Friday, June 23, 2017

What Are You Preparing For?

In trying to finish off the disaster preparedness series and classes I've been doing the last few months, I found this article that Vicky from the Vicky Challenge wrote for this series.  I forgot all about it due to my recent unexpected blogging break but now that I'm back to blogging I want to include it in this series before I close it out.

There are two kinds of preparedness (1) short term preparedness for things like natural disasters and (2) long term preparedness for situations where you need to think sustainability.  So, the question is, what are you preparing for …. now, over to Vicky …

I have been asked this question again, but I think this time from a serious interest aspect. To have to answer that question isn't as simple as the non preparers think. I get a lot of, "Oh your one of those nutty Dooms day, SHTF prepper people!" Not this time this person expressed a true interest, but also confusion. Many newbies feel pressure and are not really sure what they're preparing for, all they hear is the word prepare! Really you can't help someone unless you know what your main goal is and a clear plan as to getting there.

The biggest pitfall to preparing is ‘not really knowing’ what is going to happen when and the outcome of it. We have a history that is rich with lessons to learn from.  We also have a nation that has changed much by each governing hand. The air crackles these days with what looks to be an upcoming conflict that could very well effect us all and other countries as well. We can't really know at the moment if this will come to fruition, but can we at least take a step back from saying that'll never happen.

I have seen a lot of people who prepare and then stop because "nothing happened." That is very common; people will go full force into stockpiling and adding this and that and then get burned out and stop because they feel it takes over their life. That is a mistake! It is not about always being gung ho and living in fear! We have lives, we live them. We go places, we have fun, we have jobs and families. The preparing part is part of a lifestyle not a life.

Now to change topics for a bit here, if you have a 3 month supply and you are happy with that that is really good, but I always suggest at least a year's supply in the pantry of as many things you use as you can get. Many of those things are economical items or foods that are easy to stock a year's supply of in one way or another such as through couponing, sales or gardening.  Think about it and how easy that is.

Say you stock a 3 month supply and something happens and it runs out what do you do?  Before it runs out I would start rationing to make what you have last longer and making sure you’re getting the most out of the ingredients you have. If you don't have a lot of food even though a pork chop is tasty how can you stretch it? What are the foods that you have in your 3 month supply? Are they good filling foods so that you’re not hungry again in a short time?

When the food starts running out do you intend on growing a garden? They take months before you can harvest from them.

Do you know how to forage and what wild edibles you have near that you can pick. Do you know what the nutritional value is and would your family be willing to eat "weeds"? There are so many of them that have more nutritional benefits than what we grow in our gardens.

Can you catch and eat any kind of wild game? During the Depression the pigeon population was almost wiped out because that is what people were able to catch and eat in the city.

Do you have anything you could barter for food?

When the food runs out these are the options we have.

We each have to make our own decisions, but the reason I go beyond a 3 month supply is I can tell you for a fact a long term loss of income and you make a big dent in a year's supply for us a 3 month supply would have been a band aid and not the bandage that we needed.  And also paying attention to history and times of conflict, supplies were cut off, rationing occurred and black markets developed.

No preparing isn't burning yourself out on stockpiling and then stopping it is a continual process that is a part of life, taking advantage of any information we can get and using it to our benefit, being prepared, not scared of situations as they come and using what we have to make the best of them.

I think for older people it can be a bit hard because they have seen so many things and feel they have had enough worry in their life and don't care to worry anymore. If you can, help them out. The time may come where we will really need each other.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Disaster Preparedness Class #16

This is the last entry for the class.  I hope the class has been beneficial to you.   After Hurricane Matthew I felt an overwhelming need to help others prepare for disaster type situations; the preparedness posts I’ve written, the Hurricane Matthew posts I’ve written, the why prepare posts I’ve written and this class have all been for the sole purpose of helping others prepare. 
Thank you to all who took the time to comment and participate in the class, I hope you feel it has been worthwhile. 

I will begin to answer the questions you've submitted in the near future.  I've gotten several so there will be more than one post! 

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Use It ALL Up! ... Fruit

Here's a timely post by Vicky from the Vicky Challenge for finding a use for fruit ... all of the fruit ... not just the meat part.  There's lots to be gleaned ....  (Thank you Vicky!)

Over to Vicky ...

Today let's talk about fruit. Summer many of us find that we have an abundance of it and of course we can and freeze the extra, but we can do much more with it and add variety to the weekly menu plan, use up some of the excess we have and in some cases use up some of the items in the pantry that need used and rotated and also have some gifts and add to the medicinals. Over the years I have strived to have as little waste as possible when it comes to food, but sometimes one does get tired of the same thing over and over. And the animals getting some and composting is a given, but we can do more! For some this may not be new information, but for some it will be so let's have a look.

A few sliced and frozen bananas and a couple of cups of frozen fruit blended in the blender and frozen in a container make a great sherbet.

No ice cream maker needed ice cream is a can of sweetened condensed milk and a few cups of whipping cream whipped(before it's added)  with a little vanilla and add whatever kind of goodies you like from chunks of fruit to nuts, raisins, chocolate, etc. If you have sweetened condensed milk that needs used up this tastes good.

With some fruit puree, juice and gelatin homemade fruit snacks can be made for the kids

Ice and fresh or frozen fruit pureed in the blender and topped of with 7Up, ginger ale or club soda is refreshing in the summer

Sorbet is easy to make and popped in the freezer even without an ice cream maker

Apple peels, peach and pear peels and cores can be used to make cider vinegar or any peels can make flavored vinegars or vodkas

Citrus peels can be candied and if someone likes them they make great gifts too

Citrus peels can be dehydrated and ground into powder and then dissolved in water to make homemade vitamin C powder

Citrus peels can be grated and frozen for zest

Of course citrus peels steeped in vinegar for cleaning

A few cups of whipping cream whipped, a little sugar and vanilla and pureed fruit makes a tasty whip (one of my favorites)

Some fruit in the crockpot topped with a cake mix and some dots of butter is an easy cobbler

Sugar cookie dough can have bits of fruit added

Add bits of fruit to pancakes before making them

And although not a fruit I save potato peels in cold water and then drain them really well and coat them in a little oil and seasoning and then bake them for crispy potato skins

I hope there are some ideas here that are helpful!

Can you add anything to Vicky's list of ways to use every part of the fruit?

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Disasater Preparedness Class #15

(Picture is of disaster relief boxes waiting to be distributed.)

Before I post the next topic of discussion I want to mention a couple of things.  It is common when power is being restored after a disaster for there to be power surges. Please make a note of this in your disaster notes and have a plan that will prevent your appliances/electronics from being fried should there be any. Learn what to look for that would indicate a power surge is taking place and then act accordingly.

Another thing I want to address is that your grocery store shelves will more than likely be empty or greatly reduced even after power has been turned back on making buying groceries impossible or hard to do. In addition, just because the power comes back on doesn't mean that the roads have been cleared or that they are passable.  You may have power and still be trapped in your neighborhood.   Make sure you factor these in when planning your disaster preparedness.

Okay, here's our next topic....

You were without power for 3 weeks, what did you run out of?

What did you learn about your preparedness level? In the very first day of class I asked you to rate where you thought you were preparedness wise. 

Do you remember what you put? 

Which of these did you think you were? 

Which are you now?

Level 1 - 3: Polly Put Off (I know I should but …)

Level 4 - 7: Cathy Can Do (I’ve got a plan and I’m working it!)

Level 8 - 10: Confident Connie (I got this under control!)

Are you a Polly Put Off? If so, which level, 1, 2 or 3?

Are you a Cathy Can Do? If so, which level, 4, 5, 6 or 7?

Are you a Confident Connie? If so, which level, 8, 9 or 10?

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Disaster Preparedness Q & A

I received the following comment from a reader recently ... 

Patsi... a thought I've been having: You have been presenting these disaster scenarios, and your students have been brain storming as to what they could do in each situation. Our responses reveal how much we are or are not prepared to meet each disaster. We are learning some great tips from other commenters as to ways to survive this disaster. But I think something huge is missing... I think the instructor who has survived these disasters needs to be instructing us not only as to whether we are making good decisions, but also how wrong or inadequate choices could affect an outcome. We need to hear from you, Patsi, how you coped with this disaster. What did you learn? In what way were you inadequately prepared for this disaster? What worked for you? What would you have done differently? What foods/recipes that you thought would work, didn't? What would you have had more of in your pantry? Less of? What are you doing now to prepare for another disaster? We can comment all day til the cows come home (and thanks for your input/reply to some comments), but we're just basically sharing what we THINK will work.. what we THINK we will do. I am turning to the teacher for wisdom.

While I have attempted to reply and respond to as many comments as I could ... and answer specific questions when asked, there was and is no way I could include everything in this class.  I chose to approach the class in the manner that I did thinking it would be the best way to get everyone to think about how they would or could handle each scenario.  We are all at different places in our disaster preparedness journey and what works for one might not work for another.  We need to be able to come up with a disaster plan that would work for each of our individual needs.  That was my mindset when thinking about how to approach teaching the class.  

So, here's your chance to 'pick my brain,' tell me what you want to know.  What questions do you want to ask me about the disaster?  I will do my best to answer your questions in-depth but please keep in mind, what worked for us, might not be the solution for you.

I plan to do at least one post or more if there are enough questions, so, let me hear from you.

What do you want to know?

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

The Ways of My Household ... 6/20/2017

I've had a busy week but before we get to that let me share that my husband got a good report from the doctor concerning his injury.  The doctor said he was 75% through the healing process and to keep doing what he had been doing.  

In addition to spending 2 days going back and forth to doctors ...

I added 3 squash casseroles to the freezer part of my pantry.  I really want to build my pantry up in the area of freezer meals.

My goal of adding freezer meals to the freezer got another boost. We found some huge bell peppers on clearance at the grocery store, bought them, brought them home and turned them into stuffed peppers for the freezer.  We added 4 stuffed pepper freezer meals, 3 quart bags of cooked rice and 2 quart bags of browned ground beef to the freezer part of my pantry. (The cooked rice and ground beef were left over from the stuffing part of the stuffed green peppers.) 

We found banana’s on sale for $.39/lb so we purchased some, brought them home, peeled and cut them up into smoothie making size chunks.  I added enough for 27 smoothies to the freezer part of my pantry.

We’re eating cabbage, green onions, radishes and squash from the garden.  We picked our first green beans and canned 7 quarts.

We've been feeding garden scraps  to the chickens and to our compost bin.

We purchased a 5 lb bag of shreded Mozzarella cheese and after using some of it in a casserole, made the rest of it up into ½ cup servings which I froze in snack bags.  The snack bags were in turn put inside of quart size freezer bags.  I added 28 half cup servings to the freezer part of my pantry.

I was able to get another face cloth crocheted.  For this one instead of adding a ruffle to the edges, I just added loops. This one, as the last one, along with a bar of pretty smelling soap will become a gift.  I used Bernat 100% cotton yarn to make this one.

I ordered and received some chickweed to use in making a salve for skin irritations.  I hope to get it made before I run out of what I have on hand.

We found some apples on clearance at Kroger, bought some, brought them home and started peeling and slicing them for dehydrating. As of this writing the dehydrator is huming right along full of apple slices.  I have enough apples left to fill up the dehydrator again.  I am always happy to find marked down produce!

I’ve been treating an ingrown toenail for my husband using essential oils and foot soaks.  I’m happy to say that it started showing improvement after the 2nd treatment and by the 4th it wasn't bothering him anymore. Here’s what we did, with an emery board we filed down the top middle edge of the toenail from the topside  (you can also cut a small 'v' in the middle edge of the tonail) … we soaked the foot in an Epsom salt water solution then applied less than a drop of clove essential oil to help numb the area.  Next, came an application of tea tree oil followed by an application of OnGuard essential oil.  (Note:  I am not a doctor and have no medical training. I am simply sharing what worked for my husband. This treatment has not been evaluated by the FDA.  Please consult your physician for medical concerns and conditions. Use caution when using essential oils.)

 I was in Walmart one day and found several partial bolts of fabric on clearance for $1 per yard.  I was told that they were doing a ‘reshelving’ and were clearancing out all their discontinued fabrics.   The lady in front of me had several bolts and I had 5 bolts myself.  I paid a little less than $20 for quality fabric that would have cost me well over $100 had I paid full price for them.   The sewing part of my pantry got a big boost!!!

How did you build up your pantry this week or live frugally?

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate link when placing your Amazon orders.  I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Disaster Preparedness Class #14

Here we are at the beginning of the last week of class but before we close it out we need to dissect what we've learned. Are you ready? Here goes ...

In our last entry the electricity came back on. You can expect intermittent power outages from time to time over the next few days. You will also experience internet outages and food shortages in the stores. (The trucks that deliver food have not been able to get into your area for 3 ...weeks!)

How did you feel when your electricity came back on? 

What was the first thing you did?

What are you going to do to prepare for those intermittent power outages, internet outages and food shortages?

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Friday, June 16, 2017

Disaster Preparedness Class #13

As we close out the week on our imaginary disaster, I want to leave you with this scenario:  

It’s the middle of the night and you are awakened by something … a noise … is someone trying to break into your house?  

You struggle to get yourself awake enough to deal with this latest threat when you suddenly realize that no one is trying to break into your house, what you hear is your household humming … your power has been restored!!!!!

Revel in this and I’ll meet you back here on Monday for a week of dissecting what we’ve learned about our preparedness and about the things still to come.  Just because the power is back on, doesn't mean that things have returned to normal!

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Disaster Preparedness Class #12

You have a strong urge to talk to someone other than those in your household so you pick up your cell phone … is it working?  

Have you been able to keep it charged? 

If not, do you have an alternate way of communicating with others?

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Saving Space in Our Pantries!

Recently, a group of us Working Pantry folks had a discussion on condensing things down to save space in our pantries.  Everyone kicked in some really good suggestions and I thought you might benefit from reading some of the ideas everyone shared. (Thanks to everyone who contributed their ideas.)

Use baskets or plastic bins to store like items together such as pouches, envelopes, prepackaged spice mixes, bags of items, toothpaste that has been taken out of the box, razors that have been taken out of their box or container, etc.

Keep plastic lids in a plastic bin so they aren't all over the cupboard and in one spot.  Who among us hasn’t wrestled with plastic lids!

Take band aids out of their boxes and store them in a plastic container with dividers, dividing by size, etc or store them in plastic school pencil containers or take them out of the boxes and put them in plastic bags.  Label the bags and put them in a clear sweater box.

Plastic drawer units are good for storing tubes of antibiotics, creams, salves, etc.

Many times over the counter medications and vitamins come in a bottle that is not all the way full, combine multiple bottles into one.  Just make sure they have the same expiration date & lot number.

Use glass jars as storage containers.  It makes it easy to see what’s inside and how much. Old mayo jars are good for this as are empty gallon pickle jars.  Some things to store are:  herbs, beans, pasta, sugar, mixes, etc.  You can also repackage anything dry such as cereal, chocolate chips, etc. in jars.  (If you have a vacuum sealer to seal jars, that’s even better.)

Speaking of cereal, you can take it out of the box and put in a vacuum sealer bag, you should able to stack the sealed bags or store them in a basket or bin.  Make sure to write what kind it is on the bags.

Repackage pastas, sugar, rice, flour and other bulk stuff into 5 gallon buckets with gamma lids.

Take freezer and storage bags out of their boxes and store them in clear bins.  Be sure to label the bin with the size.

Repackage frozen foods such as pizza rolls, fish sticks, perogies, etc. Re-bag them and save all kinds of space. If you need the cooking directions, use a sharpie and write it on the freezer bag you re-bagged them in or cut the cooking instructions from the box and slip it inside of the freezer bag.

Cover mandarin orange type boxes with contact paper and store condiments, bbq sauces, soy sauce, etc.  You can put cases of canned goods under them to maximize shelf space.

What can you add to this topic of condensing things down and saving space in our pantries?

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Disaster Preparedness Class #11

The birthday celebrations are over and the hungry neighbors are taken care of, it's been a long day and you're ready for bed.  You and your family are going through your nightly routine and open your night time medication bottles.  What do you find? An empty bottle, an almost empty bottle ... what?   How are everyone’s medications holding up? Does everyone still have their needed meds? If not, how are you handling it? What are you doing?

During your getting ready for bed routine, you notice you have several mosquito bites and they are itching.  You must have gotten them while you were outside during the day as there is still water standing in several areas. How are you dealing with the mosquito bites, the itching?   What are you going to do to prevent getting any more in the next several days?
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Freezer Cooking: Squash Casserole

I don't know about you, but there are times when I just don't have time to prepare a meal from scratch!   But then, neither do I want the expense of eating out or just grabbing 'whatever' when time is of the essence and the family needs to be fed.  My solution ... freezer cooking!

For the purposes of this post and my intentions, freezer meals are meals or sides prepared ahead of time and frozen ready to thaw and cook when needed.  My goal is to build up a good supply of freezer meals in my freezer for use when needed.

Since we're harvesting lots of squash right now and since we really like squash casserole, I decided the first thing I would prepare would be squash casseroles.

Here's the recipe I used:

1 quart (about 6 small) yellow squash
1/2 to 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup cracker crumbs or bread crumbs
1 egg beaten
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup milk

Boil squash and onions in salted water until tender, drain.
Mash squash and onions with remaining ingredients, combing well.
Plae in buttered casserole dish
Bake at 425 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes or until done.

Labeled and ready for the freezer, complete with cooking directions and the date it was prepared and frozen.

As you can see I froze them in tinfoil pans.

Do you do any freezer cooking?  What are your tried and true favorites?  Do you have any freezer cooking tips to share?

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate link when placing your Amazon orders.  I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Disaster Preparedness Class #10

Let's see how you handle this interruption into your birthday celebrations ....
A neighbor knocks on your door asking if you have any food you can share. They’ve run out and are hungry. They could use some water too. Do you have enough to share? How are you going to handle this situation? (Keep in mind the effect your decision would have on your relationship with your neighbor after the disaster is over.)

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Ways of My Household ... 6/11/2017

(All pictures in this post are from our garden or produce we harvested from it.)

I am happy to report that my husband’s injury has healed up nicely and hopefully with one more doctor’s visit he will get the all clear.  Thank you to all who have expressed care and concern.

I’m also happy to say that I’m back to blogging, I have missed it, but the time away was necessary in order for me to be able to keep everything going and retain my sanity!   Thank you for understanding and I hope you enjoy this issue of ‘the ways of my household!’

I harvested comfrey, lemon balm, plantain, lovage, nettles, Italian oregano and garden sage last week.  I washed and then dehydrated each one.  My herb jars are beginning to fill back up with this year’s herbs.

Our raspberries are coming in and I’ve been harvesting a few every day.  We cut our bushes back in February and replanted several in a different location so we knew the harvest this year would be less than last. But that’s okay; we’re enjoying what we are getting.   Fresh raspberries are so good!

Since we replaced our flock of chickens last spring, we weren’t going to add any new babies this year but, three of our hens had other ideas and last week two of them hatched out 15 baby chicks!  Two weeks ago mama hen #1 hatched out 7; with what hatched out last week it made 22 baby chicks.  Sadly, only 15 survived (mama hen #2 was not a good mama and had to be separated from her babies).  When they all get old enough that we can tell the roosters from the hens, we’ll butcher the roosters and add them to the freezer part of our pantry … or I just might can them instead!

I tried to make a sourdough starter from scratch for making bread and was afraid I had done something wrong until Annabel over at TheBluebirds are Nesting took me under her wing and got me thinking right.  It wasn’t my starter, it was the instructions I was trying to follow!  I am happy to report that Prudence (my sourdough starter) is doing quite well.   (Remember that name as you will be hearing about her from time to time.)

We’ve been harvesting squash from the garden and sharing the surplus with others in our community.  This week I plan to can some and make squash casseroles for the freezer.
We’ve also started harvesting cabbage and I want to try fermenting some.  I’ve made lots of sauerkraut and canned it in the past, but I want to learn how to preserve it without canning this year.

I also want to ferment some garlic as well.  I guess you can tell that my next ‘old ways’ skill I want to learn is fermenting.   (The first was how to make sour dough bread using a starter made from scratch without the use of yeast … that’s why Prudence was created!)

Hurricane season started June 1st for our area so we are taking stock of our hurricane supplies and getting this area of my pantry in top form.  After Hurricane Matthew last fall, trust me when I say we take these preps very seriously!!!

Well, that’s a wrap for last week!  What did you do to add to your pantry or how did you live frugally?

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate link when placing your Amazon orders.  I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means. 
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