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Preparedness Update – August 2014

August was a roller coaster month.

The good news is: I’m still employed!  The head office determined they wanted to add our accounting department to a regional office. Unfortunately, to stay with the department, I would be on the road for 4 hours a day to come and go from an 8 hour job.  So, as much as I enjoy what I’ve been doing and the people I work with, I told them I couldn’t go.  Last Friday I started training for a new position in the same company so I can stay at the same location.

One of my favorite events of August was when my friends, the Parks, came to visit me from Cheyenne.  It was lovely to see them!  I think I should have visitors like that every couple of months – not just because I loved reconnecting with old friends but because the house got a really good cleaning and some of my organizational issues were resolved.

I did not accomplish a large number of items from my 101 Provident Things in 1001 Days list, but even a little progress is progress.

#29 and #30 (paint ceiling and walls of second bath) got done.  J did it for me – thank you! Boy does it make a difference.

The 55-gallon water barrel I purchased in July arrived in August. No, it is not filled yet.

#24 (basic/scratch cooking) is an every month accomplishment.  August saw me puree-ing the last of the peaches to freeze for jam-making at a later date and trying a couple of new dinner recipes.  I also mixed and formed three meatloaves for the freezer as part of my 3-month food storage (#48).

I also improved in taking lunch from home (rather than eating out) in August – relief for the budget.

That’s about it for August.  Again, not much, but, Something!

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The Actions of a Few

I recently read a blog post from the lady who writes the Canning Granny website. Apparently she also hosted a Facebook page, which I never realized.  Her post was about why she closed and deleted her Facebook page with more than 27K followers.  People had become so nasty, she just shut it down!  Good for her.  We do not have to put up with that stuff.

I have left Facebook groups that, while the purpose of the page was good and useful, some people were so inappropriate and contentious that just “not engaging” in the chaos was not sufficient, I had to leave.

She apparently got a number of comments about why would she do such a thing (close down a successful page with so many followers) because of the actions of a few people. Her answer is worth sharing.  She said:

“… the common thread, “why let the actions of a few?” got me thinking about all the times in history where things, good and bad, were affected by “the actions of a few.” I’d like to list a few examples of how the “actions of a few” changed the world…

  • In 1973, Norma McCorvey, using the pseudonym Jane Roe, got abortion legalized in the United States… Roe v. Wade.
  • On December 1, 1955 in Alabama, Rosa Parks decided to defy racial segregation rules by not giving up her seat for a white passenger when asked. Her actions sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, designed to put enough economic pressure on the city to listen. The campaign was so successful, it led to the desegregation of buses by the US Supreme Court. Rosa’s defiance changed the course of civil rights in American history.
  • In 1963 Madalyn Murray O’Hair started a movement that eventually  led to the removal of prayer in schools in the US.
  • Emily Davison was a women’s suffrage activist. She was imprisoned nine times, and endured force-feeding while on hunger strike. In 1913, her protest at the Epsom Derby resulted in her death, as she was trampled by King George V’s horse. She died of her injuries in hospital four days later. Her intention for the protest has always remained unclear, but she is remembered as a symbol of the struggle undertaken for the right for women to vote.
  • Adolf Hitler, German dictator, and his Nazi minions during the 1930s were the reason millions of Jewish people were slaughtered during the Holocaust… All Germans were NOT Nazis and tens of thousands of Germans lost their lives as well by protesting the actions of a few.
  • Only 56 men signed the Declaration of Independence.
  • Only 3 percent of the citizens of what is now the United States of America fought in the Revolutionary War that brought independence from Great Britain.”

What a good message this is!  We often believe we have no power, no ability to affect change, no value.  It’s simply not true.  Each of us plays a big part in some area of the world/society.  The real question is not “am I of value?” or “do I count?”  The answer is a resounding “Yes!”  I think the real question is “Have I made the world a better place?”

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Money Can Buy Happiness …

… well-managed money can, that is.

I appreciated a recent article from The Organic Prepper that encourages us to audit our personal budgets.  She has some excellent points; most of them are well-known.  This time though, instead of just rolling my eyes as I usually do when the word “budget” is dragged out, I decided to follow through with the audit.

My experience has been that even excellent budget-makers need to re-assess on a periodic basis.  After all, things change in our lives – sometimes in the blink of an eye.  Often, we have what we think are minor slips that, upon review, show we have actually gone off-track.

An example of this in my own life is point #6 – “Don’t eat out”.  When I first got my new job last year, which brought much needed relief to my finances, I was bringing my lunch from home every day, allowing myself to eat from the Wendy’s dollar menu once a month. Then, some of my co-workers invited me to go with them to lunch.  Still, I only accepted their invitations a couple of times a month, though it was at more expensive eateries.  Recent reflection, however, revealed that over the past several weeks I have been going out to lunch more often than I brought it from home.  That is very much off-track for my financial goal to become debt-free!

The value of her recommendations though came in these words which are a direct quote from the article:

“Being frugal doesn’t have to be a sentence to a grim reality. When you relieve the financial pressure, you’ll be amazed at how much brighter your outlook becomes. When you “need” less, you will be happy with the simple things. The peace that comes from financial security can’t be matched by any number of expensive herbal calming teas, pricey gym memberships, tropical beach vacations, or meditation classes.

“Money actually can buy happiness (well, peace of mind, anyway) – but it’s the money you DON’T spend that buys it.”

I agree whole-heartedly!

Enjoy her article here:

“It’s Time for a Personal Audit of Your Frugal Living Budget”



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Trust the Master

My grandmother collected tea cups and I have a few of them.  Some are even from places that no longer exist, like Prussia.  They traveled all over the country with her and then with me.  I guess that’s why this story from Morning Story and Dilbert caught my eye.  It’s such a good message to remember during those times of trial and pain that come to all of us.

The Teacup

There was a couple who used to go to England to shop in the beautiful stores. They both liked antiques and pottery and especially teacups. This was their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.

One day in this beautiful shop they saw a beautiful cup. They said, “May we see that? We’ve never seen one quite so beautiful.”

As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the cup spoke. “You don’t understand,” it said. “I haven’t always been a teacup. There was a time when I was red and I was clay. My master took me and rolled me and patted me over and over and I yelled out, ‘let me alone,’ but he only smiled, ‘Not yet.’”

“Then I was placed on a spinning wheel,” the cup said,”and suddenly I was spun around and around and around.Stop it! I’m getting dizzy! I screamed. But the master only nodded and said, ‘Not yet.’”

“Then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat!” the teacup said. “I wondered why he wanted to burn me, and I yelled and knocked at the door. I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as He shook his head, ‘Not yet.’”

“Finally the door opened, he put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. ‘There, that’s better,’ I said. And he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag.’Stop it, stop it!’ I cried. He only nodded, ‘Not yet.’”

“Then suddenly he put me back into the oven, not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. All the time I could see him through the opening, nodding his head saying, ‘Not yet.’”

“Then I knew there wasn’t any hope. I would never make it. I was ready to give up. But the door opened and he took me out and placed me on the shelf. One hour later he handed me a mirror and said, ‘Look at yourself.’ And I did. I said, ‘That’s not me; that couldn’t be me. It’s beautiful. I’m beautiful.’”

“‘I want you to remember, then,’ he said, ‘I know it hurts to be rolled and patted, but if I had left you alone, you’d have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel,but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I knew it hurt and was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn’t put you there, you would have cracked. I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn’t done that, you never would have hardened; you would not have had any color in your life. And if I hadn’t put you back in that second oven, you wouldn’t survive for very long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. You are what I had in mind when I first began with you.’”                                                                  — Author Unknown


Picture source: Bing

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Blueberries & Peaches & Apricots – Hooray!

Preparedness Journal – July 2015

Another month flew by but I feel somewhat more accomplished in my preparedness/provident living/self-reliance efforts for July than I have in recent months.

While J and the boys were here earlier in the month, we moved my freezer from the garage to the boys bedroom.  Now, I can really ramp up my food preservation efforts!

In North Carolina, July is the month for blueberries, blackberries, and peaches.  I got 9 pints of blueberries and they are in the freezer ready to use throughout the year.  I got a couple of baskets of peaches from Kalawi Farm (my favorite peach farm!) at the Chapel Hill Farmer’s Market one week and picked a basket of peaches at Buttermilk Creek Farm one Saturday.  Most were sliced and frozen individually on trays before packaging so I can take out only as many as I need.  The remainder were made into puree and put into the freezer to make jam later, like I did with the Strawberry Jam.  I completely missed out on the blackberries!  The farm announced they were ready on a Thursday, they were picked out by the time I got there on Saturday.  Then, before the unpicked berries could finish ripening, we had another heat wave that took them out.  {sigh}

My other exciting acquisition came last weekend.  I was up in Burlington and stopped at a grocery store that advertises they offer locally-grown produce.  They had South Carolina peaches for 98 cents a pound!  At that price, South Carolina is local enough!  I bought a whole case.  They are in the fridge, waiting to be processed.

I was thrilled to also see apricots there – something that doesn’t grow in this region – and, since most local residents are not familiar with them, they are not readily available in the stores.  However, they were charging $4.99 a pound.  As much as I’ve been craving apricots, I just couldn’t bring myself to pay that price.  But, wait:  Fortune shone upon me! When I went to my usual grocery store later that day, They had apricots for only $2.99 a pound.  I bought half a box – a very exciting event!  I dehydrated half of them and the others are waiting to become Freezer Jam and one other not-yet-determined delight.

From my 101 Things in 1001 Days list:

#10 (paint living and dining rooms) was completed by J.  The color is Soooo much better.

#53 (Five Wishes) was finally properly notarized and distributed to my daughters.  I have the original copy in my Important Documents binder, a PDF copy on my computer, and then the two copies off-site with my daughters.  I also have a card in my wallet so that healthcare workers are aware I have an advance directive if I’m not able to communicate that to them myself.

#54 (water storage) I had the opportunity to acquire new 55-gallon barrels at a price of $21.00 each.  Since they usually cost $80.00 each, I jumped on that deal.

#70 (dental check-up).  I have a good bit of work that needs to be done but didn’t much like that the dentist just did the exam, turned me over to his staff who let me know my cost would be nearly $7000,  without any real discussion about what needed to be done or how we should approach it.  I just received a list of teeth numbers and whether a crown or filling is needed (and of course how much it will cost!).  I won’t be going back there so am searching for another dentist.

There are only a couple of months left for my 101 Things in 1001 Days as it ends on October 12th.  It has long been obvious to me that not everything would be accomplished and that doesn’t bother me at all.  This 101 Things “project” has helped me stay focused (or to re-focus if I start to stray) and, through the process, I have seen where my priorities lie among the various tasks.  At the same time, the list has encouraged me to step out and do things that I would normally just brush off as too hard or uncomfortable and to try to find ways and/or sources for being able to accomplish them.  All in all, a worthwhile undertaking.

So, these are the main things I have accomplished in July.



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Preparedness Journal – June 2015

June was mostly a bust for progress in the Preparedness arena.

Early in the month I gave a presentation on planning your Three Month Supply (Home Storage) and one on the 72-hour kit.  I always learn when I teach and I enjoyed doing this.

Then I got sick and had barely enough oomph to get through work each day.

Then there was a Preparedness Fair at church.  It was very nicely put together with displays and breakout sessions.  I didn’t learn anything new but it was nice to be with like-minded folks to compare notes.  Mostly we just all agreed we have holes in our Preparedness!

I think my favorite thing though was that, about a week before the event, they asked for volunteers to conduct drills with their families.  Those who participated drew slips and handled the “emergency” they got.  Some were no water for several days, sleep in a tent, no technology use, that sort of thing.  Then, some of them reported back on their experiences.

Then I got to have my own drill, only it wasn’t a drill.  I had no air conditioning for a week. Naturally, it was the hottest week on record for North Carolina and my house was ten degrees hotter than outside.  I do not function in heat. I was a blob.  I couldn’t do anything but suffer.  I borrowed a portable unit to keep one room cooler for the animals but it really could do only so much.  I was actually happy to go to work each day.  I am grateful that experience is over.

J and the boys are here for a week and a half and I will have progress to report for July – partly because I do more when I have a work buddy and partly because she is doing a bunch of things for me while I’m at work.

That, friends, was my June.

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The Life and Times of Pantry Storage

As we fill our pantries with basic items, we need to know how long the items can be stored. When I purchase new items I write the month/year on the package so I know how long I’ve had it.  This allows me to judge my rate of use so I can determine if I have enough and also lets me know which package to use next to insure the oldest items are used first.

I found this chart and think it’s useful enough to include in my Preparedness Notebook:


Source: Kansas State University
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The 5 Attitudes of Preparedness

I found another article I want to share. This one is about the attitudes that will lead you to become prepared:

1)  This applies to me
2) I can find the time
3) I can find what works for my family
4) I can start this week
5) I want the peace of mind that comes with being prepared.

Read what Shelle at has to say about :

5 Attitudes Every Prepper Needs

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Will You Be Panicked or Prepared?

When you are faced with a disaster / emergency (note that I say When, not If – that is an important differentiation) will you be hysterical and fall apart into an ineffective burden or will you be able to lead your family through the situation with peace and confidence?

This article, by Daisy Fox, addressed that question with thoughtful commentary.




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