Monday, December 31, 2012

The final ABY: Here comes 2013!

My 53rd ABY: An emergency car kit

If I could add anything to this, it would be: An entire kit is pretty inclusive, so I would just say have a bag in your car that has what you need if find that you are away from home when an emergency strikes, and/or if you have to abandon your car and walk a while to get to your destination. Preferably, in this case, it would be a bag that you would be able to reasonably carry, and would at least have water in it... If it is a scenario where you would need to walk, and your normal footwear is not the best for walking, you might want to have a pair of walking shoes in your trunk just in case as well.

Well, my 53 ABYs were nowhere near inclusive, but they were a start. As always, feel free to leave comments with your ideas--what may seem obvious to you may not be obvious to others...

Happy New Year, and all the best wishes to you and yours for 2013!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Blogging ahead: ABY #52 for Dec. 30

My 52nd ABY: Small bills and change

If I could add anything to this, it would be: All my other preparation resources so I wouldn't need the small bills and change...

If the power goes out, and there are stores that are still open for business, it will be easier to buy things with cash than with a credit card, etc., and more ideal for everyone involved if you don't need anyone to make large amounts of change for you. And if the person you are purchasing things from doesn't have any change, you will overpay by much less if you are using smaller bills and/or change.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

ABY #51: Digging it...

My 51st ABY: A shovel (Or two. Or three.)

If I could add anything to this, it would be: Gloves to protect your hands while you are digging: whatever. Not whatever, as in it doesn't matter-- whatever, as in, there are may situations where a shovel might come in handy. Building a latrine, (let's hope not) digging a well, removing the debris from around your living area after a natural disaster, come to mind among others. I might also add a snow shovel, having used one recently myself. Ah, Idaho...

Anyone care to share something I haven't mentioned in this series? It has never been meant to be all-encompassing, it has just been to help people think about what they could do to be additionally better prepared before the end of this year... only 2 more ABYs left! 

Friday, December 28, 2012

A day off--numbers wise

When I started the ABY series, I figured I could write about 53 things to do to additionally better prepare before the end of the year. Turns out, by the 31st, there would have been 54 ABYs. I say "would have been" because I'm not doing an ABY today. If you have done an ABY today, then you now have Saturday off for the ABY series...

Of course, you could have taken it off anyway, and may have already planned to, since there is nothing binding you to the ABY series. May I suggest, however, that you add something to your food storage instead? Perhaps check out the BY series on my other blog, and think about some cans that you might want to add before the end of the year, or add to your water storage? Maybe throw in some extra powdered/canned milk in light of what might happen come the New Year? My vote is for the water storage idea--yeah, definitely the water storage additions, if possible...

In any case, please enjoy your Saturday!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

ABY #50: Keeping warm....

My 50th ABY:  Sleeping bags

If I could add anything to this, it would be: Pads to place under the sleeping bags, so you have insulation from the ground, if you end up using the sleeping bags in an outdoor situation. Yes, it matters...

I know I mentioned sleeping bags as an addition under ABY #33, (which was a tent) but if the power is out in winter in someplace as cold or colder than Idaho, a sleeping bag could be helpful inside as well....

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

ABY #49: Mint, fruity, whatever...

My 49th ABY: Toothpaste (flavors above, or other) and toothbrush(es)

If I could add anything to this, it would be: Clean water and some dental floss would be nice...We picked up some new toothbrushes and some small tubes of toothpaste for under $1.00 each at the store today--before tax.

Did you get anything that helps with emergency preparedness for Christmas? Did you give anything that helps with emergency preparedness for Christmas? Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

ABY #48: Blogging ahead for Christmas

My 48th ABY: List, in hand, on paper, of important addresses, phone numbers, important contact information that you would want to have in an emergency (Speed dial/electronics might not always be helpful in an emergency)

If I could add anything to this, it would be: A system agreed upon where there is one person outside your area that everyone can contact so that all the people in your group can find out information about anyone/everyone in your group by calling the contact person who would (hopefully) not be affected by your emergency.

Have a Merry Christmas, and all the best wishes to you and yours!

ABY #47: Liking the clean...

My 47th ABY: Cleaning supplies

If I could add anything to this, it would be: That's a hard question, since cleaning supplies are kind of all-encompassing. I didn't put particular supplies, since everyone has their personal preferences in this area. But cleaning supplies to clean whatever needs cleaning would be helpful. I'll leave it at that.

Snowing here, so it looks like it will be a white Christmas in our area!!! Be safe, everyone!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Blogging ahead: ABY #46 for Dec. 23

My 46th ABY: Powdered milk

If I could add anything to this, it would be: The proper equipment (cans or buckets) to keep it fresh for a long time, and the knowledge of how to use it for different purposes (buttermilk, etc.).

Yeah, not a long post, but it's a busy weekend, right? Hope it's a good one for everyone! :)

ABY #45: 72 hours, 3 days, it's all the same...

My 45th ABY: 72-hour kit for each member of the group for which you will be responsible

If I could add anything to this, it would be: This is a pretty big order, so I will leave it at that. Clothes, water, food, light, heat, etc. for 3 days is enough to keep anyone busy.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Friday, December 21, 2012

ABY #44: Adding more flavor...

My 44th ABY: Seasoning mixes, i.e. gravy, ranch dressing, taco seasoning, etc.

If I could add anything to this, it would be: Knowledge on how to make these mixes from scratch, if I had to.

Some things that I consider mixes are not really typical mixes, or could be used for their original purpose, other than just as flavoring--like Italian dressing packets, and ranch dressing packets, etc. But I do use them in cooking, and would miss them if I did not have them.

What's your favorite kind of mix? 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

ABY #43: Protecting your feet

My 43rd ABY: Good sturdy shoes, and/or work/hiking boots

If I could add anything to this, it would be: Good socks, and the chance to wear the footwear of choice for awhile before the emergency situation so that they would be comfortable already.

You never know when you might have to evacuate on foot, or to a place that will make you wish that you had different shoes to wear. Even without evacuation, if the emergency at hand leaves a situation where you have to do major cleanup, it's a good idea to have protection for your feet.

I know that I already mentioned having shoes in storage--I'm just saying that you might want to have some good shoes that are protective and good for working in, and of a type that you might not immediately think of, in storage as well...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

ABY #42: What's for dinner?

My 42nd ABY: A cookbook using basic food supplies that you have in storage, or a list of recipes for the same

If I could add anything to this, it would be: The food to use with it....

This would be a very valuable part of an emergency notebook/binder/insert your filing system of choice here. It is preferable to have a paper copy of anything you would need to easily use your food storage, since in an emergency it might not be possible to access all those cool recipes on blogs, pinterest, etc. You might be able to throw something together using your food supplies in a pinch, but it will lessen the stress to have a list of recipes to use instead...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

ABY #41: On the go

My 41st ABY: Reliable tires, and a reliable spare

If I could add anything to this, it would be: Everything that I would need to have in a car if I got stuck in any kind of weather, hot or cold.

If you need to evacuate in a hurry, it would be really nice to have everything in the car already that would make it reliable transportation, and any kind of equipment that would help in a situation where it was suddenly unreliable (i.e. jumper cables, oil, jack, etc.) Not too long ago when we were on a trip we stopped to fill up and there was someone there with an Idaho license plate (not unlike ours :) and there was obviously a problem with the vehicle. My husband talked to him and found out that he needed oil for his car, so my husband reached into the back of our vehicle, pulled some out, and gave him a bottle. I don't know if it was enough to solve his problem, but he appreciated it.

For the record, all the credit for that goes to my husband, since I had no idea the oil was back there. And come to think of it, I have no idea if that bottle has been replaced now, either, in case we need it. Better go check.... :) 

Monday, December 17, 2012

ABY #40: A little o' this...

My 40th ABY: Nuts and/or dried fruit

If I could add anything to this, it would be: A dehydrator, so I could make my own dried food... Yeah, that would be nice. Barring that, some dried fruit, jerky, nuts, and the like would be good to have in the storage.

Just don't forget to store some water to wash a little o' this fruit and a little o' that jerky down, in case access to water is difficult to come by--sometimes in emergency situation, clean water is not easily obtained.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Blogging ahead: ABY #39 for Dec.16

My 39th ABY: A hat

If I could add anything to this, it would be: Sunscreen, or a scarf, coat, and gloves, depending on the weather. Since you don't know when an emergency will strike, I'll have to say all of the above...

Yeah, can't add much more than that--just be sure you have what you need to protect your skin, no matter what the season...

ABY #38: Looking ahead

My 38th ABY: Spare pair(s) of prescription glasses

If I could add anything to this, it would be: Reading material?

Not much to say here, except that if your glasses break in an emergency situation, it might be hard to replace them. Also, if they are glasses that you only use at certain times (i.e. reading glasses) it might be a good idea to pack a pair in your 72-hour-kit, because in the stress of an evacuation situation it would be easy to forget to grab your regular pair on the way out.

See what I mean? (Sorry, I couldn't resist... :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

ABY #37: Buying ahead--the clothes edition

My 37th ABY:  Shoes and clothes (next size up for younger people who are still growing)

If I could add anything to this, it would be: Since I put clothes in general, it pretty much covers everything, but I will add coats here. Hey, this is Idaho... :)

Just think of things that would be hard/extremely difficult/nearly impossible to make on your own (you will note I put shoes first) and try to have some of those items in storage. And check your 72-hour kits periodically to make sure that the clothes there are the right size for the person for which they are intended, and also for the right (ish) season that you might end up using them. I say right (ish) because with the weather in some places, you never know.... :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

ABY #36: So, sew, sew...

My 36th ABY:  A sewing kit

I could add anything to this, it would be: Knowledge and ability to mend and sew whatever needed mending and/or sewing.

I don't recall at the moment if I have mentioned on this blog that sewing just isn't my favorite thing. I have a lot of work to do in this area. However, it would be good to know how to do the basics--sew on a button, mend a hem, take in and/or let out clothes as needed, etc., should an emergency arise where these skills were needed.  This to me is one of those things that the least thing to be done is to have the materials you need on hand to perform the skill--then if the time comes that you need to practice it, you have something to practice with, and you may be able to find someone that will help you with the actual sewing even if they can't help you with the buttons, velcro, thread, etc. that is needed for the sewing/mending.

Yeah, not my favorite thing, but a great thing to have if you need it in an emergency...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

ABY #35: Fun and games

My 35th ABY: Games, and other forms of entertainment that don't require electricity

If I could add anything to this, it would be: Oh, electricity, by a long shot... :) Be sure to have something that will entertain the people in your group--a card game, coloring books, books, etc. so that while you are waiting on the power to come back on/the roads to be cleared/name of problem to be solved here, things can be as pleasant as possible.

Any other ideas for keeping people (especially young children) entertained in an emergency?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

ABY #34: Could you pass the...

My 34th ABY: Mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise (your condiment of choice here)

If I could add anything to this, it would be: The actual food that such condiments would enhance. I have to say that ranch dressing is a big favorite around here, so it would probably be a good idea to have some of that in storage. Of course, some condiments require refrigeration, so keep that in mind before you open some in the middle of a power outage...

Any other condiments that you plan on adding to your storage? 

Monday, December 10, 2012

ABY #33: Shelter could be an issue...

My 33rd ABY: A tent

If I could add anything to this, it would be: An all-weather tent would be nice, and it would be really good to have good, warm dependable sleeping bags if you needed to use the tent in the winter, say, or maybe in the summer in the mountains in Idaho... :)

A tent is not the only option for (hopefully) temporary shelter after an emergency, but it is a good one. What are your plans if you can't stay in your home?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Blogging ahead: ABY #32 for Dec. 9

My 32nd ABY: Vinegar

If I could add anything to this, it would be: Maybe a list like this one on some of the uses of vinegar--it really is a wonderful thing to have in storage. 

I'll ask the same question that I did for ABY #31 about honey: why would you store vinegar?


ABY #31: Definitely sweet

My 31st ABY: Honey

If I could add anything to this, it would be: Fresh homemade bread seems like a good answer here...

Honey stays good indefinitely, and is a great addition to food storage. Just another one of the basics, really, when it comes to cooking with food storage, and it's very useful.  Why would you store honey?

Friday, December 7, 2012

ABY #30: Not such a big surprise...

My 30th ABY: A wheat grinder

If I could add anything to this, it would be: Some white flour, so I could mix the wheat flour with the white flour in baking and gradually go to all wheat flour if the situation merited it.

Yeah, like the post title indicates, no big surprise here considering that ABY #29 was wheat. Be sure to have a hand grinder available, since if the power goes out, the electric type of grinder won't do you much good. I don't have an electric grinder, but I hear they are pretty nice...

You may want to check the comments under ABY #29, where someone was kind enough to list some internet and book sources on bread--like I often say, check the comments--it's worth it... :) Thanks kind anonymous person!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

ABY #29: Remember the little red hen?

My 29th ABY:  Wheat

If I could add anything to this, it would be: Knowledge on the best way to use wheat, whether it was sprouting, grinding it into flour, using it for cereal, etc.

Gotta love the little red hen. She knew how to do everything from growing the wheat to making it into a loaf of bread.  You may not have to grow wheat on your own, but it is a good idea to have some of it in storage so that you can learn how to best use it if you don't know how already. Even if you don't know how to use it right now, if you have some in storage you can learn at your leisure...

I would much rather be the little red hen in that story than any of her "friends". There's a lot to learn about working with wheat, but the end result is worth it. What do you do with your wheat?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

ABY #28: Nothing like homemade bread...

My 28th ABY: Yeast

If I could add anything to this, it would be: The other basic necessities needed to make bread. And a good bread recipe. And practice making said bread recipe so that there would be less pressure when the bread had to be homemade...

It's always good to have some yeast on hand. What I need to do now is learn how to make and use sourdough starter. :)

Have any easy, basic bread recipes you'd like to share? More info means more options in this case...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

ABY #27: We're not talking elbow grease...

My 27th ABY: Cooking oil

If I could add anything to this, it would be: Info on how to use beans instead of oil, like that found here on  TM Frugal Gourmet's blog, TM Preparedness. That is a page that is going in my emergency notebook! TM Frugal Gourmet has also left some great comments on my BY series that you might want to check out on my other blog--thanks, TM Frugal Gourmet!

Yeah, when reading about other times when food was hard to come by, cooking oil appears to have been in high demand. Good to have some on hand, and/or a substitute for it...

About 1/2 way through the ABYs--time flies... :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

ABY #26: More than just a seasoning

My 26th ABY: Salt

If I could add anything to this, it would be: Knowledge/information about the different kinds of salt. What I am referring to is just the table salt, but I know there are different kinds that are used for different things, so if anyone would care to add their expertise, it would be greatly appreciated.

A lot of canned and prepared foods come with salt, but if you end up using your basics (beans and rice, wheat, etc.) and/or doing more cooking/baking, chances are you will end up needing salt. I still remember when they realized in Alas, Babylon that, oh, yeah, they needed salt to survive...

Plus, hey, it can really make things taste better.... :)


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Blogging ahead: ABY #25 for Dec. 2

My 25th ABY: Plastic cups

If I could add anything to this, it would be: Soda bottles full of clean, drinkable water.

Water is crucial, and I suppose in an emergency you could just pass one of those soda bottles that were washed out and filled with water a while ago and just let everyone take a swig. You could, but I figure it would be more ideal to give each person a cup with their name/initials on it, and let them keep their germs to themselves as they reuse their own cup throughout the day...

ABY number one was water for a reason--what other things would you store with your water to make an emergency easier to deal with?

ABY #24: Gotta love the easier way...

My 24th ABY: Two or three or more good can openers

If I could add anything to this, it would be: Lots of cans to open. Yeah, sounds like I'm kidding... but not really.... :)

There's a saying out there and I can't remember where I read it first, but it goes something like this: "Three is two, two is one, and one is none." Always store extra supplies when you can. As for the title of this post, it would definitely be easier to open a can with a can opener than trying to figure out another way to get it open...

Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend... :)

Friday, November 30, 2012

ABY #23: Location, location, location

My 23rd ABY: An inventory of your emergency resources

If I could add anything to this, it would be: More resources? Yeah, that would do it... :)

Having an inventory of what you have and where you have stored it would make things a lot easier in the case of an emergency, and really, even while you are preparing and trying to make sure that you have everything that you would like to have stored in case of an emergency. This might also help in terms of rotating your emergency supplies so that the oldest supplies go out first...

Here's hoping you have a lot to inventory.... :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

ABY #22: And two makes a pair

My 22nd ABY: Dried beans

If I could add anything to this, it would be: You know what's coming....wait for it...... rice. Hence, with my 21st ABY, we have a pair.

As mentioned in my 21st ABY, when you put rice and beans together, you get a complete protein. I have to admit when I walked away from my post last night, I was wondering if I should have mentioned rice as an ABY, (additionally better prepared...) when I was labeling it as a basic supply. I think it works, because the BYs (better prepared) series on my other blog is a series of cans--things that you could eat as is (notice that I don't say anything like would love to eat) if you had to, and as long as you could manage to get the can open--no heat or preparation required. (You might highly desire additional water in some cases...)

Rice is a different story. So are dried beans. But, oh how lovely they can be when you have the means to prepare them and a recipe that the people that you are responsible for actually like to eat. The BYs are great, and if you have power, you can add many of them to rice, etc. But what if your emergency is not a short one? What if the emergency is that trucking is delayed/your roads are unpassable/ food is unavailable due to drought/food prices rise, and you have to make your supplies stretch/name your long term emergency here? Beans are a great staple--and when you buy them dry, and in bulk, as well as rice in bulk, you get a lot more for your money than when you buy canned beans, or flavored packets of rice. However, starting from scratch does take more fuel and more water, so you have to plan accordingly.

Here is a link to my post that lists some bean recipes that I love. I was unable to link to the first recipe, so if someone does make it work, let me know. I was able to link to the second and third recipe, so if you don't have any bean and rice recipes, this gives you a place to start.  I highly, highly, highly recommend that you print out a copy of any recipes you may use, just in case, say, one of the links you were depending on doesn't work...gotta love having an emergency notebook when you need it. :)

Yeah, and I figure that I should add some more rice and bean recipes myself. If you have any that take minimal ingredients (or not--the more items in storage, the more you have to work with, after all) and are pretty tasty, please share...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

ABY 21: One o' the basics

My 21st ABY: Rice

If I could add anything to this, it would be: Wow, where to start? :) When you add it to beans, it makes a complete protein, but you can also add it to soups, put soup over it, make a casserole with it, etc. ... Yeah, you gotta love rice.

From what I understand, brown rice is better for you, but white rice stores longer. I'm always on the lookout for more rice and bean recipes, and any rice recipes that use storage-friendly ingredients. If you have any, feel free to share. :)  Gotta love variety, too...


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

ABY #20: A logical step...

My 20th ABY: Seeds

If I could add anything to this, it would be: Details (in an emergency notebook/binder/file, perhaps?) on the best way/time/location to plant the seeds stored, which plants don't grow well next to each other (heard a story the other day about a cucumber-squash that emerged in one garden, if memory serves) and the like. Of course, many times some details are included on the back of seed packets, but I would rather have too much information than too little.. And, ideally, it would be better practice and have gardened before an emergency, but you do what you have to.

Oh, and non-hybrid seeds are preferred, although they can be difficult to find...


Monday, November 26, 2012

ABY #19: Planning for the freshest food possible

My 19th ABY: A gardening plan

If I could add anything to this, it would be: The knowledge and ability to improve the soil available to improve whatever crop is being cultivated.

Some people already have gardens, and some people have no room for a garden, so there are all types of situations. If you are one of those who don't have anywhere to put a garden, I am reminded of the idea that you can put potting soil in a bucket and grow something there. We do have a garden area, and save the leaves that blow hither and yon in our yard for compost.

Any additional ideas, especially on indoor gardening, or on improving a gardening situation, would be greatly appreciated... :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Blogging ahead: ABY #18 for November 25

My 18th ABY: Spices

If I could add anything to this, it would be: Seasonings, flavorings, whatever you like that would add enjoyment to your food storage supply. It's really a personal matter of what you think tastes good--but it would help in an emergency to be able to eat something that you actually like the flavor of. Even if you only have basic supplies stored, being able to vary, say, the flavor of your bread, would help the situation...

Feel free to comment about any ideas you have for your ABYs... would love to hear them!

Blogging ahead: ABY #17 for November 24

My 17th ABY: Vitamins

If I could add anything else to this, it would be: A balanced food storage that would make it more likely that you were getting adequate nutrition in the first place. Pretty much speaks for itself, but in a case where you have people of different ages, nutritional needs, etc. depending on what you have stored, it would help to make sure that they and you are in a situation to be as healthy as possible...

Oh, and a little fresh produce from a home garden would be good too... :)

ABY #16: Water, water--oh, and did I mention water?

My 16th ABY: Water purification system

If I could add anything else to this, it would be:  Extra filters, extra water purification tablets, extra stored water that I know is already clean. Translation: More, more, more ways to make sure that available water is clean, and that there is plenty of drinking/cooking/cleaning water available...

You may recall that my first ABY was water. Can't underestimate the importance of water for drinking, cooking, and sanitation purposes. Just sayin'...

Hope everyone had a great holiday!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Blogging ahead: ABY #15 for November 22

My 14th ABY: Cookware that can withstand alternative cooking methods

If I could add anything else to this, it would be: Knowledge on how to care for such cookware, plus utensils that wouldn't say, melt, after the first or second use over a firepit/grill/woodstove.

The first thing that comes to mind here is cast iron pans and the like. I need to do more research in this area, so any advice/knowledge/information that readers can provide would be appreciated. Otherwise I will share what I learn as I learn it...

As this is the post that corresponds with Thanksgiving Day, Happy Thanksgiving everyone! All the best to you and yours!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Blogging ahead: ABY #14 for November 21

My 14th ABY: A map and a plan

If I could add anything else to this, it would be: Reliable transportation with a full tank of fuel, and a good 72-hour kit for everyone involved

In some emergencies, like natural disasters,  you may be asked to evacuate. Would you be ready to go? Would you know where you are going? Would you know the easiest/fastest/safest way to get there? What if circumstances (washed out/snowed out/closed road, for example) make it necessary for you to take an alternate route? Hopefully it won't ever be necessary, but it may help to work out plans A-F or so to determine where you could go and/or who you could call if you had to evacuate. If you have to resort to plan E, you might find that a map could come in handy in terms of  reaching your destination...

I mentioned on my other blog why I am blogging ahead--since that series is focused on food, it might be nice to go into the sales next week with a few ideas of emergency canned food to purchase--gotta love when you can get what you are looking for for a lower price. This series has a different focus, but I would really like to keep them going at basically the same rate.

Oh, and if you have any suggestions for the BY series, please add your comment--you never know who you might end up helping..

Blogging ahead: ABY #13 for November 20

My 13th ABY: Extra linens

If I could add anything else to this, it would be: A washboard, or some other type of device that would make washing clothes by hand easier.

In an emergency situation where the power has gone out and you need to do laundry before your situation improves, it would be helpful to have an extra set of linens to use while yours are hanging in your laundry room and/or drying somewhere in the fresh air. By linens, I mean towels and washclothes, and possibly a spare sheet set for any beds you may need to change, and which might be difficult to get your hands on in the middle of an emergency situation. Drying clothes without a dryer takes quite a while sometimes, and you never know in what season you may be in when you need to use that clothesline or clothes rack.

Just an idea--this is my series on being additionally better prepared, so this is not as urgent as some other issues. Being comfortable as possible during an emergency could make things more pleasant at the very least...

Blogging ahead: ABY #12 for November 19

My 12th ABY: Toilet paper

If I could add anything else to this, it would be: Water for flushing if the power is out, wet wipes/hand sanitizer, and an emergency toilet (bucket with seat and some of those stored garbage bags from ABY #8) if there is no access to regular facilities.

There are other options (I've heard of using cloth, spray bottles, phone book pages, etc.) but hopefully in at least the immediate time following an emergency, you will not have to give up toilet paper if you have stored enough.

Yeah, unpleasant to think/talk/blog about, but a necessary item nonetheless--and if you have enough, you may be able to share with those who run out before help comes or your situation improves...

Blogging Ahead: ABY #11: Lightening up

My 11th ABY: Candles

If I could add anything else to this, it would be: Flashlights, with plenty of batteries

Why would I put candles first? Well, I admit that everything I've listed so far is a light source, but it might be easier to find something to light candles with in an emergency than it would be to find new batteries for a flashlight if the emergency lasted for a lot longer than three days or so.

I have also received in the past an e-mail that suggested using the solar lights that you would normally put along your walkway for light in an emergency--apparently they could just be brought inside as a lighting source when it's dark, and then put out during the day, and thus used as a renewable light source. I don't have such lights, and have not tried this, but if it works, it is a brilliant idea. In more ways than one....

Anyway, I would want candles and flashlights at the very least--and a way to light the candles, of course... :)

ABY #10: Making life easier...

My 10th ABY: Disposable cutlery

If I could add anything else to this, it would be: Dish soap for the regular cutlery when the disposable cutlery runs out...

I would store disposable cutlery and use it sparingly if possible during an emergency--it would come in really handy if the state of the water were in question, or if you had limited water supplies that you wanted to use solely for drinking/cooking. Hopefully any water issues would be taken care of, and then you could just wash your regular stuff, but it would be good to have clean and ready-to-go "silverware" at  your fingertips while you are waiting for clean water clearance...

Would love to hear anyone else's ABYs--hope you are having a great weekend!

Friday, November 16, 2012

ABY #9: Continuation of a theme...

My 9th ABY: Gloves--for cleaning up messes and protecting your hands from germs, contamination, etc.

If I could add anything else to this, it would be: Work gloves. The thin kind of gloves that you use for cleaning probably wouldn't last very long if you were trying to move debris and the like from your property. Even if your property isn't affected directly by a natural disaster, you might need such gloves to help others in need.

This ABY came to mind because of a post over at Prepared LDS Family, where there was the following video of an effort coordinated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to help people affected by Hurricane Sandy:


Also quoting the linked article at Prepared LDS Family, the efforts are for everyone:

'According to the creator, Joshua Brown, "thousands of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continue to volunteer to assist in the recovery efforts within these communities. On Sunday, November 11th, thousands of Mormons cancelled their church services and arrived by air, bus and train from all across the country to help.

"Please share this video with any friends and family that might be able to help the areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. Not only at the Rockaways, but Staten Island, Long Island, and New Jersey. The church is coordinating the efforts, but anyone (both Mormon and non Mormon) is welcome to come and help." '

I really suggest that you go to the linked article, because under the video there are links to learn more about how to help. Really excellent post. Thanks, Prepared LDS Family!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

ABY #8: Cleaning up...

My 8th ABY: Garbage bags

If I could add anything else to this, it would be: Return of sanitation department pick-up as soon as possible? That would be extremely advantageous after an emergency situation. Since that is not really something that I can add, I will say for the record that I would add gloves.

Even if sanitation pick up is not disrupted after an emergency,you may find that you need any stored garbage bags you have for the protection/transportation/clean up of belongings before, during, or after an emergency.

Yeah, extra garbage bags could be helpful for a variety of reasons, and since they are useful in a non-emergency situation as well, it's a win-win... 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

ABY #7: Being warm's good too...

My 7th ABY: Blankets, blankets, and more blankets

If I could add anything else to this, it would be: Hand warmers--hopefully more than I would actually need, in case some of them were defective and didn't work.

I'm probably thinking about this because I live in Idaho, it is cold and snowed today. It would be pretty miserable if the heat went out and I had no alternative heat source, or my fuel for any such heat source ran out. To be warm is good--and if you don't need the blankets, during an emergency, chances are that somebody will...

Yeah, basic--but basic is good when you're in the middle of an emergency, and you have planned ahead for it. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it, and all that.... :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

ABY #6: Gotta love being clean...

My 6th ABY: Wet wipes and hand sanitizer

If I could add anything else to this, it would be: Bar soap. I remember reading in a book about World War II that regular soap was scarce and appreciated. Hopefully not going to have to deal with a situation like that, but for a longer term emergency when trucking was halted or the like after a disaster, a little soap would be nice to have.

 If there were enough clean water, I would use bar soap. If clean water were scarce to non-existent, wet wipes and hand sanitizer would at least improve the situation. You don't want to have stored nice clean food and/or water, and then have to eat it with dirty hands. Nice to have a few packs/bottles/bars on hand for an emergency...

Hope everyone is doing well with their ABYs!

Monday, November 12, 2012

ABY #5: Need to do some non-traditional cooking?

My fifth ABY: Aluminum foil

If I could add anything else to this, it would be: An alternative cooking device: grill, firepit, etc.

This post comes today because of my BY post over at my other blog--there are times when you could eat something cold that would really, really, really just be better-tasting cooked. Seems to me that canned ham (the BY listed today) would be one of them, although I'm just guessing really, since my experience with canned ham is, at best, limited. Thing is, if you have aluminum foil, you can do tinfoil dinners, along the lines of those listed here--if you have the food items available, of course. Where, in the linked article, it says serving of meat, you could use something like the above-mentioned canned ham, or perhaps Spam, or canned chicken. And it would be useful way to use up that bag of potatoes when the power is out...

Would love to hear any suggestions that you are using for your ABY--as well as how you plan to cook when the power is out...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

ABY #4: Sunday's on Saturday: Laundry stuff

My fourth ABY:  Laundry rack, and/or a clothesline and clothespins for doing laundry without power

Realistically, if you had to hang your clothes from a clothesline that you hung in your laundry room, you might be able to do ok without the clothespins for the larger clothes/laundry items, since you can just hang them over the line half on each side, but clothespins would sure come in handy for smaller items such as washclothes or socks. You don't need a big emergency to need some kind of line or rope and clothespins for laundry purposes--your dryer just has to go out when you need it. (Yeah, speaking from personal experience on this one, although it was a while ago.) Power outages have the same effect, though...

Haven't seen many clothespins around here lately, so it's probably time to invest in some (more?) of those...enjoy the rest of your weekend!

ABY #3: Medical (very very) basics

My third ABY: First aid kit

There are some ideas for a first aid kit here.  Another list is provided here. If you have other ideas that aren't included, please feel free to comment. It would be difficult, to say the least, to find that you needed something in an emergency situation that you could have easily acquired for your kit if you had only thought to include it beforehand...

Recently I got a sliver in my foot, (little monster went right through my sock) and I was definitely grateful that we had a needle with which my husband could extract it. The placement was such that it would have been a definite struggle for me to try to extract it myself, and it took awhile to get it out. So, I'm thinking I should be sure that there are a couple of needles in any first aid kit that I put together, as well as means to disinfect said needles.

I am also thinking that if you have medicine you need to take on a regular basis, you should try not to let your supply get too low, so that if  for some reason there is a delay in refilling it, you'll be able to wait out any unexpected supply interruptions (trucking/transportation supply problems, etc.) without a problem.

I'm also thinking that sunscreen would be a good addition to supplies--sunburn would be uncomfortable at best.

The usual disclaimer--I'm not an expert, and everyone is responsible for their own choices when it comes to this or any matter on this blog or my other blog--including making sure the supplies you get are stored safely and properly.

I'm thinking that thinking about first aid ahead of time might help people be better prepared in the case of an emergency....

What are you thinking? Hope everyone is doing well--best wishes with any ABYs you're doing!

Friday, November 9, 2012

ABY #2: Using (some of) the basics

My second ABY: Flour, oil, salt, water (so many reasons my first ABY was water...)

If I could add anything to this, it would be: Several recipes with variations on a theme so I could make different kinds of breads, plus having already learned how to do at least one variation before an emergency.

OK, series-long disclaimer here: I am going to be linking to recipes, ideas, etc. that are new to me in the course of this series. Since I am trying to do a post a day, there is no guarantee that I will have tried them before I post them, but they will be of the nature that I think that they would be handy, easy to do in an emergency, etc.

I have not yet tried the following linked recipe.

That said, this recipe for super easy survival bread looks pretty good, simple to make, and the author even gives you ideas on how to cook it if you have no power. Thanks, Be Survival!

One recipe that I have tried is this one for tortillas. Thanks, Happy Housewife!

The only problem that I would run into in making the tortillas is if I didn't have refrigeration (and/or butter), in which case I would have to substitute oil, which stores without refrigeration. Haven't tried to substitute oil in this case, so I don't know exactly how that would work out. Guess I have (more) work to do...

How about you? Any easy recipes using only flour, oil, salt, and water?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

ABY #1: This blog and the other...are you in?

On my other blog, I am posting a series on adding a can of food a day to storage between now and the first of the year. You can read more (and participate if you like) about it here. In brief, ABY is what I am using to refer to the phrase, "Additionally Better Prepared by the New Year", by using the first letters of the first two words and then the first letter the very last word of the phrase. On this blog, instead of focusing on canned goods, I plan to post daily between now and the end of the year (posts for Sunday will appear on Saturday or Monday) about ideas, recipes, additional items, etc. that I have found that will hopefully end up making me better prepared by the end of December.

My first ABY: Bottled water

If I could add anything to this, it would be: More water. Ok, I am kidding, but only kind of.  I think of all the difficulties that arise during emergencies, and having water to drink, cook with, and otherwise use would help with a lot of those problems. Storing water in clean soda pop bottles is an option if you don't want to buy the water already bottled. Pretty basic, but having water on hand can end up being crucial in an emergency.

So, a challenge...what would you like to learn, acquire, practice, before the end of the year that would make you "additionally better prepared"? I would love to hear if you would like to share. You don't have to have a blog to share--just leave a comment here or a link to your ABY post on your blog in the comments so that others can benefit.

So...are you in?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Finds at the dollar store...

I found and/or was reminded of a couple of great things available at the dollar store recently:

--Did you know that you can get reading glasses for a dollar (well, plus tax) at the dollar store? Seems to me that I saw a "Twilight Zone" episode many years ago where there was a gentleman who only wanted to read books, and something catastrophic happened for some reason, so he was left with all these books with all this time to read them and then....enter omnious music....he broke his glasses.

And there was no way to get another pair. Or something like that. I may have remembered it all wrong since it was sooooo long ago, but the point is still there.

The guy probably wished he had an extra pair (or more) of glasses for just such an emergency. I bet he would have considered glasses to be a bargain even in the days of regularly filmed black and white TV programs if he could have bought some for  only $1.00.  (plus tax). Anyway, the highest prescription I saw available was 3.50, so it seems like it is a pretty good opportunity to stock up in case a pair gets broken...

--There were these really really small battery operated "tealight candles" at 3/$1 (yeah, yeah, plus tax :). I couldn't resist buying a package, and when I say they are tiny, I mean they are really tiny. But light is light and I plan on opening them soon. They do say they are supposed to last for 60 hours, so that's pretty good....

Would love to hear any other great finds people have never know what you may have thought of that others have not... :)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Improving my emergency information

Have you added anything to your emergency notebook lately? I finally started printing things off because there are a lot of things that would take a lot of time to write down, and I want it all in one place. So, soon to come: the emergency binder.

Some of the things I am adding I really really really hope that I will never have the need for. For instance, one of the pages I printed recently is about cayenne pepper. I had heard that cayenne pepper can do wonderful things if you are in a pinch, but until I actually looked it up, I had no idea just how many things it might help with. Here is the page I found if you are interested--it talks about wound care, and other possible helpful applications, including heart health. I am not a doctor or professional in that area at all, but I like to know if there are any options that I can turn to if I can't get to someone who does have such skills/knowledge immediately....

How about you? Any unusual pages in your emergency notebook/binder? I will probably add more of mine later, but suggestions are always welcome... :)


Monday, August 27, 2012

Ah, Peter, the pepper plant of surprises....

For those of you who would rather not read about my pepper plant, and would rather have a recipe (or would like to hear about Peter and have a food-storage friendly recipe), you might want to check out this recipe for taco soup, which I blogged about on my other blog. We had it yesterday and I was reminded of just how wonderful it is.The meat is the only thing that needs anything other than a shelf--one of the things I freeze, and hope that the power doesn't go out as part of an emergency...

So, back to the pepper plant. You may remember that we picked up a jalapeno plant at the farmer's market near the beginning of the growing season. We kept it inside for awhile. It grew a bud. A pepper started to form. We transplanted it outside. It suffered somewhat and looked scrawny for awhile. The pepper that had started to form didn't fare very well. We left it alone and thought we would have to try again next year. Then.....

...we noticed that there were buds. And more buds. And peppers--actually lots of peppers, which hopefully come across in the picture above. Enough of a surprise, yes? For us, yes.
Oh, but Peter wasn't done with the surprises.
Turns out that Peter, who was sold to us as a jalapeno pepper plant, is not a jalapeno pepper plant at all. Turns out that Peter is a serrano pepper plant. And though I know next to nothing about serrano peppers, my understanding from people who would know is that serrano peppers are hotter than jalapeno peppers. So, it's all good. As long as I can tell when the peppers are ripe, which I have read online can be ripe when they are green or red, we'll have some good eating. So, I have to do more research before I begin harvesting. But hey, I have something to harvest. And that is something to celebrate.
Let's face it--there was always going to be another post about Peter. If he didn't grow, I would have written about the importance of growing different things before an emergency so that you would have a better chance of success if/when you have to depend on your garden more for food, and can't just run out to the store for, say, a jar of jalapeno peppers. And that is important. I'm just glad that I'm writing this post instead.... :)
I'm glad that it did work out for us this year--planning on more peppers next year, and I should probably study jalapeno pepper plants so that I know one when I see one... :)
Hope you have had success (unexpected or otherwise) in your garden this year!

Friday, August 17, 2012

A pocket guide sounds good...

If you would like a chance to win a free disaster preparedness pocket guide, you might want to head over to the Texas Preppers Network and leave a comment on this post. Gotta love preparedness, and it's even better if you can get more prepared for free... :) Thanks Texas Preppers Network!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fires in Idaho and elsewhere

Have been watching for news concerning the fire burning near Pine and Featherville, and the most recent information I can find at the moment is the article here. According to the linked article, there are nine fires burning in Idaho right now, and it goes on to give more information on fires in other areas across the West.

Situations like this always make me wonder just how prepared I am. Are my 72-hour kits really ready? Is there anything in my car, or that I would have with me that would help me deal with a situation like that the rafters mentioned in the above article experienced? Would I have enough in my storage to be able to avoid going out into the smoke involved (which is/has been a problem, and is mentioned in this older article) if necessary for health reasons?

How quickly could you evacuate? Might be time for an evacuation drill around here, is what I'm thinking. I am hoping the best for everyone more closely affected, and for whom it isn't a drill at this point...

Monday, July 23, 2012

If you want a good deal on bottled water...

You might want to check out the Albertsons store nearest you. They have Arrowhead water, 24 pack, 16.9 fl. oz water bottles at 2/$5.00. You have to love prices like that, especially since according to my sales receipt, a single 24 pack usually goes for $7.29....

Usual mention that: 1) I am not related to anyone that works at Albertsons, nor do I work there myself; 2) you may want to check to see if your Albertsons is offering this deal before you go; 3)and you will need an Albertsons card to get the deal as far as I understand. But still, it will probably be worth the effort if you need some bottled water--if memory serves, I've seen similar bottles for $2.50 a piece in amusement/tourist/whatever venues. (I know that I'm paying for convenience, cold water, etc. in these venues, but at the rate of 24 bottles for $2.50, wow. I'm just sayin'....)

I have no problem giving Albertsons free publicity when they give me a great deal--thanks Albertsons!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Freezing is one option...

Well, not right now weather-wise, since it's kind of really really hot where we are, but in terms of food storage, it is. I never think of freezer storage as a huge option, because one of the emergencies I think of is losing power, and of course, in a scenerio including that, your freezer storage won't last very long. Or, say your refrigerator decides it doesn't want to cool up inside, but would rather start burning up its inner workings, like ours did last week. (True story. None of our refrigerator or freezer things was ruined, but we were lucky enough to get the early warning of it just not being its regular cold self, so we called out a professional who said that the whole thing would be more expensive to fix than to replace, so replace we had to--before it entirely died. If it had gone totally off, there may have been a different outcome...) Anyway, there may be some really good reasons to make part of your storage freezer storage, one of which I was reading about this week.

You have probably heard about the drought situation--you can read more about it here, or here among other places. The prices on the crops will go up, of course, but here is an article that states that meat prices will go up as well. This would make sense, as the price to feed herds would go up, which is something I also read elsewhere (thanks to whomever mentioned it) and is not an idea original to me. Sooo, if you don't can meat, freezing it while it is still affordable and there is little chance of a power outage may be an option to be considered.

You may even want to get an entire headstart on meals by not only freezing the meat, but putting it together with all the other items like vegetables and grains that will also most likely go up in price. A while back I found this link on the Our Best Bites blog, and talk about convenient! At the bottom of the post you will find a link to bring up an entire mini-cookbook for freezer meals! I have not yet tried these, and know which ones I am most likely to try. However,I don't know the preferences of the readers of this blog, so I will leave it to your perusal, and not bias you with my choices. Thanks, Our Best Bites!

If you only came here for strictly preparedness purposes, you may want to skip the remainder of this post, although just about anything can be related to preparedness... :) Seems to me that I mentioned on one of my blogs that I don't try to be political on my blogs ( I should blog more often so that I could keep better track, huh? ) but I guess sometimes what I think is just plain American could be taken as political. I know that on this blog I have written about the importance of the 2nd Amendment, and the importance of upholding the Constitution. From what I understand, there is a Small Arms Treaty set to be signed a week from today, the aim of which is to take the 2nd Amendment (the right to bear arms) out of effect. The thing is, it won't go into effect unless it is ratified in the Senate. I have already called the Senators from Idaho, but it will take all of us working together to stop this. I was sent an e-mail with this link, explaining what this treaty would mean. On the video there, they ask for donations, etc., but that is not why I am providing the link. I am providing it because it begins by clearly explaining the situation. If you want to contact your state's Senators (Idaho's Senator Risch and Senator Crapo included, of course! :) the capitol switchboard number is 202-224-3121. Just give your Senator's name, and they will connect you... I, of course, hope that you will ask them to vote this treaty down, but it's a free country, for which I am unspeakably grateful. Whatever your opinion, make it known.

Oh, and I guess there is  one more preparedness thing--Peter the pepper has continued to grow, but there is only the one pepper with lots of green leaves above it. Sad, but it is one more pepper than last year. Hope everyone's gardens are doing well!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

State of Emergency declared in Bannock County

Unfortunately, there are more fires in the news, and this time it's closer to home. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected in the Pocatello area, as well as in other areas such as Colorado. I hope the fires are all contained and extinguished quickly.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pepper plant, take two...

We went to the farmer's market a few weeks back, and bought the above jalapeno plant. It has to this point survived much better than our pepper plant last year, which I blogged about on my other blog. It has been named Peter, and it has lived inside since we got it, and thus has missed the typical changes in Idaho weather, which included recent hail. It even has a bloom:

There was a mad rush by everyone to see the bloom when its existence was announced...have I mentioned that I really, really, really, really want to successfully grow jalapeno peppers? Yeah, I do. When we bought Peter, he was not in a pot, he was in some kind of netting or something--forgive my ignorance of what it was called-- but we transplanted him in the above pot and hopefully the transfer to the garden will go well. I am looking forward to eating jalapenos fresh from my garden, but meanwhile I will settle for the jar I have in the refrigerator...

We have not yet planted our garden yet, but will have it in soon. We are hoping that we will wait past any garden -ruining weather, but really, one never knows. I know someone who swore off planting a garden this year because what takes so long to put in can be ruined in an hour, and that is what happened to their garden, if I understood correctly, more than once. I figure we'll keep trying, even when we haven't always had spectacular results, and hope is always a great thing. Among the seeds chosen by my children this year were once again, watermelon. And we are always trying to grow corn, with mixed results. If you don't try, you for sure won't get a harvest...

I hope that all of your gardens are doing well (as well as any pampered and worried over plants that you may be keeping in your house because you are delaying a transfer to the garden... :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day

With gratitude to all those we commemorate today--we will never forget.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Idaho--and a Bingham County election...

Some things speak for themselves. Thanks to J.H., who posted the following elsewhere, but gave me permission to post it on my blog:

"Just before the Idaho primaries this past Tuesday, there was a forum where people were asking questions of the candidates for sheriff of Bingham County. When incumbent sheriff Dave Johnson was asked what he would do if the Federal Government mandated to take all firearms away from private citizens, he responded that he would have to comply with the feds. When candidate Craig Rowland was asked the same question, he responded that he would deputize every citizen who owned a firearm. Rowland got an applause and was elected Bingham County Sheriff this last Tuesday. Congratulations to Craig Rowland!"

Yeah. Gotta love Idaho.... :) And the Second Amendment. And the Constitution.

If any other sheriffs out there hadn't thought of this, I think that it's brilliant. After all, if a firearm is a part of your emergency preparation, you may find yourself in trouble if someone takes it away. There are many emergency situations where a firearm may be needed. In any case, if you are personally against firearms, please work out a plan where you have what you need for food procurement, etc. in case of such emergencies.

And hopefully, no matter what one thinks personally about firearms, they will vote for people who will uphold the Constitution and the freedoms we hold dear--and the right to bear arms is one of them.

Thanks again, J. H.!

Monday, April 30, 2012

A great recipe shared

Thanks to Polly, who left the following recipe in a comment under my last bread recipe--I was afraid that due to the fact that it took me so long to get back to blogging ( among, other things, after a computer breakdown--twice--and subsequent needed repair) that few people would see it. It looks wonderful, and I am looking forward to trying it. Thanks again, and without further ado, her comment in its entirety:         

My Aunt used to make soda bread along with corn bread in her wood stove. For the Irish Soda Bread -

3.5 cups of stone ground whole wheat flour,
0.5 cup of whole oats,
2 cups of unbleached flour,
1.5 teas. salt & soda, and
2 cups of real buttermilk.

Mix all dry ingredients well with your hands, slowly stir in buttermilk with a wooden spoon. Roll into a round ball and put a dish towel over it for about 45 minutes. This lets the soda & buttermilk mix together.

Take a cast iron pot with a lid and dust it with flour. After the 45 minutes put the dough into the pot and press it down to about 2 inches thick with your fingers. Cut an X all the way through the top of the dough. Put the lid on it and put into a hot oven (45 degrees) for 30 minutes. Take the lid off and turn the oven down to 350 and bake another 15 minutes.

As soon as you take it out of the oven, take it out of the pan. Or else it will stick. Cool the bread and don't eat it yet. Wrap it in foil for at least 6 hours. It needs this time to season. It really makes the difference in the taste. After at least 6 hours unwrap the bread and cut it into the 4 pieces from the x cut. Now slice your bread and put real butter on it. Nothing is better.

No eggs, no suger, no yeast... Just real simple, great tasting and very filling bread. Really one piece with soup or stew and you are full for at least four hours!!! :) "

End of recipe

I love that this is made with basic ingredients, and also that there are specific instructions on how to make it with a cast iron pot. Thanks again, Polly!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sometimes it takes more than ingredients... make a successful recipe. For a project one of my children was doing, we tried to make Swedish pancakes, an example of which is seen above. The recipe we used is found here.  Pretty straight forward in terms of ingredients--not very many, and while it calls for eggs, milk, and butter,  if you have them in powdered form, it can be food-storage friendly. (I don't recall having tried any other form of butter than actual butter, so those of you who have it in powdered form are ahead of me...)

At any rate, I share this particular recipe not necessarily for the ingredients involved, but because of how difficult it turned out to be to make these enough to get the picture above, which we wanted for the aforementioned project. There are only two steps in terms of directions, so how hard could it be?

Turns out: pretty hard, actually.

When the recipe directions say to pour it out in a thin layer, the easy part is over--at least it was for me. These are very, very thin pancakes, and I had one mangled pancake after another leaving the pan. Hard to remember now, but what looks (if one is being extremely kind about it) like a divided pancake above, was actually a conglomeration of, if not two pancakes, more than two pancakes, which makes it mostly look like one of my pancakes actually worked out in its entirety. Not so. While we got a piece here and there that looked kinda sorta like the pancakes pictured in the original recipe, it was, as memory served, only the occasional piece that worked out that way...

This is not to say that this is not a good recipe--my husband really liked them, actually. This is to say that if I want a pancake recipe that has few ingredients and that makes wonderfully thin pancakes, thus hopefully making more pancakes to go around,  I will have to practice a lot more than once to be able to make my ingredients stretch. It's hard not to imagine, when I am making a recipe that I think may be food storage friendly, how frustrated I would be if I had limited resources, little to no way to replace said resources, and hungry mouths to feed, and my recipe turned out the way this one did.

Bottom line--variety is good when collecting recipes that use basic ingredients, but make sure that you have the skill to successfully make those recipes before adding them to your emergency notebook. This one has not yet made it there, because sometimes you need more than ingredients to have a successful recipe experience...

Hope you have more luck with these than I did, if you try them...I actually hope to have more luck with them next time I try them myself... :) 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Water, water (issues) everywhere

Well, maybe not everywhere, but came across a couple of informative articles I thought I'd share:

--In the United Kingdom, there are new bans going out on hoses due to water issues, according to this article. It is interesting to note that there isn't actually a ban on watering your garden per se,  you just can't use a hose to do it. Also, there is a video at the top of the article, but I wasn't able to view the entire thing--it kept stopping at a certain point no matter how many times I tried to replay it, so there may be even more information involved than I know about. ( Hard to know if the problem with the video is due to the video or my computer--could go either way. :) While it would also affect peoples' opportunities to wash cars and the like, the thing that I would worry about would be the gardens, which is what is mentioned specifically in the article. Here's my question--if you want to limit the watering of gardens, doesn't that in theory leave you with a double problem? If you don't water your garden, you stand to be short of both food and water, the way I look at it...

--In Idaho, there is an article about a proposed rate hike on water that can be found here. There is a link included in the article if you wish to comment on this issue. More money for less water is one of the issues mentioned in the fourth paragraph of the linked article, and points out clearly just how much of a hike is being proposed. More money spent on water means less money for other needed items...

Water will always be needed, and it's a good idea to have some put away in your supplies. Rules are different everywhere, but do what you can---for drinking, sanitation, and watering those gardens...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A thank you, a bread recipe, and water links

First, I would like to thank those who have commented and/or e-mailed  information. I don't check the e-mail connected to my blogs all that often, so I don't always see things right away. I do need to say that if you send me an attachment, I won't open it (computer issues, etc.) so please just cut and paste anything you would like me to see. Sorry--I really do want to see what you have to say, and I appreciate your efforts. Also, since I am rather not technologically inclined, please excuse me if it takes me more time than expected to figure out how to use pictures and further explanations sent recently with what will be an awesome post--given that I do eventually figure it out.... :) I have also heard more about possibilities with wordpress, and have to figure out what I want to do on that subject. Ah, technology--not my area of expertise, but one can always keep learning... So thanks again to everyone!

Turning to things that are much simpler when it comes to technology, one of my children and I have been gathering what amount to be heritage recipes, and, since I am involved, I am all about looking for the recipes that are basic and easy. Above is a recent example from when I made Irish soda bread, the recipe for which is found here. It is very easy, doesn't have all that many ingredients, and most of the family liked it. (As you can see, it has raisins in it, and so wasn't welcomed with enthusiasm by one of the children.) It's dense bread, and it was the first time I had made a "ball" of bread that I can remember--pretty fun. And I figure it's good to have a variety of recipes that involve the flour, salt, oil, etc. combinations. (Speaking of oil, the linked recipe calls for corn oil, but I used vegetable oil, since that is what I had. Wonder if it really makes a difference taste-wise...)

Speaking of searching for recipes, when I was looking at one, a measurement of water was lit up as a link. I found it interesting that when I passed the mouse over it accidentally, a question popped up in a box, and the question said something like this: "Did you need a 1/2 cup water?" That reminded me of this recent article from Preparedness Pro about water storage. She also has an article about dust bowl conditions that might be of interest. I know that there are a lot of things to do/learn/worry about when it comes to emergency preparedness, but clean water--whether it is endangered by dust bowl conditions, the after effects of tornadoes or earthquake, or for whatever reason that you can think of--would have to be at or near the top of the priority list to get your hands on before, during, or after an emergency. Just linking here in case you haven't seen it, since it gives a lot of food for thought. Hope none of us find ourselves short of water, 1/2 cup or otherwise.

When I went back to link these articles, I realized that there were comments there I'd like to look at, so I'll be going back to look myself. Sometimes you can learn a lot from comments. But I think I may have mentioned that before.... :) 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Making the blog better--one comment at a time

The title is in reference to the readers, not me. Once again, I have received an awesome comment that warrants its own blog post. Many thanks to V, who wrote the following:

"A button light is pretty simple. Take a small amount of oil and pour it into the bottom of a jar or other clear, glass container. Take an old button, preferrably metal or another material that won't melt. Thread a thin piece of cotton material through the button hole so that when left on it's own, the button holds the fabric straight up. It's recommended to not pull the cotton all the way through, just enough to form a lightable wick. Leave material on the other side of the button for both weight and to soak up the oil to the flame. Drop the button carefully into the oil (it helps to pre-soak the end of the wick you intend to light with a bit of oil) and then light the wick when you need to use the lamp. You can use almost any type of oil, I traditionally use olive oil or canola in a pinch. "

I was very excited when I read this comment--thanks again, V!

I have been wondering exactly how to make a button light ever since I fairly recently reread The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I don't have any metal buttons that I know of, but it looks like it's time to look for some. Interesting that just last night I was talking to someone about preparedness, and she said that the place to look for ideas was in the Little House books. There are a lot of ways to "make do" there, such as the button light, and you gotta love having more detail on exactly how to make use of such resources, such as above. Thanks for making the blog better with your comments--the more people there are that know about more options, the better off we all are...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Have you called yet?

This is the same post that I put over at my other blog just now, because it is that important. Before you begin reading, I just want to say that our Idaho Senators are Senator Crapo and Senator Risch. I hope that they get more calls on this than ever. Thanks. Marie

I usually don't talk about anything political on this blog, but I think this issue is so critical that I am now. Perhaps you have heard about the fact that a section of the healthcare legislation requires Catholics to act in ways that are contrary to their beliefs.

I disagree that they should have to do that. Fortunately, according to an e-mail that I received yesterday, some people in Washington also disagree that they should have to do that (understandably, considering that they have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution, and religious freedom is part of the Constitution) and the Blunt Conscience Protection Amendment will be voted on soon. Unfortunately, the timing of the vote is unclear, so time is of the essence for the phone calls to your senators. 

I consider this issue to be non-partisan, and want to protect our Constitution. The e-mail I received talked about a movement that Glenn Beck that has organized, and included the information that you can find here. If you go to the link, you will find out what you can do to stand up for religious freedom--in step-by-step detail. There is even a link so that you can find out who your congressmen are, and information in case you want to e-mail your representatives. 

If you already know all the information that you need to know, and just want to call the Capitol Switchboard, the number is (202) 224-3121. Ask to be connected to your representative, and they will put you through to that representative's office. 

Glenn Beck's campaign is called "We are all Catholics now". You may be familiar with the poem talked about here, where the basic idea is that when someone doesn't stand up for other people there are fewer and fewer people to stand up at all.  We have to stand up for each other when it starts, so that we can stop it before it goes any farther.

I'm not a Catholic, but I will stand up for their right to have religious freedom. I called my senators this morning asking them to support the Blunt Conscience Amendment. Sometimes we don't know what we can do when things that are obviously unconstitutional are paraded before us, but we can do something now, and quickly, before religious freedom is taken away. When enough people are willing to speak out, things happen.

United we stand.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Need info on Wordpress

I am considering switching my blogs over to wordpress, but have only ever blogged on blogspot. If anyone has answers to the following questions, I would greatly appreciate if you left info in the comments:

--I have only gotten to what amounts to the first page in wordpress, because it then gives you a chance to pick free, or to pay for your blog for $99/year. I ( probably along with 99.99999% of the blogging community) would prefer to have the free option, but there is a big difference (understandably) between what one is able to do when blogging free and when paying for it. So my first question is, when it says that with the free option that you don't have the "no ads" feature, does that mean that once you start blogging, random ads pop up on your page? That issue is my biggest concern--you may have noticed that I don't advertise (outside of links within the posts or on the blogroll, or when I find a reaaaallllly good deal and mention the business offering said good deal) on my blogs, and would prefer not to start now. I am not a professional, and am just trying to help others while I am trying to learn myself.

--Would you still continue to read my blogs if they did have the random ads on them? (Yeah, always amazing to me that people read my blogs. Many thanks... :)

--What is domain name and mapping, which is not included in the free package, but is included in the paid package?

--If you have switched to wordpress, did you delete your original blog after importing the info? Seems like that would be the best option, but am wondering if others have kept both blogs, and then only added new posts to the newer blog.

Granted, that is only on the sign-up page, and I may find that I have other questions later, but you have to start somewhere, right? Anyway, if you have any info to share, please do, and thanks in advance.

On an Idaho water supply note, I have now heard from three people that despite our really weird (almost) no snow winter, there isn't really a threat of drought because there has been enough snow in the mountains to make it so that it's not an issue. I'm grateful for that!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Whole wheat waffle recipe

It was not surprising to see my husband making waffles recently--but it was surprising to see the batter in the blender. Turns out he was making his mom's recipe that she made while he was growing up--and thanks to his mom, who gave me permission to post the recipe on the blog:

Whole Wheat Waffles

1 cup wheat
1 cup milk

Blend wheat and milk in blender 2-3 minutes. 

Add another 1/2 cup milk. Blend another 2-3 minutes. 

Add 2 eggs and 1/2 cup oil (scant). 

1 tbs. sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder

Blend for about 1 minute. Pour from blender onto hot waffle iron.

Yeah, I was impressed. I love recipes where you just start with the wheat kernels and work from there. The only thing we would do differently, and that didn't make this recipe the biggest hit with the children, was the fact that there was some crunch to the waffles--not a lot, just some of the kernels were not as well blended as they could have been, so we would blend the wheat a little more, as my husband's mother suggested. The waffles were tasty, though... :)

If you try them, hope you enjoy!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Answering a question, and people can trump a GPS

I was asked in an e-mail for help in contacting other preppers. The best way I can think of to contact other people is to go to this site  and when you go to this page  on that site, send an e-mail to American Prepper with your questions. Did you know that the founder of the American Preppers Network is from Idaho? Yeah, he's the one to ask....

Happy 2012! We headed south for a few days on a road trip right after Christmas, and someone was generous enough to loan us a GPS  (global positioning system) to take with us so that we would hopefully never get lost. (As a side note, my husband has about the best sense of direction I have ever seen, and really doesn't get lost, but the GPS is still an interesting piece of technology to work with, so there it is.) It can be amusing to listen to a mechanical voice give you directions, even  (or perhaps especially) if "her" directions to "make a legal u-turn" when possible sound suspiciously like "make illegal u-turn" when possible... 

So anyway, we headed on our merry way. The borrowed GPS we used is handy because you can feed in an address, and it will then give you directions to the desired location. It worked really well most of the time. It was the two times it, shall we say, "got confused" that showed that common sense plus previous research on a location is priceless regardless of how much technology you are working with. 

Example one:

Ah, this was kind of a biggy... the GPS was programmed to take us to a particular address in a given city--and asked us to exit at a non-existent exit many miles in advance of the city we were actually traveling to. Fortunately, my husband knew enough about the area that he didn't even entertain the idea of taking the route offered, and reset the GPS. There's no shame in asking for directions if you can find someone to give them to you, but it might be a tad bit embarrassing if you are in the wrong area altogether and the people you stop to ask don't know what you are talking about. (Or they do know what you are talking about, and realize that you are about 30 or so miles off-course...) 

Example two:

We were in the aimed-for city already, so we were looking for help from the GPS  with the more detailed directions. Thing is, the location we were looking for was a pretty large building from what we understood, and the GPS was leading us out in the middle of of course we turned around, and just looked for it with our eyes. When I think back on that experience, I think the GPS was "turned around" somehow, because we passed what could have been the other end of a street we had seen when we were following its directions--if it was, it was a looonnngg street. In any case, the only way we got there was to look around, use common sense, and ignore the GPS...

So, what's my point? I guess in this case, one point that can be made is that it is best to think of technology as being the back-up plan in an emergency. If we have technology (electricity, and all that comes with it, as an example) woo-hooo, (seriously) our lives will be that much easier. We just have to know what to do when the technology isn't working, electricity or no. What could we do if the things we do with technology were no longer available? 

For example, what about lighting? If you read my most recent post on my other blog, you will remember that  one of the things that showed up as Christmas gifts were a couple of flashlights, to replace flashlights that had somehow disappeared from where they should have been. Those new (and older, truant flashlights) have a place to be so that they can be found when the lights go out. If the older truant flashlights had been unavailable during a blackout, we would have had to fumble our way to our candles and matches. And hopefully there would be daylight before we had to devise a plan C, if necessary. 

Technology is great, but sometimes fails, and common sense and ingenuity can come to the rescue if necessary. Having somewhat recently reread The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder, I am intrigued by the "button light", I believe it was called, that Ma made when they ran out of other means of lighting. It involved a button, a piece of cloth, and some oil...if anyone already knows how to make this, please share. In any case, I will most likely look up how one is made, because I loved the ingenuity of it. When the family ran out of fuel, they made sticks of hay to burn, the method for which is also described in the book. The sticks burned quickly, but they kept the family alive. 

So, yeah, I pretty much figure that people can think of new ways to do things when they have to, and can figure things out when technology just isn't working right. I just figure it's best to have as many back-up plans as possible to deal with such events before any back-up plans are needed....