Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Emergency Preparation: Beyond the food

Well, for this post, I am going to be liberally cutting, pasting, and linking. I will start out with a large portion of an e-mail that my best source (Mom) sent out recently, that underlines the importance of having the tools you need to work with the food and other items that you store. After all, food doesn't cook itself, and clothes don't come with self-mending mechanisms... :) The following is an excerpt from said e-mail:

"I know most of you will have most of these. However a large number of you may never have cooked EVERYTHING from scratch so may be missing some of them or not know where they are among the wedding and shower gifts that have never been unpacked! :) This is just a check list to get you thinking of what you need...ESPECIALLY THE NONELECTRIC ITEMS.
Anyone who can add to this list of "indispensible items" please let me know and I will update it!

Please make certain you have GOOD QUALITY basic tools for preparing food:

Two or three pots/pans with lids
At least one skillet, preferably two, one small and one large
Large soup pot with lid
Dutch oven
Baking/roasting pan
Bread pans
Cookie sheets and cake pans
Two or three mixing bowls of graduated sizes

Measuring spoons
Measuring cups
Egg beater for use if there is no electricity
Potato masher (Yes they still exist!)
Wire whip
Sturdy spoons for mixing heavy dough (wood or stainless steel)
Rolling pin

Sharp knives of several sizes Make at least one a serrated one for slicing soft veggies
Cutting board that can be easily cleaned and sanitized
Some type of chopper/ shredder and grater that is nonelectric (think nonelectric food processor)
Vegetable peeler ( I always have two so I can get help to make a tedious job go faster!)

Sewing/Mending Items These can be acquired very inexpensively a few at a time with the sales and/or discount coupons at the fabric stores (Be sure to use a coupon for the scissors)

At least a dozen assorted needles ...both sharps and ballpoints
100-300 pins Choose some sharps and some ball point
One or two large spools each of thread in black, navy, white, brown and cream colors (watch for sales)
One or more regular sized spools of favorite colors for family's clothing
Seam ripper (As ye sew, so shall ye rip) This will save a LOT of time
GOOD cloth scissors....hide them in your sewing supplies so no one will ever cut paper or plastic with them
Pin cushion.... so you don't lose the pins and needles
Sewing ruler with slider to make hemming easier You may have to shorten or lengthen pant legs or skirts.
A few buttons, snaps and /or hooks and eyes and maybe some velcro
Lots of safety pins in several sizes (my favorite emergency tool)
A few zippers in favorite colors to replace broken ones
Several packages of "universal fit" sewing machine needles...for yourself if you have a machine or for whomever you ask to help if you don't have your own machine.

Most experienced seamstresses will be happy to help or show you how to do something, especially if you have your own tools.

Thank you for preparing. "

End of e-mail excerpt.

I would welcome any suggestions in the comments--and hey, I'm pretty sure my best source reads my blog :), so if you have any input on basics like this, it will probably be shared far and wide.

My first priority is to get the food supplies in stock, and then I try to figure out ways to use them. If you have read my blog in the past, you will likely have noticed that I have had varying success with how these little projects turn out. However, having good tools to do the job makes it easier, and practice can only improve my skills. My latest purchase? A new wire whisk has been ordered, and will hopefully be a little more sturdy than previous utensils of that nature that I have owned.

Riverwalker, over at Stealth Survival, recently had a post on food peelers, and pointed out that if you have a good peeler, you eliminate a lot of food waste. I also appreciated his post, Eating--A Necessary Adventure, where he asks crucial questions about what we will do if our food supply is cut off for whatever reason. Things to think about and prepare for--hopefully these things won't happen, but it's always good to have a plan B. Or to reconfigure and/or supplement our plan A...

Finally, I like this idea, found over at Today While the Sun Shines, taken from the "Weekly Wisdom #8" section:

" Timely Tuesday – Today is a day to think and make a list. What I am going to do today is write a list of all of the skills I believe my children will need in the future. And then attempt to check off that list as I teach them. I believe that our days of "normal" education are no longer adequate for the lives our children will live. They need to have real life skills, survival skills, back to basic type skills, as well as education, high tech skills, and low tech skills. Skills to deal with economic trials, and leadership skills. I do not like to knock the public school systems, but the reality is, they don't teach all of these kinds of things to our children, and we as parents have that responsibility to do so. So today make that list, think into the future of your kids / grandchildren and try to imagine what they may need to know, (I know that is a tough one) and then get to work teaching. Make use of those family home evenings, and any teaching moment. Teaching something is also the best way to really learn it."

I love this idea, because you have to know what you're doing with and/or how to supplement your supplies, (at least you should know :) and why not enlist your children to help you by teaching them ? And if you are just learning, (in many cases, like me) why not have more people learning at the same time? I definitely need to make a list of this nature--and then work on it.

Food storage will be better used if we try to use efficiency in our efforts. We can have more efficiency if we use the appropriate tools. We will be more efficient in taking care of our needs food-wise if we learn the necessary skills. And we can be more efficient if we work together. Food storage goes beyond just stockpiling the food, and I need to work on my efficiency. It'll likely be a lot of work, but in the end, if our food supply is better for us, lasts longer, and can be perpetuated, what's not to like?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sometimes it's what they don't tell you--back to the labels

Yes, I already posted about labels this week. That was before I saw this article, in which are detailed some things that don't show up on the labels of your food, but do show up in the food itself. There is even a slide show, should you choose to click on it at the conclusion of the article, to further enhance your learning experience. I have to warn you, it's not exactly good news.

The two aspects that really stood out to me, and which might help you decide whether you want to read the entire article or not (believe me, there's more), were the following quotations taken directly from it:

--"When you dig into a strawberry Yoplait yogurt, take a moment to contemplate where the beautiful pink color comes from. Strawberries? Think again. It comes from crushed bugs. Specifically, from the female cochineal beetles and their eggs."

--"A walk down the grocery aisle for processed food is an eye opener—the bacon and ham get their red tint from sodium ascorbate, an antioxidant and color stabilizer, and the Betty Crocker icing gets its bright white color not from natural cream and egg whites but from titanium dioxide, a mineral that is also used in house paints."

It could be argued that the bugs are extra protein, but I see little benefit in the mineral used in house paints. Sometimes it is hard to know what we are eating when we eat processed food. I eat my fair share of it, but the more I learn, the more I would like to be more self-sufficient in terms of the food that I eat. If I grow/raise it I know exactly where it's been and what has or has not been added before it reaches the table. Why am I posting about this? Well, I've heard something to the effect that education is finding out what you didn't know you didn't know. Now I know a little more, and wonder what else I have no idea about. I also just figure that even if a little extra insect in your food doesn't bother you, you at least have the right to know that it's there...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It can be scary when a door gets closed...

It can be scary when a door gets closed. It can be even scarier when multiple doors of opportunity get closed, as is happening in the business world as stores shut down due to the economy. Isn't there a saying about when a door closes, open a window? That's why I think that it's important that we have a window to open, even (and maybe especially) if it's in our own home in the form of the things we have stored in the way of emergency preparedness supplies. If we already own what we need and have it available in our storage space, we have a lot less to worry about in terms of which stores stay open, and which are forced to close.

I have heard about stores closing, but I have thought more about it since reading this post on the Cordite Country website while I was blog-hopping. When I saw on their list that JC Penney was closing some stores after January, I went out searching to find out more about what was going on with other specific companies as a result of everything that is going on with the economy. The article that I found here didn't mention JC Penney, but there are still a few names of companies that are having problems that are familiar to me on it. There is a link to the full article on that page, and the news isn't good (and I found the accompanying photos to be rather depressing as well).

None of the companies mentioned here probably have as great as an impact on my shopping habits as does JC Penney, but it does bother me that Safeway is having problems--it's a food chain. That and the newspaper group mentioned--I know that we have the internet, but it would be scary to have limited access to the press because of economics, especially if a non-biased source runs out of money, and a press source with a biased agenda is the only one available. With limited sources, I would think that it would be difficult to determine which was which.

So that's the bad news. The good news is that at the time that I am writing this, the companies mentioned are only struggling, not completely gone. If I find out that the JC Penney closures extend to my community, I will probably stock up on children's clothes before my location closes, if I have the means and opportunity. If you find that one of the companies listed has things that you need to have in stock, it would probably be wise to stock up before it's too late. My opinion? I bet you can't guess :), but I say get some food in before it becomes less available. Eating never goes out of style, and if we plan wisely, we can get what we need while we still have so many choices. You may have noticed a theme that runs through my blog-- I love to have choices. That holds true for food. It holds true for clothes and other basic needs. I plan to exercise my choices while I still have some, and I hope that you will as well.

We are pretty frugal around here--to give you an example, we are currently looking for a vehicle to replace our 18-year-old car, that we bought used, and which recently demonstrated attributes that will be too expensive for us to repair and still be able to justify keeping it. We usually try to "wear things out." I doubt that that many stores depend on our constant patronage to raise their revenue. But we do need the basics plus we like to have some non-essentials, and hopefully we will be able to get ourselves well-prepared before even harder times come. You may have noticed that my current poll is centered on the problem of store closures, and I will tell you what I think, at least in part. The stores closing bother me--yes, because of the restriction of choices, but more because it means that more people will find themselves unemployed and struggling. To those who have found themselves more directly involved in the problems of the "doors closing", whether due to employment or lack of resources in your area, I hope that things get better for you soon, and that you have enough of a window in terms of preparedness to make your life easier. For those of us who can help, I certainly hope that we will where we can. The more we prepare ourselves, the bigger the window we create, and hopefully, the greater the opportunity to share...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's worth it to read the label...

One of my children is involved with a group that is putting together Thanksgiving boxes, and was asked to bring cans of fruit cocktail to include in said boxes. When I was shopping I picked up the requested donation, but what was available differed considerably in content and price.

Seems like an easy thing, right? Just pick up the cans and throw them in the cart. Since I wasn't thinking about blogging about it, I didn't take copious notes, but I will say what I saw by memory, which is hopefully mostly accurate. :) Here is what I remember:

1) The prices were strikingly different. The less expensive of the brands that I seriously considered was, I think, $.72, while the more expensive brand was $1.28. I didn't check the ounces, but the cans looked about the same size. (Perhaps this should teach me to look at everything as a potential blogging post... :)

2) Some of the cans (not necessarily the brands mentioned above) had labels that indicated that the fruit was sweetened with artificial sweetener. The more expensive brand mentioned above (I'll cut the suspense and note here that this is the one I ended up buying, hence I have more details on it) is labeled, "mixed fruit in 100% real fruit juice from concentrate", with an additional proclamation of "same nutrients as fresh".

3) The thing that I think finalized my purchasing choice (since I don't think the artificial sweetener was in the less expensive product mentioned above) was the fact that one of the brands, in reading the ingredient label, said that it had "pineapple sectors". Yeah, I'm pretty sure that that is correct, because I think I read the label at least twice and was trying to figure out exactly what that meant. In an effort to make sure that I did not appear totally foolish in writing this post, I looked up this definition at dictionary.com to make sure "sectors" wasn't something commonly used in connection with pineapple that I just happened to never have heard of. Nope. I was thinking maybe it was a typo and they meant "sections", but who knows? Since I didn't, it did not find its way into my basket.

Sure, I thought about the fact that the two brands under consideration were drastically different in price. I thought about the fact that whoever is going to receive the boxes wouldn't know about the more expensive alternative. But what I thought about most was what I would be willing to eat myself. So I got what looks like the better quality product. (Watch, someone will leave me a comment about how the pineapple "sectors" are actually the best part of the fruit, and I will be mistaken once again...)

Reading labels (and worrying about the quality of the food) is not something I reserve only for Thanksgiving boxes. I actually read the labels on almost (if not) everything, that I buy, and what I have found is that sometimes you find things that you would never expect in the food that you're buying. Many times that has caused me to rethink the purchase--read: I don't end up buying it. That has happened to me with canned soup, frozen foods, etc., and most recently with the cans of fruit cocktail.

If you have someone in the group that you are responsible for that is allergic to certain foods, you probably do this regularly, anyway, but it can never hurt to know exactly what you are feeding/storing/giving when you are buying processed food. For instance, when I update my 72-hour kits (which I was planning to do last month) I will probably include fruit snacks in the mix. I will probably also check to see how much vitamin C there is per serving, because it can vary greatly. If I get more vitamin C in the fruit snacks, it helps me to feel better about the artificial flavors/colors/whatever that are part of the whole package. Yeah, I know they're in there. The thing is, emergency situation food is not always ideal, but hopefully you can include healthier things if you plan ahead, and are not trying to get whatever is available at the last minute.

The real bummer is that I know that we are due to buy more fruit for our storage, and I find that the stuff that I like in terms of fruit cocktail is pretty expensive, at least comparatively speaking. We may have to go with other varieties of canned fruit to get the most food for our food storage dollar, but hopefully there won't be anything in the chosen products that makes me think, "What's that, again?" It may not "pay" to read the label, but in my opinion, it certainly is worth it...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Don't forget those lentils...

You may recall that lentils is one of the basics listed for a year supply of survival food--you can see in this post that the amount listed for one person is 2 lbs. I decided that I needed to find out how to use lentils, so when I saw this recipe over at The Barber Bunch, I decided to give it a try. The night we had the lentil stew I also made the tuna fish sandwich recipe mentioned in an earlier post.

The biggest difference that I made in this recipe is that I used a can of tomatoes that already had garlic and onions in it. I didn't use the optional basil. That made the main ingredients the partial bag of lentils I used and the can of tomatoes, so pretty easy, with very few ingredients. It was received with different levels of enthusiasm--one child really liked it and called for a vote by "thumbs up." We didn't get any "thumbs down," but among the family members who voted there were "sideways thumbs" and only "one thumb up" reactions. I can work with that--the rice and beans took a little getting used to as well. There was a hefty snack of frozen pizza later that evening--we'll see what happens next time we have it. Personally, I liked it. I would maybe add more garlic and onions if I use the same kind of tomatoes the next time, but the fewer things added, the more I like it as a food storage item.

On the pumpkin front, turns out that we ended up with 10 cups total of pumpkin puree from our first pumpkin--the cup we used in the pumpkin soup plus the 9 cups we now have in the freezer. Good times. :) Now to try another recipe with it....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The importance of perpetuation

I don't think there would be much that I would like better in terms of food storage than a year's supply worth of basically ready-to-eat meals in the form of boxes, cans, and mres with far-off expiration dates and directions that included little more than to add water and heat. Don't get me wrong--I do have some canned food, some boxed food, and some mres, but not enough to last for a year. And even if I did have that much, I would see some things wrong with the equation, such as:

1) When/if I have to rely solely on my food storage, if I have decided to store only food with the above description, the only thing that I will be able to do is to watch my food storage supply go down, down, down. That would be fine if the emergency situation that dictated such use was guaranteed to last for only a year, followed by the guarantee that I would then be able to replenish my supplies again. In life there are no such guarantees--so watching my food storage go down without the ability to build it up again would cause me major stress. (Perhaps you have gathered by reading my blog that I can be a bit of a worrier.... :)

2)Eating only processed foods can't be the healthiest thing in the world for you anyway. I'm no nutritionist, but from what I understand, fresh fruit and vegetables and food made from scratch using your staples would most likely lead to better health in the long run. So convenience is nice, but good health trumps convenience by a mile.

So, I've been trying to learn/do things that will allow me to perpetuate my storage, because I would like it to last and last and last.... and one of those things is to grow things in my garden. You can't always rely on the weather, however, and the cold weather in our area this year caused some real damage to our crops. Combine that with my "worry" factor, and you'll see why I was unable to use my pumpkins this year for food. (Oh, I hated to write that--you have noooo idea how much I have not looked forward to writing that.) I've only used them for decoration before, and this year, really only "most likely", pictured in previous posts, got to be a somewhat regular hue of orange, with relatively little other damage. I was afraid to use the pumpkins that had green rinds, so those were out. Then there were some bug marks (I assume) that marred some of the others, and I didn't know what was safe and what was not. So I went to plan B.

On Saturday I went to the local national chainstore and purchased 3 pumpkins at $1.00/apiece, guesstimated by my husband to weigh 10-15 lbs. each. Then last night, I went back to this post on Johnson Family Farm, (I hope they don't mind that I keep linking to them--their step-by-step directions with pictures was what motivated me to go buy the pumpkins in the first place) and followed the directions for pumpkin puree. I was so excited to get started that I didn't reread it before we started, and I forgot to put water in with the pumpkin, so after we started doing that it went much smoother. What I didn't expect was how much time it took --it was easy, just time-consuming. We had the children help clean out the seeds, etc., (except for one, who apparently cannot stand the smell of raw pumpkin) and then started the rounds in the microwave. My husband actually did most of it, as it cut into bedtime and everything else, but in the end we did a quick pumpkin soup with a cup of the puree and have a large bag of pumpkin puree in the refrigerator. We didn't want to freeze it until we figured out a couple of recipes that we could use it with, and then freeze it in appropriate amounts to use later. So, if you have easy recipes that you're willing to share, please do... :) The pumpkin soup we made was ok, but kind of sweet, and we didn't think it would be a winner with the kids, so we probably won't repeat that one.

Ok, so my attempt to perpetuate my food storage by growing my own food was kind of stymied this year. If it had been a real emergency, I would have found out just how much of those pumpkins I really would use. So what is my (somewhat rambling) point? I need to be able to renew and perpetuate my food storage, not just use it up. I have non-hybrid seeds in storage, and I plan to increase the size of my garden next year. Canned food, boxed food, and mres are wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, but they are one-time-use products. Emergency situations can be of unforeseen duration, so we all need a plan B when it comes to making sure that our food storage will last. Gardening is one way to supplement/perpetuate our food storage so that it will go on and on and on.... Growing, harvesting, and preparing it is a lot more work than the other types of food storage, but the effort is worth it.

One pumpkin down, two to go. Special thanks to the folks at Johnson Family Farm for directions even I wouldn't worry about.... :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Opinion and some polls

I received a comment on my last post concerning canned butter from EJ, who sent this link, which links to information against canning butter. I have only read and/or heard positive things about canning butter besides this, so I leave it to you and your opinion, as always, to decide what is best for you and your family. Thanks to EJ for the comment and link.

Thanks to everyone who answers my poll questions, as always. Thought you might find the following to be of interest:

When it comes to canned foods like soup, pasta, etc. is your family picky about the brand that they will eat, so that you have to be picky about what you store?

Yes 39%
No 30%
Sometimes 30%

This leaves me thinking that if your family members are picky now, (which mine sometimes are) it will only be intensified if they are unhappy and in the middle of an emergency situation. Something is better than nothing, but if you can get your choice at an affordable price now, there will be less to worry about later... :)

Then there was this poll:

Did you plant anything in your garden that you will use for food storage for the first time (like I will try with my pumpkins) this year?

Yes 87%
No 12%

After I posted the poll I realized that some people might take marking no as a negative, but I know some people have been using everything in their garden in the most efficient way possible for years, so for them to mark no just shows that they are miles ahead of me, in a good way.... :)

Sometimes my poll questions might seem odd, but lots of times they are generated by something I have been thinking about for awhile. Like this week's question about rising prices in the various food departments--we don't eat all that much meat, but we do like to buy ground turkey at the local national chainstore. We buy it in 3 lb packages, brown it, and freeze it to use as needed. It has been $6.54 for a long time now, but even when I am not buying it, I will check it, so I can gauge what's going on with the economy. I also buy ham slices that are $2.98/package now, and they have gone up $.10 since I started checking, as have some of the dried beans I buy, which are now $.88/package. Not a big change there. The places I feel most squeezed are probably the cereal aisle and the toilet paper aisle in the store. I have mentioned before that cheese gives me sticker shock. I appreciate your input, because even though I don't know exactly where you are, I like to know if it's the same all over...

I always appreciate your poll participation and your comments. I think a lot of times I learn more information in the comments than I put out in the posts..... :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's about the basics

I got a link to this article the other day, in an e-mail entitled, "how sad." It talks about "Mother's Cookies", which are, if you remember, those little circus animal cookies that were frosted in either pink or white frosting (usually) and covered with fun little sprinkles. We have (very) occasionally eaten these cookies as a special treat, (our rarity of purchase probably didn't do much for their sales numbers) and they were good. It is a little sad on that level. What bothered me more was why they won't be on the shelves anymore.

Apparently, the company went out of business in October, and in a paragraph detailing the reasons for the closure, you can find this statement:

"They blamed a variety of economic factors, including the rising costs of fuel, flour, butter and sugar."

"Mother's Cookies" may not be a staple in your dietary menu. However, flour, butter, and sugar are needed for a lot of basic food items, and their prices appear to be going nowhere but up. You can make your own food, even if you can't make items as fancy as said cookies, if you have the basics. The more you have in storage now, the more you can avoid higher prices later. Fortunately, the price of fuel has gone down (yay!) but remember what they say about "sticky prices" in the food markets.

Ok, so you decide that you are going to get the basics, if you haven't already. Flour is good, and will last awhile, but not as long as wheat will. If you want even longer term storage and the ability to make your own flour, get some wheat and a grinder into your food storage supplies. I have hand grinders that I need to get using, but they are there when I need them, and that is the first step. It seems like almost every time I write something in this blog, I remember something that I should already be doing... :)

Third on their list of reasons for closing in the cited quote is butter. Over at Johnson Family Farm they have recently canned butter, and have a link to another site for directions on how to do it yourself. That. is. cool. Who would have thought of canned butter? Storing your butter without need for refrigeration will come in handy, and it will apparently last for quite awhile. An added plus for me at this point is there is not a huge amount of equipment needed (I still need to get a pressure cooker one of these times--but one is not needed to do this), so it looks pretty straightforward. Check it out if it interests you--I'm pretty excited to know that this method is so simple and efficient.

And this reminded me personally that I haven't done so well in the storing of sugar department. I do have some honey, however, which to my understanding pretty much will last forever. Sugar is found in a lot of recipes, and hey, let's be honest, some of the things that make people the happiest in terms of food are sweet. Who doesn't want a little more happiness when you have to deal with emergency conditions?

I do find it sad that "Mother's Cookies" had to close down. No one really "needs" the cookies per se, but they were fun and tasty. I'm sure that some people lost employment as a result of this business decision. The fact that they name the cost of such basics as flour, butter, and sugar as an important factor in their decision to close should probably send off warning bells to us all. Please get the basics into your food storage as soon as you can do so in a financially responsible way. You don't have to go into debt to get prepared, but if you do what you can little by little, it will add up. To borrow the title of the e-mail, "how sad" it will be if we find ourselves without the basics, and nothing to feed ourselves and our families in an emergency situation, when we have the opportunity to prepare ourselves now. It's a continual process for me, and I keep reminding myself that every little bit counts...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Getting prepared in more ways than one

When my husband carved the pumpkins, I was not at home to salvage the seeds, so roasting them will have to come when we cut open our next pumpkin. However, I saw this great story entitled, "How to Start a House Fire" , over at Ramblings and Randomness about a little adventure that LJ had when cooking their pumpkin seeds. She has very kindly allowed me to reprint it here:

1. Carve a pumpkin.
2. Wash and drain the pumpkin seeds.
3. Spread the seeds out on a cookie sheet.
4. Salt/pepper the seeds.
5. Stick the cookie sheet in the oven, set the timer for 15 minutes, set the heat on Broil, and walk away.
6. Return after 15 minutes. Smell smoke.
7. Open the oven. Briefly admire the flames licking the stove top. Close the oven.
8. Look for baking powder. (You won't find any handy.)
9. Try to sound nonchalant as you yell, "Honey?" into the other room. "I accidentally started a fire in the oven."
10. Admire how fast your husband runs from the bedroom into the kitchen. When he appears confused as to where the fire is, exactly, remind him that you shut it up in the oven (so it wouldn't get out).
11. Scurry to find your husband some baking powder, but come back 45 seconds later to see that he put another cookie sheet on top of the burning inferno and smothered it.
12. Suddenly recall all your kitchen fire training, at your husband's reminding. Feel sheepish.
13. Watch your husband guffaw until he's wiping tears of mirth from his eyes.
14. Join in the laugh. At least the house got a good airing.

I love this story for a multitude of reasons:

1. It's well-written.
2. These people are making good use of their produce.
3. It reminds everyone about kitchen safety. Personally, I have a fire extinguisher, but a) I don't know how old it is, and b)having never used it, I should really look at it and figure it out before I need to. Panic mode is not my best time for learning new concepts.
4. I think that the ultimate solution to put out the fire was brilliant--wouldn't have thought about it myself, but I would now, if necessary.
5. Finding humor in a situation sure beats crying about it.

So, in terms of being prepared in more ways than one, I guess my conclusion is that you need to prepare to use what you have in the best ways possible, but also be prepared for emergencies that arise when something goes wrong. Do you know how to take care of emergency situations in the kitchen? Just something to think about.

Special thanks to LJ and her husband, Jimmy, for sharing their story. You will notice that they had different options for dealing with an emergency situation, and when one didn't work out, the other did. The more you plan and prepare ahead, the more options you have, and I, for one, love having choices.... :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Think ahead, plan ahead

I got a list of "funny sayings" in my e-mail inbox the other day, and one of them read like this:


It's funny in a way, but really, it makes more sense than it promotes humor. For example, (and I heard about an example like this the other day, so the idea is not original to me) if in the future, the rich are taxed more heavily, it might seem to make sense that the mess is landing mostly on them--hey, they are the ones pulling more out of their pockets, right? However, if one of the "rich" is your landlord/landlady, do you really think that he/she will pull that money out of his/her own pocket? He/she will make up for it by raising your rent. It will be a lot easier for him or her to get money by raising your rent than it will be for you to ask for the same amount monthly from your employer. Your employer, who may also be considered one of "the rich", may have to cut your hours so that the money taken from higher taxes, that is supposedly coming out of your employer's pocket, is actually coming out of yours. So you may have a higher rent and shorter hours, and then if you can't make the rent you may have to move somewhere else, with all the costs that moving incurs--- new deposit, first and last month, etc. Thus, the saying above rings true, but at whose expense? Things may not always be like they originally appear.

No, I am not trying to be political, I am just pointing out another way that being prepared with food storage may prove vital in the future. As my dad reminded me, there's that old saying, something like, nothing's sure but death and taxes. If you can make do on what you store today (and I know that it may be harder to store food if you are renting due to space, or other reasons) and use what would have been grocery money to pay the rent, you may be able to ride out a situation like the one above without having to move. If you own your home and your hours or position get cut due to the same kind of scenario, food storage may also help you get by until you find more employment. Life is not always fair, but if you prepare, it may be easier.

Think ahead, plan ahead. Whatever your situation is, there is still time to prepare. Every little bit counts...