Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Chicken little (as in that's how much I know right now)

I hope everyone had a great Christmas! Thanks to some wonderful readers who took the time to comment, I would strongly recommend checking out the comments under my December 15th post, where there are some great links and an easy fudge recipe...

Now, about those chickens....on Christmas Eve day, we took the children out and about and ran into someone we know who knows a lot about raising chickens. In fact, the law recently changed in our area so that now residents are allowed to raise up to six chickens (no roosters) in their backyards, so now it is an actual possibility for us to raise chickens! But before we do so, there is quite a lot of research to do, seeing as how I have no desire to get the chickens and have them die early deaths unnecessarily due to may lack of knowledge. Some of the things we learned (as I asked many, many (potentially annoying) questions:

--It has always been legal to have chickens here, apparently, as there were rules on the books that indicated how owners were to take care of their chickens. Why have rules on how to take care of chickens, etc., if there were no chickens allowed? As a side note, this reminded me of a law I once heard of that may or may not still exist in Massachusetts that stated that it was legal to let your cows graze on Boston Common. The clincher was that it was illegal to take your cows to Boston Common....

Anyway, the person we were talking to said that many questions were asked about the legality of keeping hens in the backyard, and said person got many answers indicating that yes, that the law indicated that it was acceptable to raise chickens. Then someone thought that it was not, and hence the following activities that led to the authorities limiting ownership to a flock of six. Readers of my blog(s) may remember that I myself called and asked whether we were allowed to have chickens in our backyard, and was told that no, no we were not. I have to admit to feeling a bit cheated when I found out that being permitted to have six chickens was actually a downgrade, when before, legally, we were actually just allowed to own chickens in general, according to the statutes already in place. Not that I would necessarily even want six, but sometimes it's just the principle of the thing....

---I want to raise chickens for the eggs, but according to this source, you really should rotate the chickens out every couple of years, which means that after you bring in some new chicks and all is going well with them, the older chickens should ideally end up as part of a well-balanced meal. This brings up a whole 'nother area of inexpertise (is that a word?) for me, which is the butchering of well, just about anything. OK, yeah, absolutely anything. But I do know enough that you have to know what you are doing if you want to get meat that's safe to eat when you are doing your own butchering. The person we were talking to mentioned that there is someone not far from here who will do the whole business for you for $3.00. I still think that knowing how to harvest our own meat would be a very useful skill to have, if I could stand it. I figure when it comes down to it, you do what you gotta do....but it definitely is necessary that you know how.

--If we were to get chickens, we would start in the spring. My main concern would be keeping the chickens alive in the Idaho winter, so I asked about coops, and the necessity of running electricity (or not) out to a coop in the winter. Turns out this person does use electricity. That would be something to figure out. I asked over at My Adventures in Self-Reliance (check the comments out under this post) and got some useful information about chickens and rabbits in the winter. If I understand correctly, the amount of heat that there is affects egg production, which is something to consider.

Well, if you're still reading, I still have a lot more to learn. Turns out that the person we were talking to actually makes and sells coops, and has a website here. I mention this because knowing how/where to get my hands on a coop would be one of my first concerns. Looking at the website is as far as I've gotten when it comes to that subject, but it is a place to start. Raising chickens would not exactly be cheap, and it was mentioned in our December 24 conversation that with a flock of just six chickens (and honestly, I would likely start smaller), the chickens wouldn't really pay for themselves. But then I thought, what price self-reliance? Oh, and when the question of cleaning up chicken waste came up, turns out it's one of the best things possible to add to a compost pile and/or garden....

So, a lot to think about. I also learned in the course of this conversation (I mentioned that I could be annoying, didn't I? :) ) that when you first get the chicks you keep them inside so that they will be warm enough. So spring would be the earliest we would get them anyway, and then they would be inside, and then if it continued snowing into June... (don't laugh, this is Idaho)....well, just a lot to think about.

As always, if you have more info, please share. Any errors about raising chickens in the above post are most likely due to my misunderstanding something that was said, or not remembering correctly, so please don't blame my source. I'm just trying to find out more and possibly add some "live storage" to my food storage efforts. Never a dull moment.... :)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wish I had written those down...

I am talking about recipes that should be in my emergency notebook. Like the recipe, Extremely Easy Peanut Butter Fudge, that I found on one of the first blogs I found that talked regularly about food storage, and which had some of the best food storage recipes I found then, or since. The author of that blog went on to put up the food blog, Friday's Food Fancy. Regular readers may have noticed that there is not the usual colorful linkage in this paragraph that can be found in many of my posts.

That is because those blogs are no longer to be found, so there is nothing to link to.

Granted, peanut butter fudge would not be a food staple, but it would be an easy way to provide joy in an emergency situation if those you are responsible for like peanut butter and sugar, and dessert-y goodness. And who doesn't want to provide some desserty-goodness and joy in an emergency situation?

I write about this now because we really liked including the peanut butter fudge on our Christmas plates for neighbors. But among the other things that I wish I had written down in terms of food storage from the mentioned blog include the recipe on homemade noodles where you didn't need a noodle machine, just a knife....the food storage information on the sites was great.

So, just putting in a plug for keeping your emergency notebooks updated. You never know when you may need the information that is so plentiful on the internet, but then find yourself without power or the blog(s) no longer accessible. That's one of the reasons the time to prepare is now....

Just as an aside, I do remember the computer name of the author of the blogs, but didn't know if the author would want that name mentioned, so have not mentioned it. I did notice that the link no longer worked some time past, but being ever-hopeful, check it occasionally to see if it is back up. Ah, well. Hopefully, I will have learned my lesson on this and will either write out or print all emergency preparation information I think I may need earlier from now on...

Anyone else sending out anything food-storage friendly out on their neighbor plates this year? Gotta love food storage-friendly goodies...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! Also, how bad roads changed our plans...

We are celebrating Thanksgiving here in Idaho for the first time in I don't know how many years. We usually head down to Utah to celebrate it with some of my family, and that was the intention again this year--until the road conditions influenced our decision to just turn around and stay home yesterday. We had heard about the storm that had hit in Utah the night before, (and it had actually gone through our area leaving much snow to shovel in its wake) looked at the weather reports and internet maps, looked outside at the sunny sky, and decided to go for it. We packed up and headed out---and made it about 6 miles from home before we saw the first slide-off.

I asked my husband as we came up on it if he thought the driver needed help. At first he thought there was no one in the car, but I was pretty sure that there was--and out came the driver. From the way it looked, the young man must have just slid off the road right before we approached.

My husband pulled over. By the time I turned around to see how things were going, there was another car pulled over as well. My husband and the other helpful driver got out and attempted to help push the vehicle back on the road. Things were not going too well, and meanwhile many other cars, trucks, you name it, were crawling along side us on the slick roads. There was even a tow truck that paused as it was passing us, but we later figured the driver was checking to see who exactly he was supposed to be helping. He didn't say anything to the men who were working on getting the car back on to the road, but eventually drove on. My husband later said that he thought that one of the reasons that the cars were moving so slowly was that there was a major crash further up the road.

Thankfully, another driver with a truck pulled up to help after a while. He had a tow rope, and my husband came back to let us know what was going on before going back to help push the car back on to the road. Once the tow rope gentleman stopped to help, it wasn't long before they had success. Thanks helpful other driver and tow rope gentleman!!

When my husband got back, we talked about the rate that the traffic was going, the road conditions, and all factors involved, and we decided to take the next exit and turn around and go home. Great disappointment for everyone, but when I called and explained the situation my parents were glad because besides the slick roads the temperatures last night were forecasted to be rather (read: extremely) brutal, and they were worried if we got stuck in any way it would be in really unfortunate circumstances.

We finally got back on the road. Before we got to the next exit (sometimes traveling at about 5 miles an hour) we saw at least one more slide off before we got to what was a serious accident--what looked like a van upside down. I am hoping no one was hurt--there was no ambulance, although there were a number of people who were trying to help. I think we made a good choice in staying home--it was brutally cold last night, and we heard later about one person who took two hours to travel a route that is usually a 30-minute drive. To continue on our journey would have been nerve-wracking and long, long, long, even barring any unforeseen accidents... Turns out the person my husband helped was from Utah, so I hope he made it home alright.

Snow, cold weather, icy conditions with (occasionally) horrendous roads, and trucks equipped with tow ropes--that's Idaho.
Stopping and helping someone who needs a hand--and stopping and helping when there are already people helping---that's America.

We've certainly got a lot to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!! Stay safe, and best wishes to you and yours!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

More incentive to stock up...

...in a major way, if people at this website (for the National Inflation Association) are correct. Most recently, I received information in an e-mail that appears to have been taken from this article on predicted food prices, and the news isn't good. Please read it. Among other things, it talks about how much they expect food prices to go up, one example being that the price will be "$23.05 for a 24 oz loaf of wheat bread". Apparently, they also think that it is not only food prices that will go up--also predicted in said article is that "a plain white men's cotton t-shirt at Wal-Mart will cost $55.57". They think that we will see these kind of prices soon--from what they say, in 2011. Yeah, next year-- and it's already November.

I hope that prices won't go up like that, but what if they do? I don't know about you, but I still have a lot of preparation to do. Please do what you can to get the things you need into storage, if you are in the position to do so. If it's not prices like these, it may be something else, and it can't hurt to have some extra supplies on hand...

Friday, October 22, 2010

The comments trump the post....

Again... :) Thanks to kind readers, I now have more information about gluten. Without further comment from me, here are responses I got to my last post:

From Catherine:

"We've had to do as-gluten-free-as-possible storage (my daughter ad I both react to gluten). The only mix I have to buy is Pamela's Pancake/baking mix. It's kinda like Bisquick. We use it for pancakes and pot pie crust.

Store lots of potatoes, and learn to use the potato starch to thicken dishes instead of flour. For example, when making scalloped potatoes, if you slice your potatoes ahead of time into the milk you are going to use in the recipe and let them soak for a few minutes, the starch in the potatoes will leach into the milk and thicken the sauce while it cooks. Voila, gluten-free scalloped potatoes.

Other than that, we eat lots of slow-cooker/solar-cooker meals: Minestrone with either rice pasta or just rice, chicken soup, chicken pot pie, chicken enchiladas (all from one chicken, I might add), risotto, polenta, cassoulet (a bean and pork/lamb/goat/whatever-meat-is-available stew), frittata, latkes (potato pancakes), Cuban beans, lot of squash dishes, posole, and lots of vegetable dishes.

When cooking gluten free, you pretty much have to ignore the standard American diet, because almost everything in it has gluten/HFCS/coal-tar-based colors (red40/yellow5&6/blue1)/other nasties. Think ethic foods and you'll do fine. Mexican food (minus the flour tortillas)is almost totally gluten-free.

Our food storage consists of lots of beans and rice, but it is also heavy on the potatoes. We stock lots of corn in several forms (corn on the cob for fresh, corn off the cob for soup, hulled and dried for hominy, ground for polenta). We have goats, so we use milk in many of our meals. We use eggs as our "meat dish" frequently. We eat 1 chicken per week (which I stretch to cover at least 4 meals) and use about a pound of bacon each week for flavoring.

Hope that helps."

From Jenn:

"This is my life -- I started a blog to detail this - glutenfreefoodstorage.blogspot.com. Hopefully, I'll find some free time to update it again someday. Still plenty of good info, though."

(You can press on the address to link to the blog.)

From Vlad:

"I tried millet, amaranth, quinoa and oatmeal in my chili.
Oatmeal taste good, is very nutritious and a lot cheaper.
BTW I cannot find anyone who knows
if cleaned whole oats (oat groats) at the feed store are ok
for human consumption. (From what I read a lot of foods from
China n the grocery store are not suitable for human consumption)
Whole oats 50 lb $9.95 = 20 cents a lb.
Oatmeal 42 oz $2.49 = 95 cents a lb.

2 lb ground beef chuck
2 cups oatmeal (crimped oats)
15 oz can Ranch Style Beans
two tablespoons
one tablespoon
chili powder
yellow curry
two teaspoons

boil meat and oatmeal until done
add beans
put spices in half cup water,
shake well and stir into chili"

Thank you so much, Catherine, Jenn, and Vlad! Gotta love when you not only get information, but practical ways to use that information...

Friday, October 15, 2010

What about needing to go gluten-free?

On one of my posts quite a while ago (I think it was on my other blog, if memory serves) about rice and beans recipes, a comment was left about a commenter's family member needing to eat food that is gluten-free, and finding storage to meet that need. Lately I have been encountering a lot of people that need to have gluten-free diets, and thinking about what I would need to know/do if I needed to supply gluten-free food on a regular basis from my food storage.

Um, yeah. Unfortunately, right now, other than the rice and beans mentioned, I have next to no idea.

Thing is, from what I understand, needing to go gluten-free can happen at any time, and doesn't happen at any particular time. This could be a major problem if you are about 100 lbs. into your 400 lbs. of wheat in your food storage, and have stored little else. I don't claim to know a lot about this, (so please don't be unkind in the comments--I'm not purposely messing this up) but I can imagine that it would be difficult to cope with a total change in diet anytime, and even worse if there were other factors like a long-term emergency. So my question is, what do you store in your food storage in case something like this happens (or if you find yourself responsible for someone who can't eat gluten)? I have asked some people if they have recipes for the gluten-free food they have made, but mostly, if not all of the time, I have heard that they made the food from mixes. I would imagine that would be expensive, but I have not looked into it fully.

So, now the search begins. I imagine there are sites out on the internet that are full of gluten-free recipes, but I need the same kind of recipes that I look for even when gluten isn't a factor--pretty easy, (cuts down on emergency stress) fewer rather than more ingredients, and hey, hopefully, pretty tasty. If anyone has recipes/information to share, please do. Just another factor that might be a consideration when it comes to emergency food storage...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Coupons can be good...

I love coupons if they're for something that I'd buy anyway. Got this link in my e-mail that leads to a page for coupons for Campbell's products, like canned soup, which is one of my favorite food storage items, so I thought I'd post it. And seeing as how I use soup normally anyway, it's a win-win. No, neither I nor anyone I know of is directly connected to Campbell's, but we like their soup around here, so I will probably be printing some of these out soon...

Oh, and after I wrote the post on emergency lists, I saw this post over at iPrepared. Each family is going to have a very personalized list, but the more ideas that are out there, the more people will be prepared for emergencies, I hope. I love getting more information...

For some reason, my account is being difficult today, so I was unable to post responses to the comments left on my last post. There were some interesting links left about growing food all year round, and I always appreciate it when people take the time to comment--as for the terrariums, the way that I put them together (food container with lid + potting soil) couldn't get any easier, so if anyone tries it, let me know how it works out for you. Thanks Vlad and Book Lady!

I sent one of the children out to count the pumpkins, and it looks like we have seven likely usable candidates for Halloween, pumpkin seeds, etc. Gotta love growing your own... :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Corn grand total: 1

That's right--we got a total of one edible ear of corn from our garden this year. Frankly, it's one more than I was expecting, so I was glad to get the one. In other garden news, we have picked our first carrot, and the pumpkins look promising, so things are looking up...

In other "growing things" news, I recently did a project with some children, and they made terrariums. I researched it on the internet, and tried to find the least expensive (read: absolute cheapest) way to put together a terrarium, and after reading about cutting up soda bottles and using pebbles and other materials, I headed to the dollar store.

Granted, you can buy soda, and it's not that expensive, but my family doesn't drink that much soda, and given the number of terrariums that needed to be made, the amount of soda that would need consuming would be unhealthy by anyone's estimate. Soooo, I bought clear food containers with clear lids at $1.00 a piece, and headed to the local national chainstore for some potting soil.

My conscience was eased somewhat by the fact that the ingredient list on the potting soil was quite lengthy and included at least one of the materials that was needed in the directions for the more complicated terrariums I had researched. I had also done some good old- fashioned research by visiting the expert in the gardening section of a home improvement store, so by the time I purchased the barest minimum of supplies, I was pretty sure that there was a reasonable expectation that things might work out for our terrariums (I know, how could it fail when I was so certain about its success? :). I took the food containers, the potting soil, and some left-over bean seeds from our garden, and headed to the activity. (Note to self (and anyone who may be reading) : Don't expect the home improvement store to have any seeds if you wait to do terrariums until after the typical planting season....)

So, a good time was had by all, and the seeds were planted, the soil slightly dampened with a few drops of water, and the containers sealed. I told them not to put the plants in direct sunlight, but only in indirect sunlight. They went home, and I stopped thinking about it.

Well, last week, some of them told me that their plants were thriving, and that they had outgrown their containers pretty quickly. If memory serves, it was mentioned that one of the plants had to be transplanted. Sooooo----it worked!!!! Yeah, the joy is there. So now, I'm thinking, what could I plant this winter? Would there be enough sunlight in the Idaho winter to have plants actually produce food? Hey, I still have some potting soil left, and if I got just one ear of corn out of it.... :)

Ok, I'm kidding about the corn--but not about the rest of it. In any case, I could start some of my plants in terrariums next spring if we have weather like we did last spring, which delayed planting. Something to think about, anyway....

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Emergency evacuation preparation

I know, I'm totally guilty of blog neglect--but I intend to start making up for that now.... Thanks for coming back to read!

I think that I have mentioned before that I am on the rather extensive e-mail list of an emergency preparedness expert down in Utah. Those of you who may also be on said list may find the following information familiar, but with permission and slight modification (names, offers specific to the area, etc.), I am posting the e-mail here for more to see, since I think it contains great information for preparing for emergency evacuations:

"I have had many questions about what should be on the 5, 15 and 30 minute evacuation lists. The following are my lists. Yours will be different and the priority will vary, sometimes extremely, depending on your family situation. There are only three adults for us to evacuate but I have some suggestions for families with children below.

5 minute list:

A) Grab 72 hour kits for each of us and stuff meds in refrigerator in top along with billfold and purse so we have credit cards, cash and checks.

B) Run to basement and get zipped 3 ring binder with copies of important papers, and memory sticks and disks with pictures on them, plus the bucket of instant meals that sits next to fire safe. {It would be wiser for us to put all of the ring binder things on a memory stick and put that in the 72 hour kits, eliminating the trip to the basement. I just haven't taken time to scan it all yet. That is going to the top of my list of "things to do"}

C) One of us take down pictures of great grandparents while other one pulls quilt and pillows from bed to wrap them...I love my pillow and want that with me anyway! [You may have jewelry, photography equipment, collections or other sentimental or valuable things, and hunters will want their weapons ]

D) Grab laptop, Ipad and current tax record file folders from office drawer.

E) Get in car and truck and leave to pick up W's mother at the assisted living center.

If I had young children at home I would grab their 72 hour kits and strap them with their favorite blanket or toy in their car seats first so I would know they were safe and couldn't go missing. Then I would pack what I could in the order on my list in the time left. It may take 3 minutes just to get every little one buckled in. With older children they need their own lists posted on closet doors or back of bedroom or bathrooom doors where they can find it immediately. They will have hair dryers, video games, etc that are necessities to them. They MUST understand that they ABSOLUTELY MUST be in the vehicle in 4 minutes max so you don't have to worry about looking for or waiting for them! It would pay to practice this to see just what you can do in 5 minutes even if takes a half hour to put back everything you tried to pack! :) Practice yelling Go! Go! Go!!!

15 minute list:

Do first 5 minute things as fast as we can except for (E)

F) Pack first aid and home remedy things ( see lists on inside of doors under main and guest bathroom sinks)

G) Grab journals and boxes of unscanned photos on bottom basement shelves ( see list on shelf at bottom of stairs. Empty bins are next to fire safe )

H) Stuff more clothes and bedding in back of car ( see list on closet door )

I) Toss cases of water and camping and cooking things in back of truck along with garbage can on wheels full of the "175 hour kit" ( see check list on wall by garage door)

E) Get in car and truck and leave to get W's mother at the assisted living center.

30 minute list:

We are still working on this. I am making lists for pantry and closet doors. I think this will depend on the situation for priority order. If it is an "evacuate for a couple of weeks and come back" the priority will be different ( food storage can stay put) than "evacuate and you probably won't be back and your house won't be here either". Or "the looters will steal or destroy everything you leave." Or whatever scary emergency you might have in your community. Food storage is a valuable investment and I would want to take what I could of the most expensive and light weight things... freeze- dried stuff, if at all possible, for an example. If you have expensive tools that might be your prioity.

We have to plan to pick up W's mom at the assisted living home if conditions require it, so possibly we won't even have this full 30 minutes. We may have only 5 extra added on to the 15 minute deadline. Almost too much to think about and decide on now. Imagine how much more overwhelming it would be if we haven't even considered what to do before "IT" happens. It is no wonder that many people lose everything because they cannot begin to decide what to do, so they do nothing but leave.

If you do not have a 72 hour kit for every family member now is the time to get one. You really don't have time to pack everything you need in 5 minutes. First look around your home for old backpacks or diaper bags to carry your things. Basically tho it is what you will need to survive at least the minimum 72 hours it will probably take for the churches, the Red Cross or others to get to you if the emergency includes thousands of people. Think Katrina or an earthquake. For smaller emergencies like the Herriman fire help will arrive right away. Even then it is nice to feel you have some control over your own well-being. "

Thank you, preparedness expert from Utah! I need to update my 72-hour kits, and make out my own lists for the different time limits for evacuation. Yeah, a lot to do, but a lot easier when I have (I hope!) a lot more time than 5, 15, or 30 minutes to do it in....

Thursday, August 19, 2010


We have had a pretty busy summer with family get-togethers and such, and last week we thought we'd take out the tent and do some camping. Got some cookout appropriate food (i.e. hot dogs) and headed for a campsite sufficiently far away that it felt like we were out in the middle of somewhere, as opposed to the backyard...

It started well enough, except that I might add that Friday late afternoon/early evening is not the ideal time to go in search of camping supplies, unless you want plenty of company, and the accompanying longer lines at the store. By the time I returned home, it was starting to cloud over a little, but we hit the road anyway. What's a few clouds, right?

Having arrived at our destination, we got a fire going and while I took over the culinary responsibilities, my husband set up the tent and our children took off and climbed a tree, etc. It was interesting to me that in the bordering campsites there were mostly campers complete with electricity, dining rooms, and all the comforts of home, and few to no other tents. (I suppose I may have missed some if they were blocked by the larger campers.)

The clouds were darkening, but we managed to get through dinner for the most part before it started to rain. The problem was, the wind picked up as well. The children ran into the tent, but as my husband started to put the final cover over it, he said we might have to call it quits, not because of the rain, (we had our vehicle, and set-up on the tent was nearly complete) but because of the wind. The way things were going, it looked like there was a great possibility that the tent would end up being blown over, and that was not a pleasant prospect. So, to everyone's disappointment, while the children sat in the vehicle, my husband and I put out the fire, packed up the tent, and drove home pretty much drenched. The weather got better the closer we got to home, but what can you do?

We chose to return home because we had that option. If we hadn't, and the tent had blown over, we could have taken (likely uncomfortable) refuge in our vehicle, and ended up packing up either in the middle of the night or early the next morning. But here is my question to anyone who is willing to offer some advice--what could we have done to better weather out the "storm", and lessen the chances that the tent would blow over? Are there any practices that we don't know about that we could have utilized? It would not be pleasant to have no other options than a tent and not know how to make the best of the situation. Like HermitJim from Coffee with the Hermit commented on my last post, "knowledge is power!" So feel free to share... :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Let them drink milk

We went on a tour of a local dairy recently, and my children loved it. I am considering starting home delivery for milk, but the big thorn there is that a gallon is probably usually going to be about twice the amount we would pay at the store. Of course, it is delivered to our door, and there is the aspect of impulse buying, where you go out for milk and come back with $50 of additional purchases, but I'm not a big impulse buyer. (Please note that I said not a big impulse buyer--I have been known to indulge in the occasional non-necessary and totally extravagant small purchase(s). ) Hence, the impulse buyer aspect wouldn't necessarily make the milk pay for itself in our case. But the fact that we would have a local supplier if there was disruption in the milk supply/food transportation industry makes the home delivery option somewhat tempting, plus we like to support our local economy when possible....

Anyway, I was thinking, non-farmer that I am, that even in an emergency cows would have to be milked, so it should be available, given that you had the means to preserve it. Thing is, during a guide's informational talk, it came out that every cow provides 9 gallons of milk per day, and to do so, every cow drinks 60 gallons of water a day. As you may have noticed from my last post, I have been worrying about water storage lately, and this didn't really do anything to make me feel better about it.... If you have dry milk, you will still need water to drink it. If you think that you may get your hydration from fresh milk from a local supplier as part of your storage plan, it might be good to know that the cows need water too, and a bunch of it. Since they won't even let me raise a chicken where I live, I hadn't given much thought to the needs of larger livestock. Quite eye-opening, for me at least.

There are other options for milk--evaporated and condensed come to mind--but if part of your plan for your circle of responsibility is to "let them drink milk", please consider how much water must come into the equation to do so. I know I am...

Friday, August 6, 2010

I don't think you could ever have too much of that...

I recently attended a food storage presentation, but due to conflicts in schedule, I was very late and only caught part of it. When I came in, the speaker was asking about how many in attendance had toilet paper in their storage. I turned to the person next to me, and said, (yeah, you guessed it) "I don't think you could ever have too much of that in storage..."

This is true for me on at least a couple of levels--for one, even if you were to meet a goal of, say, a year's supply of toilet paper, it is the kind of resource that is in constant rotation, and it would be difficult to keep it at that level if/when an emergency hit. But there is also the fact (as I think I mentioned to my neighbor) that it has the potential to be a great barter item. In an idea that is not original to me, (thank you, whoever put this on their blog) you should never barter a supply that the person you are bartering with could use against you--a good example of which might be ammunition. So, in my opinion, it can never hurt to have a little (extra?) toilet paper around.

I was also reminded earlier this summer that it would be difficult indeed to store too much water, especially depending on weather conditions (except, of course, when it's raining... :). I was at an amusement park out of state, and we were doing the rounds of rides, when I went on one that didn't quite agree with me. Something to do with spinning around at relatively high speeds, most likely, but in any case, when I got off the ride, I was very overheated and not very happy about it. We had water and we had ice, but it didn't seem to help much. I did not feel very good, and after seeing myself in a mirror and my red-dark red-purplish hue, I was kind of concerned. A person who saw this (who herself looked like she had just arrived at the park fresh from an air-conditioned atmosphere) commented on the heat, and I said, "It looks like you are handling it better than I am." She replied that they (I'm assuming her family/group) had been hitting the water rides. I told her that was probably where we were going next. Then I had a better idea.

Somewhere near the middle of said amusement park, there are a bunch of fountains that spurt up at random times, and people stand in the middle to get a soaking. It appears that usually this activity is pretty much enjoyed by a younger crowd, (i.e. children) but I felt that getting soaked immediately would beat standing in line in the blazing sun some more before getting an unspecified amount of wet, so the square with the fountains was most definitely my best option. I talked to my husband, and off we went. As I said, the fountains appear to be random, but they're very effective, and I was soon pretty soaked. And as a result, I was soon pretty much feeling a lot better. (No matter that the majority of the other people enjoying the fountains seemed to be three and under, or something.... :)

Yeah, it's pretty much a no-brainer that getting wet will cool you off in hot weather, but what was striking to me was the fact that it took a lot more than drinking water and eating ice to cool off in this scenario. In an emergency situation, it seems likely that water would be monitored very carefully, and there wouldn't be fountains to cool off in. Any "extra" water that can be put aside to just cool off in this manner would be much appreciated in a hot-weather scenario, and might be needed even in places that are not known for being hot climates. So, yeah, using water to get soaked with might not be the first choice for use of the storage, but if it's needed, it would be hard to imagine a case where you felt like you had stored too much...

Food would obviously also be something that it would be hard to have too much of, considering that there will likely always be people that you could share it with if you didn't need it yourself, but what else comes to mind for you when you think of emergency preparedness? Is there anything you store or something else that comes to mind when you hear, "I don't think you could ever have too much of that..."? You never know how many people you may help with your ideas...
Hope you are enjoying your summer!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Back to school...as in sales

Yeah, amazingly overdue post, but it gets busy around here in the summer, as I am sure it does for most people. One of the reasons is that school's out, but imagine my surprise when Sunday's paper had ads for back-to-school sales already. Thing is, if you are the kind to be diligent about rebates, you can buy a ream of paper for a penny after rebate (limit 2 rebates) at Staples if you shop by tomorrow, because that particular sale is for Sunday-Wednesday only. (I would imagine that the rebate deal is good nationwide, but you may want to call your local store to make sure they're participating if you're not sure--would hate for someone to waste gas/time/money for no reason...) There were also back-to-school specials at Shopko, complete with the school supply lists available all neat and convenient for everyone, and pocket folders for $.15 apiece, for one example. Picked up a couple of things and will keep the lists so I can hopefully be as frugal as possible when other sales come up, as I hope they will. Even if you don't want the supplies for school, it's a good idea to have paper, etc., around in the case of an emergency-- for entertainment if nothing else.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer--I had been planning on posting some pictures of the garden, but the last time I could locate the camera it was being temperamental and uncooperative, so it will have to wait. There is greenery in the garden area, but it remains to be seen whether we will get anything edible out of it this year. We have gotten a few strawberries, and there are plenty of green raspberries that the children are monitoring, so I hope they will ripen nicely and we get to them before birds/varmints do.

I am about to put this same link over on my other blog, but feel that it is important enough to include in both places. You may have already read the article, "Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning", but I only received it in an e-mail at the beginning of this month. It's better to prevent an emergency than have one, obviously, but you need to recognize it for what it is--stay safe!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Check your Spaghetti-Os

Just saw this article about a Spaghetti-Os recall. If they are your canned comfort food spaghetti of choice, you may want to see if your stored cans are among those affected. It won't be much of a comfort food if it makes you sick in an emergency....

In other news of the more local (to me) variety, we finally had to resort to the more expensive option of internet service, and for now it is working well. Nice to have the internet work and work quickly at that. Yeah, the smile is there. :)

On the garden front, it is finally planted. Still looks pretty bleak out there, and that's not really a surprise, considering that there was a frost warning for last night and 42 degrees out the night before. For plants that like warmth, not much of an incentive to come out and check what's going on... And we insisted on planting corn again, because we're basically optimistic about things like that--can't see it being knee-high by the 4th of July, but hey, if it is, I'll take pictures! :)

Hope your garden is going well--our biggest producer at this point is rhubarb, which grows like a (very large and unruly) weed. Planning to hit the Farmers' Market tomorrow and may try to grow even more things. You don't know until you try.....

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It's not for lack of trying....

Well, we have made an attempt to change internet providers so that we would stop having so many instances of "Internet not able to display webpage" or the like coming up. Twice, in fact. Come to find out that there are just too many trees in the way, and in both cases the installers didn't know until the day of installation that they weren't able to get service in our area. So our current providers came out and raised the antennae, and so far, a lot better internet connection. The only other options are a lot more expensive, so here's hoping....

Anyway, if you are interested in giveaways, you might want to check out:

-- The opportunity to enter to win a free Bosch mixer over at Deals to Meals. That contest closes June 30th.
--The opportunity to enter to win a variety of food storage items over at Preparedness Pro. That contest closes June 15th.

Yeah, I don't expect to win, but if you do, I would love to hear about it... :)

When it comes to gardening, my husband has now partially rototilled the garden, and some lovely little seed potatoes that I picked up at the farmers' market are going to make their way into the ground soon. Hope that we get them in soon enough that they will have a long enough growing season this year. Am also thinking about picking up some jalapeno pepper plants next time I'm at the farmers' market, but really have no idea about how well they do around here. The other seeds we are holding onto because winter is still around quite a bit--it snowed last Saturday (reminds of me of the joke that there are four seasons in Idaho--winter, winter, almost winter, and construction :) and though it was pretty nice yesterday, hard to know what it will be tomorrow. Need to get the planting going soon, though, if we want to eat anything out of the garden this year.

Hope all is going well with everyone, and if all goes well with the internet service, am planning to do more posts more often...thanks for coming back to read!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Thank you

Thank you to all those who have served and who are serving in the military, and thank you to their families. Memorial Day is the designated day to remember, but regardless of the day, we will never forget.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"Pizza bombs"--version 2

Well, you may recall that we had "pizza bombs"--a dish in which you flatten two pieces of dough and place pizza toppings on one piece and then pinch the second piece on top of it to seal the toppings in, and then bake--because I wrote about it here. Well, the dough from my regular bread recipe was kind of heavy, so I went looking for the pizza dough recipe in my family recipe book. (Thanks, Mom!) Here it is:

Pizza Dough
Let stand 5 minutes:
1 cup warm water
1 package yeast
1 tsp sugar

Then add:
1/4 cup salad oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Dough may be sticky. Spread with floured hands in greased pan. Add toppings. Bake @ 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

It worked well, and it was wonderful not to have to wait for it to rise, etc. like I do for my regular bread recipe. I used olive oil, because that was what was in my cupboard. I also just messed around with the dough like I usually have to, adding a little water, and then a little flour, etc., until it was the consistency that I wanted. Seems like I almost always (if not always ) have to do that--must be me.....

Anyway, I ended up making them too big, and there was some leaking of spaghetti sauce, but they were well-received. And hey, even if you don't want to make "pizza bombs", now you have a really easy recipe for pizza dough that uses pretty much all staple foods. Gotta love something else you can do with the flour, oil, salt, combination. :) If I put some effort into thinking about different topping combinations, I could end up with more variety--any ideas?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Farmers' Market and thinking about the garden

It's been awhile, in large part because our computer is having issues. Sometimes it will log on to the internet, and sometimes it won't. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that sometimes (ok, a lot of the time) the wind is blowing here, so perhaps the connection problems are weather-related. We have considered changing providers, but have not yet. It's easy to keep the same service when it's working.... :)

I have also been thinking about starting the garden, but when the children are still wearing their winter coats to school in the morning, and we have to fire up the woodstove a lot of the time, I am not quite ready to put any seeds/bulbs/starts in the ground yet. That didn't stop me from visiting the Farmers' Market that was held for the first time of the season on Saturday. Unfortunately, I had forgotten about it and got there when most of the people were packing up. There were flowers out, but I am more of a "if I'm going to plant it, I probably want to eat it" person, so I stopped at one stand that was selling vegetable seeds. They were a good price--I asked if they were non-hybrid, but the gentleman there indicated that they were most likely hybrid. There was also a spot on the table for Walla-Walla onion bulbs, but alas, it was empty. I want in the worst (or is it best?) way to be successful growing onions--but have had no edible results from my garden as of yet. Learned something interesting about Walla-Walla onions, though--they are not really storage onions. They need to be eaten within a couple of weeks of harvesting them, I guess. I'll most likely check back this week to see if there are any Walla-Walla onion bulbs (hope that is the right term) to be had, but I also want to get some onions growing that will store well.

Have you started your gardens yet? It seems like here it is always a line to be walked between starting too early and having your plants freeze (or perhaps get snowed on) and not giving the plants long enough to get anywhere because they are planted too late. Ah, well, we'll do our best....

Monday, April 19, 2010

Two weeks already?

Yeah, sometimes I think, "Wow, I could post about that!" and then put it off and put it off--not very healthy for my post numbers, and the further I get away from an event, the more I think that it's too old to post about...

--For instance, on April 6 we had a snow day--as in they actually closed the schools!! Ah, Idaho. I did not see that one coming, even though I have lived here for awhile. :) I was glad that we still had some wood left for the trusty old woodstove. You never know when something unexpected is going to happen... I don't think that it was the snowing so much as the blowing, but the result was the same, and the day's plans changed in a moment (or at least as long as it took to realize that there was no one else at the bus stop, and for someone who must have been watching the right news (or the news at the right time) to share the information. Funny thing, it was hard to get official information anywhere--it wasn't on the news when we went to check, and we only saw the list of school closures when we went online--I'm sure that there must be something to be learned from that alone...

--I had already procrastinated about writing about the snowstorm when I found this recipe for Do-Si-Do cookies over at the Harried Homemaker website. Ordinarily, I am not much of a baker, but it was Monday, and I saw that I had everything I needed on hand in storage for this recipe, so we made it. That day. They are sooooo good, although we skipped the frosting for the middle because I just wasn't sure how old my powdered sugar was (did I mention I don't bake that often? :)--again, I'm sure that there must be something to be learned from that alone... It was nice, however, to be able to just bake something without running to the store.

--Sometime between posts I saw something I hadn't seen/noticed before--there are big displays of food storage items in our local national chainstore, and there are cans of things like instant/dried potatoes on the shelves in the lanes as you wait to check out. I am hoping that this means that food storage is a big concern/purchase item right now. Is this happening anywhere else?

Just a few things happening around here--hope all is well with you and yours, and that if you have a later snow day than we have (so far... :) that the snow melts as quickly as it did here. No complaints here--we need the moisture....

Monday, April 5, 2010

How much is it, really?

A food storage expert I know that lives in Utah sent me an e-mail last week about a sale on some food storage items. It was one of those sales where you had to be there in person to take advantage of the prices, and it looked like a great sale. Not long after the sale e-mail, another e-mail was sent, reproduced in part here, with permission from the author:

"It is always wise to be cautious and thorough when you purchase anything, but especially something you will some day need to rely on totally. Here are some pointers for special sales shopping.

Check for dates and don't buy if there is no date on a can of dairy products in particular. If there is no date it could be possible that older product has been re- packaged for a special price sale. Ask questions and get the storage/use time in writing. Save your receipts.

Shake cans of freeze dried foods to determine how many inches of food is probably in there. Check for amounts by weight and by servings on EVERY brand you buy. Sometimes some companies do "special" packaging for sales and the ounces will be correct on the label but the can will only have a couple of inches of product in it. We have all seen the amounts in some store brands shrink over the past few months while the packaging stays the same size. Knowing the number of servings will help you decide if the price is a good one.

As you know I just try to get the best info possible and don't guarantee anything. It is up to you to determine for yourself what you purchase. I hope these pointers help. "

Thank you, food storage expert from Utah! I thought these were some really good things to think about no matter what kind of storage you are doing--especially since my children seem to eat more and more all the time, and I want to make sure that I have enough to feed them. :) It sometimes surprises me how quickly I go through normal and routine supplies, and I would be really unhappy (read: distressed and distraught) to find that what I had thought would last longer had already disappeared, especially if I was totally dependent on what I had stored. I know that sometimes even when I read how many servings there are in such-and-so product, when I look at the size of what they consider to be a serving it doesn't always add up to what I would consider to be a serving size--it always seems that I like my servings a little larger. In any case, it can't hurt to ask, how much is it, really?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The answer might surprise you...

Well, not this answer: I had a reader ask where my post was on the subject of diy mixes for your food storage, and think she was referring to this one. If not, let me know. It appears that my comments and I are still having a love/hate relationship--they love to disappear, and I hate it. Sometimes they show up later, but I haven't noticed a pattern yet. Ah, well, if the comment ever shows up on my blog page, I will publish it. And thanks for asking!

While we are still talking about the food aspect of storage, you might want to head over to the Harried Homemaker website and sign up for a chance to win a yogurt maker--diy can be a wonderful thing! And if you live near a Safeway or another one of the stores she has listed, you might want to enter to win a $25 Safeway card + goodies as well. Alas, we don't live near any of the stores mentioned, but I will be happy for you if you win....

The answer I was referring to in the post title, however, was quite different. We heard about some people who were planning to travel to Chile after the earthquake there. They called ahead to ask about the area they were planning to visit and to ask what they should bring that would be most beneficial to meet the needs of the people there. The answer, as I understand it, was this list:

--Adult diapers
--Baby diapers
--Wet wipes

I have heard suggestions on more than one blog to store things like adult diapers in the event of a pandemic, because you might be involved in nursing bedridden adults. I am sure that in just about any emergency where there would be babies that it would be hard to have too many diapers. I guess I was just surprised because it wouldn't have been the first thing I would have thought to store up on. The people in question accepted donations of these items, and I have to say that I thought that the adult diapers were quite expensive, especially considering the number of diapers there were in a package. (In the package that I purchased, there were only 18 for a price close to $9.00).

It's at times like this that I wonder what else I just haven't thought to put into storage. Some things I would like to have and are on a wish list, so that we remember to save up for. Now that I have heard about this, I am thinking about getting some adult diapers in storage--even if no one in my immediate circle of responsibility needs them, there might be someone else who does. If anyone has other ideas that wouldn't immediately come to mind, feel free to share (and I'll try not to get overwhelmed... :) You won't store what you haven't even thought of.....

I hope that the wonderful people going down were able to take the contributions down, and my thoughts and prayers are with all the people affected by the earthquake in Chile.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Gotta love crockpot chili

Or, at least I'm glad my family does... I tried this recipe for white chicken chili over at Cooking: Prepare by applying heat and a little bit of love yesterday. It was easy and it was a hit with the family. I only did a couple of things differently, mostly in the name of trying to use food storage, and because I figured it was about time I did something with navy beans (as opposed to pinto, red, or black beans :) :

--I used yellow corn, because that's what I had on my shelf. I'm not familiar with hominy, but maybe it would be a good addition to my food storage...

--I used navy beans, but not of the canned variety. I cold-soaked them for about 8 hours overnight, rinsed them, and dumped them into the crockpot as directed. I have to admit that I was a little nervous about them getting done, so I...

--Put the crockpot on high for about the first four hours, debated with myself, thought that surely they would be cooked after four hours, and then turned the crockpot down to low. I was a little worried (what, me worry? :) that the salt in the other ingredients would hinder the cooking of the beans, but somewhere around an hour before dinner I pulled one out and it seemed well-done to me. Ahhhh....ended up cooking the chili about 9 hours total, and stirred in the sour cream.

This was really delicious and was labeled a "keeper", which was especially nice since everyone seemed to enjoy it. I think I have a new addition to my 3-month storage menu, because I figure I could use some of my very valued and extremely guarded supply of home-canned chicken here, and the other ingredients are already great storage items, except for the sour cream, which I think we could leave out without rendering it inedible... :)

I highly recommend this recipe, and thanks to Kietra on Cooking... for sharing it!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Price of Produce

My husband called me today and said that there was a gentleman selling Texas grapefruit on the side of the road. (Long-term readers may recall that we live in Idaho.) Our conversation (s)--there were at least two-- went something like this:

Me: Really? Does he have a license plate from Texas?
Him: I don't know. I can't see it from here.
Me: How much does it cost?
Him: I don't know--he's selling it by the box, though. What would be a good price?
Me: I don't know. I really just don't know. I probably wouldn't be willing to pay more than, oh, say, $15.00. But I really don't know. Remember the e-mail from Florida where it said that the price of tomatoes was $3.00/lb, and peppers were the same? So...I really don't know. Maybe $20 for the box? Maybe I should call someone who would know. (Long-term readers may surmise that in all likelihood that would be my best source, aka Mom. Those long-term readers would be correct.)

Yeah, so I basically wasn't that much help. And then, I couldn't reach my best source. My husband was on his own. And it turns out that he didn't really need my help anyway... Our third conversation went something like this:

Him: Well, I bought a box. 40 lbs. for $25.
Me: That's not too bad. Less than $1.00/lb, and oranges I know are like $0.99/lb right now, so that's really good. (One calculation later on a calculator indicated that it was between $0.62 and $0.63 /lb for the grapefruit) So did he have a Texas license plate?
Him: No, somewhere in Idaho.
Me: So did you ask him how he got ahold of Texas grapefruit?
Him: No.
Me: (Disappointed) Ahhhh...... I would have asked....
Him: He did open one up for me, and they were really juicy...

Did I mention that I love as in looooovvvve grapefruit? Somewhere up there by curry in terms of favorite flavors. So I am happy that we now have some in the house...and at a good price. It's best to grow your own produce if you can, but Idaho isn't really suited in terms of climate to grow that much grapefruit. Love the deals we can get on potatoes regularly here, though...

So here is my question to anyone who is willing to answer: How are the produce prices where you live? We know people in Florida, hence the e-mail information cited above. It must have been on my other blog that I mentioned not too long ago that peppers (as in green and other assorted varieties) were on sale for $1.50 each. My children are not big fans of green and other varieties of peppers, so I don't pay that much attention to the prices because they are not a frequent purchase, but to me that seemed really high.

Due to the wonder that is caller id, my mother called me back and we talked about the logistics of having Texas grapefruit in Idaho. Came to the conclusion that growers in Texas most likely sent a truck up and local people sell it at a bigger profit for them and a nicer price for us....got to love the free market...

As an aside, I had a sample taste at one of the grocery chainstores not too long ago of what was called a "Cara Cara " orange. They were also $0.99/lb. I got some because to me they tasted like a cross between orange and grapefruit, (did I mention that I love grapefruit? ) and they were delicious. I even went back for more because one of my children liked them particularly. Haven't seen them since, but they are one of the reasons that I could remember the price of oranges today, and I would highly recommend them if you can find them near you...

So I would appreciate any input on produce costs in different areas. And if you are still here after this somewhat rambling post, thanks for reading! :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Is anyone else having problems publishing comments?

Ok, weird, but here it is: yesterday I published a comment from Carl, and it didn't show up in the comments section. Then today, I went to publish a comment from Asphyxiated Emancipation, and it wasn't even available to publish in my blogspot account. I get the comments in an e-mail account, however, so fortunately I can reproduce Ashyxiated Emancipation's comment (which is full of great info) here through the wonder that is copy and paste:

Ammo. Ammo has been non available in my area since around August of 2008. Oh sure, you can find some oddball calibers here and there, but 9mm, .40, .45? Forget about it. .22? No way. I managed to score the last 8 boxes at a gun show Saturday, thankfully, since I have a training class next month.

Since Walmart has rearranged their stores, the choices aren't there anymore. Seems they wanna be like Costco when they grow up. Problem is, the are facing the shelves, and not actually keeping them full. So, when I go in and buy a case of beans, the shelves are left empty.

I've been running into the same problem you have with shoes since late last year. Finally caught an online sale in December, and ordered two extra pairs of shoes.

The more I prepare, the more experience shows me it is better.

End of comment.

Thanks, Asphyxiated Emancipation, you bring up a lot of good points. I had noticed that there just doesn't seem to be much choice anymore for products on the shelves, and it may just be me, but it seems that store brands are taking a more prominent place, with prices that seem pretty close to other brands, in at least one example I can think of.

Well, don't know what's next with the comment problem--hopefully I will at least keep receiving them by e-mail. Hope that it doesn't turn out that I won't see them at all, because I really appreciate comments--lots of times there is more information in the comments than what I put in the posts... :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

There doesn't have to be an emergency for there to be scarcity...

Ah, reason number (insert large number here) to stock up on more than food for emergencies. I went shopping for shoes again recently, and my experience was even more disturbing than it was almost two years ago....though it was similar:

I went to our national chainstore of choice first, and the choices were extremely limited, and the prices were considerably higher than I wanted to pay. Extremely limited=there was one pair of shoes in the size that I wanted, and a salesperson told me that the only shoes they had were the ones on display. So I went to choice 2 on the chainstore list.

Wow, the displays in chainstore 2 were impressive. There were even some shoes that were 50% off. I was very happy to see the display, but from there it went downhill. These shoes were mostly display only, so a sales associate had to go check one by one for the shoes I requested. To make a long story short, she went back again and again, and there were no shoes in the size I was looking for--except for one pair that for some reason (color I guess) was $10 more than another similar model. I declined and went to look at store 3.

Again at chainstore 3 choice was very limited, but I did find one pair that would work. If memory serves, it was about the same price as the lone pair that was in chainstore 1. So I reasoned that since we get a coupon occasionally for our membership in a kids club at chainstore 1, that I would spend our money there. The shoes were a necessity, and stores were about to close, so I headed back to chainstore 1....

...only to find at that point that the one pair in the size I needed at chainstore 1 was actually wide width. So they had no shoes in the size that I needed. I ended up taking yet another trip to chainstore 3 and buying the pair there.

So, okay, I don't sew, and I should work on that, but I pretty much am sure that aside from wrapping together something with twine and/or duct tape under dire circumstances that I won't be successful at making anything even vaguely resembling shoes. I asked the salesperson at chainstore 1 how often they got shoes in, and she said that honestly, they didn't get them in very often. (You can compare this to the linked post in 2008, when I was told that they got shoes in weekly.) She did say that you could order just about anything online, but that will not help in an emergency situation, when you need the shoes now because one of your children has failed to mention that hard work/play and resultant shoe holes + melting Idaho snow make it necessary to purchase shoes asap...or any other emergency, for that matter.

So, one of my goals is to save up and buy shoes ahead, online or otherwise, because shoemaking is not one of my talents. I also am going to try to find out if there are other items that I will need to take notice of--the scarcity of items is not always immediately apparent. For example, in chainstore 3 there were rows upon rows of shoes, but not much of what I needed. There were even clearance shelves, but again, full of pairs that were of no use to me. I don't know how many pairs of ultra-expensive pairs there were in the size that I was looking for, because they weren't an option. Not an option is not an option, whether it's due to price or unavailability, so it seems to me that storing ahead would be a wise practice.

What about you? Have you noticed a scarcity in any items, food or otherwise, that you are now planning to add to your emergency supplies? The more we get the word out for each other, the better prepared we will all be able to be....

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tortilla Success

I have been putting off making tortillas for awhile, but I finally got around to actually making some earlier this week. I have watched tortillas being made in the past, and I thought they would be a great item to have on my food storage menu, since they take few ingredients and cook fast, so not that much fuel would be required to cook them. I looked around and looked around and looked around...and procrastinated...

I finally settled on this recipe, which I found over at the Happy Housewife.

Then I procrastinated some more.....

Flash forward to a night where I didn't feel like scrubbing potatoes and was low on ideas for blog posts, and the time just seemed right. So I tried the recipe.

High points: They tasted really good. The kids really liked them, and they disappeared almost as fast as I could make them. Even my child who doesn't really like bread was eating them. However, their popularity made it very inconvenient to get a picture, since I was hungry myself by the time I sat down, which reminds me of the single, solitary low point:

I probably wouldn't have been particularly happy with a picture, because my tortillas weren't round. They were more...glob-shaped. Yeah, entirely my fault. So they weren't uniformly shaped, but since we were just eating them with chili, there wasn't really a problem. However, there would have been some difficulty had we been trying to make tacos or something with them. Soooo, I guess I will have to practice the rolling-out methods that will lead to round tortillas. After I master that particular point of tortilla making, it will be more of a total success.

I recommend this recipe--easy, fast, and delicious. And if you can make your tortillas round, you're ahead of me already.... :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

More ways to use your long-term storage...

And when I say "more ways", I mean a lot more ways, many of which I haven't had a chance to even look at yet. Thanks to a kind e-mailer, I received a message with some wonderful links to recipes, one of which contains a lengthy list of recipes. I quote from said e-mailer, who actually took the time to put some of the actual recipes in the e-mail:

"These recipes are for making instant meals for long term storage. The sites have many more.
Just mix up, measure into bags seal and put in buckets."

Here are the sites:

Soup Mix in a Jar Recipes, (I'm looking to try this one sometime, of the ones I've looked at so far... and there are even more types of mixes below the list of soup recipes)

AllFreeCrafts.Com, where you can find chicken noodle soup and minestrone in a jar recipes

This Veggie Rice Mix---I don't know if there are other recipes to find here yet, but this one looks pretty good.... :)

It's really the first link that has the most options to choose from, and hopefully you will find something that you and your loved ones would like. It's always good to have different options that are easy to make, and the recipes that I have seen in the first link so far look pretty good--I have a lot to go through on the list still, but I thought I'd give you the links so you can find what you like--gotta love variety, probably even more so when you are using your long-term supplies...thanks again, kind e-mailer!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wish I had seen this a couple of months ago...

I came across the blog, Cooking: Prepare by applying heat and a little bit of love, not long ago. Too late to make Christmas treats, but when I saw this Festive Pretzels recipe, I thought, "Wow, that would be great for next year!" I haven't tried them yet, but they look incredibly easy, and you know how much I like easy recipes....

Then I got to thinking that these could be great for Valentine's as well, if you stuck to red and white M&M's--I mean, they're totally made with hugs and kisses. I will probably still file it away for December, but I thought it might come in handy for someone, and who knows, maybe I'll make some with my children before then.

I look forward to trying more recipes that are posted on the Cooking...love blog--I would recommend checking it out. I just thought I'd mention the pretzels now as a possibility for more festivity this weekend. (This post will also make it incredibly easy to find the recipe again before the holidays.) And just speaking for myself, I wouldn't turn down chocolate of any color.... :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Rolls and Rotation

Decided I would finally try another recipe that I entered into my emergency notebook awhile ago, this one, from Mennonite Girls Can Cook, in fact. They came out looking like this:

Yeah, if you check out the link, their rolls are prettier, and they probably taste better, too, since I forgot to add the salt. Fortunately, I don't think anyone else noticed that I forgot the salt, and these rolls disappeared pretty fast. An added plus--this recipe made so many that some are headed for the freezer for another meal anytime now.

Now for the rotation part. This recipe calls for 5+ cups of flour, which I knew by looking was more than was sitting in my handy-dandy flour container on my counter. I had some small bags of flour in my storeroom, and a big bag of flour in my storeroom. Those who read my blog regularly may recall that I would rather just buy something and put it in my storeroom and walk away, coming back occasionally for a visit that results in warm fuzzy thoughts that run along the lines of, "I love big bags of flour...", or "Tuna is a good source of protein, tuna is a good source of protein...", than to actually use said storage. Unfortunately, warm and fuzzy thoughts do not necessarily turn into useful and necessary action, so the big bag of flour has been sitting there for awhile instead of being used in new and/or old recipes.

So today was the day I opened the big bag of flour and later secured it with a clip. I need to properly store it in a bucket with one of the colored reusable lids that I have (sorry, the name of said lids escapes me at the moment) and do it right. To be honest, I probably would have used the flour that I consider to be more every day flour in the smaller packages if I didn't know that flour does not have an incredibly long shelf life, like say, wheat, some of which I also have stored. The long shelf life of wheat is one of the justifications I use for not grinding it yet, but yeah, that also is not the most productive way of thinking.

So yes, I am rotating my flour now, and have yet to start using a grinder on my wheat. Still kind of a victory for me anyway. Ah, baby steps. And those who may be like me, please remember to rotate your flour--you can only visit it so many times in your storeroom before it goes rancid....sad, I know. I love those visits....

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sometimes you just can't tell...

We love baked potatoes around here. In fact, we use them as the main star of the meal when we put chili and various other toppings on them, or as a side for meatloaf. After buying some oatmeal in the sale mentioned in the previous post, I was in the mood for meatloaf, which I learned to make growing up, and the recipe for which used to be found on the back of the Quaker oatmeal box. Someone has kindly posted the recipe online here. Easy, with few ingredients, and delicious. I usually use tomato sauce and ground turkey--beef or turkey, it's all good.

Ah, one of my favorite foods. And, as an added bonus, if you put baking potatoes in 1/2 hour before the meatloaf, they will be ready at the same time.

So I had the oatmeal. I had the egg, the tomato sauce, and the turkey. And I had lovely, huge, beautiful baking potatoes--after all, we live in Idaho. So I started scrubbing potatoes, and cutting off blemishes, and as memory serves, the first potato was only lovely on the outside. Just under the skin there was black throughout. Bye-bye, potato.

Ok. Well, we usually buy at least one extra baking potato in case something like this happens, but by the time I had wrapped one for the oven and thrown away a total of three, I was done. One potato made it into the oven before the meatloaf, and the remaining potatoes went into the refrigerator for another day. One person ate the baked potato, and the rest had instant mashed. Not as good, but tasty enough.

There is no way the farmers could see this particular problem before they sold the potatoes, and no way that the grocer could know either. And there is no way that we could know until I was in the process of preparing them for dinner. In some situations, you just can't tell ahead of time that you are going to have a problem, no matter how carefully you plan. Everything looked good. But sometimes, even if it is not an emergency, your food supplies can provide you with a Plan B.

Gotta love having a plan B, even if it you were looking forward to Plan A......

Friday, January 29, 2010

Got oatmeal?

If not, or if you need more, you might want to head over to an Albertson's near you. I don't usually give out the names of where I shop, but hey, a good deal deserves a little advertising...

In Wednesday's flyer (which says prices are effective Wed., Jan 27 thru Tues., Feb. 2, 2010) in the newspaper, there are these deals mentioned (I would always suggest that you call your local store to make sure the deals apply in your area.):

--When you buy 5 (42 oz) packages of Quaker Oatmeal, they are only $1.40 each. There is also syrup available, but this time I was all about the oatmeal.

--When you buy the instant oatmeal (in those yummy flavored packets) in the 10.69-15.1 oz select varieties, you can get them for $1 each when you buy 5. I didn't get any this time, but it was tempting...

--Quaker Chewy Granola Bars or Dipps (7.9-8.7 oz.) are also $1 each when you buy 5. I'm thinking 72 hour kits... These were apparently very popular, because I had to get a raincheck.

--There are also some cereals (14-16 0z., select varieties) that fall under the $1 each when you buy 5. (Oatmeal Squares are among them, but also Cap'n Crunch, or Life.)

You will need an Albertsons Preferred Card if you don't already have one, but it might be worth it to get one for these deals.

So I went last night and checked it out. And I bought some oatmeal--old-fashioned, which cooks in about 5 minutes, and some instant, which cooks in about 1 minute, I think. Wasn't exactly wild about the instant, 1 minute type until I thought, well, that would take a lot less energy in an emergency situation....

And the 42 oz-ers are the big packages. I don't use oatmeal all that much, but I did see a recipe for oatmeal bread over at the Harried Homemaker that I want to try. In the same post is a link to the Krazy Kitchen, which is highlighting oatmeal this month. Hence, many links to many recipes. So I will need to head over there to see what will work for my family. After all, I have a lot more of the main ingredient now.... :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Very little, but a little is better than none...

First of all, my apologies to those who have left comments or sent e-mails lately. I have sadly neglected my e-mail accounts and blogs since the earthquake in Haiti. Years ago I lived in Haiti, and it breaks my heart to see and hear what is happening there. I have mostly been watching the reports on TV, and trying to find out information when I have been on the computer. My heart goes out to all those affected, and my thanks goes out to all those trying to help in this devastating situation. I'm praying for you all.

I have not entirely neglected my preparation efforts, but no huge strides have been made. For instance:

--I spent a grand total of $1.98 (plus tax) on Top Ramen last week. Not the most exciting of purchases, but hey, 12 more packages of easy preparation makes me happy...

--In one experience, I gained a little knowledge, and it wasn't, shall we say, of the happy variety. You may recall that I have mentioned the (what I consider to be) outrageous prices of cereal these days. I cut out a coupon that had several varieties of cereal listed for under $2.00, and planned to take advantage of the deal. I went one night, and they were out of the items. I asked (probably my first mistake) if it would be better to get a raincheck now, (since I had always been able to get one previously) or come back the next day, since the person I was talking too said that they had just received a shipment, and there hadn't been time to unload it yet. The person said that it would be better to wait until the following day, because previously items in coupons had been on coupons because they were being discontinued, and the items on this one might not be available in the future.

Sigh. So I went back the following evening, and the shelves were as empty as ever. It was also the last day that the coupons would be honored, so I headed to the customer service desk again. It was a different person on duty, and when I asked for a raincheck, I was asked if someone had specifically said that I could have a raincheck on the cereal coupon. I said no, but I had talked to someone the previous evening who had told me a shipment had come in, and there still weren't any of the mentioned sizes available. She then said, well, sometimes the coupons are "while supplies last", and proceeded to show me where it was mentioned on said coupon. I then said, well, I wished that the other person had told me that the previous evening, because I probably wouldn't have come back, and that I was sorry that I had bothered her.

Old coupon pros are probably shaking their heads because this would appear to be somewhat of a rookie mistake, but in my defense, I have used this store's coupons many times, and have never seen the second paragraph where this phrase was found. I honestly think that this is a new addition, because I have always been able to get a raincheck before. I trust that I will not make such an error again. So I learned a little bit... :)

--A couple of weeks ago, we bought some powdered milk in bulk for our storage. Now to use it like it isn't storage---so I'll be able to use it when there's no fresh milk available....

And that's about it, but I'm planning to try out some new recipes soon. Hope all of your efforts are going well....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sometimes you just need other people--or at least someone else's jeep

A couple of weekends ago we found ourselves in a scenario that perhaps many people find themselves in, especially in Idaho. It snowed. This is fun when you have no place to go. It is not fun when the accumulation on the road is such that you and just about everyone else on the road is in danger of being stuck. One of our neighbors told me she got stuck three times before she got out of the neighborhood. Another told me that she got stuck in the driveway and promptly went inside and told her husband she was taking the truck. That morning my husband got out while he was driving and helped someone who was stuck in the middle of the road. While we were together as a family, we did not get stuck. But conditions were a little worse when my husband was out in a neighborhood helping a moving party...

Our neighborhood was not the only one in bad shape that day, and my husband said the neighborhood where he was helping load furniture, etc., was in even worst condition than ours was. When he was ready to go, things were not looking good because the snow was so high in the road that he was getting stuck just trying to leave. So someone else there offered to tow him out to one of the main roads with his jeep. My husband accepted. I'm not sure my husband had even met that gentleman before that morning, and I don't remember hearing his name, so it is unlikely that I know him. In any case, if he is reading, I say thank you!

I have been thinking about that situation (because, obviously, I have not been writing about it :) for awhile. There are times when you are just going to need other people. I suppose that there are scenarios where you could do all of the heavy lifting/pushing/ trying to extricate your vehicle from a snowdrift all by yourself until you finally got to where you were going. I suppose. I'm sure that there are some people that have situated themselves so that they really wouldn't ever need other people, and they have the self-sufficiency aspect down to an art. But I think that most of us would need other people in at least some ways in certain emergency situations, and those situations are different depending on where you live.

Who will you call if the power goes out and you have no alternative source of heat when it is -14 with a windchill of -26? (Ah, Idaho.) What if you have an earthquake, and have to evacuate? What if your probable weather emergency is a hurricane? A tornado? A flood? A mudslide? A heatwave? What if your probable emergency is of a financial nature, and you find yourselves in need of shelter or other basic necessities? What if the probable emergency has to do with a situation that requires defense of property, and you need strength of numbers to protect you and yours? I'm sure that there are more emergencies that could occur, but those are the ones that come to mind.

There are many ways that we can prepare ourselves so that we need minimal/no help during emergency situations, but there are also many emergency situations that are likely to eventually lead to our seeking help from other people. My husband and I have discussed some of the scenarios that might lead us to seek out other people (most likely family members) but we still have work to do in this area. For us there would likely be a plan A and plan B at least. But we do think that it would be best to have a plan with the people we would seek out in an emergency situation, so that there would be less confusion and better transfer of supplies, etc. if an emergency were to arise.

What about you? What is your most likely emergency situation where you would need the assistance of other people? Do you have a plan? We're still working on one here, and are so grateful that we still have some time to do so, and are hoping that we would never have to put such a plan into action.

Just so you know, don't come to us if you need to be towed by a jeep. However, if you get stuck in the snow in our neighborhood, don't be surprised if my husband shows up with a snowshovel. Hey, you do what you can... :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Here's hoping 2010 will be one of great preparation! Or great rotation, increase, and use of everything already prepared... :) Little by little, everything counts!