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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Some Prep Tips From the Southwest

Hello to all from New Mexico! Kymber has graciously permitted me to share some lifestyle and prepper tips that will help you out long term in many a crisis situation. Learning how to function without all the cozy comforts most of us have in our day to day lives will most certainly make all the difference. I live on a small farm smack dab in the desert and very close to the border with Mexico. I have spent several years learning to use less and live a more simple pleasant, slow paced life. I hope you can find this post useful and I would not mind one bit if you leave me a comment!

Important to Remember the Mundane
The lifestyle of a prepper has so many facets. The initial concern is always to outwit, outlast, and survive any given situation. But then it becomes critical to think beyond and to the mundane. Yes, the mundane.

This is a post to explain how to maintain your laundry in a situation that changes your lifestyle. I play scenarios and then see if I can resolve them. So what happens if our electricity is out for a good period of time? How can you do laundry then? Well our ancestors lived without power and they wore clean clothes, so what is the secret? Do we have to spend several hundred dollars on an electric free washing machine from Lehman's? Or is there a frugal tip that will help post emergency for ones mental well being?

I am making an assumption that you have access to water, as that would be key. Then you need 3 five gallon buckets, a washboard, and a clothes wringer, a plunger, some rope and clothespins, and a large kettle. But wait, washboards and clothes wringers are once again causing one to spend money on something that is most often already in your home. Scratch the washboard and find your broiler pan. You know the pan that comes with your stove and usually lives in the bottom drawer of the oven. Take the top pan with the slats out and flip it over and viola, a washboard. Now the wringer is something you need to spend for, but not from Lehman's but a standard store. I bought a mop bucket and it has a wonderful wringer in it, that squishes out the water on your clothes.

Now to another simple tip, whatever you are spending on laundry soap, I can guarantee it is too much. I use ZOTE soap which costs $.99 a bar and it lasts three to four months. I have two in my laundry bin, one that is for whites and one for colors. I then use vinegar.

To wash your clothes start the kettle over an open fire and have it filled with water. Then sort your clothes and when the water is hot, fill one bucket with hot water and grate theZOTE soap into the bucket. I usually count ten scrapes(this is just me). Let the clothes soak in the soapy water, then one at a time pull an item out and use your washboard and scrub the item on it. Work out any stains or spots, then toss this into bucket number 2 which is filled with cold water and ¼ of a cup of vinegar. Finish the load in the bucket...and put all in bucket number 2, take your plunger(new one please OK folks!) and plunge the laundry up and down for several minutes. Wring out each item and toss into bucket #3 which is filled with cold water. This is the rinsing stage and swirl each item up and down and then wring out and hang up on the clothesline. Repeat until all the clothes are finished.

I use less than 15 gallons for a standard size laundry basket of clothing. When you run a standard washing machine, you use 60 gallons for each load. This is costly when you are paying for water (especially in the southwest US where water rationing is rampant-but not for me as I have a well).

Tips to hand washing:

  1. Cut your bath towels in half and sew them or use only handtowels to dry off after bathing, as it is easy to wash as a small towel instead of the large bath towels we are all familiar with.

  2. Plan a three day wardrobe and put the other clothes up. This way you will not be overwhelmed with laundry, as the more clothes you have the easier it is to put off doing laundry. Of course underwear and socks should be at will and needed.

  3. A fourth outfit is for going to town or looking presentable. If we are in a scenario that is catastrophic then we still need to have a day of rest and gather to honor our Lord.

  4. If you have a crisis with underclothing because of small children or health issues that cause diarrhea, separating the soiled clothing andpresoaking in the bucket alone with hot water and a capful of bleach is a must. Then rinse squeeze out and wash with the regular clothes.

  5. When I hand wash it is a time of reflection and thought over every member of the family. I have time to think of them and even to flash back to a moment when the loved one was wearing the clothing item. Cherish every opportunity to think on your loved ones. Time is precious and short.

  6. Washing bedding requires using bedding such as the Europeans use. They use a cover over the quilt or comforter, like a pillow has a case, that can be washed and the comforter then is hung on the window ledge to sun air out. I lived in Germany for almost 4 years, and witnessed bedding hanging this way all over.

  7. Without the mop bucket or wringer, one just needs to have a partner in the laundry that helps twist and squeeze the water out of the clothing.

I do not hand wash clothing all the time, but I know if I need to I can, because I have thought about something that may happen, then plotted out a solution. I read a blogger that uses regular old Ivory bath soap for her laundry, so feel free to test a few simple methods out.
(c) Double Nickel Farm
Remember times are changing and you need to ask yourself one question: Are you prepared?

Original: http://yukonterritorypreppersnetwork.blogspot.com/2009/04/some-prep-tips-from-southwest.html

Foods in Your Pantry

This post is about having fruits in your food storage. I am not going to go into the dietary charts of what you need to maintain your health, as I am sure that we all know it fairly well by now. Below is a photo of the fruit section of my pantry.

The top shelf has store bought fruits, and the bottom shelf has a variety of home canned apples. Some are dried apples, some chunky applesauce, applesauce, cinnamon applesauce, apple butter, and apple pie filling. I have a few box dinners and crackers and jello too.

In the event of a situation where I am unable to get into town to buy groceries I am comforted by the fact that I have a good variety of fruits to compliment any meal- breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The dried apples I add to a homemade granola that I make for the kids to add milk(much like cold cereal without all the preservatives.)

With fruit in your food storage you are able to make so many things besides having a fruit serving on the plate. Here are some other ideas to use the food storage of fruit:
~apple pie
~peach pie
~pumpkin pie
~apple cookies or muffins or pancakes
~take peaches and slice a fresh banana into it and serve this as dessert as it is YUMMY.
~serve the fruit over pancakes
~save the juice from the fruits- freeze it in ice cube trays with a toothpick for a cool afternoon snack
~blend and make fruit leather
~make fruit smoothies

You get the idea. Often we are not comfortable with canned goods, as fresh is best. That is true, but a well stocked pantry will ensure your family will eat during any crisis. By the way as to the fruits I buy, I try to purchase fruits that are unsweetened if possible, because if I make any of the above recipes, I then can add sugar and not worry. The other reason is that most fruits use corn syrup in them, and some studies have shown that corn syrup has too high of levels of mercury in it.

Now is the time to assess your pantry and stock up. It is time to prepare for any situation.
(c) double nickel farm

Original: http://yukonterritorypreppersnetwork.blogspot.com/2009/04/foods-in-your-pantry.html

storage conditions

There are four key factors that will affect the quality as well as the storage-life of your longer-term food storage. Those four factors are temperature, moisture, light and pests.

Store products at a temperature of 75°F/24°C or lower whenever possible. If storage temperatures are higher, rotate products as needed to maintain quality. (Provident Living)

Common storage areas such as attics and garages are likely going be very warm and will reduce the storage life of your food. A basement or the main floor of your home would provide cooler temperatures. Also, interior rooms are less affected by the temperature swings outside.

Keep storage areas dry. It is best to keep containers off of the floor to allow for air circulation. (Provident Living)

Setting products on pallets or even just a few untreated 2x4s gets items off the floor. Moisture is the main reason that buckets are not recommended for storage unless you live in a very dry climate. #10 cans and/or Mylar bags do a better job of keeping moisture out of your food storage.

Protect cooking oil and products stored in PETE bottles from light. (Provident Living)

Closets, pantries and windowless rooms would be great to keep products out of the light. This is more of an issue for foods that are stored in semi-opaque or transparent containers (like PETE bottles, canning bottles, or semi-opaque buckets).

Insects and rodents:
Protect products stored in foil pouches and PETE bottles from rodent and insect damage. (Provident Living)

Pests are persistent and can chew through almost any container. Mylar pouches are particularly susceptible to rodent infiltration. Plastic buckets or bins are also quickly penetrated. #10 cans or steel drums provide the best protection, but even they can be compromised.

Make sure that you purchase and store clean, pest-free products. Oxygen-absorbers can help eliminate any insects that arrive with your storage products (but are usually only effective in #10 cans, Mylar bags or PETE containers). Clean your storage area regularly and watch for signs of pests. Over time a fine food-dust can settle in your storage area and provide perfect conditions for weevils or other insects to spread. Wipe down all areas, including the floor to discourage insects.

[We had a major weevil infiltration in my childhood home storage room. Though my mother kept the area clean, the weevils had spread through this fine dust throughout the entire dedicated storage room. She ended up throwing out her custom rolling shelves because they couldn't be cleaned out. I purchased a wire-style shelf for my own storage to help prevent any similar problems.]

By paying attention to these four storage conditions, you can lengthen the storage-life of both your three-month supply as well as your longer-term storage.

Original: http://iprepared.blogspot.com/2009/03/storage-conditions.html

home storage outside of the intermountain west

Gathering a huge amount of grains can seem very daunting. But it is even more overwhelming when you don't live in the Intermountain West, where grains packaged for home-storage are readily available. I didn't realize quite the challenge this presented until we moved to New York. All of a sudden the availability of simple things like buckets presented a huge challenge. So, today I want to talk about options that are available for those of you who don't have home-storage supplies sold on every corner. You might be surprised about the resources actually available to you.

Warehouse/Grocery Stores - Once you start looking for home storage supplies, you might not have to look farther than your local grocery store or warehouse store. Costco, for example, sells large bags of rice, beans, and popcorn at most of their stores. Often these items come in sacks and will need to be repackaged. Even if bulk quantities aren't available, it is possible to acquire a decent amount of storage by just purchasing smaller packages at your local grocery store. Depending upon the cost per pound, though, it may be worth it to order your home-storage, already packed appropriately, online (see below).

Home Storage Centers - There are LDS home storage centers all over the United States and Canada. Click here to find out the nearest location. If you live near one or travel nearby, these can be a wonderful resource. It might even be worth driving several hours to be able to utilize one of these centers and the very inexpensive products that they sell. You can also order grains, beans, as well as foil pouches and pouch sealers online through the LDS Catalog.

LDS Congregations - Local congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints will sometimes put together group orders from large home-storage companies. If you aren't a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, check your phonebook for a local church -- or ask someone that you know is a member. I'm sure that these congregations would not hesitate to let you add some supplies to their orders.

Local Bakeries/Packagers - Food-grade storage buckets (not recommended in humid climates) can also be found through neighborhood bakeries (once held frosting). Water barrels can be acquired from soda-packaging companies. Remember that it is essential that these containers be food-grade and completely clean so that your food supplies will store well long-term.

Online - You can purchase grains and beans easily online. There are extra charges for shipping, of course. PreparedLDSFamily posted a great online price comparison on her blog this week. It shows typical prices per pound found at all of the major online suppliers. You'll find grains and beans on her list, along with many other products for home-storage. She doesn't account for shipping, though.

For your information, I know that Walton Feed ships based on weight. They are often the source for many LDS congregation orders. Honeyville Grain charges $4.95 for shipping no matter how large the order, but their prices are higher to start with to account for weight. Emergency Essentials charges shipping by the item. Blue Chip Group also ships by weight. Shelf Reliance offers free shipping on any order over $200, though most of their prices are higher than any of the rest. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints only offers limited products to be shipped. Shipping costs are already incorporated into that cost. I would recommend comparing price-per-pound as well as shipping prices before ordering from any of these companies.

It is more difficult and expensive to acquire home-storage supplies outside of the Intermountain West, but it is doable. Watch your local stores, be aware of repackaging options, and check online. Through various combinations of these methods, our family was able to store grains and beans even though we were far from the best sources.

Do you live outside of the Intermountain West? What "local" options have you found for purchasing home-storage supplies? I'm especially eager to hear from any readers outside of North America. If you are willing to share, it may help other readers around the world.

Original: http://iprepared.blogspot.com/2009/04/home-storage-outside-of-intermountain.html