February 2014 Preparedness Journal Update

February has been a loooong month, despite being a few days shorter than other months, and I have been cranky.  Maybe I should admit to Cranky with a Capital C.

Despite more winter weather than rightfully belongs in the South (snow, freezing rain, freezing fog, ice, more ice, cold, colder), I have been blessed to not lose my electricity and to not have my well or pipes freeze through it all.  (Knock on wood.)  I’m especially grateful that I did not have these problems because, with my son-in-law moving, I discovered a hole in my Preparedness… I no longer remember how to start the generator and had not learned how to properly attach it to the electrical panel to power the house.  He has been keeping the generators in good working order, running them at regular intervals, etc. and because I have’t had to start my generator for over three years, I just don’t remember how to do it!  I don’t know, there’s a knob to turn and a choke to adjust and a switch to flip before yanking the cord?  Furthermore, he hadn’t gotten around to teaching me how to use the generator to run power in the house.  So, if the power went out, my generator would be useless to me! Unfortunately, because of the bad weather, he hasn’t been back to rectify that little problem.  You can be sure that once this particular oversight is resolved, the instructions will Definitely be written down and put into my Preparedness Notebook.

I have been enjoying the fruits of my summer labors – peach jam, frozen peaches, applesauce.  I also saw the fruition of my dehydrated watermelon and dehydrated peaches experiments.  (Fruition…get it?).  Since dehydrated foods, at least in this location, reabsorb moisture rapidly, my experiment was to see if vacuum packing my home-dehydrated watermelon, which is especially prone to sucking in moisture, would extend its life.  I routinely re-pack my commercially dehydrated foods that come in #10 cans because I cannot use that much product before the moisture gets to them.  Well, I cracked open one of the watermelon canisters this week and, Yes, it did help!  As for the dehydrated peaches, I put them into the freezer to see if that would help them stay dehydrated.  They, too, came out just as good as when I put them in. Someone had thought there would be too much moisture generated during the “thawing” of the dehydrated fruit but that was not the case.  So, there’s the results of two experiments started several months ago.

Back in the 90’s (do you know how long ago the 90’s was??), when my daughters were teens, I started “dabbling” with Essential Oils.  I never did more than dabble but J took the interest to another level and, when I moved here, I started using some of her blends for health support.  With her around, I didn’t need to keep my own supply of oils.  Well, I ran out of her Anti-Infectious Blend after she moved so re-started my personal supply of Essential Oils and am making the Anti-Infectious Blend for myself.

I tried a couple of new “scratch” recipes.  I especially like one of them, Cotter’s Kettle. My younger daughter introduced the family to rutabaga a few years ago and even though I really liked it, my repertoire of standard meals did not include any recipes that used rutabaga.  So, I’ve been wanting to find recipes using rutabagas and this was a wonderful start.

This weekend is supposed to continue cold but March starts on Sunday and Spring had better start on Monday!

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January 2015 Preparedness Journal Update

A little something did get done this month despite the chaos of J and family moving out of my house and two hours away.

#21 on my 101 Provident Things in 1001 Days list got done:  thanks Aaron for re-leveling my back porch!  The tree that came down in a storm last year was sawed into logs and now needs to be chopped into useable sizes to build my supply of firewood (#93  ).  J and I took her oldest son to a friend to be taught how to chop firewood but that now falls under the heading of “best laid plans.”  I also purchased 40 pounds of rice and 25 pounds of flour to replenish my food storage supplies.

As a joint household, we had made significant progress toward completing our Family Emergency Plan (#46).  Of course, now I need to revise it since my household has changed again. On a positive note, their moving means that I now have an out of town place to go in the event of an emergency, something we had not yet figured out.

Early in the month I met with a group of ladies from church and led a discussion entitled “Plan to Be Prepared.”  Then we each created our own Preparedness Notebooks to keep our information organized.  Everyone was given a copy of the Family Emergency Plan I had developed so they could complete it for their own families.  There is now a new page at the top of the blog (labeled Plan to Be Prepared) to keep the handouts we share with each other.

All in all, not too bad of an effort!

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…. aaaannnnnd they’re gone

The good ‘ol roller coaster of life is doing its thing.

In November, I reported how J and her family moved in with me after her husband’s new job included a 90 minute commute (requiring they sell their house and re-locate), and their house sold more quickly than expected. Well, that job didn’t live up to the income expectations promised by the employer and my son-in-law went looking for another job – found one in one day.  Since the end of the school semester is approaching, it is a good time to move the kids; so, J and I went to the new location to find a rental house – found one in one day.  The longest part of the process was the week it took for the rental application processing.  So, a week and a half from the time he decided it was time for a job change, they are gone.


My house is too quiet.

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The Value of Having Water Storage

This water faucet is turned on:

"Hey, where's the water?!"

“Hey, where’s the water?!”

Yep. The well pump froze.

This is why I keep a bit of water stored in my house.  Not enough (well, at least, not as much as I should store – see THIS WORKSHEET), but Some.  Today, I had enough that I was still able to get cleaned up, bed-head resolved, breakfast made, teeth brushed, and ready for church this morning (where the furnace was not fully functional, but that’s another story).

Winter is definitely baring her (his?) teeth.

All was well and the water was flowing by the time we returned from church (Thank you, Aaron!) and I am back to thinking the well house needs to be insulated.


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Baby Steps and Daffodils

This lovely story is, without a doubt, the most effective illustration of the value of “Baby Steps.”  Too many times, we are stopped (by our own limited thinking!) from accomplishing something because the Big Picture seems overwhelming.  All we ever need to do is just take that first step.  And then the next.

The Daffodil Principle

By Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards  

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, “Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over.“  I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. “I will come next Tuesday,” I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn’s house I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.

“Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!”

My daughter smiled calmly and said, “We drive in this all the time, Mother.” “Well, you won’t get me back on the road until it clears, and then I’m heading for home!” I assured her.

“But first we’re going to see the daffodils. It’s just a few blocks,” Carolyn said. “I’ll drive. I’m used to this.”

“Carolyn,” I said sternly, “Please turn around.” “It’s all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience.”

After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read, “Daffodil Garden.” We got out of the car, each took a child’s hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight.

It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted in large groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.

“Who did this?” I asked Carolyn. “Just one woman,” Carolyn answered. “She lives on the property. That’s her home.” Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house.

On the patio, we saw a poster.“Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking”, was the headline. The first answer was a simple one. “50,000 bulbs,” it read. The second answer was, “One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain.” The third answer was, “Began in 1958.”

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration.
That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time–often just one baby-step at time–and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.

“It makes me sad in a way,” I admitted to Carolyn. “What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and had worked away at it ‘one bulb at a time’ through all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!”

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. “Start tomorrow”, she said.

She was right. It’s so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, “How can I put this to use today?”

Source:  theinspirationpeak.com

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Best Wishes to You for A Happy New Year!

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because, if you are making mistakes, then you are trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, myself, all of us:  Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes.”

                                                                                 — Neil Gaiman

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This month has been one of adaptation as we combine two households into one.

Adaptation is an important skill that everyone needs to develop and we are all getting a bit of training in that regard.  The two school age grandsons have to get up earlier because their buses come earlier to my house than they did at their old house; the teenager has to shower at night instead of in the morning because my (smaller) water heater can’t handle three showers in an hour.  “Things” are finding places to belong, slowly but surely. To make things even more interesting, everyone got sick again!

Nevertheless, the changes are in progress and we even managed to have a nice Christmas despite all that has been going on.

People ask how it’s going with two women in the kitchen.  Not too bad, actually.  I think the only real conflict has been dishes in the sink vs dishes on the countertop.  I don’t like dirty dishes in the sink, J doesn’t like dirty dishes on the counter.  My response is for her to “empty the dishwasher first thing in the morning and load as you dirty them and there won’t be any dirty dishes in either spot.”  She glares at me, I make a face at her, and we go on our merry way.

I’m really enjoying the improved dinners.  There are even vegetables!  Don’t get me wrong, I ate dinner when it was just me — not what you would call a “balanced meal,” usually just something a tired, hungry, cranky person could throw together quickly.

As for progress in preparedness/provident living/self-reliance efforts – not so much this month.  It was nice though to be able to do Christmas cookies without having to shop for supplies (since I had what was needed in my food storage).  Otherwise, my only real progress was making final changes to the Family Emergency Plan form I drafted last month and starting the process of completing it for our household (not a quick and easy feat!).  I will post my version of a Family Emergency Plan on the blog (under the Emergency Preparedness tab up top) after the class I’m teaching next month.


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Merry Christmas, Everyone!


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Christmas Truce of 1914

I love the story of the Christmas Eve Truce during WWI.  This is the 100th year anniversary of an event that shows that peace and love are possible, even in the worst of circumstances.  Here is a video of that story, followed by a song that came out in 1988.


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Thought Share

memories vs money

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