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Friday, March 30, 2012

I am offering Food Storage Classes at the MV ward building in April

Our April Ward Challenge is: 
“Learn about Food Storage, and Plan Menus using your Family's Favorite Foods.  Begin buying food from your plan.”
Each family will plan a three month's supply of food.
Each family will begin obtaining a three month's supply of food.
Each family will learn the importance of obtaining their one year's supply.
Read “Family Home Storage: A New Message”,  Ensign March 2009.
Family home evening:  Make a list with your family of all their favorite meals and snacks.  These will become the basis for your three months supply of food.  
Figure out a way to buy all the ingredients for a  few of these meals, to make that meal 13 times (equals once a week for three months.)  Make these purchases over the next few weeks.
Food Storage Classes this month
To help you achieve the April goal, I will be offering small group presentations about Food Storage the entire month of April.  I have the following five dates reserved at our MV ward building. 
Mornings:  Tuesdays April 3 or April 24.  Tentatively 10am-11am unless the attendees want a different time.
Evenings:  Wednesdays, April 4, 18, 25.  Tentatively 7pm-8pm unless the attendees want a different time.
What will I teach?  I will be giving a powerpoint presentation which I originally gave at the March 2011 Stake Women’s Day, called “One Thousand Pages of Food Storage Information in 30 minutes”.  I will be going through the contents of the CD which I will give to the attendees.  The CD contains all the documents you might need to help you plan your food storage.
I am also eager to answer any questions you might have.  Please email me with items you want me to cover in the class, and I will try to bring information geared to your interests.  (If you have already attended this powerpoint presentation, but still want to learn more about food storage, we can arrange something different.)
 If I can get at least three people to attend, I will hold the class.  Couples may attend, or one adult from a family is also welcome.  MV Ward members: Please email me if you want to attend.  (This invitation is also open to surrounding wards.)
If I cancel the class because of no one signing up, I will announce that on the MV ward  RS google group.  Please phone me if you want to attend at the last minute, to see if the class is happening.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Another story by Calamity Janet

After the train wreck, here is the next disaster Calamity Janet experienced, which made her want to be prepared.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Why did she want to be prepared?

Here is the story of how Janet was startled into wanting to be prepared.  (In case you don't know, a "prepper" is someone who is interested in preparedness.)

"How I Became a Prepper" by Calamity Janet.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tornado thoughts from Alabama, 2011

I got this off another website.  Used by permission.

May 2011- This is a letter my brother sent to our family this past week. In it are his thoughts surrounding prepardness and the recent Tornado disasters in Alabama for which he was involved with. He lives in Northern Alabama......

"Wednesday, April 27th, 2011, Alabama got hit hard by mother nature via a ton of tornadoes. Our county took a massive hit. Over 300 families lost
their homes. Every transmission line that the Tennessee Valley Authority
- TVA (produces electricity for North Alabama) had into our area was
severed. All power lost to about 500,000 people. In addition,
Huntsville Utilities, who distributes the power to us, took massive
damage. They both worked miracles and have restored power to about 80%
of customers by the end of day 6. We got power back almost 5 days after
the storm.

During the storm (that lasted about 8 hours) and for the 8 hours after
the storm, I spent in the disaster area doing rescue work, including
swift-water rescues due to the large amount of rain we had. Many people
not hit by tornadoes still suffered due to flooding and since no power,
they had no idea water was rising so fast and so high. I got home at
3am for a few hours sleep.

Okay, what we did right preparing for not having power for 5 days and
some lessons learned from our experience. We had our 72 hour kits but
didn't need them (this time) but many families hit by the tornado sure
could have used them. Many families as we helped them out of their
rubble piles that used to be homes, tried to grab a few things to take -
several said they wished they had listened when told to prepare the kits
(and/or taken them to shelter with them so they could find them
afterwards). We had our 1 year supply of food and over 500 gallons of
drinking water - again, we were lucky and did not need them.

You will be surprised on how much your life depends on electricity! Do
not panic. So many folks just could not handle the situation. Many of
our neighbors left town (at great expense). We stayed and had a decent
time. Keep calm, stay relaxed. Enjoy life without distractions such as
TV, Internet, cellphones, etc. Bring out the board games, go for a walk
or riding bikes, read some books. Our family had a bunch of fun during
this time.

Keep your cars fueled. A few months ago, Xina and I decided to keep
cars at least half full of fuel. This paid off hugh as gas stations
were closed due to power failure. So, try not to let fuel tank get too
low. If you have to evacuate, loose power, etc, try to at least have
half a tank of fuel.

Have car chargers and inverters so you can charge cellphones and other
important electrical items. We were able to charge cellphones and
Xina's Coclear Implant batteries in the car. I was also able to charge
my laptop and paging 2-way radios (for fire and rescue squad purposes)
in car. Many did not have a car charger!

When we switched to a cordless phone system in our house years ago, I
kept some of the corded type phones around in case of a power failure.
Paid off, I was able to plug three into different parts of the house.
Note, phones worked for a couple days but did go out totally for about
18 hours before coming back up.

Do not rely on cellphones. While most of the cellphone system was
untouched by storm, the power for the towers switched to batteries and
they went down after a couple days. In addition, an even bigger issue,
so MANY folks started using them, that it was VERY hard to get a call
out (was much easier to receive them as Janet found out). Have backup
plans in place. Try to keep off the cellphones during the immediate
aftermath of a disaster as public safety folks might need whatever
capability is left as radio systems are effected as well (the city's
main system even shut down due to overload, for about an hour).

Fridge and freezers will keep stuff cool for about 24 hours after power
goes out if you do not keep opening them up. Once they start warming
up, have a cookout for everyone (yes, you can cook hot pockets on a BBQ

Have food that does not spoil. Have a simple camp stove you can cook on
for food that you want to eat warm. Canned food can be cooked on a BBQ
grill as well (open first and remove label). Keep extra on hand. We
did not have to dig into any of our food storage. Many folks could not
figure out how to survive a couple days without fridges/freezers... I
was shocked on how many reacted.

Water may or may not be available during a power failure. Luckily our
city water system had back up power for water treatment plants but we
were prepared and had 500 gallons of drinking water stored plus quickly
filled up another 125 gallons of bathtubs and jugs to have bathing, dish
washing, etc water.

Electric hot water heaters will be missed. Have a solar water heater if
you want to take warm showers. I rigged one up and it was very nice.
Beats VERY cold showers!

Have a stash of cash, small bills. ATMs are going to be down, banks
closed, credit card machines not working. We worked over the past two
years to have several stashes of cash hidden so we could use in
emergencies. We did use this item of preparedness.
Keep plenty of batteries on hand. Make sure each family member has
their own flashlight (our family members each have a head light and hand
held flashlight).

Have candles as backups to flashlights, with candle holders to carry
them by. Shorter candles so they do not fall over. We found we had no
good holders, but plan on purchasing some VERY soon.

Battery operated radio with a list taped to it of news stations. We did
not have this and would have been hard pressed to know what was going on
if we didn't have back up internet access. Another purchase that will
be done VERY soon!

Again, keeping your cool and staying calm are the biggest ways to handle
the situation. Being prepared helps to you in the regards."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Prices for heaters end of season

Here are two good emergency heaters that I saw in the clearance department at Walmart a couple of weeks ago.  This will give you an idea of a good price to pay for these when you can find them on sale.

Both of them were priced at $129.00 at the end of February.

 This Mr. Heater Big Buddy is the same one I own.  It runs on 1 pound propane bottles or it can run on a 20 lb. propane tank.
I also have one similar to this.  It runs on kerosene.
Both of these are safe inside the house.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tested out the Solar Christmas Lights

 Here are the solar powered Christmas lights I bought on sale for $13 at Walmart the day before Christmas.
During our "No Electric Lights" challenge, I attached them to the bannisters with blue masking tape, and they shone for two nights before they ran out of power.  It was a very nice light, and since it was in the middle of the house the light shined a little into the other rooms as well.

Another report on "One Night Without Electric Lights"

We went without power a week ago Sunday.  My favorite light was the headlamp I took from my husband.  Lots of light right where I needed it.....which was where ever I was looking.  I need to get a good one for each of my family members.  My husband's is lightweight, but durable.  I think a heavy one would bother me.   (Note from Amy:  I think she is right.  The heavy one I used needed a tight elastic band to hold it up, and it gave me a headache.)

Another winner was our solar yard lights.  We charged 4 of them.  My youngest children used them for night lights and they shone all night, plus the next night when they wanted to use them again for fun.  

We also used a oil hurricane lamp for the first time.  It was much easier to use than I thought it would be.  It wasn't as bright as the headlamp and the light was very yellow, which was a stark contrast to the bright white led light of the headlamp.  It was fine, but not as useful as I thought it would be.  I think having a couple of them burning in the same room would be more helpful, but I would need to store a lot more oil for that.  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New government study about nuclear attack

In November 2011, the government came out with a study to determine what would happen if Washington D.C. suffered a nuclear attack.

The full 120 page document, entitled, "National Capital Region Key Response Planning Factors for the Aftermath of Nuclear Terrorism",  is available to read on the internet.  You can see the document at the bottom of this article

It was very interesting to read where the most vulnerable populations would be, how long to shelter in place, how long it takes for fallout danger to be reduced, where the wind would most likely blow the fallout (DFZ=Dangerous Fallout Zone).

There are a lot of things here you probably don't know.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Testimonial about Solar Lawn Lights

(author unknown)

No matter where you live, this is an excellent idea. Put one or two in your emergency pack as well. You never know

I have a friend who used her solar lights inside at night when her current was off during the hurricane.  She stuck them in a jar or bottle and said they gave off plenty of 'free light'.  She put one in each room and would put them back outside in the daytime and bring them in at night as long as the current was off.  They are safe to use and cheaper than batteries.  Bring in a solar light one night and test it.

Due to a thunderstorm, we lost power for about 5 hours.  We were scrambling around in the darkness, looking for matches, candles, flashlights, etc.  We looked outside, and noticed our solar lights shining brightly all around our patio, stairs, dock, etc.  They were beautiful.  My wife walked outside, and brought several of the solar lights inside.

We stuck the solar light pipes into plastic drink bottles containers and they made the nicest, brightest, safest, lighting you could ever imagine.

We put one in the bathroom, the kitchen, the living room, etc.  There was plenty of light.  There are all types of solar lights available.  We bought ours at Harbor Freight.  We put them all around our yard.  They look nice and they do not attract flying bugs like the outdoor lights around our doorway.

The lights we have fit into the small (20 oz) water bottles and they also fit into most of the larger liter bottles.  If you need a weight in the plastic bottle to keep them from tipping over, you can put a few of the pretty colorful "flat marbles" that they put in aquariums, and vases.  (you can also use sand, aquarium gravel, etc., whatever you have available).

The lights we have were perfect inside our home.  They burn all night long if you need them.

The next day, you just take your solar lights back outside and they will instantly recharge and be ready for you to use again any time you need them.

Perfect for power outages, hurricanes, etc.

-Author unknown

Friday, March 16, 2012

Save bottles for water

To my ward:

If you drink juice or soft drinks, please start washing out the bottles to store water in.  In May we will be learning about "Obtaining Containers and Storing Water" for our May challenge.

IF you don't want the bottles, can you wash them out anyway and bring them to the Relief Society room on Sundays?  There might be some people who need yours.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What I have learned as a beginning gardener

President Kimball said:

"We encourage you to grow all the food that you feasibly can on your own property. Berry bushes, grapevines, fruit trees—plant them if your climate is right for their growth. Grow vegetables and eat them from your own yard. Even those residing in apartments or condominiums can generally grow a little food in pots and planters. Study the best methods of providing your own foods. Make your garden as neat and attractive as well as productive. If there are children in your home, involve them in the process with assigned responsibilities."  ("Family Preparedness", Ensign, May 1976)

Knowing we have been asked by our prophets to have a garden, I planted my first one in 2009.  I am amazed by all the failures I have had in my 3 summers of gardening here in North Carolina.  Everything that could happen wrong, happened.

I planted the peas too late.  I planted the sweet potatoes too close to everything else.  The cucumbers and squash shriveled up and died.  I let the cantaloupe plants grow so much that they never produced fruit, just vines.  I stopped planting, when I should have kept gardening clear into September and October.

I let "volunteers" grow, and discovered that they were not worth eating.  They were probably grown from hybrid seeds.

I let one tall plant grow, trying to figure out which vegetable it was.  Finally my home teacher told me it was just a weed.

Yet, even in my gardening infancy, my four little square foot gardens still produced plenty of food to eat fresh.  I didn't ever have enough to can, but we ate carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, green onions, cantaloupe, green peppers, and radishes.  And now I know what the vegetables look like, and I know what is a weed and what isn't, and I have it written on the calendar in February to get the garden ready and to plant the seeds indoors.

Everything takes effort to learn, and I am so thankful I have learned even this small amount.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Two more families report about No Electric Lights

These two families did the "No Electric Lights/No Powered Entertainment" challenge and reported on it:

"We enjoyed the challenge.  My daughter was devastated that she couldn't sleep with her night light, but she survived.  We lit three candles for usage at night.  It was difficult to read by candlelight, so we used a flashlight for a bit.  I found the evening much more relaxing than usual maybe due to the fact that I couldn't see all the messes around the house!  I think I could get used to evenings without electricity :-)  - L.H."

"Hi Amy,
Our family did the challenge Sunday night. We used mostly candles and a few flashlights. We have two small, battery-operated lanterns, but they take 4 D batteries each and don't provide the best light. We did not use them because of their past performance and because we didn't have any D batteries.
To begin with, we kept our blinds open as long as possible to use the sunlight until it was gone. Then we turned to the candles when we started to have a hard time seeing well.
We have 6 100-hour candles that we bought from Emergency Essentials years ago for hurricane season. They don't provide the biggest flame, but what we like is that they have a clear base (where the liquid fuel is) that actually acts like a lantern. We also used 8 tea lights. We lit the candles about 6 and blew them out around 10. We used the candles for cooking dinner, eating dinner, reading scriptures, and getting ready for bed.
We also had 3 battery-operated flashlights. They were LED, I believe. We found it worked best to point them toward the ceiling, whch then reflected their light to a larger area. One daughter actually used our brightest flashlight pointed towards her ceiling fan light (which was frosted glass) and two candles to light her room enough to do homework.
The candles worked really well in the bathrooms, where the light reflected off the mirrors lit the rooms very well.
As we reflected back on our experience, the idea of having the solar-powered Christmas lights to wrap around our light fixtures to provide light from above was one thing we would like to have tried. Also, maybe having a better lantern would have been nice, too, but we made it through the evening just fine with the candles and occasional flashlight use.
Thanks for the challenge!

And a little more from W.H.

"I wanted to make a few more comments about the challenge that I forgot to mention. We do not like using scented candles in this type of situation. The unscented kind are the best. Also, we read scriptures and then read stories by candle light for entertainment. Before it got dark, I played board games with our youngest (since it is no media week for the youth). It was a fun night."

Monday, March 12, 2012

B.D.'s mother-in-law gives some advice

I just posted B.D.'s experience doing the "No Electric Lights/No Powered Entertainment" challenge in our ward.

She had emailed her experience to her mother-in-law, and her m-i-l sent this reply back to her:

"I think your family experiments with flashlights and lanterns are "right on."  In my opinion (which y'all are free to ignore), in addition to having flashlights and lanterns, everyone should consider having one or two small gasoline or propane powered generators that could provide power to a refrigerator and freezer and maybe even a microwave in times of lengthy power outages. If you are in a position to invest in a larger generator that is plumbed into a natural gas supply and wired to the most important electrical things in your house, it is worth considering.

Several times our family has gone without electrical power for three days at a time. At our house, we lose everything (including our water supply, sump pumps, and basement exit pump) when the electric power goes down. Our basement could begin to flood within a matter of minutes if the ground is wet with rain or melted snow. Without water, we can't even flush toilets. I have spent several very memorable days hand dipping water out of our sump pump in the basement every 15 minutes (to prevent flooding). I put the water into five-gallon buckets. If we were really desperate, we could have used the water for non-drinking purposes. We used it primarily to flush toilets. (We used the toilets and then dumped a bucket of sump pump water into them to flush them.)

Because life at our house is totally miserable without electricity, one of the first preparedness things we did was to install a big generator that can run on natural gas, propane, or gasoline. Right now, it is plumbed into a natural gas line. The generator powers 20 things in the house. Now every time the power goes out, we are supremely comfortable and thank God profusely for that generator.

Generators can be tricky, however, so regular maintenance and frequent testing of them is a BIG must. They can make life pleasant during the stressful times when the city electricity goes down.
I love you.

"What I Learned" by B.D, No Electric Lights challenge

This family did the "No Electric Lights/No Powered Entertainment for One Night" challenge.

"So here is what we learned:

Doing it yesterday was great because everyone was wiped out by 8 pm because it felt like 9 pm because of daylight savings. (Daylight Savings time started that morning) We didn't have anything in the house up until now except a flashlight.  So Saturday night after the stake relief society conference I went to Target and bought at least one of every kind of lantern/flashlight I could find.   
After last night we determined that we LOVED the head lights, especially the kids.  They work great for reading and I think I might keep it around all the time because it helped so much for reading.  We also learned that walking with a lantern is not fun because of the glare.  I did get a small flashlight that converted to a lantern and that was my husbands favorite out of all the lanterns.   
We loved your idea about solar x-mas lights and will definitely get them after Christmas when they go on sale.  I discovered that all these flash lights are nice but I do want to stock pile now when things go on sale the solar ones so that we don't have to keep so many batteries.   
I will also start a collection of candles.  I hate candles and NEVER use them, but with seeing how many batteries we will need to keep on hand with all these flashlights I will start a collection that I hope we will NEVER use.  Hope this helps,  it sure helped us." -B.D.

Then I asked her to tell me how she entertained the children (and the parents) with no powered entertainment.  Here is her reply:

"It didn't get dark till after 7 pm and the kids went to bed at 8 pm.  We spent that hour getting all the flashlights ready with batteries and handing out to the kids their head lights.  They had so much fun going off by themselves to their room with a book to read with their new light that we didn't have to entertain them.  B. and I read our books.   
At 3 am S. woke up I saw him bobbing around with his head light on coming up the stairs and then he realized there was no TV so we just went back  to bed.  It was an uneventful night."

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Challenge starts today: No Electric Lights and No Powered Entertainment

Choose one evening this week, March 11-17, and participate in the M. Ward challenge:
“No Electric Lights and 
No Powered Entertainment for One Evening.”  
Rules:  Put tape over your light switches!
Use no electric lights from 4 pm until the following morning.  (Other electricity for cooking, laundry, etc. is okay.)  
Use no powered entertainment or media.  
See if you have enough emergency lighting.
Learn how to entertain the children and adults without power.
I am asking my ward members to email me and tell me what you learned.
Read the results on this blog. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Staying warm without power

Yes, I know our ward's challenge to live one night without electric heat was LAST month, but the following article is so good I just had to post it.

This family decided to go a whole week in winter without any electricity.  They had 4 small children.  After only four days, the mom called it quits.  Here is her experience, including some good photos.

Lighting without electricity

Remember, our ward will be practicing "No Electric Lights and No Powered Entertainment for One Night" next week (preferably Sunday night March 11). 

(Reposted from Aug. 7, 2010)

After a hurricane or ice storm, you may be faced with 1-9 nights without light, so you need to figure out ways to create light for your family. How are you going to do that?

Candles. One candle will burn for about 35 hours, but it makes a very dim light, and is unsafe around little children.

Lamp and lamp oil. A lamp with lamp oil can be burned in the house, but again, the flame is dangerous around little children.   Be sure you have lamp oil and a wick.

Flashlights are safe and bright, but the batteries will only power them for so long.  Be sure you have plenty of batteries.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Candles: 365 is not too many

Remember, our ward will be practicing "No Electric Lights and No Powered Entertainment for One Night" next week (preferably Sunday night March 11). 

Reposted from April 29, 2011

I read somewhere on a survivalist-type blog that we should have LOTS of candles.  They said that "365 is not too many."  So ever since, I have been buying candles at yard sales anytime I see them.  Here are some I got a couple of weeks ago, I think I paid $5 for the whole bunch.

Flashlights- Several ideas

Remember, our ward will be practicing "No Electric Lights and No Powered Entertainment for One Night" next week (preferably Sunday night March 11). 

First, don't store batteries in flashlights for long-term.  When not using your flashlight, take the batteries out and put them in a baggie, and tape it to the flashlight.

(Repost from June 27, 2011)

I was reading the website of someone who has been through some very tough circumstances, so he knows what supplies are useful and which are not.

This is the best flashlight to own, according to him.

(Another repost, from Sept. 26, 2010)

I keep looking for flashlights that don't use batteries. Here are some I have found in local stores:

You squeeze the lever over and over on this one to charge it. $2 at Northern Tool at South Hills Mall, Cary.

$10.88, Walmart, Morrisville. You wind this crank around and around.

You shake this one to charge it. $6 at Northern Tool in South Hills Mall in Cary.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Battery powered Lantern

How are you going to light up your kitchen or living room while the power is off?   Flashlights are quite useless for area lighting, since they point only in one direction and you have to hold them.

Lanterns are much better for lighting a room.  Lanterns give light out the sides, instead of just pointing it.

There are many brands of battery powered lanterns, here is just one example.  This is an Energizer brand Folding Lantern.  If you run two of them you will think the electric lights are back on.

LED lights take less power so your batteries last MUCH longer than using the old kind of flashlight bulbs.

Features and Functions

  • Bright white LED's deliver 96 lumens and 135 hours of run time
  • Long run time gives users security for extended power outages
  • Folds out for 360ยบ area light and folds in for compact storage
  • 3 Mode slide switch - High, Low & Nightlight
  • Carrying Handle
  • Runs on 4 D batteries (not included)

Solar Flares could wipe out Power Grid

Did you ever hear about the Solar Flares in 1859 that disrupted telegraph lines all over the world?  It is called the Carrington Event.

Read Wikipedia, The Solar Storm of 1859:

Telegraph systems all over Europe and North America failed, in some cases even shocking telegraph operators.[5] Telegraph pylons threw sparks and telegraph paper spontaneously caught fire.[6]

We have a small re-enactment of that event going on today.  Just be aware that events like this have the possibility of knocking out power.  And since there were no electronic car parts, or computers, or cell phone towers in 1859, think of what might happen today if all those electronic parts got fried by an extremely strong solar flare.  It is definitely something to think about.

A massive solar storm arrived at Earth early Thursday, and is expected to shake the globe's magnetic field until early Friday morning, while expanding the Northern Lights.
A giant blast of plasma spat from the sun at as much as 4 million miles per hour Tuesday -- by some measures the largest solar event since late 2006 -- and it could lead to serious issues on Earth, forcing some planes to reroute, knocking out power grids, and blacking out radios.

Read more:

Headlamp flashlights

You will wish you had one of these!  They have a stretchy strap to put around your head so you can look like a coal miner.

You can aim the light right at what you need to see, and you will still have two hands free.  Holding a flashlight with one hand really limits you when you are are trying to cook dinner or change a diaper.

I took this picture in 2011 at Walmart.

They are $5.95 at Emergency Essentials here:
(If you want to order, our ward is doing a group order this month.)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Solar Yard Lights for emergencies

Remember, our ward will be practicing "No Electric Lights and No Powered Entertainment for One Night" next week (preferably Sunday night March 11). 

(Reposted from Aug. 5, 2011)

I went to Walmart the other day and found these solar yard lights.  The black one was $4 each, or you could buy a box of eight for $20.

The red/white one was on clearance from Independence Day.  It had been $1.50 each, and  now it is marked down to $1 each.

I bought one of each and came home and put them in my yard all day so they got charged in the sun.

The next morning I remembered to bring them inside about 11 a.m.  I put them in my windowless bathroom, and tested them to see how well they lighted the room.

In the dark room, I could hold the light up to my scriptures and read.

Seven hours later, they had not run out of energy.  Same test.  I could still read with them.

Twenty-four hours later, the $1 red/white one was going dim, but still had a tiny amount of light coming out.  The $4 one was still almost as bright as it had been 24 hours earlier, without any extra charging.

I am going right back to Walmart and buying a whole yard full of these things.  They will be a lot cheaper than using flashlights everywhere in the house when we have a power outage.  They are rechargeable, so that means they are much cheaper than using glowsticks.  And they are much safer than leaving a candle lit in the bathroom.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Solar Powered Christmas Lights

Remember, our ward will be practicing "No Electric Lights and No Powered Entertainment for One Night" next week (preferably Sunday night March 11). 

(Reposted from Jan. 15, 2012)

Here is a great way to light your house during a disaster, when you have no electricity.

Buy solar powered Christmas lights.

The day before Christmas I was at Walmart, and saw solar powered LED lights.  They were originally $20, on sale for $13.  (The brand name was "Philips" Solar Powered LED, 110 bulbs, Cool White Icicle Lights, For outdoor use, Lighted Length: 8 ft.)

I charged them for one day, then put them in my windowless master bedroom closet.  They shined for 4 days!  The closet was not as bright as using the ceiling light, but it was plenty light enough to get dressed.  If you needed more light I think you could use two strands.

I was so glad I had bought 4 sets, and next year I am going to buy more.

I am very excited that manufacturers are making solar powered items, because they are really going to help out people like me who can see their usefulness as a survival product.

I plan to loop them across the top of my draperies to light up a room during a power outage.  I just have to remember to charge them in the days preceding a hurricane or ice storm.

Lighting options using solar power

When the bad times really come, I don't want to have to rely on buying batteries from the store.  Here are some solar powered products that look really good.  Wouldn't the pioneers have loved these!

The following items were developed for use in 3rd world countries. The solar panel is incorporated into the item and the only thing that has to be done is to place them outside during the day for use at night.
A solar powered flashlight.  $19.99 or $29.99.
A lantern with a solar panel on top.  4 hours light on high or 8 on low. Once again you hang it outside during the day . Provides very good light.  Everyone loves these for camping.  It is called  the S 10 d.light.
The S 250 model d.light  has a larger more focused beam lantern.  It comes with all the adaptors for charging a cell phone. The solar panel is larger for this item and is separate but again you simply set the item outside during the day.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Coleman lanterns versus Oil lamps

Remember, our ward will be practicing "No Electric Lights and No Powered Entertainment for One Night" next week (preferably Sunday night March 11). 

Here is what my husband said (and he has been camping a million times).

Coleman lanterns: 

We just heard that propane lanterns should not be used indoors. ***See disclaimer note at bottom.*** 
Fuel: They use cans of propane fuel.  (a 1 pound can is shown above, but you can also attach them to a 20 lb. tank using an attachment hose.)
They produce very bright light.  You can read or play games or prepare food easily.
Two-mantle lanterns produce twice as much light as One-mantle lanterns, but they also use twice as much fuel as One-mantle lanterns. 
It is handy to buy a pole to attach to your 20-lb propane tank, which allows you to hang the lantern on the pole.  

Oil Lamps:

They are safe to use inside.
They give off very low light, almost as dim as a candle.
Fuel:  This one uses lamp oil, some use kerosene.  
You have to clean the glass chimney.
You need to practice using them, the wick needs trimming after use.
Buy extra wicks for long term emergencies, you can find wicks in the camping aisle at Walmart.

* * * *DISCLAIMER:  I got the following from another blog.  We have used a Coleman propane lantern inside our house with the windows open, so we do use them inside.  Read below:

> I was surprised to learn at Coleman's website that only their battery
> powered lanterns should be used indoors.  This is from their FAQ:
> "We do not recommend using fuel burning lanterns indoors or in enclosed
> areas due to the danger of fire and the emission of carbon monoxide (CO) and
> the effects of carbon monoxide exposure. Only battery-powered lanterns
> should be used indoors."
> Is there a brand of fuel burning lantern that's safe for indoor use?
This is their lawyers talking.
Kerosene lanterns were the norm for cabin and house lighting for many
decades. Still the norm in many parts of the world.
Propane lanterns are just like the gas lamps people had in their houses
prior to the arrival of electricity.
A propane lantern is perfectly fine in a reasonably-ventilated space.
Meaning, don't use it an airtight close and fall asleep with it on!
The danger of knocking over a lantern is obvious, as it is with
candles, etc.
Buy a Coleman or Century propane lantern. If Coleman has now stopped
selling propane lanterns, buy from who still sells them.
--Tim May 

Also, our Big Buddy propane heater is safe to use inside, so I don't see why using the exact same bottle of propane would be any different using it in a lantern.

March Emergency Essentials order

This order is not endorsed by the Church.  It is one of many ways to get food storage.

To my ward members:  Please get your checks made out to me by March 18. (Please don't give me checks in the chapel.)

In my opinion, here are some of the good deals this month:

Group specials:  (If we get one set of these, all of our order has free shipping.)  If you look at these on their website, the more expensive price shows.  If you click on it, the cheaper price shows.

Freeze dried chopped spinach.  #10 cans. We need to order 12 cans, to get the sale price of $9 (instead of $13.95) and free shipping.
As a group leader, they sent me a free can of FD spinach to try.  I ADORE spinach dip, and buy frozen chopped spinach for $1 per package.  So I tested the FD spinach, and it rehydrated in just a couple of minutes, and I made some spinach dip, and couldn't tell the difference.  I am definitely going to buy some, because then I can make spinach dip anytime I want to without running to the store for the frozen stuff.

I will give a small baggie of freeze dried spinach to anyone who wants to try it out.  Just come over and get some.

Dehydrated Chopped Onions.  #10 cans.  We need to order 12 cans, to get the sale price of $8 (instead of $10.95.) and free shipping.
I compared the Emergency Essentials price of $8 for 30 oz, to Sam's Club price of $13.88 for 50 oz.  The EE price was .27 per ounce, and the Sam's Club price was .28 per ounce.  So it wasn't a huge savings, but if you are in the market for dehydrated onions anyway, please consider buying them here so we can get the free shipping.

March specials: (These are just cheaper prices.  We don't have to buy a certain amount to get this price.  Doesn't help us get free shipping.)

Heirloom Seed Combo Pack.  $18.99.  These are good to buy if you believe we are going to have to live off of our gardens someday.  Keep seeds in your freezer, and rotate them every year.

Freeze-dried Chicken Breast strips.  $28.99 each.  (About 50 cents cheaper if we buy 6 or more.)  I have heard this meat turns out really good when rehydrated, just like freshly cooked.  I haven't tried it myself.

Provident Pantry Instant Nonfat Dry Milk (the blue label). #10 can.   $15.49 each, regular $19.95.  (About 50 cents cheaper if we buy 6 or more.)  This is the milk that my friend's family said is the very best to drink.

Good things that people have asked me about:

100 hour Plus Emergency Candle.  $4.50.  

High Uinta Endurance LED Headlamp flashlight.  $5.95.  I wore one of these flashlights on my head during my announcement in Relief Society last Sunday.  The ones at Walmart are $14.

Mr. Heater indoor-safe propane heaters, Emergency Essentials carries 3 different models:  All three of them have a low-oxygen shut-off sensor, and a tip-over shut-off sensor

Mr. Heater Big Buddy, $136.99. Heats up to 400 sq ft.   (This is the one I have.  It has a battery-powered fan.).  I saw a couple in the clearance department at Walmart last week for $129, there might be one left.

Mr. Heater Portable Buddy.  $94.95.  Heats up to 200 sq ft.  (It also has a battery powered fan.)

Mr. Heater Little Buddy.  $69.95.  

Kelly Kettle, outdoor cooking system, base camp combo.  $109.95.  My husband has been wanting to buy this, he thinks it is a great way to cook while camping.

Boxed Water Kits.  Kit containing 5 boxes/bags, $30.99. Kit containing 20 boxes/bags, $114.99.   Each box when filled weighs 40 lbs.  Stackable up to 3 high to save floor space.  My mom has these in all her closets.

If you want to receive your own catalogs, please email me with your mailing address and I will submit your name to Emergency Essentials.  I think it is helpful to receive the catalog, it seems easier to browse through all their products.

Walton Feed Order- spring 2012

Wanda M., from the Chapel Hill ward, sent me the following (I have changed it a little.)

Dear friends,

Twice a year, Melissa C., a dynamic amazing sister in South Carolina, runs a multi-stake, multi-state Walton Feed order.  Walton Feed is a food storage / bulk foods company in Idaho.  Because Melissa combines orders over such a large area, she gets good discounts.  In many cases, her price WITH shipping is less than the website's price WITHOUT shipping.

To keep the prices as low as possible, we ship the food out by truck.  This means (a) we have to wait for the food to be delivered -- sometimes several months; and (b) when the food is delivered, everyone who ordered needs to help with the delivery.  It is not a quick process; it takes about two hours.  If you cannot lift, you can make sure things are organized properly and labels are facing out.  It is amazing, but these simple, non-lifting tasks can cut the order time in half, and that's important!

This order is run entirely by volunteers.  Nobody makes any money on this order except Walton Feed.  This order is not endorsed by the Church.  It is one of many ways to get food storage.

So, it now is time for the spring 2012 Walton Feed order.  Deadline to have orders to Amy is Sunday March 25.  That is a strict deadline.  I have attached a spreadsheet price list, and a .pdf price list.  To order, you enter your order on the spreadsheet and e-mail it back to me.  Then send me a check for the appropriate amount. (You need to make the check out to me- AMY)  I combine all the orders, and e-mail one combined order to Melissa, and snail mail her one large check for our stake.  She combines all the orders she gets, works out the kinks, organizes the trucks and routes, and sends it to Walton Feed.  Because her bank freaks out when she walks in with 200 checks to deposit, she asks for one check per stake.  I guess 50 checks is all the bank can handle :-).

--Wanda M.

From Amy:

Please email me if you are thinking of ordering, or if you have any questions.  If I can't answer them, I will have you call Wanda.

To my ward members:  Email me and I will email you a spreadsheet and price list.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Scented Candles too stinky

(Remember, our ward will be practicing "No Electric Lights and No Powered Entertainment for One Night" next week (preferably Sunday night March 11). 

Ben H. told me of his family's experience with an extended power outage.  They thought they had plenty of lighting, since they had an abundance of scented candles.

He said that was a mistake, because all those scented candles were overpowering and his family just couldn't stand all the fragrance in the air.

Now, his family has stocked up on other types of non-electric lighting.  He recommended buying some of the 100-hour emergency candles.  (And no, they aren't scented!)

Here is a link to those emergency candles.  I've never used one, so I can't tell you if I recommend them or not.  They are $4.50 each.  If you want some of them, I will be doing an Emergency Essentials order for our ward this month.

Reminder: "No Electric Lights, No powered entertainment" next week

Remember, our ward will be practicing "No Electric Lights and No Powered Entertainment for One Night" next week (preferably Sunday night March 11). 

Start collecting non-electric lighting.  Flashlights, batteries, lanterns, kerosene lamps, glowsticks, candles, matches, solar lawn lights, etc, are options.  Determine if you need to buy more, and buy them.

Choose one night (during the week of March 11-18). 
Use no electric lights from 4 pm until the following morning.  Other electricity (for cooking, laundry, etc.) is okay.
Use no powered entertainment or media.  Pretend the power has been off so long that all your rechargeable electronic devices have gone dead.  You may talk on the phone minimally, but don't use your phone's games or internet.

See if you have enough emergency lighting.
Learn how to entertain the children and adults without power.

To my ward members:
Email me and tell me what you learned, and I will publish it anonymously, so we can all learn together.