Saturday, February 28, 2009

Making your own Laundry Detergent

I am always looking for a bargain...though I'm not always a frugal shopper. A 'bargain' when buying laundry detergent, to me, is about 10 cents a load. So, when I read an article on MAKING laundry detergent, where it ends up being about 3 cents a load, I perked up and read on:

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Here’s what you need:
- 1 bar of soap (whatever kind you like; I used Lever 2000 because we have tons of bars of it from a case we bought a while back)
- 1 box of washing soda (look for it in the laundry detergent aisle at your local department store - it comes in an Arm & Hammer box and will contain enough for six batches of this stuff)
- 1 box of borax (this is not necessary, but I’ve found it really kicks the cleaning up a notch - one box of borax will contain more than enough for tons of batches of this homemade detergent - if you decide to use this, be careful)
- A five gallon bucket with a lid (or a bucket that will hold more than 15 liters - ask around - these aren’t too tough to acquire)
- Three gallons of tap water
- A big spoon to stir the mixture with
- A measuring cup
- A knife

Step One: Put about four cups of water into a pan on your stove and turn the heat up on high until it’s almost boiling. While you’re waiting, whip out a knife and start shaving strips off of the bar of soap into the water, whittling it down. Keep the heat below a boil and keep shaving the soap. Eventually, you’ll shave up the whole bar, then stir the hot water until the soap is dissolved and you have some highly soapy water.

Step Two: Put three gallons of hot water (11 liters or so) into the five gallon bucket - the easiest way is to fill up three gallon milk jugs worth of it. Then mix in the hot soapy water from step one, stir it for a while, then add a cup of the washing soda. Keep stirring it for another minute or two, then add a half cup of borax if you are using borax. Stir for another couple of minutes, then let the stuff sit overnight to cool.

And you’re done. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll have a bucket of gelatinous slime that’s a paler shade of the soap that you used (in our case, it’s a very pale greenish blue). One measuring cup full of this slime will be roughly what you need to do a load of laundry - and the ingredients are basically the same as laundry detergent. Thus, out of three gallons, you’ll get about 48 loads of laundry. If you do this six times, you’ll have used six bars of soap ($0.99 each), one box of washing soda ($2.49 at our store), and about half a box of borax ($2.49 at our store, so $1.25) and make 288 loads of laundry. This comes up to a cost of right around three cents a load, or a savings of $70.

Plus, you can make slime in the kitchen - and have a legitimate reason for doing so!

Monday, February 23, 2009

A hammer in want of a nail is useless without the nail.

I found an interesting Preparedness Site that listed some good ideas for things we may want to have on hand, and in our long-term storage. Even though we may have a half a dozen different lists, many (if any) will list things like nails, screws, etc.

Here is a short list of things that you may want to make sure that you have on-hand. With the economy continuing to spiral down, the idea of calling a handyman or general contractor to do small jobs is not going to be to savory to your bottom line. Its best if you have the materials to do it yourself.

* Nails (various sizes from picture hanging to framing nails)
* Screws (drywall and standard in a range of sizes all the way up to 3″)
* Staples (1/2″ to 3/4″)
* Glue (carpenters, and plain old white glue)
* Epoxy (either 2 part or the clay-like sticks)
* Wire (primary wire from the auto parts store works)
* Electrical Tape
* Duct Tape (yes, its on all other lists too, but its a lifesaver)
* PVC Glue and an assortment of spare fittings
* Solder and Flux (copper water pipe)
* Bailing Wire (right up there with duct tape in usefulness)
* Super Glue
* Roofing Cement
* Silicone Caulk

Let your mind wander, all the items listed above are one’s that I have found myself going to the store for or scrounging up somewhere for a repair job.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

At the edge of your seat....(wink)

I know many of you have been sitting at the edge of your seat waiting for me to post about making Wheat Sprout 'Bread'. So, I have FINALLY posted the information on my Sprout Post. Click here: SPROUTING

Also, today in Relief Society our preparedness Specialist shared with us information about a lady Wendy DeWitt on YouTube that shares through videos how to obtain our 3-month supplies.

Here is video 1 of 9:

(the other 8 will come up in the side bar at YouTube)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pandemics and a 3 month supply

Here is an article that explains the necessity of accumulating at least a 3 month supply of what your family normally eats.

"About a month ago a seminar was put on by Dr. Susan Puls, who is a cardiologist appointed by the First Presidency of the Church as the head of the church's pandemic committee. She said she was not an expert on pandemics as this was not her speciality, but in the two years she's been in her position, is fast becoming one. She now works for the church on a full-time basis working on planning for the pandemic and trying to get the word out to as many church members as possible.There were about 1400 people at the Saturday all-day seminar.In her capacity, she works with the governor's pandemic committee and the federal pandemic planning agency. She also said a pandemic is coming - not 'maybe' but is DEFINITELY coming. She says -the pandemic is expected within the next two years but she personally believes it will be 'sooner rather than later..' The various groups (CDC, WHO, etc..) do not know what the pandemic will be but 'first among their list of suspects is the avian bird flu. It's only one mutation away from being easily transmitted from birds to humans and from human to human.'_She said the World Health Organization expects 40% of the world population to become sick. Of those who become sick, they expect 50% will die.
If you do the math - there are over 6 billionpeople on the earth today - that puts the death rate at over 1.4 billion people - and she says these deaths will happen over only a 3 to 4 month period of time.Dr. Puls related that when the pandemic hits the US , mandatory quarantine's of all infected and NON-INFECTED peoples will occur within the first 48 hours.
Only emergency personnel (Dr's, nurses, firemen, police, national guardsmen, etc..) will be allowed to leave their homes - not even to go to the store, etc..
This quarantine will last during the duration of the 'pandemic cycle' which will last approximately three months.Her main point was that everyone will need a *MINIMUM of 3 months supply of food at home* as the governments of the world will be overwhelmed within the first week and cannot be counted on to provide food, medical help, etc.. she only briefly spoke on the 'social disruption' that will occur and did not go into any detail about what plans may, or may not exist, to deal with this. However - think about this - if your neighbors (both those you know and strangers) run out of food and are starving how might they react? Then think of all the individuals who already live outside of the law and are only 'controlled' by our current legal system. How might they react when law enforcement becomes ineffectual due to illness among the ranks and those who abandon their jobs to stay home and protect their own families. Ditto for the national guard and our own military.This isn't to scare anyone - just to provide a 'heads up' as 'to be forewarned is to be forearmed.' "/That's the end of the e mail. I try and check theauthenticity of e-mails such as this so I Googled Dr. Puls and was eventually linked to the Church's Provident Living Website and was surprised to find that they have a section on Pandemic Planning under Home and Family Preparedness.,11666,8041-1-4414-1,00.html The government also had a website: http://www.pandemicflugov/plan/tab3.html I found it very interesting that in the Church's new pamphlets on food storage, they recommend building your supply up to a three months supply.
As you can see in the article, Dr. Puls states that everyone will need a minimum of three months supply of food at home. I think this quote from Elder Perry's Conference Talk (Oct 2008) has application here:*/Thoreau's final necessity was fuel. /*We have been hearing a lot about fuel and energy-about their high cost and limited supply, our unsafe and unpredictable dependence on their suppliers, and the needfor new and sustainable sources of energy. I leave the discussion of these complicated issues to leaders of government and industry. The fuel I want to discuss is spiritual fuel. The Lord has given us a beautiful plan about how we can return to Him, but the completion of our mortal journey requires spiritual fuel. We want to emulate the five wise virgins, who had stored sufficient fuel to accompany the bridegroom when he came (see Matthew25:6-10 <>).
What is required to maintain a sufficient store of spiritual fuel? We must acquire knowledge of God's eternal plan and our role in it, and then by living righteously, surrendering our will to the will of the Lord, we receive the promised blessings. As Elder William R. Bradford taught at this pulpit: "In righteousness there is great simplicity. In every case that confronts us in life there is either a right way or a wrong way to proceed. If we choose the right way, we are sustained in our actions by the principles of righteousness, in the which there is power from the heavens. If we choose the wrong way and act on that choice, there is no such heavenly promise or power, and we are alone and are destined to fail"("Righteousness," /Liahona,/ Jan. 2000,103;/ Ensign,/ Nov.. 1999, 85).I am so grateful for membership in this church and for the counsel we receive! I really can't think of any area of our lives where the church doesn't provide needed direction for us. And we are promised, "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear." (D&C 38:30)

Thinking Outside the Box

For those who really 'know' me, they know that I am somewhat fascinated in self-reliance, preparedness, long-term supply, etc. I will find myself immersed, reading article after article down an interesting tangent. (Such as uses for the common Dandelion, or how much of a certain item should I store)

Well, more recently I have tried to hone in on what is most important in all of this 'fluff and stuff' I am delving into. I still haven't came up with an astounding solution, but I am realizing that,'s VERY important to be prepared, and have things 'laid up in store'. But it is also important to seek knowledge and understanding. So maybe all my reading really isn't 'fluff and stuff'. (though I DO need to make priorities, like cleaning the house, feeding my family. LOL) Even if just a portion of what I read sticks, then just maybe I can derive a skill from the stored knowledge, when necessary. (like if i learn how to make a poultice for a sting, or a bite...when/if there isn't a doctor available, it might be a helpful tidbit of information.)

Right now I have the WWW at my fingertips. Endless information and articles that I can glen from. What happens when/if at some point in my future I won't have access to the WWW, what then?!

My sister and I are wanting to compile a comprehensive and enlightening manual/binder on some of the more functional and important things a family or individual might need to the event that civilization as we know it, isn't at our fingertips.

Anyone who has any ideas or suggestions as to what some of the more essential elements (and sub elements) would be good to include, would be wonderful.

Now where to draw the line. I want to have in my manual basic information on such things from First Aid, to canning tips, to basic farm animal knowledge, etc. But do I extend to the extent of how to make cheese (Since I plan on including basic farm animal information). Or how to make soap (since I will include items needed for hand washing clothes in the extensive list of items needed in a long-term supply.) Or how to grow an herb garden (since under First Aid I want to include basic herbal remedies)

As you can see, I could go on and on with the tangents and side roads. So, how do you make a basic and comprehensive manual without getting too overwhelming, yet still getting across the necessary and needed information?

One idea I had is to have the main manual strictly for basic categories or information. Not delving in too deeply. But then having the ability to add to or 'plug in' sub categories or pamphlets. Like the section on what items of clothing you might want to 'lay up in store' might have pamphlets that include how to 'tan a hide', or how to crochet or knit. Or if there is a section on orchards, maybe include a subsection or available pamphlet on canning, dehydration or other methods to store the fruit. I am going to do a 'hands on' experiment. Jakob has an abscess on his gum, above a tooth that has a cavity. He is going to probably need antibiotics, and to see a dentist. Which we plan to do (unfortunately we are in the middle of a 3 day weekend). What say that we didn't have access to either antibiotics OR a Dentist? Then what?

I would turn to my hypothetical manual, look under the section of 'First Aid' or 'Medical'. And then maybe I would have a subsection (or available pamphlet) that delved into the world of herbs. How to grow them, how to use them, etc. This might be what I find, to help me with Jakob's tooth (after all of the warnings to 'first see your doctor', and author holds no responsibility for results, etc):

Raw Garlic
Family: Amaryllidacae, Genus and Species : Allium sativum

Garlic has a long proven history as an effective antibiotic, antiviral, antiparasitic, and antifungal. It was used in WWI to prevent wound infections and by Albert Schweitzer to treat dysentery in Africa. The Russians used it in WWII when their supply of penicillin was scarce. It's active compound allicin, is as useful an agent against staph and strep as some of the heaviest hitting meds, and has even been shown to kill antibiotic-resistant strains of these bacteria. It is a broad-spectrum anibiotic and has often been called a "wonder drug". Herbalists recommend eating one clove of chopped raw garlic two to three times per day (added to food). Garlic Oil can also be taken internally. Place 20-30 drops in your ear for ear infections, three times a day. Ideally a raw clove is chewed or crushed. It can also be applied directly to the skin. Try taking deodorized garlic capsules three times per day if you are worried about garlic breath. ~

Unfortunately we can't fill a cavity or do a root canal on our own, so at some point a dentist is necessary...whether one is homesteading, or not. The alternative would be to extract the tooth. Thank goodness we are not at that point. A trip to the dentist IS possible. ;)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sprouts &Tire Gardening I promised more information on Sprouts. (I left a 'teaser' on my family blog...I will have to get to the tire gardening at another time, another post)

Alfalfa Sprouts
Add 2 Tablespoons of alfalfa seeds to a quart-size jar.

Fill jar with water and cover with 2 layers of cheese cloth or a piece of nylon stocking. Screw a screw-band onto jar over the stocking, or just put a rubber-band around it.

Soak the seeds overnight.

In the morning, drain the seeds and prop in your sink so the jar is at a slant.

Rinse the seeds 3 or 4 times a day, then prop and leave the jar at a slant to drain.

When the seeds have grown to fill the jar, they are ready to eat. This takes about 3 or 4 days. make sure that you are rinsing the seeds 3-4 times a day (seed will stop sprouting, if it is too dry, and it will mold if too wet) You can taste them along the way, and eat them whenever they have grown to your personal liking.

Once they are done sprouting, you can store the jar in the refrigerator and they will keep for about a week.

Wheat Sprouts in a colander:
(It is important to note that wheat that has been stored in the #10 cans from the cannery will not sprout because it has been treated with the oxygen packets added upon canning. The chemical in the oxygen packets treats the wheat so it will not sprout. Also, if you have been storing your wheat outside or in the garage, it likely will not sprout because the heat, especially in hot climates like AZ, cooks the wheat and once it's been 'cooked' it will not sprout. Keep a container of 'sprouting' wheat in your pantry, or cupboard)

Put desired amount of whole wheat in a jar or a bowl and put enough water to at least double the depth of the wheat. (This allows for the wheat to swell while soaking). Soak the wheat over night.

In the morning, pour the wheat into a colander and rinse really well.

Rinse 3 or 4 times throughout the day including one time right before you go to bed.

In the morning, if you see a very small sprout coming out of one end of the wheat, your sprouts are ready to eat. Taste them and if you want them a little softer and sprouted just a little longer, you can leave them sprouting for the rest of the day, making sure to rinse them a couple of times. You don't want to leave wheat sprouts to sprout too long because they will start to get a 'green' taste and lose their sweetness. Once they have sprouted to your liking, put them in a container with a lid and store them in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Wheat Sprout Bread
Pus as many cups of wheat as desired in a food processor with the knife blade attachment. It is important to get enough or else you will not be able to get a good gluten worked up, so at least a minimum of 2 or 3 cups of sprouts. Turn on your food processor for a few seconds, then stop to scrape the sides of the bowl. Turn back on again for a few seconds. Continue this process of running, stopping, and scraping until your wheat sprouts are a big ball of sticky dough-like substance. (It will be pretty stiff, sticky stuff) If needed, add a Tablespoon or 2 of water, if your sprouts are too dry and are not sticking together. Be careful not to add too much water or you will have a flat loaf. Once your gluten is well developed (meaning your sprouts are holding together well into a 'dough') sprinkle a baking sheet or baking stone with sesame seeds to prevent your bread from sticking, and put your dough in a big glob in the middle of the sesame seeds. Bake in a 225* oven for about 3 hours, until you have a nice crust around the outside of the bread.

helpful hints: you may want to do at least 2 loafs, to 'justify' having the oven on for 3 hours. (maybe even a good time to make jerky or dehydrate something?)

Also, a food processor IS necessary. I tried doing it in my Bullet Blender. No dice! Not enough 'torque', and ya...I smelled the motor. Plus, it didn't blend it well enough, to get the gluten going. (when it gets stringy, that is when you know when the gluten is activated.) So, I had a flat, and not very tasty lump of something. ;)

Monday, February 9, 2009

1 Year Food Storage

Exactly What Does a Basic 1 Year Food Storage for 1 Person Look Like?
These are the MINIMUM Basic Amounts of Food Needed for Survival for ONE PERSON for ONE YEAR:


BARE-MINIMUM LDS Church Food storage requirements for
1 adult male for 1 year Appx. 2,300 calories per day. (only 695lbs total)

This will keep you fed, but leave you hungry.
TOTAL FOOD PER DAY = 24.65 Ounces

Grains (400lbs)
Unless your family already eats 100% whole wheat homemade bread, white flour should be used in the transition process to whole wheat.
Adding rye flour (10%) helps make wheat bread a more
complete protein. Dent corn is used to make tortillas.

Beans & Legumes (90lbs)
{minimum reduced to only 60lbs in 2002}
Black beans cook quickly, make a good salad complement with a vinaigrette dressing over them.
Soybeans can be used to make soy milk and tofu, a protein food you should be prepared to make.
Familiarize yourself with sprouting techniques.
Learn how to make wheat grass juice - the best vitamin supplement you can use.

Milk-Dair products (75lbs)
{minimum reduced to only 16lbs in 2002}
Milk powder can be used to make cottage cheese, cream cheese and hard cheeses.
Ideally your milk should be fortified with Vitamins A & D.
When reconstituting aerate to improve flavor (special mixing pitchers can accomplish this). Whole eggs are the best all-purpose egg product.
Powdered sour cream has a limited shelf life unless frozen.

Meats / Meat substitute (20lbs)
{minimum reduced to only 0lbs in 2002}
Use meat in soups, stews and beans for flavor. Freeze dried is the best option for real meat. Textured Vegetable protein is the main alternative to freeze dried meats.

Fats / Oils (20lbs)
This group can boost the calories one is getting from food storage products, and supply essential fatty acids.

Sugars (60lbs)
Store your honey in 5 gallon pails.
Candy and other sweets can help with appetite fatigue.

Fruits / Vegetables (90lbs)
{minimum reduced to only zero lbs in 2002}
Some fruits and vegetables are best dehydrated, others freeze dried (strawberries & blueberries).
Fruits are a nice addition to hot cereal, muffins, pancakes and breads.

Auxiliary foods (weight varies)
Vanilla extract improves the flavor of powdered milk. T
he production of tofu requires a precipitator such as nigari, epsom salt, calcium chloride or calcium sulfide (good calcium source).
Learn how to make and use wheat gluten (liquid smoke adds good flavor).

Chocolate syrup and powdered drink mixes help with appetite fatigue.
Vitamins and protein powders will boost the nutrition levels of foods that may have suffered losses during processing.


For an average adult Female - multiply the weight by 0.75

For children ages 1-3 multiply by 0.3, 4-6 multiply by 0.5, 7-9 multiply by 0.75
For adults engaged in manual labor multiply by 1.25-1.50


The more I read about wheat, the more versatile I realize it is. The article I mentioned in my previous post had a statement about grains: “Remember the counsel that is given: ‘Store up all your grain,’ and take care of it! Prize it above gold and
silver, above rich clothing, and fine apparel, and above everything else except the bread of life!”
~ Orson Hyde, JD, vol. 5:17, p. 17

There are those who are allergic to wheat, and can't consume it in most of it's forms. If you grow wheat (wheat grass) there is no gluten involved. Which is often what causes the allergic reactions Rice & Corn do not contain gluten.

I found a website that gives various recipes on how to use wheat, and it has some other great information about wheat. It is called 'Wheat Montana'. I have considered ordering some wheat from there. The 'soft white wheat' sounds really good.

Here is another quote that I found in the pamphlet I referenced to in my previous post:
“There is more security in wheat, than in all the political schemes of the world, and also more
power in it than in all the contending armies of the nations...
“They have sold themselves for naught, and must be redeemed without money!’ It will take
wheat to redeem them! will preach the ‘gathering’ more eloquently, successfully, and extensively than
all the missionaries that we can send out to sweep through the nations,..” ~ Orson Hyde, JD, 1:207
“The time will come that gold will hold no comparison in value to a bushel of wheat” ~ Brigham Young,
JD, 1943 ed., 1:250, p.29

Sunday, February 8, 2009

'Really' Using your food storage

Ok, I have a weakness for perusing preparedness blogs, discovering interesting tidbits of information. There are SO many that I would love to post on my blog, but then this blog would be much more sporadic then it is.

I just discovered an interesting article that the church published in 2005. It is on 'Using only the ingredients contained in the One-Month Basic Food Storage' Wow! It talks about everything from Sprouting, to Baby Foods, to growing Wheat grass. It gives recipes that can be used from your basic food storage. I really, really like this...and I want to print it, and put it in a preparedness binder. (that I have yet to compile)

Survival Ration Bar

Survival Ration Bar

3 cups cereal (oatmeal, barley flakes or wheat flakes)
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 package citrus flavored gelatin
1 cup white sugar
Optional: (chocolate chips or mixed fruit)

Directions for mixing:
Place all dry ingredients (except gelatin) into mixing bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of water to the honey and bring it to a boil. Dissolve the gelatin in the honey-water mixture, then add it all to the dry ingredients. After mixing well, add water a teaspoon at a time until the mixture is barely moist enough to be molded. Pack in a refrigerator dish or other mold. This recipe makes two bars (each bar 1/2 the size of a match box), or drop on cookie sheet (bite size for eating).

Each bar will provide about 1,000 calories and is sufficient food for one day. It can be eaten dry, or cooked with about 2/3 of a canteen cup full of water.

The bars may be placed in the oven and dried under very low heat -- 250 degrees F., then wrapped in foil and stored indefinitely in a covered container (rotating every 6 months to a year).

(Source: Handout from Utah Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management, "72 Hour Emergency Survival Kit - Plus - Food & Water Storage)

NOTE: The size package of gelatin was not specified, nor the amount of time required for drying in the oven in these instructions. I tried googling to see if I could find any specific amounts and was not successful. Your best guess will have to do until we hear from someone who has actually tried these. :)