Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Water Storage

I have talked with a few people about the importance of water storage. The trick is finding creative ways to store the water (the right containers, the right place to store it, etc.)

Below are a couple of different articles derived from other groups I am part of.

Water Storage

By Scott Pedersen, Vicki Tate, and Barry Crockett

How Much Water Do You Need?

Store as much “drinkable” water as is convenient to maintain. The average water need for an average-sized person in an average climate is approximately one gallon of water per day (two quarts for drinking and two quarts for cooking). Most preparedness experts recommend storing 14 gallons of “drinkable” water per person. When you consider that the average person uses about 100 gallons of water per day for drinking, bathing, laundry, water lawns, etc., it is evident that one gallon per person per day is minimal. But in an emergency, you can survive.


It is important that you use only new, high quality, food-grade plastic containers designed for water storage. Do not use old bleach containers, plastic milk jugs, fuel cans, paint buckets, or antifreeze containers to store drinking water. There are many other storage options that are safer and more reliable. We recommend using durable, dark-colored (blue, green) polyplastic, polyethylene containers that restrict light. This helps control algae and bacteria growth.

Water weighs eight pounds per gallon, and transporting a 440-pound, 55-gallon drum would be almost impossible without the use of a hand truck. Likewise, the 1-gallon containers or the 2- to 3-liter bottles don’t hold enough water and would require that you make many trips to a water source. The 5- or 15-gallon containers can be easily transported in a wheelbarrow or a child’s wagon. The 5-gallon metallized bag in a box is another good choice for storing portable water because it is nonporous (odor control), and it prevents light from entering. Beyond these transportation problems, however, the 2-liter pop bottles make good containers.

Storing Your Water

Heavy containers should always be stored close to ground level and secured to prevent breakage or possible injury in the event of an earthquake. Be sure to store your water in plastic containers away from any harmful chemicals or foul-smelling products because plastic tends to absorb odors. Avoid setting water storage containers directly on a cement floor because they will leach moisture from the cement that will end up in your water.

Elevate the containers by placing them on boards or pallets. Rotate your water at least annually to ensure freshness, taste, and purity. Pastel or white colored containers need to be stored in a dark room or pantry to avoid being exposed to light. If you cannot store containers in a dark room, cover containers to keep out light.

Here is a link from Alan Martindale of the city of Mesa (AZ) Water Department: Water Storage And Purification. I chose to do it as a link, because it is a pretty long article.


Seven Major Mistakes in Food Storage

I am part of a yahoo group that talks about preparedness. Below is an article sent to me, that I really liked

Seven Major Mistakes in Food Storage
by Vicki Tate
Sunday, August 12, 2007

“Considering conditions in the world,” a woman once told me, “my husband and I decided to put away some food storage. I bought twenty bags of wheat, some 60-pound cans of honey, and now all we have to do is get a couple of cases of dehydrated milk.”

“Do you know how to cook with your wheat?” I asked. “Oh,” she chuckled, “if we ever need the storage, I’ll learn how. Anyway, my kids only like white bread, and I don’t have a wheat grinder.”

She had just admitted every major misunderstanding about storing food (other than not storing anything at all). She’s not alone.


Here are seven important concepts to remember when planning your food storage program.

1. Variety

Many people only store the four basic items: wheat, milk, honey, and salt. Most of us could not survive on such a diet for several reasons: a) Some people are allergic to wheat and may not be aware of it until they eat wheat meal after meal. b) Wheat may be too harsh for young children. They may be able to tolerate it in small amounts, but not as the main staple in their diet. c) Appetite fatigue—we get tired of eating the same foods over and over. Young children and older people are particularly susceptible.

The solution? Store wheat, become familiar with using it, and be sure to add other grains, particularly ones your family enjoys eating. Also store a variety of beans to add an array of color, texture, and flavor. Both whole grains and beans store well for long periods of time and are very inexpensive. Store flavorings such as tomato, bouillon, cheese, and onion. Put away a good supply of the spices that you like to cook with.

Flavorings and spices allow you to do many creative things with your grains and beans. Without them you are severely limited in the dishes you can create. Buy a good food storage cookbook, read it, and decide what your family really would eat. Notice the ingredients. This will help you know what to store.

2. Extended Staples

Never put all your eggs in one basket. Store dehydrated and/or freeze-dried foods as well as home-canned or store-bought canned goods. Makes sure you add cooking oil, shortening, baking powder, soda, yeast, and powdered eggs. You can’t cook even the most basic recipes without these items.

3. Vitamins

Vitamins are especially important if you have children, since children may not be able to store reserves of nutrients in their bodies as well as adults can. Most vital to your storage program are a good multivitamin, minerals, and vitamin C.

4. Quick-and-Easy and “Psychological Foods”

Quick-and-easy foods can help you through the times when you may be under too much stress to cope with preparing food, such as times of illness or in situations when you cannot safely make a fire. “No cook” foods such as freeze-dried foods are wonderful since they require almost no preparation. Other quick-and-easy foods are MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) and canned foods, such as chili and soup. “Psychological Foods” are goodies such as Jell-O, pudding, and hard candy. These may seem frivolous, but they can raise your spirits.

5. Balance

Too many people make the mistake of buying all their wheat, then buying all of another food storage item. Keep balance in mind as you build your storage. Buy a variety of items rather than a large quantity of one. If you suddenly needed to live on your present storage, you would fare better having a three-months’ supply of a variety of items rather than a year’s supply of two or three things.

6. Containers

Always store your bulk foods in food-grade storage containers. So often food is thrown away because it was susceptible to excessive sunlight, moisture, insects, or rodents. Use a food-grade plastic liner or metallized plastic bags—never use garbage bags—to line your plastic buckets.

7. Use Your Storage

Not knowing what to do with food storage is one of the biggest problems. It is vital that you and your family become familiar with the things you are storing. Learn to prepare these foods. This is not a skill you will want to acquire during a time of stress. A stressful situation is the worst time to dramatically change your diet. Learn how to prepare these foods and begin eating them!

Getting Started

If you have a limited budget, here are some things you can do that may cost you little or even nothing.

· Set aside a plot of land to grow some of your own food. For examples, tomatoes don’t take up much room. If you live in an apartment where gardens are not allowed, make a deal with a friend who has some idle ground in his or her yard or someone who owns a vacant lot. Share part of your crop. You can also grow plants in pots in a windowsill.

· Sprouting seeds cost pennies yet yield big dividends in quantity and nutrition. Sprouts make tasty additions to salads, sandwiches, soups, and stir-fry recipes. Sprouts are your fresh greens while you are waiting for your garden to mature.

· Cut down on waste. Plan a menu and stick to it. Buy in bulk. The extra is storage! Make sure you store extra or bulk items properly to avoid expensive waste.

· Budget a comfortable amount of money each week to use for your family’s preparedness and food storage plan. You’ll be amazed how fast your reserves grow.

· Can excess fruits and vegetables from your neighbors’ unwanted crops.

Friday, October 24, 2008

How does your Garden Grow?

Until recently I figured I was a bit limited in what I could grow in my garden, since it gets SO HOT here during the summer. I knew that you could grow things in the early spring, but I don't think I realized that you could actually have a garden over the whole winter! AMAZING! I really need to turn my backyard (at least a large portion of it) into a veritable green house. I could even do more if I got a small greenhouse.

I have tried growing a few things here in AZ, but haven't had a huge amount of success. I have grown a small handful of cucumbers, radishes, peas and even a couple of squash successfully. I HAVE had a fair amount of success with tomatoes, but I usually only plant 3 to 5 plants.

I have tried planting carrots, broccoli and peppers. I knew when planting them that they wouldn't work, because it would be too hot too quickly. Didn't even stop to consider doing it later in the season. I think it's a bit too late now, I should have planted any 'cold weather' plants probably about 4 weeks ago. I might just go to Home Depot or Lowes tomorrow, and see if they have any strawberry and maybe green pepper plants.

Sad that I have been here for over 12 years, and just now starting to 'climatize' to the gardening methods. Planting in late May and into June is just SO ingrained in my brain. I didn't pay much attention to exactly when my parents planted things, but I knew most of the planting happened when school was out (or close to being out). Here, if you don't start planting by February or March, then WATCH out, it will get too hot for your plants before they can produce.

For some of the different veggies (and timing) to plant them, here in our AZ climate. Click here: AZ Planting Schedule.

If you know of any other good gardening sites for AZ, or for the climate you live in, please share. Also your success stories in gardening. I will add pictures if you send them to me. :)

These are my tomato plants the summer of 2008. We were gone for a couple of weeks, and the tomato plants were neglected..Jakob counted over 30 tomatoes that we picked when we got home from our vacation. The tomato plants didn't survive, though. :(

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oh, the interesting things you can Can...

We had our ward temple night this evening. Afterwards we went to a icecream social with some of the ward members. There was a couple there that had recently gotten home from a mission in Wyoming. Already they have planted in their garden!! They have only been home a few short weeks. They have strawberries, peas, lettuce, carrots, etc. I had NO idea of the many things you can grow here in AZ over the winter months. I guess I better not complain about the TOO HOT growing season ever again...since in actuality we probably have 2 or 3 'growing seasons'.

Gardening can (and will be) a whole other post or 2, or 3...

Why I mentioned gardening in the first place, is because what do you do when you have extra produce? You should CAN it, of course! ;) Well, at this gathering we talked about all of the different things you can Can. From peaches, to pinto beans, to chicken, and even cakes and breads! Bet some of you didn't know that! One person mentioned how canning is becoming a lost art, and how when he was growing up it was just automatic at harvest time to start storing up foods in jars. (Yup, been there, done that..Mom still cans a lot of things). Another gal said that she would much rather learn how to can, and preserve foods, then learn how to better scrapbook. She said scrapbooking is fun, and all...then her husband said that he guessed the would have to get a pressure canner. She said that is what she wants for Christmas, and also a steam canner. :)

I really REALLY want to try some of these interesting and unique things. (A couple of months back I went to a Preparedness activity where they canned butter!) Oh the amazing things you can do with canning jars!

Ok, so...what is one of the most unique or enjoyable thing that you have canned? Please share...and then give the directions of how to do it. Also which canning method you used. Whether you used the bottle bath method, a steam canner, or a pressure canner.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Odds & Ends

Last night while flossing my teeth, I wondered how much was left in the canister. Did I need to buy more floss? Which inadvertently led to the question: Do I have enough floss for my long-term storage? You might wonder how I jumped from flossing my teeth, to thinking about my long-term supply...well, lately it hasn't taken much to pull my mind toward such thoughts. I will be making lunch for my kiddos, and question how many ziplock bags (in various sizes) I might actually use in a year. What about soap, shampoo, etc. How much to store of each of those? And WHERE to store?

There is the big question...how and where and in what quantity do we store these obscure, yet useful items? Floss might have an easy answer...since a canister of floss doesn't take up that much space. And you might need 1/2 a dozen canisters. It takes up a lot more space to store some of the other daily items we use. Such as soap, shampoo, lotion, toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, etc. (and this is just things we need for hygiene.) There are many other non-edible things (beyond our long-term supply of food) that are a good idea to store. From the afore mentioned ziplock bags, to extra socks & clothes to laundry soap & softener, etc. (and wow! a long-term supply of all your laundry needs will take up a good chunk of space!)

These aren't the only questions I frequently ask myself. I am so used to running to the local store if I run out of something, that I really don't have a clue some of the things that maybe I should be storing. School supplies, batteries, band-aids, pain medicine. Wow! The list could get pretty extensive...let alone daunting. (in checking my wording in the previous sentence, I noticed that I first wrote 'expensive' instead of 'extensive'. Both would be true.)

This is why I think it is important to have your long-term goals, as well as short-term, and attainable goals. Someone training to do a marathon, isn't going to run the 10k immediately, they are going to start with smaller and reachable goals, to help build their stamina up to the ultimate goal.

So, that is what I am going to start doing...and maybe take a portion of either Sunday evening, or Family Home Evening to evaluate and update the short term goals, see where I have gotten...and what I need to do in the upcoming week.

Anyone have any good resources for getting together a 3 month supply, and on to the long-term supply of more then just food? In a step by step 'attainable' method.

Here is the link to the lds.org website on Family Home Storage.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What's in YOUR pantry

This is a rhetorical question, of course. Wouldn't want a mob of hungry people at your door, if you tell us that you have enough stored away to last into the next decade. hehee.

I ask this, because I have had my pantry come to the forefront of my mind this last week. My pantry was a HUGE mess just a couple of weeks back. It's still not in excellent order, but you can at least see what is available, and pretty much know the general area where something might be if it's needed. I found that I do have a variety of items, but there are really some areas that are LACKING. Such as spices, canned meats, mayonnaise, oil, etc. So, it is a goal of mine to start listing some of the immediate needs that our family might need. (working toward the 3 months supply of food that we have been counseled to obtain)

Here is an example of one person's 3 months supply list, it will vary extremely from family to family. Depending on size, finances, tastes, etc.


This is how much food we need for 3 months (14 weeks). There are 12 dinners, because we can make 6 dinners per week and have leftovers on the 7th day of the week. And then I multiplied those dinners x 7, because 12 dinners x 7, including leftovers, is enough for 14 weeks worth of dinners. For lunch we can have leftovers half of the time and peanut butter jelly or another kind of sandwich the other part of the time. Breakfast can be oatmeal or bear mush most of the time, and a bread product made from scratch like bagels or muffins less of the time. We will keep a list on the fridge, separate from our regular grocery list, and mark all these items, so that when we use one up, we can write the item on the list to be sure to replace it.

1. pasta, marinara, canned green beans
2. tuna casserole with peas
3. lentil burgers, broccoli
4. stir fry vegetables and rice
5. boston baked beans, rice, broccoli
6. chickpea ratatouille, spinach
7. festive dal soup, bread
8. homemade “spaghettios”, green beans
9. “everything” rice
10. chicken veggie fajitas, spinach
11. sub ball sandwiches, broccoli
12. mac and “cheeze”, canned green beans


3 buckets of hard wheat
1 bucket of oats or oat groats
1 bucket of sugar
1 bucket white flour
1 bucket brown rice
1 bucket kidney beans
1 bucket navy beans
1 bucket chickpeas
1 bucket red lentils
1 bucket regular lentils
smaller bucket of raisins
smaller bucket of bear mush

3 containers of salt
8 jars jam
8 jars peanut butter
8 cans crushed tomatoes (28 oz.)
8 cans cream of mushroom soup
8 cans tomato soup
14 cans green beans
14 cans tuna
16 cans petite diced tomatoes
16 cans regular diced tomatoes

14 lbs. macaroni
4 lbs. penne
4 lbs. fettuccini
4 lbs. spaghetti
bag of instant yeast
2 jars baking powder
1 gallon vegetable oil
1 container molasses
1 container maple syrup
1 bottle soy sauce
1 bottle stir-fry sauce
1 container olive oil
2 bottles ketchup
1 bottle mustard
1 jar mayo
1 tub breadcrumbs
1 container lemon juice
1 bottle vinegar
8 cups nutritional yeast (a big bag full)

15 pounds butter
8 lbs. frozen green beans
4 lbs. frozen spinach
8 lbs. frozen broccoli
4 lbs. frozen peas
4 lbs. frozen corn
1 bag frozen bell pepper
8 lbs. frozen stir-fry vegetables
8 lbs. ground beef
8 - 12 lbs. frozen chicken breast

Please share a couple of your meal ideas & recipes, and what you might buy at the store that would keep well for at least the 3 months.

Can you sleep when the wind blows?

Years ago, a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast.
He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were
reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the
awful storms that raged across the Atlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops.
As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received
A steady stream of refusals.

Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached
the farmer. "Are you a good farm hand?" the farmer asked him.
"Well, I can sleep when the wind blows," answered the little man.

Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help,
Hired him. The little man worked well around the farm, busy from
dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt satisfied with the man's work.
Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore.
Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed
next door to the hired hand's sleeping quarters. He shook the
little man and yelled, "Get up! A storm is coming!
Tie things down before they blow away!"
The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, "No
sir. I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows."

Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on
the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm.
To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had
been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens
were in the coops, and the doors were barred.
The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down.

Nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his
hired hand meant, so he returned to his bed to also sleep while
the wind blew.

MORAL of Story:

When you're prepared, spiritually, mentally, and physically,
you have nothing to fear. Can you sleep when the
wind blows through your life?
The hired hand in the story was able to sleep because he
had secured the farm against the storm.

This is an Uncle Arthur story. I think the title was "I can sleep on windy nights" from -- Uncle Arthur's Online.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A long time in the making

For quite some time now, I have had the desire to create a place just for ideas on preparedness, self-reliance, basic skills, etc. I know that I will probably have kind of a rough start, and might not be able to portray exactly where I am coming from, but it is a start. So, there may be a lot of random wanderings. (I tend to go on tangents), intermixed with some interesting finds, and information.

The more input, the better...for this blog. I have created it not only to have a place to jot down my thoughts, ideas and links. But also to gleen information from others.