Thursday, November 10, 2016

Taught by Rats

The summer rains were late this year, but very heavy. Everything that could germinate, bloom and produce seeds, did. As a result, we've had a bumper crop of pack rats as well. We learned this the hard way when my husband was having some trouble with his truck. Seems the pack rats had munched on $400-worth of wiring. This was our first such experience in more than 20 years of living here.

So we began taking more serious anti-rodent measures. First was keeping the hood raised when the truck was parked, and ensuring the truck was moveddaily, even if only a few feet. Because our dog loves chasing and catching small animals, poison is not an option for us. Mouse traps were placed below the vehicle. After the second trap disappeared, Dear Hubby wired them to somewhat flat surfaces in the engine compartment of the vehicle.  Still, no luck.

At the time, we had no concept of pack rats being significantly different from mice, at least size-wize. I had seen their burrows, but never the actual critter. After seeing one caught by a neighbor, we changed strategies. The body of the rat was a good 6 inches long, and the well-fed rascal was at least three inches in diameter. This was a horse, uh rat, of a different color.

Next came removal of brush piles and moving lumber storage to remove rat havens. The missing mouse traps were found in one of the small brush piles.

Bring on the rat traps. Yes, real, big traps. No, we did not go the have-a-heart rodent relocation route. The reasonable potential for rodent- or flea-borne disease here in the mountains of the southwestern US was not an acceptable risk. We chose the big plastic traps that operate like big, mean clothespins. The brand may be 'A better mousetrap' or something similar. We chose these because of the sanitary issues. You can release the deceased rodent and re-set the trap without touching the business end. When baiting with peanut butter, we use clean disposable utensils kept from adventures in fast food, then throw them away after one use because they contact the business end of the trap.

Today, we hit paydirt -- a lovely, well-fed 5 or 6 inch packrat (excluding tail length). We will continue with this strategy until the food chain returns our furry friends to the normal balance.

Morale of our story is to have both rat and mouse traps in your supplies if your preparedness is designed to cover events that may last several weeks.

Have you had rat-stravaganzas in your location?

Sunday, November 6, 2016

My Top 5 Small Multi-purpose Items

I really don't want a 50 lb pack as my Get Home bag, so I choose a lot of items that can serve more than one purpose. Sometimes, it is a primary purpose. Other times, the item can double as redundancy for another basic survival item in the bag or complement it to create a luxury.  A few of my favorites are listed below. I'm not listing the obvious items everyone carries, like a knife, fire-starter or water bottle. What are your favorite multi-purpose items?

1. Dental floss: It tends to be very strong. In addition to its obvious use, it can be used for sewing thread (ensure you have a needle that has a big enough eye), suture thread in a pinch, substitute for twine, making a crude shelter by tying corners of mylar blankets or tarps to spots or trees. I carry 4 X 10 yard mini-containers with cutters.

2. Small bottle of 91% isopropyl alcohol: I use a 2 ounce plastic dropper bottle from REI (test in store to be sure no air escapes when you squeeze it) useful for sterilizing stuff, a solvent, ear drops to prevent fungal infection after swimming, drying tinder and helping start a fire, cleaning skin around a wound. The 70% isopropyl (rubbing alcohol) isn't as useful as the 91%, especially for sterilization. These are usually side-by-side on the store shelves.

3.  Mylar blankets: In addition to other lightweight bedding and a heavy duty mylar tarp/blanket, I keep at least 3 of the small cheap ones in each bag for so many uses. Many articles have been written about these because they have so many uses such as a poncho, groundcloth, rainfly, sling, fire-reflector, foot-warmers and water proofers (before getting feet into cold water), etc..

4. Metal cup: whether a canteen cup or deep stainless cup (not those skimpy Sierra cups) these can be a major kitchen-creator. Use to boil water, mix food, scoop water from sources, catch rainwater to fill your bigger bottles, store a roll of TP in your pack to keep it dry and round, hold a tea light for fire-safety. Depending on which bag, mine is either a GI canteen cup with stove stand or a round cross-section 28 ounce cup which holds a roll of TP perfectly.  VERY WORST CASE you can soak the TP (in the metal cup) with the alcohol and light it to keep from freezing to death (this is the luxury item mentioned above -- a chemical stove). This is a very hot fire, so do it in a place where you can maximize saving the heat (small rock, earth or snow shelter) and keep safe from fire or melting something.

5. Tea Lights: in small metal/foil cups, the 100 for $8 or less kind, unscented.  First use is to prolong the life of your other fire-starters. Use 1 match to light the little candle and use the candle to light your splinters, tinder or alcohol dotted square of TP to start your fire. Heat source : in your metal cup in a small space made of your mylar blankets, you can actually warm hands, feet etc.. Heat water: half a canteen cup of water over a canteen-cup stove with a good tea light or two can give you a smokeless unscented fire for hot water in a short time. If accomplished in your mylar hooch, it will also warm the space somewhat.  I keep at least one empty plastic medicine bottle full of these in each of my 'bags.'

What are your multi-purpose favorites?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Winter Garden update

Less than a month ago, I sewed seeds for rutabaga, parsnips, beets chard and 2 types of kale. Parsnips were a bust with almost none germinating.  Beets were a close second for losers, with about 10 little plants. The kale, chard and Rutabagas are going gang busters. I sewed the ruta's heavily and am thinning them into my salad bowl. Baby rutabaga greens are quite yummy and tender. They have a very slight cabbage flavor at the end, which goes well with most spinach and lettuce mixes, or alone. The kale and chard will be ready to start picking soon!! I also found a forgotten kale in my other raised bed, It is covered in beautiful leaves that will be joining the rutabagas in the next few days. Such bounty!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A little help, please?

Recently, I've been posting from an iPad mini. When I try to add a photo to the posts, there is some seemingly random, odd subset of my photos available, and only when I select 'from my phone' as the source. Do any of you know how to access the photo library without uploading my photos to icloud. I refer not to have my life stored in some mystery location forever.

Do I need to go into the photo library and select something to make the specific photos available?

Thanks in advance!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Basic Frugality

Great article about frugality at The Simple Dollar:

Yes, a voluntary lifestyle that can free you from debt and "keeping up" with...anyone!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Routines for better or worse

For some reason this thought has been bouncing around in my head for a few days. Probably because I broke a routine and found myself out and about, unarmed. For me, that was highly unusual and started me thinking about good routines and those that can be hazardous to your health.

While I was working for the military, we had our annual force protection/anti-terrorism training that warned us against some types of predictable physical routines. If the bad guys know you'll be at the corner of Hollywood and Vine every weekday between 7:00 and 7:15 a.m., you could become a target of opportunity for kidnapping, assassination, etc.. We were encouraged to vary our routes to and from work and in our personal lives.  That level of breaking routines is a good thing.

My husband has a daily routine that includes coffee, walking the dog, practicing his music and exercising.  I'm a bit more random about when I do things, other than morning coffee.  The day I failed to arm myself when I dressed was a fluke. We decided to bathe the dog that morning, so I didn't wear a weapon to the shower stall. Kept forgetting after that. Not the best way to break routine. Twice I found myself crossing the country road on foot, well away from the house, alone and unarmed. Fortunately, all was well -- this time.  In an emergency situation, this may have been an unrecoverable mistake.

I'm a locker and turner. I lock the doors to the house as a matter of routine. To me, it's part of the action of closing an exterior door. I also turn lights off as I leave a room or walk through the house. My husband doesn't have those automatic behaviors. As a result, I am occasionally startled to find an unlocked exterior door in a room with a blazing light.

So are you aware of your routines during the day or week? Are some good for your life, health and safety? Could others be hazardous in an emergency? What are your contingency plans for varying these routines during non-routine times? Now is the time to ponder these and prepare your thinking in case of emergency!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Relocating out west? Random thoughts to consider

If so, just a few random tips you may not want to learn the hard way.  I have personal stories behind most of these, but we don't need to waste the electrons.

- If you aren't living in the city, you'll eventually need all-wheel or 4-wheel drive.

-Your vehicle needs more than 6 inches of ground clearance, even in good weather.

- If you can't stand a few creatures occasionally sharing your house with you, don't move here. We've captured, relocated or killed uninvited scorpions, vinegaroons, geckos, moths, junebugs, centipedes, birds, bats, various rodents, etc. from inside the house. The yard has hosted many larger, more scary creatures.

- If you look at a prospective property in good weather, check nearby for little valleys above the property. Could be that the drainage will cover your back patio in mud during the rainy season.

- Flash flooding is deceptive. Never cross a flowing wash unless you can CLEARLY see the line in the middle of the road. If you can't, your vehicle probably can't take you across safely.

-Always have at least a gallon of water per person in your vehicle. I drive alone in remote places often, so carry a kit that will keep me for up to a week.

- Never ask a rancher how many cattle/sheep/whatever critter they have. It's like asking how much money they have or their net worth.

- Don't ask a rancher where or how much land they run their cattle/sheep or other critters on. Not only is it like the question above, but it's often more complicated than you want to hear (some owned, some leased) unless you know them well and have some time to listen. For example, a friend of my brother's runs his cattle on 4 different properties, some owned some leased, more than a 50 mile drive to see the closest edge of them all.

- Wherever you are, don't get co-opted into making or promoting a change outside your own property for at least a year. Sometimes, recently moved city-dwellers will do this to the newbies and it will create a lasting rift between you and the longer-time residents. These ventures can also have harmful effects to other residents and get you sued. Example 1: The push for paving roads happens often -- recent resident city-slicker realizes his [insert expensive car brand] is getting dirty or hit by gravel and wants road paved. This raises everyone's taxes, diverts funds from important meaningful projects, etc.,  Can actually make flooding and erosion problems worse.   If you wanted paved roads and they weren't there when you moved in, suck it up. It should have been on your list of must-haves when you looked at the property. Garage the Ferrari and buy a beat-up truck.   Example 2: (This really happened in a ranchette conservation subdivision near me with a central lake/pond)  One recent city-slicker guy thought the pond bottom was too gooey and wanted to assess other members $3000 to empty the pond and concrete the bottom for a better 'swimming-hole experience.' Turns out that 'pond' was the place that recharged the local aquifer providing everyone's domestic water. When the pond was emptied, but before it was concreted (waiting for the engineering and cost estimates), wells started going dry. Project was halted, pond refilled, wells recovered, bullet dodged.  It would have cost a lot more to jackhammer all that concrete out.

- Dust. Learn to live with it. Yes, vacuum and dust regularly, but it will be back quickly so don't obsess. The important things to dust are your electronics (refrigerator coils, air-conditioning filters, etc.) and vacuum around your baseboards (where the dustbears grow).

- Consider renting for 18 months to see if you are allergic to the place. I've never had worse allergies than in the times I lived in Texas and Arizona.

- NEW ITEM: Amazon Prime is SOOOO worth it when otherwise you wait until the monthly trip to the big town and then have to shop for it!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

September is preparedness month

The always-fabulous "K" at Planning and Foresight has a wonderful series for National Preparedness month. No reason to gild a lily by duplicating his effort. Hope you'll stop over daily, better yet follow him if you aren't already.

Monday, September 5, 2016

It's that time of year!!

Time to wintersow!  What the heck is that?  Time to plant your cold hardy and pre-spring vegetables. Root vegetables can be planted now for harvest in the spring. Cold hardy perennial vegetables can be planted and harvested throughout the winter, location dependent

Here in the high desert, I've sewn 2 types of kale, 2 types of rutabagas, 2 types of parsnips, beets and Swiss chard.  These are in a raised bed with a net to keep the birds out long enough to have plants grow. Once the real chill sets in and nights approach freezing, the net cover will be replaced with heavier but translucent non-woven fabric or clear plastic.

In past years, I've been able to harvest kale and chard several  times during the winter. The root vegies are new to me.

Although they are mid-website change, is a great place to learn more if you are a beginner like me. Methods to get a jump on spring are also on the website.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Food storage for small spaces

How do you fit more nutrition into a small home? I've written about 'nutritional density' before, but I believe it is a concept still overlooked by too many people. Our home is small and has only one closet. We've added storage furniture and re-done kitchen and bathroom to include more storage. We also manage more than 6 months'-worth of canned food storage without it being visible or obvious to the casual visitor.

How can we do that? Nutritional density is the key. For a given volume of storage, like a #10 can, how much basic nourishment can you store? Not looking at vitamins and trace minerals, just calories and some balance of protein, fat, fiber and carbs. You may think it's all the same, but you'd be surprised! For example, a #10 can of white rice has more than twice the calories, three times the carbs and twice the protein of a #10 can of potato flakes. Black beans have about the same total calories as a can of white rice, but the beans have three times the protein and 6 times the fiber.   You'd get even more nutrition serving those beans with hard white wheat prepared like rice than with actual rice. Fiber is important to keep your plumbing humming, so don't neglect it as a basic component of nutrition.

You can calculate the nutritional density of a #10 can using the nutrition information on the label. For your initial dense storage, try to have 6,000 to 9,000 calories per can with at least 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per serving. Stay away from foods with more than 20% of the carbs listed as  sugars, except dry milk. The sugars in dry milk are milk sugars, so hard to have dry milk without those.

The 'beans and rice' or wheat options still leave you with a problem, despite being nutritionally dense.  They contain virtually no fats. You will starve over several months without some added fats and carbohydrates. Remember the stories of 'rabbit starvation?'  Some foods like peanut powder and fatty canned meats (cooked burger crumbles or pork sausage crumbles) need to be in your long-term storage if you aren't otherwise self-sufficient for fats. Raising rabbits isn't the answer for fats, but tree nuts, chickens, pigs and cows will help. These will have shorter shelf-life and must be rotated more often due to oils going rancid. Keeping extra butter (including canned) and olive oil on hand, and rotating it regularly will also contribute to keeping this balance.

Another important high-density storage item is a stash of sprouting seeds. These don't take up a lot of space, and a little goes a long way. If you have long winters or are far from produce, sprouts can add both vitamins and variety to your basic fats-carbs-protein diet.

Once you have your basics stored, if there is space left over, add some fun foods. These monotony-breakers will be important if your local emergency lasts more than a few weeks. You can choose from fruits, puddings or bakery mixes. Another choice is to add some 'fast food' that needs only water to prepare a full meal. Foods like Mountain House beef stew or scrambled eggs could break the monotony or be useful if cooking fuel is in short supply.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Random Thoughts about Cash Reserves

The cash reserve addressed here is the real green stuff you can hold in your hand, stored in your home, or nearby.  Having it in a bank safe deposit box won't help you if the banks are closed -- it may also be illegal in your state.  This is your no-BS emergency-nothing's-working fund. It's not your mad money and is separate and above a savings account or other prudent reserve.  That's not to say that if your 'emergency' is being laid off from work you couldn't use it -- that's an emergency in my book!  This is for the times when ATM's are down or empty, stores will only accept cash and you need something desperately, or you still have bills to pay regardless the emergency. Many websites have addressed this subject well, at least in theory. Just thought I'd add a few comments on the practice of a cash reserve.

First is deciding how much should be in your reserve. What's reasonable or affordable is different for everyone. It's based on your monthly requirements, how much income you have and how much cash you can afford to have sitting on the sidelines. Sometimes it's 6 month's, but shooting for 1 month-worth is a good starting point. If that's more than you can do, go for at least a few hundred dollars - two hundred is certainly better than nothing.

I began in 2009 when I received a small bonus at work. The gov reserved 20% for taxes, so I took 10% of what was left and turned it into my first cash reserve 'payment' to myself. It was a few $50's and a $20 or two, for about $200. I tried to faithfully add another $20 each pay period until I had a enough to cover a month's worth of bills and necessities.

Eventually, I had my reserve. I have left it alone in its secret place. Now I realize that cash, like food storage, should be rotated. Since starting the cash reserve, several bills have actually changed, including the $10's and $20's. That's one more task to add to the list: rotate old cash reserve bills. Seems odd, but a bunch of old bills could signal to smart people that you started preparing for hard times years ago, and get them wondering what else you have socked away.

I've also been thinking about denominations. What is the right balance of denominations?  For discrete storage, larger denominations mean a smaller stack to store. If used during a period of higher prices, larger bills would be more convenient. If using them in a crisis when prices are very fluid, larger bills will be more expensive to use. The likely scenario is a $10 item becomes a $20 item if you only have a $20 and the seller claims to have no change.  Some mix of small and larger bills seems to make sense.  It might make sense to have 10% in each of $5's and $1's bills (maybe only 5% in ones...), 20% each in $10's, $50's and 100's and the rest in $20's. For $1000, that would mean $400 in 130 small bills (85 bills if keeping only $50 in one dollar bills and replacing with $10's)  and $600 in 16 bills for your twenties and larger.  That leaves a fairly small physical target to stash for a rainy day.  

As for where to stash, it's not an easy task. Probably should not be in the bed or bathroom as apparently robbers look there first.  Stash it in a water (fire?) and bug proof container of a type similar to its resting/hiding place. If that's near a lot of metal, use a metal container. Don't let it be the only metal container in the room full of wood and plastic.  Above all else, it needs to be in a place you will REMEMBER. A cash reserve you can't find in an emergency is the same as not having one.


Friday, August 5, 2016

Little known food sensitivity

Here's yet another thing to consider in planning your emergency food storage. A percentage of Americans, especially those of European genetics, have a food sensitivity that they probably don't recognize. It is a sensitivity to foods from the nightshade family, which are very common in the American diet. To be more correct, the sensitivity is to specific chemicals, called alkaloids, within these foods. Symptoms of the sensitivity include muscle and joint aches, headaches and gastrointestinal symptoms that can include severe intestinal cramping and diarrhea.  Fatigue and mental dullness can follow about of too much nightshade food. The half-life of these compounds in the body is long, and it can take weeks for all the symptoms from a mild to moderate case of poisoning to completely resolve.

I know about this because I am one of those people who can't tolerate nightshades.  One good enchillada puts me out for three days, and they are not three days of fun. A full blown case of moderate poisoning will start with what feels like indigestion.  This progresses to severe abdominal cramps, which nothing really helps though pepto soothes a bit.  Next,  a headache and several hours of toilet time add to the festivities. Following that litle bit of Heaven, count on flu-like symptoms minus the fever for one to three days. Muscle aches and fatigue can last beyond that, but you feel so much better that you don't notice them that much. These foods in smaller doses can cause minor gastrointestinal problems, joit and muscle aches and just feeling crummy.

So what are these foods? Are they rare or outlawed? Nope, you probably eat them every day. Potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, bell pepers, red and yellow peppers, our friends red and green chili, pepperoncini, pimento, and even tobacco are just a few of the nightshades.

You think you're safe because no one has complained. They probably haven't made the correlation. I was 30 years old when I had my first case of this. On a trip to New Mexico, I was pigging out on enchilladas made with fresh Hatch chili had one almost every day for a week. Bad idea.  Haven't been able to eat more than a couple of bites of one without getting sick since.

There are ways to avoid bringing this problem into your emergency situation by carefully planning your food storage.  Here are my 'tips:'

1. Store and serve these foods for use in moderation. I suggest limiting to no more than 2 servings a day. Sounds simple? If you have hash browns for breakfast with a generous dose of ketchup, you're done for the day.

2. Don't plan your seed supply around nightshades. What edible plants for your garden do you see most often in stores like Home Depot and Lowes? Six packs of tomatoes, potato starts and all kinds of peppers!

3. Pay attention to your symptoms and those of family members. Each person has a different tolerance for these alkaloids. Unexplained malais, achy or "I hurt' complaints a couple hours fter a meal with nightshades (whopper with fries!) could be a sign of sensitivity.

4. If someone in your group shows the sensitivity, learn to cook with less tomato sauce or whatever seems to be the problem.

Luckily not every group will have someone with the sensitivity. If you do have one, be kind. They didn't plan it. It's better to manage this through diet planning than by white-knuckling it!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Starting the apple harvest early

If anyone knows how to access photos taken by an iPad mini through the blogger using the same mini, please let me know in the comments. I select 'from your phone' as it is the closest, but only a strange, seemingly random selection of my photos is available to post. Sorry, I have other pics for this topic today, but only a couple were accessible - and not the version I cropped!

We have two apple trees that in a somewhat normal year are very productive. Since they started to bear, we've only had one year with a failed crop. In the past, we've gorged and gifted our bounty. Most of the 'bummer' apples are used quickly for pies and apple crisp until we can't stand the sight of them. This year, I have a dehydrator and have already begun to dry the slightly green but somewhat sweet apples. FYI, the dehydrator has a fan and timer. These features are absolutely worth the extra cost. Everything dries more evenly and quickly, and you can leave it unattended without coming back to cardboard food.

We have gusty winds, hungry birds and minor thinning affecting the trees now. Daily checks yield fresh fruit on the ground, new areas that are crowded and newly pecked fruit. All these 'bummers' now go to the early harvest. Well, almost all. I leave some bird-pecked fruit as a tithe to my lovely songbirds. The fruit with just a new peck or two can be sliced and dried with little waste. The waste goes outside the fence for the deer as we wait for summer rains that are almost a month late. Poor hungry deer!

When preparing the fruit, I first mix fruit fresh (essentially pure vitamin C), a little sugar and water to 'dunk' the sliced fruit. This does not completely stop browning, but reduces it by 80 to 90 percent. If the apples are later used in baking, the asthetic difference is meaningful.  The first slice is a thin one to remove some skin, which doesn't dehydrate well. I taste this. If it is still astringent to taste, the apple goes in the deer bucket. The remaining apple gets sliced about about 3/16th inch wide. Eyeball-wise, that's less than a quarter but more than an eighth. This eventually makes a chip that can be used for cooking or eating as-is. Core goes in the deer bucket.

Depending on the humidity, a 9-tray load takes 6 to 8 hours to dry. The fruit should still be flexible but not have any mushy spots. I set the dehydrator out on the covered porch so that it doesn't heat up the house. When ready, I bring the trays inside to cool for about an hour. After a few samples, the chips go in an glass hermetically sealed jar. Those are the ones I raved about previously that have the rubber ring. No special process is needed to open and reclose the jars. You can use the dried fruit as needed.

By the time we get to the ripe apple harvest in a few weeks, I should have all the 'bummer' apples salvaged and in jars. What a great way to keep a taste of summer with us all winter!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

More homestead security

We've adopted the 'small town in the middle of nowhere' philosophy, for those of you who know what I mean. We bought the place long before the current era of preparedness, but it meets some basic criteria. Over the years we've renovated the house and planted fruit trees, etc. to make it a more sustainable home for our retirement. The original layout of the property puts a gate off the main drag about 12 feet from our future former front door. I've hated that.

Sorry that there will be no photos,  as there's not a practical way to do that without showing more than I prefer. I'll describe what's happening today and tomorrow. Since I began planting the garden, I've envisioned moving the front gate to a spot that is much farther from a different door. I've left a nicely mulched path to get to the new front porch, leading from a blank piece of fence. The porch  faces 90 degrees from the road and isn't obvious in passing. The door closest to the main street will be blocked securely while still allowing emergency exit. Shrubs will be planted to obscure the old porch.

Right now, the fence is being moved to remove the current gate to open a spot for the new gate. It will be about 60 feet away from the current spot and at least that far from the old and 'new' front door. The new spot provides visibility from the main living space of the house. You may think that this isn't much of a move, but there's more to it than a few feet, though that's a huge plus.

The extra distance, and posible confusion as to how to enter the house, translates into time. For a more common local emergency, it also means that if some moron opens our gate during a flood event, the rush of  water will hurt the garden, not the house. Yes, we had that happen once ("just wanted you to know there's a flood" DUH! Lucky he didn't win a Darwin Award)  and instantly had 2 FEET of water rushing into the yard. When that happens, you can't shut the gate again due to the force of  rushing water.  We were lucky, as the water stopped rising soon after. It came within 2 INCHES of coming into the house.

It will be nice to have the two-fer finished. One more long-desired improvement can be checked off the list and our little cabin will be a smidge more secure.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Why I love metal mesh security doors

Normally called 'burglar' doors, these have so many benefits beyond security! First, let's talk cost. If you buy the installation tool, you or someone you know can install these. That brings the cost down to the cost of the door and lock. Some can be special-ordered with the lock. Costs start just under $200 per door.  If you want a fancy pattern or color, the price goes up.

We first installed these because our dog had a habit of crashing through screen doors. After a while, we decided on a more dog-proof door. Problem solved with the metal mesh security door.  It gave me a dog-resistant way to ventilate without a houseful of bugs and critters.

Yes,they strain out lots of bugs for late night and early morning ventilation. If you live in drier climates, a wet sheet can turn them into evaporative coolers when the power goes out.

Oh, and they are a bit more resistant to a pocket knife if someone wants to get to your door locks and handles.

So, if you are looking to replace a screen door, or don't have one, consider a metal mesh security door or 2 in the mix.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Emergency Shopping List for 50

Well, I took the plung and joined our local volunteer fire department to update the emergency support plan and ensure that we have what we need to execute it. In the process, we looked at what would be available in a grid-down situation, such as a large snowstorm (one several years ago caused a 6-day power outage) flood or forest fire.

Because the town is relatively remote, we could be cut off by road for several days. We figured 3 days. So how to feed those affected for 3 days with a large propane stove and water as your resources? How do we provide 3 meals plus some extra for stragglers or snacks? Note that we have essentially no budget, so donations would be necessary. Also, we had to assume no refrigeration.

Here's the shopping list for the menu described in a previous post:

This menu will require 6 cases of dry food in #10 cans and should feed 50 meals, 3 per day for 3 days.  Creative people might add a few items to turn the leftover oatmeal into cookies each day.

We assumed that tea bags, salt, pepper and white sugar will be available in the shelter's kitchen. So here is what goes in the 6 cases and our sourcing:

1 case quick oats (LDS mail order)
1 case white rice (LDS mail order)
1 case refried beans (LDS mail order)
1 case macaroni (LDS mail order)

Case #5 (goes with breakfast and soup pot):
1 can dry milk
1 can brown sugar
1 can dried apples (with cinnamon)
1 can orange beverage (vitamin enriched)
2 cans vegetables for soup (Emergency Essentials)

Case #6:
1 can chocolate pudding
1 can tomato powder with herbs (Emergency Essentials
2 can sliced strawberries (FD)
1 can dehydrated carrots (for entree and soup)
1 can coffee