Saturday, January 31, 2009

Family Home Storage Workshop notes...

Thanks for taking some time out of your Saturday to come out to work at learning how to get prepared! I hope you found it worthwhile. Now we just need to do something with we don't end up like the lady in the from empty shelves! I was personally so inspired that on the way home I went to a donut shop and picked up 22 buckets with lids...and they even threw in some donuts! Within a few weeks they will all be filled with various items that I will pick up from the Cannery, Winco, and Costco.

Please know that you can contact your ward preparedness rep if you have questions.......or myself and we will be happy to try to answer them as best we can...or tell you were you can find the answer! Most answers can be found by simply searching for info on the internet.

Also be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the dates of our upcoming events.

If there is a certain link that you were hoping for that I don't have below...ask about it in the comments section...and I will add it...

Karen's talk on a 3 month supply...


Build a small supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet. One way to do this is to purchase a few extra items each week to build a one-week supply of food. Then you can gradually increase your supply until it is sufficient for three months. These items should be rotated regularly to avoid spoilage (

From the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
“Our Heavenly Father created this beautiful earth, with all its abundance, for our benefit and use. His purpose is to provide for our needs as we walk in faith and obedience. He has lovingly commanded us to “prepare every needful thing” (see D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity come, we can care for ourselves and our neighbors and support bishops as they care for others.
"We encourage members world-wide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings.”

From President Spencer W. Kimball:

“Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program.”

The hardest part is getting started.
Just get started!
Make preparedness a part of your monthly budget, without going into debt.
Little by little you can do it!

How I got started: I just started spending an extra $10 whenever grocery shopping. I purchased a few extra cans of peaches, spaghetti sauce, soup, etc. Before long, it really started adding up. It was exciting to see!


1. Take an inventory of canned goods and commodities.

2. Identify the space where the family will store the additional food items. If necessary, purchase or build shelves. You may also want to consider cleaning out closets and under beds, possibly moving some of those items into the garage or attic. It is best to store food in the mild temperatures of your home.

3. Determine your weekly budget.

4. Gather simple family favorite recipes.

5. Select 7 nutritious meals your family will enjoy.

6. Using these meals, create a master-shopping list that includes each of the 7 meals repeated 12 times.

7. Begin by purchasing a few items to start building one week of meals.

8. Gradually increase your supply until it is sufficient for three months.

9. Then, add ideas for breakfast and lunch to your list.

10. Last, purchase extra toothpaste, toilet paper, soaps, medicines, detergents, diapers, wipes, and other personal items.

Note: Add some family favorite treats/comfort foods to your master list, like cookies, nuts, etc.

Note: Don’t forget that some of your long-term storage items may be used with your three-month supply, such as quick oats, etc.

Her document "Purchase plan example" (You need to do a short sign in to download)

Jolayne Nash's resources on Pandemic preparedness can be found here...and here.

Her basics on long term storage can be found here.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Many without food, water rush to shelters' warmth...

That was the title of this article today from the AP. I bolded parts that stuck out to me. This is a great example of why it is important to have your own supplies! The alternative is to sleep with crowds of people on a floor and to hope for handouts...if such a service is available...or to wander the town to stand in line hoping that you can get what you need.

MURRAY, Ky. – Residents displaced by a winter storm rested in every corner of a university theater, about 100 of them sprawled in aisles, propped in chairs, curled up on the stage. Some watched a movie while others settled in — but all could sleep soundly with the heat blasting, the assurance of food and water nearby.

Among the battered crowd Thursday night were brothers Jim McClung, 42, and Dale Earnest, 38, forced to hole up in the makeshift shelter at Murray University in southwestern Kentucky. They, and many like them at hundreds of shelters in several states, ran out of food and water at their frigid, powerless home in the wake of an ice storm.

At least 1.3 million homes and businesses were without power across a wide swath of the country. Utility companies struggled through ice-encrusted debris into Friday morning as they worked to restore power, but warned it may not return until Saturday at the earliest. It could take until mid-February for some to come back online.

McClung and Earnest, both originally from Chicago, have seen their share of harsh winters. But they said this was the worst. Kentucky and Arkansas were among the states hit hardest by the blast.

"This is our first natural disaster," Earnest said.

"I had no idea the storm was going to last this long," his brother added.

They made it to the shelter only after hiking to a nearby police station and asking. Deputies trekked door-to-door in many communities to let people know where shelters were, forced to spread the word the old-fashioned way because cell phone and Internet service was spotty. In some towns, volunteers checked to make sure their elderly and disabled neighbors were all right.

Many Kentucky hotels offering discounted "power outage rates" reported being fully booked with people escaping frosty neighborhoods. Those who hunkered down in their homes face long lines to buy generators, firewood, groceries — even bottled water because power outages crippled local pumping stations.

Truckloads of ready-to-eat meals, water and generators from the Federal Emergency Management Agency were expected to arrive Friday at a staging area in Fort Campbell, Ky., said Mary Hudak, a spokeswoman for FEMA's southeast region.

In Paducah, Amber Fiers and her neighbor Miranda Brittan tried a half-dozen filling stations before finding one where they could buy kerosene. The two were in a line that swelled to 50 or more at the 13th Street Station, which began pumping kerosene after its owner set up a generator.

"We got food, but I'm just worried about staying warm," said Brittan, who lives in Mayfield, adding she was frustrated by the search for supplies.

"By the time you hear about a place that's open they're out when you get there," she said.

Roads were still littered with ice-caked power lines, downed trees and other debris. Help from around the country was arriving in convoys to assist the states with the worst outages.
At a mall turned into a staging area in Barboursville, W.Va., crews in hard hats met Thursday alongside piles of poles, generators, wire and other supplies to find out where to go first.
"We're attacking it head on," said Appalachian Power spokesman Phil Moye. "As long as the ice is still on the trees, the storm is still here."

St. Louis-based AmerenUE said it had added 800 workers to power restoration efforts in southeast Missouri, and another 800 were expected Friday.

In central Kentucky's Radcliff, John and Elsie Grimes lost power Monday night and needed police help to get out of their trailer and to a shelter Thursday morning set up by the local NAACP.

"I've been sitting 'round for two days, eating cold hot dogs and bologna," said 70-year-old John Grimes, describing what he ate at home before coming to the shelter. he uses a wheelchair, is blind in one eye, and a diabetic.

Since the storm began Monday, the weather has been blamed for at least 27 deaths, including six in Texas, four in Arkansas, three in Virginia, six in Missouri, two in Oklahoma, two in Indiana, two in West Virginia and one each in Ohio and Kentucky. Emergency officials feared that toll could rise if people stay in their homes without power for too long, because improper use of generators can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Jimmy Eason was among those who decided to tough it out anyway in Velvet Ridge, Ark., gingerly stepping across his yard, watching for icicles falling from electrical wires. He was headed to his Ford F-150 pickup truck, which was warmer than his one-story house.

"I'm sleeping in a car, which is just fine," Eason, 74, said. "There's nothing wrong with a car. Every couple of hours I turn it on, I let it run for 10 minutes and that keeps it pretty warm."
Eason was trying to avoid boredom, and drove to Burger King to get a meal because he was tired of eating cold soup. "It's kind of a chore to occupy your mind. I'm used to doing things and keeping busy," he said. "You just have to endure a couple of days and it will be all right."

Monday, January 26, 2009

Blessings in being close to the soil...

As the weather becomes progressively springlike...and seed catalogs start showing up in the mail I can't help but get excited about all that will soon be growing in my garden! Even though we live in a climate where you can successfully garden year round without the use of greenhouses and cold boxes...there is something magical about planting in the spring over the other seasons. The smell of the soil...the nurturing of a seedling...the fruit of your labors...the whole process is wonderful.

Depending on whom you are speaking to...either gardening...or genealogy is America's number one hobby. Which to me seems funny. If hobbies were gauged by what you spent the most time doing...watching TV and wasting time on the computer would be America's number one hobbies! But if it is true that genealogy and gardening are in the top two hobbies...that is a sign of something that is right with America!

I love that the true God of heaven is a God of agriculture....and teaches us by using agriculture. We will "reap what we sow"..."The parable of the sower"..."The wheat and the tares"..."the fig tree"..."Alma 32"..."Jacob 5's Allegory of the olive tree"..."the mustard seed"....etc...etc. One really comes to know what many of the parables and teachings truly mean...when they have worked in the fields with the elements that our Lord talks about. He would have us come to know Him through His creations...and promises us blessings for doing so.

While working with the land will help us to understand His doctrines more clearly...latter-day prophets have long spoken of other purposes to make gardening more than just a hobby. Read a few of my favorite quotes...

"As we approach the showdown, it will be increasingly valuable to have vocational skills--to be able to use our hands. The most essential temporal skills and knowledge are to be able to provide food, clothing, and shelter. Increasingly the Lord, through His servants, is trying to get us closer to the soil by raising our own produce." (EZRA TAFT BENSON "In His Steps")

"We encourage you to grow all the food that you feasibly can on your own property. Berry bushes, grapevines, fruit trees—plant them if your climate is right for their growth. Grow vegetables and eat them from your own yard" (Spencer W. Kimball, in Conference Report, Apr. 1976, 171; or Ensign, May 1976, 124).

“The little gardens and a few trees are very valuable. I remember when the sisters used to say, `well, but we could buy it at the store a lot cheaper than we could put it up.' But that isn't quite the answer, is it, Sister Spafford? Because there will come a time when there isn't a store.”(Spencer W. Kimball,GC April 1974Welfare Session)

"I do not want to be a calamity howler. I don't know in detail what's going to happen in the future. I know what the prophets have predicted. But I tell you that the welfare program, organized to enable us to take care of our own needs, has not yet performed the function that it was set up to perform. We will see the day when we will live on what we produce." (Marion G. Romney of the First Presidency,GC April 1975, Welfare session) Repeated at least 2 more times in GC (Victor L. Brown, “The Church and the Family in Welfare Services,” Ensign, May 1976, 110) & (J. Richard Clarke, Conference Report, Oct. 1980)

"There are blessings in being close to the soil, in raising your own food, even if it is only a garden in your yard and/or a fruit tree or two. Man’s material wealth basically springs from the land and other natural resources. Combined with his human energy and multiplied by his tools, this wealth is assured and expanded through freedom and righteousness. Those families will be fortunate who, in the last days, have an adequate supply of each of these particulars." (Ezra Taft Benson, “Prepare Ye,” Ensign, Jan. 1974, 68)

“The day will come, when, as we have been told, we shall all see the necessity of making our own shoes and clothing and raising our own food. …” (Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p. 166.) also (Ezra Taft Benson, “Prepare Ye,” Ensign, Jan. 1974, 68)

In a message to the Saints in July of 1970, President Joseph Fielding Smith stated that the pioneers “were taught by their leaders to produce, as far as possible, all that they consumed … This is still excellent counsel.” (Improvement Era, vol. 73 [1970], p. 3.)Ezra Taft Benson, “Prepare Ye,” Ensign, Jan. 1974, 68

"Let us be in a position so we are able to not only feed ourselves through home production and storage, but others as well" (Ezra Taft Benson GC Oct. 1980)

"Those families will be fortunate who, in the last days, have an adequate supply of food because of their foresight and ability to produce their own" (Ezra Taft Benson GC Oct. 1980)

So to the faithful LDS...gardening is much more than a "hobby" is practice for a time as has been prophesied..."There will be no store" and "we will live on what we produce" and to "feed others" to gain the blessings of being "close to the soil" and so on.

Now...I know enough about gardening to know that I don't know enough about gardening...but I have a few bits of advice given the above counsel and prophecies.

1. Learn to garden from seed. I know it is so easy just to buy the starter plants from the store...but one day there will be no store. One day it may just be a packet of seeds in your hand (if you had the foresight to store them) and the soil beneath your feet. If you are unfamiliar with seed planting methods...and have no one to guide you...there may be a great feeling of uneasiness at your abilities to have success.

2. Get at least a few gardening books for reference. It is so hard to remember what is to be done with every different variety. When do you plant...when do you harvest...identifying the good and bad bugs...identifying diseases...etc. There are lots of different opinions out there on gardening methods. Reading a variety of gardening books can help you see different points of view. Try them out and see what your results are. Hard copy books are what you want...not digital books or info on your computer. Thrift stores have a lot of great gardening books for a steal...and amazon has a lot for half the price that you would pay new.

3. Sign up for seed catalogs to come to your home. Good seed catalogs can be like a free library of plant info. It also can really be a motivator to get planting. You can do a search online for "seed catalogs" and find a bunch. I will do another article on seed and give some recommendations.

4. Store seeds known for their yield, quality, drought resistance, low soil requirements, ease to grow, nutrition....and of course...stuff you like to eat! I store mine it the refrigerator in ziploc bags. I prefer open-pollinated/heirloom varieties because I like to be able to have the self reliance of being able to save the seed to plant future crops.

5. Consider organic methods. If the only way you know how to grow a plant is when the landscaping place dumps all of the compost at your home...and you grow your plants with some sort of synthetic may find yourself in poor shape when those things aren't available. Know how to make your own to get rid of bugs without spraying your vegetables with to make things grow with what you have on hand.

6. Take good care of your tools. Back in 1982 Boyd K. Packer reminded us of the words of Spencer W. Kimball when he said "“Take good care of your material possessions, for the day will come when they will be difficult, if not impossible, to replace.” That shovel that you leave out in the weather may be the last one you own for a really...really long time. If my wife was looking over my shoulder right now she would be shouting "Hypocrite!!" I am working on this one. I have bad habit of working on projects until dark...and not leaving enough time for picking up...and then leaving stuff out overnight or overnights.

7. Make a place for gardening on your property. I'd encourage all to take to heart the counsel from Spencer W. Kimball and to "grow all of the food that you feasibly can on your own property". Rip out ornamental plants and replace them with plants that will feed you. There is a book out there called "edible landscaping". I saw it at the library one day and thumbed through it. There are some BEAUTIFUL edible plants out there that look GREAT! It is not necessary to sacrifice the look of your property for having food plants. Another suggestion would be to investigate container gardening. With very few exceptions it is possible to grow most vegetables in a container.

8. Keep a journal of what you do. It is so hard from season to season to remember what you did when...and how you did it. A journal helps you to repeat successes and avoid repeating failures.

9. Just try! While some plants are really many will still thrive...even with complete neglect. This last season I planted a tomato plant from seed and after it had grown a bit...I purposefully didn't water it again. It struggled and stayed small...but it actually bore fruit!! Tomato's by the way are the number one backyard garden vegetable for a reason...they will take all kinds of abuse and keep on ticking. Every gardener has failures and successes...just give them a try! Pick some tried and true favorites for our climate and just try them out! Worse case scenario is that you are out a couple of bucks on a packet of seed. Best case is you have produce that is superior in flavor to what is available at the market!

10. Slow down and enjoy it. It can be a chore you rue....or a way to relax and remember's up to you! Sit by a bed full of weeds and think about how Christ spoke of weeds choking the word. Observe things more closely...there is a lot of wonder in the veins on a leaf...enjoy the scent in the air...the feel of the soil in your hands. If you need help in that this talk.

The Pump-n-Seal

What a great idea this is! Being able to vacuum seal without the need of electricity would be a great thing to have...especially when there is no electricity! I love that you can reuse glass jars you already have...without having to purchase some special jar from the manufacturer. It can also be used with zipper locking bags.

Here is a great video demonstrating the pump-n-seal.
Here is the official instructional video.
Here is a comparison of various vacuum sealers. (Done by the manufacturers of pump-n-seal)

I'd recommend stocking up on a healthy supply of those little yellow "band-aids" if you buy one.

This is a great way to fight one of the main enemies of food preservation...air!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wendy storage seminar

Funny and serious...this woman took the words out of my mouth. To see the whole presentation you need to click through each portion of the seminar...part 1, part 2, etc... Lot's of great videos to be seen on youtube.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Do you REALLY have a year's supply?

Although the church presently is no longer is talking about a minimum of a year's supply...and now speak only in terms of "Longer-term supply" is still a good starting goal to have a year's supply of what it would take to keep you alive. I know of some that would say "Yes...I have on hand at least a year's supply"...but upon examination one would find that they had deceived themselves. A handful of buckets of wheat...water turned green with age...and a few boxes of bulging number ten cans out in our shed is not a years supply. It is important that we get real with ourselves and know what REALLY is a years supply. The following I did not make up. It is from the LDS Preparedness Manual...which was put together by an LDS man...not the LDS church. There is some GREAT information in his book.

Do you REALLY have a year’s supply?

Just how big is a Year’s Supply of food? As explained on the previous page, our Church is suggesting the following minimums for each adult:

400 lbs. Grains(17.5oz / day)
60 lbs. Beans(2.6oz / day)
10 quarts Cooking oil (0.87oz / day)
60 lbs. Honey(2.63oz / day)
8 lbs. Salt(0.35oz / day)
16 lbs Powdered milk (0.70oz / day)
14 gallons of drinking water (for 2 weeks)

So, just how much is this?

Two 5 gallon buckets will hold about 75lbs of wheat, rice or other grains. This means you need 11 buckets of grain for each person in your family.

If you store all your grains in #10 cans...

Wheat, Rice, Corn, etc..
You would need 64 cans or 10.5 cases per person.

You would need 32 cans or 5.25 cases per person.

Rolled oats
These are lighter but bulkier, so they require more storage containers and space. You would need 124 cans or 21 cases person.

A 25 lb bag of beans will about fit in a single 5 gallon bucket, with a little space over, so 2 buckets would hold a one person supply, or 12 -13 # 10 cans or about 2 cases.

Daily Food
Dividing 400lbs by 365days, equals out to 1.09589lbs, or just over 1 lb of grain, per person, per day. That is approximately 2 cups of unground grain to cover your breakfast lunch and dinner.

Dividing 60lbs by 365, this works out to 0.16 lbs of beans per day, or 2.6 oz—approximately 3/4 cup.

The other foods listed would also need to be used in limited amounts.

This is not much food, folks. Get the basics, then immediately begin to add more kinds of grain,soup mix, canned and/or dehydrated vegetables and fruit, etc to add variety and provide more than the minimal survival diet.

As an example, the minimum recommended amount of grain, when ground and prepared will yield about 6 small biscuits or a plateful of pancakes. Its enough to keep you alive, but a far cry from being satisfied and not hungry.

Food Storage Calculators

How much does a family of six eat? A family of one? Find out with these calculators.The church's Provident Living web site has a simple one that shows only the amount of starches and protein-based foods needed. LDS has one...(that appears to be the one that used to be on the providentliving site)...that offers a more in depth listing of amounts.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Jerusalem Artichokes/Sunchokes

A while back I read a book called "Gardening when it counts: Growing food in hard times" which was an excellent book. The point of the book was to show how to produce the most amount of food...with the least amount of resources. There are certain crops that really are "good times" crops...and other crops that you grow because you need to fill your belly. There are methods of gardening that work best in good times...and other methods that may need to be employed times get hard.

In the book he has a table that shows which varieties of crops require the most care and have the highest soil requirements and those with the least. On the table as being one of the plants that needs the least amount of care...doesn't require the best of soil...and is seriously hard to kill is something that you may have never heard of before.

It's called a Jerusalem Artichoke or Sunchoke. The funny thing is that they are not from Jerusalem...nor are they an artichoke. They are in the sunflower family and produce beautiful flowers. They grow all over the world. The thing that makes them desirable for a food plant is the tubers they produce. They are described as having various flavors...some like artichoke...others like potato...etc. Some are really knobby...others smooth.

Anyone who has grown them will tell you..."Put them in a place where you don't want to plant anything else ever again!" Apparently once they are established they will spread...and when you go to pull out a tuber...the tiniest nub left underground will grow more plants! As you might imagine...being in the sunflower family...they can grow pretty tall. One woman told me she used it as a border to her a natural wall.

I personally have never grown these...or frankly ever eaten them. I have had enough people "in the know" tell me how wonderful that they are to eat...fresh or raw...and the fact that they are a "hard times" food was enough to sell me on them. I had desires to start last season but found that all the places that sell them only do so during a short period of time. I marked my calendar...and now it is time!
Fedco seeds is presently offering 3 from the from Eastern Siberia...and one from Austria!
Here is a video on Jerusalem Artichokes

The Quality Connundrum

I have been on the organic/biodynamic bandwagon for some time now...I guess largely because I don't like the idea of my family ingesting pesticides...growth hormones...etc in their food. I have also purposefully not used genetically modified versions of various vegetables...unsure of what the ramifications are of their use are. There are people right now that espouse GMO products as the greatest gift to mankind...and others that make them out to be a plague that may wipe out our food supply and poison us all.

The LDS people have been given a law of health by the Lord. In the revelation the Lord states that it was given "In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—"

So the reason we have that law of health is because of "evils and designs of conspiring men in the last days". While I do not know for certain if there is a link between GMO crops...non-organic products and this should give us warning to be on the lookout for manifestations of the works of those conspiring men.

"...To a great extent we are physically what we eat. Most of us are acquainted with some of the prohibitions, such as no tea, coffee, tobacco, or alcohol. What need additional emphasis are the positive aspects--the need for vegetables, fruits, and grains, particularly wheat. In most cases, the closer these can be, when eaten, to their natural state-- without overrefinement and processing--the healthier we will be. To a significant degree, we are an overfed and undernourished nation digging an early grave with our teeth, and lacking the energy that could be ours because we overindulge in junk foods. I am grateful to know that on this campus you can get apples from vending machines, that you have in your student center a fine salad bar, and that you produce an excellent loaf of natural whole-grain bread. Keep it up and keep progressing in that direction. We need a generation of young people who, as Daniel, eat in a more healthy manner than to fare on the "king's meat"--and whose countenances show it (see Daniel 1).

So it sufficeth to say that we should be trying to eat as healthy as reap well as other blessings.

Now having said that...when times of famine come...people get a whole lot less picky. There are reports of people in famines digging up worms to eat...eating bark off of trees...and feeling much as the prodigal son who "would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat" Do you think that if you get to that situation...that you will care all that much if it is organic or not?

Right now...prices are such that you can put away easily 3 times as much food non-organic than organic on the same budget! Some survivalist types go even beyond non-organic and are advocating storing "feed grains" that allow more pesticides...debris...and even bugs....just so they can store more food. While I do advocate finding a good deal...I think that you are headed for problems trying to store feed grains.

So there is no easy answer to this for me. Because we are on a limited budget...and we want to put away the most that we can we are going to start storing more long termer term food (grains...legumes) primarily non-organic...and shorter term food...a lot of it will remain organic. Perhaps when I have an abudance of non-organic long term storage...I will switch back to organic.
To those to whom money is no option you may be able to put up whatever food you want because you have the budget for it...but to everyone else...I wish you the best as you decide between quality and quantity.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


In this General Conference talk by Bruce R. McConkie he reminds us that...

"the clouds shall withhold their rain, and the crops of the earth shall wither and die."

Though the complete fulfillment of that prophecy may or may not be now it is of note that much of the US currently faces drought.

The weather reports are forecasting spring-like weather all this week. They deliver the news with mixed emotions...because they know that we are supposed to have much more rainfall than we have had. The irony is that across the states there are people that are in awful unending storms...that our parched land would love just a small sip of.

Back in January of 2007 the US Water news was reporting that we were on pace for the lowest rainfall in 100 years...and 2008 wasn't any better.

The capital press reports that "Perhaps the most significant issue facing growers in 2009 is water. Rainfall in the Sacramento area was at less than 70 percent of normal for the season before last week's Christmas storm."

In this video our Governor has signed an executive order proclaiming a statewide drought. Some of the repurcussions of the drought are discussed in that video.

Folsom lake has gotten so low that mormon island is resurfacing!

This one is especially disturbing to people like myself who rely on Folsom lake for our water.

This should be a motivating factor for people to store water. Current events...even without prophecy...make it a wise move.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

More food...for less money...

Probably the 3 most popular places for our people to buy bulk items in the NorCal area are the Church's "Family Home Storage Center"...Winco...and Costco. One can't assume that one of these 3 vendor's prices are always going to be better than the others...because food prices can change overnight...and the "best place" to buy food isn't always the same.

Below you will find a comparison of the current prices of some of the food storage "basics" available from these vendors. By shopping at one store over another you may find some substantial savings... while others are basically a wash. Many items are carried at one location but not another...and some we just didn't get the prices for. Also know that there is not always an "apples to apples" comparison as variety and quality can be different. I highlighted the product that should be the best buy based solely on price.

Black Beans
Church - $17 - 25lb
Winco - $22.58 - 25lb

Pinto Beans
Church - $17 - 25lb bag
Winco - $16.88 - 25lb
Costco - $16.99 - 25lb

White Beans
Church - $17.35 - 25lb
Winco - $20.68 - 25lb

Milk, Nonfat Dry
Church - $36.65 - 25lb (wow! Big savings!)
Winco - $156.75 - 50lb

White Rice
Church - $11.35 - 25lb
Winco - $14.75 - 25lb
Costco - $10.45 - 25lb (Blue Ribbon Long Grain Rice)

Sugar, Granulated
Church - $14.05 - 25lb
Winco - $20.50 - 50lb
Costco - $20.49 - 50lb (C & H Granulated Sugar)

Wheat, Hard Red
Church - $6.05 - 25lb
Winco - $20.90 - 25lb

Apple Slices
Church - $62.70 - 15lb
Winco - $55.82 - 22lb (the label said "dried". I am unsure if the moisture content is the same between the Winco and church products...and which is better suited for longer term storage. I would investigate Winco's product before putting it away for long term)

Church - $14.40 - 20lbs
Winco - $17.67 - 20lbs

Oats, Regular
Church - $6.80 - 25lbs
Winco - $11.18 - 25lbs
Coscto - $6.75 - 9lbs (Quaker Old Fashioned Oatmeal)

Dry Onions
Church - $70.10 - 35lbs
Winco - $31.27 - 10lbs

Potato Flakes
Church - $28.05 -25lbs = $1.12 per lb
Winco - $45.22 - 40lbs = $1.13 per lb

Church - $17.45 - 25lbs = .70 per lb
Winco - $16.15 - 20lbs = .81 lb

Refried Beans
Church - $25.95 - 25lbs
Winco - $39.63 - 10lbs

Hot Cocoa Mix
Church - $22.30 - 25lbs
Winco - $49.40 - 50lbs

White Flour
Church - $9.10 - 25lbs
Winco - $8.25 - 25lbs
Costco - $13.49 -50lb (That's .27 a lb!!!)(Harvest Bread Flour)

Fruit Drink Mix
Church - $20.05 - 25lbs
Winco - $23.53 - 25lbs

Pancake Mix
Church - $13.05 - 16lbs = .82 per lb
Winco - $17.95 - 25lbs = .72 per lb

Perhaps after reading this comparison you can see why so many nonmembers come to can at our Family Home Storage Centers!! The Church's Storage Center offered overall the best prices. Winco offered the best selection...with lot's more choices for grains...and beans...mixes etc...than were listed here. Costco took first place with rice...sugar...and flour. All three are great places to shop.

Other Costco prices you may be interested in seeing...

Basmati Rice from India 20 lb bag @ $23.99 ($1.20/lb)

Calif. Homai Calrose Rice 50 lb bag @ $23.99 (.48/lb)

Organic Brown Rice 12 lb bag @ $13.79 ($1.15/lb)(.68/lb)

Hotel & Restaurant Flour 50 lb bag @ $13.49 (.27 lb)

Organic Unbleached Flour 2/10 lb bags @ $13.99

C & H Pure Cane Sugar 25 lb bag @ 11.15 (.45/lb)

C & H Granulated Sugar 10 lb bag @ $4.59 (.46/lb)

C & H Organic Sugar 10 lb bag @ $7.99 (.80/lb)

Here is a calculator for comparing prices.

Please...if you know of better prices than those above...please list them in the "comments" for others to benefit from.

and...a big thank you to Karen for helping to gather the prices.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

How to cook old dry beans...

I sat in a preparedness class once...and a man told of how he had tried to get old beans to get soft again. His frustration at hard beans made him visibly agitated! He was so mad at those beans!!! He said "I boiled them for HOURS...and they NEVER SOFTENED!!!" In almost a daring tone he asked the instructor "How would you make them soft?!!!" The instructor didn't have an answer that would console the man.

I was pleased to see this on the providentliving site. It will give consolation to those with similar poor feelings towards old beans.

How do I cook old dry beans?

The longer dry beans are stored, the longer they may take to cook. First, sort and rinse the beans. For each cup of beans, bring 3 cups of water to boil, add the beans to the boiling water, and boil for two minutes. Next, add 3/8 teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) for each cup of beans, cover, and soak for 1 hour or more. More baking soda may be required for older beans. Next, drain and rinse the beans thoroughly, cover with water, bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer 1-2 hours or until tender. Do not add salt or other ingredients until the beans have softened adequately. See All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage Basic Recipes for additional information.

That "basic recipes" link by the way is to a church pamphlet that I don't think most people have ever seen. I discovered it one day by going through the site map of the providentliving site. It is a great mini compilation of really basic recipes. Seriously...REALLY is truly a list of "survival" frills food storage recipes.

Monday, January 5, 2009

How much food is enough?

Did you know that if you went back in church history and fast forward to would see that the counsel regarding the length of time to store food for...resembles something like a food storage countdown. In my minds eye it's almost like watching the New Years ball it did several nights ago as millions counted down 5-4-3-2-1!!! Yippee!!! The difference is...when the ball drops that makes it where people need their food storage they won't be cheering!

One can't but help watch the trend in the counsel...and wonder if a conversation is going on with our Prophet and our Heavenly Father saying much like Abraham..."But Father...if they just store 4 years...will you feed them through the calamities?"..."Father will you still feed them and bless them if they only store one year?"..."Father how about if they just store 3 months of food?" Is there really anywhere else to go with the counsel? Will the next pamphlet suggest that we could start our storage with a bag of corn chips and a litre bottle of soda?

Early in the church President Brigham Young talked about having a 7 year supply...and a 5 year...and a 3 year. Not long after Brother Brigham came George Q. Cannon who talked about having a 2 year supply. Then Charles Nibley back in 1916 talked about having a 1 year supply...and the first presidency continued that ( wasn't always perfectly sequential) up until 1937 when President J. Reuben Clark said...

“Let every head of every household see to it that he has on hand enough food and
clothing, and, where possible, fuel also, for at least a year ahead. You of small means put your money in foodstuffs and wearing apparel, not in stocks and bonds; you of large means will think you know how to care for yourselves, but I may venture to suggest that you do not speculate. Let every head of every household aim to own his own home, free from mortgage. Let every man who has a garden spot, garden it; every man who owns a farm, farm it.” (Conference Report, April 1937, p. 26.)

It seems that the "at least" really took off when the prophet Harold B. Lee reminded us of President Clarks words in 1966...

“perhaps if we think not in terms of a year’s supply of what we ordinarily would use, and think more in terms of what it would take to keep us alive in case we didn’t have anything else to eat, that last would be very easy to put in storage for a year … just enough to keep us alive if we didn’t have anything else to eat. We wouldn’t get fat on it, but we would live; and if you think in terms of that kind of annual storage rather than a whole year’s supply of everything that you are accustomed to eat which, in most cases, is utterly impossible for the average family, I think we will come nearer to what President Clark advised us way back in 1937.” (Welfare conference address, October 1, 1966.)

It seems that was a turning point...where the one year supply was stripped down to be the bare bones minimum of "What it would take to keep you alive". After that point you find lots of talks on food storage where they refer to "a minimum of a years supply" and "at least a years supply".
That sort of talk was repeated for decades. Here are a handful of examples...

"The Lord has warned us of famines, but the righteous will have listened to prophets and stored at least a year’s supply of survival food." (Ezra Taft Benson, “Prepare Ye,” Ensign, Jan. 1974, 68)


"For over forty years, in a spirit of love, members of the Church have been counseled to be thrifty and self-reliant; to avoid debt; pay tithes and a generous fast offering; be industrious; and have sufficient food, clothing, and fuel on hand to last at least one year."(Ezra Taft Benson, “Prepare for the Days of Tribulation,” Ensign, Nov 1980, 32)

I used another Ezra Taft Benson quote instead of another prophet because I like the fact that he let's us know that the counsel to store "at least one year" had actually been given for "over 40 years"

and here is a more recent quote...

"Similar blessings come as we obey the counsel of the prophets and live within our means, avoid unnecessary debt, and set aside sufficient of life’s necessities to sustain ourselves and our families for at least a year. This may not always be easy, but let us do our “very best,” and our stores shall not fail—there shall be “enough and to spare."( Keith B. McMullin, “Be Prepared … Be Ye Strong from Henceforth,” Liahona, Nov 2005, 10–12)

That is just a handful of the quotes that you would find by doing a search for "a minimum" and "at least" on Many of the quotes are the same quotes...only repeated by other general authorities over the years.

As one reads over the talks since time goes seems that less and less use the words..."a minimum" and "at least" and they just refer to "a years supply".

The next transitions deal more with what order we store things.

In 2002 the church came out with this statement...(bolded for emphasis)

"Church members can begin their home storage by storing the basic foods that would be required to keep them alive if they did not have anything else to eat. Depending on where members live, those basics might include water, wheat or other grains, legumes, salt, honey or sugar, powdered milk, and cooking oil. When members have stored enough of these essentials to meet the needs of their families for one year, they may decide to add other items that they are accustomed to using day to day." (Home Storage and Financial Reserves: First Presidency Message 2002)

So to restate...First comes long term storage...then what you are used to eating. Anyone who has some experience with food storage knows that you can store a lot more when you store the ingredients...rather than buying premade canned goods. It is simply a lot less expensive. This is the advice generally given out in the food storage world.

Then just 5 years later that council was flipflopped when in 2007 the "All is safely gathered in: family home storage" pamphlet came out. Then this became the counsel...

Where do I start?

Start by adding a few storable items that you typically eat, storing some water that is safe to drink, and saving some money, if only a few coins each week. Then over time, expand these initial efforts—as individual circumstances allow and where permitted—by storing a longer-term supply of basics such as grains, beans, and other staples.

Again a restate. Now it was no longer purchasing the inexpensive ingredients for a long term storage first...but instead to first purchase the foods that you "typically eat"...then a longer-term supply of basics.

The family home storage pamphlet clarifies the counsel by giving the starting goal of a 3 month supply of that food that you"typically eat".

One other really interesting thing happened with the reprint of that pamphlet. When it was first released...with a printing date of 11/ counseled us to have a "one year supply" of longer term storage. The current printing of that pamphlet dated 3/07 doesn't have the words "one year" anywhere on it! Where it said "one year" it now reads "longer-term supply"!! If you go to the provident living will find no mention of the "one year"! You will only find it if you look back at older talks. It's as if they are trying to distance themselves from telling us "how much" anymore.

So why are the prophets making the counsel regarding storage less...and less...and less?!! and why did the first focus change to foods that you regularly eat? It may have something to do with these words from Gordon B. Hinckley...
"We can begin ever so modestly. We can begin with a one week's food supply and
gradually build it to a month, and then to three months. . . . I fear that so many feel that a long-term food supply is so far beyond their reach that they make no effort at all."

It seems that they are trying to make the counsel...easier...and easier to try to get us to START to obey...and prepare...even if just a little! If the babies won't run...try to get them to crawl.

You can find...if you look...statements from the brethren going back to Brigham...that mention that the people aren't keeping the commandment to store food. As I mentioned in another article...that I have never seen a church statistic regarding storage where the number of LDS people who have more than a year of storage ever reached over 10%. Like a tithe of our people. Heck...I wish that our number were as good as the wise and foolish virgins! At least in that parable half of them were prepared! It's something to work to.

I once had a conversation with a man who is in church leadership who told me "If the calamities were going to last more than a year...then the church wouldn't be counseling us to store only a year's supply of food". I want to let you all know what a mistake I think this is. In the words of Neal Leash (whose documentation regarding this timeline I relied heavily upon)...

"We should not assume just because the Lord reduced his requirement from seven years to one year to accommodate our reluctance to be obedient, that there will not be seven years of need at some period of time."

Let me ask you this...Do you really want to store what the prophets have described as "The minimum to keep you alive!!!" I wonder if the people who want to store...just enough to stay alive when the calamities come...also just barely keep the other commandments the same way! "I do just enough contacts to my home teaching families to get some blessings"....or "I pay just enough of my tithing so I don't get burned!"

One last point. So how much is the church currently telling you to store?! Is it just 3 it some undefined amount of "longer-term storage"? The answer can be found on the adjacent page in the first presidency message...

"He has lovingly commanded us to “prepare every needful thing” (see D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity come, we can care for ourselves and our neighbors and support bishops as they care for others."

We are commanded to "prepare every needful thing"...and of course it is "not meet that we should be commanded in all things!" We are being told by THE LORD to have enough to care for ourselves...AND our neighbors...AND to support bishops helping others!!! So how much food is that going to take! Do you really need for the prophet to tell you the exact quantity! Does it drive you nuts to not have a list of exactly what you need to be obedient? Perhaps you would like to read in the Torah how many steps you can take on the sabbath!!

This position of not telling us what to store is not new...

"As to the foodstuffs which should be stored, the Church has left that decision primarily to the individual members. Some excellent suggestions are available from the Church Welfare Committee."(Ezra Taft Benson, “Prepare Ye,” Ensign, Jan. 1974, 68)

and here is one in a current publication "Providing in the Lords Way; A leaders guide to welfare"...

"Church leaders have never given an exact formula for what members should store. But they have suggested that we should begin by storing what would be required to keep us alive in case we did not have anything else to eat."

They have NEVER told us exactly what to store! Another key word in that last quote is the word "begin". The "suggestions" we are given on what to store are but a "beginning" to what we should store. If you can "sleep when the wind blows" having just the bare minimum of what the prophets suggest...and feel that you have done all that is required to be blessed for your obedience...I would ask you...have you done your "very best"?

Keith B. McMullin said in General Conference...

"As we do our very best, we can be confident that "the barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail."18 We shall enjoy greater wisdom, security, peace of mind, and personal well-being. We shall be prepared, and because we are prepared, we "shall not fear."(Keith B. McMullin, "Lay up in Store", General Conference April 2007)

The promise is NOT...."If you store the minimum of what is suggested by the church...your food won't run out"...but instead "as you do your very best". We need to get past being hung up on the number of years to prepare for...and the quantity to store...and get into laying up in store enough to provide for as many people as we can. The real spirit of the commandment...not just the letter. This will bring us incredible peace of mind and many promised blessings. I pray that we can all "do our very best" and understand the truth Neal Leash put it in his book...
"The degree of our preparation will be equal to the extent of our obedience,
which will determine the measure of our peace of mind".

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Learning from the Gaza strip....

When an enemy is in the street with a gun...chances are you can't run to the store.

When a tank is rolling down your street...the truckers probably aren't going to be bringing groceries to be fill the shelves.

When attacks which are meant to destroy infrastructure are won't be turning on any lights or a TV, you may have no water to drink, or toilet to use.

When bombs are going off everywhere...the farmers aren't going to be in their fields farming.

When warships are on your coast...imports probably won't be coming in.

When the phone lines are probably won't be calling family to see how they are or to tell them you are alive.

There is no "life as usual" when a war is at your doorstep.

Ezra Taft Benson years ago spoke of some of the results of war...

"Brethren and sisters, I know that this welfare program is inspired of God. I have witnessed with my own eyes the ravages of hunger and destitution as, Under the direction of the president of the Church, I spent a year in war-torn Europe at the close of World War II, without my family, distributing food, clothing, and bedding to our needy members. I have looked into the sunken eyes of Saints, in almost the last stages of starvation. I have seen faithful mothers carrying their children, three and four years of age, who were unable to walk because of malnutrition. I have seen a hungry woman turn down food for a spool of thread. I have seen grown men weep as they ran their hands through the wheat and beans sent to them from Zion—America."

It is of note that these needy people he mentioned...were "members". Joseph Smith said that "it is a false idea that the Saints will escape all the judgments, whilst the wicked suffer". I would add...especially if we have not been obedient to the commandments to prepare.
To a people that have never seen a war on their own may be a hard thing to believe that such a thing could happen in the US.

To that Ezra Taft Benson said in General Conference in 1980....

"Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake ... cannot happen here.

Those who believe this are either not acquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them. Those who smugly think these calamities will not happen, that they will somehow be set aside because of the righteousness of the Saints, are deceived and will rue the day they harbored such a delusion."
Such a thing not only could happen to us...but prophecies from various prophets say that it WILL happen to us. It would be well for us to prepare for war in our own land. There is much we can learn from the people who live in the volatile Gaza strip....who right now are in great trouble. The AP's story titled "Fear, shortages for civilians caught in Gaza fight" outlines how war is affecting the Gaza's strips residents.

Here are the lines that really stood out to me...
"And in the central Gaza refugee camp of Nusseirat, Munir Najar said he only had another day's worth of flour to feed his family of seven, but ventured out to find streets deserted and shops closed. "There's not a loaf of bread to be found," said Najar, 43."
What an awful situation to be in! How desperate he must feel...having to provide for a family of seven! How much danger he must be putting himself in...venturing out into the streets for food! If only he had prepared by storing some food! It is no wonder that we have been told that the "best storehouse is the home storehouse"!

Lubna Karam, of Gaza City, said airstrikes had shattered her home's living room windows days before, letting cold air pour in. She said she feels under threat at all times, and her family has taken to sleeping in the hallway for safety.
If your windows were all blown you have plastic to cover them? Do you have the gear or knowledge to stay warm?
"We keep hearing the sounds of airplanes and we don't know if we'll live until tomorrow or not," said Karam, 28.

Can you imagine the stress of this! Imagine having that stress compounded by having no food and sleeping in your hallway in the cold!

Mansour, 21, of the Rafah refugee camp on the Gaza-Egypt border, described watching his neighbor pile a mattress and blankets on a donkey cart to
flee, but hadn't decided if he'd do the same. "Where can we go? It's all the same," Mansour said.

That is the question in such times! Is it safer to stay...or to try to make your way through a war zone with the hope of a safer place?!
The latest fighting came at the end of an ever-tightening blockade of the seaside territory, imposed after the violent Hamas takeover of Gaza in June 2007. The borders were virtually sealed in the last two months, leading to shortages of cooking gas and basic foodstuffs.

So...for two months they have had shortages of fuel (which we've been told to store) and foodstuffs. I wonder if any of these people have been taught the principles of provident living...and stored what they would need?. Such people would consider someone encouraging them to get that stuff together prior to this event as a "savior on Mt. Zion".

But the Israeli human rights group Gisha said Israeli airstrikes have left Gaza's water and sewage system on the verge of collapse. About one-third of the 1.4 million residents are cut off from the water supply and 75 percent of Gaza is currently without electricity, including the territory's largest hospital, Shifa, the report said. Shifa has backup generators.
That's a big 3 to lose! Failing electricity...and no water. A grim situation to live in.

The Palestinian telephone company Paltel warned that Gaza's communications network has been extensively damaged by the Israeli strikes and is on the verge of collapse. The company added that three of its technicians had been killed and many injured in the fighting while trying to repair the network. long would it take to get communications back up...if all of the people trying to fix it get killed! My guess is that AT&T is not battle ready....and doesn't pay their people well enough for them to risk their lives. I don't think that high on our militaries list would be fixing communications for the it may be a long time until we would get it back in the US in such an event.


"When there was a siege, we kept talking about a catastrophe," said Hatem Shurrab, 24, of Gaza City. "But then the airstrikes started, and now we don't even know what word to use. There's no word in the dictionary that can describe the situation we are in."

Let's pray for these...our brothers and sisters in peril...on both sides. Let's learn from their catastrophe...and prepare ourselves for such an event...and influence our community to do the same.

Drink water...from the air!!

THIS IS SOOO EXCITING!! I can't begin to tell you how cool this is. A company that sells a machine that extracts drinkable water from the humidity in the air!! When the day comes that water is scarce...when there may be forced rationing...or no water at all...such a machine would be an incredible blessing to whomever owns one. It requires a solar system or other electricity generating system (like was discussed in the ice cream article below) would be a good addition to have for emergency situations. The machine is $1350...which is a lot less than it could be...and for that level of self reliance...I think it would be well worth it.

The company is called ecoloblue. Check out their website....and make sure you listen to the radio interview from the Alex Jones Show in the corner. Awesome. Whomever buys one first invites everyone else over for a glass to try!

Eat your ice cream and have a barbeque...(An article on generators)

On a Saturday float about your home doing your weekend chores. Then...without warning...the lights go out. You've got no power to your house. There are no storms...and there is no indication of what made the power go off. You just shrug your shoulders and go about your chores...figuring that it will come back on soon...but it doesn't. Hours pass and now you start to wonder..."What's going on?...When is the electricity going to come back on?!..."What's going to happen to all of the food in my refrigerator!!?"

Some would say..."Well...make sure you have a gas generator to keep your refrigerator running." Personally...I say...forget your refrigerator!! Spending $500 on a gas generator and storing a bunch of gas for the purpose of running a save $100 worth of food doesn't make a lot of sense in my mind. The first thing I would do is to pull out our spoons and enjoy every last bit of ice cream we have! Then I'd fire up the barbecue and start eating some of the food that would spoil! I wouldn't open the door of the refrigerator for more time than I absolutely had to. The food would remain cold for a good while. In fact...the limited amount of food in most people's refrigerators will more than likely all be able to be consumed...before the refrigerator completely cools off...or the food spoils!

Here is the heartburn I have with gas generators....

1. They are loud. Some or most of them are deafening loud. Not only is their noise annoying...if times are really hard...that sound can be heard a LONG ways...and it would be like a homing beacon to potential undesirables saying "I'm here...and I've got supplies!!" Also...if you are going to run a movie or something like that to try to calm down your's that going to work out with that loud sound in the background?

2. They require gas. could store gas to use it for a while...but what about when that gas runs out? When a true emergency comes...there is a good chance that gas will be unavailable. The gas pumps at the station run on electricity!! Do they have backup power...and will it work? That gas is shipped via tanker trucks. Can those trucks safely make it to your gas station? How are you going to get that gas? I've seen photos of people walking with gas generators on wheels trying to find a gas station that can fill up their generator. That generator sure would get heavy after a block or two. Or are you going to take some cans to the station? How many can you carry? Is it safe? There was a blackout in the Detroit area back in 2003 where after 24hrs of having no electricity people were getting into fistfights for gas!! Are you a good fighter...and are you willing to fight for gas?!!

3. They require maintenance. If you are just going to let your generator sit until a disaster may be in for some disappointment when you go to fire it up when you need it. Did you let untreated gas sit in the tank? I hope it didn't varnish and clog stuff up. There are moving parts that if broken...will need to be you have those parts on hand?

4. They are generally really big and heavy. It can take up a bunch of space trying to store it...and if you need to move it...if it doesn't have may take two strapping men to make it budge!

Now don't think from this that I am anti-emergency energy. Just the contrary...I think that it would be wise to have a way to power all kinds of things in your home. Here are a few you may or may not have thought of...

1. Enough power to run a grain grinder! Hand grinding grains can really wear you would be nice to be able to have that done mechanically.

2. Power up rechargeable batteries to run things like flashlights...etc.

3. Power a lighting system so that you don't have to live with just candles.

4. Power tools...appliances....etc...
There are really a lot of things that would be handy to have what are the options...

Solar is a great option. It makes no noise...doesn't need gas...don't require maintenance...and can be small and manageable (usually the larger the item you want to power...the larger the system will be)!

There are really two options available for solar. Buy a pre-made system...or build one yourself. Pre-made systems can cost a hunk of money...but then you don't have to try to figure out all of that amperage...wattage...photovoltaic cell...confusing talk. It's just plug and run. Here is one guy who makes a system...I know nothing of what the quality is...or if this is really a good buy for what he is offering...I just show it to you as an example of what people out there are doing. Here is a video with some info on his product.

Here is a kit that comes with everything you need...but isn't on a fancy cart. I read that same is available through Costco. To give you a taste of what solar/electrical people sound like....I offer this...that a knowledgeable person said about this system...

"Just add 2 batteries (6v each) like of these will give 250 amp-hrs of battery for a net usage of 125 amp-hrs. The charge controller that comes with this package will support up to 30 amps of charge, or some 360 watts of power (360w / 30a = 12v). The package has 160 watts, so you have a "reserve" of doubling your panels over time.This system comes with a 175 inverter."

So if you want to build your own will have to learn to talk like that.

A couple more things that I want to mention on solar are that...there are solar panels now that will collect...even if there is no visible sun. There is also a lot of solar technology on the horizon...that if released...will make solar a lot cheaper of an option.

There are also people out there doing stuff with hydrogen generators. People are selling plans on how to make them...but it doesn't look like too many people are selling them...or if they are....they are really expensive.

There are other technologies out there that work with wind....and who knows what else. Here is a company that can help you convert your gas generator to propane. Propane can store indefinitely...but then you are still left to ask what you will do when it runs out.

Steven Harris who is an energy/preparedness/biological warfare expert has a method of using your car to be your generator. He uses a simple ac/dc power inverter (all you need is one 300w or under) available for $20 to $50 at walmart or electronics store...plugs it into his turned off car (some cars have to be on) and runs an $8 cheapo extension cable into his house. He runs small items on lights...and then goes out and idles the car for a short time to re coupe the power to the battery. If you want more should buy his book.

The most feasible at this point...from my studies is the solar option.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Long Term Storage so easy...even a caveman could do it...

The easiest... but more expensive way to do long term storage is to buy it from a company that sells it already packaged. The church also offers food in #10 cans for a decent price.

For those that want or need to do it themselves...there are ways to do it for little cost...without having to drive out the cannery...not taking a whole lot of time....and with so much ease...even a caveman could do it!

Here is one such way...

1. Go to or call a mom and pop donut shop or bakery and ask what they do with their buckets. Many of them give them away...or sell them. I purchase mine for $1 each. I bring them home and rinse them out and they are ready to go! I also take the lids with good gaskets (the rubber part under the lid)...and hopefully with a handle still intact (easier to carry when full). Other sandwich shops...will have them too...the main thing is that they held food and not a chemical. They generally come in mixed sizes...and they all will work.

Others purchase buckets from emergency essentials...but be prepared to pay a lot of money for them (almost $ shipping)! Still others buy their buckets from places like lowes or home depot. I don't think that they are food grade...and are not as high of a quality as the food grade...but as long as you use a mylar liner it should be OK.

2. Order small or large (20x30)mylar bags. This gives added protection to your food...above and beyond just putting it into a bucket. The small are if you want to store smaller portions...the large are if you want to fill a whole bucket.

3. Also order oxygen absorbers. Here is a video that talks about oxygen absobers.

4. Buy a long term storage item that you like to eat. Check out the churches list of some of those items. You can pick these up at Winco...Costco...Sams...the Cannery...etc...etc. Generally the larger portion you buy...the more the savings will be. (no duh!)

5. Watch these videos demonstrate what to do...

This one I liked because he talks about a method of heat sealing with a curling iron...which is nice if you don't have the official equipment. He demonstrates how to seal a mylar bag with a "clamshell" heat sealer. I would not recommend storing "wheat feed" he is...because you can run into all kinds of problems with insects...debris...and more pesticides to ingest. He also uses the bucket only as a holder to put the mylar bag into and then puts the bags into larger containers. (which isn't a bad's just not what most of you are going to do)

This video demonstrates using a clothes iron to seal a bag! He leaves the mylar bag in the bucket. Some people even throw in oxygen absorbers into the bucket.

So...let's compare what we just did with an emergency essentials product...

So if we found the following items for the following prices...

Bucket - $1

Oxygen absorbers x3 - I'll just say they are 15c 45c total

White wheat from Cannery - They come in 25lb bags...the price broken down to be equal to a 45lb would be $13.32 for 45lbs. Add in tax to bring it to $15.

Add $2.55...which is your half of the gas to get to the cannery because you carpooled with a friend that you invited!

We use our clothes iron to seal which is free. Let's say that the large mylar bag is $3.00 after tax and shipping

So our grand total for a homemade bucket of white wheat is somewhere around $22!

The same thing from emergency essentials is $47.95 + $6.00 for shipping = rounded up a $54.00!!!

That is a $32.00 savings with just ONE BUCKET by doing it yourself and being thrifty!! That would really add up as you continue to put up more food. You would be able to put up more than twice as much food on the same budget than someone who just purchased predone buckets!!

That sort of mathematics and storage process is easy for any caveman to understand and agree with! Ugghh!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Poppy seeds...librarians...the new media and the gospel of preparedness...

Eating a poppy seed muffin...I began to wonder..."How do they harvest all of those poppy seeds!! They are so tiny...and there are sooo many of them!"..."Do the poppies they harvest from look like the California poppies...or are they like those big ones they grow in other countries for opiates? Do they have a machine that mechanically collects them?...HOW DO THEY DO IT?"

When I was a kid...such questions would more than likely go unanswered. Perhaps if I was lucky...I could persuade my parents to take me to the library to see if we could find the answer in an available book. We would speak with librarian to see if they had any books on the harvesting of poppy seeds...she would say "I don't think so...but let's look"...we would walk over to a big cabinet of cards where we would write down a bunch of numbers on a small piece of paper with a golf pencil...then we would make our way through a very confusing Dewey decimal system to see if any book was on hand. "We've got one on the harvesting of sugar beets." "No thank you" I'd reply. Exasperated she would say "I'm sorry...we don't have any books on poppy seeds." I'd walk over to the children's section and settle for a picture book...and then we'd go.

Nowadays...the question could have been answered in just a moment...without even leaving my home! I wouldn't have to get all dressed up and drive across town...and go through the above process...just to find out that there was no such book! I would simply have to put it into a search engine to get my answer...almost instantly! If I did want a book from the library...I could request it online...and have it delivered for free to the library that is closest to me! Our local library even has a system that allows for you to request books from other library systems. Right I type this...I have a book checked out from a college library in San Jose...and I live in Sacramento!

The prophets have been clear that this advance in technology is inspired of God to advance His work. There has been a real thrust this past year...stressing that the saints should use the internet and "new media" to share the gospel. Preparedness is certainly a part of the gospel and we are being encouraged to share it.

The gospel of preparedness is ALL OVER THE INTERNET!!! It is being spread by people in and out of the church. Thousands and thousands of articles on every preparedness topic you could think of are online. A plethora of videos demonstrating how to do most every task you can think of is available for free online. Put a preparedness topic into and see how many videos there are! The topic "food storage" brings up over 1,000 videos! Learn to cook with food storage...learn how to can...learn what to can...etc...etc...all online. Of course I would not be doing my job if I failed to mention that the church has a preparedness website!!!

The TV also has all kinds of shows on preparedness. You've got shows like "Survivorman" and "Man vs. Wild" that teach some wilderness survival skills (should I even mention the show "survivor"!?). Then there are shows on BYUtv like "Living Essentials" that is all about preparedness...or there is the show they have on gardening called "Homegrown".

agencies such as FEMA or the State of CA's Office of Emergency Services have stacks of emergency preparedness info that they will give to you for free...if you ask them.

Make no mistake my friends...if we don't know how to do something regarding preparedness....and we don't act because of that lack of's our own fault! We are left without excuse. One can't say "If I only had access to the information I would have done something"...or "My ward didn't really have a good program for I didn't do anything."...such excuses no longer fly! (unless of course you live in a cave...but I've heard you can get the Internet there too!) I challenge you...if you have any use any of the resources I mentioned above...or just to simply open up a search engine and type your question in. The answer is out there! It has NEVER been easier to prepare.