Search This Blog

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Preparedness Article in August 2012 Ensign

I don't have my August Ensign yet, but this article is already online.

Elder Stanley G. Ellis talks about being in the path of Hurricane Rita in 2005, and how the Lord inspired each stake president, each bishop, and each family how to prepare.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Shelf Stable Meal: Dinty Moore stew

Picture your family without power. None of the grocery stores are open.

Wouldn't it be great to have a week or two of completely shelf stable meals like this one on the shelf.  All you would need to do is get out the camping stove and warm up the Dinty Moore stew mixed with some extra corn, and eat it with crackers.

Just remember to test out all the ingredients ahead of time, so you know if this is enough to feed your family.  During the test you might find out that you need 2 cans of stew, or that you would like to have green beans or canned potatoes instead of corn mixed with it.

I know that some of you cook a lot more sophisticated than this, but for an emergency, you can lower your standards a little and get some easy to fix food that would keep without power.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"Shelf Stable" challenge reminder

I'm sorry I haven't done more publicity about getting your shelf stable meals for the challenge this month.  I have been busy with youth conference (costume committee).

 "Shelf stable" means not needing refrigeration.

In August, we are going to tape the fridge and freezer shut for 3 days and see if you can eat 3 good meals a day without using anything other than shelf stable foods.  It should be a really good learning experience, and teach you what food storage items you need to get, for when the power is out for a week and all your fridge and freezer food is gone.

Look on the right side of this blog, and click on the labels "shelf stable food" and "shelf stable foods" (sorry, there are two different titles, I should combine those),  and all the posts I have written on that subject will come up.

Lessons Learned doing food storage

Here are the top 3 lessons this woman has learned from doing food storage:
Be sure to read it!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Food prices going up because of the drought

Here are some quotes from this article:
"Prices are going to go up",

"that means across the board higher food prices",

"Since corn goes into so many food products for both humans and livestock, its effect on overall food prices is massive."

"If you like bacon and pork, you should buy it now, because by the fall you are going to be stunned at what it will cost."

How to convert a gas generator to a propane generator

Picture this:

There's no power.  Gas stations have no way for their gas pumps to work. There you sit at home with your expensive gas-powered generator, and all you have is the small amount of gas in your gas can which was meant for mowing your lawn.  Now what are you going to do?

Here is a great article on how you can buy a kit for around $180 which will make your gasoline-powered generator so it is able to use either natural gas or propane.  What a great idea!

(If you buy this, make sure you install it BEFORE a disaster.  It sounds like it will take some time, and you sure don't want to be doing this installation while everyone is suffering and your freezer is thawing.)

Friday, July 13, 2012

U.S. is currently having the largest natural disaster ever

According to this article, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared drought conditions in more than 1,000 counties and 26 drought-stricken states, making this the largest natural disaster in America ever.

Our prophets asking us to get food storage for the last hundred years were warning us of troubled times to come.  I wonder if we will begin to recognize that the time for obtaining food storage might be running out, and the time to start living off our food storage may be about to begin......

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Drought is affecting Corn Production, Price

This article tells about the recent drought in the U.S. and the increase in the price of corn. In the last 30 days, the price of corn went up 18.9%.

 You may not know it, but a higher price in corn affects almost all the other foods you eat. Many foods contain corn syrup, for instance. 

Corn is also the primary feed for livestock, so the price of meat will go up.

One Method for Organizing Your 3 Month's Supply

Here is a great article about one woman's method for making sure she has a 3-month's supply of shelf-stable food.  She showed them off during a Relief Society class.

("Shelf-stable" means it doesn't need refrigeration.)

In my food storage, I have taken the boxes from the cannery that hold 6 #10 cans, and I put a week's worth of dinners in one box, repeating 13 times, to get a 3 month supply of dinners. I did the same for breakfast and lunch.

I took a box of each meal to my class, and unpacked them, talking about what I chose and why.

For example, I packed this into a dinner box. I don't have it in front of me, so I may be forgetting some things that round it out better.

*2 meals of what we call Spanish Rice...rice, tomato sauce, a packet of seasonings including dried onion, pinto beans, etc. Those ingredients are stored in a gallon ziploc, in the boxes.
*2 meals of pasta and sauce, complete with parmesan cheese and canned veggies.
*Chicken helper with canned chicken.
*Canned chili and cornbread mix.
*A boxed meal, one pot kind of thing by Stauffers. They are really high in sodium and fat, but it would keep us alive if we had nothing else to eat.
*Spaghetti O's and canned veggies to fill in for the kids, if they don't want to eat something one night.
There are also some odds and ends that I included because of extra space, like a box of Stove Top stuffing mix, candies and gum, etc.

My approach is somewhat unique though. I have those meals safely stored, they are completely shelf stable, somewhat well thought out nutritionally, and will last about a year. The dates of packaging are clearly marked on the outside. I'm not rotating through them on a monthly basis, as many people do. But I don't feed my family shelf stable meals usually. They are not as healthy as what we usually eat. We eat way too much produce and other short term items to make it realistic for us to store a 3 month supply of what we usually eat, but it will be a great variety if we need to live off of it.

The sisters responded well to my display, as I explained clearly that I have 13 boxes of each meal stacked in my garage. I described my method for coming up with a list of things to buy, by planning out a week's worth of meals and including every ingredient needed. Then I multiply the ingredient list by 13, and pack complete meals together, a week's worth at a time.

After losing 3 freezers and 2 refrigerators worth of food in January's 4 day power outage (Western Washington), I refuse to count my freezers as part of my three month supply. We lost hundreds of dollars worth of meat and fruit, not to mention the other odds and ends. 

Shelf stable. Not as nutritious as produce, but it would do in a pinch.  My goal was to get the food on the shelves, and as I rotate through it (donate what we don't eat to the food bank before it expires) I'll be able to replace more nutritious foods for some of the less nutritious stuff I already have. It works for us! It's insurance.

I have to add...we have a LOT more stored in our pantry and on a storage unit of "every day foods" that we pull from. Canned beans, canned veggies, bags of oats, pasta, jam, peanut butter, canned meats, etc. Really, I'd say we have an 8 month supply of every day foods stored for our family of 5, because I did our official 3 month supply in handy, movable boxes. I guess the box idea came to me for an "official" way to know we had that food storage, organized into complete meals.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Family Preparedness Song

I found this on the Preparedness Brings Peace Blog 

Tune: Did You Think to Pray? Hymn #140

Ere you spent your family's paycheck,
Did you think to save?
Just a little for the storage,
Just a little for the porridge
When the Times are grave,
Oh, how storage helps the faithful
When the Prophet's words we heed,
So, if you would not be Fearful,
Plan what you will need.

When your neighbor tried to teach you
How to can and sew,
Did you feel in-ti-mi-da-ted
And your plans pro-cras-tin-a-ted?
Now you're feeling low!
Oh, how empty are the cupboards,
Oh, how ragged are your clothes.
How you'll wish that you had listened
When the "good life" goes.

Wheat and beans and salt and honey
May not sound so hot.
But if you are going hungry,
If your tummy's cold and grumbly,
They can hit the spot.
Store some diapers for the kiddies,
Everything to see you through;
Cloth and patterns, thread and needles.
Store some long Johns, too.

If this topic's repetitious
And you're dull and bored,
When you've naught but empty dishes
And you've used up all your wishes,
You'll wish you had stored...
Food that's tasty and nutritious,
Cloths and bedding, tools and seeds,
Skills that guard your family's future
Gather what you'll need.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Letter from a windstorm survivor

Very interesting insights from someone who lived through the big windstorm a week ago.  (I don't know this person, I just saw it on the internet.)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Shelf Stable Dessert: Brownies

During an emergency, remember to plan for some comfort foods.

My family LOVES brownies.  Although I could make them from scratch, it will be much easier to use a box.  Here are all the shelf stable ingredients you need to make this box of brownies.

If we were without power, and if the stores were closed, we would soon be out of fresh eggs.
I think powdered whole eggs are one of the greatest inventions in food storage.  Just use 1 Tablespoon of powdered egg and 2 Tablespoons of water to equal 1 egg.

The only trouble I have ever had with powdered eggs, is that there are sometimes little lumps that are hard to mix in.

So I always add the powdered egg to the brownie or cake mix, and smash out all the little lumps first, before adding the liquids.

Then I add the water with whatever oil or liquid is called for in the recipe.

Friday, July 6, 2012

How Basic Can You Get

From "The Survival Mom"

This is the most basic starting list, for people who want to get their food and water storage, but who have NO IDEA what to do, and NO MONEY to buy anything.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hurricane articles, part 3

Here is a link to "Survival Lessons Learned from Three Hurricanes" which was posted on "The Survival Mom" blog.

Here are things I learned from this article written by Stephen Clay McGehee:

Radios, ice chests, swimming pools, and jugs of chlorine bleach all came in handy.

When he heard the hurricanes were coming, he froze water inside cheap freezer containers in his freezer.  That were free blocks of ice that he didn't have to buy, and blocks of ice take longer to melt than ice cubes.  (I actually keep a few 2-liter pop bottles full of frozen water in my freezer at all times.  They are great to use in ice chests, and when the ice melts,  the water is contained in the bottles and doesn't  get all over your food.)

He gives recommendations for various types of good and not so good gasoline containers.  I agree with him, the nozzle is not as important as just buying a Superfunnel (about $2 each from an auto supply store.  It is a big funnel with a VERY long tube at the bottom, which is small enough to fit in the opening of the gas tank).  You can fill your gas tank much easier by pouring the gasoline from a gas can into the Super Funnel than out of the gas can's long nozzle.  They are never designed right.

Hurricane articles, part 2

Here is a link to "Survival Lessons Learned from Three Hurricanes" which was posted on "The Survival Mom" blog.

Part 2 or 3:

Here are things I learned from this article written by Stephen Clay McGehee:

He talked about how expensive it was for the gasoline to run the generator.  He said he would be more picky about what he wanted to use the generator for.

Have plenty of gasoline containers and learn to store them safely.

Get to know your neighbors AHEAD OF TIME.  He shared electricity and water and food with his neighbors.

Store some Gatorade for hydration during hot weather power outages.

Store mosquito repellant and sunscreen and allergy medicine.  You will be outside more.

He had a "Preparedness Organizer" notebook, where he had recorded much of the information he needed.  This is a great idea!  You are NOT  going to be able to look up stuff on the internet!

Hurricane articles, part 1

Here is a link to "Survival Lessons Learned from Three Hurricanes" which was posted on "The Survival Mom" blog.

Part 1 of 3:

Here are things I learned from this article written by Stephen Clay McGehee:

Your area could be affected by multiple disasters in a row, like Stephen's was.  Hurricanes Frances,  Charley, and Jeanne all came through his town in 2004.  How will you cope with one horrible situation right after another?

Having a good supply of clean water is CRITICAL.  Think how much you need to drink when you are hot, and there is no power for your air conditioning.

Buy rubber stoppers for all your bathtubs.  Using the stoppers that come with a regular bathtub will slowly drain the water away.  (It would be best to just buy "Waterbobs" for all your tubs.  Here is a link to these very useful water storage tanks:;jsessionid=2F3A707AC0EE7CC646372A1F9BDC51BD )

He suggests having at least two plastic dish pans, to use for face washing, etc.  I will go farther than that.  I say get a stack of Rubbermaid totes of all different sizes.  You can store water in them, or do laundry in them, or use them for dishwashing.  A friend just gave me two  different sized ones, without lids.  She said she just throws them away when the lids get lost or broken.  I disagree, I think they are useful with and without the lids.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Power grid down: What if it was more widespread?

The author of this article lists ten realizations, of why the widespread power outage on the East coast should teach us what would happen if  we actually had a nation wide grid-down event.

Very sobering!

Heatwave threatens U.S. grain harvest

Read about the "pretty disastrous scenario" that the weather is creating for the corn and soybean harvest in America.

Aren't you glad you have food storage?

Super Windstorm Experience, told by Karen G.

Karen and Doyle G. picked a terrible time to move from the Raleigh, North Carolina, area.  First, it was a record-breaking 107 degrees that day.  Next, Doyle, driving their U-haul truck, and Karen, driving their car, left Morrisville late in the evening, Friday June 29, 2012, to drive to the Washington D.C. area to visit two of their children before moving west.  Little did they know that they were heading straight into a devastating windstorm, the "Super Derecho of 2012".

Karen called me on Sunday from Washington D.C. and told me of their experience.  Since it was a phone call, I took notes as fast as I could, I hope I don’t make too many mistakes in retelling their story.

Karen said, “Amy, maybe you have been through disasters in your life, but this was the WORST DISASTER I have EVER lived through.  I have to tell you so that you can tell people on your blog.”

“We left Morrisville Friday night to get to D.C.  Our son and daughter-in-law had come to D.C. to go to the temple.  We have another son that lives in D.C., and he was moving to a new house nearby.”

“We had been busy packing, so had never heard any weather reports.  By the time we got to Richmond, gigantic trees were falling on the roads.  These trees were large, with huge branches and full of leaves, the fallen treetops were about the size of four cars in width.”

“We had left Morrisville so much later than we had planned, it was about 1:00 a.m. and there were all these trees on the roads.  Most cars were staying in the right hand land because the trees were in the left hand lane.  Cops kept going by us, and stopping and putting flares in front of the trees.”

“By the time we got to Richmond, the Spirit said to me, STOP.  So we stopped and got a hotel, even though we had already paid with our credit card to hold one farther along.”

“Doyle’s U-haul truck had been weaving all over the road because the wind was so bad.  At that time, we thought the storm was local.  We had no idea it was so widespread, (later found out it covered Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania.)”

“We slept 4 hours, and got up early, still trying to get to D.C. to babysit so our son and his wife could go to the temple.  Our son finally left the kids with his wife and went to the temple by himself, and found that the temple was closed because of all the trees down.”

(Karen said they attended a D.C. ward on Sunday, and heard someone tell in his  testimony that several temple patrons had come from far away to do their own temple work or to be sealed or maybe married on Saturday, and that people in that ward had sacrificed much to get to the temple grounds and clear the limbs and trees so those people could go through the temple.  The temple had to use a generator to run that one session, and everything else on Saturday was cancelled.)

“When we finally got to the hotel we had originally planned to stay in, it was Saturday morning at 10 am.  We had reserved it with our credit card, but since we hadn’t gotten there they had given our room away.  We thought we could get it for Saturday night.  They said their hotel had power, so it was full.  They said that with a disaster this size, all the locals immediately fill up the hotels because they don’t want to stay in their homes without electricity.  So by Saturday morning at 10 am all the hotels were full.”

(Karen was telling me this on Sunday from D.C.) 

“The radio here says that there are 1.5 million without power in D.C.  They are telling them that some of them won’t have power until Friday July 6.  So many traffic lights are out.  You cannot believe how impossible it is for a 4-lane road to intersect with another 4-lane road without any stoplights.  There is no protocol, no one knows how to get through that.  Besides the traffic lights being out, there are many, many roadblocks, with yellow caution tape, because of trees across the road.  It took us an hour and a half to go what should have been 20 minutes.”

Karen called me later on Sunday night to tell me more.

“We went to sacrament meeting today, we just randomly picked an LDS church building to go to, and we were lucky because it was the only ward in the whole area that was having sacrament meeting.  After that, everyone went home because even though the building had electricity, they didn’t have air conditioning.

“I heard of so many problems with generators.  The radio is announcing that several families are hospitalized, these families almost died from carbon monoxide poisoning because of using their generators incorrectly.  One put their generator in the basement.  One put their generator on the front porch, but the exhaust came in through the door.  Another put their generator outside, but it was too close to the house and caught the house on fire and burned it down.  The radio announcer said to be sure to get a carbon monoxide monitor if you have a generator.”

“Today there are grocery stores rationing how much ice or water they will sell to you.  

“I just want to tell everyone that at first we thought everything was so awful, because our one son couldn’t go to the temple, and our other son couldn’t rent his U-haul to move, then we realized that our troubles were so small in comparison to everyone else’s.  We had no idea the storm was so large.”

“Everything worked out great for us.  We got a hotel room because someone else had reserved it and didn’t show up.  Our son who was moving just stayed in his old house for a few extra days, it had power and his new house didn’t.”

 (I can’t remember what Karen said about her other son’s family, I’m sure she had some news about them but I didn’t write it down.)

When she called me Sunday night, she was driving through West Virginia.

“In West Virginia some water treatment plants got messed up so they are ordering the people here to boil their water.”

“I thought of something else I wanted to tell you.  The cell phone situation was awful on Friday night and Saturday.  When we woke up in our hotel early Saturday morning, we still  had to drive four hours to D.C.  The cell phone kept cutting off.  I couldn’t phone my husband, who was driving the truck right in front of me.  I couldn’t tell my son he would have to be late to the temple.  It was terrible not being able to communicate.  You just can’t count on cell phones during an emergency.  We found out later all the cell phone towers were messed up from the windstorm, but at that time we didn’t know.”

“My daughter would call, and I would only hear a few words and then it would cut out.  But then she would send a text message and I would get it fine.  We learned that in bad situations, text messages will get through when phone calls won’t.”

One more message from Karen.  “The hotels are filled everywhere we go.  Cambridge all full, Zanesville all full, Columbus is all full.”

My thoughts about the Super Derecho Wind Storm

I thought I had better write about the huge human tragedy that is unfolding in the states just to our north.  
Many of the people here in Raleigh, North Carolina, might have slept through the high winds which whipped through our area on Friday night, June 29, 2012.  The heavy winds hitting my bedroom window woke me up at midnight, and I went downstairs to find my husband and son going in and out of the house, watching the trees blow, and rescuing our trash cans which were rolling into the neighbor’s yard.
On Saturday I saw a tree down at the Raleigh Temple, but other than that, it was a normal (but extremely hot) June day.
We were sad to turn on the internet on Saturday and find out what devastation had been wreaked all across approximately 7 states just north of us.  13 deaths were caused by this storm.  
The headlines say, “DC Grocery Stores out of food”, “Gas unavailable”, “Grid Down as Summer Heat Rages”, “Catastrophic Damage to Power Grid”, “Hell Commute: Thousands of Stoplights Dark”, 
Media is reporting that some residents of the affected states may not expect power back until Friday July 6, a full week after the storm.
I think it is strange that the meteorologists are using the new term “Super Derecho”, I wonder if they made up a new term because they have never seen a non-hurricane this bad before?
My husband gave his testimony in church on Sunday, and reminded the congregation that if that storm had only been a little stronger in our area, we wouldn’t have power either.  Sitting in our nice, cool, comfortably air conditioned chapel, I felt very grateful for the electricity.
Today, Monday July 2, there are still 3 million people without power.
And here I sit, with no disaster affecting me.  But I am feeling a little stunned, because we usually have the advantage of being warned a week ahead of disasters (when they are hurricanes.)  It makes me feel uneasy, seeing a pseudo-hurricane happen near us with absolutely no warning.  It opens my eyes to the fact that we need to be constantly vigilant for all weather events, not just when a hurricane is spotted.
I am thankful that I have shelf stable food, which will stay good without refrigeration.  I am thankful that I have gasoline in my cars.  I am thankful that I have ice already frozen in many sodapop bottles in my freezer.  I am thankful to have many types of alternative lighting methods, alternative cooking methods, and stored water.
It is vital that we prepare for events such as these.  
(Next, a report from a friend of mine, who called to tell me about her experiences in Washington DC during the windstorm.)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Shelf Stable Meal: Chili

Here are the ingredients to make chili beans for my family.   Every ingredient is shelf stable, so I consider this one of my Three-Month Supply meals.

I pressure can ground beef, so it is always available whether or not I have a freezer.
I'm sorry I don't have a precise recipe, I just add the cumin, chili powder and onions until it tastes right.

Ground beef, browned or canned.  1 pound
Kidney beans- 3   15 oz. cans
tomato sauce-  1  29 oz. can
chili powder to taste
cumin to taste
onions, dehydrated minced (a few tablespoons dry onions, they rehydrate in the mixture)

Warm it up together, and serve with crackers.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

July Challenge: Obtain Shelf Stable Meals

July 2012 Picture a long-term power outage. Plan at least 7 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners using only shelf stable ingredients.   (Shelf stable means it doesn’t need refrigeration.)

Goal:  Obtain shelf stable food during July.  You will be using these shelf stable foods during our August challenge.
Ask yourself:
How will you feed your family without a fridge?
Can you make the regular foods your family likes?
Do too many of your recipes rely on milk, butter, eggs, fresh produce and other perishables?
What ingredients can you buy to substitute for some of those perishables?
Consider buying:
Ready made mixes which only need water added.
Canned soups, canned chicken or tuna.
Powdered milk and powdered eggs.
Dehydrated and freeze dried items.
Any foods which are good for camping would also be good for this.
Buy any ingredients you don’t have.  Set everything aside in a designated spot to use during August.  Fill more water containers.