Monday, January 27, 2020

Monday Message

"My brothers and sisters, I feel our anxieties are justified. It is the opinion of many that more difficult times lie ahead. We are deeply concerned about the welfare of our people and recognize the potential privation and suffering that will exist if each person and family does not accept the word of the Lord when he says, 'Prepare every needful thing.'" (D&C 88:119)  (Victor L. Brown) 

Prepare every needful thing is quite a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. Just take it a step at a time.

Look at your budget. It may be tight but look at areas you can cut down on and use the difference to get a bit stocked up. When you go to a store pick up one item extra for storage or don't go out to eat and use the money you would have spent to stock up. I am sure you will find a way...I know some have used tax returns so whatever method you use it is important that you do it.

This also means be working on building those skills.

Ask yourself - if I had no money what would I have wished I had stored? What would I wish I had learned?

Dry beans - do you know how to fix them? or ... - here she shows using an electric pressure cooker. - she shows how to can dry beans. Why would you do this? Because it is way cheaper and a big convenience.

Now if you already know how to do this or you learn these things, you can check them off your skill building list.

There are two reasons why I mentioned dried beans... One is that at the moment they are a cheap storage item, a cheap protein, and they are easy to store. You can fill buckets with beans but they can just set on the shelf as they come from the store. The second reason is if you follow the farming news beans didn't do well with all the flooding.

If you intend to store beans then know how to cook and use them.

At this point I will bring up spices and herbs...they last a lot longer then you are led to believe. So be sure to store them! You can grow some and dry them too.

Rice do you know how to cook rice? - rice is another value food to store.

I store my rice in several ways, in buckets with three bay leaves set on top the rice and I also have some in jars vacuum sealed.

My favorite way of having rice is with sugar and cinnamon and milk, no doubt from my Nordic roots.

This brings me to powdered milk, sugar, oatmeal, salt, oil and shortening, flour and wheat etc.

Making sure you have baking soda, baking powder, YEAST!... all the basics and then add to them.

For example, if you store the ingredients to make bread, also store peanut butter and jam and honey. Also canned chicken, relish and mayonnaise... see where I am going? So I guess what I like best is to store ingredients.

One time there was this wonderful sale on hamburger helper stuff in a box. I got tons, it was a great sale. Guess what? As time marched on we noticed they tasted saltier and saltier till we could no longer eat them. Yep, I no longer store those but store the ingredients to make up my own when I desired to have them. - you can see her recipes, basic ingredients that I have in storage...what about the hamburger? I have canned hamburger so canning in all it's forms a great skill to learn.

Hopefully this gives you a way of looking at food storage differently. 

You probably have all the ingredients to try some of the recipes already on hand.

On my skill building you all remember my getting a sock machine for my birthday.

I have always wanted one and my sister remembered and found this for me, what a great sister!

I worked and worked trying to figure it out, after all how much harder then my knitting machines could it be????

But it was not as straight forward as all that...

I read and read, then attempted, Nope.

Read and read some more and watched on YouTube. One was on cleaning it. So carefully I took it apart and cleaned every part, oiled it, put it back together...


So I changed out all the needles cleaning them...


I dropped many stitches, I just couldn't make it work...

This went on all year. I got really good at making messy yarn nests but still nothing.

I got so fast at hanging and casting on I could probably do that in a minute or less.

I kept working my way through my waste yarn but each time was a fail. I continued to read, attempt, fail, watch YouTube and fail.

In my mind it should work. This is so basic, every video I watched they never ever dropped a stitch, so then why do I??

I knew I needed to learn more on tension, perhaps that was it...

Then I got the cold flu that lasted four weeks. I am finally just better now...but since I had to rest so much I took my books on sock machine to read but after three days holding a book wasn't going to happen. So I opted to watch YouTube over and over on the CSM (circular sock machine). 

I watched and watched and watched, nobody dropped stitches but then while rewatching several someone finally mentioned tension. They said your working yarn should be same as the space between rows. Finally, was that so hard?? It wasn't in anything I read or watched till then. So I wrote it in my book, watched another and they said oil the latches...what?? I oiled all but those thinking I shouldn't. I wrote it down too.

Then I did both and...

I was able to get it to work but kept dropping two stitches every time so I changed out the two needles remembering to oil their latches and...

That was the problem and I was off...

So here is my very first sock tube. I stuck to it and because of it all I now know the CSM inside and out.

The tube became a pair of socks. I hand knit the heels, toes, and cuffs.

If you are working on a skill just keep working and you will master it. Keep working on your storage and remember store what you eat.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Monday Message

"Home storage should consist of a year’s supply of basic food, clothing, and, where possible, fuel. After this goal is reached, emergency and expanded storage is desirable.” (Barbara B. Smith)
 The counsel to have a year’s supply of basic food, clothing, and commodities was given fifty years ago and has been repeated many times since. Every father and mother are the family’s storekeepers. They should store whatever their own family would like to have in the case of an emergency … [and] God will sustain us through our trials." (James E. Faust)

Fifty years is a long time and stresses to my mind how very important home storage is. - very helpful. - recipes. - here is home storage center info. - look at the apple and popcorn recipe, yum! Very good recipes. - good to read.

So I am covering a lot on food storage cause if you haven't started working on it I cannot think of one reason not to. I can think of a lot or reasons to do it. - I love this gal. - isn't her pantry wonderful? Search around on her site, she tells how she gets Christmas gifts. She gets used and makes them, a true inspiration.

Make a plan to set aside a little to get things like dehydrator, pressure canner, vacuum sealer, jars and canning equipment, sewing machine and equipment for that, even bread pans. What you need to do is haunt thrift stores but make a list of what you need and stick to the list, don't be tempted to get shiny things.

If you see sewing notions or crochet hooks, knitting needles, oil lamps, fabric, yarn, etc. allow to get these and other items that will help you in your goals.

Along this vein, I hope that your thrift stores are still thrifty. The one near me that I have gotten good deals from in the past is doing unfortunate things. They used to have all yarn be .99 but I noticed different prices lately. I picked one out that said 2.99, it was only a fifty gram ball. I asked the manager as she walked by if that was the correct price. She said yep. I explained they used to be all a flat price and that they were now all priced different prices. She took the yarn in my hand and then did something I was amazed to see. She scanned the QR code on the label handed it back to me and said it is correct. Well I tossed it back and said nope, I could go next door and buy new for that. She grabbed it out of the box and said she would check in the back. She came back with it .99 but it didn't help others who go and need to purchase used. 

Another day I asked the other manager about an item I didn't want if this was the right price because right next to it was the new price tag which was cheaper... I also noticed the workers were looking up the new price of brand names then marked them just a few dollars cheaper. I wrote to the up-the-chain people what I had recently seen before and mentioned that it seemed like a bad move if this was the new policy... We shall see... But I pointed out the yarn, stating that it took no time to toss it in a bin with a flat price but they were now paying people to look up prices new then individually pricing them. That did not seem like a good working formula. 

So things are changing...

Keep working on skill building. Knowing how to do things like knit and sew and crochet etc. stretches your funds.

Learn to mend and cook from scratch, these are huge dollar saving things you can easily do.    

Have this year be the year that you learn how to do the skills on your list.

Gus says he is glad I can make baskets...

Monday, January 13, 2020

Monday Message

"The revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah." (President Ezra Taft Benson)   

I have stressed on here to learn skills, never ever stop learning.  Don't put off learning new skills.

For a year I have been trying to learn the sock machine. It is simple, it is basic, so why then did it take me a year??

I have two ebooks and two physical books and a manual. Why did it take a year??? All were gifts. I watched videos on YouTube...

Some of the videos showed new sock machines, lovingly called CSM for circular sock machine. Some were antique like mine and some were really different kinds. I even caught a snippet on our public TV channel, it was neat to see but didn't show but how they seemed to do them with ease.

I learned how to take it apart, clean, and oil it. Was it scary? You bet. I took notes, one video showed doing this and even though her machine was way different it gave me the courage to do it. It helped but still I could not get it to work. I traded out all the needles, it helped but still nope. I used yarn that was in the box with it. They had wound it into a ball. When I used it things were bad. I had no idea how long the yarn had been in that ball so it had lost it's elasticity. I pitched it and used something I had. Did it help? Yes, but it still wasn't working like everyone showed in I kept working.

Recently I got this cold flu that I still have and didn't feel up to reading so I rested and decided to find more YouTube videos on the CSM, so I found things I hadn't before found. From two different ones I learned two key things (to me anyway). I knew the tension eluded me and I had been trying to find info on it.

This one video she said it so fast I almost did not get it and had to watch it again. She said to make sure you have good tension to and to make sure that the space between rows was no thicker than the yarn is wide... Aha! Something finally mentioned that I could use.

The other was also said in passing, I almost didn't get it at all. In that one she said to make sure your latches were oiled...nothing ever was mentioned on this. I had cleaned and oiled every part except the latches. It never ever would have occurred to me that they would be something one could oil.

So armed with these two bits of further info, I did them. Still I had two needles drop every round so I put two other needles in their stead and oiled the two latches before putting them in by the way.  And it works wonderfully no dropped stitches anywhere and runs very smoothly.

This had taken a year to learn...

This all to say if you don't get on with a skill at first keep trying. I did so much repeating that all I have learned is now well ingrained in my brain.

Now I can move on to another skill. I knew this Lady who would choose a skill like making bread. She would spend a whole year to learn to make bread then move on to another skill.  

I would like you to sit and make a list of important skills to learn.

Here is a list of the important ones I would make....

1.  Learn to make bread by hand first then use machines. Once you learn by hand that knowledge never leaves you. Equal to this is storing flour (all purpose), vital wheat gluten to go with, then wheat berries (this is when you make sure you have a wheat grinder), and also the bread pans. 

My pans of choice are not the the big meatloaf pans. If the pan is very wide the loaf does not go as high. If you only have those then make two small loaves and put them in the pan like this = for more normal-size looking bread. Yes, you can get new bread pans but haunt thrift stores while you can. Talk to relatives to see if they have any. Having extra pans is good too. My favorite pans I got at yard sales for 10 cents each. I even found a Pullman pan at a thrift store that makes bread like you find in the store with flat sides. If this is what it takes to get your kids to eat it then go for it.  

I also find that as soon as it is cool, I slice the whole thing. Best is to use an electric knife but if all you have is a bread knife then slice it all at once. This keeps the bread from future crumbling when you try to cut it. In summer months I freeze half the slices as there are just the two of us.

1a.  Store all purpose flour in bulk, one five gallon bucket a month if you bake all your needs and wants a month. I put flour in the bucket and put three bay leaves on top of the flour, put the lid on and date it, then rotate it oldest first used.

What you need...

vital wheat gluten in bulk
oil and shortening
sugar, honey, molasses and salt
wheat berries in bulk 
oats in bulk
powdered milk
yeast (get it like at a Sam's club) get no less then eight, freeze these but one can go in jar in refrigerator

Then store stuff for on it... jams and jellies, peanut butter, butter, 
cinnamon, raisins and nuts.

This would be my first to work on.

2.  Learn to cook from scratch, that means most everything, this has some items in number one but you will need sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, honey and molasses.

Easy enough, now you can even make your own powdered sugar by putting in the blender. Brown sugar can be made by mixing sugar and molasses a little at a time till it's where you like it.
Baking cocoa, raisins, chocolate chips, baking soda, baking powder, salt... these are items that would be in number one

2a.  Learn to make cakes, cookies and bar cookies and pies with the above ingredients. Here you would need cookie sheets, cake pans, pie tins.

3.  Meal cooking from scratch. Some pans can be used from one and two but you want a frying pan, dutch oven type pan, and sauce pans, you can also find cast iron pans from thrift stores.

While the newest flash in a pan item is out there you can buy used,
I would add a crockpot to this list plus utensils needed to cook from scratch. You probably have all you need in this department

3a.  Physical cookbooks, plus I believe we need a good library of lots of books, books for light reading and how-to books are great to have on hand.

3b.  Now is where your recipe file comes in. Look at the foods you eat a lot of, hamburger, for instance. I suggest canning some and freezing some. I will give you an idea. For example, you have spaghetti one time a week which takes one lb spaghetti noodles and one can of spaghetti sauce and one package hamburger you would need at least 52 packages of noodles and 52 jars of spaghetti sauce...this is the formula. - if you can print this it is getting very hard to find but is the best thing out on this.

Storing the basic ingredients lets you do so much more.

Remember spices, you can find them in bulk.

You already know storage items to have on hand...

Pressure canner, water bath canner, and jar lifter.

new lids

vacuum sealer with large canister and jar toppers, keep used canning lids for use in vacuum sealing
wheat grinder 
bread machine, used but not to bake and you need to know how by hand
Learn how to use them
get a sewing machine and supplies
learn to grow food
These are skills and equipment to get... find them used if you can

Skills can also be broke down, like making noodles from scratch.

Make pizza dough from scratch then learn how to make the sauce and then can it.
Canning meats is easy and so helpful.
Learn to make gravy without a packet.
Learn to make mac and cheese without the box.

Learn to grow herbs then learn how to dry them.
We need to be frugal...use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.
So haunt the thrift stores for things I have mentioned and knitting supplies, crochet supplies, sewing supplies, also garden tools, just start collecting.

I am sure I have left out stuff but this is to give you ideas. 

When I hunt at thrift stores (it doesn't happen much any more) but I had always done it with an idea of what I needed. One day I was looking for needed items and found a manual pasta maker could be useful. In my cart it went so be flexible. If you see an oil lamp which might not have been on your list, put it in your cart. Be on the lookout for a dehydrator, pressure canner, vacuum sealer, bread machine, so this is the challenge for 2020.

You can do these things just don't let the shiny things distract you because you have goals and are on a mission. Tell us what things you have found and what skills you are learning in the comments.  

Monday, January 6, 2020

Monday Message

"When will all these calamities strike? We do not know the exact time, but it appears it may be in the not-too-distant future. Those who are prepared now have the continuing blessings of early obedience, and they are ready. Noah built his ark before the flood came, and he and his family survived. Those who waited to act until after the flood began were too late. Let us not be dissuaded from preparing because of a seeming prosperity today, or a so-called peace." (President Ezra Taft Benson) 

We never know what is around the corner. Being prepared is a blessing for sure. Every year we see blizzards or hurricanes and people swarm the stores buying all they think they will need for this event. Imagine if they were already prepared they would not have to rush out at the last minute to find what they can. They could stay home and would have what they needed.

We can learn a lot from those who came before us. They had to make their way inventing as they went. They had to grow their food and make their clothes and do the best they could.

We may not face the same things but we do all face hard things. We can rise to the occasion. We can be like Noah and prepare for whatever comes around the corner.

Things take time, building the ark took time. That is why when the flooding started it was too late.

Learning skills takes time. Long ago the skills were taught by parents then things have changed and the needed skills are lost but are still needed. So we must take time and learn and build on those skills.

I remember long ago my kids would come home from school, I would make cookies for them to have after school. When a school friend came two days in a row with one of the girls and loved the cookies, this little girl asked me how it was I knew how to make these different cookies, bless her heart.

This is just a tiny example of knowing a skill and using it for my family and others.

The makers of my bond knitting machine took many machines to Africa with instructors, they taught women who then taught others in their nation and just kept teaching. I know there are people who gather sewing machines and fabric and go to other countries to teach them skills.

Why is this so important? Well, they do this to help others get out of poverty, they're able to make and sell items to benefit their families.

We can teach others what skills we have to help them. Cooking from scratch would benefit people who face lack of food a loaf of bread is good but giving a loaf of bread and the skill to make it is way better. This goes with all skills.

I know skills have helped me and I have freely shared these and been blessed by them.

We need to go outside our comfort zone to learn the skills but just pick one and learn it then move on to another. I know we are so busy it is hard to find time but we really do need to learn new skills before we need them. - this is just a little overview. - I have shared this before because it just doesn't tell you a skill, it shows you. - this also shares some. - this is a great read - also helpful. - this is an example of finding an area you want to learn and studying it.

Gus says skills are very important.

It is very easy to be too busy but we must find a way off the hamster wheel, we need to find time to rest and to slow things down like Gus ... 

At the time of this writing I am sick with a chest cold and perhaps it is time to revisit your sick plan. Remember we need to take care of ourselves too, this is the season when we cannot out-run those germs.

Skills that we learn can be very helpful...

I know I talk about dishcloths a lot but they are relaxing to make as well as my favorites to use.

They are a great first project to learn and knit.

So this week pick a skill you want to learn and work on learning it, let us know what you picked.

Outside of getting better, my next skill to learn or master is the sock machine. I am getting very fast at casting on but I also am learning a lot in the process.

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