Monday, March 30, 2009

Why Whole Wheat Flour?

I have wanted for some time to do an article on the doctrinal importance of the grain wheat. The prophets have long specifically named wheat as a grain of high importance. While I won't get into it too deeply are a few quotes that prove that point...

In a talk called "Prepare Ye" by Ezra Taft Benson...he touched on some of the doctrinal importance of wheat. The following 3 quotes are from that talk...

"There is more salvation and security in wheat, than in all the political schemes of the world. …” (Elder Orson Hyde, JD, vol. 2, p. 207.)

"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. “All grain is good for the food of man …” (D&C 89:16) the Lord states, but he particularly singles out wheat. Dry, whole, hard grains, when stored properly, can last indefinitely, and their nutritional value can be enhanced through sprouting, if desired."

"From the standpoint of food production, storage, handling, and the Lord’s counsel, wheat should have high priority."

Here is a prophecy of a time when wheat will be of great value...(more than what it currently sells for at the family canning center!)
The time will come that gold will hold no comparison in value to a bushel of wheat.” (Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 250, 1943 ed., p. 29

He did not say "The time will come that gold will hold no comparison in value to a bushel of grain." No...he specifically named wheat. If you go back and read the prophets words regarding storing food...take note how often they specifically name wheat.

I have heard people say things like "I don't store's too hard on your stomach"....or "Some people are allergic to I just store rice". While there may be actual medical reasons why some people can't eat wheat...for would be wise to incorporate more wheat into their diet...for health and to be prepared.

A good friend just put a newsletter together on the value of whole wheat flour. IT IS AWESOME! Check it out at here. I especially love his graph on page 3 that breaks down how nutritionally superior whole wheat flour is!! Well done.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Garden...The Garden...The Gardening Workshop...

A friend asked me "How's the garden". It took me off guard because I have three garden related things going on at the same time.

First...I am really excited about my garden. A friend of mine who worked on a Biodynamic (kind of like organic) farm has been coming over to help me maximize our production this season. It's amazing how having some extra hands helping you can make things happen so much faster. A few of my unfinished gardening projects from last season will be completed and my goal is to have food that can feed my family...growing EVERYWHERE!

Second....I am in a stake musical production called "The Garden". It's an allegorical musical about the Savior's atonement. My character is a "Millstone"...and I sing some really high...and really low notes...and wear a fancy costume. It will be a great program to invite people out to...especially with it's Eastery theme. It will be at 7:30pm on Friday April 10th and Saturday April 11th at the Citrus Heights Stake Center at 7009 Van Maren Lane.

Third...for my calling in church...I have organized (with others help) a community gardening workshop that will be on May 9th from 10am-2pm at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 8056 Oak Avenue in Citrus Heights. Booths will be open on a variety of gardening and a few on other preparedness topics...during that whole time. Various classes will also be going on in the classrooms around the building. I have apprehensions about writing the details as it is early enough that things may change...but as of right now this is the schedule...

Growing More Food in Less Space - Container and Square Foot Gardening - Paula Eckern - 10:30, 11:00, 11:30

Creating a Thriving Garden in a Drought - Healthy, Happy plants with less water - San Juan Water District - Barbara Leatham - 10:30, 11:00, 11:30

A 4 Season Harvest - Growing Food Year Round - What to plant and when to plant it - Alison Harris - Peas and Harmony - 10:30, 11:00, 11:30

From Acorns to Lawn Weeds - Identifying and Eating Wild Foods - Stephen Nix - 12:30, 1:00, 1:30

From Seed to Harvest - The Basics of Gardening - Bob Clegg - 12:30, 1:00, 1:30

Soils, Companion Planting, Plants That Repel Pests - Jan Cox - 12:30, 1:00, 1:30

I expect at least 1,000 people in attendance at this event! It is going to be awesome!!

A Bath in a Box...

Years ago now I was at a multi-stake Boy Scout event called the "Son's of Liberty Encampment". Day after day the air was thick with dust that was being kicked up by 1000's of active Boy Scout feet as we baked in the hot summer sun. Although we were having fun on many levels...physically...we were miserable. The sun was draining us of energy...and we were filthy. We were all trying to become accustomed to or avoid each others stink and looked like Pig-pen from Peanuts.

The only water we had...we had brought in...and had stored it in a couple of 55 gallon drums. It was only to be used for drinking and to cook with. Not a drop was to be wasted. A bunch of boys loosely bathing themselves...dripping our life giving water....our precious beyond all worldly riches water...onto the ground was not an option.

We lay as a troop under a tarp tent in the hot shade festering in our grime when one Scout who had the foresight to bring a package of disposable baby wipes....brought them out. At first some of the boys scoffed at him...that he had a baby product in his supplies. But when they saw him wipe off the first layer of dirt from his face...with one wipe...and then actually get clean with a second wipe...they were all lining up wanting wipes. I too got in that line. Everyone frantically wiped down hands and feet...legs...everywhere. There was an audible sigh of relief from everyone as they became clean.

How long have you ever gone without a shower or bath? If you are accustomed to regularly bathing...just going for a few days can make you feel really gross.

Now what if you are unable to bathe for lack of a source of water...AND are in a dirty...sweaty environment like we were? Then how will you get clean?

When a disaster happens...and you are under great stress...being physically dirty can make an otherwise manageable challenge into a physical and mental hell. There is something that is so psychologically distressing about feeling grimy...and psychologically relieving about becoming clean.

A simple washcloth on which to put a little water on and wipe yourself down is a great thing to have. It can be reused many many times. Of course...after it get's too will need to rinse it out...which will take more water.

In a preparedness video by Jim Phillips he talks about how he went for a month just wiping himself with baby wipes in lieu of taking a shower. He said that he felt fresh and clean. While that may sound a severe drought situation (for example)...where you are relying on a meager portion of water to live may wish you had baby wipes to bathe with! Hopefully you had the foresight to store them.

Now...just a bit on kinds of baby wipes. Understand that there are baby wipes that have really long ingredient lists. All kinds of chemicals that are aimed at making them smell fancy and keep really long. While the longer shelf life may be nice...just understand that you are rubbing a chemical on your skin that could be unhealthy for you.

I have never seen baby wipes go rancid...but I have seen them go dry. In that instance they need a little water to rejuvenate them.

While I do know that you can make your own baby wipes...and that may be a desirable skill to have in your efforts to be self reliant...but that takes time...and the product you make may not store as well as the store-bought. The cost is so reasonable that it shouldn't be a big investment to get a large box of baby wipes. We picked up a box of 704 Kirkland brand wipes from Costco for $16. That is a whole lot of bathing for the money.

If you are concerned about the rotation of the baby shouldn't be. My guess is that you are invited to a baby shower several times a year. Ta-da! You already have a present!!! Then you just replenish your supply the next time you shop. And trust the father of wipes WILL be used...and appreciated.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Depression Cooking With Clara...

I have often heard how in other cultures the elderly are held in really high regard. Where in the US...many of our elderly would be disregarded as being "out of touch" with the modern times...reportedly the elderly in many other cultures are listened to intently in an attempt to catch some of the crumbs of the great wisdom they possess.

When thinking on how we treat the elderly in the US I couldn't help but think of the words of Lloyd Christmas who said...

"You know, the elderly, although slow, and dangerous behind the wheel, can serve a purpose."

We should strive to have a better appreciation of our elderly than much of our culture...and that of Lloyd Christmas. We would do well to listen intently to learn the skills and attitudes that may get us through similar living conditions to that of which they lived through.

Here is a wonderfully warm elderly woman who is imparting wisdom that may be of great value to you. She has a variety of videos posted on youtube.

This is a description cut and pasted from youtube...

"91 year old cook and great grandmother, Clara, recounts her childhood during the Great Depression as she prepares meals from the era. Learn how to make simple yet delicious dishes while listening to stories from the Depression."

Enjoy your time with grandma.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Everyday Food Storage...

If you haven't ever checked out what they are doing over at should take the time to check it out. They consistently have great ideas for recipes to make food storage more palatable. They also have great resources for 3 month supply planning...shelving ideas...etc..etc... I also like all of the comments from people who have tried the recipes and advice. They really take a lot of time to make it attractive to the eye as well. A great resource.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Some Cash in Your Pocket...

My sister was telling me of how she recently was at Costco getting some groceries. When she was ready to check out...she found that the lines were really...really long (I'm sure that is hard to imagine!:)) What was happening is that there was some problem where the credit card terminal system was down and they couldn't accept credit cards of any sort. The only way to pay for groceries was going to be cash or check. My sister had neither. She said how people were distressed wondering how they were going to pay for their groceries. Luckily for my sister and many other people who were register became able to somehow take card transactions...and so by standing in a really long line...they could all get their groceries.

Many preparedness circles would say to have some cash on hand in case of emergency. I would agree that this is a good plan. We cannot expect that the electronic machines will always be up and running to take our cards and to dispense the cash we need. Having some change for phone calls and small bills for making purchases is usually their advice. The rationale for having small bills is generally that larger bills may not be able to be broken and you could pay more for something than you need to.

The church has also recommended "cash savings"....

"We encourage families to have on hand this year's supply and we say it over and over and over, and repeat over and over the scripture of the Lord where He says, `Why call ye me, Lord, and do not as I say?'... We also hope that you are maintaining your year's supply of food, clothing, and where possible, some fuel and cash savings." President Spencer W. Kimball: GC April 1976.

I was
recently stopped at church and asked for advice on how much cash someone should have on hand. It is not a question really for me to answer. It must be decided by the individual based on their situation and beliefs. The questions I have back are these...

1. In an emergency...what could you want to what quantity...and how much would it cost?

2. What do you think the value of the dollar will be during the emergency? Will the price of the supply you need remain the same that you are accustomed to...or could it go up in price?

3. What is the severity of the emergency you are preparing for? Will it be like my sisters experience at Costco...or will it be a full blown loss of all infrastructure?

4. Would that money be put to better use paying off a bill or other worthwhile place...or to be put in storage for that rainy day?

5. How much money do you want to have in what place? How much for your wallet or purse? How much for your safe? Your office? Your bug out bags? Other?

The answers to these questions should help you to decide the size of the denominations...and quantity. It is not as easy as saying "Yeah...have only small bills...and this amount"...because it should vary based upon a persons situation. You may need to have on hand large or small bills based upon your the blanket advice to have only small bills is in my opinion not always applicable.

If you feel like you have all of the items of "intrinsic value" that you need and that you don't plan on needing anything else...then I would think that you shouldn't need a lot of cash....the value of which may be destroyed through inflation.

As President J. Reuben Clark said...

“… when we really get into hard times, where food is scarce or there is none at all, and so with clothing and shelter, money may be no good for there may be nothing to buy, and you cannot eat money, you cannot get enough of it together to burn to keep warm, and you cannot wear it.” (Church News, November 21, 1953, p. 4.)

It should be understood when storing cash that if the disaster is severe may only be good until people realise that it no longer has any value...and discontinue trading goods and services for it. Then people will only want the things that money can buy when it has worth...the actual fuel. The effects of hyperinflation can quickly turn the cash "rich" people into paupers...and those that have items of intrinsic value into the "rich" people.

I wish you the best in your decision!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wild Mustard...

Here is a photo taken in West Sacramento. It is a familiar sight in the fields all around the Sacramento Valley this time of year. Every spring when it comes thoughts rush back to boyhood days running through fields around my home in Elk Grove. I can recall an outing back in kindergarten when we all went into a field and collected the flowers like are seen in the be put into our lunch. I have reflected on that experience many times since and wondered what in the world we were doing...if somehow I had misremembered the experience! It turns out that this blanket of cheery yellow flowers is created by mustard plants....and that the whole plant is my memory makes sense!

If you have lived in America for any length of time you should be familiar with mustard...the condiment...that comes from the mustard seed. (You put it on your hot dog)...But if you were born and raised in the West you may have never eaten the greens that come from that plant. When I lived in Louisiana and Mississippi 15 or so years ago...people ate them as a staple in their diet. They were never eaten raw...only boiled down to a pile of soggy greens. Often theirs would be flavored with bacon grease...which makes many of our CA women in their jogging suits and nicely highlighted hair reel in terror...and many of the people in the south lick their chops!

Some mustard greens...domestic or wild...can have a really strong hot mustard flavor. I can recall eating a bite from a really tall Mustard plant at the invitation of a farmer and it LIT my mouth up. He was really proud of how spicy his variety was! Due to this fact...some people will add other greens like Collard greens to take the edge off of the spiciness.

Here this foraging expert adds other weed greens to take the edge off the the mustard flavor in his salad.

Here Bear Grylls eats a little Wild Mustard and talks about a few health benefits.

Over the last several weeks I identified two different varieties of Wild Mustard. One had more of a spear shaped was smooth...and it tasted almost broccoli like. I just sampled some was good. The stem was pretty woody and would have to be boiled to be eaten.

This evening I went out and collected a handful of another variety of Wild Mustard greens. The leaves on this variety were much larger and rounded...and had a more hairy feel. It wasn't the most pleasant texture to have in your mouth raw...but after it was boiled it had a much more pleasant texture. I boiled them as Green Deane describes in this video. Instead of adding oils and things as he did...I put some salt and pepper...and some butter on it. It was good!...not spicy in the least. That video also discusses that "all mustards are edible"...and mentions some identification points.

Definitely Wild Mustards are a family of plants to have in your arsenal of survival...frugal living...healthy living plants.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Variety is the Spice of Life...

The diet of most Americans is pretty rich in flavor. If we were to be transplanted into one of the many countries that live on a diet of plain beans and rice...many of us would go nuts!...and yet...that is what many of us have stored in our long term storage...and plan on living on when times get hard. It is a good idea to figure out some ways now that can add variety to basic food avoid becoming sick of eating the same thing over and over again. A great place to start is by taking an inventory of what is in your spice collection. Do you have a good supply of the basics like salt...and pepper? Do you have things that will taste good in sweets like cinnamon? Are your containers actually full? Are the spices still good!!? It is so easy to think...."Yeah...I've got good spices..." and yet they have become tasteless and gross with age. That spice you picked up a few months ago for that fancy cake...wasn't really a few months was years ago!!

It really is incredible what some good herbs and spices can make even the plainest of meals more appetizing.

Back in High School I discovered something called "Spike" seasoning. As an unlearned in the ways of cooking teen I figured out how to make Top Ramen...and also discovered it tasted better with Spike on it. I graduated to egg noodles with a bit of butter...topped off with Spike. Yum! Nowadays I put it in soups...on meat...etc...etc. It really is an all purpose seasoning.

Spike's Seasoning Ingredients:

Salt and sea salt crystals, special high flavor yeast, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, mellow toasted onion, onion powder, orange powder, soy flour, celery leaf powder, celery root powder, garlic powder, dill, kelp, Indian curry, horseradish, ripe white pepper, orange and lemon peel, summer savory, mustard flower, sweet green and red peppers, parsley flakes, tarragon, rosehips, saffron, mushroom powder, parsley powder, spinach powder, tomato powder, sweet Hungarian paprika, celery powder, cayenne pepper, plus a delightful herbal bouquet of the best Greek oregano, French sweet basil, French marjoram, French rosemary, and Spanish thyme.

I like the little bottle that Spike comes in...because you can remove the lid...and refill it with the larger Spike save money. I have multiple bottles of Spike in my storage...and even have one in my "bug out bag". Spike is available at many local grocery stores in the spice aisle.

Another thing to consider with regards to seasonings is to buy from Winco...or some other bulk bin shopping outlet. There can be a substantial savings when you buy seasonings without the fancy packaging...and put it into your own at home. You also avoid paying for the name brand as well.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Some thoughts on Joseph of Egypt...

Freshly off of my return from missionary service a decade or so sweet Utah sister took me to see "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" starring Donny Osmond. The show is a comedic musical rendition of the Biblical account of Joseph of Egypt. It was a really fun and enjoyable show...Donny did great...and we had a wonderful time.

This story of Joseph of Egypt has been done and redone many times over the years. Every time I see one of these portrayals of Joseph of Egypt...I take note of a part that is to be found in the Biblical account...but generally it is just brushed over, perhaps overlooked, or changed when the story is retold. It is the part where after Joseph has done as the Lord has store food...the days of scarcity come...and then the hungry people come to Joseph for help. At this point we generally see Joseph at a table giving out portions of food to the hungry people. Joseph is hailed as the great deliverer!! As he was. The part that is generally not emphasized is this...he did not give out the food for free!!!

Here is the biblical account found in Genesis 47...

"14 And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house.

15 And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth.

16 And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.

17 And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year.

18 When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands:

19 Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate.

20 And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh’s.

21 And as for the people, ahe removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof.

22 Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands.

23 Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land.

24 And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones.

25 And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants."

Perhaps Hollywood fails to put any emphasis on Joseph's "buying" the people and their possessions for Pharoah...because it may make Joseph seem less of a heroic figure?! Perhaps it doesn't seem like a major plot point to be covered?. Perhaps in our "Something for nothing" welfare state system...requiring a people to pay for what they get is just too cold a thing to require!!!??

While I will not attempt to cover it all here...many...many of the prophets of our dispensation have spoken of the experience of Joseph of Egypt and applied it to our day! One of the most sobering studies you could do would be to go back and read all of the General Conference talks by Gordon B. Hinckley where he spoke of Joseph of Egypt! There are at least 3 I can think of.

George A. Smith spoke plainly of a comparison between Joseph and the President of the Church in this account in October of 1867...

"A good many of us claim our descent from Joseph who was sold into Egypt. He was the instrument of the Almighty in saving the Egyptians, through the interpretation of the King's dream of the seven fat and seven lean kine, and the seven full and seven blighted ears of corn. He prescribed the means by which the storehouses of Egypt were filled with corn, and when the seven years of famine came the people were actually saved from death through the wisdom of Joseph laying up bread.

We all exercise faith that God may give to our President wisdom and understanding to foresee the evils with which we may be threatened, and to take measures to avert them. Suppose that he comes forward and tells us how to prepare, and we neglect his counsel, then the watchman is clear, and we are liable to the dangers and difficulties resulting from disobedience.

....those who did not obey Joseph's counsel were under the necessity of selling all their property, and ultimately themselves, for slaves to the king, in order to obtain that bread which they could have laid up during the seven years of plenty." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 12, pp. 141,142).

Let's lay up in store so that we don't become "liable to the dangers and difficulties resulting from disobedience"...and so we don't head down the highly probable road of having to sell our "property, and ultimately" ourselves "for slaves to the king" in order to have some bread.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Here is a weed that I ate today that has a great non-bitter flavor. Many describe it as being "spinach-like". A girl that I was with told me of all of it's medicinal uses and that her friend loves this weed so much...that she got a tattoo of it! While I wouldn't recommend having this weed indelibly inked on your body...I do think it is a good one to learn to identify....for food and medicine. Take note that there are some precautions regarding eating it.

Here is a video by Green Deane where he gives some great info on how to identify it. His video has a pretty sparse looking chickweed. The Chickweed I ate locally looks more like the picture to the right.

Here is a video that has a more luscious looking chickweed and mentions it's use as a diaper rash remedy.