Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy Self Sufficient New Year!

My one and only New Year’s resolution for the past ten or more years has been to not make a new year’s resolution. Well, this year, my wife and daughter and I live in our very first own home. It’s time to start up again.

Now, I could sit here and come up with way too many things to resolve but I’m not going to do that. I’m going to make one solid resolution.

I resolve to be more than 50% self sufficient by the end of 2012. This means many things. So, here’s the list:

1.   Finish off my book on readiness and get it published.
2.   Garden large enough to provide as much of my own food as possible.
3.   Secondary garden grown for the purpose of donation and barter.
4.   Switch to wood heat with propane as a back-up.
5.   Generate at least half of my own power via wind and/or solar with a propane generator as a back-up.
6.   Purchase a pre-1974 pickup truck.
7.   Start building and selling/bartering mission style furniture made from old barn wood.
8.   At least start sewing my own clothing and doing some leather work.

Now, I’m sure I could add plenty more to this list but it’s enough to give you the gist of my goals. Ever since I was a small child, I’ve envied the original homesteaders. I know life was not necessarily easy for them but I can tell you that it was simple.

Yes, there is a BIG difference between easy and simple. In my opinion, life is meant to be enjoyed and we are meant to learn as we live. Easy, overall, equals lazy. No, I’m not calling you lazy because you like easy, but let me give you an example.

I live in a small town. I can walk to a small grocery store, the Post Office, our local library, a park and my daughter’s school. Simple means actually doing the walking. It’s good exercise. It’s fresh air. It’s sunshine. It doesn’t use resources. It allows me to greet others in a personal way. Easy would mean jumping in the car and driving those places. It’s fast. It allows for no distractions. The car has a heater. I wouldn’t have to carry my books or groceries or mail.

Can you guess which I do? I walk. Of course there is a very small percentage of the time I will drive but only if it’s raining or if I have a large amount of groceries to get. For all the walking I do, I find it amazing that the only others I see walking are the local kids. The parents are almost always driving. Now keep in mind here, I’m not talking miles or even one mile. I’m talking four blocks at the most.

That’s just one example. Another deals with my garden. Easy is to drive to the store and buy vegetables. Simple is if I don’t plant the seed, I’m not going to be eating. There’s one difference with this example though. Gardening is not necessarily hard. It just takes time and patience. For many people time and patience is actually the hard part.

There is one trick you can use that can quickly turn a simple life into an easy one. That is love. Before you start some odd thought process here, I must tell you two things. Yes, I am a hippy. And, the love I’m talking about is a simple love for all things. In this case, love what you do. Do you know how much better tasting a fresh, garden grown tomato tastes than one purchased at a supermarket? Oh just about a hundred times better. And if you grow it yourself, you can make that a thousand times better.

Love what you do. I love gardening because it helps my family and I live a healthier life. It lessens the burden on others. It uses local resources thereby boosting the local economy. It allows me to barter for other fresh, local things like the eggs, milk and meat I cannot yet provide for myself.

There is one more reason I would prefer being as self sufficient as possible. That is preparedness. I’m not necessarily talking about survivalism. I mean simply being ready for what life can throw at you. If you are gardening and canning your food, you have a supply of food incase the weather makes it impossible to go to the grocery store or stops trucking lines from delivering. If you are powering and heating your home on your own, when the power goes out it doesn’t change much of anything.

Now that you know my goals for the new year, what are yours? Are you going to do something just for you or are you going to do for those around you?

Here are a few links to help you get started:

ReadyGarden™ 1-Acre SEEDSAFE™: Premium non-hybrid, open pollinated garden heirloom seeds are great for preparation. Comes with 21 seed varieties & almost 25,000 seeds!

Kaya Self Sufficiency Facebook group. My own group dedicated to being as self sufficient and self sustainable as possible.

Lehman’s. A wonderful place to find many of the tools and supplies to help you live your new, simple life.

Also, if you look to both sides of this blog, you will find several other resources for a self sufficient lifestyle. Enjoy!

Happy New Year to you all! May the best of your past be the worst of your future and may your home always be too small to hold all the love in your life!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Basic Emergency Preparedness

This blog was originally posted Monday, July 06, 2009

Since it is winter and the weather outside is frightful, I figured I would share this with you also. It came from a different blog site I had set up. It is closed now and all pertinent info has now been shared on this blog site.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security suggests three things that you should do to keep yourself and your family prepared:
·         Get one or more emergency preparedness kits
·         Make a family emergency plan
·         Be informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur in your area and their appropriate responses

Everyone should have some basic preparedness supplies on hand in order to survive three days or more if an emergency occurs. The following is a list of some basic items that every emergency preparedness kit should include. However, it is important that you review this list and consider where you live and the unique needs of your family in order to create an emergency preparedness kit that will meet your needs. You should also consider having two or more emergency preparedness kits, one full kit at home and smaller portable kits in your workplace, vehicle and/or other places you spend time.

Recommended Items to Include in your Basic Emergency Preparedness Kit:
·         Water: one gallon of water or more per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
·         Food: at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
·         Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
·         Flashlight and extra batteries
·         First aid kit
·         Whistle to signal for help
·         Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air
·         Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
·         Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
·         Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
·         Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
·         Local maps: city, county and state

Additional Items to Consider Adding to your Emergency Preparedness Kit:
·         Prescription medications and glasses
·         Infant formula and diapers
·         Pet food and extra water for your pet
·         Important family documents: copies of identification, insurance policies, and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
·         Cash and change equaling around $100
·         Emergency reference material: a comprehensive first aid book and a survival manual such as The SAS Urban Survival Handbook
·         Sleeping bag or warm blanket per person: Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate
·         Complete change of clothing: long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes per person. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate
·         Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper: Dilute nine parts water to one part bleach to be used as a disinfectant. In an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 8-12 drops per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners
·         Fire Extinguisher
·         Matches in a waterproof container
·         Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
·         Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
·         Paper and pencil
·         Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

You can find basic kits, expanded kits, family kits and many other items at “The Ready Store” website.

As usual, you are more than welcome to visit my Facebook group called "Kaya Self Sufficiency".

Have a wonderful season and be safe!

The 'New Survivalism'

I would like to share this with you. This is the first blog post I ever did. I have deleted the original blog and I thought, not only that you would all enjoy it, but that it should be 'saved in cyberland'. Enjoy!

This blog was originally written and posted Thursday, May 29, 2008

A major newspaper recently called it “The New Survivalism”. I call it common sense. We have all heard the horror stories about Hurricane Katrina. We know that New Orleans (just one effected town) may never fully recover from that terrible disaster. There are even towns in that area that simply don’t exist anymore. There are hundreds, most likely thousands, of stories about natural disasters in which things could have been changed by simply being prepared, physically, for the disaster.

Here’s a statistic for you (and I hate statistics, but this one is worth saying). Only seven percent of Americans are prepared, even for a small, local emergency situation, let alone a major one. I don’t know the percentage for the entire planet but you can bet that it’s less than five percent. I can tell you right now that there are two main reasons that folks aren't prepared for emergency situations. Number One: The wrongful thinking that ‘It’ll never happen to me’ and Number Two: ‘I don’t have the money to buy an emergency survival kit’. Let’s look at these one at a time.

Number One: I’m willing to bet that, with most major disasters, all involved didn’t even make it to the ‘It won’t happen to me’ phase. If you were to ask, most of them probably never even thought about it. We have become a complacent society with the thought somewhere in the back of our minds that, if it ever does happen, the government will help us or that we and our neighbors will stick together and get through it. Please, please, please don’t let that be the case. Our government is even less ready than we are to handle any large scale disaster situation. When it comes to our neighbors, there are a few of us out there that truly care for others and would help out but the majority will be worrying only about their own families. Keep in mind; I’m talking about the first three to five days here. After that, help will be showing up from several different sources.

Number Two: Money is important, yes, but isn’t your life, the lives of your family members, or even the lives of your pets, much more important? You don’t have to buy a kit. A kit can be put together over a period of time, one item at a time. Five to seven dollars (one less lottery ticket purchase or one less Latte) can get you a five gallon water container (two is a good idea), a package of water purification tablets, one emergency food bar (get at least one of the 3600 calorie size for each family member plus one extra), a flashlight, a box of emergency candles, a five gallon bucket ‘toilet’ (don’t forget the extra package of toilet paper), a small shovel, a tube tent or emergency blanket/sleeping bag (again, one for each family member plus one extra), a small first aide kit, an extra bag of pet food, a small water bowl for your animal, a cheap fanny pack and many other small items that all add up to a nice sense of security. Believe me, knowing you’ll be prepared for a few days while making other arrangements is a major load off your back.

Now, there are several other things we need to go over before concluding here. Planning is the most important. If and when something does happen, there is no guarantee that your family is going to all be together. Each person should know what to do and where to go to meet. You should have a route planned that may be less congested. Pick each place you frequent, the mall, school, work, the grocery store, the library, and friends’ homes, and choose a route to home or to where ever you decide to meet. You also may want to each have a list of phone numbers that are important. I keep a small list in my wallet because I don’t remember numbers. All I do is push a button on my cell phone.

Next, you need to have a route planned to get to other places from your own home or chosen meeting place. Pick several places where you either will be comfortable or where ‘help’ may find you. Comfort places might include a relative’s home in another town or maybe a camping place you've been before. Places to find help might include your local YMCA or high school or even a local large event center. Choose your route using ways that there will be fewer people or traffic- side streets, back yards, back roads or even logging roads, the less congestion, the less stress.

You also need to think about personal and mental comfort zones. Think about it, how well will Mom and Dad be able ‘take charge’ if Baby is screaming for Teddy Bear or if Tweener is whining for his baseball mitt or if Teenager is moaning for her MP3 player? You should choose one ‘comfort item’ for each member of the family. It’s also a good idea to have a coloring book and crayons, a note pad and pen/pencil, a book or two and a game you can all play, like cards, travel Monopoly, The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Game travel edition/card game or something similar.

The last thing and maybe one of the most important things is preparing your confidence levels as best as you can. Mentally, it is hard to be truly fully prepared for something major and unexpected. Humans, however, are survivors. We can survive anything from out of gas to global pole reversal because we can think and reason (and because we have opposable thumbs). We can live in trees or underground. We can make tools. We can eat almost anything. I know earthworms are gross but if you’re starving they look just like little, squirming hot dogs. We will be around even after the planet itself is destroyed.

Copyright 2008 Noel Napolitan of Survival Gear Central, Denver, Colorado

You may copy and use this article as long as the content remains unchanged and there is never a fee or charge of any kind for reading, saving or printing it. That said, please, share this with anyone you know who may be unprepared. Of course I would love you to visit my websites; however, I share this info to wake people up and to hopefully save lives.

My new site is my Facebook group called "Kaya Self Sufficiency" Please feel free to check it out. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Alternative Holidays

Good day to you all! I’ll be taking a bit of a break from this blog for a few days for the ‘holidays’. I have a few great topics lined up for you for after I get back. We’ll talk about hydrogen-peroxide and calories and we’ll go over rotation of emergency supplies and also cover a good check list to make sure we haven’t forgotten anything.

In the meantime, my family and I wish you all a happy and wonderful Advent ~ Boxing Day ~ Christmas Eve ~ Christmas ~ Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe ~ Feast of the Immaculate Conception ~ Festivus ~ Hanukkah ~ Kwanzaa ~ New Year ~ Saint Nicholas Day ~ Santa Lucia Day ~ Winter Solstice ~ New Year’s Eve ~ New Year’s Day!!!

Also, let us not forget the most important holidays of the season: Flying Spaghetti Monster Day, Day of the Ninja, Refrigerator Day, Agnostica, Wintersday, Xistlessnessmas and last but not least ~ Kwansolhaneidmas!!!!

Also, feel free to visit my group on Facebook ~ Kaya Self Sufficiency. Since I am the ‘supreme being’ for the group, I am obliged to stick my head in just about every day to make sure you all are being good.

And don't forget, I do love you all very much!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

American Made Alternatives

This is just a quickie blog for today. Several folks have asked about this, so here you go!

One of the best ways to help your country and thereby help yourself is to buy American made goods, support local artisans and utilize companies and corporations who hire American workers. If we could all do that, our economy might get a little better as would our quality of life, because we can be proud of a job well done and of supporting our fellow neighbors and countrymen.

Many people these days, and myself until just recently, think that American made products are more expensive. Yes, many of them are but if you really search, you can find a few here and there that are a bit less expensive.

Here are a few sites that deal with American made products:

You can also see my previous post for handmade ideas.

As always you can join the Facebook group, like the Facebook community page, and visit the website. All of these are conveniently called “Kaya Self Sufficiency”. I hope you have enjoyed this post and I hope you are getting better at providing as much as you can for yourself and for your family, group, or community.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Natural Alternatives to Dead Trees

OK, I know that not everyone celebrates Christmas so please don’t take offence to this post. Having said that, there are a large number of folks who do celebrate Christmas. I would like to give a gift to Mother Nature this year and would love it if you joined me.

I have a plastic tree that the wife and I purchased several years ago. This year is the first year we’ve been able to assemble the entire thing (minus the tree topper) because this is the first year it has actually fit in the home we are in. I must say, however, that I absolutely love the smell of a real tree in my living room.

The gift for Mother Nature is not killing a new tree every year just for “pretties” in my home. Besides killing, there are also the disposal issues. Every year I hear about someone’s old, dead Christmas tree being set on fire in a street somewhere. Every year I see hundreds of trees on street corners and in alleys just rotting away. It may just be me but somehow it just doesn’t feel right to be wasting all that life, and even wood for that matter.

Here are two ways you can help.

First, you can purchase a living tree in a pot that can be transplanted into your yard come spring. You can even donate the tree to someone or someplace else, like your local school or fire department or even to your town or city. This also gives you an excuse (not that you really need one) to leave your tree up until March or April. It smells wonderful too.

Second, you can decorate a tree in your yard for all to see and enjoy. Then, in your home you can hang light strings (I recommend LED lights, such as these) from your ceiling and put all your gifts under them. If you miss the scent of the tree, you can purchase a few packs of pine incense.

Now, there is one last option for those who heat and or cook using a wood stove. Go ahead and buy your tree or get permission to cut one yourself. Decorate it. Leave it up as long as you want but dispose of it by cutting it up for use in your stove or fireplace. Also, as time goes by and it starts drying out, you can collect the needles that drop and put them in a small pot of water on your wood stove, creating your own potpourri that adds an extra dimension to that wonderful smell.

All of these options are a gift, not only to Mother Nature, but to all who see and enjoy a wondrous sight and act of love. May you all have a wonderful holiday of your choosing!

Now, I would also like to share with you my Facebook Group ~ Kaya Self Sufficiency. You can click here or on the title of this post to go there. I created this group to help you discover new ways of being self sufficient, prepared for emergencies, less of a burden on our planet and much less dependent on government aid. Please visit and say hi. Also, feel free to post and share your knowledge with the rest of us. All I ask is to avoid politics and religion as much as possible.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Alium Elementum

No, it’s not a spell from a movie. It’s one of the gifts I gave for Christmas last year. I made it myself. Gift giving, for me, no matter what time of year or what the occasion, is very personal.

Give me a big screen TV and I’ll love it, of course, but in five years it will be gone or seriously out of date. Give me a handmade wreath or card and in five years I’ll still love and cherish it every bit as much as I did the day you gave it to me.

Garlic Jelly Photo by William Dickey and Styling by Leslie Byars Simpson

By the way, alium elementum is garlic jelly. I love giving away ‘food from scratch’. I love receiving it also! My wife is currently in the process of making, by hand, her own gifts to give this season. To explain my thoughts about handmade gift giving here’s another example. That TV mentioned above took a particular type of energy to give, namely money. However, that wreath or my alium elementum took an entirely different kind of energy and that is called ‘Love’.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “A gift from the heart goes to the heart.” Well, it’s true. Gifting something handmade, or even just locally made, can do more than you may realize. Not only do folks love it (hopefully) but it helps the family budget, which keeps getting smaller and smaller these days, or it helps your local economy, which can ALWAYS use the help.

This is not to say the big screen TV is not appreciated but the corporation that received the money for it has most likely taken your energy and sent it, not just out of your town or even out of your state but out of the country. There’s another saying I’ve heard that I actually disagree with. “Think globally. Act locally.”

I’ll tell you why. I think you should allow your heart to go out to your fellows all around the world but you should think locally AND act locally. When you can do that, it just may happen that the rest of the world will start thinking the same way. And that will bring us all together into the big happy family we should be.

Here are a few websites that can help you give from the heart to the heart:

In addition to these, you can repurpose things you already have. Trust me, it can be very, very fun to find a new use for an old thing that can help a friend or simply make someone else smile. So, think about it a little harder the next time you give a gift and try to make it something that is really a gift for more than one reason or more than one person.

I celebrate Christmas but in deference to all those who do not, since I truly believe you have the right to believe as you wish, I will say,

“Happy Gift Giving!”

As always you can join the Facebook group, like the Facebook community page, and visit the website. All of these are conveniently called “Kaya Self Sufficiency”. I hope you have enjoyed this post and I hope you are getting better at providing as much as you can for yourself and for your family, group, or community.

Monday, November 14, 2011

You Are Your Kids' Hero!

The topic for today is something not talked about with any regularity. We’ve all lost power before. Who is it that is the most scared and the most excited at the same time (usually)? Your kids.

Last year, we had a tornado warning. My daughter, 6 at the time, got her backpack with a change of clothes in it along with emergency food and water, a few of her favorite stuffies and her Nintendo DS into the inner hallway and proceeded to camp out on a blanket for the duration of the warning.

The tornado never did happen but I was very impressed by her calmness. I’m in the preparedness business and I never miss a chance to give her a lesson but I still did not expect the calm, cool and collected attitude she had.

The topic of children before, during and after any emergency situation is VERY important. I know that many kids seem to be indestructible. They are not. They have just as many fears and worries, hopes and dreams as we do. Many parents worry that talking with the kids about emergencies that have not happened might make them more anxious in an emergency situation.

By the experience of mine I just told you about, it seems to me that just the opposite is true. My daughter may not always have her head on straight but she knew exactly what to do and she did it. I never sat her down and lectured her. All I did was make a comment now and again or ask her a question and explain the answer every once and a while.

There are many resources available to help you teach your kids about emergencies. I went through many of them and decided that a simple type of question repeated over and over again gets the brain moving. Her answers to my questions are coming faster and faster as she grows and learns. She has even given me answers that trumped my own explanations!

As a small business owner, I order publications from FEMA and donate them to my local library. One of them that I recently donated is a children’s activity book called “Ready Kids Activity Book”. It uses Rex, the Ready Kids mountain lion mascot and his family to teach kids valuable lessons about readiness.

The book has coloring pages, word searches, crossword puzzles and mini comic strips to help them learn about the things that are needed and the tasks that are done before, during and after an emergency situation. Just go to for lots of info.

Here is an excellent article from FEMA:

Discovery has a very cool website:

The American Academy of Pediatrics has a good site for parents:

When it comes down to it, involve the kids in your preparations but most importantly, don’t forget about their feelings during and after the emergency. Make sure your preparations include something for them to do, i.e – coloring books, reading books, cards, travel games, a few extra pieces of candy, etc.

Remember, if they see you “freaking out”, they are likely to do so as well. Keeping your calm as much as possible may be even more important to them than it is to you. You are their hero, their rock. You are here for them.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Gathering Moss....

Before you think this post is about some strange new food, let me set you straight. It's about a rolling stone that gathers no moss. I have been slacking on this blog and this post is my explanation of why.

I have (temporarily) stopped rolling. Meaning we bought a new home that we intend to be our "forever home". The past month has been filled with packing, stacking, unpacking and situating.

Our new home has a very good sized side yard for both playing and gardening, an enclosed area in the back for the dog, a shed/chicken coop that's big enough to park a car in, a two car garage with a ton of extra space for storage and a workshop, a 'half basement' that is more a root cellar than anything else, and an almost 100 year old two story house.

I will soon continue with this blog on a regular basis. My main goal now is to get all settled in. I've already built two different tables that were needed, one for the cat food (and storage) and one for behind our sofa for lights and radios and assorted other things one uses while on a couch, lol. As spring gets here, I'll be busy taking care of seedlings so as to have a productive garden.

Hopefully, my wife and I will both be posting about the self sufficiency and homesteading aspects of our new 'small town America' home. These posts will be all about how we get things done with a VERY limited income. We'll go over all the ways to recycle, reuse and re-purpose just about anything. We'll talk about our greenhouse, seedlings and gardening. We'll also talk about heating and cooling using natural ways.

So, with this all said, please have patience with me as I am reborn into a simple and, hopefully, very satisfying, new life. The posts will be spotty at first but each one will be chock full of lessons. Enjoy!!!

P.S. ~ Now, if you still have a desire to eat moss, you can check out the Survivalist Boards website here:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Continuity Insurance - A Challenge From Me to You!

Good day to you all! This is the last of my posts from my book. First part is a list of commonly completely forgotten items. The second part is a challenge to you! The third part is some of the resources used in all the previous posts containing “Continuity Insurance” in the title.

After today and for as long as it takes, I’ll be picking topics and expanding on them from the angle of “I know nothing about this at all, where do I start?” For some of us it will be a reminder, for some of us (including myself) it will be a kick in the butt, and for some of this it will be new and exciting.

Now, I return you to your reading pleasures…..

Equipment and Utensils (Oft forgotten items)

·         As you are planning your food menu, don’t forget that you need certain utensils and tools to cook and eat with. Essential items include:
·         small cooking pots
·         spoons, forks, knives (plastic or metal)
·         metal camping/backpacking cups that you can heat food in or drink from (also known as Sierra cups)
·         mess kits or camp plates
·         napkins or paper towels
·         small, trial size of dish soap
·         hot pad or wash cloth
·         can opener
·         waterproof matches or matches in waterproof container
·         canned solid fuel and folding stove or MRE heaters
·         zip lock bags

Challenge - One to Three Day Emergency Test

Try living at least 24 hours with only one gallon of water per family member per day and only using your food storage. For example: a family of four would need to live off of 4 gallons of water and use only food storage for a 24 hour period. You can make this even more challenging by going for 48 hours or even stretching that to the suggested three days.

You may be thinking this would be easy. Anyone can go without cooking or extensive cleaning for 24 hours. You can expect that your children will have no problem drinking less than a gallon of water per day. However, consider average water usage in non-emergency situations: brushing teeth, 1 gallon; washing hands, 1 quart; taking a bath, 35-40 gallons; taking a shower, 5 gallons per minute; laundry, 19-45 gallons; washing dishes, 10-15 gallons. When you begin to consider sanitation, cooking, and washing clothes you'll notice that one gallon of water is an absolute minimum.

It is far less stressful to challenge your family to survive on your emergency supplies voluntarily than to have to turn to those supplies during an emergency with no experience or familiarity of the items. You may have practiced fire drills with your family, planned escape routes and a meeting point somewhere in the neighborhood, or practiced climbing down fire escape ladders from a bedroom. You may have experienced earthquake or tornado drills, and other role-plays to prepare for whatever disaster might occur specific to your area. If you feel your family has those drills down to perfection, or you are concerned about being prepared for all situations that may arise, then try this challenge. It's a simple challenge but you may be surprised at how revealing it can be.

As for the food side of this challenge, there are a few ways you can test yourselves. First thing would be no cooking with electricity for the entire chosen length of time. After that, try locating a manual can-opener, a specific can off food (like a can of beans, not the peaches) and opening it in the dark. Try using only food ration bars. Try cooking using alternative means.

Make this activity a fun, learning experience for your family and they will come away knowing more about what to expect in an emergency when life turns upside down. Similar to other emergency drills such as earthquake, fire, and tornado, this challenge is intended to familiarize your family with a difficult situation. They may also become more confident and prepared to deal with other challenges that could arise. Use wisdom and caution when trying out this challenge. Keep members of your family well hydrated and fed and it will be a good experience for everyone.

This activity is also a great way to introduce the principle of preparedness to your children. Let them help prepare the storage water, teach them about the importance of clean water and its scarcity during emergencies and show them what storage options are available (containers that are not clear to inhibit algae growth, smaller containers for easy carrying, or large containers with siphon pumps, etc). Let them choose whether you should use food storage or emergency ration bars.

After completing this challenge you may want to take some time to evaluate what occurred and re-evaluate your family’s preparedness plans. Were the proper tools available to cope with limited water use? Would one gallon of water per person per day be sufficient for your family? Most recommendations are for 2-5 gallons of water per person per day in an emergency. Will a food bar work or do you need more than that? Did everyone know where the can-opener was? Did you grab the peaches instead of the beans? When you’re finished, discuss the results with your family and adjust your plans accordingly.


“Just In Case – How to be Self Sufficient When the Unexpected Happens” by Kathy Harrison
“Making the Best of Basics - Family Preparedness Handbook” by James Talmage Stevens
“Marlene's Magic with Food Storage” by Marlene Petersen
“The Backcountry Cupboard” by Dorcas Miller
“The Sense of Survival” by J. Allan South
“The Seven Major Mistakes in Food storage” By Vicki Tate
Emergency Essentials /
The American Red Cross /
The Millionth Monkey /

Copyright ©2010 Noel Napolitan

*All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.

Visit my emergency preparedness/self sufficiency/homesteading website! It is a work in progress so, please check back often!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Continuity Insurance - Food Storage - Remembering Rotation

I think today’s blog is pretty self explanatory. So, let’s get into it!

Rotation of Foods

We’ve gone over this partially as well; you want to provide the most nutrition and taste for your family. In order to do that properly, any and all food you have stored should be rotated as frequently as possible. If you don’t want to use it on a regular basis, every six months to a year you should use it for a week or longer and replace what you’ve used. Rotation of your long term storage stops you from throwing away unused and expired items, which saves you money.

How Do I Remember My Food Storage Exists?

Most families keep their food storage hidden and out of sight in the basement or in the back of their pantries. These are great places to keep food storage because they are usually dry, cool, and dark, which increases the life span of food. You will want to be aware of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ if you are not in the habit of using it on any regular basis. To help get rid of this problem, try the following suggestions (especially if you don’t already use these foods daily):

è Keep a little bit of your food storage in the kitchen.
Stock your kitchen shelves with smaller containers filled with egg mixes, powdered milk, and more. This will be a reminder that you have ‘that food back there’ without taking up your whole kitchen. Stock your shelves with canned items, as well. The more you see these items the more often you will use them.

è Plan out a one week menu consisting only of items in your food storage at least once every two months.
This will really put your food storage to the test. You will begin to notice that your food storage isn't as rounded out as it should be. Maybe you don't have enough breakfast items, or your food supply doesn’t have the essential proteins or vegetables. After completing this bi-monthly challenge, you will have a much better idea of what you need to purchase or change to make your year's supply complete. And your family will be ready to eat meals made from stored food in disaster situations. You'll also find yourself looking for and/or creating more recipes using your food storage items.

If you don't know where to start in creating a menu that uses food storage products, “Marlene's Magic with Food Storage”, “Magic Mixes”, “Country Beans” and “Cookin' with Home Storage” are very helpful books. If you can your own food and don’t already have it, “Putting Food By” is one of the best canning books around. They contain some wonderful recipes and meal ideas.

è Mix Your Food Storage With Everyday Foods.
One of the best ways to form rotation habits is by incorporating food storage supplies into your favorite recipes. Some habits formed by the aforementioned professionals are:

·         Use cheese powder to make homemade macaroni and cheese.
·         Grind wheat to make pancakes or muffins.
·         Substitute powdered milk and eggs for a few days.
·         Make homemade cold cereal with oats, honey and dehydrated fruits.
·         Include dehydrated fruit in lunches (it makes a great snack for the kids too).
·         How do you make your food storage supplies last longer?
·         Store all your foods in a cool (40-60°F F), dry, dark place.
·         Actually rotate all foods, dating them using permanent marker and placing all of your newest items towards the back.
·         Store them off the ground, away from the condensation near the floor.
·         Don't wide temperature fluctuations.

Now, enjoy peace of mind you have created by knowing you can provide for your family's nutritional needs. Be wise in preparing so that an emergency won't turn into a crisis.

Copyright ©2010 Noel Napolitan

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