Monday, August 31, 2020

Monday Message

"Most of us cannot afford to store a year’s supply of luxury items, but find it more practical to store staples that might keep us from starving in case of emergency." (James E. Faust)

Continue to work as you can on storage and skill building.

Learn to put up food.

Check in your area for an extension service. Also, reach out to someone who cans and ask questions, they are a great resource. In Iowa and Minnesota we have a great help line: 1-800-262-3804. There's even good online resources just be sure to get the information for your area because it makes a big difference. Even here in Iowa where people think we are flat we have different elevations which means my canning pressure is different than another area, so learn and be safe in your canning. 

Before the derecho hit and took out my garden, we were eating a lot of fresh veggies from it and canning the excess. Eating as much fresh food from the garden helps with the grocery budget which means I can put that towards storage building.

I have made pizza sauce again this year and have been doing so since 2007, it is good to have variety.

Take time to learn. This year my friend Mary Ann shared this tip with me - use the produce bags to make a little hammock to hold my cantaloupe.

Before the derecho killed them all, I had three that were in these. It was cute to see them in their hammocks. I'm sad they didn't work out but maybe next year.

Dehydrating is a good way to put up food too.

Remember to wash your tomatoes so you can save the skins to dehydrate!

Even if you do not have a garden you can dehydrate the produce you need to use up in your refrigerator.

Also, remember you can watch for sales on frozen veggies and dehydrate those as the hard work has already been done, this saves on that and freezer space.  - dehydrating tips.  - more on dehydrating.

Then remember if you have freezer space you can freeze...  - here is a bit on freezing food.

Then the other method is store bought canned goods and dry goods.

I also feel vacuum sealing is a good way to make your dry foods last longer -

I know right now things are harder to find but do the best you can.

Gus and Missy say for you to keep being safe and find things that bring you joy and peace. 

Monday, August 24, 2020

Monday Message

"Today, I emphasize a most basic principle: home production and storage. Have you ever paused to realize what would happen to your community or nation if transportation were paralyzed or if we had a war or depression? How would you and your neighbors obtain food? How long would the corner grocery store—or supermarket—sustain the needs of the community?" (President Ezra Taft Benson)

Try to have plenty on hand to help others as there is great need, you can see the long lines at the food pantries. There is so much need.

We are all getting weary of our life now but give yourself breaks with a book, a soak in the tub, or listen to your favorite YouTube channel - there are many things to learn!

If you will be homeschooling this year there are great places to get info.

If you sew, try to find an area to keep your stuff out, even if it’s just the corner of the dining room, because if it is open and sitting there you can find a way to work on it.

I keep my spinning wheel in the living room. When I’m cooking in the kitchen, I take time to spin while things are baking in the oven.

I try to spin each day, it is soothing to me to do so.

Today, I made eight pints of Kosher dills, I use Mrs. Wages as that is our favorite to eat.

I did two pints of spears and saved seed for next year, the other six pints were pickle slices.

I did a small project that I have been wanting to work on that has to do with odd embroidery threads.

I don't really like to use the peg type clothespins to hang clothes so this was a great way to use them, it makes it super easy to find the color I am needing. I just wrap the floss around the peg. If you needed it for cross stitch you could write the number on the leg, but I am wanting to do items without having to know the number.

Missy thought it very fun to watch me wrap the pins.

Keep finding ways to put up food. I chopped peppers and put them in the freezer and with the jalapeno peppers I froze I might try to make cowboy candy or jelly. 

Canning supplies are hard to come by so you may want to keep a look out for what you are needing. I did a grocery pick up at Walmart to try to keep up with that. I was not able to get lids and they had a limit of two on them but in the end I managed to get them. I noticed a six limit on canned goods and toilet paper has a limit of one.

I want to encourage you to pick up a few extra things when you get groceries even if you only can afford one box of jello, do it to get started. Keep working on your storage. Some of the items I got extra were cat food and litter to stay ahead on those and I also picked up oil and shortening.

I also want to encourage you to pamper yourself sometimes, read a book or learn something new. Find joy even in these hard times, we will make it through - we can do this!!!

If you have questions or want to share ideas that we can all use, write to us in the comment section.

Gus and Missy say to be safe!

Monday, August 17, 2020

Monday Message - After the storm

"Today, I emphasize a most basic principle: home production and storage. Have you ever paused to realize what would happen to your community or nation if transportation were paralyzed or if we had a war or depression? How would you and your neighbors obtain food? How long would the corner grocery store—or supermarket—sustain the needs of the community?" (President Ezra Taft Benson)

Well I am writing this seven days after the Derecho hit us. Still no power and to be hot again today...

“A derecho (pronounced similar to "deh-REY-cho" in English) is a widespread, long-lived wind storm. Derechos are associated with bands of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms variously known as bow echoes, squall lines, or quasi-linear convective systems.”

This shows more... - this is what it was like, makes me just cry to watch this as I know what it left behind.

That morning was like any others. I went out to pick the garden and I thought it was to thunderstorm later, which lately they’ve said would happen and then didn't, so I thought I won't water the garden just in case… I went in and was doing regular morning chores when the weather alarm went off saying we were under a severe thunderstorm watch but I didn't give it any thought. Alexa went off saying it was now a severe thunderstorm warning so I went and looked out the window in our front door and saw that it was black in the southwest. Just then the town sirens went off. I thought why? It wasn't even raining. I called my husband in from the garage and he turned on the TV to get radar info and the meteorologist was on saying that if you have a cell phone to charge them now!! I never heard them say that before so we plugged in the phone and it hit just that fast, then the power went off and we still do not have it. They are guessing it’ll be back by the end of day Tuesday but we shall see.

This is what we first saw when the storm left. This is the sidewalk at the foot of the porch. I had to climb over these for days. The branches are from the top of our old cedar tree in front of the house.

This is how wonderful the garden was before the storm...

This is the garden after the storm. The fence is so flattened we could walk on it like a carpet as we dragged off branches. 

A nice man saw me dragging branches and pulled over and got out and dragged heavy branches for about ten minutes, kept calling me ma'am :) That was so nice of him to help.

We had to cut with the chainsaw to get the rest off, this was an awful lot of aftermath.

This is what the garden looks like today...

After twenty-four hours we could clearly see the power was not coming back on and there were no generators to be had. Thankfully my husband thought to call a pawn shop and they had one, what a blessing!

Note the sidewalk is cleared, you can see the extension cords - one to us, one to our neighbors, they have since borrowed a generator from his work, we were happy to have helped.

While it is such a blessing to have the generator, it is costing $35.00 a day in gas to keep it going.

This is our car buried in the front by a tree, what you cannot see is there is a composter in there in a part without heavy branch and the rider lawn mower same thing. Thankfully all three survived.

This will be pics of our yard and neighbors’ yard. The wall of branches in the last pic is branches that we and crew from the church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - thank you all!) dragged to the sidewalk, this wall is almost eight feet tall.

These following pics are from the park one block away, plus the area around it.

Things I learned...

Keep a phone charger in your car, that helped. There is about nothing you can do when it is hot but keep going. We were blessed because long years ago we wired for a generator which runs freezers and the refrigerator and on the circuit of the refrigerator was the microwave, toaster oven and I moved the toaster onto it as well. The generator powers the computers, the TV, and two fans in the living room on the first floor. It ran the sump pump and was able to run the freezer and refrigerator for the neighbors’ house next door (the house with busted garage door), we share a driveway.

It would power the stove top but not the oven as this is a gas stove. It would not do air conditioning of course, sadness...I miss it.

We learned that when our power mast gets bent in a storm the electrician has to replace it but it can only be reconnected by someone from our power company. We learned that people are not always good...some electrician bought all the parts out so they could corner the market making it so that electricians had to go far to get the items needed. Our electrician had to get our parts an hour and a half away. This is causing delays for people, sadness. I hope they get found out.

We learned our government is not there when the need is so one needs to be prepared.

We should have more quick fix cooler meals ready and when it is this hot you cannot count on the freezer to stay frozen, luckily we got the generator in time.

We learned dragging branches is very very heavy work! I will tell you that with fibromyalgia extreme pain is constant but I had to keep going and each day I started with an energy deficit more and more each day.

I learned that if I took my flashlights and stuck them in a toilet paper roll (a full roll) and pointed them to the ceiling I could use two of these to see with while showering.

We learned to be even more thankful than ever for friends who brought meals. Thank you!

We learned that our pharmacy closes when there’s no power.

We learned dark means very dark.

We learned walnut trees have an awful lot of walnuts.

We learned the neck coolers our daughter made us long ago were life savers.

We learned to have even more empathy for people in disaster areas, we always had lots but now way more.

I learned that the more tired I got the more my eyes leaked (aka cried).

We learned this was like a hurricane on land and went mostly across this state and caused so much crop loss, took out power for hundreds of thousands, and hasn't made a headline in world news. We learned that the vice president came to Iowa right after, not to tour the damage but to stump...that made me sad. So many are hurting and as an afterthought he said we will help all we can and that was it. I remember the floods of 93 a president came then.

We had to still be safe during the pandemic while dealing with everything else at the same time.

We learned catastrophes don't line up with cooler weather.

The video I put a link to at the top was the sounds of that storm, it was massive and destructive, not like a tornado that maybe stays on the ground for five miles, nothing like it. People for the most part are good and decent and here in Iowa they help each other through the hardest of times and this one was the hardest in my lifetime. To all the people dealing with this, we will get through it.

Hopefully this helps you get better prepared for a hard time.

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