Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Message

Making do and loving it! Check out a recipe for making your own laundry soap HERE

"The Lord has warned us of famines, but the righteous will have listened to prophets and stored at least a year’s supply of survival food" (Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, Oct. 1973, 90; or Ensign; Jan. 1974, 80).

There are so many reasons to have storage. We have talked about complacency and how easy it is to think things will always be good or better but I think there is hardship involved with this way of thinking.

I can tell you we would be in a much tougher situation now if we had not heeded warnings to get our storage in. Did we forgo things we would have wanted or better clothes or better house new car…?We did. Now that we live off our storage I can tell you I would have despised any of those things now in time of need.

As I have been gathering info for all of you I came across this lady's blog - she is a member of the church. In a lot of ways I can relate to her story... my husband's work was so tied to the economy that we felt down turn effects before others, then when it would get better we were first to feel that as well. But by the time her husband's work was affected lots of were us included then add age and health, it was our turn to ride in the bumpy cart. 

I am thankful now for all the good times so I could build a storage. I am thankful for all the hard times as that is really when I learned the most to prepare me for this time. We don’t have kids at home but as you read her story put yourself in her spot or maybe like me you are in this spot already having to deal with small income then you can learn a lot from her. 

What I like is that she adapts in positive ways and works with what she has. She doesn’t strike me as blaming, sulky, unhappy, hateful, whiny… but instead she is an inspiration to all of us. You might feel like you are all alone and the weight of the world on your shoulders but really you are never alone. 

One job we took was out East we sold our house, took our girls to NH. It was hard. Six months later we lost our job, the company was having troubles and we did not know it… last hired, first fired. That is how we started out doing our own business. It was slow and sparse but by the end of the next six months everyone but the boss and secretary were gone. Several called us to hire them so we weren’t alone that time but I tell you this so you can prepare. Life goes up and down, when you are up, you had better prepare for the down turns.

So read this gal's story. I am not all the way through as there is so much wonderful things you will learn a lot:

If you don’t read anything else in this message read this next one… I always tell Heavenly Father if He sends me the food I will put it up even though there are two of us. I still put up all I can get my hands on cause I do not know when the next will be and we have been blessed by good friends who will let us know if they hear of something. So yes, let others know because times are hard on many us and many times we don’t say anything but we truly work hard for what is given us. 

While reading this we have lived off our storage for three years and it is hard to see the shelves start to deplete in areas though I am grateful many things I was well stocked in, but read the last paragraph of this article -, it brings tears to my eyes as I take courage.

If you are serious on getting your storage in, put in prayers and you will find opportunities.

Keep plugging away and if you are tired and it is something to put away just keep on pushing, yes, you will still be tired but will have a sense of peace.

With prices continuing to go up… - this will inspire you for sure, doesn’t that pantry look wonderful? good info

Now I know that I mostly stuck with this gal's site but she has said all the things I have said before but she does it better. - this is a great thing if you have leftovers, meat, potatoes, veggies or leftover pizza sauce or tomato sauce... I think you see that this is very useful. I thought this was a good idea if not everyone likes it the same way.

Keep having a good summer, hit yard sales for school supplies and school clothes. Remember you can mend things so get at the cheaper prices.

Keep building your skills and keep working at storage :)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday Message

Rhubarb pie filling fresh out of the canner, an excellent addition to food storage, yum! You can find the recipe HERE.

“As we have been continuously counseled for more than 60 years, let us have some food set aside that would sustain us for a time in case of need. But let us not panic nor go to extremes. Let us be prudent in every respect.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, October 2001)

Definition of prudent:
Sagacious in adapting means to ends; circumspect in action, or in determining any line of conduct; careful, discreet, sensible; -- opposed to rash; directed by prudence or wise forethought; evincing prudence; careful in providing for the future; provident.

“Prudent in every respect” so we could say don’t be wasteful or to live frugally in every way. I think you can dissect this down to the very most basics.

At this time in history advertisers are very good at their marketing. They play on your being tired. They want you to go out to eat, they want you to buy gadgets you’ve never needed before. They make it look like the most horrid thing to peel eggs or chop veggies to the point the lady in the infomercial has eggs in her hair... do you get eggs in your hair when you peel them? At the holidays they say get one gift and get yourself one too, you deserve it, that sort of thing.

Traps are set everywhere. You need the latest clothes, the latest gadgets, toys, cars, or _____ you fill in anything that comes to mind. I know people who have storage units rented for things that don’t fit in their homes. I am not hating on things, some are very useful but some become ball and chains around our ankles and budgets.

It doesn’t help that our kids want the next gimmick out and if they don’t get it they face bad stuff at school, this is hard. As we cave to this kind of pressure I don’t think we are helping our kids.

How will you be remembered? Will it be for having this that and the other thing or for what you did for others? As I look back to my friends who passed away I can’t remember what they had but I sure do remember how kind and caring they were… just something to think on.

My good friend Liza Gray made me an apron and sent me a book called Forget-me-not by Janda Sims Kelley.  In that book i found this…

“The greatest thing that most of us ever have to do in this world is to do the little things that come to us just the very best we can.” - very good article if you go in and read about them, very impressive. We always could tell when the economy would take a down turn and were first to know when it got better. I can tell you we still are not improved in economy. If you were affected by the economy this is a must read and if not this is a must read for the future. - more helpful info - very good ideas for cooking from the pantry. good pantry and food storage article. - this is a nice storage room… notice how canning enhances the storage? Just makes you want to stock up, doesn’t it? - this looks yummy for sure. - this would be fun to make for family nite. - yum - inexpensive - making your own crackers is easier than you think. - it is not too early to start working on Christmas gifts.

This was a wonderful site to visit and get inspired from. A lot of good things in there to try and learn!

Enjoy and be inspired!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Garden update

The garden is growing fast. The tallest and light green are peas. The rows are green beans, there are tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, zucchini. 

I have volunteer pumpkin, radishes, lettuce and green onions in the turtle, out front spaghetti squash, acorn and butternut squash, muskmelon and watermelon. Cucumbers and dill too. I do hope they all grow!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Monday Message

“We all need to build a personal ark . . . And we shouldn’t wait until it starts raining, but prepare in advance. This has been the message of all the prophets in this dispensation . . . as well as the prophets of old. Unfortunately we don’t always heed the clear warnings of our  prophets. We coast complacently along until calamity strikes, and then we panic. When it starts raining, it is too late to begin building the ark. However, we do need to listen to the Lord’s spokesmen. We need to calmly continue to move ahead and prepare for what will surely come. We need not panic or fear, for if we are prepared, spiritually and temporally, we and our families will survive any flood. Our arks will float on a sea of faith if our works have  been steadily and surely preparing for the future.” (W. Don Ladd, October 1994 General Conference)

When things are going well in our lives it is hard to think anything will ever go wrong again… and then life happens. We need to prepare for those "life happens" episodes. Yep, they are going to happen. You can suffer through them or suffer a bit less. Remember chocolate cake helps! Store things for that if nothing else, okay store other things too but chocolate cake will help everyone cope better and if it is not your crisis then take the chocolate cake to the person whose life challenges are upon them.

Remember store your food properly! I once went to a food storage fair, different families had different areas to bring food from, kind of like a pot luck. Someone had stored their egg noodles maybe in a bucket maybe not but for sure they had been stored directly on concrete, eeeeeewwwwwww it was so very nasty tasting. So unless you want to eat that I recommend you put wood between storage and concrete and carpet does not count, it has to be wood.

Also proper caring for your storage: ROTATION! Would you like the taste of twenty year old vegetable shortening or oil? No! The rancid infiltrates the flavor of the food, ick on steroids.

So if you have 14 cans of shortening (I just a tossed out a number) you just used up a can and need to get another, so you go to your storage, take the can from the front. Now go to your grocery list and put it at the top of list. Then when you get home with it you put it away to the back, dating it with a pen is idea good too.  Now you have fourteen cans, how then does it go bad??

You decide, I will just buy one and stick it in the cupboard and I will save myself a trip to the basement then when you really need to have it your storage will be nasty. Then there is "I have fourteen so why bother to replace? I will then have more spending $." In time you will need to run down to the basement for more and to your shock you have none.  Same as putting it in front and pulling from front, the old gets rancid.

This is just simple math and a sense of peace.

One more thing, if you buy something on sale just because it is on sale and you know no one likes it (like lima beans) do not convince yourself "if they are hungry enough they will eat it." No, they will not really. Lima beans are just misunderstood. This too is why you need variety. Food fatigue is a real thing so work with your budget and start or enhance your storage. 

Personally at the ripening age of 59 I have seen many things. I have seen what a trucker’s strike can do to Rapid City, SD. I walked into the store mostly to just pick up something for storage. What did I find? Dog food just a few bags and some vanilla. I tell you I have never seen such a thing. I was glad I had storage a few years earlier and we wouldn't yet had we not been members of the church.  They looked a lot like this minus anyone with stuff in the cart -

We all have seen disaster after disaster, we know they cannot be predicted.

I have seen over the years that food storage for many is getting harder and harder to gather with higher prices and lower pay or no pay at all.

If I told you that you had to buy your food storage all this one day? For so many reasons that is way too hard and you would not able to do it in any way. What if you got a little each time you went to the store? Which is lots more doable and lets you take advantage of sales. It is almost painless. Just get into the habit, have a running list in your purse or wallet.

What will you have wished you had bought if you had a spare five dollars and you ended up with no income?? You would probably kick yourself for eating out when that money could have gone into future needs for the whole family. I am not hating on the eating out, I'm just asking what would you wish you would have bought?

Back at the time of the trucker’s strike stores had more food in them. Now if there was an emergency there is 24 hours of food in the grocery stores. If the weather maybe fine here but not between or on the shipping route and roadways, it will take longer than normal to get going again. You can see given all the people who rely solely on the stores they could be in real trouble. 

Oh I know what you are thinking, nothing much can happen in Iowa… Stop and play the "what if" game. Sure, we probably won’t have a hurricane but we have had the remnants. We have had flooding, we have had bad tornadoes - even in November. There are fires, things small and grand less you think "well at least we don’t get earthquakes" think again. True we haven’t had big ones yet but I can remember feeling the effects of one when living in a town five miles to our north with my little preschoolers. At the time I did not know it was a quake I think in Missouri but Laura and I are very sensitive to motion and we both got sick at once. It was not till the next day that it was an earthquake being felt, I can’t imagine being in an epicenter. So yes, we can have them here and they might not be so small. 

Look at the horrid flooding in 1993. It is not forgotten in these parts where Des Moines lost their drinking water in the floods then eventually Ankeny. We had water in Slater and our town was sending water. We had people come shower and do laundry and fill up water. I can remember after sacrament we were dismissed to go help sand bag. in the end the water plant was breached  those who lived here at that time remember well. water everywhere. it was a bad time all over Iowa. - Woodward. I can remember all churches in the area, Ankeny too, working in unison.!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/gallery_1200/gal-year-12-jpg.jpg  if this doesn’t show real need. Our basement flooded that year and the insurance man came to see and he did not go down very far and said just be glad this is not as bad as Parkersburg. As bad as that was for us yes we were feeling blessed. - crippling ice storm, some people were out of power for two weeks ask Sandra Carnahan Ankeny 1st ward, just how much fun was it Sandra??

Complacency is thinking it will never happen here. Life is good, nothing can happen now. Tell it to anyone who lived these things…remember these were not "oh well that was a hundred years ago." It was not all that long ago, and this was just a few then expand out from there to other states then other countries. It doesn't matter where you live.

I guess we don’t have to look too far to see how bad things could be.

Those pictures are in our wonderful state of Iowa and not that long ago either. As wonderful and beautiful as it is in Iowa, we must be prepared along with everyone else.

For those new to these things it will be an eye opener, to those who lived it a stroll down memory lane.

What do you wish you would have had in storage? Has that answer changed? What if you were wet dirty tired and hungry? Food for thought.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Monday Message

Grow things in your yard to eat! Here is a picture of the raspberry patch outside our house.

This talk I think should be in the front of everyone’s binder on storage. L. Tom Perry passed away last week but we all will remember his words, so to that I put this talk in our Monday Message.

“We must also be anxiously engaged in a positive program of preparation.”

“Live within your means. Get out of debt. Keep out of debt. Lay by for a rainy day which has always come and will come again. Practice and increase your habits of thrift, industry, economy, and frugality” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1937, p. 107).

These two quotes and others from this talk could be on our refrigerators to remind us daily.

Before I give you this link to look at, I would remind you that you would want to add tithing and there are other things that are not of our belief. Just pull out the good info and make it work for your life - there is helpful information that you can use. - lets work hard to live within our means.

What if you cannot afford something, what then?? What would you do?? Would you be content with what you have? Would you find a way to make do with what you have? Is it that simple? Perhaps you would like a cake but have no funds, you could make one. I know this is a very simple way to put it, but it gets my point across.

Working together with your spouse is very important! If one keeps to the budget and the other does not it is very hard indeed to live within your means. Does it take love, sacrifice and lots of work to live within your means? Definitely hard work and sacrifice and love. Working together you can accomplish much more.

I have known people where one spouse is selfish and also another where they all are selfish. We must remember that this is not of God. But Heavenly Father wants us to do for ourself as best we can and He fills in the difference.

In Sunday school last week we learned sometimes I pray our finances will improve but that maybe I should be asking for Heavenly Father to help me be strong enough to work with what I have and have the energy with no backlash from my health. (I have Fibromyalgia)

I won’t lie and say it is easy for it is hard work to make ends meet.   Living frugally is hard. Putting in a garden is hard. To keep ahead of the weeds, then the canning, drying and such. Seems the harder times are the harder I must work. It is well worth it to help your family.

How ungrateful I would be if asking for food then was unwilling to put it up. - a great site for our gluten-free friends. gluten-free substitutions

In Relief Society I was reminded of just how busy you all are. When the kids grow up you tell yourself there will be more time but unfortunately somehow that does not happen and you can find yourself busier than when you were the family cab driver. Yep, life does not slow down and remember ladies you will never get to retire. You still cook, clean and do laundry. So sitting in a rocking chair really only happens when rocking your babies.

Now is the time that things gets busier. Kids home all summer, usually six hours into it you hear the, "I'm bored" words.

Remember it is now that those skills can be taught to the future missionaries, college kids and wives and husbands of the future.

What I wish I would have learned..

-How to play piano
-How to sew, even to sew a button on or hem
-How to bake bread (one family had lots of kids they were all taught to bake bread and took turns)
-How to do laundry, not just to fold everything but how to wash and how to use a Laundromat
-How to fix a family meal, have the kids take turns
-How to grocery shop
-How to cook frugally
-How to be content
-How to budget
-How to can food
-How to love to garden
-How to_____, you fill in the blank. There are so many things that we can learn and we can teach.

I think you can think back to just starting out and what you wish you had learned then teach those things to your kids. These will help your kids have a leg up. - this is Washington Univ. but the info is for everywhere. 

I once listened to a speaker about Russia and how some things were not handed down because of cost and what a loss to them for generations to come.

Pick one thing you would like to learn this summer (I have picked weaving). You pick_____ (fill in the blank). Now what do you do? Check online for information, google it, go to library inter library loan, search YouTube…is it difficult? Yes. To weaving I am finding it difficult, how did they ever come up with this?

Break it down, learn one step at a time, make an outline list and check it off as you learn that step. Is there anyone who does this you could ask for help learning? In my case, it is my sister. You have much going on in your life but 1. you're not dead, 2. you don’t have a deadline so take as long as you like,  3. it is good to keep on learning even if you are slow and ache like me.

Remember you won’t be graded, thank goodness. In my case there is a huge learning curve and I am a basket weaver so this should come easy... Nope, it's a whole other animal! But I will push on. Like you, I am busy with the garden and life, but I am pushing on to learn. Now I am working on a sampler of weaves, it's just a step but at least it's step towards my goal.

What do you want to learn?? I would love to hear your answer and hear how you do! No test, no one to please but yourself and you do not have to be perfect.

Whenever I have taught basket making the best basket is the first one someone makes.

Find ways to work smarter not faster. This is my goal, I want to slow down and enjoy my journey, that is my goal too.

Life is fleeting, so push your kids five more minutes in the swings, give more hugs and to quote my sister in law, Lynette Sherer…"hug and don’t be the first to let go,” this is wonderful, thanks Net!

It is okay to have toys on the floor. When I walk into someone's house and toys are on the floor, my thought is... FUN is had here!

So enjoy your family, let fun be had at your house.

Keep working on your storage and if you did not take the time to read Elder Perry’s talk go back to the top and do so.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Monday Message

This message is a lot about storing wheat/flour. Above is a picture of my favorite wheat bread, you can get the recipe HERE.

"In words of revelation the Lord has said, "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing" (D&C 109:8). Our people for three-quarters of a century have been counseled and encouraged to make such preparations as will assure survival should a calamity come. We can set aside some water, basic food, medicine, and clothing to keep us warm.  We ought to have a little money laid aside in case of a rainy day." Gordon B. Hinckley - this site has very helpful ideas and substitutes for eggs. Even if you are not gluten free this is a wealth of info. - summer is coming.

Why is it important to learn to make your bread? It is one of those skills that is so very helpful to your family, never goes out of style, and is life sustaining.

Dick’s grandma once said to us “the next depression will be different, it will take a wheel barrow of money to buy a loaf of bread.” That always sticks in my mind.

So I say then, knowing how to make bread and storing supplies to do so are worth more than the wheel barrow of money.

I still store buckets of flour. Rotating, I get three to four years storing time, five sometimes, but I really want you to rotate.

At this time of my life I make all our bread, hamburger buns and rolls. And I say we use about 25 lbs a flour a month. I rounded that up. So how many buckets of flour do the Shooks need to store for one year?? Yep, 12 buckets. These buckets are five gallon buckets they hold a 25 lb bag of flour which I open and dump into my bucket (you do not want to store flour in their bags as this can carry bugs plus they can contaminate the rest wiping out your flour supply). 

Lay two bay leaves on top of the flour, place the lid on and DATE and LABEL. The bay leaves keep bugs out. This has always worked. No, the bay leaves do not flavor the flour, but I use two that I lay on top of the flour so when I go to open the bucket I know I am looking for two bay leaves. I rake the top with my fingers to find and remove them, so when I have two I know I got them all.  I then dump flour in my using can. If you miss one I am sure it won’t taste good in pancakes. I then put 25 lbs flour on my list to get. To replace, use two more bay leaves and change date.

I never stored wheat. I am not a fan of red wheat and it is hard on my system. I figured I would have to make up for it by storing flour.

Then I went to a class at Donna Jo Smith’s house. They showed how to grind wheat. I had just gotten a recipe for a wheat bread that I wanted to try. I asked Sister Morris who brought a 25lb bag of wheat to grind (it was fantastic to watch the wheat berries grind into flour). I asked Sis Morris if I could have just enough wheat flour to try the recipe… I made the recipe, loved the bread and told my sister all about the class. I gave her a slice of bread and she liked it too. They showed us white wheat, I had never known any but the red so this changed everything.

I started getting in this magical white wheat... a week or so later the UPS guy came with a wheat grinder my sister ordered me one, she is so good to me

Now armed with a grinder (p.s. I have a manual one from Brother Kruger so if I ever had to, but it makes great cracked wheat) I went to work gathering white wheat, doing the same... two bay leaves on top, placing the lid on and so forth. But the bucket life is way longer 25 years plus. Again with rotation. If anyone has had a loaf of bread from freshly ground white wheat you would never ask why would you store wheat. Wheat berries - 25 years or longer shelf life making FRESH flour when ever you need it. Compare to buying wheat flour it has a very very short life, you should freeze the flour within a week shelf life. This is why storing wheat berries is so important.

I would go to the church cannery and buy bags of this marvelous wheat. The man working there said are you making bread with this? I nodded to the affirmative, he said to be sure to store wheat gluten. I had not thought of this, I had used this in the special bread recipe so I set at once to store this too. If I pin poke a hole in the bag of gluten that comes in a box (by the way if i poke the bag once i can get two bags in a qt jar then i can vac seal the jar) this bag is okay to keep in the jar. By doing this method I don’t have to cut a coffee filter to set on the powdered gluten which I would have to do to protect my sealer.

If you have what it takes to make bread for a year that is a huge boost to your storage. I store many bags of yeast in the freezer. When I open one to put the yeast in a quart jar with a lid, I store this in refrigerator. Then it grows. If you have a slice of bread what do you want on it? Peanut butter and jelly and jam and honey and the fixins for chicken salad? See where this goes?

The neat thing about the white wheat is the color is very close to white bread if kids turn up their nose at the color of wheat bread.

The other thing I do is slice the bread with an electric knife. I do the whole loaf at once. It looks like a loaf you would get from a bakery.  So be watching for electric knives while yardsaling as well... good info more on wheat look at these terrific recipes yum.

Here is the garden update...   

Pictured above are the raspberry bushes. See those baby berries? 

The garden is growing fast as I imagine that yours is. The weeds are keeping me busy.

Last week at church I showed vacuum sealing things like chocolate chips, dried spinach and dried celery leaves, nuts, raisins, craisins, pasta and more. If you missed me teaching go ahead and drop me an email I would be happy to tell you about it!

Keep working on home storage, you're doing a great job!
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