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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What’s In Season?

Whether your preference is to can, to dehydrate, or just to eat them, getting your fruits and vegetables when they are in season helps you get the best quality, flavor, and price.

Here is a great chart to know what’s in season:

in season


Naturally, this lovely chart is not printable.  However, here are separate vegetable and fruit guides that can be printed:

Vegetable Guide

Fruit Guide

Source: I found these great charts on Pinterest


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Preparedness Journal Update – May 2015

After a seemingly long and discouraging winter, I feel a bit rejuvenated with spring.  I have had a busy month and have actually accomplished a few things.  I even marked off a couple of items from my 101 Provident Things in 1001 Days list.

After acquiring a few more items, including a ready-to-go 1st Aid Kit (#98), I have declared #72 (Get Home Bag) as Done.  I do so, though, with the caveat that, as with so many things preparedness-related, you are never really done.  As you learn more, as your circumstances change, so do the needs and contents of your home storage/72-hour kit/Get Home Bag/Important Documents/Family Emergency Plan.  For months, my Get Home Bag has been items tossed in the car as I thought of/acquired them.  That was followed by a bit of organization by determining what goes in a carry bag should I leave the vehicle and what is actually part of the vehicle emergency kit that would stay with the vehicle.  There will, no doubt, be additional tweaking but I am pleased with what has been accomplished.

I am realizing that it is seriously doubtful I will accomplish #51 on my list – to get 365 home-canned jars on the shelf at one time.  I just haven’t been canning enough to keep ahead of my usage.  This does Not mean I will quit canning, of course:  just that I am accepting that I can’t accomplish that goal if I actually eat what I can – which I do.  I love the sense of accomplishment and, especially, the improved flavor of home-canned products.  It’s actually getting difficult to choke down some of the commercially-canned foods that have been part of my standard diet over the years.

I talked this month with the owner of a local produce market through which I can obtain Cases of various produce items at wholesale prices.  I think this will be a real boon to getting more home-canned, dehydrated, and frozen foods into my home storage.  Alas, he cannot get me apricots.  Apricots are, apparently, not a Southern thing.  I really wanted to put up apricots this year. Sigh.

I had the privilege earlier this month to speak to a group of people about planning your Three Month Food Supply.  I love teaching people – it helps me solidify my own understanding of what I am teaching and they always teach me something new, too.  I did a followup blog post to attach to my page “Plan to Be Prepared” where I keep information useful to include in a Preparedness Notebook.

I kicked off the season by filling my dehydrator with strawberries acquired from T-5 Farms at the local Farmer’s Market.  That is where we got last year’s berries for jam.  This year’s crop was just as delicious as last year.  I didn’t do more jam but I now have a small supply of dehydrated berries and a few packages in the freezer.  I might have more if, well, I didn’t eat as I prepared them for the dehydrator and freezer.  That is one of the known hazards of doing your own food processing – there’s always a bit of gleaning and sampling involved.  Ok, maybe not just a bit.  Anyway, if the season somehow stretches to a couple more weeks – which is mostly wishful thinking on my part – I will get more strawberries to process.  In the meantime, one of the local orchards has announced that their blueberries are ready now; plus, peach season is nearing!

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Let the Games Begin!

I am so excited … I have loaded my dehydrator for the first time this season


Strawberries in the dehydrator - a wonderful thing indeed!

Strawberries in the dehydrator – a wonderful thing indeed!

Yes, these smell as good as they look.  My house is filled with a lovely fragrance. I just might hyper-ventilate from inhaling so much!

I may not be growing anything in my garden this year but I live among many farms and intend to keep my dehydrator running all summer long.

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Pet Emergency Plan

If you have pets, you need to have a plan, and supplies, to take care of them in the event of an emergency.  Your Family Emergency Plan and Important Documents need to include information to deal with these family members, as well as the human ones.

If you have livestock, you will need to have a plan for their care also – particularly if you will be unable to take them with you if you need to evacuate your home.  Not having livestock, I am not in a position to provide guidance regarding the needs of those animals.

Here is some direction for planning for our Fids (furry/feathered kids), the most common of which include dogs, cats, fish, birds, reptiles:

The information to include in your Family Emergency Plan includes:

Name – Species – Breed – Gender – Distinguishing Marks/Coloration – Age – Microchip Number – Medical Needs.  A picture would be useful also.

You will also want to identify possibly emergency shelters where your animals can stay such as pet-friendly hotels and boarding facilities.

 Your Important Documents should include all of the above information plus vaccination records and registration and/or licensing records.

Your Bug Out Bag (72-hour kit) needs to include supplies such as:

Food and food dish
Water and drinking dish (Amount: most dogs drink 1 oz per pound of body weight per day; cats about 75% of that)
Cage, carrier, or kennel for each
Blankets / bedding
Litter and litter box
Waste bags
Leash, collar, harness – with ID tags attached
Muzzle (Survival Mom reminds us “even gentle pets can become aggressive when stressed or in pain.”)
First aid supplies, many of which will already be in your people kit:

bandages and non-stick wound dressings, claw clippers, tweezers, styptic powder, sterile saline, cortisone cream, antibiotic ointment, medication syringe, hydrogen peroxide, any prescription medications your pet many be using, flea and tick medication, heartworm medication.

If your dog is large enough, you may be able to make a separate doggie backpack so he/she can carry some of the supplies.   If so, be sure to have him/her practice wearing and walking with it.

What additional items would you add for your pets?

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Plan Your Three-Month Food Supply

In the beginning, the counsel to keep a one year supply of food was to “Begin with basic items that will sustain life in an emergency.  Later, when you have acquired these basic items, consider storing items your family ordinarily eats.”  (Junior Wright Child)

By basic items, they meant wheat, powdered milk, honey, salt ….  This:


One-year food supply of "basic," life-sustaining foods

One-year food supply of “basic,” life-sustaining foods

The problem, especially as time went by, was that these items no longer fit into the modern diet.  The knowledge and skills to use these items to even “sustain life” dwindled away and it became harder and harder to follow the mantra “Store what you eat; eat what you store.”

Now, though, we are advised to:

 “Start with a Three-Month Supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet.  Add Extended Storage as you are able.”

One reason I really like this newer approach is the Adaptability it allows.  It doesn’t matter what type of cook you are, what kinds of foods you prefer, how many people are in your family:  you can develop a plan to acquire your family’s Three-Month Supply!

 The Three-Month Food Supply:

Includes things we eat on a daily basis

Includes canned foods, frozen foods, fresh foods

Is located in your fridge, freezer, cupboards, pantry

Turns our homes into our grocery store and our grocery store into our warehouse

Will help your family get through everyday emergencies

Establishing a Three Month Food Supply is not particularly difficult, but it does take planning and commitment.

 The Four Steps to Plan Your Three-Month Supply

#1 – What Do You Eat?

#2 –  What Ingredients Do You Need For Each Meal?

#3 – How Much of Each Ingredient Do You Need?

#4 – Do the math

 Step One:

If you want a one-week rotation of meals, write down 7 meals.  If you want a two-week rotation of meals, write down 14 meals.  Personally, I like having a two-week rotation for variety.  At this point, do not worry about shelf-stable; do not worry about improved nutrition; do not worry about summer fare vs. winter fare; do not count Thanksgiving or other special event meals.  An example of a list of dinners might look like:

Lumberjack Hash
Ritz Chicken
Sloppy Joes
Mexican Pasta
Sweet Tater Chicken
Chicken and Gravy over Rice
Shepherd’s Pie
White Chili
Chicken Alfredo
Chicken Stuffing Bake
Dump Chicken

 Step Two:

Identify the ingredients needed to make each meal.  Don’t forget side dishes.  If you’re a dessert person, also include those ingredients.

spaghetti pasta, cooked hamburger, spaghetti sauce, frozen vegetables, parmessan cheese

Lumberjack Hash
potatoes o’brien, ham steak, cheese, canned fruit

Ritz Chicken
raw chicken, ritz crackers, butter, frozen vegetables, mashed potatoes

Sloppy Joes
cooked hamburger, Manwich, hamburger buns, green beans

Mexican Pasta
cooked hamburger, salsa, diced tomatoes w green chili, black beans,
pasta, cheese, frozen vegetables, canned fruit

Sweet Tater Chicken
cooked chicken, sweet potatoes, green beans, rosemary, muffin mix, egg, canned fruit

Chicken/gravy over Rice
cooked chicken, gravy, rice, frozen vegetable, canned fruit

cooked hamburger, rotini pasta, baked beans, BBQ sauce, frozen vegetables

Shepherd’s Pie
cooked hamburger, cream of celery soup, mashed potatoes, shredded cheese, garlic powder, green beans, canned fruit

White Chili
cooked chicken, great northern beans, green chili, muffin mix, garlic

Chicken Alfredo
cooked chicken, frozen broccoli, alfredo sauce, bow-tie pasta, canned fruit

Chicken & Stuffing Bake
cooked chicken, Stovetop Stuffing, gravy, frozen vegetables, canned fruit

Sticky Chicken 
raw chicken, soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic,  rice, frozen vegetable, canned fruit

Meat Loaf
raw hamburger, onion, celery, carrots, green peppers, cracker crumbs, ketchup,
eggs, mashed potatoes, frozen vegetables, canned fruit

Step Three:

Determine how much of each ingredient you will need and write them down. You can use a worksheet like this to accomplish this step:

Blank Ingredients Worksheet

See a completed sample HERE

Step Four:

Transfer the information you’ve collected to an Excel spreadsheet (which does the math for you) or manually to a columnar format (basic addition and multiplication will determine your totals).

Here’s a sample of what you want it to look like when you are done:  Sample Completed Three-Month Supply Worksheet

Here’s an Excel spreadsheet you can use:   Three-Month Supply Excel Worksheet

Here’s a sheet you can print and write on if you don’t know how to use Excel or you just prefer to do things by hand:  Three-Month Supply Blank Worksheet
Once you get the information loaded on the handwritten worksheet, you can count across each row and multiply the totals on each row to determine the amount needed for a Two-Week Supply and for a Three-Month Supply.  Remember when you are calculating that there are 13 weeks, not twelve, in a three-month period.

Now, go forth and Plan!

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Emergency Information Cards

The one thing I liked about the emergency plan provided at was the Emergency Cards they included.  As I couldn’t link to just that part of their document, I tweaked the idea a bit (they were too scrunched up so the writing was hard to read) so I could have an Emergency Card available here.

Print out the page – on card stock for sturdiness, if possible.  Fill in the information on the left side of the card and other useful information (additional phone numbers, special needs of the individual, etc.) on the right side  Fold in half and laminate for durability. Have each family member carry one.

Emergency Cards

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