Sunday, May 31, 2015

Forget Me Not Apron

A big thank you to Liza Gray for making me this wonderful apron! It is forget me not fabric and the book is also forget me not. She knows how much I love President Uchtdorf’s talk on forget me nots.

I love your gift. Thank you!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Monday Message

Jam I canned last week using raspberries I froze last year (picture taken while they were still hot and sealing).

"We encourage you to grow all the food that you feasiblly can on your own property. Berry bushes, grapevines, fruit trees—plant them if your climate is right for their growth. Grow vegetables and eat them from your own yard" (Spencer W. Kimball, in Conference Report, Apr. 1976, 171; or Ensign, May 1976, 124). 

Last week I talked about tools one could use to assist in putting up your harvest. Our gardens probably all in now and it is time to think what will you dry, can, freeze…?  Then you need to learn how. You have time to learn, isn’t that great? Remember you can ask questions at the homemaking hot line 1-800-262-3804 if you live in Iowa and Minnesota.

Here's how my garden is looking this week...  if you cannot grow anything, or even if you can, this is great - you get more for the price of one.

I wanted to let you know that harvest season is not the only time in which I use home production items. I keep the dehydrator in the kitchen all year round. When you buy grapes and at the end they start to turn brownish and no one eats them, well throw in the dehydrator and you get raisins. If your apples lose their crispness, dry them and when you are picking herbs you can dry them. The list goes on and on.

The canner I use any time of year. If boneless chicken breast is on sale, buy it by the case and can it (this can apply to any meat).

I leave my food saver on the counter always, to think that is how I got it at a yard sale, the lady said it took up too much room on her counter. I use this all the time. I vacuum seal chocolate chips or nuts, plus so many other things I could never list. This week I made raspberry jam from berries that I froze in the fall using the recipe in the Sure-Jell package. Home production isn't just a seasonal thing, you can do it all year round. 

This brings me to jars... lids and rings, jars and rings can be reused but don’t toss out the used lids, keep them in a separate place from the new. The used lids are perfect for using in the vacuum sealer.
Stock lids for canning. I store rings on wire hangers I make like a giant safety pin. These are things to think on.

Sewing has been on my mind lately...

A good place to start: - Nancy give basics here.

These would be good to review or learn if you are new to this skill. I think every home should have a sewing machine. It does not need to be fancy or even new for that matter. I see them come in to goodwill every year and at yard sales. One of my favorites is my 40 year-old Kenmore. 

Even older is fine too. I have a 1950’s farmwife special that I truly love too. - this is helpful for gluten-free.

This would just plain be a great idea -

In all the storage talk I have on here I don’t want you to forget about water storage -

Remember, I am giving you lots of info each week. Some will work for you family and some will work now yet others later. This is not to be a stress, just a resource. It is not to be used as a contest over others. Nobody knows what you are going through... this is a resource to use at your own pace, nothing more.

Again, as always, if you come across a special put it out there for others to benefit from too.  

We are all in this together trying to follow the Prophet and take care of our families.

Keep working at your storage and skills, you can do it!

Basket making supplies

A big thank you to Melanie Moncur for the gift of basket making supplies and to Faith Wagner for bringing them to Iowa for me!

Thank you, Melanie, for thinking of me. I sure do appreciate it!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday Message

Taking advantage of sales is a great way to stock up on food storage. 

Gordon K. Bischoff, The Ensign, Sept. 1997, p. 67)
“Regardless of where we live or our financial situation, the path to preparation will open before us as we comply with the counsel of the prophets and go forward as means and circumstances permit.”

1 Nephi 3:7
“…I will go and do the things which the Lord hath’ commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”

I hope your gardens are in or soon will be. Having a garden has been a real blessing to us over the years. If you cannot garden perhaps some container gardening or a pot of herbs. Gathering supplies may seem like a lot to gather but consider it storage as well. Prepare every needful thing.

Hopefully you prepared for storms as this is the season. - cute read on being prepared. - helpful to visualize amounts. this will help you understand food storage. - good article, it is amazing how blessed we are and learning all these things will be most helpful to your family. - if you don’t yet have a dehydrator.

We have so many things pulling at us that we need to prioritize them, prepare every needful thing. Heed the warnings and the encouragement that we get from church leaders, how can we go wrong if we do that?

I know I hear lots of groans about food storage or when they think of me too I guess, but if you feel I get too preachy it is because I could tell you stories that would make you want to move it up to a high priority and they all would be my personal stories. Life takes turns faster than a roller coaster ride.

You don’t need to raise your hand but is your income great and no worries? How about family or friends? Things could happen you cannot even think of…like the 209 laid off workers at the turkey farm in Minnesota because of bird flu. Weird things you cannot predict. Hence, prepare for every needful thing. How huge is that? Too huge if you make it so but do a bit here and there and it will add up, it really will.

If you pick up some storage item every time you walk in ANY store, even Walmart carries bags of wheat, if you got one every trip how many bags would you need? If your funds are not good just get jello.

At the drug store pick up a box of bandaides. This gives you an idea, just start having that mindset. If you do this, it really is painless but if you can purchase things in cases do it. Take advantages of sales just make sure it is what you like to eat so you can eat your storage.

Treat your storage like a huge pantry “eat-replace-add more to it” you can quote me.

Make a list of what you need and carry it with you so you can refer to it.

You could still do some planting, it is not too late!

One more thing, when you have five dollars ask yourself what you would have wished you had spent that on if you had nothing... then see if you spend it differently. 

Keep working on your skills. Learn to make dresses, much can be saved from knowing how to sew!

Keep doing the best you can!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Monday Message

"The best place to have some food set aside is within our homes. . .
"We can begin ever so modestly. We can begin with a one week's food supply and gradually build it to a month, and then to three months. . . . I fear that so many feel that a long-term food supply is so far beyond their reach that they make no effort at all.
"Begin in a small way, . . . and gradually build toward a reasonable objective." (Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley, Oct 2002 and quoted again in April 2007)

With gardening season upon us I wanted to remind you about planting tomatoes. Here in Iowa and other areas in the U.S. there are cut worms. I could not find a picture so here is how I do my preventative measure…

Take a piece of newspaper one inch by three inches, this you want to wrap around the stem of the of the tomato plant like a little skirt. You want this paper so that half is below and half above the soil line, kind of like a "+" sign. The horizontal line represents the soil line, the vertical line represents the paper on the stem. Cut worms can’t be seen just your plant, cut right through is evidence they were there.

Here is a method I tried this year

Now that you planted your garden it is now time to learn how to preserve it.

Here are the methods I use...

Storing dried food in jars that are vacuum sealed
Freeze i.e. I picked and froze raspberries so sometime this week or next I shall can them into jam.

Things I use...

I will put these up not to advertise but I want you to see the pictures so you know what they look like if you run across them at yard sales or thrift stores.  it is good to know how much they run new but keep your eyes open. My first one of these I got at goodwill for five dollars. As long as it works any one will do. Many I have paid three dollars for at yard sales. But now you can see what it looks like and what to look for if getting used plug in to be sure it works before you buy it. - this is the pressure canner that I have, only mine is thirty or forty years-old. I bought it used for ten dollars. Can you believe I thought hard on if we could afford the ten dollar expense?  Look at that price in the link. Mine can hold a double layer of pints 19-20 pints depending on the jars.

What I want you to take away from this is they are good forever it seems. The gauge works can be replaced for about fifteen dollars. This canner has metal on metal, meaning there is no gasket that needs replacing. So because a canner is old don’t pass it up, a few more dollars and it is good as new. Wendy Dewitt got hers on eBay. Some were 80 years-old, so keep your eyes peeled. Know what you are looking for remember Pressure canner not "cooker." this you are sure to see often at yard sales. Often they are passed down. Again I got one from a friend. These are used to do tomatoes, pickles, fruits and jam not meat or vegetables. this is what I use most often instead of the water bath shown above but I keep it for a back up. The steamer canner is for the things mentioned above for the water bath. I can at times have two steamer canners going at once. Knowing what it is called and what it looks like helps you keep an eye out. My second one cost three dollars new, unopened at a yard sale. Knowing what it was helped me while at the yard sale. this is very useful as well. I use it to blanch my tomatoes and peaches to help take off their skins. I use it to blanch green beans and also potatoes to prepare to be dried. I got mine at a yard sale. I see them often at yard sales. gamesaver-deluxe/T000-33270-P.html#start=15&sz=12  this is a close picture of the one I have. Mine is an older version. I got it new from a yard sale, ten dollars. I think everyone needs to have some sort of vacuum sealer. When looking for them be sure that it has a port for a tube. This picture shows a dark small circle that is what you want.  now you may not find one at yard sales but you never know, but keep in mind that you can check out a wheat grinder at church or borrow from others until you are ready for your own

On May 19th in the Ankeny Second Ward Relief Society at 7pm I will give a fifteen minute mini class on using one, but I want you to see what they look like. Along with this you would really benefit from a tall canister that goes with it.

These are things to be on the look out for when you start this yard sale season. If you already have an item and see one please let others know...we can help each other.

One more thing is collecting canning jars, quarts and pints, also jelly jars.

This may seem like quite a list and, well, it is. But there are several ways to gather them. If you have the money and can purchase them, that is fantastic! It took me years to get mine. If you do not have the money, when your family asks what you want for b-day or Christmas, this would be one way to get them. You could also ask on freecycle or shop thrift stores..

I find that when these things are on your mind or on your list when you go yard saling you might find them easier.

I can tell you that I have seen everything I listed at yard sales so it does happen.

Let your friends and family know what you are looking for, many more eyes can help in your search.

I am sure some would say, why would I want these.…?

I would say that there is so much you can do better than you can buy. You can buy that canned chicken in the store for lots or you can make your own jars of chicken for a much better price and unbeatable flavor. Try to find a pint or quart of roast... oh the best ever roast!

Ask Carolyn Senn how she likes home canned tomatoes.

If, like me, it takes awhile that is okay too. Learn all you can about home production. Remember to get all the current times and pressure, call the home extension number. Those living in Iowa and Minnesota  #1-800-262-3804. Also check to see if your county is offering classes.

I think you will find this is very much a frugal thing. When we eat tomatoes we still have the jar to fill again. Though you cannot use the lid to can again you can use it to vacuum seal so no waste…a tin can you usually throw away.

I even dry my herbs.

Is it lots of work to garden and put up food? Yes it is...but we are not afraid of hard work right?

Those who came before would have loved to use the things we have now available to us.

So put your garden in or go to the farmers markets. Learn to put up your food no matter which method you choose. I know a lady who does not can but dehydrates gallons of fruits and vegetables.

I encourage you to involve your children.

Keep working on your storage, keep building your skills do the best you can.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Monday Message

Learning to can meat like the chicken in the picture is a great skill to learn so you can build your food storage.

"Let us be in a position so we are able to not only feed ourselves through home production and storage, but others as well" (Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, Oct. 1980, 48; or Ensign, Nov. 1980, 34). 

With droughts and earthquakes that are in the news of late, have you thought it could be you going through that trial? What if you were in California and you had to ration water, how would you manage? How would you cope? What if your livelihood was at risk, what would you do? How could you grow a garden under those conditions? Can you learn from the past and what you hear others are doing? What if everyone near you lost everything, how many could you help with the storage you have right now? We can’t be too helpful if we did not heed wise counsel from the Prophet. Now just think if you had heeded you could go give aid instead of waiting for aid. Just something to think about.

Once there was a bad ice storm in Canada, when it was over and utilities were restored people wrote of their trials and what they had learned. I read, taking notes, they had to stretch what food they had not knowing when they could get more, the same with water and what about heat? Most places north have a wood heat source but when wood started to run low they would have to get some branches that were snapping and falling all around them but could kill if you were out. 

They would go out and start the car to hear any news of when the power would be restored. At night they needed a source of light. One lady wrote she would light candles in jars to put in the bathroom as she had little boys and she wanted them to see. She said after two weeks the thing that was driving her the most crazy was not being able to vacuum.  She said it was pretty bad with dragging in wood and such. I remembered what they had said thinking what would I do if it were me? That summer I happened on a yardsale and stopped. There was a carpet sweeper for 75 cents well I bought it without thinking twice as I remembered what the one lady said that bothered her the most.

We may not know how to prepare for everything that can happen but we need to do the best we can. - this will be helpful in getting you started on food storage.

After nine months of living on your storage what do you think you would have wished you had put in your storage?

Life is busy that is true but if suddenly you found out your income has come to a sudden and unexpected stop the grocery list you already made ready that now you cannot use... this always seems to be at the rottenest time. Then what would would you do if you could go ahead and get groceries? How would you shop differently? I have had to do this and my list totally switched. Instead of sugar cereal I got oatmeal, instead of fast foods I got food that could be made into many meals. It changes your whole way of thinking.

You never blame each other, this rips at the family. What you do is circle the wagons, work together. Assess skills, talents, assets... yes things will be hard. You will feel like nothing will ever get better. You will feel very alone. This is what Satan wants so be upbeat for the kids. Bake my chocolate cake, play fun games together, pray together.

So before this happens learn the skills that will bless your family and make a bad time not so bad brush up on or learn to garden before you need desperately to garden. learn to make things you would normally buy. make your own noodles and save money... I have tiny Noah’s ark and animals wouldn't that be fun for family night to do chicken soup and these could be the animal noodles? - this is good to know how to make in time of stress. this is kind of an overview of grinding wheat. I remind you that a wheat grinder can be checked out from the Ankeny ward's building just check it out from the Relief Society presidents. basic sewing project. this is very helpful to be able to make your own. A few minutes helps you not to have to go to store kids in tow, saves money and is better for you. - helpful to plan and stay in budget too. this helps with busy times and saves from eating out.

Canning - now is the time if you do not know how then learn. Because after living nine months so far on our storage I am thankful I learned to can and worked hard canning meat, fruit and vegetables. Knowing how to can meat is the big difference and I will tell you it is easier to can than vegetables. I have chicken, hamburger, roast, pork and turkey. So look for a pressure canner, dehydrators, food savers... things that will help you be frugal and be an asset to your storage.

Look for them on sale but prices at yard sales are better. No pressure canners grow old but keep working with a little up keep so don’t let that steer you away! Sister Dewitt uses several that are like 75 years old. Dehydrators and vacuum sealers - simply plug them in at the yard sale and if they are clanking its not a good deal. For a food sealer you need to push down on the lid to make it work. So as the season of yard sales is upon us make a list so you are not led astray. Also be on the look out for canning jars and as you pick up groceries pick up a few packs of canning lids each time. Also water bath canners for doing pickles, fruit and tomatoes, jams and jellies too.

Do the best you can and work on your storage and supplies.
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