Monday, September 22, 2014

Preparedness to do list Week #4 - Evacuation lists

Evacuation Lists - I know making more lists right?   However, these are important.  Let me give you a scenario that really happened not too long ago.  Someone I know was given 15 minutes evacuation notice to get out of her home because of a wild fire that was heading her way.  She told me after the fact, that for those fifteen minutes, she ran around the home in kind of a daze not even sure where to begin or what to try and save if her house were to burn down.  She ended up leaving with her purse in hand and nothing else.

How discouraging, knowing that you had those precious fifteen minutes, but were in so much shock that you couldn't think clearly, and nothing got saved.  If you have time at all, how easy would it be to send everyone to their various rooms, and do a quick look on the back of the door to see - listed in matter of priority - the things that you should grab and go.  The thinking has already been done ahead of time, it is just a matter following through on what needs to be done.  Just going through the motions. 

I am guilty of not doing this one myself, but will do it this week.  I have had lists of what we would take in a few minutes, and we have even had practice drills through the years on how we would exit the home and what we would grab in 15 minutes.  But for some reason I have never posted the lists.  Perhaps I feel it is a bit overwhelming because we have always had so much stuff!  No longer resisting, I will get them posted this week, because it is on my to do list!

Have fun with this.  Perhaps gather your family for a family night and have a mock emergency evacuation.  Make up a scenario that is a possibility for your area, and give the family 15 minutes to gather anything they think is important to get out and meet back in the living room within the time limit.  You might be really surprised to see what they come up with and what gets left behind.  It will be a good practice run, and give you a great starting place to create your room by room evac lists. 

Don't forget to include in this drill your home floor plan.  If you have to evacuate your home, the authorities might ask you to turn off your gas and water valves and shut off all power to your home.  Do you know where to do this?  Does your family know where to do this?  Create this plan and practice it, without really shutting off some of them.  The gas, if it is turned off, will likely need to be turned back on by the city gas dudes who know what they are doing, so don't really shut it off unless it is an emergency.

Have fun, practice, so that if or when the time comes, it will be second nature for your family to just do it without thinking. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Personal Preparedness To Do List Week #3

Personal Preparedness To Do List Week #3

Review Insurance Policies and Wills

This week our challenge is to find all of our insurance policies, and our wills, and get them organized and updated.  Part of that organizing them is to read through them and understand what is exactly being said in each of them.  This will help us be more prepared when the time comes for us to use one of them.

I was having a conversation with a couple of my kids the other day about our own will, and it has been probably about 20 years since our will was last updated.  Way too long!  I have recently reviewed the house insurance and car insurance policies, but not really thoroughly.  I need to do that.  And I need to get them all together in one place that is easy to find.  I don't know about your house, but more often than not at my house, the paper trail, turns into paper piles and it can be difficult to find things.  That would not be a good situation if we needed one of our insurance policies in a pinch, or the unspeakable, someone died, and I am pretty sure that nobody would be able to find our wills, without digging.  Ugh!  I think I should do the digging first and updating, and then organizing, rather than leave it for someone else to clean up the mess some day.

A good reason to have updated insurance policies - check out this article I wrote a while back.  It tells you what kinds of things you should have included with your insurance policies to be able to get exactly what you need out of them. 

Here is your to do list for this week.  I left one side of the list blank, because there are always thoughts that I have as I am going through things, and I need to write them down.  Leave no page unturned!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Personal Preparedness To Do List Week 2

Fall is a great time to pull out the 72 hour emergency kits, car kits, and flu kits, to make sure that all of the supplies are up to date and ready for the upcoming season of WINTER!

72 hour emergency kits need to be updated with winter clothing, proper footwear, and food that will fill a hungry tummy in the cold, like soups, hot chocolate, etc.  Proper sleep wear, sleeping bags, pajamas, etc should also be checked, as winter ones will be different than summer wear.  Medication should now include things like cold and flu options, since this season is now upon us.  Here is a checklist you can use to walk you through this process of updating and rotating your 72 hour kit this week.  It can be a fun family night project for all involved!

It is also smart this time of year to check your flu / pandemic kits if you have one, and do some updating and rotating of medicines and supplies.  Don't just assume that everything lasts forever, it doesn't!  Be prepared in your home for the flu season, with the proper medical supplies that your family might need.  Be prepared in your home for any more serious pandemic situations that could arise.  You should always ask yourself what if?.........and then go and get prepared for it.

Check your emergency car kits as well.  Make sure that you have all of the tools and supplies you might need for winter driving, if that is a problem in your area, like it is for me.  Winter driving can be deadly, especially if you are not prepared.  At least purchase a small shovel and have it in your trunk, along with a warm blanket or two, some energy or protein bars that could sustain you if you got stranded, and warm clothing in case you have to walk somewhere.  It isn't uncommon to hear the stories of someone who has gone off the road in a blizzard, and either stayed in their car and froze, or decided to walk and froze.  Be prepared for either situation because you don't know if it will happen to you.

Make fall and spring your routine to check these emergency kits or situations and make sure you are prepared for the coming seasons.  They each bring with them their various challenges, so just go do it!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Personal Preparedness To Do List Week #1

We all have to have a starting point.....even when we have been prepping for years.  Sometimes it is just good to gather your thoughts, refocus, and move ahead from where you are.  I have been really thinking on how I can do this.  I have done the 52 weeks to Preparedness for Two - a couple of times, and this time I want to change it up just a little bit.  Perhaps even simplify it somewhat.

I love to do lists.  I live by my lists and my calendar.  If it isn't written down, chances are pretty high that I won't get it done, not because I don't want to, but because my life is so busy that I won't likely remember.  If you are at all like me, or just want a simplified version of how you can move forward and get prepared, then here is the solution.

I am going through all of my old 52 weeks to preparedness, and my book Personal Preparedness Portfolio, and am creating lists.  I will post one list each week, usually somewhere between Friday and Sunday, so you can work on it for the coming week.  That way I can also watch the flyers to see what is on sale for the coming week, and perhaps incorporate that into the list as well.  You can simply print off the list, pin it to your fridge or calendar, and accomplish something little towards your Emergency Preparedness and Food Storage Program each week.

Simple enough!  I hope that in the end, you will find you have accomplished a ton of prepping, without even realizing that it has become a part of your everyday routine and life.

Good Luck!!

For the first week here, it is time to do some inventorying and planning.  You can find a food storage calculator here, and you can find the free download workbook here, that goes along with my written book that you can order here for a small price.  It is well worth the price, I feel.  Download the workbook and see if you don't think it would be nice to have the hard copy of the real book as well.  Thanks for supporting me
in this little adventure of my being an author!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

What is an expert?

What do we consider an expert in the field of prepping?  You know it is funny sometimes, how many people will call me and ask me the most random questions that have to do with preparedness or food storage.  I certainly don't mind, as it kind of makes me feel like I am an expert in that field. Do I know everything there is to know?  Nope, but I try, and if I don't know an answer, I know where to go to look it up and find out that answer.

I have written a book, which I think is pretty good.  This book walks a person through their preparedness
Personal Preparedness Portfolio
categories step by step and offers suggestions and helps to get you prepared for each different area of preparedness that you could need in your home.  It also teaches some self reliance principles of food storage and finding the skills necessary to not have to rely on people if something happens, but to be able to rely on yourself.  All in all it teaches emergency preparedness, short term self reliance (3 months), and long term self reliance - one year.  I have added checklists for many things, and turned it into a workbook of sorts.  I put years worth of studying and learning into this book, so I guess that makes me an expert in this area.  You can click on the picture and it will take  you to my Amazon page if you are interested in ordering it.

Not only have I written this book, but I have taught many, many classes on this subject, so there has been many many hours of research that has gone into teaching classes.  That also makes me the expert.

Even though these things can make someone an expert in their field, there are always people who know more, do more, and have more knowledge.  I personally don't consider myself an expert in any particular area.  I still do research almost daily in the area of preparedness and food storage.  I still rely on knowledge from others to keep me informed on various happenings in the world.  I still often come across something that I don't know the answer to, and then I go to the computer to figure it out.

I think that is the key right there.  Find the answer and solve the problem.  I think that is what makes someone expert in any field.  If you know where to look up the answers, and really take time to learn the answers, then you are on your way to being an expert in that area.  If you can teach a class on the subject, then you will  be considered an expert in the area.  And definitely, if you can write a book sharing your knowledge, you will be considered an expert in the area, as the time that goes into writing a book is huge.

All of my books so far!
If you want to be an expert in any particular area, regardless of what it is, write down a list of questions that are most important to that area.  The questions should cover any problem or question that someone might want to know about in that subject.  Then go ahead to find the answers to solve the problems.  Write about them - perhaps on a blog, or a book, or even just keep your own notebook.  Teach them to someone - that's where keeping a blog would come in handy, since on your blog you can share what you are learning.  Teaching really is the best way to learn yourself.  Lastly, be willing to teach a class, answer questions, make a video, or write a book.  People will then consider you an expert in your field.  It will come naturally as you learn more information.

I am still learning.  I don't believe it ever ends.  I have several areas of knowledge in my life that I would love to be an expert in, but it takes a lot of work and time.  I love working with herbs.  I would love to be an expert that people could count on when it comes to herbal medicine or herbal therapies.  I still have a long way to go because the field is so extensive.  I am loving the journey, and I believe that is what is most important, LOVE what you are doing.  The knowledge will come if you don't quit!

Here is a teaser for you as well.  It is the workbook portion of the Personal Preparedness Portfolio.  If you would like the information that goes along with this, you will have to follow the link and purchase the book.  But I feel strongly enough about people getting prepared, that I want to offer this for free.  Hopefully you will make use of it to help your family.  Just click on the link above and get your free pdf workbook that goes along with the Personal Preparedness Portfolio.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Pandemics and Ebola

Ebola is hitting the news big these days.  I have been following it somewhat, and have decided that there really isn't much that I can prepare for, other than prepping for a normal pandemic.  Ebola is more deadly
than the Swine Flu ever was, however, I learned just recently of a young man in his 30's who contracted Swine Flu a few months back, and within one week it had killed him, leaving behind a young mom and a couple of little children.  You just never know what it is that is going to affect you and your family.

I believe in natural forms of treatment as much as possible and use herbs on a daily basis in my home.  One thing to note about the Ebola virus, is that the herbs such as Echinacea - that enhance the immune system, won't be a good thing to help stop this virus.  Sometimes there are virus' that kick the immune system into overdrive already, which using an herb that will
boost that even more, isn't a good thing.  If you are going to use herbs for viruses, please do your research to know which ones will be the best for each situation and each virus.  Viruses are different, they are deadly if not treated right, so please understand the virus and understand your natural medicines before just going ahead and administering them. I have some serious mixed feelings on something this serious.  I believe in natural treatments, but not to the point that modern treatment is put off and a person dies.  Seriously, do the research and make wise decisions.

I don't believe in panic preparing.  I do believe in thinking rationally and deciding well ahead of time, the possible scenarios that could happen, and then prepare for them, so that if this particular scenario plays out, you will be ready to respond to it, without panic.  Thus, prepping for pandemics is a must.  

I thought I might share a bit about pandemics. This info is in a post here on this site from a couple of years ago.  I have no doubt that at some point we will have to deal with something very serious. Whether it will be the “Bird Flu”, Ebola, Swine Flu, or 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 - not particular deadly, but spread incredibly fast around the world.  Could have been much worse had it been a more deadly virus.  Perhaps this was just a trial run to see who was paying attention.

A Pandemic occurs when there is a new virus or disease, where there is little or no immunity to, and then is spread 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 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, so 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, they might not have the people to keep it up and running.
1918 Pandemic make shift hospital
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. Stir 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.

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

I guess my worst fear for a pandemic is one of biological warfare, where an enemy would actually let loose a virus with the intent to spread and kill as many people as possible. It is a very real threat, one that we should all consider. Then there are also the bird flu variations that seem to be mutating on a pretty regular basis. This ebola threat is pretty serious as well.  Point being - we shouldn't let our guard down. 

I know many people who believed that the Swine Flu was just so hyped up, that I am sure when another pandemic swings around, they probably won't even pay any attention to it.  I, however, will watch and pay very careful attention because I am sure that the Swine Flu was just a practice run for us all.  What did we learn?  What did we do about it?

Learn what you need to, and prepare what you should so that when, not if, the next pandemic strikes, you will be ready for it.  Don't look at the last one we had as a big hype and nothing to serious.  It was very serious, and it should have opened our eyes to just how fast our lives can be changed.  One very small virus could take down a huge portion of the world's population in a very short time. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Find Your Peers

What are peers?  In school as a teenager we think of peers as our friends or someone who is the same age, background, social class, maybe it is even someone we want to be like.  

The dictionary defines a peer as "A person who has equal standing with another or others, as in rank, class, or age: children who are easily influenced by their peers."

Why in the world do we need to find our peers?  Don't we go through school being told that we need to choose our peer group carefully, as they will influence the rest of our lives.  Or we are told that we don't need to follow our peers in everything they do.  Perhaps our parents don't like our group of peers.  I know my didn't like the ones I had when I was in high school.  

Learn from your peers
However, now I am going to tell you to find your peers.  Find the people who know what you want to know, and learn everything you can learn from them. If we take the definition from the dictionary, and add in a few words, keeping in mind food storage and emergency preparation, here is what it might look like.

Peers: People who understand and practice food storage, who have earned the knowledge and respect because of their practice and study, and who can easily teach and help others understand the why's and how's of food storage and being prepared in today's world - these are the peers that we want to seek out.

Who are the peers we want to find?  I am almost sure that there are some locally, close to wherever you are, that would be more than willing to help you learn.  You just need to find who they are.  Sometimes, they are quiet and like to keep to themselves, and other times you will find them teaching and sharing everything they know.  Just look locally to find them, they are out there.

Another place to find them is on the internet.  This internet that we have all become so dependent upon, is a wonderful tool, full of incredible amounts of information.  If you do a search for food storage, or emergency preparedness, you will find more information than what you can learn in a short amount of time.  In fact it can be a lifetime of study for some topics.  Here are a few links of some of my favorite sites to go - or some of my peers that I learn from:

This is just a small sampling of the information that is available, and the peers that you can find on the internet.  There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of sites now, that will share, teach and help you get on your way to being prepared and gathering in your food storage for your family.  If you look on the front page of this blog, you will find quite a few other links that I recommend as well.

I have also written a book about becoming prepared.  In it, I have listed my 52 weeks to preparedness, which I created for our church group many years ago.  I still use it today to help people start from nothing
Another of my books on Amazon
and build a storage, or start from where ever they are and build it up to something great.  You can purchase my book from my amazon site here at this link:  Davilyn Atwood on Amazon  and this link will also share with you the other books I have written on frugal living, herbal medicine and nutrition.

You can find a fair amount of information right here on this blog.  But if for some reason, you can't find what you need, please contact me and I will make sure you find it.  

Peers are all around us.  It seems like no matter what it is that we want to learn, there is someone close by who can teach us, all we have to do is open our eyes and use our mouths, and we will find what we need.  So for now, I say - Find Your Peers - find the ones you need to get you where you want to be going, and go along for the ride.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Year From Now.....

Have you completely lost your marbles?
Food storage is one of those things that you either love and do, or you avoid.  I can always tell when I am talking to someone about it, which side of the fence they are sitting on.  It really isn't that hard to tell.  Those that do it will love to talk about it and will tell you there stories, or ask questions.  Those that don't will sometimes keep quiet and look at you with this look, (you know they think you are totally nuts), or they will change the subject, or just turn and walk away.  There aren't very many in between fence sitters.

There are those who want to do it and some day they will get their food storage together, you know, when they have the space, or when they have the money, or the time, or whatever their reasons are.  To them I say this.....

It's not that far away
A year from now where will you be?  Will your situation be any different from now?  What if you start today with one little thing at a time?  What if you don't?  You can either start today and build up your food storage a little bit at a time, or you can be in the same spot one year from now, wishing that you had started today.  What will you do?

It really doesn't take very much to start.  Let me tell you of my story a little bit. 

I have grown up always gardening with my family.  When we were kids we used to have a huge garden and we would have major corn canning days, pea freezing, chicken butchering, etc.  We lived on a farm and we lived off of what we produced.  We canned or froze everything.  There was very little that we ate that was not home made.  So this way of life has never been new to me. 

But then of course as I grew up a bit, I fell into the trap for awhile that it was easier to just go to the store and buy stuff.  It was so much work to grow and preserve it all.  And it was.  It is a lot of work.

As a young married couple with little ones running around, again I realized that my parents were pretty smart,
yellow zucchini - mmmmm
and I always tried to grow a garden, whether it was in the ground or in pots.  I learned to shop the sales and do my own canning to save money.  I realized that money was something that was really hard to come by, and often we went without if I didn't produce or make it myself.  It was a hard life, but a good one.  Learning step by step and remembering the things I had been taught as a child.

There were many miracles along the journey that helped us.  We saw the blessings directly from trying our best to gather our food storage.  The windows of Heaven were definitely opened to us.  But it wasn't until about 10 years ago, that I really had the biggest change in my life regarding food storage.

LDS Temple in Cardston
We had gone to our church temple to seek for some guidance and help.  Prayer and fasting was a big part, because we really wanted some answers.  We stopped at a book store after, and I purchased a book about dehydrating food.  I really felt like I wanted to start doing more food storage again.  Ours had depleted pretty severely over the years and we hadn't really replenished it like we should have, but I didn't know where to even begin again.  So I had prayed.  I asked for help.  I promised that if Heavenly Father would help me get food to preserve, I would do it all.  I would whatever I could to get my food storage for my whole family.  I really wanted it. 

Miracles started to happen within minutes of me voicing that prayer.  I immediately received a phone call from a friend who had scads of apples that she wanted to give me!  I was shocked!  My prayer was immediately answered!  He cared and He really wanted me to do this!  I was encouraged and motivated like
none other.  I had work to do! 

The calls and opportunities to this day have never stopped.  I can not even explain to you how the windows of Heaven have been opened to us on a scale that I never imagined possible.  All I had to do was ask, and be willing to go and do.  Today I can say comfortably that my food storage will sustain us for quite some time.  Sure there are things that we may run out of, but there are basics that I have that will keep us alive for a long time.

So let me ask you again....... A year from now where will you be?  Will  you still be giving excuses as to why you can't do it, or will you be one year ahead, watching the miracles and blessings unfold before your eyes because you took that leap of faith and were obedient?  The choice is yours.  You can look at me, and others like me, and think we are crazy, or you can engage in conversation with us and learn and grow with us. 

A year from now where will you be?  Still struggling from paycheck to paycheck to put food on the table, or building up your own little store in your home? 

A year from now where will you be?  Still waiting for something miraculous to happen, or making miracles happen?

A year from now where will you be? Unprepared and hoping that disaster doesn't strike, or prepared and saying come what may....

A year from now where will you be? Being obedient to the counsel we have been given or still making excuses as to why you can't do it?

A year from now...................

Saturday, July 19, 2014

What is Your Biggest Threat?

Sometimes it is really hard for our family, friends and / or neighbors to buy into the fact that it is important to always be prepared.  I have had my fair share of people who think I like to cry doom and gloom.  I don't take it personally, because I know that I am at peace with what I have done and am doing, and I know that my family is prepared for most possibilities where I live.  So perhaps we cry doom and gloom, but at least we are not the ostrich with our heads in the sand.  I am afraid the ostrich's are going to get their butts kicked really hard one of these times, when they are not looking.

So how in the world can we get these kind of people to understand the importance of preparedness?  Some never will, so you can just walk away from those ones.  They will just drain your energies and try to bring you down.  For those that you might be able to persuade, you need your facts and reasons, so that you can show them why.  Start with your biggest threat to your area.  What is that?  What is the biggest natural or man made threat that you can think of, that could affect where you live?

For example: Where I live, flooding is a pretty major thing every year, but only in parts of the city.  I live up on a hill, so I don't worry about that, other than if the water treatment plant, down by the river gets flooded,
Personal Preparedness Portfolio 
then perhaps we may be without clean water for a time.  It has happened before.  This is a big threat, but not sure if it is at the top of the list.  Another threat, which is pretty realistic right now, wildfires.  We currently have wildfires burning through out the province, none that are too close to us, but that can change very quickly.  It is not uncommon for prairie fires to catch hold in the extreme hot weather, and for areas to be evacuated because of these fires.  So another threat, but not a huge one.  Sever weather in the winter or summer months are not uncommon here.  In the summer months, we have seen severe hail and even tornadoes, and in the winter, harsh winter storms happen often.

We have a very real threat very close to us, which is an army base.  It is run by the British, but it is a real threat for us.  They do some chemical testing and war games and stuff out there.  Not unrealistic to think that they could attract some unwanted attention if war were to get close to home.  We also have some chemical plants in our city that actively teach the city, schools and businesses to shelter in place in case of chemical spills or explosions.  Not too fun there.

So all of these things are very real threats, to us as a whole.  Trucker strikes, food shortages, etc, all are a part of it as well.  But lets think a little closer to home, what about our homes?  What if you or your spouse were to fall ill, or worse die?  What kind of situation would that leave you or your kids in?  What if your employment were to end?  What if your house flooded, or a fire destroyed it?  What if you got robbed?  I know some of these things sound a bit unrealistic and we often think it won't happen to us, but I can assure you, that I have seen every one of these things happen to people I personally know.  Some were prepared and weathered the storm not too bad, and others being unprepared, were devastated from their storms, whatever they may have been.

I think the way to help people see what they should be prepared for, is to get them to think of what their biggest threat is, and then in the process, they will also see all of the other threats that often go unseen, until they surface.  Start that conversation and see where it goes.  Don't try to overwhelm them with too many details or thoughts at one time.  Take it slow.  Start with the biggest threats and how would you prepare for them, and then go from there.

I think with all of the things that I listed, our biggest threat, is power outages due to severe weather storms.  I have seen people right here go pretty crazy when the power was out for less than 24 hours.  What if something wild happened that took out power for a week, or two or three weeks?  It isn't uncommon these days.  It could happen.  How would you cook?  How would you run your technology?  How would you bathe, flush, clean, phone, or function.  It would turn our world upside down, and we are prepared for such a scenario.  What about you?

I have written a book titled Your Personal Preparedness Portfolio, which will actually walk you through step by step of different scenarios, to help you get prepared, perhaps even for things which you may not have thought of.  It is a great workbook, to create a great plan for your family.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Gardening With the Future in Mind

Last year I really started thinking different about gardening.  Normally my gardens would include what fresh vegetables we might want through the summer months, and what produce I could grow to preserve and use for the winter.  I have always been blessed with great family and friends who have very large gardens / farms who have let me work for produce and such.  My dad has always had a large market garden / berry farm, but when he decided to sell out soon, I started to realize that I have wasted many of my years here, by not starting sooner to build up my own little yard into my own little survival garden.
My grape vine!  So loaded with grapes

Last year I planted cherry trees, Saskatoon bushes, raspberry bushes, some strawberry plants and currant bushes. We already have a really great set up of grape vines which all the juice and jelly that we could use in a season.  However if I had planted these 12 years ago when we moved into this home, I would have a really great little berry farm on my corner lot in the city.  Now I have to wait for a few years to really see the benefits of planting these.

Calendula, a herb that benefits the garden and your health.
I have also planted a few herbs that are perennials. Some of these are herbs that we use on a daily basis, so planting them will help us long term to become more self reliant.  Some herbs are annuals where I live, so they need to be planted each year.

A couple of years ago we built four raised beds, that have proven to be prolific in pretty much whatever I plant in them.  I love them!  They are so easy to weed and water, easy to plant, and easy to harvest the produce.  I have tried to used the square foot method of gardening in them a bit, and it seems to work great.  We have also built some metal sides to the raised beds, that way we can wrap them in plastic to make little 4 by 4 green houses.  It works like a charm.

Okay, so I have some perennial herbs planted, and lots of berry bushes and trees planted, but what other things can I get growing and how can I make better use of my yard to make my family more self reliant?

Beans growing like crazy in a raised bed
Probably one of the first things that you can do when planting a garden, is to try and buy garden seeds that are called "Heirloom" seeds.  These can grow produce for this year, and if you save the seeds, you can use them to grow produce next year and from year to year. The seeds that are called hybrid seeds, are genetically modified to produce a great, heavy yielding crop for the one year, and then you have to purchase seeds again for the next year.  They will not produce fruit from planting the seed the second year.  You can use a mixture of seeds in your garden, depending on what you want, but just make sure you keep notes on which seeds are which, that way you can save useful seeds, and not waste time on others.

It would be wise also to learn which native weeds are actually herbs and food.  Many of these most obnoxious weeds we have, could sustain life, and actually help heal many of our minor complaints.  Weeds like dandelion, plantain, burdock, mullein, and portulaca can be really noxious weeds, but are all really healthy for us to eat, and have some amazing healing properties.  These can be a great resource for our
Black currants and raspberries along the back fence
survival gardening, just learning where to find them and what to do with them.

Some good vegetables to plant would include: green or yellow beans, corn (if you have the space), tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, cucumbers and squash (if you have the space).  Some of these take up quite a bit of space, so you can either get the kinds that climb, or find another garden space that you can let them spread.  You can learn to plant climbers with stalk plants, like beans or peas with corn, and then plant squash around the base to fill in.

Mmmmm can't wait to eat these little babies!
You can plant things in pots too.  There are many years that I have not had enough garden space, so I grow things in pots.  Peppers, tomatoes, beans, carrots, and even zucchini can grow in pots.  Do a little bit of research because with careful attention, you can do all of your gardening in pots, if you are motivated enough.

This year, I am going to make a couple of more raised beds.  I am running out of room in my yard, so I may have to use up some of my lawn and turn it into garden space.  We can each do little things each year, that can have a huge benefit for the future years.  One day, one year at a time, we can become a little bit more self sufficient.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Prepare Your Ark

Prepare Your Ark 101

October 1998
President Hinckley said in conference “I am not predicting years of famine in the future. But I am suggesting the time has come to get your houses in order. There is a portent of stormy weather ahead to which we had better give heed.”

Since that time we have experienced:
  • recession
  • earthquakes
  • drought
  • widespread disease
  • rising unemployment
  • political unrest
  • war
  • economies collapsing
  • fires
  • tornadoes
  • hurricanes
  • horrible storms
  • terrorism
  • and any multitude of other problems

Seven years later in 2005 President Hinckley said in conference:

What we have experienced in the past was all foretold, and the end is not yet. Just as there have been calamities in the past, we expect more in the future. What do we do?

Someone has said it was not raining when Noah built the ark. But he built it, and the rains came.

The Lord has said, “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” D&C 38:30

We can so live that we can call upon the Lord for His protection and guidance. This is a first priority. We cannot expect His help if we are unwilling to keep His commandments. We can heed warnings.

Our people for three-quarters of a century have been counselled and encouraged to make such preparation as will assure survival should a calamity come.

We can set aside some water, basic food, medicine, and clothing to keep us warm. We ought to have a little money laid aside in case of a rainy day.

Now what I have said should not occasion a run on the grocery store or anything of that kind. I am saying nothing that has not been said for a very long time.”

We really need to build our own arks to help shelter and protect our families from the storms that the prophets have forseen in our future, just like Noah did in his day.

President Benson said:

The revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah.....Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not acquainted with the revelations of the Lord, r they do not believe them. Those who smugly think these calamities will not happen, that they somehow will be set aside because of the righteousness of the saints, are deceived and will rue the day they harbored such a delusion. You do not need to go into debt. Plan to build up your food supply just as you would a savings account. Save a little for storage each paycheck. Make your storage a part of your budget. We urge you to do this prayerfully and do it now. When will all these calamities strike? We do not know the exact time, but it appears it may be in the not too distant future. Those who are prepared now have the continuing blessings of early obedience, and they are ready. Noah built his ark before the flood came, and he and his family survived. Those who waited to act until after the flood began were too late.”

That is the WHY should I do it?

I have always believed in food storage. As a child it was a huge part of my life. My parents grew huge gardens and we put everything up in freezers or jars for the winter.

Not everyone is fortunate to have grown up already knowing and having faith in the blessings that come from food storage. I have also had my own witnesses of food storage through our own married life that has only strengthened my testimony of the blessings that come from being obedient.

So HOW do I go about starting?

First of all don't think – the whole big picture – all at once, and then get so overwhelmed that you don't even know where to begin, so you quit, close the book and never look at it again.

Think small chunks that are doable. I have several ways that I have helped people get their food storage off and going. There is a weekly buy plan which I did in first ward a couple of times. Many people followed this guideline and at the end of the 52 weeks felt so much better at the food they had managed to accumulate through the year.

You can plan to store food according to what kinds of things go on sale. Watch the flyers carefully and when you see a really good sale, commit yourself to purchasing several months worth of that item, because then you know you don't have to buy it again until it goes on sale next time. For example: flour was on sale a few weeks back at Co-op for 7.99 for a 10kg bag. That is a really good price, so I went and bought 10 of the bags. Now I know that I don't have to buy flour again for a year or so. When Pasta was on sale last week at WalMart for 1.25 for a 900g bag, that is a really good price, so I bought 25 bags of it and put it on my shelf downstairs.

It may seem like a fairly large purchase at the time for some, but once you have been doing it this way for awhile, you soon have enough of a store in your own home, that you really on buy things that are on sale, or fresh produce, meat and dairy items.

You can do it in baby steps, by first gathering a 72 hr kit, then gather a 3 month supply, and work your way up to a 1 year supply. Don't think you need it all tomorrow, unless you have excess amounts of cash on hand to just run out and buy it, but most of us can not do that.

There are several different kinds of food storage calculators online that you can access for free, if you want to go and plug in the details of your family and find out exactly what it recommends as food storage for your family for one year.

WHERE am I going to store it all?

This is another step that usually stops people in their tracks because they don't have the space to store much food. And definitely there are circumstances that they really don't have the space. However, most people I find who say this to me, are more worried about what people will think if they see a few buckets here and there, and if they have to convert their spare bedroom into a storage space, what will people think. It does cause a bit of clutter, if you don't keep up with it.

Convert a spare bedroom into a storage room if you have one. Add extra shelving to closets and pantries to make more room for storage. Make use of the space under your beds, behind television sets, in the top parts of closets, in the tops of cupboards that usually fills up with useless stuff anyways. I wish I could find the one quote that I really wanted to find. I think it was by Lorenzo Snow, and he said regarding not having space to store food. “If you could see what I see, you would stack your food in the middle of the living room and walk around it.” Meaning that you would find a place to store it because he knows what lies ahead for us, and he wouldn't be without it.

Now I am not suggesting that you just get into hoarding and stack it in the middle of your floor. I think that we can surely be a little more creative than that. I currently have my family room in the basement right now, converted into my storage room. Someday when my kids mostly move out and I get a free room again, it will go back into a bedroom. But for now I believe that it is important enough that I am willing to give up a room for it.

I have been through some really tough times, when Logan and I were first married, to the point where we literally had no food in our home. I remember crying myself to sleep one night because I didn't know where breakfast and lunch were going to come from the next day. I prayed and had faith, and prayers were answered in miraculous ways for me. I very clearly remember thanking Heavenly Father and committing to myself that never again would I allow my family to be in the situation of no food in our home, because I couldn't bear the thought of telling one of my children, again, or my grandchildren, sorry honey, I have no food to give you, even though I know you are hungry.

So what MOTIVATES you to want to do food storage?

If you don't know why you need it, you won't find the motivation to do it. It is one of those things that is just too easy to push aside and procrastinate. But I assure you, that some day in your life, you will be grateful for being obedient to the commandment to store food.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Water - Repost

I want to do a repost of this water article that I wrote quite some time ago.  It seems that there are so many struggling for fresh clean water today, or any water at all.  There is some good info here.
"You are the generation that must be prepared! You live in the midst of economic, political, and spiritual instability. When you see these signs, unmistakable evidences that His coming is nigh, be not troubled, but Stand in Holy Places and be not moved until the day of the Lord comes." - President Ezra Taft Benson
Without water, life would cease to exist.  Yet today, nearly one billion people, approximately 1 in 8, lack access to clean water.  More than twice that many don't have access to a toilet. 
Hopefully, (wishful thinking) we will never find ourselves in a similar situation to some that I will talk about this week.  I have decided to put together some information this week on the water crisis facing our world, in hopes to spur those of us who can prepare, to that hopefully we will not find ourselves in a water crisis situation.  Keep checking back for more updates as I find more info throughout the week or so.  The updates will be here at .  I have also found some great school curriculum to help teach us about water and the water crisis in our world, at Check it out if you are looking for ideas to teach your kids, yourself, or great Family Home Evening lessons on the importance of water.
Then take the time to ACT in whatever ways you can.....whether preparing your family......or helping someone else.  There are many charitable organizations out there that help to build wells in underdeveloping countries, and lots of opportunities like that, but even if we look around us, we will find that we have ample opportunities right in our own communities to help out.
A few water statistics (taken from 
1. Without food a person can live for weeks, but without water you expect to live only a few days. 
2. The daily requirement for sanitation, bathing, and cooking needs, as well as for assuring survival, is about 13.2 gallons per person.
3. More than 3.5 million people die each year from water-related disease; 85 percent are children, ages 0-14.  43% of the water related deaths in all ages, are due to diarrhea, which 90% of these are children under 5 years of age, mostly in developing countries .  Nearly all deaths, 98 percent, occur in the developing world.  Children in poor environments often carry 1000 parasitic worms in their bodies at any time.  1.4 million children die as a result of diarrhea each year.
4. 884 million people, lack access to safe water supplies.  Approximately one in eight people.  Lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills children at a rate equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing ever four hours.  The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.
5. Lack of sanitation is the world's biggest cause of infection.  At any given time, half of the world's hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from a water related disease.
6. Millions of women and children spend several hours each day collecting water from distant, often polluted sources.  This is time not spent working at an income-generating job, caring for family members, or attending school. 
5. An American/Canadian taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the typical person living in a developing country slum uses in a whole day.
5. 443 million school days are lost each year due to water related illness.,28804,1953379_1953494_1954584,00.html  Post earthquake water crisis in Haiti.  A good article that talks a small bit about the crisis that Haiti faces with water right now.

Water Storage And Purification Author Unknown

In Honduras 9,000 people died in the hurricane. In the 5 weeks following, 35,000 people died from bad water. A good water filter or chlorine to purify water can mean the difference in life or death. Without this, you only have a couple of days. Drinking "bad" water can be fatal and usually is fatal if the Medical system is down. Lack of water will kill in three days... and after 36 hours, your judgment is seriously impaired.
The Church has set guidelines to store one gallon/per person/per day for two weeks. This means you need to store 14 gallons for each member of your family. Folks, this is not enough water to meet the needs of most families in crisis. We use more water than that. The average person uses 72 gallons per day for all their needs including cooking, drinking, and cleaning.
You must also have the ability to purify water after your initial supply has been exhausted. This can be as simple as chlorine and a simple pool testing kit. This is inexpensive and very effective. Be sure to store your water supply in a cool dark area on pieces of wood (not directly on concrete or dirt) [see Issue #13]. Be sure to use the correct storage container. A good water container is airtight, breakage resistant (no glass), and is made of material that won't rust or affect flavor. Bacteria growth will be discouraged if the container is both airtight and opaque, as bacteria needs both air and light to grow. Algae is green, but isn't harmful, just unsightly.
Remember that water weighs approximately 8 lbs. per gallon. Do not store more than 15 gallons of water (about 125 lbs) in any container that is meant to be portable. Rotate water storage every year. The water does not go bad; it just gets flat and tastes bad. It can get green algae, and makes the water a "hard sell" to children and even some husbands. Green Kool-Aid will disguise it.
This storage is of course a band-aid on the big problem. After your storage is used up, you will need to replenish the supply. A good filter or chlorine to purify water can mean the difference in life or death.
Storage methods: 55 gallon plastic barrels are a great way to store water because they store the most water in the least space and require the least effort for rotation. You need a hose or siphon pump to get the water out, and these barrels are great to collect new water such as rainwater from your roof downspout. Use only brand new barrels. Used barrels will continue to leak out the product that was first put into those barrels.
Water purification methods: Clorox Bleach - Please do not use; unless you have nothing else! At best - it will cause diarrhea, vomiting, cramps, and on the worst side, bleeding ulcers. Your great, great grandmother might have had to use this product because it was all they had to make water pure, but this is not true today. The part of Clorox Bleach they sought was Chlorine. That is the part we want. But there are so many other ingredients in this product that hurt and do not heal.
Boiling - minimum of 10 minutes, and up to 20 minutes; so you must have stored a lot of fuel. It requires 20 minutes or more to kill giardia. Water tastes very flat after this kind of boiling. Very effective if done long enough. Needs a huge storage of fuel. Store flavoring for your water: tang, powder drink,etc.
Iodine - bad side effects such as thyroid storm in some women. It has a peculiar odor and taste that some people cannot tolerate. Never use for more than 72 hours at any one time. During a nuclear crisis, iodine may provide the added benefit of preventing the thyroid gland from radioactive disruption.
Purifiers - cost lots of money and are very slow. The filter should be a maximum size of .02 microns or it will be no good for giardia. A Porcelain type is used by the Red Cross to the Green Berets. This will take out types of Radiation (Alpha and Beta).
Chlorine - this is the way almost all cities do it - very cheap and it works - available at any spa & pool store. In the "Joint Chief of Staff Anti-Terrorism report of October 2002", put out at the start of the war, February 2003; this is what they report works and is what they recommend. You must buy a measuring kit as well. It is very slow acting, so time is needed to allow it to work. It needs about 24 hours to work and repeated if there is no measurable free-floating chlorine. To remove the chlorine taste, cover loosely, and let stand for another 24 hours and the chlorine evaporates. Be sure to measure the chlorine before you allow it to evaporate. If there is no measurable chlorine, there may still be bacteria in the water. Store flavoring for your water: tang, powdered drink, powdered milk, Kool-Aid --- Something!
Colloidal Silver - The Micro Silver Bullet of the past AND the future. History: In the milking industry they often use a silver milk pail on a warm day; the milk will not spoil quickly. Plagues in Europe: Wealthy families gave their children silver spoons to eat with and they did not catch the "Black Death". Pioneers used to put silver dollars in canteens and water containers. Pioneers used to suck on silver dollars when they felt ill. Proven that it works with water purification, as well and against many diseases.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Parable of Two Princesses

This story came to me in my inbox one day.  It is a great parable, one which we might all learn from.  Thanks Linda for the new way to look at Preparedness. 

The Parable of Two Princesses
By Linda Davis
Once there was a king that had two beautiful daughters. He loved them very much. He wanted to give
them a special gift. He called them both to him and told them that he had a gift for them, but in order to obtain this wonderful gift they had to complete several tasks that he would give to them. They would have to leave his kingdom going their separate ways in order to complete their tasks. Part of the requirements was that they had to go in disguise so no one would know they were actually princesses. They would have an allotted time to complete their tasks, although the amount of time was known only to the king. When the time was finished he would send the Crown Prince, their elder brother, to bring them home. He
told them that they could call him any time and that he would anxiously await their return. They were both very excited because they knew that the gift would be of great worth.

Princess Faithanna started out on her journey to the west and Princess Fearella went to the east, wishing each other well and a speedy return. As Princess Faithanna traveled she came to a kingdom called the Kingdom of Prepared. It was a beautiful place with lovely well-kept cottages and beautiful fields of golden grain. It seemed that every cottage had a lovely vegetable garden. She saw orchards with fruit trees of every kind. The people all seemed so happy. She decided this was a good place for her to work on her assigned tasks. She found a comfortable room in a boarding house that was reasonably priced. Father had given her a small amount of money for her journey. She began looking for work and found a job as an assistant in the nearby library. This was the ideal job. It would give her a chance to meet many of the people in the kingdom and learn about them and what was important in their lives.

In the library she found many wonderful books that taught her many useful skills. She also found a very
special book that taught many important things about life and how to be happy and safe. She realized that many of the people around her loved this special book. She met many people and made lots of friends. She began to see that the people had many good qualities in common. She made a list of the things that seemed to be important to them in their lives.

Meanwhile, Princess Fearella traveled until she came to the Kingdom of Unprepared. It was a lovely place with big expensive houses with perfectly manicured lawns and beautiful flower gardens, many with swimming pools and tennis courts. There were huge shopping malls where you could buy anything if you had enough money. She saw many expensively dressed people rushing here and there. They all seemed to be in a hurry to get somewhere. She smiled at some as she passed, but no one seemed to smile back.
She thought, “they are just busy and too deep in thought to notice me.” Princess Fearella decided she would stay in this place to do her assigned tasks. She had difficulty finding a place to stay that was
in her budget. She finally decided on an apartment. It was quite a bit more that she could afford with the money Father had given her, but it was so lovely and had the best of everything just like at home. She knew it was extravagant but she would get a job and she would be able to pay for it. Besides she had a whole month before she had to make the next payment.

Princess Fearella was able to find a job at a very classy clothing store in the nearby shopping mall. She
thought this would be a great place to get to know the people and learn what was important to them. She met many people and made friends and began to see things that were important in their lives. She made a list of the qualities that many of the people seemed to share.

Princess Faithanna’s List                          Princess Fearella’s List
Frugality                                                             Indulgence
Diligence                                                           Procrastination
Prayerfulness                                                    Pride
Modesty                                                             Vanity
Patience                                                             Instant Gratification
Obedience                                                          Slothfulness
Serving                                                               Self-centered
Prioritizing                                                        Too Busy
Hard Working                                                    Leisure Loving
Self-reliant                                                        Dependant

As Princess Faithanna studied the list she had made, she understood why the people were so happy. She knew that she wanted to develop all of these wonderful qualities and worked hard to become a part of the people in the Kingdom of Prepared.

Princess Faithanna called her Father often to tell him what she was learning and to ask his advice. The King could tell she was happy.

As Princess Fearella studied the list she had made, she realized that it might be good for her to find another place to complete her tasks and she would, tomorrow. Princess Fearella called home only occasionally because she was so busy as she explained to her Father. The King was concerned about his daughter but she always said, “don’t worry Father, all is well in the Kingdom of Unprepared; all is prosperous.”

Princess Fearella spent much of her money buying the beautiful, expensive clothing sold in the store where she worked. She also loved spending her spare time with her friends at the spa being pampered. She even had some plastic surgery and other beauty enhancing procedures. They were expensive but so worth it.

As the allotted time was drawing to an end, the king sent one of his servants to his daughters to tell them the Crown Prince would soon be coming. Princess Faithanna was excited. She felt such love for her father and elder brother. She could hardly wait to see them again. Princess Fearellla had a feeling of fear come over her at the servant’s message. She wasn’t ready yet. But then she realized that she still had time. “Soon” could be a long ways off. Tomorrow she really intended to leave this kingdom and make some changes.

Tomorrow came and Princess Faithanna saw the Crown Prince afar off and joyfully ran to meet him. He embraced her and put her royal robes upon her shoulders and her crown upon her head. What joy and love was felt that day.

Princess Fearella saw the Crown Prince afar off and was seized by an awful fear. She wasn’t ready. She thought she had more time. She had intended to leave the Kingdom of Unprepared, but now it was too late. With sorrow she realized that she had become just like the people of the Kingdom of Unprepared. In shame she hid from the presence of her Elder Brother.

“If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear”, (D&C 38:30).