Sunday, September 18, 2011

Alternate Cooking Sources

Alternate Sources for cooking without power, or using little power, that's what I want to share with you today. I have done a bit of research on some of these different ideas, because even though I know and understand them, my actual hands on experience with some of them is limited. I use my Wonder-box all of the time, and I use my dutch ovens once in awhile. I have buddy burners, and camp stoves, and all that stuff, but I realized that I need some more practice and experience with some of these others. Therefore, I have listed lots of links with great ideas and I have decided to incorporate some of these projects into our home school this year. Once a week we do a project and my theme this year is to teach my kids survival skills and other useful skills they will need some day, and these alternate cooking forms definitely fall into that category. we go!

A side note, most of these things that I have listed links for, can totally be built with very little money. You can surely purchase a nice solar oven for three or four hundred dollars of you want, and they will work great, but if you are like me, that just isn't in my budget, so lets figure out other ways to save money and power, and also to cook without power.

Wonder Cookers – what a great little invention. I use mine often,(I actually have three) but probably should use them more, and as I have been doing some looking into recipes and what not, I am inspired to experiment with them more. I know that we can use them for cooking OR keeping things cold. I have used it to bring home a frozen turkey from my dad's once and then I forgot about it in my jeep for about 30 hours, and when I went to get it, the darn thing was still frozen!!! Pretty cool hey? I use mine every time we have a family dinner and we have to travel because it will keep things hot or cold for several hours. We have taken freezies and popsicles to soccer games on a hot day and they stay nice and frozen. If you put something hot in it, the food will continue to cook, but it never seems to burn or over cook. As I use it more over the next little bit, I will post some of my thoughts and recipes of what I do.

Heat Retention Cooking A great site that talks about cooking with heat retention, basically bringing your food up to temp using some form of heat, and then using hay box or wonder-box to cook it from there on

Wonder Box Cooker A really good site with step by step instructions on making one and cooking with it

Wonder Box Cooking Step by step instructions again for cooking meat in the wonder-box

Making a wonder box cooker Step by step instructions for making a wonder-box

Wonder Box Patter pdf

Cooking Without Power Recipe Book An excellent pdf recipe book for cooking without power, using wonder-box, apple box oven, and dutch oven

I have never made an apple box oven or a solar funnel cooker, but they are projects that are at the top of my list. I will keep you posted as I do them. But follow the links for some great sites.

BYU PDF A great pdf about making an apple box cooker, a hay cooker, paper box oven, solar funnel cooker

Cooking without power If you follow this link and look on the left hand side of the page, you will find a wealth of information on cooking without power using all different kinds of methods

Solar Cooker Plans to build your own solar funnel cooker and what to do with it

I love dutch oven cooking!

I love camping too and that is usually when I do this kind of cooking. There is something about the taste of it that is just fabulous. I really should do it more often, but of course time is a factor, because it is something that you do have to watch a bit closer to not burn it or burn something else. Check out these sites with great info and great great recipes

Dutch Oven Cooking Really good site and info about dutch oven cooking.

Dutch Oven Dude Tons of dutch oven recipes. Really good

Hope these ideas all help to inspire you to get creative and experiment with some alternate cooking sources. Really, I think we should have it all figured out before the time comes when we HAVE TO use it, then it won't be a hardship at all, we will just move calmly into that mode. Good luck and I would love to hear your stories.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Famines and Food Storage

This is the Current Horn of Africa Famine 2011

FAMINES!! I want to talk about famines today. I have a deep abiding passion for food storage . and many people think that I am kind of crazy about it. In fact I have been called worse than that, haha. And, unfortunately, anyone reading this article is likely right there with me, you probably aren't the ones that need to read it, but if you are, I hope it will open your eyes to the scary reality of famines.

If you follow this link List of Famines and I think you all should, you will be shocked at the amount of famines that have happened in history. Also take note of the causes listed for most of the famines – war and drought. This list takes us from 400 BC right up to 2011 and the current famine in the Horn of Africa. It is quite extensive and if you want to take a look at more information on the various famines, just follow the links.

So what are the major causes of famines?? Drought, or poor weather is the usual cause of famine, or at least it used to be. Now you mix in there war and civil unrest with no crops and you have the perfect storm to cause a famine. Check out some of these pictures of drought that have caused famine. A few of them are even from this year pretty close to home.

Texas drought and wheat crop damage 2011

On this website Kohm news you can find several articles that talk about severe drought issues now ocuring in the United States. Huffington post here is another article that is worth the read.

Okay so the internet and newspapers are full of these kinds of articles. Check some of them out below. But what I want to point out here is that there is a cycle that is associated with famines. Crop failures – which include drought or wet conditions, grasshoppers, or whatever the reason – for three to seven years in a row will often lead to a famine. Also throw in there a few natural disasters like hurricanes, wild fires, floods, earthquakes, and volcanoes, and you again have a perfect storm for what??? Right, a famine of huge proportions. Are these things happening close to home right now? Yep, they are!! Have they been happening close to home for a few years now? Yep, they have!! Are they increasing in intensity? Yep, they are!! Do we have political issues? Yep, we do!! Do we have economic issues? Yep, we do again!! So my BIG question to you is............If this continues for a couple or a few more years, can we see what we are headed for? It is history repeating itself over and over! The warning signs are all there. We are lining ourselves up for a serious crisis and most of us don't even see it coming. Put all of the factors together and see if you can see what I see, serious trouble ahead.

I have come across so many quotes from prophets, and so many scriptures that talk directly about famine in our day. I have decided not to post them at this point, just because some of my readers are not LDS. But even so, look at the facts around us, watch this perfect storm come into play, and if you are LDS, then start doing some research because it will awaken your spiritual reality to this whole storm as well.

So if we can see serious trouble ahead, what should we do about it? We should dang well be preparing in any way we possibly can, while we still can. Food storage, medical supplies, water treatment supplies and storage, survival skills, and so on. But the big one I want to emphasize today is food storage.

The LDS church says that we should have:

· 72 hour kits for every person in our family – in case of emergency evacuation, emergency sheltering in place, and unforeseen events

· 3 month supply of food – if you check on many government websites, church websites, and preparedness sites, you will find that they all recommend having a 3 month supply of easy to prepare, familiar foods for your family. This will be beneficial in case of sickness, short term crisis, pandemic quarantine or shelter in place. These items will be things that even your kids could prepare if mom or dad were sick. EASY to prepare and FAMILIAR to your family.

· Long Term Supply of Food – We should have a one year supply of longer term, life sustaining foods on hand for our entire family. These items will have a long shelf life and will sustain life for a long period of time.

· Water – we should have on hand at least a 2 week supply of water for each person. We should also store water purification supplies and water filters.

Here at the following links you will find more information on what the church says about it.

Family Resources at Provident Living,11677,1706-1,00.html

Now I have noticed that the church has come down to them saying that for one person, long term storage should include 25 lbs of grains, such as wheat, and 5 lbs of beans or legumes. Now I don’t know about you, but that is strictly survival and if that is all you have got, well have fun chewing that wheat and those beans. The church used to ask us to have a seven year supply of food. If you check out this post Food Storage Timeline you will find a timeline that shows how food storage has changed over the years. I personally think that right now, they just want us to survive, and if we don’t have it as of yet, we had just better get something before it is too late.

Here at this post I have stated why I believe is the minimum we should all have.

Basic Long Term Storage

And here are a couple of blogs that show what that basic amount would look like and what you could do with it – one loaf of bread per day and 1/3 cup of beans per day per person. Not very appealing to me.

Here is a food storage calculator that you can download and use to figure out just how much your family should have.

Food Storage Calculator

Be proactive. I thought I might actually show some pictures of people in famine, but I will only show one, because they are just way too graphic and disturbing, but if you want to see more, feel free to look here. Famine Pictures

I never want my own family to ever have to go through anything like that. I never want to have to tell my grandchildren that Grandma doesn’t have any food for them today. I don’t think I could bear that. I am preparing daily. I have lots and lots of food storage, but still feel like it isn’t enough and there is always more that I can do. I don’t believe I will ever be done, until there is simply no more food left to store.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pandemic Preparedness

“Contagin”….. An interesting movie! I went to see it tonight. It got my mind thinking once again about pandemics. Since the Swine Flu, I have kind of put Pandemic preparedness to the back burner, but I think it is time to revisit it. This movie of course is Hollywood’s version of what could happen “if”…… And you know it wasn’t far off on many of it’s ideas. It showed how things could escalate so quickly and what may happen as society breaks down and the government takes control of our lives, in an attempt to control the outbreak. It is worth the watch, but definitely doesn’t leave one with a happy feeling. I think it is worth the watch because it brings about many questions in one’s mind about “what if?”

I thought I might share a bit about pandemics. I have no doubt that at some point we will have to deal with something very serious. Whether it will be the “Bird Flu”, some other virus, or perhaps something that we haven't even heard of yet, who really knows? But I think we should all be aware and be prepared for whatever it might be.

I want to share just a bit about past pandemics we have had.

1918 – Spanish Influenza – killed approximately 100 million people.

1957 – 1958 – Asian Flu – approximately 2 million deaths

1968 – 1969 and 1970 – 1972 – killed approximately 33,800 people

2009 – Swine Flu – approximately 11,00 deaths

A Pandemic occurs when there is a new virus or disease that there is little or no immunity to, and then is spreads easily from person to person. It is global and effects global populations. It can be mild, moderate, or very severe causing death. Check out this site to see how they classify a pandemic and to learn more about what to prepare, and get a checklist.

Pandemics can last up to 2 years with the infection coming in several different waves, that will usually last up to 8 weeks at a time. This is where it is really important for everyone to have a 3 month supply of food and supplies in your home, and be prepared to shelter in place if and when need occurs. Your food should be easy to prepare meals and foods that are familiar to your family. This is not the time to start experimenting with long term food storage. And easy to prepare would be, so that any family member could prepare them if mom and / or dad happen to get sick.

Think of a worst case scenario such as trucks stop running because the truckers are sick, or the warehouses that stock the food for the truckers to carry to the store don't have the employees because they are sick. It wouldn't take long for the public works in your city to shut down if people are sick, and soon garbage would pile up, perhaps the water won't get treated because the only people that know what to do are sick or dead, and the maintenance on the other utilities will not be kept up since many people are too sick to maintain them. It wouldn't take very long for stores to run out of food, and even if they did have food, (which is a big if), they might not have the people to keep it up and running. Looting would be taking place. People tend to go a bit crazy. What if the hospital was overflowing with sick patients, but the nurses and doctors are short staffed because they are sick themselves, or they just plain refuse to work because they don’t want to get sick? Perhaps your city will enforce a quarantine, nobody in and nobody out. Believe me, they likely have plans in place to enforce just such a scenario.

Items and services that we take for granted will become nearly or completely unavailable. There are so many if's, and what if's in this kind of a situation, and the best thing to do, is to ask yourself and your family some of these what if's. Sit down with them and take a hard look at what would really happen, and then make a plan to prepare for that worst case scenario. Preparing for the worst case scenario, is just smart planning, and then no matter what hits, you will be able to deal with it.

Michael O. Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services, 2006 – 2009 said, “Any community (or family) that fails to prepare and expects the federal government to come to the rescue is tragically wrong.”

So really how can we prepare for such a wide spread, crazy event? Here are a few ideas and links to follow.

1. Do your best to stay healthy and fit. This is not always a guarantee of safety, but is a good place to start.

2. Make sure to have a 3 month supply of prescription medications on hand, or any other types of medicines you think you will need. Don't count on running to the drug store to get them, because every other person in your local area will be thinking the same thing and if you aren't the first one there, well you just won't get it. Have pain relievers, cough syrup, cold and flu medicines, etc.

3. Learn how to prevent the spreading of germs. Proper hand washing, coughing, sneezing, social distancing, (avoid large groups, keep your distance – six feet – when you do have to communicate) are all things that you should be practicing right now so that in an emergency, it will just be common sense to do them. You can read more here on washing hands properly. Handwashing Hand sanitizers are so important. Carry them with you all the time. Use them when you are out in public. Carry wipes with you and clean buggy handles, door handles, and things like that before you touch them. Sanitize your hands after touching. Here Coughs and sneezes you can find information about proper sneezing and coughing.

4. Have on hand masks, gloves, flu medicines, and anything that your family would usually use when someone has the flu. Make sure you have enough of these things on hand to last you for several weeks. For example, if you like jello, or chicken noodle soup, or gingerale, now is the time to stock up on these things. Remember lots of toilet paper, cleaning supplies, paper towels, bleach and things like that. Take into consideration personal hygiene, sanitation, clothes washing, trash, cooking, power, heating, communication, and entertainment. At the following link you can find some planning helps Personal Pandemic Planning Prepare to quarantine yourself in your home, whether you might be sick or might just not want to get sick. You may have to stay in your home for quite some time, until it passes. Here are a couple of links to follow about sheltering in place Shelter in Place and here Shelter in Place

5. Think ahead about your home, and where you would be able to put a sick person to quarantine as much as possible from other members of the family. Easy access to a bathroom, some form of entertainment like a tv in the room, and least possibility of spreading the germs. Things you might want to have in a sick room: thermometers, rubbing alcohol, humidifiers, garbage bags, disinfectant wipes, sanitizers, and anything else that might help the situation. Here is a site that tells a bit about that here isolation and quarantine

There are so many different ways to prepare for something like this. Do some research. Check with your local government websites, most of them will have information for you.

Here is a great rehydration recipe for someone who is sick and in jeopardy of dehydration.

1 tsp salt

8 tsp sugar

5 cups clean drinking water. You can add flavoring such as Kool-Aid to make it taste a bit better. Sitr the mixture well until all dissolved. Give liberally to a sick patient as they can take it, to prevent dehydration.

An idea that I use to prepare for things such as pandemic, would be to place all items you might need that go together into a rubbermaid type bin and label it well. For example I have a bin called my flu bin. It has all my meds, masks, gloves, bed pads, straws for easy drinking, and things like that in it. I have a bin for activities, like coloring books, games, and crafts. Ideas for bins might be, 72 hour emergency bins, lighting bins, heating bins, a sanitation bin, sewing bin, birthing bin, disposable eating, first aid, bedding, communication bin, laundry bin, cold weather clothing, household tools, baby bin, wool blankets, and so on. I will do more posts on the different things you can have in these bins, but for now work on preparing a flu bin and a shelter in place bin.

Your shelter in place bin should include duct tape and sheets of plastic cut to fit over doors, windows, vents, cracks, and so forth of the room that you might need to shelter in place. You won’t likely use the ones over the doors and windows if someone is sick in the room, but you will want to cover the vents in and out of the room so the virus doesn’t spread. You could hang a plastic sheet over the door that would also help the spread of germs as the door is opened and closed when the caregiver comes in. This bin could also be used in case of chemical spills or dangerous goods, where a person or family needed to close themselves into a room for a short period of time. You would then duct tape the plastic over all possible air flow into or out of the room, until it is safe to remove. A radio would be beneficial in this situation so that you could monitor the situation in your area.

Here are a few links to check out which will give you much more information.

Good Home Treatment of Influenza by Grattan Woodson, MD – an excellent resource manual for every home.

Birdflu Manual

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, drought, famine, sickness, disease, financial issues, politics, wars, rioting, terrorism, job loss, flash mobs, food shortages, all manner of crimes, all manner of immorality, ..............hmmmm.........I think that might just begin to cover the world today.  Yes there are great things also happening in the world, but our media doesn't cover many of these.  They usually go unheard of, except by those whom are closely involved with them.  So for the most part it is the gloom in the world that should awaken us to a sense of urgency to get prepared in so many different ways. 
I haven't posted on this site since June, summer just came on so quickly and then my life gets really, really, busy.  However, I definitely have not slowed down in my pace of preparedness!  No way, on that one!  I have been canning and dehydrating like crazy.  I have also been sorting, cleaning and organizing my preparedness – sometimes mine gets a little chaotic and unorganized!  I know, I know, I must admit I am not perfect either!  Smile  I must thank all of those who follow along on this blog, and those who frequent it regularly, because I really am impressed at how far reaching around the world this information is going.  I am sure that more people from afar read and are getting prepared than those who are close to home for me.
But as of recent, I have had several people ask me to once again get busy and get the information out there.  I had a great chat with a dear friend last week, when I went to visit her house, and I feel inspired once again to get busy.  I have been creating a list (which has reach almost three pages) of preparedness topics that I want to cover.  I am getting brave with my video camera and new camera, so I hope to have lots of videos and pictures to go along with articles that I will be posting.  I will also try to have a printout / handout for each article, that way you can create your own preparedness binders for ideas and recipes and information. 
So what I would like from any of my there anything YOU would like to hear about or learn about???  You can comment here and I will gladly get right on it.  Otherwise I will just start going down my list and post a couple of times a week. 
So keep watching, I have tons of things to share with you!
Thanks to those friends who have motivated me to get moving once again on my blog!  You know who you are!  Smile