Thursday, July 24, 2014

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - How to "Chill It" Without Electricity July 24, 2014

Despite the rain we had yesterday, it has still been hot. It has been so hot that if my kids take too long to get the eggs from the chicken coop, they are half way cooked (completely serious here - I couldn't believe it...BECAUSE THEY ARE IN THE SHADE!!!)

Heat can be a scorcher! Which is why we are so thankful for the modern blessing of AIR CONDITIONING!!!

But what if we were to loose electricity say...because of an earthquake?

Ok, so I joke about loosing electricity, but for many people, it is hard to live without. How would we stay cool in the Southeastern Arizona sun?

I found this very good list from:

  • Don’t cook or eat during the heat of the day, eat early or late.  Digesting food takes energy and generates heat.
  • Do not cook inside, eat cold meals or use an outdoor grill or camping stove.  This is a great time to use your solar oven or wonder box.
  • If you have good insulation open your windows at night to allow the house to cool off.  Then close your windows in the morning and the house should stay cooler during the day.
  • Keep your blinds or curtains closed as long as the sun hits them.
  • Limit your physical activities to early morning or late evening, the more you move the hotter you will get.
  • Dress in light loose cotton clothes, perspiration in cotton clothes can create an evaporative cooler effect.
  • Drink plenty of water.  Avoid caffeinated beverages.
  • Get a solar powered fan.
  • When outdoors keep your head covered, have a good wide brimmed hat.
  • Wear a water soaked bandana on your head or neck.
  • A friend who lives in the Sonora Desert said that prior to getting air conditioning; he often slept on a cot outside under a wet sheet.
  • If you have a basement, you may want to consider sleeping in it, since they normally stay cooler.
I usually just stick my head in our little pool and let it drip all over me...with 5 kids, it is really hard to limit activity :).

What about keeping your food cool? Or your medicine? Is there an electricity free alternative for that? You ask the best questions! As a matter of fact, there is! It works similar to...but kind of opposite to the Wonder Oven (are you picturing this? Let me just show you a video.... It is called a Zeer Pot.

Is that just stinkin' awesome or what? Who would have known! As with any self-reliance tool, it is wise to practice with it to see what works and what doesn't for you and your family.

A few things to keep in mind is that the Zeer pot has a limit to the temperature it can bring down. In other things I have read and videos I've watched, the max temp it will bring down is about 45 degrees. If it is 120 outside, the best you're gonna get is about 75 degrees. If it is 80 degrees, it leaves you with a chamber that is about 40 degrees. I would still be thankful for 75 degrees if it is 120 outside. It is still a good temperature for eggs, but not meat.

Also, if the only water you have available is not clean and might be contaminated, put your food in a gallon zip lock bag to keep contaminants from getting in the food because they will penetrate the terracotta (what the pots are made of) and we want to keep the food safe.

Terracotta is a COOL name. I think I'll name my next child that...lets hope it is a girl :).

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Popeye the...Nutritionist? July 17, 2014

Salmon Spinach Pesto Crustless Quiche (1) (475x356)
Idn't It Cute?

A few weeks ago we talked about learning how to change a tire (or a reminder for those of you who know how :) ) This EXCELLENT tip was sent to me recently regarding that challenge:

My father being a thoughtful man taught me how to change one [a tire not a diaper :) ] when I was in jr high. So been doing it awhile, don't like too. One tool you really need is a sledge hammer because most of the tires now are put on with an impact wrench. Which can take a lot of muscle to remove. So be sure you have one in your car care kit. Also extra fuses and jumper cables are a must.
AWWWWWSOME! Thank you Sister Anonymous!

Tuesday night at dinner we were talking as a family and one of my kids blurted something random (which you could NEVER expect from one of my offspring). He said, "Mom! Did you know that before Popeye the Sailor ate spinach to give him strength it was garlic? Then they changed it."
I always wondered why he had such a hard time keeping Olive Oil from being with Bluto! He had garlic breath!
Yeah, Popeye was kind of funny looking, with funky shaped fore arms, but he ate healthy! Now if we could just send some missionaries over and get rid of that pipe, he would be all set!!
I think the properties of garlic are over-killed in commercials. We know it is good for you. We also know that "dark greens" are good for us. Bladda bladda... But if you could go to the store and pick up a box of a food that was full of vitamins and "anti" everything bad, would you put that in your food storage? I surely would!
Follow this link for more information and step by step instructions on how to dehydrate your own greens - with lots of bonus ways to use it:

Here are basic instructions:

  • 1. Wash greens thoroughly.
  • 2. Pat dry with a tea towel or clean dish towel. You can roll up a bunch and gently shake/compress to get the most water off, but don’t do anything fancy.
  • Note: I didn’t do this, but you should take the ribs out. See below for details.
  • 3. Spread in a (mostly) single layer on dehydrator trays. (photo above)
  • 4. Set dehydrator to 135F (although honestly, anything from 95-150F should work just fine!) for about 2-3 hours.
  • 5. Unlike fruits, which may get too tough (but still edible) if you over dehydrate, it’s pretty hard to mess up greens. They’re going to be crispy or crispy, no matter what.
    6. Store the dried out greens in any sort of airtight container at room temperature. Mine are just in a plastic zippered bag, and I also crushed some right in the bag with my hands to make handy dandy “greens flakes” that I can sprinkle into scrambled eggs, soups, or casseroles.

  • You can even put them in your blender to powder them. One thing she uses green powder for is....adding them to smoothies for a little extra nutritional punch! Like a punch from Popeye! See ya Bluto!
    Oh Popeye - you're my hero!

    Thursday, July 10, 2014

    Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - The Green Cherub of the Desert July 10, 2014

    So often cactus get a bad rap. No, I'm not talking "Vanilla Ice" bad rap. I am talking that they are useless, ugly, and they will hurt you if you get too a Gila Monster. Oh the TREASURES Heavenly Father has given us in one of these compact little green cherubs.

    Prickly Pear Cactus

    I love going to classes and learning how the natural plants around us have helped local natives WAY before the covered wagons appeared. One class I went to taught about the prickey pear cactus. They are good for food, sunburns, as a poultice for bites and stings...are you ready for this (?) EVEN RATTLESNAKE BITES!


    The red fruit on top is always safe to eat (raw or cooked) when they are ripe. They are thirst quenching and cooling (pretty smart for a desert plant huh?). If you eat too many, be ready for a bit of constipation.

    Sunburn Treatment: 

    Open the cactus the same way (like a hamburger bun) so it exposes the fleshy inside. Use it the same way you would use aloe vera - that slimy goodness feels soooOOOo  good. 

    Poultice for Bites etc. :

    A poultice is something you wrap around a wound or bite. This is really where the gift of this little cherub comes into play. In the case of any venomous scorpion sting, bees, snakes and the like you would:

    • Take the pad, get a rough rock and rub all the thorns off (having gloves in your 72 hour kit would really come in handy here) and slice it down the middle like you were filleting a chicken breast or opening a hamburger bun.
    • If you need it to be more flexible to "wrap" the wound, roast the pad over the fire (sticky side up) until it changes color.  The inside sticky part of the pad is what you would apply to the wound. Wrap it with a bandage or other fabric to keep it in place. 
    • Change the poultice every hour until the burning sensation from the bite goes away.
    What is that worth? I have known of people who spent surgery after surgery only to have an amputated appendage because of the effects of a snakebite.

    Prickly little cherub...I wish I could squish your cheeks!

    I learned these things from a guy named Peter "Bigfoot" Reevis. I have been to more than one class of his and I have been so glad I did every time. This information and SO much more can be found in the books available on his website. I encourage you to take at least one class from him (they charge for the classes, but what education doesn't cost something?)

    You can find his books at: 

    Browse through classes offered: 

    So, the next time you see a prickly pear cactus, don't be surprised if the song "Earth Angel" comes to mind. Remember, angle's don't have wings :). 

    Thursday, July 3, 2014

    Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - The Mighty Mosiah July 3, 2014

    SooooOOOOoo???? Did anyone change a tire? I have a bar of soap for you if you did! Let me know.


    Sometimes I can't get enough of family history. I read stories and look at pictures - if this kind of smorgasbord was a meal, I'd need some peppermint and fennel :). I recently "unearthed" some information on a relative of mine. I COULDN'T STOP READING!!!

    Mosiah Lyman Reed Hancock is the oldest brother to my Great-Great Grandfather Joseph Smith Hancock. Crazy as it sounds, I found one of his journals compiled on the internet! He was a young man when he knew the Prophet Joseph Smith. He was part of the "whistlin' and whittlin' band " in Nauvoo to help protect the prophet. He was a first hand witness to the terrible threatenings and acts the mobs (many of whom called themselves Christians) did to the saints. He was even beaten to death, only to be told by a personage in a white robe to return back to his body because his work was not done yet - so he DID. 

    The family that Mosiah grew up in sang songs of freedom. His father Levi, a song writer (among many other talents) wrote a song about freedom for the setting of the south east corner stone for the Far West Temple. His journal often mentions how the freedom of the saints was trampled on - one of the reasons was jealousy. 

    He said, "There were friends of the mobbers who would infringe upon the rights of we lovers of freedom. We rejoiced in building good homes, sheds, and corrals; and in teaching the proper rudiments, that all should be just and propitious to each other; and in teaching the principles of the Gospel to the children of men. We rejoiced in the prospects of a good education.... The Missourian generally lived in a house of unhewed logs with no roof to speak of and no yard for his stock. He seemed to have no education, and it made him jealous of the Saints because of the superior excellence of their minds." To me, this says something very strong about always being "anxiously engaged in a good cause" (Doctrine and Covenants 58:27).

    One of the stories that stands out in my mind is when there was a mob of about 1600 men who were camped around Far West. A man named George Hinckle who was a friend of the prophet, betrayed Joseph and other brethren by telling the mob where they were. They were held in the town square for days without food or water after they had to give up their guns. The mobsters congratulated each other on their bravery. Really?? The few words that come to mind, aren't appropriate in a newsletter such as this... moving on...

    During this ordeal, he also said, "One day about twenty women met in the home of the mother of Prophet Joseph Smith. Some said, "Now that the mob has taken our guns, what shall we do?" I remember part of the speech my mother spoke, "We can do as the Carthage women did when the Romans took the arms off their husbands; we can pull the hair out of our heads so the menfolks can make bowstrings." " I am so proud of my Great-Great-Great Grandmother saying this! Sometimes in a world of chaos, a voice of determination and reason  (and maybe a little fire) can change fear to courage in an instant.

    I'm sure any readers out there may be thinking, "Thanks for the history lesson, but is there a point to this?" Funny you should bring that up :). Here's my point. Sometimes it is easy to think that we as Americans ( or live in an American Territory - A little shout out to my PR buddies) no longer have freedom. We see our rights trampled on every day. It discourages us to see the way things used to be. These pioneers had family fight in the Revolutionary war! They fought under the direction of George Washington - and this is how they were treated because they wanted to freely practice their religion?

    How much do we take the freedom we currently have for granted?

    Ok, so here's the climax. This is incredible!!! I had heard this story, but was so excited to find it in his own words. Are you sitting down? Really Sister Lisa, are you sitting down? I mentioned before he was a good friend of the Prophet Joseph, even as a young man. This quote is directly from his journal: The next day the Prophet came to our home and stopped in our carpenter shop and stood by the turning lathe. I went and got my map for him. "Now", he said, "I will show you the travels of this people". He then showed our travels through Iowa, and said, "Here you will make a place for the winter; and here you will travel west until you come to the valley of the Great Salt Lake! You will build cities to the North and to the South, and to the East and to the West; and you will become a great and wealthy people in that land. But, the United States will not receive you with the laws which God desires you to live, and you will have to go to where the Nephites lost their power. They worked in the United Order for 166 years, and the Saints have got to become proficient in the laws of God before they can meet the Lord Jesus Christ, or even the city of Enoch". He said we will not travel the shape of the horse shoe for there we will await the action of the government. Placing his finger on the map, I should think about where Snowflake, Arizona is situated, or it could have been Mexico, he said, "The government will not receive you with the laws that God designed you to live, and those who are desirous to live the laws of God will have to go South. You will live to see men arise in power in the Church who will seek to put down your friends and the friends of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Many will be hoisted because of their money and the worldly learning which they seem to be in possession of; and many who are the true followers of our Lord and Savior will be cast down because of their poverty. There will be two great political parties in this country. One will be called the Republican, and the other the Democrat party. These two parties will go to war and out of these two parties will spring another party which will be the Independent American Party. The United States will spend her strength and means warring in foreign lands until other nations will say, "Let's divide up the lands of the United States", then the people of the U. S. will unite and swear by the blood of their fore-fathers, that the land shall not be divided. Then the country will go to war, and they will fight until one half of the U. S. army will give up, and the rest will continue to struggle. They will keep on until they are very ragged and discouraged, and almost ready to give up--when the boys from the mountains will rush forth in time to save the American Army from defeat and ruin. And they will say, 'Brethren, we are glad you have come; give us men, henceforth, who can talk with God'. Then you will have friends, but you will save the country when it's liberty hangs by a hair, as it were".

    There is so much in this quote to digest here in one email. I wanted to point out a few things to you. Some of these things have come to pass (like the people who moved to Mexico so they could protect their families during the time of polygamy). Some of these are currently happening. We can see how some of these are being set up to happen.

    Tomorrow we will celebrate our country's Independence Day. For a brief time we will remember our freedoms in between the hotdogs, chips and fireworks. May we remember those who came before to show us what it is like when those freedoms are taken away. Sisters - let us be like Mosiah's mother, Clarissa and be the voice of valor when all seems to be crumbling around us.

    Mosiah Hancock actually helped to settle the Gila Valley. He is buried in the Hubbard Cemetery overlooking Central and our Temple.

    If you are interested in reading more about his life, here's a link to get you started: