Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Prophets...the New Deal...and our New Deal


Yes this is long...but you should read it.

Marches Ensign has 4 articles on various principles of self reliance. This is not a new topic for the LDS people to hear about. The prophets have long spoken on the need to be self reliant...to eschew socialism...and to truly "Stand independent above all other creatures". This means to take responsibility for our own welfare...and the welfare of our families and to not rely upon others for our support...including our governments.

As the financial peril escalates in the US...those in office that promote the welfare state and those that suck at the udder of the welfare state...seem to be trying to get every last bit of milk from the shriveling teet of the taxpayers before it dries out. Many who have not even considered such handouts in the past are now considering it their only hope of keeping their heads above water as things get financially harder for their families.

Ezra Taft Benson spoke prophetically when he said...

“When government presumes to demand more and more of the fruits of men’s labor through taxation, and reduces more and more its actual income by printing money and furthering debt, the wage earner is left with less and less to buy food, to provide housing, medical care, education, and private welfare. Individuals are then left without a choice, and must look to the state as benevolent supporter. When that happens, liberty is gone!” (Ezra Taft Benson "An Enemy Hath Done This")

I'd encourage you to read that again several times so you understand what he said and see the application to our present situation.

Many who are hoping for a government dole fail to realize that in reality they are seeking their opportunity to take a piece of someone elses pie...made available through the oppressive burdensome forced taxation of their fellow citizens. They are partcipating in the legalized plunder of their brothers and sisters. For government does not produce wealth...and when the government puts any red cent into someones pocket for a grant...a welfare benefit...a bailout...whatever you want to call it...it had be taken from someone else who earned it through their labors. Though such handouts may be "legal" and alluring...especially when we too may be standing on the edge of financial ruin...we must remember that as Marion G. Romney stated in Marches Ensign...

"We cannot afford to become wards of the government, even if we have a legal right to do so. It requires too great a sacrifice of self-respect and political, temporal, and spiritual independence."

and that Ezra Taft Benson told us that those who accept unearned benefits...should be reminded of the Lords moral code that "Thou Shalt not Steal".

It is a truth that we seldom seem to learn from history. Sure we may remember dates that things happened and such...but we can fall prey to the fallacy of thinking that we are somehow an exception to the rule...that "That was then and this is now. It is totally different now....they were primitive...and we are advanced!" Perhaps we too have fallen into the trap of thinking...like the people of Ammonihah that we are so great that we cannot be destroyed!? And yet we know that Ammonihah was destroyed and in "one day it was left desolate". We may also selectively read the Book of Mormon and embrace the parts that talk about how this is a choice land and the many blessings attending it...and fail to finish the words of the Lord where he tells us that we must serve Him or be "swept off". Yes...our God "raiseth up a righteous nation" but he also "destroyeth the nations of the wicked" (1Nephi 17:37)

Lest we think that we are somehow above calamites happening "here" Ezra Taft Benson reminded us 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."

If we do not learn from
our scriptures and the worlds history...then we may very well repeat the same mistakes. We would do well to learn from other countries whose monetary systems collapsed and to not walk their same path. We would do well to learn from economists that practice sound gospel centered principles. We would do well to read the words of the prophets!

Ezra Taft Benson outlined some of the events that led to the fall of rome. We seem to be following that same path without deviance...

“It is written that there were vast increases in the number of the idle rich, and the idle poor. The latter (the idle poor) were put on a permanent dole, a welfare system not unlike our own. As this system became permanent, the recipients of public largesse (welfare) increased in number. They organized into a political block with sizable power. They were not hesitant about making their demands known. Nor was the government hesitant about agreeing to their demands … and with ever-increasing frequency. Would-be emperors catered to them. The great, solid middle class—Rome’s strength then as ours is today—was taxed more and more to support a bureaucracy that kept growing larger, and even more powerful. Surtaxes were imposed upon incomes to meet emergencies. The government engaged in deficit spending. The denarius, a silver coin similar to our half dollar, began to lose its silvery hue. It took on a copper color as the government reduced the silver content."

The federal reserve note fiat "dollar" continues to lose even more of it's "silvery hue" every day as our government spends every last cent we don't have...and as a result many of the worlds largest countries have dumped it as their reserve currency. The economists I believe fully expect the collapse of the dollar in the not too disant future. We may want to keep our wheelbarrows in good repair to hold all of the cash we may need to buy a loaf of bread...if one is still available.

As we listen to the news of our day there are many comparisons being tossed around regarding the similarities of our current situation and that of the Great Depression. There are comparisons being made between Obama's actions and that of FDR's "New Deal". Many of these news agencies make it sound like we may see this "New New Deal" in the future...and yet it is apparent that much of it has already begun. The first New Deal created more regulatory bodies and put people to work on the taxpayers dime. That is what is happening now! The taxpayer is paying for government work projects! Infrastructure construction projects getting back online...companies that can't compete being funded by you...regulations being set up to try to monitor this mass redistribution of wealth...planned raises in taxes. Many of these plans are being painted as being a short term fix for a long term benefit. These Keynesian economic principles that are being employed to get us out of our economic woes...in my opinion will not work. Our country is being bankrupted and communism is growing as the state gains control of more and more of our wealth as they pick up our businesses...mortgages...etc for cheap...all under the guise of "saving them". Karl Marx would be sooo pleased...his 10 planks getting even stronger in America!

Many of the first New Deals programs and policies were set up in the same fashion and have turned out to be anything but short term. Many of those socialistic...over-regulating organizations still are running full force today. Heck...we recently bailed out Fannie Mae which is one of them! Much of the legacy of the first New Deal has been hanging onto the body of America from a short swim through muddy water...like a leech hanging on by it's teeth....drinking at the blood of our prosperity all these years.

Now...in what may be more troubled days in our future...there may be even more pressure to sup at the table of the welfare state (perhaps you think the socialized medicine plan sounds great!) There may be some eloquent and stirring speeches that tear at your heartstrings making you feel all softhearted about supporting socialism. There may be events that take place that scare you into thinking that "This is the only way to save America". I encourage you to turn off Amalikiah's propaganda being shouted from every tower in this nation (Alma 48:1)...and look to God and the prophets for the truth regarding the basics of welfare...and how we should feel about the direction our country is headed in.

This Marches Ensign includes a powerful article by Marion G. Romney. This is what the prophets would have you hear...right now regarding these policies...read carefully...

"The practice of coveting and receiving unearned benefits has now become so fixed in our society that even men of great wealth, and possessing the means to produce more wealth, are expecting the government to guarantee them a profit. Elections often turn on what the candidates promise to do for voters from government funds. This practice, if universally accepted and implemented in any society, will make slaves of its citizens."

In closing I'd like for you to read a letter that The First Presidency wrote that was written in opposition to the "New Deal". I will bold some of the points that I think are especially noteworthy.

Letter from the First Presidency (Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., and David O.McKay) to the U.S. Treasury, dated September 30, 1941.

"Thus, according to the gospel plan under which the Church is established and operates, the care of the widow, the orphan, and the poor, is a Church function, is a part of the brotherhood of man which underlies our whole social and religious life. As God’s children all, and as brothers and sisters in Christ, we must as a matter of spiritual responsibility and pursuant to positive divine command care for the helpless, the unfortunate, and the needy. Furthermore, it is essentially a neighbor to neighbor obligation. It is not a function of civil government.

This is fundamental….The primary aim of this program is to provide for the material wants of faithful members of the Church who find themselves now in difficulty, to rebuild them spiritually, and to restore to them the proper concept, pride, and appreciation of American citizenship…No effort has been spared to teach the people to be self reliant, independent, to take a humble, righteous pride in being, individually and as communities, fully self supporting. These things have been told in order that you may have a background and understanding of what we are now to say. Viewing all of these things it will be easy for you to understand that the Church has not found it possible to follow along the lines of the present general tendency in the matter of property rights, taxes, the curtailment of rights and liberties of the people, nor in general the economic policies of what is termed the “New Deal”. The great bulk of what these people are trying to do is, in the final analysis, absolutely contrary to the fundamental principles of which we have spoken. It is the considered, long considered opinion of President Grant and those who are associated with him, that our nation cannot be preserved if the present governmental policies shall continue. We do not believe that any other great nation or great civilization can be built up or maintained by the use of such policies.. .. As we see it, there is no way in which we can, to use your own words, “preserve and perpetuate our freedom—freedom to govern ourselves, freedom of speech, and freedom to worship God according to our own light,” except we shall turn away from our present course and resume the normal course along which this great country traveled to its present high eminence of prosperity, of culture, of universal education, and of the peace and contentment which we enjoyed prior to the inauguration of the “New Deal,” We have done in the past, we are doing now, and we shall continue in the future to do everything within our power to secure this turning of which we speak We confess to you that it has not been possible for us to unify our own people even upon the necessity of such a turning about, and therefore we cannot unfortunately, and we say it regretfully, make any practical suggestion to you as to how the nation can be turned about. But the President of the United States could do it in good part if he were willing to exert his effort along that line, but this he appears not to be willing to do.

This we feel we can definitely say, that unless the people of America forsake the sins and the errors, political and otherwise, of which they are now guilty and return to the practice of the great fundamental principles of Christianity, and of Constitutional government, there will be no exaltation for them spiritually, and politically we shall lose our liberty and free institutions.

Returning to your original letter and our reply thereto regarding the selling of Defense Bonds. The Church as a Church does not believe in war and yet since its organization whenever war has come we have done our part…. we do thoroughly believe in building up our home defenses to the maximum extent necessary, but we do not believe that aggression should be carried on in the name and under the false cloak of defense. We therefore look with sorrowing eyes at the present use to which a great part of the funds being raised by taxes and by borrowing is being put.…We believe that our real threat comes from within and not from without, and it comes from the underlying spirit common to Naziism, Fascism, and Communism, namely, the spirit which would array class against class, which would set up a socialistic state of some sort, which would rob the people of the liberties which we possess under the Constitution, and would set up such a reign of terror as exists now in many parts of Europe. We trust you will pardon this long letter, but we feel we must say that you invited it.Trusting that the Lord will point out some way, will somehow bring about a rejuvenation of the American spirit along with a true love of freedom and of our free institutions, and for Constitutional government, we are,Faithfully yours, /s/ Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., David O. McKay. "(First Presidency letter to U.S. Treasury, September 30, 1941) (As found in THE GREAT AND ABOMINABLE CHURCH OF THE DEVIL by H. VERLAN ANDERSEN© Copyright 1972H. Verlan AndersenALL RIGHTS RESERVED.Fifth Printing 1994 by his Sons and GrandsonsISBN: O-9644552-O-XLibrary of Congress Catalog Card Number: 94-74044WHAT TO DO, TO HAVE UNITY WITH THE PROPHETS)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Learning from Grandpa's Chickens...


The following is written by a man named Bob who posted it on the LDSfreedomforum. It is cut and pasted here...

"I grew up in Utah during and after WW II, my father was in the Army during the war and my mother had to make ends meet with two children. I’m sure that everybody here knows that WW II was preceded by the great depression, and in fact that depression didn’t end (for us) until after the war had ended. My parents and my grand parents never tired of telling us, their grand kids, how they survived during those hard times. And to be honest, I remember some of those days. I’ll ask your forgiveness in relating a few of their and my experiences, they just might be helpful to some of you, I’m also aware that most of you already know these thing, so please, bear with me.

My grand parents on my fathers side were hardheaded Dutch immigrants from Holland, they were very hard working people who went to bed as soon as it got dark and got up before it got light. I never knew them to do anything different. They were both very stingy, if a nickel rolled across the floor in their presence and you wanted it, you’d better be prepared to suffer serious injury to get it. During the depression and the war, (not after) all of my grand parents neighbors thought they were rich, but in truth they had very little. But what they did have was chickens, laying hens and a few roosters. They started out with a few hens and ended up with over two hundred laying hens. Grandpa could get anything he wanted with the eggs from those hens, you talk about a powerful bartering tool, those eggs were it.

Dad always commented how much he hated eating chicken, but that’s what they ate at dinner time, once a day. For breakfast they ate eggs, for lunch they ate whatever they were able to get in trade for the remaining eggs, that weren‘t sold or eaten. Chicken soup and dumplings was a common table fare because grandpa would only allow tough old layers that had stopped laying and young roosters to be killed and cooked. He knew which hens weren’t laying by looking at their combs. Roosters, except for one lucky one used to fertilize eggs for hatching, were table fare, that was it! Grandpa knew which hens were sitters and which were not, the old rooster didn’t care---- but he got locked up with the sitters.

Because of those chickens my grandfather who started out as a dirt poor immigrant, he and grandma spent their first five years in America living in an old chicken coop with a bad roof. But by the time the depression and war were over they owned that coop, the big house next to it and little over two hundred acres below it, all because of those chickens, and, my grandpa’s very stingy nature. It didn’t take grandpa long to discover just where what little money there was,-- was! Using a three wheeled bike he made himself he delivered fresh eggs to the people who lived up on the hill, people who still had a job and a few bucks, or who were simply rich. He got “his” price for those eggs, nobody cheated grandpa! Grandpa only sold eggs to the rich, he traded some eggs to the “lesser” populace for what ever he needed, and “only” what he needed.

Grandpa was in no way pretentious, he wore the same clothes until they were completely wore out, biked because he wouldn’t buy gas and tires, oh he hated tires, until one day he found out he could melt them down and make things like door mats out of them. That didn’t last long, but he had amassed a large pile of tires, but he had tried. Then he started using tires for chicken nests, he laughingly claimed to have invented the tire chicken nest---- made especially for chickens that wanted to sit and hatch eggs, he would only allow five chickens to sit on eggs, and then each chicken could only have 6 eggs to hatch. While grandpa was out selling and trading eggs, grandma was busy house keeping and making and selling egg sandwiches off her front porch that she sold for 5 cents. Using the right ingredients she could make three sandwiches from one egg.

Grandma was a tiny bit more charitable the grandpa was, but not much. She had a delicious egg soup that she sold along with the sandwiches, she would feed the hungry when grandpa wasn’t there, but if he were home, the hungry stayed hungry. There were days when she made more money then grandpa did, boy she enjoyed those particular days, she would really give him a bad time, she relished those days. As soon as grandpa walked in the door grandma would ask him how much he had made, if grandma had made more she would tell him she had made only five cents more, and save the rest for the next days accounting. That .5 cents was a family joke for many years. Grandpa and grandma, my dad and aunts and uncle didn’t have a years supply to fall back on, they made do with what they had, and did very well for themselves."

There is much to be learned from this story. Namely being prepared to barter in hard times...being frugal...charity...home production...hard work...the value of owning chickens...having skills in animal husbandry...and so on. Oh...one other main thing to learn is why it is important to have a variety of foods stored so that you don't have to eat the same thing every day!

When I was a missionary in the south I met an elderly gentleman whose families story was basically the same thing...but with shrimp. They ate shrimp for breakfast...lunch...and dinner! While he appreciated the income from the sale of the shrimp...his stomach would turn just thinking about having to eat them again!

There is something that is quite real called appetite fatigue...where a person would rather starve than have to eat the same thing again. Vicki Tate offers some good advice on how to avoid the "7 mistakes of food storage"...one of which is the mistake of having too little variety.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Why Eat Wild Foods?


Now...this one I did not make up. I stumbled across it here. I think it is a great list of reasons to consider learning how to forage for wild foods...and then doing it!

Why Eat Wild Foods?

Wild foods are NUTRITIONAL POWERHOUSES! They are so full of vitamins, minerals and trace minerals that they act like medicine in our bodies, preventing and reversing all manner of ills related to deficiencies in our modern diets.

Wild foods are NUTRITIONALLY SUPERIOR to our domesticated vegetables. Our standard grocery store produce is generally grown in depleted soils, shipped long distances and in long storage, losing nutrients all along the way. Not to mention all the chemicals used to produce it, store it, ripen it, and keep it fresh.

Wild foods are FRESH! Each day that our produce spends in storage, it loses nutrients. Once a living plant is harvested it is literally cut off from its life support system, and its health and vitality diminish rapidly. Consider the amount of time from the field to the truck to the market to the fridge to the table. Wild foods are fresh, often only a few hours lapse between the harvest and the table.

Wild foods are FREE! It does not cost a dime to harvest a dandelion. Supplementing your diet with wild foods can help you save on groceries. They can also help you save on the expense of costly vitamins and supplements. And you will save on the high cost of health care, too!

Wild foods are AVAILABLE! They are everywhere, all around us, city or country. In fact, people spend millions of dollars every year trying to eradicate them (consider the plight of the dandelions). A short walk from anywhere you live can provide a wild feast. Wild foods also have a much longer growing season than farm and garden crops. They are available as soon as the snow melts until it blankets the ground again, whereas our first garden peas and lettuce aren’t ready until late May or June!

Wild foods are ABUNDANT! The word ‘prodigal’ means recklessly abundant, lavishly bountiful. Our wild foods are such, they grow in such profusion that it is impossible to over harvest them and there is always enough for everyone (including the birds, the butterflies and the four-legged ones)!

Wild foods are DROUGHT-RESISTANT! In a drought cycle, while the lawns and gardens are suffering and turning brown, the wild plants are thriving. Wild plants and weeds are much better equipped to handle extremes in our weather than our tender garden variety plants.

Wild foods are SURVIVAL FOOD! It’s a secure feeling to know that if the grocery store were to close tomorrow or some major disaster cut off supply lines, the wild food is always there. Y2K caused many to take a second look at our dependency on centralized power and supply systems.

Wild foods are GOOD EXERCISE! The very act of harvesting wild foods is healthy for you! Going grocery shopping in the fresh air, in beautiful places is food for the soul as well as the body.

Wild foods are LESS WORK! Harvesting wild food is much less labor intensive than gardening and farming. Consider the labor involved in preparing the soil, planting, weeding, watering and caring for your garden. In the wild gardens all that work is already done for you! All you have to do is harvest! Consider also the hours of labor that you do at your job to afford to buy your groceries….

Wild foods are ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY! Harvesting wild foods helps you become more sensitized to the environment, more in tune with the seasons, and more aware of unfriendly practices like spraying, mowing, overgrazing, and dumping.

Wild foods are POLITICALLY CORRECT! Eating foods grown in our own environment means less dependence on industrialized agriculture. And it’s organic!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tepary Beans


I am guessing that you have never heard of a Tepary Bean. I hadn't until this last spring. They are a bean that absolutely thrives in some of the most arid of landscapes. A drought vegetable to the highest degree. I have a few seed packs of a couple of Tepary Bean varieties from seeds of change and will be planting them this growing season. With the drought that we are currently in...and with a foreboding forecast for this summer...it may be prudent to consider trying out some drought tolerant varieties of various vegetables. Tepary Beans may also be good for the person who has no watering system set up and who often forgets to water...because that is what the beans require!

"The Tepary bean (Phaseolus acutifolius, Fabaceae) is native to the southwestern United States and Mexico and has been grown there by the native peoples since pre-Columbian times. It is more drought-resistant than the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) and is grown in desert and semi-desert conditions from Arizona through Mexico to Costa Rica. The water requirements are low and the crop will grow in areas where annual rainfall is less than 400 mm (16 inches). It has recently been introduced to African agriculture.

Other names for this bean include Pawi, Pavi, Tepari, Escomite, Yori mui and Yori muni. The name tepary may derive from the Tohono O'odham phrase t'pawi or "It's a bean".

Tepary beans are cooked like other dry beans after soaking. Some Native Americans would toast the dry beans, then grind them into a meal which was mixed with water before eating.

Recent studies from the United States and Mexico suggest that lectin toxins and other compounds from tepary beans may be useful as chemotherapy for treating cancer. However, further research is needed.

It is an ingredient in the Indian snacks 'bhujia' by Haldiram."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Miner's Lettuce


I walked up the hill to the park with a group of preschool children yesterday. One of the older girls recognized miners lettuce...and before long the children were having a feast...like in this video. I think that the novelty of being able to eat something while on our walk was so intriguing to some of the children...that even some of the most finicky children decided to eat. They joined the ranks of the miners in California who reportedly ate it to prevent scurvy...and the American Indians who ate it...well...because you can!

Miner's Lettuce, Claytonia, or Winter Purslane is one of those plants that you could walk by for years and never really notice it...and then when you do learn to identify it...you will see it all over. It is hard to hike anywhere in California in the Spring without coming across it. In some places it is so thick...it blankets the landscape. It appears first in the sunlit areas, but the best stands are under shade. As the days get hotter, the leaves turn a deep red color as they dry out. Once you get to know it, you will begin to notice the first shoots as early as December, soon after the first heavy rains.

There is also a narrow leaf version of miners lettuce.

You don't have to just forage for it...you could plant it too! Here is another supplier. Some like to plant it...as it is one of the most (or perhaps THE most) cold tolerant of the salad greens. It's downside is that it is not drought tolerant. Personally I'd rather pick it up for free without having to tend it...and use my ground for things that don't grow in the wild...as I have a limited amount of space to grow.

You can eat the entire plant...flowers...stems and all. To me the flavor and texture is much like Spinach. It is often eaten raw as a salad green...or can be boiled like Spinach. I snipped some today and gave some to a lady and she did not care for it...saying it was too "earthy". Some will gobble it down raw and love it...and others would need to douse it with some dressing or cook it to make it more palatable. Some just mix it with other salad greens so that the "earthy" taste is not overpowering.

Here is some great info on Miner's Lettuce. How to identify it...vitamins it contains...and even an idea of how to drink it in a smoothie.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Professional Quality Gardening/Hiking/Hot Date Sun Hat for .50 cents!!!


So you sit at a table in your favorite Mexican restaurant...basking in your enjoyment of a delicious cheesy enchilada...when all of the sudden your euphoria is abruptly disturbed by the sound of rhythmic clapping and singing.

"HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY... FROM US TO YOU...etc..." A woman sits...with her head bowed...her face beet red...with a ridiculous big sombrero on top of her head. Her friends sit back and chuckle at how absurd she looks in the big brimmed birthday hat. When the song is done...one can almost see by looking at her that the gears in her head are turning...trying to figure out where she could put the hat...to end the disgrace of being seen wearing it in public. She thinks..."There is no room on the table...because of the food..."..."If I put it on the ground...someone will trip on it!!". So she gives up trying...and just ends her "happy" birthday with the sombrero on her head. The moment she gets to her car...it comes off of her head it sits in the passenger seat for the drive home...perhaps it makes it's way into a closet for a few months or years...and then eventually it winds up at your neighborhood thrift store...to be sold for .50 cents.

It's interesting how the sombrero has become in our culture such a symbol of ridicule. A completely ridiculous hat to wear by the standards of the bulk of our culture. I'd like to ask for you to take off your "American point of view glasses" and look at the sombrero purely in terms of how sensible it is...and it's utility. Here is a hat...that can provide better sun protection than most any other sunhat because of it's larger than large brim...it breathes well...is pretty well made...and can be picked up for less than a dollar!

A simple flip of the brim to make it go down instead of up takes off maybe 50% of the dorky factor (according to experts)...and really makes it look similar to some of the sun hats that are available at your local gardening center that they are asking $30-$40 for!...and I repeat....with a larger brim. Most American sun hats brims...are what I would consider too small for real sun protection.

So...are you like that woman in the restaurant...easily embarrassed? I know I'm not. More than likely the only time my face gets red nowadays is when I am running playing church basketball! Often my lack of embarrassment is to the chagrin of my family who accompanies me into public. I have no problem wearing this hat into public if I know the alternative is to have the sun burn my naked head. But if that is too bold a move for you...hey...wear it in your backyard when you are doing yard work...and if someone sees you and persecutes you for your sombrero...and if you are weak to resist their taunts you could just say..."I got swept into listening to some crazy guy on the Internet who said it was a good idea!"

I encourage you to be strong...and join the sombrero revolution and defy those that would seek to stifle your freedom of choice with regards to head wear! Let those who may ridicule you...with their red necks and tiny hats...pointing fingers of scorn from their great and spacious hat factory go unheeded...as you make your way along...with sombrero atop your well shaded head, neck, and shoulders...to the tree that will afford you even more sun protection!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Eat the Weeds...


Marches Ensign has an article by Marion G. Romney that includes a Readers Digest article that reads as follows...

“In our friendly neighbor city of St. Augustine [Florida] great flocks of sea gulls are starving amid plenty. Fishing is still good, but the gulls don’t know how to fish. For generations they have depended on the shrimp fleet to toss them scraps from the nets. Now the fleet has moved. …
“The shrimpers had created a Welfare State for the … sea gulls. The big birds never bothered to learn how to fish for themselves and they never taught their children to fish. Instead they led their little ones to the shrimp nets.

“Now the sea gulls, the fine free birds that almost symbolize liberty itself, are starving to death because they gave in to the ‘something for nothing’ lure! They sacrificed their independence for a hand-out.

“A lot of people are like that, too. They see nothing wrong in picking delectable scraps from the tax nets of the U.S. Government’s ‘shrimp fleet.’ But what will happen when the Government runs out of goods? What about our children of generations to come?

“Let’s not be gullible gulls. We … must preserve our talents of self-sufficiency, our genius for creating things for ourselves, our sense of thrift and our true love of independence.” (“Fable of the Gullible Gull,” Reader’s Digest, Oct. 1950, p. 32.)

There is much that can be taken from this story regarding the ills of a welfare state...self reliance and so on... One major thing that stuck out to me is that it is totally possible to die of hunger...and be totally surrounded with food! Without the knowledge of how to use the resources that are all around us...we could end up in a similar situation to those gullible gulls.

There is a man out of Florida called "Green Deane". He has a website called "Eat the Weeds". Through articles...and a multitude of videos...he seeks to help us "gullible gulls" recognize and use the food that is all around us. While many of the plants he identifies are indigenous to his area...many can be found across the US...so they will be recognisable to us on the West Coast. Here he talks about the classic dandelion. Here is sow thistle that is so common in the Sacramento Valley.

He is very knowledgeable...and the classes are free!!! And you don't have to go across town to meet him for the class...watch it in your pajamas when you feel like it! Eat the weeds!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent...


I love my wife...and I appreciate the fact that she has almost single-handed handled our families laundry needs over the past decade of our marriage. The only role that I play is that I am the guy who helps to transport the clothing to where it will be folded...and then to take the folded clothing to the drawers. She does all of the actual laundering of the clothing and the folding.

At least part of the reason that she does the folding is because she couldn't abide the pain of watching me try to fold. If I try as hard as I can....and really take my time...I will still mash something the wrong way....and the result will be a unseemly pile of wrinkly clothes. Her arms work like a well-oiled machine. In one fluid movement, every shirt...every pair of pants...whatever garment that makes it's way into her beautiful and yet robot-like hands...lies flat and crisp. You would be amazed to see her in action! I know I am. (For some reason the only place I have her beat would be on folding camping gear...funny how that works).

She has gotten that efficient from TONS and TONS of repetition. A family of 6 can go through a lot of laundry. How many loads a week does your family do? Have you ever calculated how much you spend on laundry detergent each year?

Let's say just for an example that a family of 6 does 5 loads a week. If they purchased Tide for $14.00 and that bottle did 32 loads...then each load would cost .44 cents. (This of course excludes the cost of electricity, gas, etc.) So 5 loads a week x 52 weeks in a year x .44 cents = $114.40 a year on detergent. The numbers would vary based upon the cost of the laundry detergent used...the efficiency of your washer...etc. While $114.40 may or may not sound like a lot of money to you...there is wisdom in the age old adage that "A penny saved is a penny earned." Finding ways to live frugally is wise in lean years...as well as years of plenty.

Here is a demonstration of a method to make your own laundry detergent that you can control what goes into it...for .08 cents a load. That is just $20.80 a year for that same family!!! In our example it could save around $100 a year on laundry! That savings would put around 166 cans of corn or beans up from Winco (on sale right now)! That savings could put a ONE YEARS SUPPLY of wheat for one adult away from the cannery!! Without a cent more out of your pocket...and all it would take is a little bit of time.

Her recipe written out...

1. Grate 1 bar of soap (she uses Ivory)

2. In a pan add grated soap and 6 cups water and heat over med/low to melt ALL of soap. (This is the longest...30-40 minutes.)

3. Once all the soap is melted add 3/4 cup EACH of Super washing soda and Borax and dissolve. If you want to add a scent this would be the time (lavendar EO or Tea Tree etc)

4. Add 4 cups HOT water in bucket once the soap mixture is all dissolved pour into bucket.

5. Stir in 1 1/2 gallons cool water.

It is done and can be used 1/2 cup per load. It will gel up and over time it will separate, that is normal. She said that the one batch will last her family of 3 three months (2 adults and 1 baby)

Here is how much laundry detergent you can expect out of each box...

1 - 76 oz box Borax = 19 batches of soap

1 - 55 ox box Washing Soda = 9 batches of soap

1 - bar Fels Naptha (or other soap) = 1 batch of soap (1/2 soap & 1/2 spotting)

So you should need for family 5 for one year:

1 box Borax - ($3.49 at Winco)

2 boxes Washing Soda ($2.70 at Winco)...x2 = $5.40

9 bars Fels Naptha (or Zote or Ivory) - (Fels is $1.05 at Winco x9 = $10.82) (Fels Naptha is a laundry soap that would be found on the laundry isle)

So the grand total for laundry detergent one year is basically $20!!

If your local store doesn't carry the ingredients...you may be able to request that they order them. If not...here is a place to buy the ingredients online. They even sell it as a kit.

Here is another blog that tells of an experience with making laundry detergent.

Here is a video on youtube about making your own laundry detergent.

Apart from the cost savings...there are other reasons you may consider making your own laundry detergent. Many people claim that they are really sensitive to various detergents...and will break out in a rash from contact. (Others say their rashes are attributable to other factors.) Regardless of who is right and who is wrong...it is nice to be able to make your own detergent with the "basics" that doesn't contain all of the extra junk that is in a lot of laundry detergents. We often say that "You are what you eat"...and there is truth to the statement that "You are what is on your skin"...as the things that we put on our skin can be absorbed...and enter our bloodstream.

Another reason to consider making it yourself is that you can control how much you put in of the various ingredients. You can become like a detergent chef...getting it just how you like it.

There may also be an advantage for some in that just a few small boxes makes a LOT of detergent...so perhaps they can save space in their storage of the ingredients.

One last one...these ingredients have purposes outside of their mixed purpose. With the ingredients apart...you can have more options with what you use them for...not just for laundry. Here are some uses of Borax. Here are some more. Here are other uses for Super Washing Soda. You already know other uses for soap! (Fels Naptha can be used for a spot remover)

If you really want to know the more primitive ways of making soap from scratch if the modern resources to mix together were not available...here is how to make soap the old fashioned way.

One other thing that I find intriguing that I found while researching is what is called a "soap nut". It is an actual nut from a "Sapindus" tree that can clean your clothing. It has been used for centuries in other cultures and is gaining popularity in the US as a natural way to clean clothing.

I wish you years of the joy of the look...scent...and feel of clean clothing!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Newsletter on Building a 3 Month Supply...

I was asked recently in the hallway at church if I had any literature that might be good to hand out to non-members on the basics of preparedness and food storage. A good friend from a neighboring stake put together a beautiful informational newsletter on building a 3 month supply that I would class among the literature that would be great to give to someone not of our faith. It has great info on why a 3 month supply is a good idea...shelf lives of various products...shelving systems...etc...and it all fits in just 3 pages! It does have a few quotes from the prophets...but shouldn't come off too "churchy".

The newsletter can be downloaded from his site called "Principles of Preparedness".

The Troubles of Folsom Lake...


Here are a couple of articles that should be of interest to the residents of Folsom...who rely upon the water that comes from Folsom Lake for their water supply...

This one talks about where the water levels are currently at and outlines how the escalation of water rationing would work out.


Here is one that is from today...we are still unsure how long the line will take to fix...and if we will be without water for any length of time...


A friend who has water stored and other supplies said that a few ladies from his ward were emailing around saying "What will we do if we don't have water!" He didn't share their anxiety and said "We're fine". This is a good example of how "If ye are prepared ye shall not fear". (D&C 38:30)

The cat is out of the bag...


I am writing this article because it is a topic that people ask me about in private on a regular basis. Those whispered conversations generally take place in the hallways at church. Make no mistake…it may make you feel really uneasy to read some of this...but I believe it to be a truthful slap in the face that many of us need. Remember this blog is a place where I attempt to "tell it like it is". My hope is that by using some candor regarding the reality of the dangers around us...that it may help some of the sleeping people that would read this...to want to prepare. I remind you of my disclaimer on this page that points out that this blog is not affiliated with the Church in any way and that I take full credit for the points of view herein.

The news reported that “The first two churches on the scene for disaster relief were the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Mormon Church”. Maybe you remember hearing about that and laughing. Although people all over the world don’t completely understand our doctrine…or frankly what the name of our Church is…they know that we have reputation for helping out in times of disaster. They have seen us in our yellow “Mormon Helping Hands” T-shirts on TV and in the paper. They have seen how well organized we are…as legions of volunteers show up and go to work. They have seen giant crates of supplies arriving stamped with the churches seal. Apart from our being known for our missionaries…family values…big temples…genealogy…etc…etc…we are known as a great humanitarian organization.

On a smaller scale we are also known for our family preparedness....and as a people that store food. The irony is that only a small fraction of our people has obeyed the command from the Lord to lay up in store! Various church polls over the years have shown that only somewhere around 10% of our people have a minimum of a year's supply! Still…as a people…we are more prepared than most and as a result our governments and many of the people in our communities look to us like a child looks to its parent for protection from times of scarcity (whether we know it or not).

As many of us scrimp and save to try to get the funds together to get our own family prepared for times of adversity…the thought of having to support a multitude of unprepared people (in and out of the church) can be a weight to bare. What I am sometimes asked in whispers in the hallways at church is this..."Is it better for me to just not tell anyone about food storage…because they won’t prepare and just show up at my door for a handout when hard times come? Is it better to just keep my big mouth shut!?"

I can identify with this sentiment. A few years back I had a bumper magnet made that said “Got Food Storage” just to raise awareness. People would stop me and ask me what it meant. I would tell them about my beliefs of how "The prophets have foreseen hard times before Christ comes" and that "it is a good idea to store food and supplies for those times"...and they would almost inevitably respond…“I know where I’m coming when there’s no food! I’m coming to your house!!” I responded as lovingly as I could “You need to get your own supplies together for your family...and I'd be happy to tell you how”...to which they would look at me with a blank stare and then walk away. I was finding that all I seemed to be attracting were people that were planning on using me as their store! I started to get uneasy…feeling that perhaps all I was doing was advertising to everyone that I had food storage…but wasn’t really motivating them to get their own. I took the magnet off my car.

At this point one could become reclusive and decide to discontinue spreading the gospel of preparedness in order to have some sort of self preservation. One could feel that..."If no one knows I am preparing...then they won't show up!"

I am here to tell you that the cat is already out of the bag! Even if you don't directly tell people that you store food (or don’t store food) doesn't matter. People know that "The Mormons store food"...and could find out that you are a Mormon. If we learned anything from our recent involvement with prop 8 here in California…it is how quickly our anonymity as “Mormons” can be blown. It wouldn’t take long for the word to travel that the “Mormons have food”(to anyone who didn’t already know)…and for a similar list of who we are and where we live to surface. If you doubt that people know already about our storing of food and supplies...do a search on the internet on “Mormon food storage” and you will see that many or most of the sites are not our own! It’s even already in the news letting people know what we are doing…and times aren’t nearly as hard as they could get!

It may play out that when there is a famine in this land…people will find you because you are a “Mormon”…expecting that you have food for them...knowing that you will be able to support them because "Hey...all active Mormons store food!". Imagine trying to explain to a hungry public that shows up at your doorstep that “Yes…I am a Mormon…and No…I didn’t store food”. Do you think they will believe you and just move to the next Mormon on the list?! These people or entities will come to us with a cupped hand…or a fist. It's hard to say exactly how everything will play out...perhaps the Lord will deliver us from such confrontations...but if not...I don't think myself out of line in thinking that this is a highly plausible scenario. If you think you are an island to yourself…you may be in for a rude awakening.

True LDS should be motivated out of love and not fear. We should want our brothers and sisters to prepare in an attempt for them to not have to suffer...because we love them...and to alleviate the moral dilemmas that can come from an unprepared community. The Golden Rule applies here...do unto others as you would have others do unto you. I believe quite firmly that we will see some of our greatest growth in the church by including the community in our preparedness program. As our communities come out and rub shoulders with us in our preparedness activities...and see that many of us are doing our very best to not be "of the world"...and then they take the time to investigate the Lord's doctrine...and pray about it. Even if someone never takes any interest in the church...you could be a savior of their temporal welfare in this life by helping them to get prepared.

Henry B. Eyring said in this last months Ensign...

"Now, I don’t know how the crowds will be handled in the world to come. But I suppose that I will meet him, that he will look into my eyes, and that I will see in them the question: “Hal, you knew. Why didn’t you tell me?”"
To expand on that potential conversation...perhaps one day the people that we rub shoulders with every day will also say to us..."You knew that hail was going to be sent to destroy the crops of the earth...and you said nothing". "You knew that there would be famines...and drought...and pestilences...and many of the details of how these things would happen...and you saw me every day when you dropped off your kid to school....and you said nothing". "You had prophets telling you how to prepare for these things for over 150+ years...and how to escape...and you didn't say anything to me...because you were afraid that I would do nothing to get prepared and then make myself a burden on your family."

Doctrinally I think that it would be a hard position to defend...that the Lord would currently have you not warn your brothers and sisters about the coming danger in favor of your own preservation.

Now having said that...while I do think that we have a responsibility to warn people and to influence them to get prepared....I would hesitate to go on the news saying that you have a six year supply or anything like that. There is wisdom in to not "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.". I have not put my bumper sticker back on my car. Despite what I believe is an impossibility to retain complete anonymity...I still think that the Lord would have us exercise some discretion. There is a difference in my mind between "Sharing the gospel of preparedness to help others get prepared"...and..."Making yourself a target by blabber mouthing to the world of your preparations".

Let's learn from Nephi who "Crept into the city"..."by night". Nephi who was "Led by the spirit"...still obtained the plates by "stratagem". His use of stratagem was not due to a lack of faith in the power of the Lord...but an understanding of the fact that our God expects us to use some common sense...and to pray to Him as if it all depended on Him...but work as if it all depended on us. He understood as it says in the welfare manual "Providing the Lords Way" that "He never forsakes us, but he does not do for us what we can do for ourselves".

The stratagem that seems most prudent in the sharing of the gospel of preparedness...is to let people know about what dangers are around us....to let them know that you care for them...and to invite them to an actual activity to get prepared. The next stake on is on May 9th. Perhaps you could encourage your Elder's Quorum...or Relief Society...or other organization to have an activity so you can invite someone!...or a bunch of people! A few years back...people may have looked at you like you were crazy...but now...people are hungry for information on how to get prepared.

This scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants 101:8 has application...even to the unbelievers...

"In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my counsel; but, in the day of their trouble, of necessity they feel after me."

Let's do as Dallin H. Oaks has recommended...

"While we are powerless to alter the fact of the Second Coming and unable to know its exact time, we can accelerate our own preparation and try to influence the preparation of those around us." (Dallin H. Oaks - April 2004 General Conference)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Good Sun Hat...


Have you ever walked into a hat shop that carries all kinds of hats? It is so much fun to walk around and try on the different hats and then look in a mirror and laugh! Or to imagine what it might be like to be the kind of person who would wear such a hat. Some hats are made mostly for style (perhaps like Aretha's)...others have more of a utilitarian use (like a welder's hat keeps sparks out of his ear)...they come in all different sizes...shapes...and colors...and can be found in every culture I know of...and are worn for multitude of purposes.

Worldwide...perhaps one of the most popular hats is the baseball cap. The irony with a baseball cap...is that on a sunny day...a baseball cap is one of the worst hats you could wear to a baseball game!

From Wikipedia...

"Baseball caps provide inadequate protection from solar UV radiation which is known to cause skin cancer. A typical baseball cap leaves the sides of the face, ears and neck all exposed to the full sun light. This dramatically increases the wearer's risk of developing melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. Skin cancer prevention groups do not recommend their use under any circumstances. For serious sun protection, a hat with a broad brim or one with a flap covering the neck and sides of face (often called a legionnaire's hat) should be worn."

Reading that reminded me of a statement by Brigham young...

"My warfare is, an has been for years, to get the people to understand that if they do not care for themselves they will not be taken care of; that if we do not lay the foundation to feed and clothe and shelter ourselves we shall perish with hunger and with cold; we might also suffer in the summer season from the direct rays of the sun upon our naked and unprotected bodies."(Discourses of Brigham Young, p 16-17)

I recently read a non-fiction book called "The Raft". It is the story of 3 Navy airmen stranded on a raft for 34 days without food, water, or shelter...and how they survived. The lines from the book that describe the agony of those men....lying directly in the sun...with no cover...literally baking in the sun...are indelibly etched on my brain. Those men I'm sure would have appreciated a good hat! Even without such an extreme experience...anyone who has ever had a sunburn can tell you how the "direct rays of the sun" really can make you "suffer". Many who have had such experiences vow to never let it happen again...but in moments of weakness say "Ah...I'll be all right...it's not that sunny"...and then they suffer through a sunburn again. Such mistakes may be OK when you can get to shelter to recover from the sunburn...but what if you had to continue to spend time in the sun?

Many of our pioneer fathers crossing the plains spent long...long days out in the sun. They apparently understood the value of a good hat...with their large brimmed men's hats...and the covering bonnets for the women. We would do well to emulate them in that regard....not necessarily wearing bonnets and large felt hats...but putting into our emergency supplies a good brimmed hat. I like the ones that can be crushed...by throwing them in a backpack...and will still hold their shape. Here is one called an adventure hat...which won't win you a prize for looking really cool...but offers great coverage...is well made to last...is easily washed...and breathes. It is a pretty expensive hat...but like I said...it is really well made and should last for a really long time.

It would also be wise to have other hats for keeping your head warm when it is cold. Presently I use just good ole' fashioned beanies...like you could pick up at a dollar store or at Walmart for a buck or two. A small price to pay to have your head warm on a cool day or night!

So wear that baseball cap to support your favorite team...and to look cool as you go around town...but put a good brimmed hat in your supplies that will actually offer you protection!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Fire without matches...


I'm sure that you have heard the expression..."Prepare for the worse". I am trying to do that. Given the various prophecies regarding last day's events...I anticipate that things could get very primitive for a lot of us. It may be our lot to be thrust back into a pioneer-like lifestyle. Many LDS say when the topic of the pioneer way of life comes up that..."I could never be a pioneer...because I could have never survived how hard it was!". What they may not understand is that they may get their chance to find out! The challenge is to get people to understand that the conveniences that they now enjoy could disappear in a heartbeat...and that primitive living skills...or "bushcraft" could be all they have to rely upon to provide for their basic needs.

A few months ago I was having a conversation with a man and it came up that I had been practicing different methods of starting fire without using matches. His response to me was "It's good that people still know how to do garbage like that"...only he didn't say garbage. I just stood there in disbelief at how we could be on such totally different plains. It seems that in his mind...such skills are historical reenactments of a time that has been left in the dust because of the "modern" world's advances. Skills that are for dopes that have nothing but time on their hands...while they could be talking about the resolution on a plasma screen!

Having fire is right up there with air and water. The heat that comes from fire is at the most basic of human needs. It may not seem to be so with our heaters heating our homes...but understand...that such heat is an artificial security. We go outside...get chilled...and then run to the warmth of our cars or the next heated shelter. What if the gas that brings that heat to your home is interupted? What if you have no electricity! What if you get thrust from your home and have to sleep outside? You can die in hours because of exposure. Many have died recently in the east...because they got too cold when the electricity went out!

You might say..."But I'll just store a ton of matches!" That is a great idea! Please do. Anyone who has tried to make a fire without matches...especially some of the more primitive ways will tell you "I will never forget my matches again!" But...what if you get separated from your matches? What if your matches get ruined by getting wet? What if you light all of your 250 matches in your box...and then have no more?

Perhaps you say..."Then I will use a lighter". Lighters are great...it would be good to have some on hand. But...how long will your lighter last? What if your lighter leaks it's fuel? (after you use a lighter...it slowly leaks) What if your lighter breaks? What if this primitive living lifestyle lasts longer than your supply of lighters? What if you are separated from your lighter?

In a worse case scenario...it would be good to have other options.

Wildwood survival has what I believe is the best site on the internet for learning primitive firemaking skills. It offers great step by step instructions and videos. It has the old classics like bow drill...and fire plow...and other interesting methods like water from ice...and fire from a battery! It is a lot of fun...and work...and deeply satisfying to know that you could provide fire even if you were "naked in the wilderness".

There are other devices that you can purchase that aren't completely primitive that will start fire.

I bought a fire piston...but don't recommend them because my experience with them is that they have to be lubed up just right...and it can be really difficult to get an ember.

What I would recommend for everyone to have in their bug out bags is something that is small and lightweight...it doesn't require a bunch of skill to start a fire...it can get totally wet and frozen and still work...a tiny piece of it can make thousands of fires...it is swedish firesteel. I have these things tucked all over the place. I have one in each of our family bags...I have one in my leatherman case...etc...etc... I'd much rather have a firesteel than matches in a long-term survival situation. This winter my two older children...age 9 and 7 both could start a fire with a firesteel...so I am sure you could too!!

Happy firemaking!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Acorns can be people food...


When the United States really falls into hard times...and we are looking for ways to feed our families...it can give peace to know that there are ALL KINDS of wild foods all around us that are ready to be gathered and enjoyed....if only we take the time to learn to identify them...and how to use them. I bet that in your lawn right now...there are several weeds that are quite tasty and nutritious...do you know which ones they are!? From time to time I will do an article on what is generally called "foraging"...or "wild foods" and post it here to bring to light some of these foods that are in our region. The first wild food that I will highlight...that I am really excited about...is acorns!

Acorns are a wild food that even the smallest of children can identify. To the children that find them they are a novelty...and to most adults they are a nuisance...litter to be discarded. They drop from Oak trees in the Sacramento valley by the barrel full. A friend of mine recently told me how he had filled up his green waste bins multiple times with nothing but acorns! He exclaimed to me "What a waste...I know there is a way to make them into food...like the Indians did! I got a bumper crop and they are just going straight to the green waste".

If you have ever been adventurous and tried even the tiniest bite of raw acorn...you probably regretted putting it in your mouth. When eaten raw...they are BITTER. What is so bitter is what is called "Tannic acid" or "Tannin". This is the stuff that can be used to tan leather...that LDS people often cite as a main reason why coffee is bad for you. So how can acorns be people food with all of that tannic acid? How are they processed to make them good to eat?

The last few weeks I have been investigating that...and here are some highlights and some thoughts....

I would guess that at some point we all did a report on the American Indians...and how they pounded acorns into flour. While not all tribes made heavy use of acorns for their sustenance....some tribes used acorn as their main source of food. I just checked out a book this last week from the library called "It will live forever". It was a really interesting peek into some of the methods of acorn preparation of the Miwok and Paiute Indians that lived in the Yosemite valley. The book outlines how to process acorns with the most rudimentary of tools...and much of the culture revolving around the "people of the acorn". One thing that the book made clear is that there is no "one way" to do the process...it can be done a variety of ways. Methods vary from tribe to tribe...and even within tribes...or even families.

I am sure that the thought of sitting around for hours pounding acorn with rocks doesn't sound all that appealing to many. You will probably be pleased to know that you don't have to lift and drop an rock for hours to get a product!...There are modern methods that can be employed.

This last week I tried out one of these methods. Without getting into all of the details...I collected the acorns that are still falling from my "Interior Live Oak's" in my backyard...and followed this method to prepare the acorns. The flour was completed yesterday...and today I made my first acorn muffins! The kids in our preschool all loved them...and asked for seconds...and for thirds (to which we said "no".) They turned out to be like a spice cake...they were really good. I had some family eat some of a muffin and I asked them what they thought the special ingredient could be...to which they guessed at various spices and nuts. Imagine their surprise when I told them it was made with "Acorn!" My grandmother exclaimed..."Like the Indians!!"

Here are some interesting points about acorns...and stuff to get you to want to use them!...

1. They are probably the most easy foraging food to identify! You aren't going to make a mistake and poison yourself! Identifying oak tree's can be difficult...because of the hybridization between the species...but you will not mistake the acorn that drops from it.

2. In hard times...if you took the time to learn how to use acorn...you would probably be the only one within miles that would have any idea how to eat them.

3. All acorns are edible from all varieties of Oak. They have differing flavors....different amounts of oils...differing amounts of tannic acid...etc.

4. They can be dried and stored for a LONG time. The black oaks acorn can be dried and stored for upwards of 13 years!! Tannic acid is a natural preservative...the higher the tannic acid content...the longer it will store.

5. Once leeched of the tannic acid...the acorn can be made into a mush that is so mild an infant can eat it! It can be eaten without adding anything to it...or it can be mixed in with other foods to bulk them up. It is versatile!

6. ACORNS ARE A SURVIVAL FOOD OF THE HIGHEST DEGREE!! Acorns are extremely nutritious, containing up to 18 percent fat, 6 percent protein, and 68 percent carbohydrate as well as vitamins A and C and many amino acids. 100 grams of acorn flour (roughly one cup) contains a whopping 500 calories, 30 grams of fat, and 54 grams of carbohydrate.

7. Oak tree's are EVERYWHERE! Oak tree's are to be found all over the world...and across the US. While other wild foods are only regional...one can be assured that an Oak tree can be found most anywhere in the US. In the Sacramento valley they are especially plentiful. The food they drop is ready to be picked up by the barrel full!

8. You don't have to plant and tend the crop! In contrast to growing your own garden...which takes a lot of time and effort to get the fruit...acorns just fall from the trees without any thought of taking care of the tree! Oaks drop their acorns according to a cycle...weak years followed by a strong year...and the timeline is based largely on what variety Oak it is. Then there is also a phenomenon called "masting" where an Oak will drop an unreal amount of acorns (often really large)...like my friend experienced.

9. You can actually have a really long season of harvestable acorns! Many Oaks are dropping acorns back in October...November...and here it is mid-February and I am still collecting!

10. If things got really rough for our nation...and people came to you for help...if you knew how to process acorn...you could send them out to gather what they want to eat!

So...what did I learn from my first attempt at using acorn as a food?....

1. If you over bake the acorn....it will take forever to get all of the tannic acid to leech out. I think next time I will not bake them...I will dehydrate them a bit instead. It will be one of those things that will develop as I go.

2. Ideally you will collect your acorns when they have freshly fallen. The Miwok and Paiute Indians both selected their acorns like we would our oranges at the grocery store. Taking only the acorns that had no holes or bumps...and looked healthy. I used substandard acorns...and it was still edible....next time I want it to be even better!

3. I want to get a Davebilt nutcracker. After leaning over a pile of acorns for a good stretch of time...whacking them with a hammer...breaking the shells...winnowing...etc...I found that my back was tired and my fingers were tender from cracking the shells. This is work I would gladly do to survive...but it sure would be nice to mechanize to process to make it easier. The Davebilt is THE way to shell acorns...according to people that use acorn as a means of food...as opposed to a hobby. Watch this video of the Davebilt in action.

4. You can be a total rooky...and still get a product that your kids will eat...and love...and could even thrive upon...and this from the ground in my backyard! Better in our bellies...than in the green waste!

Here is the way I will try it next time...just to try another method

Julia F. Parkers New Way Acorn (from the "It will live forever book")

Cracking
Crack 4 pounds of acorn with a hammer. When cracking, tap shells lightly enough that the nutmeats will split into halves or thirds, but won't shatter into small pieces.

Shelling
Remove shells by hand, returning shells and any bad nuts to the earth.

Cleaning

To loosen the skins, lay acorn on a cloth on a table in the sun. Split grooves open by pressing down with the sharp edge of a knife held lengthwise in the groove. Sprinkle the acorns with water and allow to dry. Rub handfuls of nutmeats between hands to remove skins. Scrape any adhering skins off with a knife. Taking bad nuts into account, 4 pounds result in about 4 cups of whole, cleaned acorn.

Blender Crushing
Measure out 4 cupfuls of whole, cleaned nutmeats. Put 1 cupful (5 1/2 oz.) in a blender and break up at low speed. The acorn will jump around in the blender. Once the nutmeats are broken up, switch the blender to high speed and run until no more acorn falls from the edges onto the blades. Mix acorn up with the handle of a wooden spoon, making sure to include the acorn nearest the bottom, which tends to get sticky. Repeat blending and mixing until acorn is reduced to fine flour. (If acorn gets oily as blended, add a few whole nutmeats at a low speed to absorb the oils.) Remove the now fluffy flour and set aside in a bowl. Add second cupful and repeat the process. Add a third cupful and repeat. Add a fourth cupful and repeat. This results in 5 fluffy cupfuls of flour.

Note
If there are chunks of acorn in the flour, it needs to be run throught the blender again. Don't put more than a cup of acorn in the blender at a time - any more might cause the motor to burn out.

Leaching

Put flour into a 5-pound flour, sugar or salt sack. Fill the sack full of water and allow it to drain so the flour is saturated. Tie the sack to a faucet and turn the faucet on just past a drip, so that a very slow, steady stream of water drips over the outside of the sack (which serves as a waterbreak) all night long.

Cooking
Place leached acorn (when wet, it reduces again to 4 cups) in a stainless steel pot. Add 3 cups water and mix with acorn. Cook at high heat, stirring frequently. While acorn cooks, gradually add 7 more cups of water. Keep stirring. Let the acorn boil for 15 minutes, until it has the consistency of tomato soup. For cornmeal mush consistency, add less water. Makes 11.5 cups nuppa. If using fresh (newly gathered) acorn, increase the amount of water used, as fresh acorn thickens more than older acorn.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Barter in hard times...


Many of the ill-prepared LDS of our day imagine to themselves and even verbalize to others that when hard times hit they will just go to a prepared persons home and get what they need...but never seem to mention that it will cost them anything. Perhaps they think of themselves like the prodigal son...coming home to enjoy a fatted calf...without taking into consideration that perhaps the goods they expect from their neighbor will not be "without money and without price" as they now suppose.

Perhaps they would be surprised to know that if they could go back in time to the days of Brigham Young...that they could expect no such handout from him. He said "Be not so unwise as to sell the bread that you and your children need...and remember that you cannot buy any from me, unless you pay a fair price for it." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p.256)

"Paying a fair price" does not mean..."come on over and get what you want for free!" The doctrine for "providing in the Lords way" is that if a person can work for what they need...they should.

In the words of Heber J. Grant...

"My experience has taught me, and it has become a principle with me, that it is never any benefit to give out and out, to man or woman, money, food, clothing, or anything else, if they are able-bodied and can work and earn what they need, when there is anything on earth for them to do." (Conference report October 1936, pp. 2-6)

Paying a fair price for goods and services is generally now done with the currency of a nation. One must remember that the currency of any nation is only of any worth in a working economy. In a non-working economy...trying to get the things you want will take offering your services (working)...or trading the things that you have that people want.

Ezra Taft Benson told us...

"The Saints have been advised to pay their own way and maintain a cash reserve. Recent history has demonstrated that in difficult days it is reserves with intrinsic value that are of most worth, rather than reserves, the value of which may be destroyed through inflation." (Ezra Taft Benson, “Prepare Ye,” Ensign, Jan. 1974, 68)

So...during "difficult days" it is not money in the bank that we want...but instead "reserves with intrinsic value".

So what are some items with intrinsic value?

F. Enzio Busche helps us to see how a now commonplace food item...was once an item of most value...

“Frequently I am asked, ‘What were the most valuable items in the days of starvation in Germany?’“...As for what we needed, the food item we relied on most was vegetable oil. With a bottle of vegetable oil, one could acquire nearly every other desirable item. It had such value that with a quart of vegetable oil one could probably trade for three bushels of apples or three hundred pounds of potatoes. Vegetable oil has a high calorie content, is easy to transport, and in cooking can give a tasty flavor to all kinds of food items that one would not normally consider as food - wildflowers, wild plants, and roots from shrubs and trees. For me and my family, a high-quality vegetable oil has the highest priority in our food storage, both in times of daily use and for emergency use. When vegetable oil is well-packed and stored appropriately, it has a long storage life without the necessity of refrigeration. We found ours to be in very good condition after twenty years of storage, but circumstances may vary in different countries and with different supplies.” (F. Enzio Busche Ensign,
June 1982)

Many of us have heard the story of how in the "great depression" a car was traded for a sack of potatoes. In day's of prosperity it is hard for many to fathom why someone would ever make such a trade...but when food becomes scarce...or when hyperinflation increases the price of basic commodities to the point where the average person cannot buy them...it will make a whole lot of sense.

It is foolish to expect that the expensive toys we now have will be able to be traded to obtain our family the food we need in hard times. When food is priority number one and people's stomachs are growling...no one will want your electronic trinkets...your fine twined linens...and crisping pins...they will want eggs and butter!!

Charles W. Nibley related how the saints survived in the Cache Valley during the winter of 1860 and said that "Eggs and butter were the chief currency of the country. There was no such thing as money". (Pioneer stories, pp. 87-98)

I know of many people who might be labeled "survivalists" who when they are at the store...and see a great deal on a certain item...stock up on as much as they can. Their attitude is that if they can't use it...at least they will have extra on hand with which to trade for the things they do need.

As F. Enzion Busche said...

"...so long as there survives more than one family, there will be trading of valuable items. A free market will begin immediately to satisfy the needs of the people, and items in greatest demand will set the price, bypassing the use of money." (Ensign, June 1982 pp. 17-18)

Here is a site that list's the 100 things that will disappear first...that you may consider stocking up on...for bartering purposes. By no means is it a complete list...but perhaps it will get you thinking on what items really matter most...and which may be of most use for bartering when the time comes.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Kelly's Water Storage Handout

THE BASICS OF WATER STORAGE

How Much to Store?
· FEMA & Red Cross recommend 14 gallons per person for two weeks (1 gallon a day/person)
· More is better ~ consider use for cooking, hydrating foods, powdered milk/beverages, etc., cleaning/bathing

What to Store it in?
· PETE (or PET) approved plastic containers such as soda bottles and juice containers
· 50 gallon drums (blue) or smaller sized ones
· Collapsible plastic storage containers
· Commercially bottled water
· Mylar bags

What Should I Not Store it in?
· Milk jugs, cardboard beverage containers, plastic bottles that previously held food products (ketchup, etc.), any non food plastic container (bleach bottles), glass (breakable)
· Swimming pools

Where Should I Store my Water?
· Cool, dry places
· Places where possible leaks will not cause damage
· Freezer

Where Should I NOT Store my Water?
· On concrete – leeching can occur while in plastic containers
· In direct sunlight and exposed to heat – cover with tarps if outdoors
· Near gasoline, kerosene, pesticides or similar substances – leeching

Other Important Water Storage Points…
· Water from chlorinated municipal water supply does not need treatment
· Always store in clean, sanitized containers
· Swimming Pools – back up source ONLY. Can be used for cleaning and bathing. Not suitable for consumption. Because of potential natural disasters - not a reliable source
· Have a hand filter such as a Katadyn as backup

WEBSITES:
www.fema.gov/plan/prepare/water
www.redcross.org/services/prepare
www.providentliving.org see Family Home Storage / Water Storage

Monday, February 2, 2009

It's time to plan not panic...


Do you know what you will grab if you have to leave your home in a disaster? If you end up in a shelter...how will you pass the time? Are you going to be able to carry or roll your supplies over a long distance if necessary?...etc...etc. There is a lot to consider when preparing for a time of evacuation. Barbara Salsbury did a great job putting together this book to help the reader consider everything they would want or need during a time of short term disaster...and offers suggestions on how to fill those needs.

The pages of this short book (116 pages) offer great tips on things that you may have overlooked for your families emergency bags...some really helpful lists of food based on weight/size...and just all around great common sense. Before the book was finished I personally had a sheet of paper full of ideas to revamp our current emergency bags!

It's an easy read that could easily be read in a sitting or two...and well worth the time.