Thursday, April 23, 2015

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Leggo My Sego!

Ode to the Life Saving Lily

So, when was the last time you opened your fridge or your cupboards and said, "Oh, there's nothing to eat. " I know I do it...way more often than I should. 

Did you know that the pioneers would have starved without the root of this precious little beauty of the desert? It took a lot of work to dig enough of the root/bulb to feed a family, but it could be done. The Native Americans who lived around the Salt Lake Valley took compassion on these sweet pioneers and showed them how to eat them to survive. 

Here are the different ways they would prepare these radishy-turnuplike manna:

  • ground into flour and mixed with what corn meal or wheat flour they might have had
  • boiled (though had the consistency of wall paper paste when cooled)
  • dried and stored in the cellar for later use
By the time the pioneers got to the valley, they had been without flour and sugar for months. They had been encouraged to take an 18 month's supply of food with them. They were only able to bring with them what they had or could afford to purchase. When they arrived, many had no food at all; however, Heavenly Father had already set in motion a long time before, His plan to save them. 

The first winter was the hardest, they ate crows, rabbits and wolves. After they were introduced to the sego lily, they were able to hold on. Over the next few years, they were able to plant and harvest corn, and wheat. The technology of the train (*woot* *woot*) was a huge blessing because they could bring more supplies quicker. 

"For many people, the sego lily came to symbolize the qualities of the pioneers themselves. It could survive in poor soil with very little water and still produce a beautiful flower and a life-giving root. It was hardy and tough and grew with no care or attention. "

Image result for sego lily assembly hall

When we went to General Conference during Easter weekend, we visited many of the old buildings surrounding the temple. Sego lily is ALL over the place. It was even in the Conference Center elevator! On top of half of the Conference Center there are pine trees and mountain plants to symbolize the mountains.  On the other half is planted desert plants, when they can they plant sego lily. It is not as abundantly found today as it was back then. 

The Church News said this about the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple : 

Throughout the temple on art-glass windows are represented the state flowers of the five states through which pioneers trekked — Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming and Utah. In the Celestial Room is the sego lily, designated as the state flower of Utah because its roots provided sustenance for the Pioneers during their first winter. It was as manna from heaven for them, Brother Holdman noted. Thus the presence of the flower in the celestial room represents the completion of their journey to the promised land and alludes to Revelation 2:7,17, "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God. . . . To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna."

What does this have to do with today? It is a reminder to us that when we step out into the dark and make a hard decision, knowing it is right, and living right - Heavenly Father will provide. It may not be gourmet. It may not be the easiest experience, but when we endure and follow whatever inspiration is given to us, He will bless us. 

So, the next time I open my cupboard and find it is running a little scant... I will try harder to think of the significance of the sego lily. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - So HOW DID The Pioneers Do It?

Sometimes living in this day in age with all of the conveniences of life, we can get a little slack. That may come around and bite us in the hiney later on. Some of the skills our grandparents and great grandparents used on a daily basis - they used to survive. The dollar had a lot bigger stretch than it does today. They could get a month's worth of groceries for $50 (for my family I could easily spend $100 a week).

This link follows eight forgotten skills that the pioneers used daily. 

They are: 
  • Gardening for food
  • Animal husbandry
  • Food preservation
  • Blacksmithing
  • Basic carpentry
  • Basic mechanical repair
  • Herbal medicine
  • Horseback riding
This is just a basic list. Some of these are no brainers for us like preserving food. We've been taught to preserve food for many years. Others have never crossed our minds. There are many other things we could add to the list like:
  • soap making (like from ashes and lard)
  • molasses rendering
  • food foraging
  • sewing/ mending your own clothes (even found in diary's of old cowboys out on the range)
  • etc.
Between myself and my husband, we pretty much have the list figured out except horseback riding (which wouldn't be hard to pick up, but we currently don't own a horse) and blacksmithing. There was typically one blacksmith in town (my great great grandfather was the one in Taylor for many years). 

Why might we want to learn some of these skills? 

When we learn these skills we can pass this knowledge on to our children and show them how their ancestors lived. It helps them (and us) make a connection with those who have come before. It turns our hearts to our fathers.

These skills may save our lives someday when the prophecies spoken of in the scriptures are fulfilled and modern conveniences may go away for a time - we will live fine and happy because we have these skills to lean on. 

It also helps us count our blessings too :)...
So HOW DID the pioneers do it? 

The same way we do. We learn, we adjust, we cry a little and we move on :). 

I wanted to share with you a "recipe" I received in an email a few years ago for how they USED to do laundry:

Years ago an Alabama grandmother gave the new bride the following recipe: (
This is allegedly an exact copy as written and found in an old scrapbook - with spelling errors and all.)


Build fire in backyard to heat kettle of rain water. Set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert. Shave one hole cake of lie soap in boilin water.

    Sort things, make 3 piles
    1 pile white,
    1 pile colored,
    1 pile work britches and rags.

To make starch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down with boiling water.

Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, and boil, then rub colored don't boil just wrench (rinse) and starch.

Take things out of kettle with broom stick handle, then wrench (rinse), and starch.

Hang old rags on fence.

Spread tea towels on grass.

Pore wrench (rinse) water in flower bed. Scrub porch with hot soapy water. Turn tubs upside down.

Go put on clean dress, smooth hair with hair combs. Brew cup of tea, sit and rock a  spell and count your blessings.

Amazing isn't it? I would like to skip to the last step...I'm kinda lazy like that. It is so much work, but so worth learning. Even if you master one skill from that time period, you'll be that far ahead that you'll be able to teach others and lift their burdens if/ when the need arises.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - What If... Car 72 Hour Kit

Sorry I missed you last week. I was playing hooky...or something like that. My family and I went out of town for General Conference and we had a blast...I almost need a vacation for my vacation though :). 

I have always been blessed with safety while on the road. This person wasn't as lucky as me.

It is nice to have a sense of security when I drive (especially long trips) because I always keep a 72 hour (give or take...) kit in my car. There are many different ways of making one to fit your vehicle and your individual family needs. In mine I have a few stackable Zip Lock bins that look like this:

I carry two with me all the time that have these things in them:

(bottom one)
  • basic car tools
  • foldable shovel
  • rope 
  • bungee cords
  • jumper cables

(top one)

DO NOT recommend Sterno stoves. I tried to boil one cup of water once and in 15 minutes of "heating" it wasn't even warm. With an Emberlit (or the like) you can boil water in 3 minutes with sticks you find on the ground. 

If we are going to be gone for a few days, I'll stack one more on top with activities for the kids, more food etc. Oh, and I can't forget water. I always have two gallons of water (I keep them in used vinegar bottles because that plastic is stronger). 

If non-perishable food or medicine can last a year at room temperature, how long would it last in a hot car? A few months? It may prove to be a life saver. Talk to your doctor about the longevity of your medicines for this type of scenario. So, with the Arizona sun...what are some ways we can help keep the food good?

  • park in the shade whenever possible
  • use reflector shades for front and back windows
  • If it will be particularly hot, it might be a good idea to bring your kit inside and put it in your trunk when you are ready to leave

If a package of freeze dried food will last 15 years at room temperature, do you think you could get a good year out of one that sat in a car with higher temperatures for 4 months? It would be worth having in an emergency. Consider this article that explains the many downfalls of the "pre-made" vehicle 72 hour kit. What are they missing?

 It can be overwhelming to think, "If I keep all this stuff in my trunk all the time, if I want to go out of town, there won't be any more room in the trunk!" I've had the same thoughts. However, consider your own needs, say a little prayer and get to it. The Lord will guide you for your individual needs.