Thursday, January 29, 2009

More bad news about the peanut butter...

I found this article recently about the peanut butter recall and the peanut butter factory currently under investigation, and you may not want to read it if you find that the reasons for salmonella contamination tend to make you nauseous. Consider yourself warned, because hey, I like people to actually come back to this website.... :)

In this even more recent article, there is this discouraging line:

" Now the recall includes the same products, but now dating back two years. "

Hope no one's storage is affected, but two years is a long time--better to check and be safe!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Making our voices heard

There are a lot of things going on in government that could affect why we prepare for emergencies, what we put in our emergency supplies, and how long we may be able to continue emergency preparation ( for example, if the economy goes down to a point where supplies are no longer available because no one can afford the production costs, that will effectively cut off the timeline). Each of us has a voice, and it doesn't just stop at the ballot box--we can continue to make our voices heard by contacting our elected officials and letting them know what we think. Are you for or against further bailouts? Where do you stand on our Constitutional rights? Let those who speak for us hear what you have to say:

For a complete list of U.S. Senators and contact information, look here.

--For Idaho:

Senator Mike Crapo

Senator James E. Risch

For those serving in the U.S. House of Representatives and contact information, look here.

For Idaho:

Congressman Walt Minnick

Congressman Mike Simpson

When I have felt particularly strong about an issue, I have contacted not only Idaho's officials, but other representatives, sometimes many other representatives, as well. After all, while my vote may not affect them, their vote on any given issue definitely affects me. I have been very impressed with the responses that I have received. And let's face it, I feel better being able to do something when an issue is important to me.

Of course, the government is not the only factor there is when it comes to reasons to be prepared for emergencies, but it is one in which we have a say. It takes some effort, both in trying to keep up with what is going on--sometimes policies can move quite quickly and/or unheralded through our governmental process--and in making our voices heard so that we can have an effect on policies that are implemented in our country.

The effort is well worth it. Whatever our viewpoints, we can all make ourselves heard...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Are we going to do this the easy way?

One of the things that is necessary when you are storing or have stored emergency supplies is to make sure that they are in working order. If you don't check out your equipment/supplies periodically, you may find that what you are counting on is actually not going to work in the way that you expected--if it works at all.

Case in point: A few years ago now my husband was called in the afternoon to go assist in a "polar bear" camping experience that night. Apparently, one of the scout leaders was unable to attend, and with two-deep leadership (a great thing) being a requirement, if a substitute was not found, no one could go. My husband agreed to go. Since we have always been pretty interested in being prepared, we had the sleeping bag needed at hand, plus some other supplies that we could just pull out at a moment's notice. One thing he took was some hand warmers that were put away for emergency use, (hey, this is Idaho :) and which we figured he could use if needed on the campout.

I stayed home and away he went. And while I was nice and warm at home, he was out with the scouts in some pretty brutally cold weather. The scouts built a snow cave for the two leaders, and everyone settled down for the night. When my husband realized he couldn't get warm in his sleeping bag, he pulled out the hand warmers in an effort to help speed up the process and activated them. Perhaps "activated" isn't the right word, because absolutely nothing happened. What was supposed to provide a given amount of heat for a given amount of time turned out to be a plastic wrapper filled with wasted space. Meanwhile, the other leader had products of the same nature that did work. My husband eventually got to sleep, but it took time--presumably considerably longer than it would have taken had the handwarmers worked out.

Ever since that little experience, (which wasn't even mine) I have been a little leery of handwarmers in general. At our local national chainstore there are handwarmers pretty cheap in at least some of the checkout aisles, and I should probably stock up. How do you check a product like this for reliability, anyway? Once you activate it, it's a done deal, and after the given amount of time, it's no longer useful. Thing is, my husband took two handwarmers that night, and neither of them worked. If we had checked one before he left and found out that it didn't work, he would have at least had the opportunity to stop by a store to replace it before heading out to the camping area, and even if he only bought one replacement, he would still have had one more working (hopefully) handwarmer than he ended up with as it was. If the one tested had worked and the other hadn't, he would still have been able to replace the handwarmer that he tested, and still have ended up with one more working handwarmer than he had. Testing it out would have been a win-win situation, especially since the replacement cost was relatively minor.

So my husband found out the hard way that some of our emergency supplies were not in working order. The easy way (or at least easier) way to find out if your emergency supplies are going to work for you is to take stock and check them out before an emergency, which may come, like this invitation to my husband, at a moment's notice. If you find out that your materials are lacking the easy way, at best you can replace them, and at worst won't walk into an emergency situation expecting to depend on something that has run out of dependability. Which will it be? Each of us will have to choose--the easy way or the hard way....

I'd like to point out that this post goes along with the excellent post by Scoutinlife over at American Preppers Network, though I didn't plan it that way. In his check of emergency supplies, he found out that some things he thought he had stored were no longer where he expected to find them. Whether they are not there at all, or they are there and don't work, the result will be the same--learning the hard way, perhaps in an emergency, that we are not as prepared as we expected to be. I tend to be the type of person who likes to put it away and forget about it until I need it, but as mentioned, this kind of behavior is not always in mine or other peoples' best interest....

Don't wait until you are in a snow cave to find out that some of your supplies don't work. We all know that if it's business as usual in Idaho, you are likely to find yourself in need of heating supplies more often than not. After all,

"If you design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit, you live in Idaho ." --Jeff Foxworthy

And it wouldn't hurt to check out all your supplies/equipment before you need them, whatever the weather they would be needed---the easier way is preferable any day.....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Have you checked out the American Preppers?

If you look at my list of state prepper blogs (to your right), you will find atop it the link to the American Preppers Network. American Prepper, formerly known as American Survivalist (from Idaho, no less!) has a link to all state prepper network sites listed on his blog, and some have been claimed and some have not. If there is no one who has stepped forward in your state, you might want to step forward and start the blog yourself....the more people around you who are prepared, the fewer people and fewer problems you have to worry about. I'll keep the links I already have, and leave you to find the other state sites on the American Preppers page--it went up fast, and I'm sure it was a lot of work. Exciting to think that more and more people will be prepared for emergencies!

For some reason my internet service has been moody today, so I don't know how many posts there are out there about further peanut butter problems. I read another article here about continuing concern about connections between peanut butter and salmonella poisoning, so if you have some of the products mentioned in your pantry, your storage, or 72-hour kit (hey, peanut butter and crackers is an easy-to-store choice :) please be careful and make sure that you don't have products that might be contaminated. Better safe than sorry...

And if you have something to contribute to your state site, or even on a subject that is on another state site, let the person running the site know. They will be grateful for your assistance. The more you share, the more people will know, and it helps everyone. United we stand...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

American Survivalist: More Options if Your Vehicle's Stranded

Note from Marie: This post comes to you courtesy of American Survivalist--check out his complete profile over at American Survival Blog. He is in Northern Idaho--welcome to Idaho Preppers Network!

I'll bet most people don't even think of this. Definitely not the people who freeze to death in their car, because, they are sitting right on top of their insulation... you can retain more heat in your body if you pull the padding out of your car seats and start stuffing the padding into your shirt, coat, pant legs etc...What about this; You are stranded in the middle of nowhere, out of gas etc.. I'm forgetting about the global warming carbon b/s and start pulling tires off my car. Setting them out a couple hundred feet away, and lighting the things on fire, one at a time. They burn for a long time and put out a lot of black smoke. Search and rescue's got to see that!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Heat in a can--for your car

I don't know what it's like in your neighborhood, but in snow like we had recently (but which has mostly since disappeared from the streets) we can easily get stuck in our car in the snow in our own neighborhood, even on our own street. My husband said on one of those days that he couldn't go very far without having to get out and help push someone out so that they could get going again. Yeah, neighbors are good like that--but what if you get stuck in your car in the cold with no neighbors around, and no immediate chance of rescue?

It's not a good scenario to find yourself in, especially if you are not prepared. Should you wait it out until someone comes? What if the weather is so bad that it's really hard to even pinpoint where you are? Should you get out and try to find help? Should you try to make it to your destination on foot? There is always going to be a judgment call involved by the people who are actually in the situation--but if you decide to stay with your vehicle, if only initially, there is a way to make that stay more comfortable.

I found the directions for an "Emergency Heater in a Can" over at Emergency Preparedness. The supplies needed are minimal, and a lot of heat can be provided for a lengthy period of time if directions are followed properly--I am amazed, and plan to put one together soon--- hoping, of course, that I never actually have to use it. Of course, I will include the set of instructions with it, which need to be followed carefully, so that it won't end up causing an emergency in and of itself.

You have perhaps heard stories of people who have suffered unfortunate consequences when a car became stranded in the snow in the cold, or even in the cold when there was no snow. You may want to consider putting together your own heater in a can for just such an emergency. In any case, please be sure to have a plan in mind for keeping warm if your vehicle becomes stranded--extra clothing, blankets--whatever it takes so that you can survive the experience.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Check your peanut butter

There is a recall out on certain brands of peanut butter due to concerns over salmonella, the details of which you can find in this article. Idaho is one of the states they put on alert, but it is not alone--below is an excerpt from said article (bolding added):

"The company sells the peanut butter to distributors in Ohio, Michigan, North Dakota, Minnesota, Arizona, Idaho, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Florida."

Peanut butter is a great storage item--but it won't help if it makes you sick. If you think you may have some of the peanut butter in question, please check it out....

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

To each their own--Environment can be particular

Oh yes, it's time for another remark about Idaho:

"If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction, you live in Idaho ." --Jeff Foxworthy

Yes, Idaho is kind of notorious for being cold--there may be a couple of times during the summer when you wish for air conditioning, but the temperatures at night get cold a lot of the time even then. The way that environment is particular in Idaho is the wintry weather (the wind chill temperatures have been brutal lately) and we need to take that into account as we gather emergency supplies.

So this is an open invitation to bloggers and/or blog readers in Idaho to send in how you are preparing in particular for cold Idaho weather. Hopefully right now (and as far as I know) there are no power outages to deal with, but what do you have in place in case one were to occur? What would you do for an evacuation in the dead of winter in Idaho? What kind of clothing should you have in your 72-hour kit at this time of year that would help to ensure a more comfortable situation for you and yours if you found yourself exposed to the elements? Hopefully you get the idea--I would appreciate any input on how you take care of providing heat for people, structures, or pets. I can probably come up with a couple of posts on the subject, but I would really appreciate the addition of other peoples' expertise. I know, I know, cyber-begging isn't pretty, but it's worth it if more people get themselves prepared as a result. I know I have to do more research myself.

One last thing on the posting part--if you send me a post through the comment section, and indicate that you would like to use it as a post, I will not publish it as a comment, but copy and paste it and post it as a post. I understand the anonymity thing. You can send the comment anonymously, and sign yourself as "Idaho Blogger" or "Potato Harvester"--whatever--I just would really appreciate hearing from others--and I bet any readers would too.... :)

Can't resist this quote in conjunction with this subject:

"If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you live in Idaho ." --Jeff Foxworthy

Yeah, Idahoans are a hearty bunch who weather the cold well, but we still don't want to be caught unprepared in low temperatures.

Oh, and for those who are still reading, and were looking for something a little more interesting than a plea for help, check out what can happen in Venice in this article. Talk about having specific environmental conditions to deal with... The pictures are amazing, and I also think that it's pretty extraordinary that the people just take those kind of weather conditions in stride.

I hope that anyone who lives in cold conditions can handle emergency situations that well in wintry weather.....getting prepared increases the chances of that being the case. And even if you think that every Idahoan knows what to do, share your knowledge anyway--they don't call it the world-wide web for nothing, and you never know who you might help.... :)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Ah, if only rice and beans had an ad campaign...

Saw this quotation recently:

"In general, my children refuse to eat anything that hasn't danced on television."

One of the things that makes an ad campaign successful is familiarity--repetition on television leads to increased requests for a given product--if you have a child, or ever were one, you most likely have witnessed at least once the great capacity a child has to ask repeatedly if they can get/ eat/order newest wonder item because they saw it on TV. Usually, at our house growing up, we would be given a one-time try at a brand-new type of breakfast cereal, but after that we were never to bug our parents or clamor about said item again. We usually didn't have sugar cereals at our house, and if memory serves, we needed to want the advertised cereal a great deal in order to have the special exception apply. Which leads back to the post title--if only rice and beans-- which store a lot longer than your basic ready-t0-eat food advertised incessantly on television--had an ad campaign that would encourage children and adults alike to rush out and buy some....hopefully in large amounts that would take a long time to consume.... :)

My personal endorsement for rice and beans? Not only do rice and beans last longer, and provide a complete protein when eaten together, they are in general a lot less expensive than our pre-packaged food items. That said, the pre-packaged food items definitely have their place when it comes to comfort foods, or having something to eat when there are low-to-no energy sources for cooking/baking/purifying water or the like. Because I find the prices of ready-made items prohibitive a lot of the time, I buy them only on sale if possible. In that vein, here is a heads-up on a sale that is specific to a grocery store that I know is found throughout Idaho: Albertson's. If you subscribe to a newspaper, you may have noticed that Albertson's flyers arrive on Wednesdays, and the sales run from Wednesday through Tuesday. That means that you have until tomorrow night to take advantage of this week's sale prices. I went on Saturday, because I wanted to make sure (did you see this one coming? :) that there was a choice in the cereal aisle. Here's what I wanted specifically for preparation purposes (even if for preparation purposes I only mean that I am preparing not to spend higher prices and can hold on until the next sale prices come around):

First 5 (selected flavors/sizes) Kellogg's cereals for $1.59 each. These are not the huge boxes, but a trip down almost any cereal aisle in America is about enough to give me sticker shock, so I thought this was a good buy.

3/$10 cases of Albertson's brand purified water--cases of 24 16-oz. bottles

Ended up also with some tuna that was 4/$5.00. I'm not a big fan of tuna, so I don't know a lot about the pricing, but this seemed reasonable to me. I admit if they have something besides the sales that is reasonably priced I will buy that as well--they've given me a break on the sales items, right?

I did buy other sales items not specifically for prepping, but in case you don't check out these flyers, I wanted to let you know that sometimes you can find a great deal on stuff you need anyway. If you need some water/cold cereal/tuna, you may want to check it out before Wednesday.... (oh, and no one in my family that I know of works for Albertson's) (oh, and if anyone knows of other sales specific to our area, please comment)... I think that's it.

So, keep trying to get the word out about rice and beans...but don't forget that we may find that some of those products that have "danced on television" (Erma Bombeck makes me laugh) are mighty handy in an emergency situation...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Prepping is good for the economy

Yeah, I kind of thought that might get your attention... :)

I will just preface the following by saying that the idea that if people buy food/tools/heating sources/your emergency preparation supply here to fill their store rooms they are "hoarding" them has always rubbed me the wrong way. After all, when people buy big screen TVs/new stereos/new DVD players/your favorite luxury item here to fill their living rooms, I've never heard the word "hoarding" come into the conversation. Credit goes out (entirely) to Idaho Homesteader for a brilliant response to the "prepping vs. hoarding" question, left in a comment on my previous post:

"Prepping is NOT hoarding. By purchasing your mask, gloves, etc. in advance, you are enabling the stores to order more for the shelf. Thus when an emergency happens, you are not part of the problem (i.e. mobbing the store). "

OK, so as I understand this, prepping doesn't only benefit you and yours, although that is definitely the major component. The brilliance here, is, that by prepping, you actually help to ensure that there are more supplies available for everyone else---not less. The stores will order more emergency supplies because they will see that there is an increased demand, leaving more supplies available for that unfortunate last-minute run during emergency situations by those who were unable/unwilling to prepare. Of course, you may never know exactly how many people you were able to help, because you will be able to remain at home, and avoid the stampede... :)

Oh, and about the economy....stores having a greater demand for their supplies also helps their business. Helping their business helps their employees, who will be able to keep their jobs/hours/own money for prepping/financial stability if the business stays solvent. I'd say that's good for the economy. No, I'd say that's excellent for the economy.

And I will say again that I find this to be a brilliant response to the "prepping vs. hoarding" issue. If people bring the subject up, I now know how to answer in a more positive, rather than confrontational or defensive way. (Kind of hard, previously, since the word "hoard" just naturally has a negative connotation for me...)

Thank you, Idaho Homesteader--brilliant. Hard to say it enough.