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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Vegetables picked in October

Here is a picture I took a year ago in October.  We were moving from one house to another.  We had neglected our garden terribly, and it all looked like weeds. 

During the last week we were in our old house, we wanted to get the garden looking halfway decent for the buyers, so we spent a couple of hours tearing out all the "weeds".  Imagine our surprise to find that all these vegetables had kept growing, even after we had quit watering, weeding, or caring for the garden at all for several months.

We live in North Carolina, and being a beginning gardener, I did not know the growing season was so long.  I hope that in future years I will keep planting and watering much later in the summer.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cell phone chargers

As I have come to rely on my cell phone more and more, I have felt the need to keep a charger with me at all times.  I keep this little auxiliary battery charged, ready to charge my phone if the power goes off.  I have a different charger port in my car, and my husband has a different auxiliary battery that he keeps in his car.

We certainly learned the wisdom of having these chargers when our power went off for 20 hours.  It is such a comfort to be able to get your email and phone calls when everything else is shut down.

(Of course your phone depends on if your cell phone tower has power, but that is another subject.)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Solar Yard Lights: Use them inside

 Solar yard lights are such a great thing to have.  They can light up your yard on a regular basis, and then when you have a power outage, you can just bring them inside.

I bought these at Lowe's in 2013.  They were about $64 for 8 yard lights.  The best thing about this particular design is that the top lid (with the LED light bulb in it) comes off of the rest of the apparatus.  This enabled us to lay the lids around in the house, and they put off a nice amount of light.

In the picture above, you can see how the lid comes off separately.  Usually, solar yard lights are made all in one piece, so you can't take off the top.  Therefore, you must place the stick down into a pitcher or jar to stand it up when it is inside your house.  This design is much better for use in an emergency situation.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Normal food for 72 hour kits

 I prefer to buy normal food from the grocery store for my emergency food supply.  Ready-to-eat meals like this one last a couple of years, and are more convenient for me to buy than ordering MRE's ("Meals Ready to Eat").

(Note: "72 hour kit" is a term that is  going out of style.  After Hurricane Katrina, people have realized that you need to be able to take care of yourself for much longer than 3 days.)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

25 year old lids get brittle

We bought a lot of wheat in buckets in 1987.  In the last few years we have found that the slightest touch or weight will shatter the lids.  They have become very brittle, so we have to keep replacing them.

This photo should also serve as a warning not to ever stack buckets on top of each other!  Maybe these lids would have held up another bucket when they were new, but not when they were older.

(Note: If I want to stack two buckets, I put a board in between them.  The sides of the buckets seem  strong enough to bear the weight if it is spread out on a board.)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Still using my solar oven

In my other house, it was such a pain to use my solar oven because I had to keep it in the upstairs spare bedroom.  Now, it is much more convenient because I keep it in the garage.

On a sunny day a couple of months ago,  I had some potatoes setting on the counter, and I saw them one morning and decided I would throw them into this black pot with a little water, chopped onions, and seasoning.

I put them outside about 9:00 am, and forgot about them for about 5 hours.  When I looked in the pot at 2:00 pm, the potatoes and onions were soft and tender like they had been cooked in a crock pot.  They were delicious!   My only regret was that I hadn't put a roast in there with them, that would have been even better.

This is what I learned: 

I was under the impression that I had to go out and turn the solar oven to face the sun about every half an hour.  I guess that isn't necessary. 

I thought I had to open the solar oven periodically and wipe the condensation off of the glass.  It appears that wasn't necessary either.

My decision:  I should use my solar oven more often!  It is easier than I thought.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Storing Bandages

I was inventorying my medical supplies, and found that I had a lot of over-the-counter medicines (which I need to rotate) but I really didn't have many bandages or supplies to treat wounds or cuts.

I went to Target and bought all of these items, hoping I don't ever need to use them.  I am hoping I won't need to rotate them very often.  The only thing I see that might go bad over time is the adhesive on the bandages or tape.  The items without adhesive might be good forever.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Vacuum sealed chocolate got too hot

 We moved into a new house last fall, and later found these melted chocolate chips that I had vacuum sealed the previous year.  We think they got too hot in the truck.
I was going to throw them away, but my husband said, "Don't throw it away. That chocolate is still good."
He melted the chocolate in the bottle in a pot of water, and dipped graham crackers in it.  Mmmm mmm good!  I'm so glad I didn't throw those jars all away.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Vacuum canning Chocolate Chips

 I like to buy chocolate chips when they are on sale, and then vacuum seal them into canning jars.  I use this white attachment that fits into the port on my FoodSaver vacuum sealer.  I own a "wide mouth" and a "regular mouth" attachment.
Here are the chocolate chips after I vacuum sealed them.  They are supposed to stay fresher longer without the oxygen surrounding them.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Can of seeds

I buy at least one can of canned garden seeds per year, and keep it in my freezer.  Then the next year, I use it and buy another can to store.  I am hoping that this strategy will enable me to grow a garden even if some big catastrophe happens.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Tick Key

We found this tick attached on the top of my husband's head. (Yuck!)  This tick key was very simple to use, and as you can see, the tick is still alive and intact.  They say that pulling the tick's head off is a bad thing, I suppose you don't want the head to stay imbedded in your skin.  I have also heard that you don't want to upset the tick because it will excrete more poisons/lyme disease into you.  I would buy a couple of these if you don't have one.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bio Lite Campstove can charge your phone

 I got one of these stoves, and it works great.  You just light the fuel (twigs, sticks, etc.) and as the stove heats up it creates electricity for the USB port.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A post by someone who lived through Hurricane Sandy

I love the things this guy wrote.  Here are some of my favorite parts:

16. The electrical grid is way more fragile than I thought.

17. Think of the things that are your comfort, your escape, a cup of hot chocolate, a glass of milk and a ding dong before bed, tequila, etc. Stock up on those too. You will need that comfort after day 3.

30. All of the expensive clothes in the closet mean nothing if they don’t keep you warm.

45. Things that disappeared are never to be seen again for a very long time.
    1. Fuel, of all kinds
    2. Matches, lighters of any kind, etc.
    3. Toilet paper
    4. Paper plates, plastic forks and knives
    5. Batteries, didn’t really see a need for them. (flashlights??? I guess)
    6. Milk
    7. Charcoal
    8. Spark plugs (generators)
    9. 2 stroke motor oil, (chainsaws)
    10. Anything that could be used to wire a generator to the house.
    11. Extension cords
    12. Medicines (Tylenol, advil, cold medicine, etc)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Suggested Amounts of Food for one adult

Suggested Amounts of Basic Foods for Home Storage Per adult for one year
(From Letter from First Presidency, Jan. 20, 2002)

Grains            400 lbs

Legumes        60 lbs

Powdered Milk    16 lbs

Cooking Oil        10 quarts

Sugar or Honey    60 lbs

Salt            8 lbs

Water (2 weeks)    14 gallons

This provides 2200 calories per day and 45 grams of protein daily.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Kimball said "Acquire a year's supply of food"


“…We reaffirm the previous counsel the Church has always given, to acquire and maintain a year’s supply---a year’s supply of the basic commodities for us….

We encourage families to have on hand this year’s supply; and we say it over and over and over and repeat over and over the scripture of the Lord where He says, “Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”  How empty it is as they put their spirituality, so called, into action and call him by his important names, but fail to do the things which he says.” 

Spencer W. Kimball, “Family Preparedness,”
Ensign, May 1976, Conference Report May 1976

Changes to our Greensboro Food Storage source

 Here is the article that came out from the Church today.

They have announced that only 12 food storage facilities will still have self-canning.  The other 89 (including our Greensboro Home Storage Center) will discontinue all self-canning, and will only provide pre-canned food.

The nickname for the Greensboro Home Storage Center has always been "the cannery".  I guess we are going to have to stop calling it that now.

Monday, June 17, 2013

20-hour Experience without electricity last week

Our power was out for 20 hours on Thursday and Friday, because of a big storm that came through Thursday evening.  It was an awful feeling without my phone and computer, plus I couldn’t use water because the electric pump for our well wasn’t working. 

Luckily I had a few bottles of water so I didn’t have to filter any from the cistern, or go out to the manual pump.  I cooked a microwave dinner in the solar oven, it only took about 10 minutes to warm up.  We used solar yard lights inside that night and had quite a bit of light.

When I came home late Thursday night after working at the temple, my husband was in the house.  He said he was so bored because of nothing to do, he had fallen asleep.  Then we thought of our little  5” battery powered TV that we have for emergencies, and we laughed because he hadn’t even remembered we had a TV that didn’t need electricity.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Some things to think about before a hurricane

Prepare now for what could be an active hurricane season.  If we had a direct hit, we could be without power and without grocery stores for 7 days or longer.  (Think worst case scenario like Katrina.) 

Ask yourselves:

Do we have alternative lighting, and batteries?

Do we have alternative ways to cook food?

Do we have enough water stored or ways to purify water?

Do we have cash on hand if there are no ATMs?

Do we keep at least a 1/2 tank of gas in our cars at all times?

Do we have easily prepared meals which do not need refrigeration? (These are called "shelf stable" meals.)

Do we have a non-electric can opener?

Do we own several weeks worth of baby formula, diapers, food, toiletries, and prescriptions?

Do we have a battery powered radio?

Can we save some clean sodapop and juice bottles to store more water in the back of closets?  This could be used to flush toilets.

Can we fit more canned goods under the bed?

Can we buy some solar powered yard lights? (These work great as indoor lighting when the power is off.)

Can we get another 20 lb. propane tank to use with our grill?

Can we buy an alternative recharger for our cell phones?

Do we have a paper copy of the phone numbers of friends and family, if our cell phone is dead?

If the GPS is dead, do we have a paper map to help us evacuate?

Can we buy a generator, or at the minimum, a small solar battery charger and rechargeable batteries?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Biggest Food Storage Challenges

I love the blog "".  They asked their readers for their biggest challenges in doing food storage.  Here are the answers.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Northeast States are in a rerun disaster again

Here is an article about the problems people in the Northeast are having, trying to stock up on food and water and supplies just before this big blizzard is supposed to hit.

The title is "What did the northeast learn from Sandy?  Apparently not much."

I guess the message we can all learn from this is to realize that you should be prepared all the time, not just when a big disaster is predicted by the weather man.  The author says it is as if these people didn't learn anything the first time around.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Four Things You Need When Disaster Strikes

This is a great article by Creek Stewart, I really think the pictures are useful, so if it takes awhile to load, have patience.  I like the picture of the firestarters the best.

These four categories are what you need to include in your "bug-out bag", also known as a "B.O.B." or a 72-hour-kit.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Morrisville's emergency notification system

I got this information off of the Town of Morrisville's newsletter.

"Morrisville recently changed its emergency notification system to ReadyWake!  Make sure you register your number at to be notified in the event of an emergency.  The system will only be used for emergency purposes such as:  drinking water contamination, utility outage, evacuation notice and route, missing person, fires or floods, bomb threat, hostage situation, chemical spill or gas leak or other emergency incidents where rapid and accurate notification is essential for life safety."

You may wonder if any of these scenarios could ever happen here, and if you would need to be notified.  I was interested to see that a train derailment caused 300 people to be evacuated because of possible hazardous chemicals in eastern North Carolina just a couple of days ago:

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Write down phone numbers

I had a dream the other night, I was lost and I did not have my cell phone and couldn't call anyone because I didn't know anyone's phone number.

I woke up and realized this is really a problem in real life, not just in dreams. My brother lost his cell phone and he was in real trouble, he didn't know any of the phone numbers he needed.

I want to encourage you all to write down all your most important numbers and put a hard copy of them into your glove compartment in your car, in your purse, in your wallet, at your workplace, etc.

There may come a time when your cell phone is lost or stolen or out of power, and you will be very thankful you have phone numbers so you can make a phone call on someone else's phone.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Where to begin

January challenge:
One of the hardest things is "where to begin". I have found a great checklist of "Baby Steps" from which will help you as you start out your food storage/emergency preparedness journey.
Go to this web page and register, and they will email one checklist to you every other week for one year.
The checklists cover 72 hour kits, water storage, 3 month supply of normal foods, and your entire one year supply of long-term foods as well as some critical non-food items. Each list includes to-do tasks, items to purchase, recipes and more!
I think this is a great way to learn how to do food storage, with very little effort on your part.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

High Wind warning

The weather bureau has issued high wind warnings for our area tonight, so my husband and I spent all evening bringing in all the items which could become projectiles in the wind.  Patio furniture, kids riding toys, firewood, garden tools, etc.   We are hoping the few things we left out are heavy enough that they won't fly around.

I had purchased some big spiral screws at Lowe's which can be screwed into the dirt.  We finally got around to screwing them into the ground under our trampoline, and tying the trampoline down to them with ropes.  Now my husband says we can sleep while the wind blows.

I am thankful that my house has no overhanging trees nearby, because there have been plenty of reports I have heard over the years of trees falling on houses and killing people.  

Our master bedroom is on the ground floor, but if your bedrooms are upstairs and you have trees around your house, you may want to sleep downstairs tonight, just in case.