Thursday, October 30, 2014

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Choose for Thyself...

I love having options. I love being able to choose. I am a girl afterall :). I especially love options when it comes to alternative cooking. If I put all my eggs in one basket, and I don't have the correct fuel to make it work, I can find myself up a creek pretty fast...without an oar. Camp fires get the job done, but if we are trying to conserve fuel, there are many better ways.

Today I would like to make a list of my favorite alternative cooking tools. Most I have, some I don't. I will list their pros and cons. 

StoveTec Rocket/ Bio Stove: 
Price: $102 to $124 (depending on model)

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This little puppy is awesome because you can cook your food with just a hand-full of sticks. Sticks can be found just about anywhere (and my guess, I could find any number of sticks behind my 6 year old's bed). It's insulated design makes the best use of precious fuel. 

  • Convenient fuel
  • Small learning curve (you figure it out pretty quick)
  • The two door stove makes it easier to control temperature (a camp fire can't do that)
  • It is called my many users a "prepper must have"
  • Many people have even pressure canned with it!
  • Way more efficient than home-made ones I've built

  • It is a bit pricey
  • With the one door model (less expensive) it is harder to control temp
  • You have to babysit the fuel (constantly pushing the sticks in

Click here if you want to try your hand at making one:

Gas One Stove
Price: $20 to $50 - available locally at Big 5
          canisters $3 (you can buy in bulk on Amazon for a discount)

This bad boy is super convenient. It works just like your natural gas stove at home (if you have one), except it uses butane cans for fuel. I prefer this one to propane camp stoves for the reason that there is no external piping that can break off (happened to me - the stove was ruined and I was not a happy camper). This is an excellent stove for emergency car kit. In my opinion it is better for quick cooking stuff (like bacon or pancakes) than boiling because it can use up a lot of the precious fuel. You might consider getting more than one if you tend to use multiple burners to make your family favorite meals.

  • Zero learning curve
  • Easy temp control
  • Compact
  • Smokeless
  • Self-igniter
  • Affordable (even for the tightest budgets)

Price: About $30

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Most of you know how I LOVE my thermal cooking "ovens". I use mine all the time to cook food and to keep it warm until it is time to eat. It reduces fuel consumption by 2/3 which is HUGE! For those new to these, you bring your food to a boil over another source (the Stovetec for example), cook for desired time (rice is like 5 minutes). Next, take the food directly to the Cooking Bag/ Wonder Oven and it will continue to use the same heat to finish cooking! CRAZEE!

  • Huge fuel saver
  • Can be hand-made or purchased
  • Food can be cooked and HOURS later eaten - dinner is on YOUR terms
  • Styrofoam insulated ovens can be machine washed
  • Affordable
  • Time saver (you don't have to watch on it - will not overcook or boil over once transferred into the oven)

  • There is a bit of a learning curve, but after some practice, this is no big deal
  • If the insulation is wool or cotton, they have to be hand washed very carefully (a towel or two can keep washing to a minimum)
  • Sometimes you have to get creative - casseroles cook differently in a pot than in a casserole dish BUT it can be done
Solar Sport Solar Oven

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For some reason these ovens are currently unavailable. They are probably updating their site or something. I love mine! I cook in it all summer long!

  • Free fuel!
  • Food is super moist and yummy
  • With a few tweaks, you can cook just about anything you can in a regular oven
  • It comes with a recipe book
  • You can pasteurize water with the power of the sun!
  • A bit pricey, but more affordable than other brands
  • This design won't tip over in the wind

  • No sun - no cookey foodie
  • Special thin pans need to be used (that come with the oven) - regular 9x13 pans don't work. 
  • You have to keep an eye on the clouds - if they roll in, you need a plan B.
When they are available again, you can get them here (scroll down for prices):

Volcano Stove

Price: $145 and up

This versatile little Betty is amazing! It uses three different fuel types! You can use wood, propane, or charcoal. It is a perfect fit for dutch ovens!

  • Versatility!
  • Cleaner than a regular camp fire
  • Way more efficient than a regular camp fire
  • The recipe possibilities are endless!
  • A bit of a learning curve - as with all alternative cooking :) 
  • A little pricey - but you get a pretty good bang for your buck

                               or here:

Chances are, you won't be able to purchase ALL of these right NOW. But look at the options and make some financial plans. You'll be glad you did. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Self- Reliance Tip of the Week - All I Have to Do Is Dream...

I might be the only one...ok yeah probably...the ONLY one, that has those crazy, quirky dreams. Maybe you know the ones I'm talking about. You are up in front of your sophomore speech class, and everyone has a bowl of jello on their heads, and they all start singing "Yankee Doodle"! You feel awkward because you realize you're wearing your mom's apron that says, "I Rule the Rooster" while a puppy licks the wooden spoon in your hand. Go ahead, interpret that one! Nebuchadnezzar had NOTHIN' on funky dreams like this!

Sometimes, dreams can actually warn us of something. They CAN make sense, and leave us with an impression so strong we are willing to move Heaven and Earth to make something happen or avoid something by redirecting our path.

This last General Conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said talking about Heavenly Father: " He will speak to them in dreams, visions, thoughts and feelings. He will speak it in a way that is unmistakable and transcends human experience. He will give them divine direction and answers for their personal lives." (October 2014 Saturday morning session)

In October 2001, President Gordon B. Hinckley said, " This vision of Joel has been fulfilled, wherein he declared: "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions." "

Let me take a quick count of many "famous" dreamers who have been warned, given instruction, or comforted in dreams or visions (this is by no means a complete list :) ): 

  • Joseph (Mary's hubby - Jesus' mother)
  • Joseph of Egypt
  • Lehi (who also had a Joseph :) )
  • Nephi
  • Daniel (you know, the lion tamer )
  • Amos
  • Zechariah
  • Ezekiel 
  • Peter (he dreamed about all the "unclean" animals that represented people who were now to be taught the gospel)
  • Joseph Smith
So, I will tell you of a dream I had about 5 years ago. No worries, this one has nothing to do with jello or yankee doodle. It was very short, but left me with a sense of urgency. I dreamed that Mt. Graham erupted. We packed as much as we could in our van and went to pick up Don Kirk and his wife (an older couple in my ward ) and we left. I remember boulders falling by us and we had to try to avoid them. I woke up with the impression that I need to be ready at any moment to pack it up.

My point in saying this is not to scare you. Will Mt. Graham erupt? Maybe, maybe not. Artesian hot springs at the base of the mountain make me go, "Hmmm..." While recently talking with a friend, I discovered she had also had a similar dream. What is even funnier? She is the 4th person I know of (besides myself) to have had a similar dream. Because I had this dream, does it mean it is revelation for everyone? What can we do with this information? 
  • We can ignore it
  • We can glean something from it
  • We can run around like chicken little and hope a smouldering boulder doesn't land on us... :)
My point is, to listen to what warnings you receive in daily thought, in dream, or impressions during General Conference, etc. I have since asked for more dreams, but I haven't had any others. He knows that I know what I need to do because of the other premonitions He has given me. I still get the nagging sense that I need to revamp my food storage menu. Is that different than a dream? Not really. We must obey our own promptings from the Holy Ghost. Does that mean we cannot learn from revelation given to someone else? Absolutely not. 

If the only dream you ever read is "John Taylor's Vision" - you might think, "What is the point? With the sickness and desolation, who is to survive?" That is NOT Heavenly Father's plan! He will not leave us empty handed - if we do our part. But we need to understand how serious the Lord is when He warns us through prophets to get out of debt, have a storage of necessities, and take very seriously our spiritual preparations. 

Elder H. Aldridge Gillespie (at an LDS Business College Devotional February 2005) had this to say: 

" We must both learn what these signs [of the last days] are and then identify them correctly when they occur. They can and will strengthen our faith in Christ and His prophets, if we know the scriptures. Just as in the days of Noah, a way is already prepared for the escape of the Lord's elect Latter-day Saints, if they are in tune with His prophets."

What an amazing promise! 

For further study, here is a link John Taylor's vision - ( please read with an understanding that this is only a SMALL part of the plan for the latter-days - if you read any, read to the end, that is the REALLY good part!)

Did you know that George Washington had a vision also? This one is AMAZING and leaves me with happy goosebumps!

If for any reason you feel overwhelmed, grab your nearest Melchizedek priesthood holder and ask for a blessing. Then, take baby steps to reach the small goals first, like: 

  • Make a one month menu of things you normally eat and drink (I actually do a 2 week menu and then copy the same thing for the next two weeks - yeah - I'm lazy like that)
  • Multiply that times 3 for a 90 day supply
  • Have a Family Home Evening about where you would go if there was an emergency (make a Plan In Place)

One of my FAVORITE books of all time is, "On the Wings of Faith" by Frederick W. Babble. He went with (then) Elder Ezra Taft Benson to war torn Europe directly after WWII ended. They went to help the suffering saints there. Their journey is filled with miracle after miracle. Tender mercies of the Lord were realized over and over again. That is Heavenly Father's plan.

In a book I read about many different people having various dreams, one of the ones that impressed me the most goes like this:

"I was facing a group of Russian prisoners-of-war who had been taken captive as their invading army was being pushed back, relinquishing American territory that they had occupied. I was to address this group of combat veterans, and I was doubtful of how my message would be received. Through an interpreter, a man who had served an LDS mission to Russia, I said to them:

"This terrible war is coming to an end. The tyrant whom you have served is no more. The tyrant who ruled our land and oppressed us is no longer in command of our armed forces. We have all been victims.

Some of you already realize that the things your political commissars told you were lies. We now offer you a choice: be returned to the remnants of your armed forces in a prisoner exchange, or enlist in the cause of freedom and become our brethren, fighting alongside us for our freedom and yours.

When the war is over, you who choose to be our comrades in arms may return to your homeland or stay here with us, for there are many farms and homes left vacant by this terrible conflict. You may work the land and the fruits of your labor will be yours, and not the property of the State or the Party.

We will teach you the gospel of Jesus Christ and you can become members of his church and kingdom...The Spirit of the Living God sees what is in your hearts, and He cannot be deceived....

I was stunned to see tears rolling down the soot-stained cheeks of many of these battle-hardened soldiers. Many immediately stepped forward and tore the rank and unit insignia from their tunics as they did so, signifying their decision....Not a few asked in wonderment "Can I really get a little farm of my own?"

Am I the only one who got goosebumps? 

Even though this isn't MY dream, I can still gain some valuable information from it. I have always thought dreams were intriguing (jiggly hats = definitely intriguing). I have also read several books that speak of near death experiences and the visions they receive and are instructed to share when they return. It humbles me how Heavenly Father speaks and directs individuals with such broad backgrounds and teaches them in a unique way so it is something they can relate to on an individual basis. He's awesome! I am so thankful for this tool that we have (along with all the other ones He gives us) so that we might be able to accomplish His commands and bless His children.

If you would like more information on books I have read, let me know. I'd be glad to give you a list. 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Wicki Wicki Wild Wild Wool....

With cooler weather FINALLY raising it slightly chilly head...I would like to put a plug in for one of my favorite fibers...not the kind you eat. :) 


Several months ago in this post:

I highlighted some of the benefits of wool. They include:
  • It can keep you warm when wet
  • It is an excellent fire retardant - throw a wool blanket on it, and BAM its out! (This is not a good idea if you're planning to cook with the fire...just sayin' :) )
I thought I'd do a little more research and see if I could dig up some more AMAZING benefits of using this fiber. 

  • It has a natural resistance to mildew and mold (in fact, the only way it will mold/ mildew is to SUBMERGE it in water - and keep it there)
  • It has the ability to regulate body temperature (wool fibers keep a pocket of air close to the body - it will wick excess heat and moisture as well as keep you warm)
  • It keeps your heart rate low during sleep to provide for a deeper sleep
  • It has natural odor control (which is crazy since it is shorn from stinky ...and I mean STINKY sheep)
  • It is resistant to UV rays ( WHAT??? Ok, so they are from sheep who are in the SUN all day every day! Makes sense!)
  • It is resistant to wrinkles ( Dang...I wish we were)

For a more indepth look, check out this avid hiker/ biker overview of wool clothing he has used:

There are a couple of "cons" with wool, but with some vigilance, will be nothing to worry about: 

If not laundered properly, wool clothing shrinks.
Moths love to eat wool - when not in use, store inside plastic bags or in a cedar chest - they HATE cedar.
They can be more expensive than other clothing.

That's about it.

If the price is an issue, often times you can find screamin' deals at thrift stores in Mesa or Tucson. When choosing clothing made of wool, (slight reminder) get as close to 100% as possible, but read the label. Some stretch and give with synthetic fibers are ok, but do not expect them to put out a fire. 

Be wise and add some wool clothing to your storage. During a winter or summer emergency, you may actually need it for survival. You know...with all this global warming...that makes it colder...but warmer...but colder? Are you confused? Me too. If a wool coat can save the life of a 97 pound POW in the coldest winter Poland had seen in over 50 years, it is seriously worth looking into. (Not sure what I'm talking about? Check out the link at the top of this article)


Read more about the study on wool and sleep : 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Did Halloween Come Early This Year?

I ain't skeered....

With recent events looming and scaring people with zombie-like creepiness in regards to a certain "outbreak", I thought today's tip would be best opened with a quote from Brigham Young. 

I had heard of this quote several years ago, but no one could give me a solid source (like a page number and paragraph source) or an actual quote. I have been looking for a long time and I seem to have found it. Here goes: 

"... there were four herbs we must have to withstand the scourges of the last days. They are yarrow, for virus infections; chaparral for cancer; Brigham tea for balanced blood chemistry; and comfrey for asthma, hay fever, healing and everything else. We feel these four herbs are a must. We have tried all but chaparral and they do truly work. May our Heavenly Father guide you. "
- Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses

He also said:

"It is God's mind and will that they [mothers and fathers]  should know just what to do for them [their children]. Instead of calling for a doctor, you should administer to them by the laying on of hands and anointing with oil, and give them mild food, and herbs and medicine that you understand."
- Brigham Young, 1875

Sometimes I am the worst person to go to get a blessing first. Remember prayer rocks? I need one of those next to my bed to remember to get a priesthood blessing when I need it. Periodically my toes are swollen and throbbing from the constant "THWACK" because I really need that reminder to pray. Oh the rocks I would need by my bed for every reminder that was necessary...I may as well tell the hubby, "Get the dump truck and back 'er up." Think I'm kidding? Just ask him. 

Some may be thinking, "You are WAY over simplifying our health care needs today..." . It might seem like that. Let me ' there is too much...let me sum up . I use all of these herbs and more. I have learned how to use them because I asked for guidance. My guidance may be slightly different than yours; however, I very seldom go to a doctor because I have learned through trial, error, google searches and classes I've attended, what works for my family. I'm not a doctor...and neither was President Young, but I have faith in the blessings Heavenly Father has given to us in all the forms He provides... such as:

  • Herbs (capsules, tinctures, and yes...teas)
  • Essential Oils
  • Reflexology/ Kinesiology
  • Emotional Healing
  • Eating right
  • Exercising (*sigh* if I HAVE to) :)
  • Anything else I feel inspired to do...
  • Other stuff I haven't discovered yet...
  • and occasionally a doctor or chiropractor 

Did you know that in the early 1840's there was a council of botanical physicians that Joseph Smith established called "The Council of Health" ? It was later carried over again in the Salt Lake Valley. A few of these physicians (Meeks, Morse and P. Richards) were running ragged trying to care for all the sick. The people needed to be educated to care for their own families. So they spoke with Apostle Willard Richards about establishing another council. Elder Richards "approved very readily" and named it the Society of Health. These physicians would scour the canyons every Wednesday to find herbs and roots to investigate so they could share it with the council. Not everyone was on board...but as people began to learn and profit by it, it grew in popularity. 

Some people might feel overwhelmed at the thought of stepping into the dark and becoming more self-reliant in their health-care. I found a wonderful PDF that is an excellent beginner guide. Take a peek and look it over. Then print it...because mom said so.  Take in parts "line upon line" and implement them as you feel inspired in your own family.

Something else that "The Lion of the Lord" Young said:

"Blessed is he that knows how to use yarrow in the last days." - Display at Monte L. Bean Life Sciences Museum at BYU

Blessed...I really like that! 

For a second I'd like to highlight yarrow because there are great blessings that can be gleaned from learning how to use this plant!

What are the benefits I can gain from yarrow?

It is used all over the world for: 

  • rheumatism
  • immunity booster (strengthens the spleen)
  • bleeding wounds (even nosebleeds)
  • cramps
  • piles (hemorrhoids)
  • kidney diseases
  • and more!
How do I use it?
Yarrow is used by my family in the extract (tincture) form. You can make tea with it or take capsules. Extracts are stronger and easier for my family because all you have to do is squirt it in a little water and down the hatch. For those who have squeamish tastebuds, capsules might be the better alternative.  

What does it look like?

Many mistake yarrow for a common weed. It looks similar to a fuzzy fern with yellow, red or white flower clusters (on our mountain I have only seen white flowers). Here is a picture:

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Where can I get it?

It is so widely available it is found from Scotland to Norway and Africa to Sweden!

Mt. Graham has yarrow at the following places: Shannon, Heliograph Peak, Snow Flat, Riggs Lake, as well as others.

Did you know that yarrow is easily grown here and not just on Mt. Graham? Did you know that some of local nurseries sell it? It's often labeled by its botanical name: Achillea millefolium

Plant it in with your flower beds or garden. There are many varieties, all flowering a little bit different. If you know what you are looking for, it has been seen often in a mountain near you. 

If you aren't ready to go hunt in the wild for it, it is available also at both of the local health food stores. 

We must be very careful how easily we run to a pharmacy or roll up our sleeves to receive an immunization for a disease that has had NO time to be fully tested. And mark my words, there will be one. Do not fall for the ghoulish scare tactics. Remember H1N1 was going to be the BIG scourge... like the 1918 flu? There were commercials, and radio ads etc etc. We all wet our pants a little and then it blew over and we have hardly heard a hiccup since. This doesn't mean someday there won't be one (or more) - because it has been prophesied. Do your research first...then kick your prayer a little dance...and get to work.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - The Wise Man Built His House Upon A Rock...

If the Wise Man built his house on a does he get to the store?

One of my very favorite quotes EVER is this one:

"Wise men learn from other's mistakes, fools from their own." - Unknown

How sad it is, that we have NO idea who said this. What were they going through in life? Were they the "wise man" or the "fool". Well, if they want to remain unknown, it is a big possibility they were the fool. I should be a detective...I'm so good :). 

Today we have the opportunity to learn from someone else's experience - they thought they were more prepared than they were. They were honest enough to share what they did right, and what they did wrong. Let's take a closer look. I gathered this information from:

Chances are, most of us will not suffer the evacuation or effects of a hurricane (except my PR buddies who experience this once every 5 years - give or take) - but we can still glean VALUABLE information from "The Survival Mom's" evacuation experience. Please read her whole story, because these highlights will not do it justice.

What she did right:

1. Drive 4 to 5 hours away from possible devastation (if you're on a coast, go inland).

2. Consider going to a city or town you've never been, see the sights - it will give a chance for everyone to not focus on the evacuation.

3. Instead of suitcases, consider taking laundry baskets - if you are gone a few days (or more) it is easier to do laundry with a basket.

4. If you have school age children, take school work with - it will help to keep them busy.

5. Grab everyone's (even adults) favorite blanket, pillow or "lovey" - we all need something comforting.

6. Take your pets. If it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for them. You don't know how many days you'll be gone.

7. Remember your medications - take the whole bottle so you know what kind to refill at the pharmacy.

8. Leave either very early in the morning or late at night. Few people are ready to leave quickly, or want to drive at night. Being prepared to begin with will reduce how much time you need to pack it up and leave.

What she did "wrong":

1. Any framed pictures you cannot take with you, put them in plastic garbage bags and up high. Pack what family photos you can.

2. Empty your refrigerator. You may be gone longer than a few days.

3. Empty contents of fridge in a chest freezer with if you have it. Rotten food smell is impossible to get out of the fridge!

4. If you have multiple reliable vehicles, take the one with least insurance coverage - liability insurance will not cover flood damage.

So, even if some of these tips don't usually apply to those in desert valleys, most of them do. There can be MANY ways we might have to evacuate for short or long periods of time. Here is another plug for communication, if you have a HAM radio, you will know before most people it is safe or not to return home. Newscasts over the radio often repeat the same information over and over without really giving you useful information. This was my extended family's experience during the fires in Sierra Vista a few years ago. 

So, you can choose today to be the wise or foolish "Wo" man depending on if you use your agency to learn from someone elses mistakes (or what they did right). Afterall, the future is "unknown". 


One last thing...

I am always interested in gadgets that make life a little easier if you're using your 72 hour kit for any number of reasons. What else do you use your cell phone (or any other usb charged device) for other than calling? Tons of stuff! I happened upon a little rocket stove that creates enough electricity that you can charge your device while you cook dinner! Pretty cool huh? Many hubbies would love this for a  Christmas present. Check it out - it has good reviews too which is a huge plus: