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

Monday, September 7, 2009

Jobless rate at highest level in 26 years

By Patrice Hill
Read original article here.

The nation's unemployment rate surged to a 26-year high of 9.7 percent last month as employers slashed jobs in nearly every part of the economy, the Labor Department reported Friday.

The news heralds what is likely to be a long, "jobless" recovery for the economy. Analysts believe the economy this summer started to emerge from the steep recession that started in December 2007, but say improvement in the job market is following the pattern of other recent recessions and lagging behind the return of growth in other sectors, such as manufacturing.

The job cuts since last summer have been the deepest seen in modern times, and have left the nation with nearly 7 million fewer jobs than before the recession, the department said. But the 216,000 jobs eliminated during August were the fewest in a year and fewer than the 276,000 jobs cut in July, indicating that the pace of layoffs continues to slowly moderate from a peak of 700,000 a month at the beginning of the year.

"Job losses are diminishing as the labor market creeps ever so slowly toward stabilization," said Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist at the Economic Outlook Group. "But employment conditions are improving at such an agonizingly slow pace that most Americans will not be able to detect any genuine improvement. That's why consumer spending will remain weak for the balance of the year."

Even though a recovery likely has begun, "if history is any guide, we will continue to see payrolls decline for at least another six months," he said. After the last two recessions, it took more than two years for the economy to generate enough jobs to bring down the unemployment rate.

"Companies just do not commence hiring once a recession ends, in part because it is so difficult to know with confidence that the economy has turned the corner for good," Mr. Baumohl said. "As a result, employers ask their existing workers to produce more" to get by for a while, and later they will add temporary workers until they are sure a recovery has taken hold and they can add full-time staff, he said.

Incomes have taken a hit along with jobs. Average hourly wages grew modestly by 0.3 percent in August, but weekly earnings were up by less than 1 percent over the past year because employers have been slashing hours as well as jobs in their efforts to cut costs and stay afloat.

Every major sector lost jobs during the month except education and health care, where jobs have kept growing since the onset of the recession. Even the government, which managed to create a few jobs in past months, slashed jobs by 18,000 in August, reflecting the lagging effect of tax revenues lost to the recession.

While state and local governments, faced with escalating budget gaps, are expected to continue trimming jobs, the federal government is becoming a rare source of job growth as it gears up to carry out massive stimulus, homeland-security, bank-bailout and other programs.

With baby boom-era government workers moving toward retirement, a survey by the Partnership for Public Service estimates that the government will need to fill 273,000 mission-critical jobs in the next three years, a 41 percent increase from the group's 2007 survey of job openings.

"Job opportunities are there. People need to seize them," said Max Stier, president of the partnership. "For job-seekers motivated by a desire to make a difference and improve the lives of Americans, there are no better possibilities than those provided by our federal government."

Unemployment rose among all groups in August but hit teenagers particularly hard. More than one in four teens who are looking for work have been unable to find jobs - a record, according to the department's survey of 60,000 U.S. households.

One reason the unemployment rate jumped to 9.7 percent from 9.4 percent in July was the fact that 73,000 people entered the market looking for work but were unable to find jobs, the department said.

In a broader measure of the job malaise facing most Americans, a measure of unemployment that includes workers who are too discouraged to keep looking for jobs and those working part time who would rather have full-time jobs rose to a record 16.8 percent from 16.3 percent in July.

In a sign of the depth of the employment distress, one in every three workers looking for jobs has been unemployed for more than six months.

John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo Securities, said that is a hint that layoffs in the past year have been permanent rather than temporary. The hardship for workers with no prospect of being rehired by their previous employers is increased by the fact that the struggling housing market has made it more difficult to move elsewhere to find work, he said.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I wonder how many of these folks have 72-hour packets? This would be the perfect time to be using one!

"LOS ANGELES – A relentless Southern California wildfire raged Tuesday with 53 homes up in smoke, thousands more threatened and new rounds of evacuations as towering flames crackled close to foothill neighborhoods in the path of the blaze."

Read entire article here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tin Can Stove-- Great for Breakfast

By Dian Thomas

Read original article here.

One of the most innovative outdoor cooking methods, and excellent to have for power-related emergencies at home, is the simple homemade tin can stove which can be used for frying, boiling and toasting. It is best used for one or two people because of its small size. It is also disposable; just recycle after use.

A buddy burner (a tuna can—or a can similar in shape—filled with rolled corrugated cardboard and melted paraffin) is the main source of heat for a tin can stove.

To make the tin can stove:

First, cut out one end of the #10-size can (102-ounce or 6-pound 6-ounce) available from restaurants. With tin snips cut two slits 3 inches high and 31⁄2 inches apart on one side of the can at the open end, leaving the top attached. Pull the door open.

With a punch-type can opener, punch two or three holes on the backside of the can near the top. These act as a chimney, allowing the smoke to escape during cooking.

A skillet may be used on top of the tin can by removing the top so it is open. When using pans, be sure to rub liquid soap on the bottom of the pan so they will clean easily.
Cut top from #10-size can to cook directly on top

To make the buddy burner:

Cut corrugated cardboard (across the corrugation so holes show) into strips the same width as the height of the tuna can. Roll strips tightly to fit inside the can.

Heat the wax in a double boiler and pour melted wax into the cardboard. Or set a piece of wax on the cardboard and light a match next to the wax (see picture). Continue adding wax near the flame until the buddy burner is filled. The cardboard serves as a wick, and the wax serves as the fuel, providing the heat for the stove.

When lighting, it may help to lay the can on its side so that the flame spreads across the cardboard. It will burn 1 ½ to 2 hours. To refuel, add a new small piece of wax when it is burning and let it melt into the burner. When finished, let the wax harden before storing.

To make the damper:

A damper covers the buddy burner to control the amount of heat. It is easy to make out of foil or from the lid of a tuna can. To make: fold an 18-inch by 15-inch piece of heavy-duty foil into 3-inch sections again and again until all the foil is used.

Bend the foil down as a handle to set over the tuna can. To make a handle with a cardboard pant hanger (minus the cardboard), bend ends together. Punch holes in the top of the tuna can lid on each side. Wire the lid to the ends of the hanger.

Bend the handle of the coat hanger down so that it will prop itself up while the buddy burner is burning. Move the damper to increase or decrease the heat. Use a tuna can, wax and cardboard to make the buddy burner

Sunshine Toast

My all-time, most-often-cooked recipe. I love to cook it on a
tin can stove.
4 slices bacon
4 slices bread
4 eggs
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
Camp Stove and At Home

In a large frying pan, fold bacon strips into “V’s.” Cook on one side and turn over. Tear a hole in the center of the bread slice large enough to hold an egg. Place the bread slice onto the bacon, and break an egg in the center of the bread hole. Season with salt and pepper. When the egg is done on one side, turn over and cook to desired doneness. Serves 4.

•For eggs and bacon on one side and French toast on the other, with a fork scramble the egg and draw from the center over the bread. Turn over to cook the French toast. You now have eggs and bacon on one side and French toast on the other. I must admit this is one of my favorite outdoor meals.

Dian is the author of several great outdoor idea books. For more idea like this go to her
website at She also take people on custom tours to China. Join
Dian on one of her up coming adventures. Just email Dian at

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Drying Your Own Foods

By Dian Thomas

Find the original article here.

As the fall nears and the fruits and vegetables in the garden or farmers market get plentiful, I begin thinking of all the ways that I can preserve them for use throughout the year. Drying you own fruits and vegetables is a key to keeping some of them for use later on in the year. I love fruits that are dried all the way from apples to peaches.

It's easy and fun to dry your own foods with a home food dehydrator. Drying foods at home is becoming more and more popular as a means of preservation for general home use as well as for lightweight camping.

There are many advantages to drying your own foods. Dried foods occupy from one-fifth to one-twentieth of the storage space and weight of canned or frozen foods. When properly stored, most dried foods keep for at least a year, retaining top quality and nutritional value. There is no danger of botulism with dehydrated foods. As with other methods of preservation, drying in season is a tremendous money-saver, adding interesting variety to home food stores and snacks.

The drying process is quite simple. Sliced or cut foods are placed on racks, which allow air to circulate around the food.

The moisture slowly evaporates because of an elevated temperature, and the circulating air removes the moisture.

If you live in the Southwest or a warm climate where you can count on five or more days of continuous sunshine, low humidity and temperatures about 90° F daily, you might want to try nature's way of preserving foods. Sun-drying is the most time-consuming and least expensive method of food preservation.

Place foods to be dried on screens (polypropylene or nylon coated fiber glass) and find the warmest, sunniest and safest spot in your yard. By safest, I mean a place where the neighborhood dogs, cats or children won't nibble up your goodies before they dry. Place the food as far away from dust, roads and exhaust as possible. To protect it from birds and insects, cover it with cheesecloth or nylon netting—propped up so it doesn't touch the food.

Be sure that the location has good air circulation, and if you choose to stack the screens after the food has partially dried, rotate them from top to bottom two or three times each day. Occasionally turning the fruit facilitates even drying. Stacking the screens during the last half of the drying process produces a nicer flavor and color because the food is less exposed to direct sunlight.

The food should be brought in at night or at the first sign of rain, because moisture on partially dried food will cause it to mildew and spoil.

Oven Drying
Oven drying tends to produce lower-quality dried foods because it is difficult to maintain a temperature below 140° F unless your oven is specifically designed to do so. Most convection ovens work quite well for drying because they have a fan that circulates the air and removes moisture. Since ovens vary in their range of temperature, size and efficiency, experiment with yours to see what produces the best results. Make sure that your oven will maintain a temperature of 140° F or below before attempting to dry in it.

Make a pillowcase-type covering out of nylon net to fit snugly over each oven rack so food can be dried on the net without falling through. If you want to dry larger quantities, try obtaining a couple of extra oven racks (frequently available from used appliance dealers) to make the most of your energy and the oven's. An average oven rack has about 21⁄2 square feet, so with four racks, the total drying area would be about 10 square feet.

Load the racks with the food to be dried, leaving space between the foods for adequate air circulation. Don't overlap food on the trays. This results in unevenly dried food and longer drying times.

If your oven does not have a convection feature, set it to the lowest setting (ideally between 125° and 140° F) and crack the door about 1⁄2 to 1 inch in an electric oven or 8 inches in a gas oven by inserting a lid near the door hinge. Check the oven temperature on each rack with an oven thermometer and adjust accordingly. In some gas ovens, the pilot light keeps the oven warm enough. If your gas oven does not have an automatic shut-off valve, check it occasionally to make sure the flame is still on.

Rotate racks every 2 to 3 hours for the most even drying.
Cool the foods before you check them for dryness.

A wide variety of consumer dehydrators are available in stores or through catalogs or TV ads. Take the time to compare different dehydrators to make sure you buy the most efficient one, and one that will best suit your needs.

Round, stackable units with a fan, heating element and thermostat are ideal because they are expandable. Beware of ones that only contain a heating element. They take considerably longer to dry than those with a fan, and seldom have temperatures above 120° F, which is too low for meats, poultry or low-acid foods. Most round, stackable dryers with a fan and thermostat do not need to be rotated because the design allows
for even airflow.

Box dryers also work very well. The only limitations are the lack of expandability and the need to occasionally rotate the trays.

Making your own dehydrator is impractical due to the availability and reasonable prices of consumer dehydrators on the market. Dryers made from wood are unsafe due to their flammability. They are also difficult to clean and use far more electricity than metal and plastic manufactured ones.

Safety features should include U.L. approval, nonflammable construction, enclosed electrical components and a safety switch in case of thermostat failure.

The cost of operation depends on the wattage of the heating element. If a portion of the air recirculates within the dryer and the heating element is thermostatically controlled, the cost of operation will be lower.

Check for the location of the closest dealer and service. Also check for length of warranty and what it covers, shipping costs if the dryer needs to be returned to the manufacturer for repairs, and how easily parts can be replaced after the warranty has expired.

Dian Thomas is and outdoor specialist authoring several best selling book on outdoor camping and cooking. Roughing it Easy sold over a million copies all over the world. The check out Dian innovative, creative and fun ideas go to She also take people to China. For more information write to her at

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Prepare Your College Student for H1N1

By Carolyn Nicolaysen - Original article found here.

Along with traditional Back-to-School supplies like clothes, books, bed linens, computers, pencils, and paper, there is another list your college student should remember this year: Because of the H1N1 flu pandemic, the list should include canned foods, hand sanitizer, medications and a good dose of knowledge about caring for roommates with the flu.

As preparation for this subject, I contacted BYU Hawaii, BYU Idaho, and made calls to BYU Provo to ask their advice and to ascertain the preparations they have made. What I discovered is that this is a huge job for a safety committee. There really is no way to completely prepare to care for potentially thousands of students who could become ill or quarantined during a flu pandemic.

Parents and students have been asked for years to bring a 72-96 hour emergency kit to school which can be used in case of a natural disaster or other emergency, for short term survival. That advice continues. For those traveling to school by car, be sure this kit also includes items that will keep your student safe on the road should they have car problems or experience delays because of weather while traveling.

We have addressed quarantines since last November, long before a pandemic became a reality. We define a “campus quarantine” as including one or more of the following conditions:

Students are asked to remain in their dorm or apartment unless they become ill.
All classes are canceled.
All social gatherings, devotionals, and church services are canceled.
Students are able to communicate using the telephone or the computer, but interaction with others is severely restricted.
Laundry facilities outside of a student's quarantine area are off limits.
Students are not able to shop for food or medications because of quarantine restrictions.
Do universities really envision how they would implement these limitations in a pandemic? Yes, they do.

How can students prepare?

Should a pandemic become severe there may not be regular delivery of food and other supplies to local stores. This would be a great concern anywhere, but might be of even greater concern if your student attends BYU Hawaii, a great school in a great state that happens to be in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Any interruption of the supply chain in Hawaii by storms or pandemic is a serious matter.

In addition to a great kit for short term survival at home or on the road, students should be prepared with a supply of food. BYU Hawaii has a food supply sufficient to feed students for a short period of time but not for a sustained quarantine. Students on all campuses will be on their own as far as food and water are concerned should a serious pandemic arrive. A student's food cache should include items that can be stored in a small space that are easy to prepare. Foods should be from all the major food groups. They should also include foods which are good to eat when recovering from the flu, and drinks which can be converted to hydration formulas for anyone who has become dehydrated.

Students without cooking facilities and/or without refrigeration should be storing canned and ready to eat foods. Do not forget a manual can opener. Space is limited in a dorm room or apartment, but since none of the schools I spoke with has the ability to supply or deliver food should quarantine be made mandatory, this is an issue that has to be considered.

While I was writing my book Mother Hubbard: What She's Doing Now I was asked by a friend about purchasing a two- week supply of food for his kids at college. At that time I used the spreadsheet calculator I had just finished to establish the amount of food needed and proceeded to calculate the cost of a two-week supply. It was $115.00. That is a small amount to ensure your child will have food to eat should the need arise.

Medications are also important to store before quarantine becomes necessary. BYU Hawaii recommends students have a three-month supply of the prescription drugs they are currently taking. All students should plan to have a precautionary supply of prescriptions on hand. They should also have on hand a supply of medications to treat flu symptoms. While you are in the pharmacy stocking up, add N95 masks, disposable medical gloves, (food service gloves are too thin), hand sanitizer and lotion for the dry hands caused by sanitizers. You will also want to add hygiene supplies such as TP, toothpaste, shampoo and tissues. And remember, when you store prescription drugs, keep them secured where others will not have access to them.

Students will want to keep their surroundings as free from germs as possible. They should have disinfectant wipes and other cleaners to disinfect hard surfaces.

The BYU campuses have communication systems set up to keep students and parents informed should quarantine become necessary. They are prepared to use email, the phone system, text messaging and their web sites as conditions require.

Both BYUI and BYU Hawaii have been conducting a campus wide campaign to help students understand the importance of hand washing and other preventative measures. There is always more that parents can do to educate and prepare their families.

Plan now to send your students back to school with the information they need in an easy to understand form. If a self quarantine should occur, students will need information in chart form or something very simple to understand and follow.

As an example, you may want to send along a list such as the following:

Important Steps to Follow to Prevent the Spread of the Flu

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the elbow of your sleeve.
Wash your hands with running water and soap or alcohol-based hand sanitizer after coughing or sneezing.
Wash hands as often as necessary including after touching public surfaces such as door knobs and grocery carts, and after shaking hands.
If you become ill or someone in your apartment is ill, stay home until at least 24 hours after all symptoms have passed or for seven days, whichever is longer.
Clean hard surfaces and items that have frequent hand contact with such as desks, door knobs, keyboards, or pens, with disinfectants. If you have been around someone who is ill, change clothes and wash exposed clothing immediately.
If a roommate becomes sick, isolate them in a separate room. Limit the number of people who take care of the sick person and provide a surgical mask for the sick person to wear whenever anyone else is in the room. Use disposable gloves whenever you enter the room of someone who is ill and dispose of them immediately after leaving their room.
Get a medical evaluation for sick students as soon as symptoms occur. If a member of your household has any preexisting medical conditions, have them evaluated immediately.
Know the symptoms for which you should take a patient to the hospital.
Stay in regular communication with school health officials and your parents to report any changes in patient conditions.
Other instructions and charts you should create to send with your students could include:

Foods to Feed Those Who Are Ill
Signs of Dehydration
Patient Health Evaluation Form
When to go to the Doctor or Hospital
Making a Hydration Formula
Information for all of these topics can be found in previous Meridian articles. See our Emergency Preparedness Archive.

One concern school officials have is that students will overwhelm the hospital and make it difficult for medical personnel to treat those who truly need the care. Students should report to the health clinic first when they suspect they have the H1N1 flu.

A big concern is that students understand the symptoms of both the seasonal flu and the H1N1 flu, and that they understand the importance of being diligent advocates for their own care. Many doctors are no longer testing for the swine flu and even more are simply prescribing anti-viral drugs to anyone who has symptoms. This is extremely dangerous as a patient could have another illness which may go untreated unless they understand the importance of monitoring their own symptoms. A doctor should always do an exam before prescribing a course of medication.

Summer camps throughout the country, including Especially For Youth in Provo have had serious outbreaks of the H1N1 virus. We should expect more outbreaks when Fall semesters and the flu season begin in September.

The H1N1 flu has been mild during the first phase. Even in its mild form people are dying everyday from this flu. There are no guarantees it will remain mild when it returns, but these simple precautions will provide peace of mind for parents, and enable students to return to their studies better prepared with the knowledge they need to stay healthy, and the supplies they will need to care for themselves – just in case.

Note: BYU Idaho has produced a short video explaining the definition and risk of a pandemic. Although it deals with an avian flu pandemic H5N1 the counsel and basic information is applicable.

For more information about pandemic preparations, see Carolyn Nicolaysen’s book Prep Not Panic: Keys to Surviving the Next Pandemic. For information about a two week food supply see Carolyn's book Mother Hubbard, What She's Doing Now or visit her blog.

A Garden for the Blind!

Recent letter received by Mel Bartholomew

Hi SFG people, I'm blind and have been doing Mel's method for about 3-4 years now, never experiencing this type of issue...some of my trellis plants, specifically cukes and eggplant, are growing elongated and strange looking. The fruit starts out very skinny at the top and eventually fills out toward the bottom. The food is edible, but this seems strange to me...any ideas or solutions? A SFG fan

Read Mel Bartholomew's response here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wise Financial Management during Tough Economic Times

Avoid debt. Learn self-restraint by spending less money than you make and saving money to purchase what you need. Avoid debt except for vital needs, education and the purchase of a modest home. If in debt, try to pay it off quickly.

Use a budget. Keep a record of your monthly income and expenses. With this information, set up a family budget. Establish how much you will save, how much you will spend for food, housing, insurance, utilities, etc. Reduce what you spend on things that are not necessary.

Teach family members early the importance of working and earning. Children should be responsible for the decisions that affect their own money and face the consequences of their bad spending. As your children mature, help them understand the family financial situation, budget goals and their individual responsibility within their families.

Work toward home ownership. Improve the home you acquire so you can use the accumulated equity for a better home if you decide to sell it.

Appropriately involve yourself in an insurance program to avoid the significant debts place upon families when they are uninsured.

Involve yourself in a food storage and emergency preparedness program. Planting and harvesting a garden annually can help the family budget and encourage food storage.

Build a reserve. Accumulate savings little by little and use it for emergencies only.

Read the entire article here.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Typhoon pummels China, forcing nearly 1M to flee

This is another good reason to have 72-hour packets. Something to grab and go - taking with you important information that you wouldn't want to loose, food, clothing, sanitary needs, medical needs, and sleeping arrangments - on a moments notice.

Typhoon pummels China, forcing nearly 1M to flee

BEIJING – A typhoon pummeled China's eastern coast Sunday, toppling houses, flooding villages and forcing nearly a million people to flee to safety. Officials rode bicycles to distribute food to residents trapped by rising waters.

Typhoon Morakot struck after triggering the worst flooding in Taiwan 50 years, leaving dozens missing and feared dead and toppling a six-story hotel. It earlier lashed the Philippines, killing at least 21 people.

Morakot, which means "emerald" in Thai, made landfall in China's eastern Fujian province, carrying heavy rain and winds of 74 miles (119 kilometers) per hour, according the China Meteorological Administration. At least one child died after a house collapsed on him in Zhejiang province.

People stumbled with flashlights as the storm enveloped the town of Beibi in Fujian in darkness, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Strong winds uprooted trees or snapped them apart, while farmers tried to catch fish swept out of fish farms by high waves.

Village officials in Zhejiang rode bicycles to hand out drinking water and instant noodles to residents stranded by deep floods, while rescuers tried to reach eight sailors on a cargo ship blown onto a reef off Fujian, Xinhua reported.

Morakot was expected to weaken as it traveled north at about six miles (10 kilometers) per hour, but still bring strong winds and heavy rains to Shanghai, the meteorological administration said.

Flood control officials in Shanghai released water stored in inland rivers to reduce levels in preparation, Xinhua said.

About 1 million people were evacuated from China's eastern coastal provinces — more than 490,000 in Zhejiang and 505,000 in neighboring Fujian. Authorities in Fujian called 48,000 boats back to harbor.

Five houses were destroyed by heavy rain ahead of the typhoon's landfall, burying four adults and a 4-year-old boy in debris, Xinhua said. The child died after emergency treatment failed, it said.

Another 300 houses collapsed and thousands of acres (hectares) of farmland were inundated, Xinhua said.

Dozens of domestic flights were canceled and delayed in Fujian and Zhejiang, and bus service in Fujian's capital, Fuzhou, was suspended, it said.

Taiwan, meanwhile, was recovering after the storm dumped more than 80 inches (200 centimeters) of rain on some southern counties Friday and Saturday, the worst flooding to hit the area in half a century, the Central Weather Bureau reported.

Taiwan's Disaster Relief Center said a woman was killed when her vehicle plunged into a ditch in Kaohsiung county in heavy rain Friday, and two men drowned in Pingtung and Tainan. It said 31 were missing and feared dead.

Morakot hit Taiwan late Friday and crossed the island Saturday. The Disaster Relief Center reported Sunday that flash floods washed away a home in southern Kaohsiung, leaving 16 people missing. Three were swept away in southeastern Taitung county, including two policemen helping to evacuate villagers.

Twelve others were missing, including three fishermen from a capsized boat and three others whose cars fell into a rain-swollen river, it said.

In southern Pingtung county, 4,000 people were stranded in inundated villages waiting for police boats to rescue them, news media reported.

In Taitung county, a six-story hotel collapsed and plunged into a river after floodwaters eroded its base, but all 300 people inside were evacuated and uninjured, officials said.

In the northern Philippines, the typhoon and lingering monsoon rains left 21 people dead and seven others missing in landslides and floodwaters, including three European tourists who were swept away Thursday, the National Disaster Coordinating Council said Sunday.

The bodies of the Belgian and two French citizens were found Friday, the council said.

Meanwhile, Xinhua said three fishermen died and 26 others were missing from Tropical Storm Goni, which hit Guangdong on Wednesday but weakened into a tropical depression by Sunday. Helicopters and ships were searching for the missing crew.


Associated Press writers Annie Huang in Taipei and Jim Gomez in Manila contributed to this report.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.

I was reminded of this today and thought I would share it here.

"Thomas S. Monson, “Be of Good Cheer,” Ensign, May 2009, 89–92"

"The global economy, which six months ago appeared to be sagging, seems to have taken a nosedive, and for many weeks now the financial outlook has been somewhat grim. In addition, the moral footings of society continue to slip, while those who attempt to safeguard those footings are often ridiculed and, at times, picketed and persecuted. Wars, natural disasters, and personal misfortunes continue to occur.

It would be easy to become discouraged and cynical about the future—or even fearful of what might come—if we allowed ourselves to dwell only on that which is wrong in the world and in our lives. Today, however, I’d like us to turn our thoughts and our attitudes away from the troubles around us and to focus instead on our blessings as members of the Church.

How might we have joy in our lives, despite all that we may face? Again from the scriptures: “Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you.”

I testify to you that our promised blessings are beyond measure. Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments. There will be nothing in this world that can defeat us.

My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wild Edibles

My husband and I attended a local Wild Edibles class. We went on a nature walk and were introduced to the different local plants are both edible and non-edible. As we went along we took a leave or flower or two and added them to our little zip-lock bag she had given us. Then, when we came back to the tables - which, by the way, we hadn't gone very far to collect all of these - we made a salad and egg rolls.

Here are the recipes she gave us in PDF.
Here are the plant photos that she gave us in pdf

Picture 1: Our salad. We took all our zip-lock bags, washed the contents and then spinned them dry in a salad spinner. Then, it was dumped into this bowl where we added a small bag of store-bought salad mixture, zucchini, cucumber and tomatoes. Instead of salad dressing we used a salad spritzer. The store-bought salad mixture was to help our contents to go farther and to help us understand that, although we could use just wild edibles as our salad, the point is to add to what we already eat.

Picture 2: This is the preparation for our egg rolls. There was Cabbage cole slaw mix, Lamb's quarters, some of the salad mixture that we picked, mushrooms, zucchini, celery and some pesto from garlic-mustard seeds that she had harvested last year.

Picture 3: This is the final version of the egg roll. I poured some of the garlic-mustard pesto over the top and her home-made peach sauce. I ate two egg rolls and could've eaten more. It was delicious. This is the ONLY egg roll that I've ever eaten that didn't have meat and I actually liked.

Friday, May 29, 2009

No Weeding, No Digging, No Tilling, No Kidding!


LAYOUT – Arrange your garden in planting squares, not rows. Lay out 4 ft. by 4 ft. planting areas separated by 3 foot wide walking aisles.

BOXES – Build 4 ft by 4 ft by 6 in deep bottomless boxes to hold a special soil mix above ground.

SOIL –You don't dig up your existing ground, just remove any weeds or grass inside the box, lay down a weed cloth, then just fill boxes with a special soil mix: 1/3 compost (made from many different ingredients), 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 coarse vermiculite

GRID – Make a square foot grid for the top of each box to organize the garden for planting.

CARE – Never walk on the growing soil. Tend your garden from the aisles. Soil then stays loose and friable.

VERTICAL FRAME . – Build a sturdy vertical frame to train all vine crops to grow up to conserve ground space.

ELECT – Plant a different flower, vegetable, or herb crop in each square foot, using spacing of 1, 4, 9 or 16 plants per square foot. Crop rotation happens automatically thereafter.

PLANT – Conserve seeds. Plant only a pinch (2 or 3 seeds) per hole. or place transplants in a slight saucer-shaped depression. Plant only what you will use during each season. No waste. from overplanting

WATER – Nurture plants by watering by hand from a bucket of sun-warmed water (hose or drip system okay).

HARVEST – When you finish harvesting a square foot, add a handful of compost to replenish nutrients and replant with a new and different crop.

Read entire article here.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Your Own Family Emergency Planning Book

I found this on one of my Yahoo email lists. I thought I would share it. Through time I would like to add to this idea....

Okay, [someone] mentioned... not being able to run to a computer when the going gets tough. while I can't take all the credit for this. It can literally be a lifesaver.

First of all, get some 3 ring binders. preferably the bigger ones. Then get a laser printer. Black and White can be used, but you also might need a color one. Get lots of acid free paper for your laser printer and start printing out all your survival information. Also, you might want to put you and your families personal info on these pages. Never know when a comp or CD will be so much scrap.

Now, why a laser printer and acid free paper? A laser printer burns the info into the paper and then somehow adds the ink. while the ink may itself fade with time. The lasering technique will still allow your info to still be read. the acid free paper, just means the paper will not turn yellow and brittle over time. Oh, it might in 50 or more years, but I doubt that. If you don't believe me on this. Check out those first paperback books that came out in the 50's and 60's. The paper in there can be extremely brittle and definitely yellow or even browned over the years. While most of the more expensive hard bound books, still look very good and are readily readable.Depending on how much information you have. You can use a lot or a few of those 3 ring binders. maybe some smaller 3 ring binders for some things.

Here are some hints for what to put in these binders and how to label them.
Food Storage Recipes
How to Get Potable Water, Including Wells and Witching
Medical, including First Aid
Alan Hagans Food Storage FAQ(300-400 pages)
Animal Care
Ammo Reloading
Computer Repair maybe
A list of your own supplies and where they are
What to take in certain situations
Your Family History(including future records)

and obviously, you can have lots of subjects here.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What is Square Foot Gardening?

It's a very simple, easy, and unique method of gardening that eliminates all of the hard work, heavy tools, and time-consuming chores of traditional, single-row gardening.

Because of all these advantages, gardening can now be easily done by not only the very young, the very old and everyone in between. It adapts to any location in the world. Since we don't dig up or try to improve the existing soil; we need no tools and no work. It's the greenest of the green methods of gardening, because it uses only 20% of the space, 10% of the water, 5% of the seeds, and only 2% of the work of a traditional, single-row garden, yet produces over 100 % of the harvest..

Read entire article here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Preparing for the Second Wave of the H1N1 Virus

The world has been re-awakened to the specter of the pandemic – how quickly and uninvited they arrive, and how alarmingly fast they can spread to many nations. Historically, there are records of pandemics going back to the days of Hippocrates, which was 2400 years ago. Records kept since then show that pandemics have occurred about every 20-40 years. Since the Hong Kong Flu pandemic of 1968, we are at 41 years.

Read the entire article here.

Why Go Shopping Anymore?

Why spend the time, money, gasoline and hassle when you could step outside your back door and grab the same items—fresh, organically grown, non-contaminated, never-to-be-recalled, nor handled by anyone else—in two or three minutes? You won't even have to use your credit card. And the kids could pick their own, which makes it a special treat rather than a chore of having to wash and trim the vegetables from the plastic bags you picked up at the store....

Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Square Foot Gardening

I'm so excited to hear that Mel Bartholomew, author of the Square Foot Gardening System has agreed to write a weekly column exclusively for Meridian Magazine.

I'll be sure to post the link here to the article. Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pandemic or Not - Are You Ready For the Swine Flue

See original article here.

On Tuesday the World Health Organization raised the pre-pandemic alert level to Level 4, for the first time in its history. Wednesday it was raised again to a level 5 making the H1N1 flu officially a pandemic. The flu has now been verified or suspect in more than twenty countries and ten states. In their news conference Wednesday the World Health Organization stated that since this virus has never been seen before they really have no idea how deadly it will become. To aid you in your preparation for a potential pandemic, Meridian Magazine is re-publishing our pandemic articles published just three months ago.

Now is the time to seriously read and study the recommendations, and then to get ready in case this flu outbreak becomes a full blown pandemic.

First, what do these phase classifications mean?

Phase 4 is characterized by verified human-to-human transmission of an animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus able to cause “community-level outbreaks.” The ability to cause sustained disease outbreaks in a community marks a significant upwards shift in the risk for a pandemic. Any country that suspects or has verified such an event should urgently consult with WHO so that the situation can be jointly assessed and a decision made by the affected country if implementation of a rapid pandemic containment operation is warranted. Phase 4 indicates a significant increase in risk of a pandemic but does not necessarily mean that a pandemic is a forgone conclusion.

Phase 5 is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region. While most countries will not be affected at this stage, the declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short.

Phase 6, the pandemic phase, is characterized by community level outbreaks in at least one other country in a different WHO region in addition to the criteria defined in Phase 5 .

Designation of this phase will indicate that a global pandemic is under way.

The Center for Disease control says they are very concerned about the future. The reason? The Swine Flu is moving through the United States at a very rapid rate. This flu virus is very aggressive and easily transmitted between family members as well as those who have casual contact. It is also a huge concern that this strain is mild and may return during the next flu season in an even more aggressive manner.

The Center for Disease Control has advised that everyone who has any symptoms of flu, and all their family members, remain at home. Once a family member has been diagnosed with Swine Flu you are asked to self quarantine and remain home, with no contact with anyone outside of your home, until at least 24 hours after all symptoms have disappeared in all family members. When a child is diagnosed they recommend that the child's school be closed for at least a few days as the virus is easily transmitted before any symptoms appear.

To keep up with the latest information, please visit: I will be updating posts there as soon as I receive new information.

"When the World Catches the Flu "

Airliners travel daily between Hong Kong and North America in about 15 hours from take-off to landing. The travel time between Europe and USA is about half of that – so it should be no surprise that health authorities have plenty of scenarios to worry about for the transfer of a deadly strain of the flu. In fact, The Harvard Initiative for Global Health predicts that some deadly strains – called “pandemics” - could kill as many as 81 million people worldwide.

We all have heard that experts are very concerned about avian (bird) flu, but what exactly is the difference between seasonal flu, an epidemic, and a pandemic?

A Seasonal Flu occurs predictably, usually during the winter. Humans have some natural immunity to influenza and there are vaccines available.

An Epidemic is defined as an infectious disease which spreads more broadly and rapidly through a given population than is the norm. For example, we expect a certain number of cases of the flu each year. When the number of those affected grows unusually high it is considered an epidemic. The body may or may not have some immunity and vaccines may or may not be available. As an example, HIV is considered an epidemic for which there is no immunity and no vaccine.

A Pandemic may be defined as an epidemic which affects an entire continent, region, or the entire globe.

When a disease is new, it simply means our immune systems have not experienced the organism before and are unprepared to deal with it. The disease will then cause serious illness or death. It will spread too quickly to be contained and will continue to spread because there is no effective treatment.

Influenza pandemics have happened during at least the last four centuries. During the 20th Century three pandemics occurred.

The first and by far the most serious, began in 1918, the “Spanish Influenza”. Approximately 20 to 40 percent of the worldwide population became ill and over 20 million died. Between September 1918 and April 1919, approximately 675,000 deaths from the flu occurred in the United States, 50,000,000 worldwide. Many died very quickly - often within 24 hours of the first symptoms occurring. Many who survived the influenza, eventually died from complications of pneumonia. One of the most frightening aspects of the Spanish flu was its ability to kill young, otherwise healthy, adults. The mortality rate was the highest among those between 20 and 50 years of age and pregnant women. It seems their healthy immune system actually attacked itself.

The second 20th century pandemic was in February 1957, and is remembered as the “Asian Flu”. Unlike the virus that caused the 1918 pandemic, the 1957 pandemic virus was identified quickly. The virus came to the U.S. with a series of small outbreaks during the summer of 1957. When children returned to school in the fall, the disease increased and spread quickly. Most deaths occurred between September 1957 and March 1958. By December 1957, the worst seemed to be over. January and February 1958 saw a "second wave" of infections develop, which is typical during a pandemic. The disease infects one segment of the population, appears to be under control and then returns to infect another segment. Although the Asian flu pandemic was not as devastating as the Spanish flu, about 69,800 died in the United States alone and between one and two million worldwide. This time the elderly had the highest rates of death.
In early 1968, an influenza pandemic was first detected in Hong Kong, and was called the “Hong Kong Flu”. In September 1968, illness was detected in the United States. The disease became widespread in December and peaked in January of 1969. In the United States, 33,800 died - most of them over 65 - making it the mildest pandemic in the 20th century. Worldwide 700,000 lost their lives.

What are the differences between a seasonal flu and a pandemic flu?

Seasonal Flu:

Outbreaks follow predictable seasonal patterns; occurs annually
Some immunity is built up from previous exposure
Healthy adults are usually not at risk for serious complications, the very young, elderly and those with compromised immune systems are at highest risk.
Health systems can meet patient needs
Vaccines are developed based on known flu strains and are available
Symptoms: fever, cough, runny nose, muscle pain
Deaths often caused by complications, such as pneumonia
Causes minor impact on society
Manageable impact on domestic and world economy

Pandemic Flu:

Occurs rarely
No previous exposure, little or no pre-existing immunity
Healthy people may be at increased risk for serious complications
Health systems may be overwhelmed
Vaccine probably would not be available in the early stages of a pandemic
Symptoms may be more severe and complications more frequent
May cause major impact on society (widespread restrictions on travel, closings of schools and businesses, cancellation of large public gatherings)
Potential for severe impact on domestic and world economy

You can and should prepare now for the possibility of a pandemic. Our government and governments throughout the world, the World Health Organization, and relief agencies worldwide all believe a pandemic is coming, if not this year, then soon.

What we can expect when another Pandemic hits

To help prevent the spread of the flu, communities may be quarantined - meaning you will not be able to count on out-of-town family and friends to help. People who may have been exposed may be required to stay in their homes. Schools, public transportation systems, all public events, government and private sector offices, even churches will all closed down.

According to health officials, preparation means assuming that any or most of these conditions will apply in severely affected communities: Those who work in stores, who deliver to those stores, and who work at docks unloading supplies arriving from other countries, will also become ill or restricted to their homes. Many businesses will be forced to close because employees will stay home to protect themselves or to care for ill family members. This will mean the closure of businesses such as grocery stores and gas stations.

Relief agencies, police and fire departments and hospitals will be short-staffed as employees and volunteers will become ill or remain home to care for family members. You will be on your own for most flu related issues.

Outside of the quarantine area, businesses will close as supplies become limited. The stock market will close, bankruptcies will increase as people stop receiving government aid and pay checks.

Prepare for disruptions in utility services. Pandemics are most likely to occur during the cold weather months. Utilities; electric, gas and water, all require staff to keep them operating at full capacity. Workers will stay home and ordinary repairs will become major complications as the staff will be limited. Power outages may last longer than normal. This may mean no heat, refrigeration, lights, and for those served by wells – no water. Without power pipes may freeze and break. Water may become contaminated as staff will not be equipped to monitor and control all systems and repairs. If we should experience a winter storm, ice storm, firestorm or earthquake which damages or destroys lines during this time, the problems would be greatly compounded.

Communications during this time will become vital to your physical and emotional health.
Government and relief agencies all recommend we prepare to care for our own needs. If your community is not quarantined but the flu virus is in the area, you will want to impose a self quarantine and stay in your home. Only with exposure to flu germs can you catch the flu. For this to be possible you will need to prepare now.

We can learn from the experiences of the past:

Case Study for Self Imposed Reverse Quarantine (SIRQ), Yerba Buena Island
Yerba Buena Island is in the middle of San Francisco Bay – it is the island at the midway point of today's Bay Bridge, but in 1918, it stood alone, connected only by ferries to the mainland.
On September 23, 1918 Commandant Percival Rossiter of the San Francisco Naval Training Station ordered an immediate SIRQ of the island. All 6,000 people on the island, including civilians, were required to remain on the island. All contact with others living in the San Francisco Bay Area were halted except to receive supplies. Supplies were delivered to the docks and recovered only after the vessel delivering them had left. On the rare occasion that military personnel arrived on the island they were placed in a quarantine camp for several days.
By early November new influenza cases was decreasing in the San Francisco area. On Thursday, November 21, after two months of SIRQ the ban on travel off the island was lifted. This may have been premature as the first case of influenza on the island was reported on December 6, 1918. During December 1918 and January 1919, Yerba Buena Island recorded 3 deaths from influenza and 2 from pneumonia. Deaths during the Self Imposed Reverse Quarantine:0
Gunnison, Colorado

The city of Gunnison, Colorado took steps early to protect its citizens. In early October 1918 the Colorado State Board of Health issued a warning. Schools were closed across the county, with orders that they would remain closed. Large meetings were banned.

With the news that nearby towns were being hard hit by the pandemic, Gunnison enacted measures to protect its citizens. Anyone entering the town was required to remain in a quarantine location for two days. Barricades were erected on the main highways and cars were warned to drive through without stopping.

After three months, on February 4, 1919, Dr. Hyatt called for an end to the protective sequestration and closure order for the town of Gunnison. Only one death had been recorded. When a third wave of the flu arrived, 100 cases were reported in Gunnison and 5 deaths occurred.

Western Pennsylvania Institute for the Blind

The Western Pennsylvania Institute for the Blind escaped the influenza pandemic even though nearby Pittsburgh was hit hard. When word of illness in nearby towns reached the school, officials announced that visitors would not be allowed to enter the school nor students allowed to leave. No cases of the flu were reported at the school. Students were allowed to return home for Thanksgiving and upon their return 12 cases of the flu were recorded at the school. The school was closed and students sent home until the flu subsided.

There are many more examples of Self Imposed Reverse Quarantines that prevented or greatly reduced illness and death. For this reason it is expected that many communities will choose this same protection method when the next pandemic arrives. BYU Idaho, in Rexburg, is already preparing for their students to participate in a Self Imposed Reverse Quarantine should a pandemic occur.

There is a limit to what the government, the health care community, and the Church can do in advance of a pandemic outbreak. With a worldwide Church it would be virtually impossible for the Church to stockpile all the goods that members would require. We need to prepare to care for our own families.

The U.S. Federal Government, the World Health Organization, and others are monitoring avian flue outbreaks, as well as other pandemic threat sources closely. The United States has active national as well as international programs for manufacturing, pre-positioning, and stockpiling antiviral drugs, masks, and other supplies. Work on a specific vaccine cannot occur until a virus strain that infects people is identified and isolated. Most experts agree that development of an effective vaccine would take six months or more.

In the United States, Secretary Leavitt of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) has stated that "any community that fails to prepare—with the expectation that the federal government can come to the rescue—will be tragically wrong" (April 10, 2006).

"And plagues shall go forth, and they shall not be taken from the earth until I have completed my work, which shall be cut short in righteousness - Until all shall know me, who remain even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye... " - D&C 84:97-98

We need to prepare. Now is the time.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Study in Contrasts: The Dole

The original article can be found here.
April 23, 2009 — Tracy M

Continuing our theme this week… Almost seventeen months ago, my husband lost his job. We had our six-months reserves, we had our cars and student loans paid off, we had our food storage and our credit cards were empty. We did everything we were counselled to do. We cashed in our 401K, pared down our expenses and tried to stretch our dollar, making our six months savings last almost a year and half. In these months, we’ve also accumulated over 300 rejection letters for the jobs my husband has applied for in three states.

Today, we are out of rope. The savings are gone. The 401K is gone. The unemployment insurance is gone. We don’t know what comes next. But here is what I can see from where I stand…

Study One:State Department of Health and Human Services (hereafter DHS)

First Visit.We gather all our papers- social security cards, bank statements, insurance and paystubs- and head down to the DHS offices. We have an appointment, and we think this means something. It does not. An appointment, it turns out, only means they will see you sometime that day. There are no guarantees- it may be at 10 a.m. or at 4 p.m. So be prepared to sit and wait.

There are dozens of others sitting and waiting in the poorly-lit windowless office. There are not enough chairs, and people are scattered on the floor as well. It’s undignified, whether by design or by funding, I don’t know. It’s also dirty. I don’t mean a value judgement, but factually, it is a dirty place.

We wait for our names to be called for over two hours. All the “windows” are walled with gray-painted boards, and there is a small opening through which you talk to your “case worker”. We provide all the information requested. Our Case Worker informs us that we with our unemployment compensation, we make exactly, to the dollar, the cut-off for assistance. We are also told to quietly sell one of our cars, and it will help our case. Otherwise, the will count our car as income and make us claim it. We are hoping for medical insurance for our kids, since the COBRA from my husband’s job is almost the same as our mortgage every month.

After almost another hour, we are told to go home, that someone will contact us with information regarding our eligibility. They do, and our kids get medical insurance. We are grateful for this. We are eligible for no other aid.

Visit Two: A year later. Yesterday. Our resources are gone. We have no savings or cash. Since unemployment has run out, we wonder if we might qualify for other aid or services. Our income is now $0. 00. Because it made no difference before, we skip making an appointment. We again gather our papers, get a sitter for the kids and go downtown. A large sign greets us at the check-in kiosk informing us they do not see walk-ins on Wednesday. Knocking on a board “window” I ask a woman if she can help me. She tells me she cannot officially “help” me, but maybe she can answer a few questions.

I learn: If I were not married, I would qualify for about twice the aid I do as a married woman with three kids. If I were unmarried and pregnant, I would qualify for even more. If I lie on my form and say I only have one car, they will give me more. To receive aid, I must be willing to go back to work, at which time they will provide the funding for daycare. But only if I work. They will only pay someone else to watch my kids, not me.

My husband and I fill out the forms and drop them in the box. Since we don’t have an appointment, and no one can officially help us, we now wait for a phone call to give us an appointment so we can go back down and wait all day.

We left the DSH offices and sat in the car. We were quiet, unsure of what to say- it’s humiliating to be in the position of needing help. It’s worse when you’re not even seen as a person. It becomes almost funny dealing with a bureaucracy as inefficient, mind-numbing and soul-deadening as the red-tape welfare system.

Study Two: Church Welfare and the Bishop’s Storehouse

I’m biased. Right up front. I am. You can read about my experiences at the BSH here, and about struggling with humility here. I have a testimony of this church, and of the work it does, and nothing will shake that from me.

Recently, I had the privilege of talking with a local authority on the charitable mission of the Church. I was expressing concern over our need for assistance and being a burden, when he stopped me. He told me to set aside my worries. In a recent training session, he had been told all work, all temple building, all production of media would be set aside before any cut in aid to the poor and needy. Aid to the poor and needy was the single most important mission of this Church, and they would continue to provide that aid long after funds for anything else might be cut.
He also asked me if I knew the difference between the “Poor” and the “Needy”. The Poor are poor of spirit, and are needful of the Gospel and the love of Christ, while the Needy are those who know Christ and are simply in need of temporal assistance until they can again help themselves. It is the Church’s mission to care for both, without discrimination.

So, when my husband and I left the DHS offices yesterday, we drove to the Bishop’s Storehouse. We tied on our aprons and got to work. We cooked a meal for 30 people, and then sat down and broke bread with our brothers and sisters who were there to serve each other as well.
Periodically as we ate, another family would come in, and some of us would excuse ourselves to help prepare their order, while another offered their place at the table so the family could eat a hot meal while they waited.

When we get home, there is a message from our bishop. He knows our situation, and wants our mortgage information so the Church can take care of it for us this coming month. He assured us in his message to not worry, and that he will meet with us on Sunday.

In one day, we see the best and near the worst. We see misguided and failed attempts at a social safety net, and we can a truly family-centered and carefully run program that actually helps real people with real needs. We see one program contributing to the Poor and ignoring many Needy. And we see another program helping not only the Needy, but working diligently to alleviate being Poor altogether.

So we can theoretically argue all day over what social welfare means. We can discuss the pros and cons and whys till the cows come home. But what is a dispassionate discussion of social policy to some, is something I am passionately living every day.

Using Beans and Peas in Recipes

A friend recently gave me this handout. I thought I would share it here. It has also been added to my PDF link list to the right.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ready for Recession

For Mormons, preparing for hard times is an article of faith

By Beth Brelje
Pocono Record Writer
February 22, 2009

How long would the food supply in your home last without grocery shopping? A couple days? A few weeks?

A year?

Mormons, who store a year's supply of food in their homes, might top the Boy Scouts in the "Be Prepared" department.

"The Lord tells us, if you are prepared you don't have to fear," said Marie Whitaker of Henryville, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Stroudsburg.

You don't have to be Mormon to plan for tight times. It is simple advice anyone can follow.

Whitaker says her stash of necessities has come in handy a few times. Twelve years ago, her husband lost his job. With five of their six children living at home at the time, the family dipped into the food storage.

"I wasn't worried about food because I had things on hand," Whitaker said.

When her husband went to graduate school, she planted a garden, and they used the food storage more often. Recently, a friend had surgery. Whitaker went to her pantry and had all the ingredients to whip up a dish. She was able to quickly get food to the friend without running to the store.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints counsels members to plan ahead. "We believe in being self-reliant and self-sustaining. We set aside three months of food in case there is some adversity in our lives so we can take care of ourselves," Whitaker said.

The three-month supply is made up of food in the family's regular diet. Whitaker's family likes ketchup, so she bought four bottles of the condiment when it was on sale recently. They are also big on green beans. She buys them a case (24 cans) at a time when the price is low. Stockpiling saves money.

Chocolates and the fixings for a birthday cake or homemade cookies are in the three-month pantry too. Treats like these can lift spirits during lean times.

Items in the three-month storage are rotated. As new items are added, older shelf contents are used.

In addition to the three-month supply, a long-term storage is kept. These are things that will sustain life and can sit on a shelf for as long as 30 years without spoiling when properly stored. They include dried beans, rice, wheat for making flour, and freeze-dried fruits and vegetables.

Sara Lane of Tunkhannock Township is also a member of the church. Jokingly, Lane wondered if people crave French toast when it snows, because everyone rushes to the store to buy eggs, milk and bread whether they need it or not.

Running out of food during a snowstorm is not a concern for those who stockpile food.
They also keep basic necessities such as water, candles, blankets and a grill or camp stove for cooking.

"It frees you from worry," Lane said.

Lane and her family also have 72-hour kits. These are bags near the door filled with everything the family would need for three days in case they had to suddenly leave the home.

Of course if you end up breaking into the long-term supplies, you are going to have to know how to prepare them. The knowledge of how to prepare dried beans and other foods is essential. Basic, homemade cooking can dramatically reduce the cost of feeding a family, while increasing flavor.

Lane, for example, bakes her own bread. She gets four loaves from a batch at a cost of 25 cents a batch, or less than 7 cents a loaf. Her sister makes yogurt for $3.50 a gallon, and they trade yogurt for bread.

For those who say they don't have time to bake, Lane says it takes five minutes to mix the bread dough, and later, another five minutes to shape it into loaves. "People make time for what's important to them," Lane said.

A long-term pantry is not stocked overnight. The church also teaches members to save money and live within their means, so buying all the food at once is not practical. Instead, they recommend gradual purchases over time. Watch the ads and buy it when it goes on sale.

"It's nice not to worry. It gives you a peace of mind that you can take care of yourself in any circumstance," Whitaker said.

Items with an estimated 30-year shelf life when properly stored, according to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

White rice
Pinto beans
Rolled oats
Potato flakes
Apple slices

Items with a 20-year shelf life:
Non-fat powdered milk
Dehydrated carrots

The Mormons' estimate of what a family needs per person, per month:
25 pounds of wheat, white rice, corn and other grains 5 pounds of dry beans and other legumes


Monday, February 23, 2009

Recession grows interest in seeds, vegetable gardening

By Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY

(Here is the original article.)

Hard economic times are acting like instant fertilizer on an industry that had been growing slowly: home vegetable gardening.

Amid the Washington talk of "shovel-ready" recession projects, it appears few projects are more shovel-ready than backyard gardens. Veggie seed sales are up double-digits at the nation's biggest seed sellers this year.

What's more, the number of homes growing vegetables will jump more than 40% this year compared with just two years ago, projects the National Gardening Association, a non-profit organization for gardening education.

"As the economy goes down, food gardening goes up," says Bruce Butterfield, the group's research director. "We haven't seen this kind of spike in 30 years."

At W. Atlee Burpee, the world's largest seed company, seed sales will jump 25% this year, Chairman George Ball estimates. "It's weird to have everyone else you talk to experiencing plunging markets. We're on a roll."

Burpee is taking pains to craft its marketing to fit the times, says Ball. It recently rolled out the "Money Garden," a value bundle of tomato, bean, red pepper, carrot, lettuce and snap pea seeds sold online at With a separate retail value of $20, the pack sells for $10, and under the right conditions, Burpee claims, can produce $650 worth of veggies.

"Seeds are God's microchip," says Ball. But in the suddenly hot world of veggie seed sales, Burpee has company:

•Park Seed. Vegetable seed sales are up 20% this year vs. 2008, says Walter Yates, who oversees the company's e-commerce.

Says Yates, "Every time this country goes through a recession, there is a surge of folks who want to get back to basics."

•Renee's Garden. Business manager Sarah Renfro says veggie seed sales were up about 10% last year and look to grow up to 20%.

"After years of declining veggie seed sales, the whole cycle has completely reversed," says Renee Shepherd, president.

•Harris Seeds. Home garden vegetable seed sales are up 80% from one year ago, says Dick Chamberlin, president. "A jump like this has never happened."

•Ferry-Morse Seed. After 2008 sales grew 5%, the company stocked up on 50% more vegetable seeds to sell in 2009, says John Hamrick, vice president of sales and marketing.

The veggies are apparently squeezing flowers for space in the nation's gardens. Ferry-Morse, along with others, is seeing a decline in sales of flower seeds, and Hamrick says the company has switched its inventory mix from 50-50 to 40% flower seeds and 60% veggies.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

KY deploys full Army Nat'l Guard for storm cleanup

By BRUCE SCHREINER and BETSY TAYLOR, Associated Press Writers Bruce Schreiner And Betsy Taylor, Associated Press Writers

(See original article here.)

MAYFIELD, Ky. – Gov. Steve Beshear deployed every last one of his Army National Guardsmen on Saturday, with his state still reeling after a deadly ice storm encrusted it this week.

More than half a million homes and businesses, most of them in Kentucky, remained without electricity from the Ozarks through Appalachia, though temperatures creeping into the 40s helped a swarm of utility workers make headway. Finding fuel — heating oil along with gas for cars and generators — was another struggle for those trying to tough it out at home, with hospitals and other essential services getting priority over members of the public.

The addition of 3,000 soldiers and airmen makes 4,600 Guardsmen pressed into service. It's the largest call-up in Kentucky history, which Beshear called an appropriate response to a storm that cut power to more than 600,000 people, the state's largest outage on record. Many people in rural areas cannot get out of their driveways due to debris and have no phone service, the governor said.

"With the length of this disaster and what we're expecting to be a multi-day process here, we're concerned about the lives and the safety of our people in their own homes," Beshear said, "and we need the manpower in some of the rural areas to go door-to-door and do a door-to-door canvass ... and make sure they're OK."

Staff Sgt. Erick Duncan of Murray said he and his colleagues have been putting in long shifts to open tree-littered roads. Duncan, who manned a chain saw, said he expects the assignment to last quite a while.

"It's a mess and we're just in the city limits," he said. "We're not even out in the county yet. And there's plenty of cities and counties to go to."

Thousands of people were staying in motels and shelters, asked to leave their homes by authorities who said emergency teams in some areas were too strapped to reach everyone in need of food, water and warmth. The outages disabled water systems, and authorities warned it could be days or weeks before power was restored in the most remote spots.

That uncertainty had many appealing for help and officials urging those in dark homes to leave, if they could — many were stuck in place by blocked roads and other obstacles.

The storm that began in the Midwest had been blamed or suspected in at least 42 deaths, including 11 in Kentucky, nine in Arkansas, six each in Texas and Missouri, three in Virginia, two each in Oklahoma, Indiana and West Virginia and one in Ohio. Most were blamed on hypothermia, traffic accidents and carbon monoxide poisoning.

From Missouri to Ohio, thousands were waiting in shelters for the power to return. As far away as Oklahoma, around 10,000 customers still had no electricity.

At Graves County High School in western Kentucky, where 490 sought shelter Friday night, Ruthann Taylor, 23, said she tried to ride out the early part of the storm at home with her 1-year-old son, but it simply got too cold.

"I woke up the next morning and my son was pretty much an ice cube," Taylor said. "I said 'OK, we've got to go.'"

Fuel shortages, a problem since the storm, spilled into the weekend, with radio stations that normally broadcast music telling people where they could get gas and oil businesses ranking customers according to how urgently they needed it.

"We're trying to prioritize to get fuel to hospitals, nursing homes, ambulance services," said David Dunlap, regional sales manager for MFA Oil Co., which has 10 locations in southeast Missouri.

With the power back on in Tennessee's northeast corner, Kentucky residents headed across the state line to get fuel. Obion Co. Propane Gas general manager Ken Walker said he gets five customers on the average day at his shop in Union, Tenn.

He saw 200 in a single day Thursday.

"They are bringing their propane cylinders, camper bottles and whatever else they can to do what it takes to stay warm," Walker said.

The community of Caruthersville, Mo., about 200 miles south of St. Louis, had its own supply of about 8,000 gallons of diesel and another 8,000 of gas. Workers used generators to power pumps to get fuel to power other generators around town, including one that kept the water plant going. Reserve water supplies were on hand in case of additional emergencies.

"I can't feel real good about it until all our people are back in a comfortable environment," Mayor Diane Sayre said.
Betsy Taylor reported from St. Louis. Associated Press writers Roger Alford in Leitchfield, Ky., and Janet Cappiello Blake in Louisville, Ky., contributed to this report.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Residents face long, icy wait for power to return

By BRUCE SCHREINER, Associated Press Writer Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press Writer – Thu Jan 29, 3:25 pm ET

(see original article here)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – More than a million homes and businesses were left in the cold without power Thursday in the wake of an icy winter storm could face a lengthy wait for electricity to come back, even as federal help was promised to two states hit hardest by the blast.

President Barack Obama signed requests late Wednesday from Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe for federal emergency declarations. Crews — even the National Guard in Kentucky — worked around the clock to resurrect power lines downed by thick ice.
At a mall turned into a staging area in Barboursville, W.Va., crews in hard hats met alongside piles of poles, generators, wire and other supplies to find out where to go first. A convoy with crews from as far away as North Carolina was there to help.

"We're attacking it head on," said Appalachian Power spokesman Phil Moye. "As long as the ice is still on the trees, the storm is still here."

Utility officials estimated more than 1.3 million homes and businesses from Arkansas to Ohio were powerless, and warned it could be mid-February before some customers had power.
Various charities opened shelters across the region, but with the power out nearly everywhere — including at some radio stations — it was difficult to spread the word. Some deputies went door to door and offered to drive the elderly to safety.

Some huddled next to wood-burning fires and portable heaters to fend off the frigid air. Communities urged people to conserve water because the outages could limit supplies. Those who stayed put in their homes relied on gas stoves to cook food, and emergency officials feared the crisis could escalate as temperatures plunged.

"I'm so worried that we're going to have a death due to hypothermia or carbon monoxide," said John Robinson, the severe weather coordinator for the National Weather Service at North Little Rock, Ark. Space heaters, if improperly used, can generate dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
In Boone County, Ark., Sheriff Danny Hickman said the jail lost power and its generator failed. The lockup's 23 inmates had to be moved to other jails until utility service returns.

The storm has been blamed for at least 24 deaths so far. Kentucky officials Thursday added two that they called weather-related: A woman who died while an ambulance on the way to her was blocked by impassable roads and a woman who fell on her basement stairs while she was retrieving a kerosene heater. A woman in Indiana died while shoveling snow.

Tony Cipolla managed to keep warm by building a fire at his powerless home near Seneca Park in Louisville, cooking a pot of soup over a gas stove. But there wasn't a long-term plan for Cipolla and his two children, ages 5 and 9, if electricity wasn't soon restored.

"If it'll be a couple days, then we'll be in trouble," Cipolla told The Courier-Journal in Louisville, where temperatures dipped into the 20s overnight.

More than a half-million were without power in Kentucky, where the power outages produced by the ice storm were outdone only by the remnants of Hurricane Ike, which lashed the state with fierce winds last year, leaving about 600,000 customers without power.

"We've got lots of counties that do not have any communication, any heat, any power," Beshear, the state's governor, said Wednesday.

Kyle Brashears' family rode out the storm in their Mountain Home, Ark., home before fleeing to relatives after half an ice-caked oak tree fell into their home.

"It caved the roof in and ripped the gutter off, although it didn't penetrate inside," he said. "I was walking around outside until about 1 a.m. and it was just a nonstop medley of tree limbs cracking off."

After building in Texas and Oklahoma on Monday, the storm moved east, finally dumping more than a foot of snow in some parts of New England. Except for school cancellations and some airline delays and cancellations, the storm lost steam as it moved east.

In Ohio, passengers on an AirTran Airways flight were held up to 10 hours before finally taking off. Travelers in Columbus boarded Flight 373 for Orlando at a little before 7:30 a.m.

Wednesday. Passengers say it took more than four hours for the plane to push out of the snow at the gate, then were delayed even more when deicing wouldn't work as freezing rain and snow fell.

People were allowed off the plane at lunchtime, then got back on board and sat for several more hours until AirTran gave up on the deicing and brought in another plane, passenger Tiara Berger said. AirTran spokesman Tad Hutcheson said the flight probably should have been canceled, and that the passengers will receive free roundtrip tickets.
Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Kantele Franko in Columbus, Ohio; Justin Juozapavicius in Tulsa, Okla.; Daniel Shea in Little Rock, Ark.; Rick Callahan in Indianapolis; Ben Feller in Washington; Ben Greene in Baltimore; Dan Sewell in Cincinnati; and John Raby in Charleston, W.Va.; and Patrick Walters in Philadelphia.