Category Archives: Personal & Family Preparedness

When, Not If, IT Happens

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A few months ago I wrote the following letter to my family … the impression I had to write and send this to them was unmistakable and I’m hoping they heeded the message. But after talking with some of them the letter has been beneficial to others — I hope it will be helpful for y’all too.  

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Vehicle 72-hour Survival Packs

Survial packs for the car. Grab an old backpack, aor large messenger bag or sack. It needn’t be fancy. Remember it’ll be stuffed somewhere in your vehicle and tossed back and forth.

 

Dear Family – With all the turmoil in the world; fires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, wars, besides the crazy political upheaval, we have had you on our minds – a lot. The other night I had the distinct impression to encourage you to:

 

 

(1) Put together 72-hour survival packs to KEEP in your car.  We never know where we might be when hunkering down is a nessecity. We may be alone, cell phones may have no connection (earthquakes for example can drop a cell tower in a second, breaking up roads, or a dam may break) … see where I’m going? Ask yourself ‘what if I have to walk out to safety’? It is most likely there won’t be any concentrated effort by police or government to find and rescue you.  You will be on your own. Will you be prepared?

(2) Develop and emergency plan that when something happens and you are separated you will know a) where you will go and b) if you only had 1 phone call you might consider a contact number for someone outside  your area that would serve as a message center.

(3) Begin to put some food and water storage away, and put aside an emergency fund. Start small if you’re skint on cash; buy a can or two extra each week when you pick up your groceries. Then, build up enough for say 2 weeks, then add to it bit by bit until you have a months supply. After a while you will be able to care for yourself for 3 months (food & water) in case of long-term need.  It isn’t necessarily a natural disaster, but it may be the loss of a job (like the covid-19 pandemic), or a world-wide financial collapse (like in 2008). 

Well, that’s what has been on my mind and that I have been prompted to encourage you to do … not to put off preparing.  This thought also has run through my mind as I’m writing this… If you are prepared, you need not fear.

Please – Just start – Do what you can now

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Ideas for a 72-hr Pack (going for high calorie/low weight) in case you have to carry your pack.

 

 Basic Materials needed per person/per pack:

 1 two-liter bottle of water or smaller bottles, or a filled camelpak insert
 Food items listed below
 Duct Tape, Large Garbage Bag(s)
 Large Gallon Ziploc Bag(s) for packing food & other items
Extra Medicines You May Need
A Small First-Aid Kit
 Knife or Multi-tool
 Waterproof Matches or Full Lighter
 Flashlight & Extra Batteries
 

Food Items:

 2 packs of chewing gum
 2 packets hot chocolate mix &/or 2 packets of instant coffee
 1 ½ cups trail mix or small package peanuts
 2 sticks beef jerky (for the vegetarian option, considering replacing with vegan jerky).         
 1 small package of fruit or apple juice
 2 packets apple cider instant mix
 1 two-liter bottle(s) water
 13 pieces hard candy
 2 fruit roll ups
 3 packages soda crackers
 1 can hearty soup (pop top)
 2 instant soup mix pkg
 4 granola / energy

 

 Note: Write the Date packed on the outside of the Ziploc bag & Refresh your food yearly. Print this file to attach to your 72-hour Survival Pack. (List from prepardnessmama.com)

Possible Menu:

Day 1 — Breakfast 2 granola/energy bars, 1 package fruit or apple juice — Lunch: 1 pkg soup mix (or noodles), 1 pkg soda crackers — Dinner: 1 beef jerky stick, 1 fruit roll — Snacks: 4 pieces of candy & 3 sticks of gum

Day 2 — Breakfast: 3/4 of the trail mix, 1 hot chocolate or coffee Lunch: 1 beef jerky stick, 1 apple cider Dinner: 1 canned soup, 1 pkg soda (or cheese) crackers — Snacks: 5 pieces candy, 3 sticks of gum

Day 3 — Breakfast: 1/2 trail mix, 1 apple cider — Lunch: 1 pkg soup mix (or noodles), 1 pkg soda crackers — Dinner: 2 granola/energy bars, 1 fruit roll, 1 hot chocolate — Snacks: 4 pieces candy & 3 sticks gum

 

Other Useful Additional Items

 

Sleeping Bag

Water Purifier

Dust Mask

Good Walking Shoes or Boots

Seasonal Coat/Gloves/Hat – Change of Clothes

Heating Water Source – I suggest a Jet-Boil & Fuel (It can be used to heat water and as a pan)

Paper Towels

Toilet Paper, Moist Wipes & Sanitizer

Feminine Hygiene

Baby/Children Needs (Formula, Diapers, Toys etc)

Playing Cards

Paper / Pen (for notes or directions)

Maps of the area you are traveling in & compass

Small Tarp with jump-line (for shelter if needed)

Solar or Windup Portable Radio

 

 

None of this is meant to frighten you, cause you to panic, or to turn into a ‘prepper’, but it is prudent to be aware and prepare for the ups and downs of life.  There are a lot of great websites to learn more about preparedness and self-reliance. The more you know, the better prepared you can be.  

ready.gov

Prepardness

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Remember: It is your job to take care of yourself. Don’t count on ‘someone’ coming to ‘save you’.  

 

Prepare every needful thing

So, What’ll You Do with Your Poop in an Emergency?

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That's a '53 Chevy under that blanket of snow!

That’s a ’53 Chevy under that blanket of snow!

How are you holding up with the snow and rain and sleet and freezing slush blanketing the country? Here in southwest Idaho it’s been a bumper crop of snow … with a few breaks between storms to take advantage of the ski hills or nordic tracks.  We’ve been feeding the quail which are hunkered up under bush boughs  … the birds of prey are on the prowl (hawk and bald eagles). Their winter feed sources are under 3 feet of snow here in the out fields.

I went to the grocery the other day to pick up a some milk, eggs, and fresh greens … I have never seen the parking  lot spaceless before, nor the store so full of people with overflowing shopping carts. It felt like a run on a bank when the stock market collapsed. People were ‘preparing’ for the snow siege … the school district has called snow days 5 times this week and church was even cancelled last Sunday. Then I looked down at my little carrying basket with the 3 or 4 items in it and I realized that I wasn’t among the panic’d. While I was standing in line looking at the packed carts I said to myself, “Keri, you didn’t have to stop, you could have gone without these few things in this basket”. I’ll have to remember that and just be content at home where I have sufficient food, water, emergency lighting and heat to get through a snow storm or …

One thing I hadn’t thought of, but now I am … what about (stage whisper) if the toilet facilities fail. I don’t know about you, but I take that convenience for granted.  So what IF it failed? It could gross a person out thinking about it, but really? It’d be more gross when it happens, which it will when we least expect it to happen. Hopefully not today.

I went into Google and Pinterest search mode and found LOTS of ideas, plans, and pictures.  It seems a lot of people are worried about poop and are prepared to do something about it.

What did I find? If you have space and money you could buy a portapotty and put it on the shelf, but those need water … do you have enough water stored for just using the toilet?   For longer term waste management how about a composting toilet? Did you know you can purchase a toilet seat & lid combination that fits on a 5 or 6 gallon bucket? The lid locks down so it doesn’t slip at that awkward moment. Then there is the duct tape a Heavy-Duty garbage bag into your toilet bowl plan (after turning off the water pipes), just put a few cups of kitty litter in the bottom to help with smell & absorption. Or you could buy a case or two of Travel John bags … these I’ve used camping when I didn’t want to take a midnight streak to the outhouse and vouch they are maaaavelous!

So here’s my plan … buy Travel John Bags (a case I think), and that lock top toilet seat dohickey. I have everything else around the house. Wheww, that’s a weight off my mind.

Don’t laugh … well, at least not too much.  So, what’ll you do with your poop in an emergency?

Today's footwear ...

Today’s footwear …

It’s still snowing. Maybe I’ll go brew up some wicked hot chocolate, stoke the fire, and put together my annual January puzzle.

Life is Good folks!! Stay warm!!

 

 

 

 

On the Road … Hours without Power

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Y’all know that I am passionate about being prepared … it started young when my dad taught me to fill my tank at 1/2 full and not wait until it is sucking fumes in case something happens (sometimes I do that). Anyway, my preparation has always focused on  ‘home’ … what happens if that ‘something’ happens when you away, far away from home? Have you ever thought about that?  I hadn’t … until … last week.

Road trip! Our bags packed into the Escape, we tossed in a tiny cooler for some snacks and topped off the gas tank. Hello Kanab.

After a couple of days kickin’ it in the redrocks of Bryce Canyon & hiking Wire Pass we entered phase two of our road trip… Moab, Utah. We headed north up Utah State Highway 89 turning left onto Interstate 70 … totally failing to heed my dad’s advice by rationalizing that we had more than enough fuel to get to Green River where we would stop for lunch and gas up.

The drive from Salina to Green River is a multi-sensory experience (especially if you have an imagination like mine) … over the top and through forested mountains, down into a landscape of white and gray rocks and gravel that I always imagine a SciFi film being made here … maybe a few UFOs on the horizon … with the mesas of the Book Cliffs to the left and further south the lands of the San Rafael Swell glimmering red and gold … it’s an eye full of contradictory color and textures.  If we had more time we may have taken a detour to view the immense walls of ancient petroglyphs in Nine Mile Canyon (outside of Price, Utah).

Stomachs growling and the water and fuel tank running low we exited I-70 into Green River Utah.  The first station we pulled into had no power … no problem, we headed further into the town … still no power. Which meant no fuel & no meal. We had ‘enough’ fuel to get Moab, about 50 miles or so away …  Sweetie & I ate another tangerine, crossed our fingers, and took off.

We reached our destination  with 40 miles left in the fuel left countdown. The traffic was backed up for miles … no electric here either. Traffic lights weren’t working and the police were working hard to get the mobs flowing down the main street. Finally we checked into our houses … still no power …  We went to fuel up, the tank now with the ‘fuel up stupid’ light on.  No power … anywhere.  No lunch … however, the taco truck was doing a booming business, but the 100 plus people in line discouraged us from even attempting to stop there.  As we drove on through the town, every gas station was populated with vehicles patiently waiting for fuel. My hangry meter was reaching critical when we saw folks exiting the grocery store; with full sacks!  Jackpot!

With an emergency generator running the store had power for a few lights, the ATM and the debit/credit cards machines … but, they wouldn’t sell any cold food; deli, frozen pizza, cheese … (we might get sick).  After a brief telephone confab with the rest of our party Greg and I filled the cart with bread, tuna, salad dressing, some lettuce and melons … not forgetting some chips. (and a box of Milk Duds). While we were waiting to check out, the lights came on, the machinery began whirring and there was a collective sigh of relief from the panic’d customers.

With enough food for lunch we stopped to fill our tank before meeting up with our traveling companions to have a bite before we headed to Arches National Park for an evening hike up to Delicate Arch.

Delicate Arch ... after the power came back on

Delicate Arch … after the power came back on

Our hike was beautiful, windy, and over populated … it was also visit your national parks for free week.  All of the cars and people and the vision of  seeing the them clustered around every gas pump and being unable to fill up brought those always ready to spook myself thoughts … what if the power NEVER came back on? What if the store could only take cash or was closed? What if all the fuel in the car (all 19 miles left of it) was all the fuel we had and we were more than 500 miles from home? What if the only food we had was the couple of tangerines and peanut butter pretzel  bites left in the back seat?

I admit, this scenario is not something I’ve every thought of when I thought of being prepared.  But one quick internet search taught me that though I was limited in my thinking, many other people are not … rather than create a list to think about … check out some for yourself.  I googled What to pack as a traveling prepper.  Lots of things came up; some more scary than others.

My big take away from our  far from home, hours without power experience … I’ll be packing a bit more conscientiously when we head out of town on our next road trip.  Come to think of it, some folks would consider our two hour drive from Boise to Council as a road trip …. hummm…

 

Loving it All

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IMG_2305Welcome Monday! … my To-Do list has additions, the fruit trees blooming in the yard smell delicious, the sun is shining, the lawn mower is calling as is the mini roto-tiller and there are about 10 hours today to ‘git ‘er done’. Garden beds are calling and birds are singing and I’m sitting on the couch writing. Much is on my mind and in my heart.

Do you wonder sometimes why there are ups and downs in life? What tips the scales from good to bad in a minute or how we get on the slow slide into the blahs? Yep, life is just like that … it’s meant to test and try us. Yep, life is meant to help us become our best today, tomorrow, and always.  Yep, life is just like that … there is bad that goodness shines brighter in our hearts, sadness so we may know joy, tears so that laughter has meaning, and  …

Many of my life choices have brought me tears and heartache, the choices of others brought devastation that I had no control over … coming out on the other side of such pain, fear, and despair I gained much and can see the good in the horribly bad … I gained strength, courage, forgiveness, hope, optimism, joy, and most importantly love. I learned I can do hard things, but do not have to become hardened. I can forgive as I have been forgiven. I can see the sun shining behind the storm and know that it is always there and I need not fear the darkness.

I’ve learned that nothing can sustain true intensity forever … just as a tornado dissipates, an earthquake shakes only so long, a flood eventually recedes, calm does return. Though often it takes quite a while to clear the debris left behind and after the healing has started … I have learned that after the mess is cleared, the view is infinitely more beautiful … especially if I don’t go searching for the junk the tornado, earthquake, or flood washed away and carry it back into the yard.

Today the sun is shining bright in my life, challenges still come and I expect they will forever.  I have learned the most important thing … that I have never been alone. In the darkest of my nights, the deepest pits of my pain, in the face of my stupidity and fear I was always protected, guided, and loved by Christ my Savior who carried me when I didn’t know him, when I rejected him, when I was wandering in the wilderness. He saved me from myself, he rescued me and gave me life, joy, happiness, faith and hope.

IMG_2303He is the light in darkness. He is who He said he is: The living Son, of the living God.  He knows me, He knows my name, He died for me, He lives for me … and you.  Always.

 

Jill of All Trades …

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It’s like this … every once in a while I wish I could watercolor like Georgia O’Keefe, I wish I could ski like Picabo Street, reach the top of world class peaks like Edmund Hillary, create a world of words so real it comes to life forever like J.K. Rowling , or grow a garden like my Grandparents …  then I realize that I could never focus on just one thing to reach their levels of expertise.  It’s not my nature.  I am just a jill of all trades.

I’m a lover of attempting. I’m a “give it a go” girl. I’m a “why not” questioner. I’m an “I think I could do that” DIY not afraid to fail kinda gal. Oh I’ve had my share of epic failures and some pretty good  executions … I love to “do” things.

Miss Megan Lovin' her Gma Keri made quilt!

Miss Megan Lovin’ her Gma Keri made quilt!

This morning I watched a pink sunrise, in a couple of hours Sweetie & I are hitting the slopes for a few turns.  I am excited … we’re hauling our fishing gear inside getting ready for a possible late winter fishing trip and I’m also getting myself prepared for a new project … Over the years I’ve made small quilts for my grandkids … fleece and giant quilt squares…. and saved pieces of fabric from most of them.  So I am attempting my first, full size, pieced quilt top using all of those pieces of cloth.  It’s going to be killer-cool … maybe when I die the grand-kids will have a fight over it.  LOL.

The Fabric ...

The Fabric …

This jill is loving the sun coming up and the day starting … Life is good and I am blessed.

 

 

Two Questions … and Plan B?

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WHAT IF  I was frozen inside my house by a blizzard with no heat or electricity? WHAT IF the pipes broke and flooded my whole house? WHAT IF I was 20 miles from home when the earthquake hit? WHAT IF? … I almost sat straight up in bed … could I care for myself for more than […]