Thursday, April 24, 2014

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Jam It Up Baby! April 24, 2014

Oh My Yummo!

First things first...

Last week I thought I sent you a link to the Georgia Cooperative Extension pdf that had salsa recipes...I realized this morning that I didn't actually send it...I'm such a tease! :) So, here it is:


Do you ever have one of those "A HAH!!" days? You know the ones I'm talking about like the day you figured out how the "settings" on your iPhone opened a whole world of possibilities for you, or having a birthday party at the park because you won't have to clean YOUR house when it is over!

I have discovered an epiphany...which has lead to a plethora of epiphanies (which is much cooler than a plethora of pinatas).

Tattler Re-usable Canning Lids!

When you are trying to be self-reliant, learning how to bottle is an important skill...especially if you are canning something you have grown yourself. To date, the only thing I have canned AND grown was apricots - it was a happy day. When you can re-use the lids over and over you save even more. It is kind of like washable diapers...but less...smelly. You always have it on hand. I have read that some people have used theirs Tattler lids for 50 years! I sure wish socks would last that long. 

I looked on Amazon for a better price, but really has a better deal. 

What if canning seems SCARY and DAUNTING because you've never done it before? My suggestion is start small. That's how we learn pretty much everything else right? Start with strawberry jam. Purchase "Sure Gel" by the canning jars and try one batch. Are you a visual learner? I am too. 

If you would like to make apricot jam without pectin - this vid's for you! It shows the old fashioned way before boxed pectin made it's debut. 

Pass these skills on to your children and grandchildren if you haven't already!

"Food for the hungry cannot come from empty shelves. Money to assist the needy cannot come from an empty purse. Support and understanding cannot come from the emotionally starved. Teaching cannot come from the unlearned. And most important of all, spiritual guidance cannot come from the spiritually weak" -Marion G. Romney

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Who Lost the Tribes? April 17, 2014

What's Your Tribe?

When many people think about the "great and terrible" day of the Lord, they mostly associate it with the "terrible". They think of all of the floods, earthquakes, and other perilous times. I would like to check in the one of the "greats".

We need to have a well-rounded understanding of the many things that have been foretold, even from the beginning of time, of the things that will transpire before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

The Return of the 10 Tribes

There is WAY more to this subject than I can possibly squeeze into a single email. But my purpose in bringing it up is to encourage further study because it is JUST SO COOL!!!
Who are the 10 tribes? Where are they from? Where are they now? Who cares if they come back?

So, here goes -  after the Children of Israel inherited the "land of their inheritance" when they left Egypt and wandered for a while (kind of like me in Walmart)...they became wicked (not like me in Walmart). The Lord told them, "I'm gonna use the Assyrians to paddle your behind so you can remember to keep my commandments." Some of the time, this looming threat helped them behave. If the Assyrians ever invited you to a party, you would find a way to graciously decline - and then run as fast as you could the other way. They played games like "Cut the head off the enemy", or "BBQ'd Enemy" for lunch. So it isn't hard to understand why their descendants STILL play those party games. Get those kids a paper donkey and a blindfold!!! Any questions why Jonah would rather jump into a raging sea, than teach repentance to them? The Israelites didn't repent and the Lord allowed the Assyrians to come in and clean house...with a bulldozer.

Many were killed, many became prisoners, and some decided they better ask God for an escape. All we know is, "The Lord heeded their cries and led them away into the north countries."

 In Doctrine and Covenants 133 it talks of their return. It says at their return they will "smite rocks and ice shall flow down at their presence." If we think about the loss of the rainbow in the last days, that ice is going to come in handy. They will take on the army of Gog (who will be the strongest force on the earth). This army will "become prey unto them." (I hear a hiney kickin'...) Marching from the north countries, on an ice highway, to the New Jerusalem - dang Gina...that's awesome. They will bring treasures and records to the children of Ephriam (what tribe does your blessing tell you you're from?) So many amazing things will happen, that the people of the world will no longer tell their children about the people of Moses crossing the Red Sea on dry ground because this story will be EVEN COOLER!!! (Jeremiah 16 :14-15) I will "accept" that party invite.

I know you're dying for is a little taste to get you started:


A friend of mine happened to drop by THREE CASES of tomatoes the other day - it's time to learn how to can tomatoes!! I did a Google search and found this site:
I followed the easy instructions. Three days later, I'm almost done :). I did about 16 quarts and a few pints. It is a lot of work for one day, but it really pays off when I can twist and pop and do whatever I want with those tomatoes. Then I started dreaming of salsa...can I "can" my own fresh tomato salsa?
Because tomatoes have high acidity, you don't have worry about botulism if you do it right. When you begin to add other low acidity ingredients, it changes the ph and there becomes a higher botulism risk. So I did some digging. I am still in the experimenting phase with this, so you might get an update on this later, but you are safer if you use tried and true recipes. Here is a list of recipes from the Georgia Cooperative Extension. They tell you what you can alter, and what you can't because that ph thing can be tricky! I did the "Tomato Salsa with Paste Tomatoes" recipe. After trying it, the oregano was a little too much for my liking. That's why we experiment. It really didn't cost me anything because the tomatoes were free.
Give it a go and let me know how it works for you!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Self- Reliance Tip of the Week - If You Hate It, Don't Store It and Garbage Warrior ! April 10, 2014

What's Your Gift?

Oh man, do I have some great stuff for you today!

I received this response from a "Tip of the Week" recipient, and this is SO realistic!!

Through personal experience with my family members I have learned to store only what you will actually eat.  
Example:  My aunt bought two cases of pork & beans.  I went over to help her fix a light dinner and opened a can of the beans. 
Aunt:  Why did you open those beans?
Me:  Because you have a lot of them and I figured you liked them.
Aunt:  I hate pork & beans
Me:  Well why did you buy them?
Aunt:  For food storage for your family.
Me:  But we don't eat pork & beans.
Aunt:  You'll be glad to have them when times get hard.

I wish this story had a good ending but unfortunately when she died and the job of cleaning out her house fell to me, I had to throw away the two cases of bulging, bursting pork & beans.  

The concept of rotation for food storage is an easy concept but it's a difficult skill to master.  And the task is made harder by a self-defeating way of thinking.  Some families I've talked to won't eat the food they've canned at the cannery.  It takes on a different specter and it shouldn't be touched until Armageddon gets here.  This is a mindset that is hard to overcome. 

Thank you "mystery recipient"...those are words of wisdom. The most inopportune time to eat things you don't in an emergency. 


Lately I have been watching "off the grid" videos. I am intrigued by people who are wanting to be self-reliant with their food, electricity and water. Alternatives some choose are solar panels, some go wind generators, and many do both. I love watching how some people take ideas from various ancient architecture to create a "feng shui" (a Chinese thought that there is an energy to how things are arranged in a room or how a building is positioned) and calm ambiance in a self-sustainable home. Some homes are pretty...some, more on the "wart-on-a-troll's-nose-ugly" side, Who am I to judge?

Then I watched, "The Garbage Warrior" - this video was about a New Mexico hippie type (who uses very colorful language). My first thoughts were that he was an environmental tree hugger "global warming" type, and I wasn't really interested. Yet I kept watching. This man wanted to create sustainable living in the deserts of New Mexico, through experimentation. He wanted  to use recyclables like tires, glass and plastic bottles, and aluminum cans. Because his ways were not "conventional" they (the law) really put him through the ringer. His architect's license was taken, fines were imposed, and he was devastated. Being overwhelmed and discouraged, the creative streak was stifled to almost nothing. He still wanted to create and improve on the ideas he had. He went to the state legislature to pass a bill to experiment on his own property. Despite continuous efforts on the bill, it was repeatedly killed during the legislative process. He wasn't asking for money. He only wanted it to be "legal" to experiment on his own property. When it seemed like his talents would never be accepted, in 2005, there was an 8+ earthquake and 30 foot high tsunami that struck the coast of India. He was asked to come help the people there. Out of 32,000 who had lived there, only 7,000 remained. He and his crew were staggeringly humbled by the conditions they witnessed. 

The survivors were resilient as they began building homes through "Garbage Warrior's" designs using the available trash that would (ironically) give them clean water, shelter, and sanitation...using trash?? I was like, "Yeah buddy!" He taught these humble people the steps they needed to take to make the same home he fashioned for them - so they could in turn teach and help each other. 

Think about this: What would have happened if our creative Warrior had given up? His skills were developed as he experimented, making him a useful tool of service. Sometimes we need to look past the "fine" print of the status quo. One of my favorite quotes by President Uchtdorf says "Creation is your opportunity in this life and in the life to come...Don't let the voice of critics paralyze you. You will make the world a better place. The more you rely on the spirit, the better your capacity to create." LOOOooove it!

What gifts and hobbies do you possess that will help you help others? Some may disagree, but I believe EVERYONE possess at least one gift that they can share, especially in times of emergency. They may not be considered "conventional" talents...who cares, if you have a dream go for it. You never now how you might bless an entire village with it. Maybe you are a seamstress, a quilter, a master culinary artist, a blacksmith, a musician, or someone who works well with animals - whatever your gift, we all have need of it. 

Garbage Warrior said, " When you see how open people are immediately following a disaster, there is a real difference with the people and the opportunity here (in India) and the people and the opportunity in the West. It is almost like a disaster has to happen to cause the rest of the world to start preparing, and then it will probably be too late." I really think that speaks volumes. 

If you want to watch how he builds, here is the video I watched. Seriously, the language is pretty colorful, so ,"listener discretion advised"

So, if my kids' junk piles up enough I might start to build a more sustainable house with it. It might be "wart-on-the-troll's-rear" ugly, but, hey I'm experimenting. It might be valuable to you someday :).

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - What Did Confucius Say? April 3, 2014

So, if you were to ask a Realtor, what is the number one key for a good business property, they will likely say, "location, location, location". 

If you were to ask me what is the number one key to keeping your food in good order I would likely put on a conical rice hat, squint my eyes, and in an Asian accent say, "rotation, rotation, rotation." (Are you picturing this?)

It is a good feeling to have made a menu for your three month and years supplies. It feels good to have purchased that last can to fit those menus. It is tempting to give a big sigh of relief and feel like you are "done". It is kind of the same feeling (I guess) like when you're "done" having children. But unlike children, food needs to be rotated. Rotating children does nothing for their accessibility on a shelf :) .

Canned food has a shelf-life of about 2 years. The CDC has posted on their website that cans can last longer under favorable conditions (40-60 degrees, cool dry place) )

If you keep your canned goods near a furnace, or refrigerator that lets heat out or in a room that is hot, your canned goods may not even last to the expiration date. So a place that has favorable conditions will save you a lot of money in the long run. Also, dented cans make for a quicker spoilage. There is nothing wrong with moving dented cans to the side when you are picking them out at the store. Your hard earned money is worth the extra effort.

Here are two articles that address some of these issues:

There are automatic rotation shelves available if you choose to purchase them. 

I really don't have the space for some of these, so I just put the new cans in the back and pluck from the "old" ones. 

It makes my heart sink when I hear someone say, "Oh, we've had this wheat for 30 years. We have never needed to use it, so we just took it to the dump." Ahhhh! What a waste! Unfortunately I've heard that more than once. It is wise for us to learn how to use this wheat and other stores. Rotation helps us to be thrifty with the means we have been given. 

Excuse me while I don my conical rice hat again...(squinting eyes) "Confucius say... If you save the green mountain, you will not worry about having no firewood to burn" (Ok, Confucius didn't really say that, but it is an old Chinese proverb). To me that means if you are a wise steward of your blessings, it will always be there to back you up when you need it. That can be associated with SO many things!


One last thing...I figured out the coolest thing the other day. I knew that lavender oil was a pest deterrent...but I had never tried it this way before. We have a little cat that adopted us a few months ago. She had those little ear mites that hang out on their ears and that itch like mad. I took a drop of lavender oil and rubbed it on both of her ears and got on with my day. By the end of the day they were ALL gone! I just thought I'd share!