Friday, November 2, 2012

Disaster Preparation

I think, with the coming of Tropical Storm/Hurricane Sandy, many people have seen the plus and the minus of disaster preparedness. We can prepare all we want, but if we are in the direct path of such a storm, and our house is lifted from its foundation and moved down the block, it may do us no good. However, if we are prepared and because of such a storm, we are without electricity for a few days to a couple of weeks, the preparedness will save our families from more discomfort and disaster than there must be in such a situation.

In addition, if you and I both prepare, and your house is destroyed, but mine isn't, then I can share with you, and vice versa. We've seen examples of forest fires skipping over several houses and then burning others. Tornadoes do the same. In the case of a storm like Sandy, there were still houses that stood, maybe a little higher and above the flood, or maybe the wind didn't hit the house just right.

Even though I wasn't in the path of Sandy, it caused me to pause and reflect on my stored supplies. I decided I definitely have to have more small propane bottles. I also decided a sterno stove and some cans of fuel are a must. I had been thinking in terms of using my grill and solar cooking, but both of those might be impossible, so a third alternative needs to be available. If it's chilly, and I'm without power for several days, I might need more than the propane I have stored for my heater and lanterns. It doesn't do any good to have 10 cans of oatmeal if I have no way to cook it! I am adding a new recipe today. This one doesn't depend on the shelf-safe long term storage. It's a good meal for any time, but would work well in a Dutch oven over charcoal, too. Note to self: Buy more charcoal and don't store it in the bags.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Harvest Fruits

Okay, so not my own harvest - the tomatoes and peppers are gone now. Still, the grapes and apples I bought from Bulk Natural Foods were someone's harvest, so it counts. I hadn't planned to purchase grapes and apples in the same order. In fact, I specifically chose NOT to purchase the apples. However, when someone else backed out of buying them, I wound up doing so.

First, let me talk about Concord grapes. Oh, my gosh! I never knew what a difference it makes what kind of grapes you use for jelly. I've done all kinds in the past, and even made it with my first graders from frozen grape juice. It all tasted fine to me! But let me tell you, there is a huge difference and now I know it. The Concord grapes I bought were not that great for eating. They were okay, tasty enough, but just not what I would consider normal eating grapes. The skins have an interesting flavor. That flavor is what makes them so perfect for jelly, or jam, I suppose.

The skins on the grapes split easily, and, faced with an entire box of them, I decided to simply pick out the dessicated ones (very few) and the one dead bee, rinse them and get rid of any tiny spider webs, and call it good. I filled the pot with about half the grapes, stems and all, squished them by pressing down on them with a pint jar, and let those boil down. I added about a cup of water to keep them from burning before enough juice could come out. Then I poured the juice that came off easily into a gallon glass jar, put the rest of the pot of now-smashed and drained grapes into the collander over a bowl, and waited for that to drain out. Then I did it all over again.

In the end, I had about 6.5-7 quarts of beautiful dark purple grape juice. I froze one of the gallon containers, shared some of the second one with my good friend, drank a couple of glasses (and was it ever good!) and now it's jelly making tomorrow.

Today, I went through the whole process with the apples. That corer/peeler/slicer I bought was used on these apples. It's magic! Sort of. I intended to simply toss out the peelings and the cores, but after doing that about 4-5 times, I could hear my grandmother's voice screaming in my head that it was a terrible waste, so after that, I tossed them in a couple of huge bowls instead.

When I'd made two batches of applesauce and a batch of apple slices, I took the skins and cores, and random odd pieces that had broken or had seed bits, and put them in the big pot to boil, just like I had done the grapes. The apples didn't yield as much juice - about half a gallon, but considering it came from throw-away food scraps (no, no, I don't mean I dug the ones out of the trash!), that's not so bad, is it?

So, tomorrow is jelly day. I'll get pictures and post them.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It's Fall!

Okay, not exactly officially yet, but that means harvest time! Though the berries are gone, the tomato plants dried up, the peaches finished, still there are things coming my way that will provide canning opportunities.

I will soon be ordering grapes and apples from Bulk Foods. I had a "warning" of what's coming yesterday, so now I'm waiting on pins and needles to see exactly what will be offered. LOL

I see grape jelly, applesauce, apple butter, apple cobbler, dehydrated apple rings, and many other good things in my future in October! Maybe pumpkin pie later in the month!

My apple corer is all set to go.

I've ordered one that is more massive-amounts friendly, and peels and slices the apple, too. This cast iron one which clamps onto the counter:

I think I can clamp it on the counter at the edge of the sink and drop all the sliced apples into a bowl in the sink. I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

What Good Luck, What Bad Luck!

This week, I was at Girls Camp with 125 girls, 12-18, from my stake. As a friend put it, they were "between the ages of 'pain in the neck' and 'trouble'." The week was great, of course! There were many spiritual moments, there is nothing like hearing this song sung by 125 young women's sweet voices.

It was a wrench to come home from those special moments to real life again! At home, I found my good friend had brought my box of peaches and left them on the kitchen counter. What Good Luck!

However, before I found the peaches, they were discovered by Sugar Ants. What Bad Luck!

An ant massacre ensued, in which every ant warrior was killed. What Good Luck! For me, anyway. Not so much, for them.

Half the box was already bruised and getting soft. What Bad Luck!

I was able to save enough from that half to make 3 batches of peach jam. What Good Luck!

Sadly, I had only enough of the pectin I like that uses only small amounts of sugar for two batches. What Bad Luck!

I made a double batch, and froze the rest of the peach smash. I can get more pectin at the berry farm. What Good Luck!

Today, I canned the other half of the peaches, and there were about half a dozen left (after the one I cut up on my cereal for breakfast - yum!) so I froze those for another batch of jam, too. What Good Luck!

I didn't want to smash them too much, so they are floating in the syrup.

You might wonder why I can in pints instead of quarts. I'm only canning for one - me. Each jar holds about 2 very large peaches. If I had cut the pieces smaller or smashed them, I could have gotten more in, but I wanted them bigger.

Jam info: The only thing I did differently from the directions in the Pomona Pectin was that instead of 1/2 c. of lime juice, I added 1/2 c. of Real Lime juice. That's the concentrate. I could have watered it down to lime juice, but it adds just a little tang of lime to the peach jam that is yummy.

Syrup for peaches: I made ultra light syrup. I used about 2.5 cups I had left from the raspberries, and added another 3 cups of water and 1/3 c. of sugar plus 5 teaspoons of preservative to keep the color from going dark. I boiled that while I heated jars and sliced the peaches. Then it was stuff the jar full, pour in syrup, get bubbles out and cap with a hot lid and ring before plunking into the water bath. Can 25 minutes at boiling for pints and 30 minutes for quarts.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

By Noon on Thursday

It wasn't a deadline. It was a surprise. By noon, I had these two projects complete!


Cobbler berries:

I wanted to get a view of the beautiful jewel color of the jam, so I took it outside and set it on the deck railing. I don't think it really comes through, even with the sun shining, but my eyes can see it when I look through the jar. However, this is a great example of good bokeh, without even trying! Bokeh has been defined as "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light". In other words, it's the blur behind the focus. This is a good one. Sometimes that kind of thing is awful, but not this time. Still, I wish you could see the sparkly, clear color the camera couldn't catch, at least not with me behind the lens!

The berries were picked in the first cool of the morning on Tuesday, after rain the night before. It was the first cool morning around here in a while. I wish I could say I went to the forest and the berries were free, but I have no clue where such things might exist around here. The best berry picking I ever did was with Paul, my husband of many years, in Jenny Jump forest in New Jersey. We picked black raspberries glutinously! It was my first time picking. That bounty was turned into so many jars of jam, mostly over a wood fire, adding a smokey flavor. My first jam making experience, too, and it was so much I didn't mind giving some away. We had so much fun in our week's vacation!

Over the years, Paul and I made many, many batches of strawberry jam, working as a team to get it in the jars, wiped down, lids on and into the water bath. It's a little trickier for me to do it alone, but it worked and now I have jam and the makings of small cobblers for one.

Take advantage of the summer's bounty, whether by picking your own (that was about $8 cost for berries, and I only used a scant 1-1/4 cup of sugar in it) or buying at great prices at the grocery store.

The pectin I used came from the farm. It's called Pomona's Universal Pectin and you can find it at their website or farm stands and co-ops. I love it! It worked like a charm, and allows you to use as little or as much sugar, honey or artificial sweetner as you like.

One box is $6, but it is for 2-4 batches, depending on whether you make single or double or even triple batches. The recipe I used (included in the box, and others on the site) used 2 teaspoons, and there shoul be enough for 3 more batches in the box. Economical. The pectin is not activated by sugar, as with Sure-Jell and Certo. Instead, it's activated with calcium (included in the packet with directions for use) from orange peelings. It was so super easy, and I know it jelled nicely - I scraped the pot after it cooled! Those scrapings were yummy, and I could have used less sugar still, even though my berries were definitely on the tart side! Next time, I'll know.

The recipe for raw packing the rest of the blackberries came from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, and I used the ultra light syrup listed.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sourdough Oatmeal Cookies

Because I'm a "what if" kind of person, I wondered what would happen if I combined my sourdough cookie recipe with my oatmeal cookie recipe. This is a quick recipe, if your starter is multiplying too fast in the fridge. Plenty to eat and give away.

Here are the ingredients I used:

1/2 pound of butter (2 sticks), softened (or butter powder, reconstituted)
3 large eggs (or 6 T. egg powder and 6 T. water)
1-1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
2 t. vanilla
2 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt.
2 c. flour
1-1/2 c. sourdough starter
3 c. rolled oats
3/4 c. light raisins
3/4 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. chopped dates
1 c. chocolate chips, favorite variety

This makes a sticky dough.

1. Cream the sugar, butter, eggs, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and vanilla.

2. Add the sourdough starter. Blend well.

3. Add the flour and blend well.

4. Add the chocolate chips and dried fruits and blend well.

5. Add the oats, one cup at a time, mixing as you go.

6. Drop by rounded spoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet.

7. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

Cookie spreads a little, so I put 5 rows of 3 on my big Oneida cookie sheet, and only 3 rows of 3 on the smaller flat one with no sides and one end bends up a little. In case you have that kind.

They are still baking, so I'm not sure, but guessing 6 dozen cookies about 2.5-3". My cookies are generally oval because I don't round them nicely when I drop them. =) My first sample was delicious! I might cut the sugar down next time to 1 cup, because there is sugar in the sourdough starter, and they are sweeter than I usually make my cookies.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sourdough Cookies

I better post this recipe so I can sort of replicate it again! =) These cookies are so delicious, I have almost made myself sick with eating them warm from the oven. I don't even want to think about how many calories that is, but the good part is there isn't as much sugar as many cookies have. I used the Herman sourdough starter that lives in my fridge all the time. I'm going to put that recipe on the recipe page, because there are SO many things you can bake with this sourdough starter!


1 c. starter
3 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 c. butter (1 stick, 1/4 lb.)
1-1/3 c. sugar
4 T. egg powder
1/2 c. water
3/4 c. dried cranberries
3/4 c. chopped dates

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Mix everything together, except flour. When it's well blended, add the flour. It will be a sticky dough, sort of halfway between bread and cookie dough.

3. Drop by rounded teaspoons on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 11-12 minutes.

Yield: 4 dozen cookies about 2.5" across.


Do you ever just experiment with recipes? With canning, I have to be exact on the canning directions, and if I want jelly or jam, I pretty much have to follow the recipe. You can't imagine how hard this is for me! Even my favorite oatmeal cookie recipe from Quaker gets messed with. I simply can't help the what if scenarios!

So it's no surprise that I messed with several recipes to come up with one for the peach-pineapple salsa. I didn't have fresh pineapple or peaches. I didn't have freeze-dried ones, either. So I went to the food storage to see if I had canned ones, and I did! Here's the recipe I came up with, and the salsa is fabulously good!

It is a sweet salsa, and not at all hot, because you can see there are no peppers in the recipe. If you want hot. Add one or two jalapeno peppers, or if you are crazy, try habanero peppers. If I'd had any orange or yellow bell peppers left after the sweet pepper salsa, I'd have added those, but I didn't so this is what I did.


1 large can crushed pineapple, well drained
1 large can peach slices, well drained
30-35 medium tomatoes, skinned (a few were on the small side)
2 medium sweet onions (I used Vidalia, but Texas Sweets or whatever is available)
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. honey (I used Tennessee honey)
1 T. salt
1 t. favorite pepper (mine is a red/white/green/black combo)
garlic and cilantro to taste

1. Prepare your canner, jars and lids. Jars should be pre-heated in warm water in canner, lids should kept in simmering (not boiling) hot water, and screw bands should be room temp so you can handle them.

2. In large stainless steel or enamel soup pot (at least 6 quarts) combine peaches, pineapple and diced or chopped tomatoes. Small is not necessary, but slices are too big. Bring to a boil and back off heat a little so it simmers.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients and spices. Cook, stirring frequently, until it thickens. Do NOT put a lid on it! It will never boil down if the steam can't escape, so put the hood fan on and let it simmer. If it sticks to the bottom, do NOT scrape. You'll wind up with small burned bits. That's not a disaster, since you can pick them out later, but it's easier not to.

4. Depending on how well drained and how juicy the tomatoes, it will take 5 to 30 minutes, possibly longer, to get to salsa consistency. When it does, leave it simmering on the stove, and ladle salsa into jars, one at a time. It's very helpful to have the wide-mouth jar funnel that comes with most water bath canners, or can be bought in a set of utensils for canning. It keeps the mouth of the jar cleaner and keeps the salsa from spilling over the outside of the jar.

5. As you ladle into each jar, fill to within 1/2 inch of the top of the jar, then remove ladle and use a paper towel or old, soft towel to wipe the lid are which will come in contact with the sealing lid.

6. Get the sealing lid on quickly, and screw a ring on. Do NOT tighten too much. Just hand tighten the ring. It isn't there for eternity, just while canning and cooling. Then it can be removed, though it doesn't have to be.

7. Place jars in canner, either in a basket or on a rack that keeps them off the bottom of the pot. Something comes with a canner for this purpose. Make sure the jars are covered by at least an inch of water. Put the lid on and bring the pot to a boil. After it starts to boil, start timing. I did mine at 20 minutes, though 15 is often recommended for salsa recipes. However, some of the recipes had 20 minutes, and since I was winging it, I decided to be safe and make it 20.

8. Turn off heat, remove lid and let sit at least 5 minutes. I usually go for a little longer. If you have a basket that will sit on the side of the canner and not fall back in, then pull up the basket and let it sit to cool another 5 minutes.

9. Lay a towel out on your counter top. You do NOT want the hot jars to come in contact with the cooler counter top. Lift jars with a jar lifter to avoid burns. Try not to tilt the jars. Don't worry about water on top of the jar. It will evaporate, and if it doesn't, you can dry it later. Line jars up on toweling, with space around every jar.

10. Almost immediately, you should hear the lovely ping of sealing jars, one after another. Some people call it a pop, but it's a ping to me. =)

Leave the jars alone for 24 hours. Don't touch them, no matter how tempting. It may feel cool on the outside, and the inside is still warm.

Yield: about 12 half-pints or 6 pints.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer Harvest Benefits

My own tomatoes were started from plants and have been growing about six weeks on the back deck. There are a lot of 1-2 inch tomatoes that will come along in a while. A farm about an hour from here already has tomatoes harvested. I suspect greenhouse activity. =) Last weekend, a bunch of us went together and someone picked up our orders of 25 pound boxes of tomatoes. Thankfully, I only ordered one! I'm not able to work quite as hard as I used to and with half the box turned into salsa, I'm wiped out!

The first batch of salsa I made included 3 sweet banana peppers from my own back porch. Excitement! As I type this, I'm pausing to load tortilla chips with that salsa and it is so good! Even if I do say so myself. I modified a recipe given to me by a friend. I'm sharing it here. This recipe could be done using lots of the harvest from your own garden!

Sweet Pepper Salsa

Makes 4.5 pints

30-35 tomatoes (mine were small and medium sized)
3 sweet banana peppers (about 5 inches long)
1 each red, yellow and orange bell peppers
2 large sweet onions (Vidalia or Texas Sweets are excellent!)
3 teaspoons salt (I used two sodium and 1 potassium)
1 teaspoon pepper (I used a red/white/green/black combo in my grinder)
1/2 c. sugar (if you like it sweeter, use up to a cup, but no more)
garlic to taste (I could have used fresh, but didn't have any so I used a teaspoon of garlic powder.)
1 teaspoon of cilantro (or to taste, could be fresh)

I think that's everything. I used the directions in the Ball Canning book for blanching the tomatoes (though I don't do it until the skin cracks because I hate truly mushy stuff!). I mixed all the chopped up things, put in the spices, and boiled it a while. (How do you like those directions?) I think I let it simmer, not full rolling boil, for about an hour or an hour and a half, and it all fit in my 6 qt. Wearever pot.

My tomatoes were very, VERY juicy, so I skimmed off about a liter of thin juice from the top. I will use it in canning the tomatoes tomorrow, I think, or else put it in a soup pot soon. It has all the flavors, but it was more like watery juice and I figured it would take forever to boil away.

I ladled the salsa into 4 pint jars and the left over bit into a half-pint that I put in the fridge. The pint jars were water-bath canned for 20 minutes and they all pinged beautifully.

I have peach-pineapple-tomato salsa in the pot now and will soon get it into jars for the water bath, and then tomorrow finish the rest of the tomatoes as quarters canned.

So how does this fit into Provident Prep? Well, it's simple really. Having a garden or having access to summer-priced produce gives us the opportunity to preserve, whether by canning, dehydrating, making into jam, or freezing, things that will be delicious in the dead of winter and healthy for us and our families.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

First Aid Kit

Do you have your 3-day disaster kit ready in case of emergency? Do you know where it is? =) Is there enough for each member of your family?

These are questions I had to think about when I attended two Emergency Preparedness fairs in this last year. I've worked hard on food storage, and I'm doing okay there, though it isn't complete, but there are a lot of other things to think about. A disaster could be a tornado (such as hit in Chattanooga a few months ago) or a flood (which we had in low areas of East Tennessee in the last few months), or maybe a hurricane or earthquake, if you live in areas prone to those things. It could be a forest fire like the one that raged behind my friend's California home in 2007:

The last post I did on this, in May, had very long lists of things that could be helpful. Most of the time, 3 days is the most we have to be away, but sometimes, it will be more. Still, if we are prepared with a 72-hour "bug-out" bag for each family member, we'll be in better shape than most people evacuating. So what should be in it? This is the light version.

I suggest starting with a backpack the size each family member can carry. Mom and Dad may have to carry extras for little ones, but you can figure that part out on your own.

  • Towels, blankets and sleeping bags (there are some very compact sizes of things that will work just fine for the blankets and sleeping bags, thanks to the space program)
  • Battery powered radio - and batteries for it!  You want one with the NOAA stations which broadcast updates from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. has a good one for about $35
  • Sanitary supplies - I suggest wet ones or baby wipes.  Toilet paper and female needs should be included, too.
  • Paperwork - photocopies, not originals, of passports, insurance papers and legal papers, including in-case-of legal papers
  • Extra cash - about $150-200, but don't have it all in twenties!  Have a lot of small bills and at least $5 in change.  People aren't going to give change in an emergency!  Leave this cash in your kit at all times, in a hidden pocket or maybe in a box of bandaids.
  • Water - you're going to need a gallon per person per day, and you can't carry that.  Have at least one 20 oz. bottle in your backpack, but have a 24-pack of bottles you can grab if you have to evacuate in your car, and maybe a water-filtration system if you are lucky enough to be where there is water that could be cleaned that way.
  • First-aid kit - check the red cross store again, or other preparedness centers.  Don't forget any medications you have to take every day.  For safety, keep at least a week's supply and change it every year.  Don't forget contact lenses!
  • Clothing - this could be old clothes you planned to donate, but be sure there are extra socks and comfortable shoes.  Foot injuries are the most common injuries in disasters!
  • Food - Non-perishable items and lightweight, things that can be eaten without cooking, i.e., energy bars, pop-top canned foods, high-nutrition drinks in boxes.  Check your local dollar store for inexpensive snacks and things that would provide energy and nutrition, both.  Don't forget the family pet!
  • Maps of your area - that smartphone will run out of energy, or the system could be unavailable!
  • Clorox wipes - great for disinfecting surfaces
  • Necessities such as flashlights (and I suggest the small wind-up flashlights - a few seconds of turning gets you an hour of light! about $5) matches, one of those all-purpose Winchester or Leatherman tools with knives, saws, pliers, etc. that pull out, sunscreen, extra car and house keys, travel cell phone charger - car and wall, if possible.
There are other things you could pack, too, but there's only so much you can carry. I hope this gets you started on at least a basic kit. This is all a process, not an event. You aren't going to complete everything in one day. Get things together as you can, and whatever you have gathered is better than if you gathered nothing!

In case you don't have to evacuate, but there are other issues, find out where your gas, electric and water shut-offs are to the house. Have the proper tools available for getting those shut off. It could save your life and/or your house.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bug-Out Bag

The Anderson County Preparedness Fair on Saturday got me to thinking about a lot of things. You know how you hear something and think it's important? And then you hear it again from another source, and you think, "Yeah, yeah, I have to do that?" And you may hear it a third and a fourth and a fifth time? Well, I guess Saturday was the final nudge for me.

I am prepared for many things, but not for some of the most important things. I haven't made copies of important documents and stored them in a safe place or three. I haven't made my 72-hour bug-out bag. I haven't stored enough water. I still need to find out . . . blah, blah, blah.

I thought maybe it would help me get on the ball if I share with you some of the essential steps in disaster preparedness. Just this morning I was thinking, "What if everyone who was evacuated to wherever it was they put people in New Orleans - the football stadium? I don't remember now, but what if every person had a backpack to grab and it had two bottles of water and food for 3 days and all the other things that should be in a 72-hour bag? Can you imagine how different an experience that would have been for people?

There are hurricanes, hopefully NOT like Katrina, tornadoes (Birmingham, Chattanooga, Joplin, MO, 2011), fires (SoCal), floods (Mississippi River!) and all kinds of other natural disasters, where we may have only a short prep time, and then it's too late to think about all the things you need to take, because it's a maximum stress time! So, today's topic is 72-hour bug-out bags. This is Step One.

There are a lot of things you can stuff into a backpack (look at the thrift store for those!), particularly with the aid of modern discoveries. I have a sleeping bag in my tiny survival kit (that's about 6 x 8 inches and 4 inches deep and would help me for about 24-hours) - and it fits in a box 1" deep and about 4 x 5 inches. There's also a blanket in a mylar bag that's about 4 inches square, flat and weighing almost nothing. I have a flashlight with a winder on it - no batteries needed. 1 minute of winding is an hour of light and you can wind it over and over and over. It cost $5 and is about 2 inches wide and 4 inches long.

So, here's a list from the LDS church about some basics to put in your kit, for EACH person. Read the footnotes!

  • Food and Water
    (A three day supply of food and water, per person, when no refrigeration or cooking is available)

    Protein/Granola Bars
    Trail Mix/Dried Fruit
    Crackers/Cereals (for munching)
    Canned Tuna, Beans, Turkey, Beef, Vienna Sausages, etc. *
    Canned Juice (Juice boxes will work if they don't get smashed.)
    Candy/Gum ** and ***
    Water (1 Gallon/4 Liters Per Person)

    You may substitute light-weight freeze-dried foods, such as GO foods for the cans. Of course, you will need more water if you do that! Maybe a combination would be best. Peanut butter is a good thing to have along, too. Don't forget some eating utensils! I saved some from take out food when I was eating it at home.
  • Bedding and Clothing

    Change of Clothing (short and long sleeved shirts, pants, jackets, socks, etc.)
    Rain Coat/Poncho
    Blankets and Emergency "space" blankets
    Cloth Sheet
    Plastic Sheet
To be split and divided among family backpacks:
  • Fuel and Light

    Battery Lighting (Flashlights, Lamps, etc.) Don't forget batteries!****
    Extra Batteries
    Water-Proof Matches
  • Equipment

    Can Opener
    Radio (with batteries!)
    Pen and Paper
    Pocket Knife (A Winchester multi-purpose one is great!)
    Rope (small and flexible, such as parachute cord)
    Duct Tape
    Maps & compass
    Pepper spray (protection)
    A plan, emergency phone numbers, etc.
  • Personal Supplies and Medication

    First Aid Kit and Supplies
    Toiletries (roll of toilet paper- remove the center tube to easily flatten into a zip-lock bag, feminine hygiene, folding brush, etc.)
    Cleaning Supplies (mini hand sanitizer, unscented soap, shampoo, dish soap, etc.
    Immunizations Up-to Date
    Medication (Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, children's medication etc.)
    Prescription Medication (for 7 days)
  • Personal Documents and Money (Have a lot of SMALL bills and coins! People won't have change or give it.)
    (Place these items in a water-proof container!)

    Genealogy Records
    Patriarchal Blessing
    Legal Documents (Birth/Marriage Certificates, Wills, Passports, Contracts, etc)
    Vaccination Papers
    Insurance Policies
    Credit Card
    Pre-Paid Phone Cards
  • Miscellaneous

    Bag(s) to put 72 Hour Kit items in (such as duffel bags or back packs, which work great) Make sure you can lift/carry it!
    Infant Needs, elderly needs, disabled needs (as applicable)
If you are thinking that is a lot to fit into a backpack, you are right! However, a family wouldn't need all of those things in *every* backpack. Most families I know keep the backpacks in the trunk of the car. Yes, it takes up space, but when you want to grab and go, you don't want to look for it! Think about how scattered your mind can be in an emergency. If you keep it in the back of the car, you may want a small Sterlite or Rubbermaid drawer to store some of the things.

Some families keep them in the garage, near the door, so they can just grab and go. My advice is to practice the evacuation procedure often with your family, just like you do fire drills, so that each person knows what their responsibility is, and can carry it out easily.

At a very minimum, have the food, water, and clothing, then important papers copied and inserted in a pocket of the backpack. Have something to sustain you physically and emotionally and spiritually, in case you lose everything else. Be sure to check your backpack every six months, and rotate foods in and out.

If you have siblings, each of you should copy all important papers and photographs and exchange them, so someone would have copies of those precious moments such as first birthday parties. With digital cameras these days, a life-time of pictures can go on just a few CDs for safe keeping. Maybe you'll want a copy in a safe-deposit box, too. If you have no siblings, then exchange with a good friend.

Now, if you think that is all overwhelming, imagine how you will feel if you have to evacuate and you've not prepared anything!

You can compare this list to the Homeland Security backpacks and see which you'd rather have if you have to leave your home in a hurry.

Or watch this video of a man who puts his in a medium pilot suitcase. list and video

*Pop-top cans are not as strong as regular cans and may explode in heat. Just be sure you have a small can opener - the kind my dad used to carry in his pocket always worked, was about an inch square, and weighs nothing. Finding one at a store may be tricky, but have a small one of some kind.
**Be sure your candy is in a snack baggie of its own. Jolly Rancher and some others may melt and you don't want a sticky mess.
***Mint flavored gum can, with time, make everything taste like mint, so wrap it in extra foil and then in a baggie to minimize the effect, or have a gum with little or no flavor.
****I like the crank one better, BUT it is limited lighting.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Have you ever thought about dehydrating your own foods for storage or cooking?  I have to admit that, other than herbs and onions, I hadn't really.  However, the thought has been rolling around in my head for sometime down the road when my debt elimination snowball has snowballed me out of harm's way.  Today, I was on everydayfoodstorage and they have a nice small dehydrator for about $300.  I'm going to research some more about dehydration, storage time for home dehydrated foods, and more recipes, of course!  I'll post about the things I discover.  Maybe you'll want to save toward one, too. 

I can see it would save a lot of money to dehydrate fruits and vegetables in the summer, when they are either plentiful or self-grown.  This gives me this year to see how well I do with a garden in east Tennessee.  I've only grown one in the desert, and it's bound to be different.  For one thing, I won't be planting peas in late February here to get them off the vines before the sun bakes them.  (smile)  My backyard is a hill, too.  The man next door didn't terrace last year, but I may need to.  Things to think about before planting.  What I can dehydrate would determine what I plant, too.  Can you dehydrate zucchini?  I'm not sure!  I'll let you know.