Thursday, April 30, 2009

Been reading instead--and making muffins

Seeing as how I am not a professional in my adventures with food storage, and especially not when it comes to the whole flu (possible) pandemic, I have been reading about it and/or how to deal with it instead. Some of the things I have been looking at that you might consider informative/interesting/helpful:

--The information on Pandemic Flu Prevention and associated pages located at Provident Living.

--3 Reasons to Pay Attention to the Swine Flu, and associated posts over at Preparedness Pro.

--The most recent H1N1 Update and associated posts over at

Yeah, when I don't know something, I try to find people who do know--hope none of us end up with the flu, but prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.... :)

And now, back to more regularly scheduled food storage stuff.....

Last Friday, I tried the French Breakfast Puffs over at The Pioneer Woman. I just made them as muffins, (though one day I might do the final steps of rolling them in the butter and cinnamon sugar that are probably what qualifies them as "puffs") and they were enjoyed by all. Ahhh, another variation of bread in the old food storage files....always a good thing! :)

Other random activities taking place around here, in no particular order: boiling toothbrushes, using wet wipes in the car more frequently, hounding children to wash their hands (which they do anyway, but what's a (possible) flu pandemic without additional interrogation from Mom?) and just generally trying to get more prepared for anything that might happen....hope all is well with you and yours!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Recommended Amounts

I went and searched , a Homeland Security Website, to see what the recommended amount of storage is for emergencies. You can find their food supply list here. I looked at it awhile ago, and thought that I remembered that the recommended amount of storage was for 3 months, but according to the information linked, the suggestion is 3 days. This does not exactly mesh with the information that I somehow have gathered as an impression while reading about emergency quarantines, which is that emergency quarantines last 3 months. Perhaps I just mixed myself up with the overabundance of any case, nothing like an official link to clear up confusion. There are good ideas listed.

Thought you'd like to know--and hope you are prepared/preparing for any emergencies with things that you would need under difficult circumstances. One such possible emergency is a potential flu pandemic, which is all over the news. Also, of course, I hope that you/I/we won't need any such supplies for emergency purposes....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Where's the beef?

First, thanks to whomever answered my poll question while I was writing this post. I had to delete the poll because I forgot to let everyone choose multiple answers, and it wouldn't let me add that option after someone answered. I'm aware that many of you have multiple skills in this area. I just didn't realize how fast you were at answering polls... :) I hope whoever answered will come back and answer again....sorry to start over!

I mentioned this in a semi-buried type of way in my last post, but I don't think I would be very good at butchering and then eating something that I had raised. Hard to say for absolute certain, seeing as how I've never done it before, but having known myself for nigh these many years, I'm pretty sure--yeah, actually really sure-- that I would find it difficult to harvest meat.

That said, I also realize that in a true emergency situation, that I would still need protein if I wanted, along with everyone else that I was responsible for, to remain healthy. My largest protein storage item at this point is good old rice and beans. Together they make a complete protein. I also have a few cans of meat around--Spam, tuna, etc.--for variety. But what if it comes to the point that I need to hunt and/or fish for a protein source?

So I have a lot to learn, both in skills to hunt and capture food, and then how to harvest the resulting meat in such a way that it does good instead of harm when it's consumed. I may not learn absolutely everything I need to know, because some things are better learned through hands-on experience, but I should probably start picking up some information at the local library, and putting what I need in the good old emergency notebook...

I know that many people are ahead of me in this area, and already not only have these skills, but practice them regularly. Not to make me feel behind, my poll question concerns meat sources this week, and who knows? Maybe it will help someone realize how much they already know that will help them and theirs in an emergency situation. How about you? Got protein?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fresh eggs? Off the menu for you...

Well, with a little encouragement through example and comments by way of Jacobus Family Blogsite , where there are chickens, I finally called up the city clerk to ask about regulations on having chickens where I live. Why the city clerk? Quite frankly, I didn't know who else to call....

The conversation went roughly like this: ( not verbatim, but the city clerk was very nice... )

Me: Hi, I don't know who to ask about this, but I was wondering what the rules are about having chickens here.

City Clerk: They aren't allowed. Do you need a statute for that?

Me: No. How about outside the city limits?

City Clerk: Outside the city limits is fine.

Me: Ok, thank you.

City Clerk: Polite phone ending.

The end.

I found it interesting that the city clerk offered a statute on that--wonder if other people have asked the question and gotten all upset about it and told the clerk to prove that they weren't legally allowed to harbor the 150 chicks that they had pre-ordered and were due in an overnight express... or if there have been times that people felt that it was "their yard, their rules" and proceeded to have a lengthy and heated discussion about the fact that they should be able to do as they pleased in on their own private property... or if some people, upon learning that their plans to live as a world-famous poultry producer were foiled forever, proceeded to run around like a chicken with their head cut off.... (sorry, just amusing myself with that one... )

Well, you can laugh or you can cry, as they say, hence the preceding paragraph. It is seriously disappointing to me that chickens aren't allowed, although I understand that I would have a lot to learn before bringing in the chicks, even if that were an option at this time. I wanted the chickens mostly for their eggs, because (and this is probably just me) I pretty much would have a hard time trying to figure out how to butcher and harvest the meat of something that I raised. You do what you have to do, though. The whole meat-harvesting issue is one of the things that makes it obvious that I have to have at least one other protein source in mind when it comes to food storage... (yay rice and beans!)

Word of warning to the city clerk--you might get a call about the statutes on rabbits one of these days...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

One of those good news, bad news posts

Found this post over at, and found that there is the age-old mixed news situation that seems to come up so often. Turns out, according to this informational post, that:

--The good news is: More people are preparing. In the post, a survey by Homeland Security is quoted, part of which reads:

"Although there is still a long way to go before all Americans are adequately prepared for emergencies, there have been indications of progress: From 2005 to 2008, the proportion of Americans who said they have taken any steps to prepare rose 13 points, from 45 percent to 58 percent. There were also several notable increases in key preparedness behaviors among American households nationwide:

Put together an emergency kit: 44 percent in 2004 to 53 percent in 2008.

Created a family emergency plan: 32 percent in 2004 to 40 percent in 2008."

---The bad news is: There is a rise in the number of things to prepare for. The author of the post has this to say about recent disaster statistics:

"From 1953 until 1995 disaster declaration in the United States remained fairly consistent. The greatest number occured in 1993, there were 58. Then in 1996 everything changed. In 1996 there were 159 declared disasters, 1997(47), 1998 (127), 1999 (110), 2000 (113), 2001 (100), 2002 (120), 2003 (123), 2004 (118), 2005 (155), 2006 (144), 2007 (136) and 2008 (143). As you can see disasters really have increased. These statistics do not even include the disasters caused by the economy or terrorism. "

I would highly recommend reading the post in its entirety. I'm just glad that the number of people preparing is on the rise--I always figure that we could all use all the good news that we can get. And hey, if there are more people prepared, hopefully there will be less devastating consequences even if there are more disasters coming along. In any case, the more we prepare, in terms of food storage and emergency supplies, the better off we'll be....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

(Less) food for thought

Well, I was going to write about how nice the weather was getting--warmer, etc.--and it ended up snowing today. So what I started (all three or four sentences of it :) has been deleted, and here's what will hopefully post before the weather changes again....

We are planning on expanding our garden space, and it sounds like it will probably come in handy, considering the news in this article, which details the decrease in crops taking place due to various reasons. Here's a small portion of said article (I hope you will read it in full--sobering stuff):

"Alarm bells are starting to ring about another food crisis this summer. Last week's acreage report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that 7 million fewer acres were being planted for all crops. This came after the USDA's January report that noted that winter wheat acreage was down 7 percent. "

Yeah, not good news. The more we are able to plant for ourselves, the better the circumstances for everyone, because the more there will be to go around.

If you have gardening expertise (as so many of my commenters have) please consider sharing your information with the people running your state site at the American Preppers Network. I'm sure that any information that specifically applies to your best crops/climate/weather conditions would be greatly appreciated.

Fewer crops=less food available. More gardening crops=more food on the family table. I hope everyone will do what they can in their own situation. And that their yield for their garden is more than ours was last year--but if there is no garden, there will be no yield at all....

Monday, April 13, 2009

A caution about those candles...

Many thanks to Stephanie in AR, who left a comment after reading my last post about buying stuff little by little, including a scented candle. Hopefully she will not mind my reprinting the comment here, because it is pertinent information that could benefit anyone in possession of such candles:

"Please remember that scented candles are only good for lighting for a short time - usually 3 hours or less. Not because they don't stay lit, they will but because of the scent. Too much - both from too many or too long of burning - can make you very sick.

We did not know this & neither did our friends. During an ice storm (not this one) our friends relied heavily on her scented candles for lighting, leaving the very large ones lit in the bathroom for a 'nightlight'. They became very sick, esp. the smallest (not youngest). The Dr. said it was due to the scenting agents. Who knew?"

Scented candles are fine - they make the place smell better & brighten our mood, but only is bursts."

For our 72-hour kits, we have flashlights, which we prefer anyway, but we have some candles stocked from many years ago, because we just don't use them that often. They are for true emergencies, and I had heard something about scented candles not being ideal, but this information puts things in a whole new light. (No pun intended. :) You don't need preventable illness on top of an emergency.

If you haven't seen me mention before that I learn a lot from comments, and greatly appreciate them, here is a case in point. Thanks, Stephanie!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Not that much to post about...

It's true that I haven't been doing that much this week in terms of new things for emergency preparedness (but we did have rice and beans one night and those biscuits I posted about another night, so I hope incorporation of emergency preparedness methods counts for something... :) except continuing to apply the "little by little" principle.

Turns out that actually using the food in your storage room so that your children and/or others won't be overwhelmed with emergency and totally unfamiliar food at the same time tends to make your shelves emptier somehow. I like to buy huge bunches of on-sale food storage food at a time, but since this is not always possible, I have been adding a few storage things when I do the regular shopping (a couple of cans of stew here, some yeast there, etc.). A couple of things I bought recently were not in the food category, but I did get a good deal on them. To alleviate possible boredom with this rather bland post, I am going to add links where appropriate....

1) I bought a couple of bandanas. Can't really say how much I would have loved to have one of these lovely acquisitions when we were out of state--they would have come in handy. But now I have a couple, so we're that much more ahead. For a really good idea of just how handy bandanas can be, check out this post over at Stealth Survival.

2)Picked up a couple extra taco seasoning mixes at $.50/each. I love to have flavor options, and the cheap flavoring packets, ready to go, are pretty cheap, and easy to accumulate. On a side note, is entirely possible that someone reading this is just starting their own emergency food supply, and/or is interested in buying all of their food supply in one step. Learned in an e-mail about this site, where you can order "paks" like the "family pak" (which I heard about someone purchasing, and which apparently, at the time of this writing is still on sale) and have a year's supply of food at your fingertips. A little costly for me, but someday I might try something a la carte, just for the variety. In the end, it doesn't matter what your dinosaur looks like. I just care that you and yours have enough to eat in an emergency....

3)Picked up a candle (peach-scented) that was reduced to $1.00. Sweet-smelling, and inexpensive too.....

That's about it--not all that exciting, I know, but at least some of my supplies are being replenished a little at a time. Beats by a long run how they used to sit on my shelf and threaten to expire.... :)

Hope everyone has a very, very, happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hearing the warnings

Just read this article about the devastating earthquake in Italy. I don't know what to say to those affected, except that I send my heartfelt condolences and am sorry for your loss.

What is particularly disturbing is that in the article, a seismologist had tried to warn people that the earthquake was coming. But because he wasn't exactly right about when it would hit, he was publicly taken to task. From the article:

"Indeed, a little-noticed controversy had erupted the week before, after Giampaolo Giuliani, a seismologist at the nearby Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Abruzzo, predicted, following months of small tremors in the area, that a much bigger jolt was on its way. The researcher had said that a "disastrous" earthquake would strike on March 29, but when it didn't, Guido Bertolaso, head of Italy's Civil Protection Agency, officially denounced Giuliani in court last week for "false alarm." "These imbeciles enjoy spreading false news," Bertolaso was quoted as saying. "Everyone knows that you can't predict earthquakes."

Tragic. This situation makes me ask myself a few questions:

--What would I have done in this situation? If someone said, "Insert devastating tragedy here would happen on insert date here, would I have a place to go to get away from the dangers associated with such a situation?

--Even if insert devastating tragedy here didn't happen, would I be sorry about the improvements I made to survive such a tragedy-- i.e. stronger building structures, emergency food supplies, emergency shelter supplies, etc. --or would they be something I would be glad I prepared with/had on hand anyway?

---Would I think that just because not all the details were exactly right, that nothing the person said who was doing the warning had any validity?

There are a lot of emergency preparation sites out there, which have a lot of helpful information. Some of these I have quoted, and linked. Some more I will probably quote and/or link in the future. We may not agree on everything, but we agree on at least one thing: everyone needs to be prepared for emergencies. The reasons we think emergencies may come--problems with the economy, pandemic, disruption in transportation of goods, to name a few--may differ, but in the end, if you have no food/water/supplies in an emergency situation, will it really matter which kind of circumstances led to your situation?

If/when an emergency situation takes place, there may be some people who are currently trying to warn people to be prepared who, because they were ignored, may say, like the seismologist in the article above, "Someone owes me an apology". But I also think that the vast majority of bloggers/writers/speakers who are trying to help people get prepared by blogging/writing/speaking about emergency preparation would say, as he did, after such a situation, "I am devastated but also angry." It may be presumptuous, but I think the whole reason that most bloggers blog on this subject is to try to ensure that any emergency that takes place will be less devastating for everyone, whether they know the people involved or not.

Please get as many emergency supplies in storage as you can, within your means. Even if your favorite blogger(s) may not get the details exactly right as to the reasons why/when you may need them, I don't think you'll ever be sorry to have emergency resources on hand.....

Thursday, April 2, 2009

May be a little off-topic, but it might help someone

It occurs to me that someone might pass by this blog who is already having difficult times. A site I found, I think a couple of years ago, is Modest Needs. People in all kinds of situations apply for their grants, and people send in donations to fund specific expenses. People can ask for help with car repairs, gas bills, medical bills--something that they need help to pay so that they can keep their heads above water during difficult times. From what I've read, although it has been a while, is that applying for the grants is not difficult, and it sounds like those employed in the organization are very helpful.

If you need help, apply. Not everyone gets funded, but you won't even have a chance if you don't apply. If you can help fund a grant, please consider doing so. Right in the website header it has the words: "Small Change. A World of Difference." Some of the contributions may be small, but they add up. Sometimes, if we work together, we can do an awful lot to help each other.

I hope that if you are having difficult times right now, that things get better for you soon. Check out Modest Needs, and see if they can help you. And if you need to apply for a grant, I hope that you get it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Of cheap tools and a biscuit recipe...

Night before last I went to the local national chainstore and among other things (like soup that was $.18/can more than the last time I purchased it) bought a new set of measuring spoons. I had been pretty much using the one teaspoon that I could usually find to do the work of all measuring spoons (thinking you can measure 1/4 teaspoon just by looking, and knowing that 3 teaspoons equals one tablespoon come in handy in such circumstances) but I broke down and bought a plastic set for a reasonable (read:cheap) price. One of the reasons for needing a new set was this recipe for biscuits found at Safely Gathered In, which I was anticipating making.

A list of things that I liked/learned about completing this recipe, that was excellent, and was consumed in a single meal (and before, immediately upon exiting the oven):

--Reasonably priced (read:cheap) measuring spoons from the local national chainstore don't stand up under a lot of pressure. If, by a lot of pressure, you mean trying to dry out the well of the teaspoon. When I tried to dry it out, it snapped right off, and I ended up using the other spoons to add up to required amounts--kind of backwards from the way I was doing things previously, if you ask me...

--Don't forget the salt. I thought I had combined all the dry ingredients, but I noticed upon tasting the final product that the salt was, in fact, missing. No one else missed it, though, and as I said, the biscuits didn't last very long in this household....

---I like the milk+vinegar= buttermilk substitution. Works for me! Also, who doesn't love a recipe where you can just do very minimal kneading, pat the dough out instead of rolling it, and you get to use a pizza cutter? Plus after plus after plus.... :)

---One of my children said, upon learning what I was making, that they didn't like biscuits. I said that the only requirement was to taste the finished product, not eat the whole thing. When taking a random family poll by raise of hands about who liked the biscuits, this child's hand went up, and guess who asked for the last biscuit? Ah, sweet success.... :)

Anyway, hope that you try out this recipe--if you follow this blog, you know that I like easy, and this recipe was both easy and delicious. I have also decided that it is time for me to invest in a lot better set of measuring spoons. After all, I am cooking/baking a lot more, and that's a good thing... Now, do I get metal spoons, (I saw a set that was more expensive) or risk another set in plastic (different brand)? Decisions, decisions....