Monday, March 29, 2010

End Hunger Through Gardening

Here's a great site dedicated to ending hunger through gardening.

The Dinner Garden

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snow piles up - Thousands without electricity

"Thousands without electricity" This is a perfect example for the need to prepare for the unexpected. Weather is no respecter of persons. Whether you are rich, poor, healthy, sick, young or old, etc. the unexpected can take a tole on you and your family worse if you have no back-up plan, reserves or education. It's better to be prepared for emergencies and know that you've done what you can, than to be found struggling because of denial. Here is an article with an excellent example. What could you do to prepare for this?

Find original article Here

Snow piles up, paralyzing nation's capital (AP)

AP - A blizzard battered the Mid-Atlantic region Saturday, with emergency crews struggling to keep pace with the heavy, wet snow that has piled up on roadways, toppled trees and left thousands without electricity.

Officials urged people to huddle at home and out of the way of emergency crews. Forecasters said the storm could be the biggest for the nation's capital in modern history.

A record 2 1/2 feet or more was predicted for Washington. As of early Saturday, 10 inches of snow was reported at the White House, while parts of Maryland and West Virginia were buried under more than 20 inches. Forecasters expected snowfall rates to increase, up to 2 inches per hour through Saturday morning.

Blizzard warnings were issued for the District of Columbia, Baltimore, parts of New Jersey and Delaware, and some areas west of the Chesapeake Bay.

"Things are fairly manageable, but trees are starting to come down," said D.C. fire department spokesman Pete Piringer, whose agency responded to some of the falling trees. No injuries were reported.

Airlines canceled flights, churches called off weekend services and people wondered if they would be stuck at home for several days in a region ill-equipped to deal with so much snow.

"D.C. traditionally panics when it comes to snow. This time, it may be more justifiable than most times," said Becky Shipp, who was power-walking in Arlington, Va., Friday. "I am trying to get a walk in before I am stuck with just the exercise machine in my condo."

The region's second snowstorm in less than two months brought heavy, wet snow and strong winds that forecasters warned could gust near 60 mph in some areas along the coast.

Hundreds of thousands of customers across the region had lost electricity and more outages were expected to be reported because of all the downed power lines. A hospital fire in D.C. sent about three dozen patients scurrying from their rooms to safety in a basement. The blaze started when a snow plow truck caught fire near the building.

Authorities blamed the storm for hundreds of accidents, including a deadly tractor-trailer wreck that killed a father and son who had stopped to help someone in Virginia. Some area hospitals asked people with four-wheel-drive vehicles to volunteer to pick up doctors and nurses to take them to work.

The country band Rascal Flatts postponed a concert Saturday in Ohio, but the Atlanta Thrashers-Washington Capitals NHL game went on as planned.

In Dover, Del., Shanita Foster lugged three gallons of water out of a Dollar General store.

"That's all we need right now. We've got everything else," said Foster, adding that she was ready with candles in case the power went out.

Shoppers jammed aisles and emptied stores of milk, bread, shovels, driveway salt and other supplies. Many scrambling for food and supplies were too late.

"Our shelves are bare," said Food Lion front-end manager Darlene Baboo in Dover. "This is just unreal."

Metro, the transit system the Washington area is heavily dependent upon, closed all but the underground rail service and suspended bus service.

Maryland's public transportation also shut down Saturday, including Baltimore's Metro. Maryland Transit Administration spokeswoman Jawauna Greene said the underground portion of the Metro could reopen later Saturday but it depended on the weather conditions.

"We have trees on the overhead wires, trees on train tracks. We can't get anything out," she said.

Amtrak also canceled several of its Northeast Corridor trains Saturday, and New Jersey's transit authority expected to suspend bus service. As much as a foot of snow was reported in parts of that state.

Across the region, transportation officials deployed thousands of trucks and crews and had hundreds of thousands of tons of salt at the ready. Several states exhausted or expected to exhaust their snow removal budgets.

Maryland budgeted about $60 million, and had already spent about $50 million, Gov. Martin O'Malley said. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who has been in office less than a month, declared his second snow emergency, authorizing state agencies to assist local governments. As of early Saturday, some parts of Virginia had already seen more than 18 inches of snow.

The snow comes less than two months after a Dec. 19 storm dumped more than 16 inches on Washington. Snowfalls of this magnitude — let alone two in one season — are rare in the area. According to the National Weather Service, Washington has gotten more than a foot of snow only 13 times since 1870.

The heaviest on record was 28 inches in January 1922. The biggest snowfall for the Washington-Baltimore area is believed to have been in 1772, before official records were kept, when as much as 3 feet fell, which George Washington and Thomas Jefferson penned in their diaries.

In Washington, tourists made the best of it Friday, spending their days in museums or venturing out to see the monuments before the snow got too heavy.

A group of 13 high school students from Cincinnati was stranded in D.C. when a student government conference they planned to attend was canceled — after they had already arrived. So they went sightseeing.

At the Smithsonian's natural history museum, Caitlin Lavon, 18, and Hannah Koch, 17, took pictures of each other with the jaws of a great white shark in the Ocean Hall.

"Our parents are all freaking out, sending texts to be careful," Koch said. "Being from Ohio, I don't think I've ever seen that much snow at once."


Associated Press writers Brett Zongker and Sarah Karush in Washington, Kathleen Miller in Falls Church, Va., David Dishneau in Chantilly, Va., Ben Nuckols in Hanover, Md., Randall Chase in Dover, Del., and Steve Szkotak in Richmond, Va., contributed to this report.

(This version CORRECTS spelling of band 'Rascal Flatts.')

Friday, January 8, 2010

What's In Your Trunk Could Save Your Life

Read entire article here.

Last week a couple from Medford, Oregon bought a permit to cut a Christmas tree on National Forest land, and their short trip into the woods lasted 2-days in freezing temperatures because their all-wheel-drive car became high-centered in the snow. Even though they had a cell phone, they were out of range, and apparently up a very deserted back road with no traffic. Fortunately, they could eventually drive themselves to safety (nobody was able to find them, because they failed to leave word where they were going).

None of us plan to get in trouble, but for the unfortunate or careless, trouble finds them anyway. A student driving home for Christmas at the end of fall semester takes a wrong turn and ends up stranded on a dark freezing night. Or a family who cannot leave for Grandma’s house until Christmas Eve because the breadwinner has to work until the last minute, heads out into a snowstorm with the kids in the back seat. Does this sound like you, or someone you care about? Take time now for serious thought about what is in your trunk that can save your family’s life if you are caught by extensive traffic delays, spin out and land in a snowbank, or just run out of gas on a cold lonely road.

Let’s take inventory and clear out the "junk in the trunk”, so we can bring out the stuff that will save your life – the things you need in your Winter Auto Kit.

Winter Travel

Here is an excellent article to prepare for the harsh winter weather while traveling.

(Read the entire article here)

Carry-On Essentials

Carry your cell phone charger . There are not many, but there are wall plugs throughout the airport. Being stuck in an airport overnight is bad enough, but when you cannot communicate with loved ones, mere trials become ordeals.

Emergency ID Card : Always carry an emergency card with your name, home address, allergies, and medical conditions, in your carry-on bag. Also, carry phone numbers for family and friends. When stressed, we can forget these numbers.

Carry cash . Small bills are best. Retailers may not accept large bills in an emergency, so be prepared with ones, fives, and tens. Consider what it might cost to eat, buy supplies, or even a magazine, and multiply by two or three days. Don't be caught short.

Carry some food for backup . Cait was stranded for four days and only had two candy bars and a cookie. Carry a few high-calorie bars like those in a 72-hour kit. Some of these bars taste terrible, but others are really good and taste like shortbread cookies. Buy some and have your family test them first. For your travel day, pack a lunch with a sandwich, a few carrot sticks, an apple… if you don't need them, well you were prepared, but if you do need them they will be priceless. Avoid salty foods that will make you thirsty, like chips, beef jerky, and such.

Drinks . With the new flight regulations it is difficult to carry drinks, but as soon as you get through security, if you think there may be any chance your flight will be delayed or canceled, purchase a bottle of water. You can refill these as often as you need at a water fountain. Hard candy and lifesavers help to keep your mouth moist, too.

Vitamins . One of the first things the Red Cross brought in after three days was a baggie with vitamins for each passenger.

Medications . Always carry your prescriptions in your carry-on bag. Add pain relievers, stomach medication, cold relievers — you know the drill. All of these come in various forms so you don't have to worry about liquids at security.

Change of clothing . Include a change of underwear and a clean shirt in your carry-on. It is amazing how much better a change of clothes makes you feel.

Personal hygiene items . Folks in Denver were longing for their toothbrushes. You can get toothpaste, bars of soap, shave cream, deodorant, almost anything, in travel sizes now. All of these will be some of the first things to sell out at the shops, not to mention feminine supplies. Anything you couldn't live without goes in the carry-on. While you are at it, include a washcloth.
Mark your luggage in a unique way . If you are competing with hundreds or thousands of others with look-alike bags, attach a crazy luggage tag, colored duct tape, or a wild sticker to your bag to distinguish it from all the rest.

Insect repellant . Sounds crazy, I know, but I would really rather not be bug bait.

Pack a diversion . If you are traveling with young children, pack books, crayons, paper, or a favorite stuffed animal. In our 72-hour kits we include a small inflatable beach ball and styrofoam airplanes. These are cheap, practically weightless, and could be fun for a long time. If they happen to hit someone nearby they will not injure or make tempers flare. For adults, include a book, magazines, crossword, sudoku, or a travel game.

Mylar survival blanket . If you are lucky enough to get a blanket you will want to use it as a covering and that leaves you sleeping on a filthy floor. Place your mylar blanket on the floor and even though you may still be visited by insects, the surface under you is clean, and the foil side of your blanket will reflect and retain your body heat.*

Travel soft . If you are traveling with two carry-on pieces, put your soft items in one bag, like your backpack, and keep bulky shoes, camera, etc. in the other bag. Now your backpack is ready to be used as a pillow if the need arises. There were no pillows provided to passengers during the Denver airport shutdown.

Moist towelettes . When you are stranded like passengers in Denver, help and supplies can't get in. Restrooms run out of supplies, food courts run out of napkins, and Kleenex — forget it.
These tips also apply to traveling by car, however, you may also want to add the following to your trunk for a road trip:

Glow sticks for light during the nighttime hours for you and to make you more visible to rescuers. I love the 10-inch glow sticks that are sold with a bipod. These are great to use in place of flares, to mark a path, to direct traffic after an accident or during an emergency or to signal rescuers at night. They can be seen for a mile.

Work gloves to change a tire or put on chains.

Snow chains .

Sand or kitty litter to help with traction if your car spins out in the snow.

A small shovel to build a snow cave or dig out a car.

Waterproof matches or lighter.

A metal container to melt snow.

A mirror or extra mylar blanket to signal rescuers.

An umbrella . Instant shelter. Eric, from Vale, Arizona, tells us that Ray Jardine, in his book Beyond Backpacking, says an umbrella is one of the most useful tools in his arsenal for long distance hiking. It allows him to keep hiking when unfavorable weather has other hikers holed up for the duration. He goes on to say that when hiking in the desert in summer, covering his umbrella with a space blanket allows him to hike in the daytime when it would otherwise be infeasible. It places the entire body in the shade, which no hat can do. Consider these possibilities for umbrella and mylar blankets in summer.

Safety vests to be worn so you can be more easily seen by rescuers or while near the roadway (bright orange vests, cheap ones). You will all be safer if you need to leave the car, and each passenger wears one. These can also be attached to your car as a distress signal.

Cell phone charger for the car.

Small candle . If placed on the dash this will help keep the air in the car above freezing. Don't go to sleep and leave it lit. You can also run your car engine for 10 minutes every hour to warm the car and charge the phone. Make sure before running the engine that the tail pipe is not blocked. Also, leave a window, which faces away from the wind, open very slightly to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Wool blanket .

Knit cap and mittens .
Most of your body heat is lost through your head, so the cap is important. Mittens are warmer than gloves. Remember wool or manmade fibers are better in cold/wet weather than cotton.

Body warmers , the instant heat type. Make sure when purchasing these that you buy the ones rated for 20 hours, not 20 minutes. These are small and easy to stash in your auto emergency kit.

A whistle can be heard much further away than the human voice. I would have at least 2 in the car. If one member of your party needs to leave to look for help you can signal each other every few minutes and help guide them back to the car. It is not wise for anyone to leave alone, and go further away than “whistle distance.” It is just too easy to become disoriented and lost.
Flashlight with extra batteries and an extra bulb.*

A portable radio is great to hear news and weather reports without draining your car battery. Make sure you have both AM and FM bands. Look for the ones that are also a flashlight and siren. Handcranked power is also good.

Tool kit. How sad to be stranded for lack of a screwdriver or wrench.

Tow rope . Some people who could help pull you out of the ditch are not equipped with a rope. Think of how smart you will look, when you say “I've got one!”

Maps . Do you pay attention to where you are when traveling? If you don't know where you are, how will you find where you want to go?

Compass . A Scout would know what to do with it.

Roll of TP . Essential.

Fire extinguisher . What good is your emergency gear if it's burning up with the car? More than once, we've seen cars fully ablaze at the side of the highway, and not from a traffic accident. Gasoline + heat + leaking fuel line = fire.

Friday, September 18, 2009

What are the gaps in your stockpile

Perhaps you’ve been working on building a good stockpile for a while, combining coupons and sales. Your pantry is looking full and so is your freezer. You wonder how long you could go without shopping if you couldn’t.

What if you couldn’t go shopping?

What if you knew your family would be living off of your food storage for 6 months or more? What would you make sure that YOU had on hand?

Read the rest of the article here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Filling Your Ark" Has Been Referenced in an Article

One Women's View of Budget Prepardness by Lisa L.

It's a great article, too. She discusses Long-Term and Short Term prepardness as well as some lessons learned. A very good read.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Creating a Culture of Self-Reliance

By Carolyn Nicolaysen

Read original article here.

Lt. General Russel L. Honoré (Retired) who was the 33rd commanding general of the U.S. First Army and commander of Joint Task Force Katrina said:

"Each of us has a personal responsibility to be ready. We need to prepare our families and our homes. In many cases, family and personal preparations can be fairly simple. All it takes is a shift in our thinking. For example, when Granny's birthday comes around, we have a tendency to get her one of those little silver picture frames with a photo of the kids. We need to stop giving Granny those picture frames and give her a weather radio. And on Father's Day, instead of giving Grandpa those funky colored ties, give him a weather radio, too.

“In this new normal, we have only two options: We can exist in a culture of fear and dependency, or we can do the responsible thing: Live comfortably in a culture of preparedness and readiness; a culture where individuals can save themselves and empower their local, regional and national governments to better respond to any disaster. It's time for America to adopt this culture of preparedness."¹

We want more than just a culture of preparedness - we are striving for a culture of self-reliance . While the prepared person may have the goods they will need to survive an emergency, the self-reliant individual has in addition the capabilities, judgment, and resourcefulness to manage their own affairs, independently.

President Joseph F. Smith explained the importance of temporal salvation and its relationship to spiritual salvation this way:

“You must continue to remember that the temporal and the spiritual are blended. They are not separate. One cannot be carried on without the other, so long as we are here in mortality"

(Gospel Doctrine, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1939, p. 208)

President Marion G. Romney said: “The most fundamental principles of temporal salvation include two basic concepts: providing for oneself— self-reliance —and providing for one's family— family reliance. The first principle, that of self-reliance, grows out of a fundamental doctrine of the Church—that of free agency. That doctrine of free agency is based on the truth that the basic essence of man is comprised of spirit matter, or intelligence, which is independent “in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself … Behold, here is the agency of man.” (See D&C 93:26–38 ; emphasis added.)

“Thus, we understand that all is in place so that man can, if he so chooses, work out his salvation—both temporal and spiritual—and can achieve the benefits promised in this, his second estate. The self-reliance we speak of in the Church, then, grows out of eternal truths connected with the doctrines of intelligence and free agency. Consequently, self-reliance, as taught by the prophets, becomes a fundamental truth in the gospel plan.” - Marion G. Romney, “Principles of Temporal Salvation,” Tambuli , Oct 1981.

To the degree we fail to prepare and become self reliant, we give up our free agency - one of the most precious gifts from God.

So how can we create a culture of self-reliance within our homes? To create a culture of self-reliance, a yearning for independence in temporal matters must become a constant in our homes. It must become second nature in everyday living. As with a diet, we cannot starve for a short time, lose a little weight and then assume we are done. Self-reliance needs to be a change in our lifestyle in the same way weight loss requires a change in lifestyle. It means not just a change in our habits, but a change in the very way we think.

Begin by determining which emergencies may affect your family. Approach this as you would evaluate what you need in the way of insurance. Could there be a flood, house fire, burglary, hurricane, earthquake, wildfire, chemical spill, terrorist incident, tornado, or dust storm? You would pay for insurance to cover these disasters if you thought them likely. Here comes the change in thinking, now you will establish your own insurance against these possibilities. Each week think about your self-reliance insurance.

In my blog I have called self-reliance a “General Store”. Remember general stores of old? They were the place you went to purchase food, clothing, medicine, tools, garden seeds, fabric, candles, school supplies, stamps - just about everything you needed to care for a family and run a household. As you consider yourself and your family - ask yourself what is missing from your General Store.

Consider the following steps to develop a culture of self-reliance in your household:

1. Set-aside money each week to "pay" your self-reliance insurance. Purchase those items which your general store is lacking. Help your children to understand that just as a storekeeper has to sacrifice to purchase their first inventory to stock their store, you may also need to sacrifice to establish yours. When you have met those goals and stocked your cupboards it will be easier to throw together a last-minute party after the big game or to invite friends to stay for dinner. If your kids signed up to bring something to school, but forgot to tell you until they were about to leave – more than likely they will be able to go to your General Store and find it. There will never be a time when friends drop by that you can't offer a snack, and never again will you have to tell a Relief Society president that you just can't help out a family in need.

2. Involve your family in the adventure and change their thinking also. Ask them to watch and search for bargains. My sister-in-law called last week to let me know a local chain store was closing out their canning lids. In May? Why would you close out canning lids at the beginning of canning season? I ran down and stocked up. I can now preserve 156 bottles of food for less than $10.00 in lids. Your spouse and children can become detectives in the same way, when they know the plan and what is needed to stock your family's General Store. Each year we wait for binders, pencils, crayons, and notebooks to go on sale at the beginning of the school year. When they get to bargain prices it is time to stock up for the next year. After all, the bargains come a week or two after the first week of school when most people have already had to purchase supplies to meet the teacher's requirements.

3. Learn new skills. Summer is here and schools are letting out for a few weeks or months. Now would be a great time to take on some projects as a family. Learn to cook using only foods from your General Store. It really amazes me how few people know how to make a cake or a batch of pancakes from scratch. Learn basic car care. Learn to change a tire, put on snow chains, change the oil, fill the radiator, learn to wash and vacuum the car like a pro. Learn to sew. Learn to build a fire. Learn to set up a tent. Learn to use every item in your 72 hour kits. All these skills are important in case there is no one available to provide the service.

“Self-reliance implies the individual development of skills and abilities and then their application to provide for one's own needs and wants. It further implies that one will achieve those skills through self-discipline and then, through self-restraint and charity, will use those skills to bless himself and others. That the Lord expects all his children who are of sound mind and body to thus perform in this second estate is made clear in many scriptural passages whose central thought focuses on work —personal, earnest, life-sustaining work.” - Marion G. Romney, “Principles of Temporal Salvation,” Tambuli, Oct 1981,

4. Think through a disaster and plan your response. When we are faced with a crisis, we mortals tend to respond in the same way. Why? Because that is the way our brains are programmed to handle extreme stress. First, we cannot believe the crisis has occurred. We have friends who lost their barn with their camping supplies, food storage and more. They could smell the smoke but it was not until a passer-by stopped that they realized it was their barn. We just don't want to believe it could be happening to us. The second phase is a stupor of thought. We may know we need to take action but we just can't move. We may even stand and stare at our 72 hour kit and never pick it up. Last of all, we move into action.

All these stages are faced by everyone during a crisis. The difference in how quickly one person moves from phase one to phase three, compared to another, depends on how much knowledge they have absorbed before the disaster happens. The more you know, the more you have thought through how you will react and what you will do – and the more success you will have in dealing with and surviving the emergency.

5. Study the Scriptures. As we strive to create a spiritual home we study the scriptures. Remember what the Lord has said "Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created." (D&C 29:34)

We must study and work until we truly understand that all the Father asks us to do is for our eternal salvation. I recently heard a speaker talk about the relationship between stress and productivity. He explained that those who are stressed cannot be productive. As stress is reduced, we become more creative and more capable of solving problems.

The Lord has told us exactly how to reduce stress and become productive, creative, and successful in every aspect of our lives. "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God" (D&C 109:8)

He said to organize yourself, then prepare every needful thing. Then, we are prepared to establish a house of prayer, fasting, faith, learning and glory. This house will then be a house of order and God can become the center of all we are and all we do.

To begin your own journey toward a Culture of Self Reliance or to build your own General Store join Carolyn at