - stayed busy and kept lots of jackets and blankets on).
Thanks for the challenge.  - K.G.

R. and I did the challenge, but like you, it wasn't too tough since
it stayed around 40 degrees. However, we did prepare and brought out
extra blanket and our winter pj's. Just wanted you to know we are
attempting to meet our goals!  -V.E.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Julie B. Beck recommends getting a tent

Here is a Relief Society training video where Sister Beck recommends that church members get a tent.

The title of the page is Welfare Duties. About half way down the page click on "Training Video: Self Reliance". The comments are about half way through the segment (on mine it was at the 3:39 min time mark). 
Basically she was talking about preparedness to Relief Society Leaders in the Tabernacle and then said:

Self Reliance
Sister Julie B. Beck Relief Society Training March 2010.
"Now we’re living in some tough times. I’ll just walk you through a couple of scriptures.This is in Matthew 24 where Jesus was talking about our day. He said “Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that ye not be troubled. For all these things must come to pass and the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. And there shall be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in diver’s places. And these are the beginning of sorrows.” We’re in this day. We have pestilences and troubles and trials all around us. But we cannot despair 
It’s also this time when in verse 14 in that same chapter. The gospel of the kingdom is preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations. Isn’t it a marvelous thing to be here at this time when temples are being built? When a prophet of God stands up and says we’re going to be building more temples. The prophet is advancing the Lord’s work, not retreating. That’s the time we live in. When, as Sister Thompson explained, we have resources to help, and all you have to do is spend a half an hour at a Bishop’s storehouse watching the faces and thinking about where the products came from and orchards where the fruit was grown and the wheat fields where the wheat was harvested and the beehives that the honey came from and think of the planning and the preparation and the revelation and the tithes and the offerings of the people that make that possible. And you know you’re part of a marvelous work and a wonder and it’s not a time to be afraid. 
Now in section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants it teaches this principle in verse 106, “And if any man among you be strong in the spirit let him take with him him that is weak that he may be edified in all meekness that he may become strong also. That sounds like relief to me. That’s a Relief Society. When you’re making up your visiting teaching lists make a list of the strong sisters in the ward and make a list of the weak sisters in the ward, maybe the ones that need to be strengthened. They’re not always weak, but they need some strengthening. And what you want is a longer list of the strong ones. So you look on your list of the strong ones and who can she go get and strengthen and bring her over until she is strong too. And one by one we’ll bring them over until we have strong, edified women who can handle this day and age and time. 
I have a sense and a feeling as we have watched some of these disasters in the world that this is a time for us to learn and prepare from these experiences. Sister Thompson gave a testimony of that. And the preparation happens in our own homes. There are not enough tents in the world to furnish every person with a tent unless the members of the church have a tent in their own homes; a simple thing like that. And then the store house is pressed down, heaped over and running over in our own homes.  
Some of you have student apartments. How prepared are you? If an earthquake or an economic disaster happened would you have enough water to drink for 24 hours? Would you be able to get by until help could come to you? Those are the kinds of things we need to be thinking about in our day and time. The Lord expects us to do our little part and then he can bring on the miracles. Then we don’t need to fear.  
Relief Society is an auxiliary to the family. We’re here to provide help to the family. Yes, we’re a help to the Bishop, but we’re here to provide help to the individuals. I bear you my testimony that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and that these principles will strengthen us, individually and as families and as a people and as a church. As we listen to prophets of God we will be OK. We don’t need to worry about being alive in this scary time. The world has had scary times before and the Lord has always taken care of his people who have been faithful."

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My ward members report back on the "No Electric Heat" challenge

I am very sad that this week was a dud for practicing no heat.  It was much too warm. (So we are extending the challenge:  Pick a colder night in the coming week to turn the power off, if you haven't already.)
This winter isn't typical, most winters we have a week or two of 20 degree weather, so we all need to plan for that as well.  I feel bad I scheduled the challenge for such a mild week!  

Here are reports back from my ward members:
"We did the no heat challenge last night. We put the thermostat to 40 degrees and opened the windows in the master bedroom. The house only got to 63 degrees. The kids were nice and bundled, so I don't even think they noticed. My husband loved sleeping with the windows open. It was quite refreshing and we were not cold at all. He wants to do this again when it is actually cold outside."    R.M.

"I turned down our heat when I got home from work yesterday and turned on the fireplace.  Our house never got below 70 degrees.  At 10:00 we turned off the fireplace before going to bed and the upstairs never dropped below 68 degrees.  The master bedroom was a little cooler just because we sleep with the door shut, but the kids' rooms were still toasty.  I actually prefer to sleep when it is cooler.  I think the low cloud cover last night held a lot of the heat in."     M.A.P.

"The 'sleeping without heat' experience made me thankful for NC winters--as least this one. With the heat off Thursday night, the inside of the house never fell below 65 degrees- about 1 degree lower than we usually sleep with! We opted not to open the windows so it could have cooled off more than that. After reading the blog we did do a check to see if our gas log would ignite with the power off. Lucky for us, it did!! 

At least we have a back up source of heat (--although most of it would escape upstairs.) We have experienced sleeping with kerosene heaters and no electricity for many nights when we lost power in an ice storm in Indiana many years ago. Luckily it was in March, so not as cold as it could have been in Dec or Jan.

Looking forward to the next challenge!"    K.B.

"Well, we did do the challenge, much by "accident" (for lack of a better word). I had turned off the heat Wednesday morning thanks to the beautiful warm afternoon we were expecting.  We did our daily routine and went to bed as usual, when we woke up the next morning we all noticed it was much cooler than normal, because I didn't turn the heat back on... So, I figured I would just add an extra layer of clothes to everyone and kept the heat off until 3:30 that afternoon, just to ensure we did a whole 24 hours.  I don't know if it really counts, but I believe we are adequately prepared for milder weather.  We've all had to toughen up a bit since our move from CA, I typically have the heat at 74 (I expect that to change next winter), haha!! " S.R.

"We did ours on Thursday night.  We figured out that my husband and I keep each other warm and that is an advantage over the kids.  We had them with three blankets each and we just had our normal everyday blanket.  We did have everyone sleep with full daytime clothing on and socks.  Most of the kids said they slept fine.  We told them though that for the future if they get cold to go to one of their brothers beds that is full/queen and then they can heat up with body heat too.  This would not be enjoyable at all if this went on for days though.  But very doable for one night."  B.D.

"No Heat Challenge" extended, because of mild weather

This week turned out to have very mild weather, so it might be wise to extend the deadline for this challenge. 

If you haven't done the "No Electric Heat" challenge yet, please wait a few days and do it when the weather at night is colder.

(To my ward members only: After you do the challenge, please email me and tell me what you learned.  I will post your comments anonymously on my blog.)
Feb. 2012- Practice having no electric heat in your house for one night.

The Valentine's Cuddle Up Challenge. Feb. 12-18. (Now extended another week.)
You can turn off the heater down to 40 degrees all night, OR
You can leave on the heater for the children, and just block your master bedroom door and open the bedroom windows.
Goals: For you to find out:
if you have enough blankets
If you have enough warm clothing
If you have an emergency heater
Do you have any type of an approved indoor heater, or fireplace or gas log?
Kerosene and Propane heaters are available.
Never use an unapproved heater indoors.
Conserve body heat by setting up a tent in your warmest room, and sleep inside of it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Look at what one stake did

Here is a great story about preparedness being pushed by a stake president.

Recently our Stake Presidency did something I would consider quite unprecedented…
One week before each ward conference in the Stake (on the preceding Sunday), under the direction of the Stake Presidency the Bishop selected 2-3 families from each ward, invited them into his office, and gave them this assignment:
Over the next 72 hours, we would like you to participate in an emergency preparedness exercise. You are to simulate that a large earthquake has just hit our neighborhood. You have no power at your house — please go home and shut it off — you have no central heat (this was in March in Utah — it was still snowing/freezing outside), there is no way to refuel your vehicles so you can only drive with the fuel you currently have on hand, and NO water, etc. and you are not allowed to buy anything. You must only use the supplies that you currently have on hand to survive over the next 3 days. Don’t tell anyone in the ward what you’re doing, but during Ward Conference on Sunday, we’d like you to share your experiences with the ward.
At least that was the gist of it; and the exercise began as soon as they left the Bishops office. No last minute shopping trips — this was supposed to be real.

Read the rest of the article:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Can of food still safe to eat, 64 years later

The BBC reports that a can of lard from 1948 was tested and found safe to eat!  (Not tasty, but safe.)

So, this tells me that in many cases, the expiration date on a can may not be as important as we have been led to believe.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Will my gas log turn on without electricity?

During the last big ice storm here in Cary, North Carolina, we lived in a different house, which had a regular fireplace and a 2-story great room.  We found that our previous house was impossible to heat during a power outage, which was one reason we moved to our current house.

We had some friends back then, who had a gas log.  We remember going to their house during the ice storm, and they were toasty and warm.

Ever since, I have wondered, how in the heck does a gas log work without electricity?  Doesn't the wall switch (which looks just like a light switch) work using electricity?

Today we found the answer.  Since I am not an engineer or electrician, you'll have to read the links for a better explanation.  Here is the best I can do:

This link has a picture of a Millivolt Wall Switch.  The wall switch has to hook to your gas log, and it can only be a maximum of 15' away.

Because the wall switch is connected to the gas log with that contraption, it does not need electricity to switch it on.  (Note: Our gas log also has an electric fan, but of course the fan wouldn't work without electricity.)

And here is another website where a guy goes into extensive explanations as to how the gas log gets turned on and off, and how the gas burning creates the electric volts needed to switch it on and off.

In this way, the fire place can be turned on, turned up, turned down and shut off with just the turn of a switch even without external electric power being supplied to it.

Our Family's Experience with turning off the furnace

We got home from church Sunday and turned both our upstairs and downstairs furnaces to "off".  I put on warm clothing and waited for the temperature to drop inside our house.

Surprisingly, I never got cold, in fact I started feeling too warm!

I went into the other room, and found that my husband, W., had turned on the gas log, and the whole house was getting quite warm.

I complained, "I was trying to test how many layers of clothing I needed to live comfortably in a cold house!", and W. said, "Oh, I thought we were trying to test whether we could keep the house the same temperature with or without electricity."

I turned off the gas log, and we spent the rest of the evening and all night without any additional heat.  We put a down comforter on top of our regular bedding and slept comfortably.  (I think it was 30 or 35 degrees outside.)

By 6:00 am, our house had only dropped to 58 degrees.  I think I learned that it would take more than 12 hours to really start feeling too cold, it looks like my house retains heat pretty well for a short time.

We turned the furnaces back on Monday morning.

(To my ward: Please email me with your experiences and what you learned.  I will post them anonymously.)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

This week: No Electric Heat for One Night

Feb. 2012- Practice having no electric heat in your house for one night.
The Valentine's week Cuddle Up Challenge.
Choose one night this week (Feb. 12-18)

You can turn off the heater down to 40 degrees all night, OR
You can leave on the heater for the children, and just block your master bedroom door and open the bedroom windows.

Goals: For you to find  out:
if you have enough blankets
If you have enough warm clothing
If you have an emergency heater
Do you have any type of an approved indoor heater?
Kerosene and Propane heaters are available.
Never use an unapproved heater indoors.
Conserve body heat by setting up a tent in your warmest room, and sleep inside of it.

Contact me and tell me about your experience, so I can share it with the ward (anonymously if you want.)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Warm Clothing if you had no heat

(Repeated from January 2012)

Just think about it.....what if we had a disaster which caused our power to be out, and we had to live in such frigid temperatures all day and all night?

Do you have enough heavy blankets, sleeping bags, and emergency methods of heating your house?

Okay, now think about clothing for yourself and your kids.  If you had no heat, you would still need to be moving around and accomplishing things (like cooking, changing diapers, etc.).  You can't stay under blankets all day.  Do you have warm clothing for all parts of everybody's body?   Picture each person head to toe.  Do you have each of these things, in the correct sizes for every member of your family?

Warm hat
warm gloves or mittens
work gloves
warm shirt
warm jacket or sweatshirt
waterproof poncho
heavy coat
insulated pants, ski pants, or long johns and pants
heavy socks
boots, snowboots, or sturdy shoes, for walking in adverse conditions

I am continually reminded that we are supposed to have one year's supply of food, clothing, and if possible, fuel.  So I like to stock up on winter clothing for every size, every time I see something good at a thrift store.  I don't want my little grandchildren to be cold!

(Reminder:  It is almost the week for our ward challenge!  Pick one evening Feb. 12-18 and use no heat.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Some options if you have no heat

Did you know that if you have no heat, you can set up a tent in your living room and sleep in sleeping bags, and the temperature in the tent will be much higher than in the rest of the house?

 If you have a gas log or fire place, make plans for how you will isolate that room from the rest of the house, to keep the heat contained. Maybe you can shut some doors. 

Or if you have an open floor plan, can you nail some blankets around the stairwell so the heat won't go up the stairs? 

(Feb. 12-18:  Our ward's challenge for having No Heat for One Night.  Get Prepared!)

Monday, February 6, 2012

How much warm bedding do you have?

The 1978 publication, "Essentials of Home Production and Storage" simply tells us to have enough bedding, "to keep each person warm if there were no other heating supplies."
It is implied that the need for this would be during the coldest time of the year.  The bedding need not be fancy.  Old quilts can keep a person warm just as well as ones that might be more fashionable.  Many people may find that they already have enough bedding on hand. 

(Remember the upcoming ward challenge during the week of February 12-18:
No Heat for One Night.  Get prepared!)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Make Plans for No Heat

With your family, make plans for heating your home in the event of an ice storm and power outage. 

Will you stay with another family?

Do you have a non-electric heater, rated for indoor use?

Do you have a fireplace or gas log?

Do you have sleeping bags rated for 0 degrees?

(And remember, the week of Valentine's Day is the week our ward will be doing the challenge of No Heat for One Night.  Get prepared!)