Monday, June 27, 2016

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Second Plates For A Solar Flare

Inline image 1

Its a scorcher!! 

In the Book of Mormon there is a story about Nephi making a second record. He knows that most of what he is recording has already been recorded by his father, Lehi. He probably wondered why at the time, but obeyed anyway.  Well, the Lord knew that Lehi's record would get lost, so He (in His infinite wisdom) prepared away for the record to be preserved. 

Have you ever heard of a solar flare? They happen all the time on the face of the sun. Sometimes, they can actually cause "space weather" that can affect the little peeps of earth. 

So what does making a second record have to do with solar flares? Funny you should ask...

Once upon a time..."On the morning of September 1, 1859, amateur astronomer Richard Carrington ascended into the private observatory attached to his country estate outside of London. After cranking open the dome’s shutter to reveal the clear blue sky, he pointed his brass telescope toward the sun and began to sketch a cluster of enormous dark spots that freckled its surface. Suddenly, Carrington spotted what he described as “two patches of intensely bright and white light” erupting from the sunspots. Five minutes later the fireballs vanished, but within hours their impact would be felt across the globe."
What happened was the strength of the "10 billion atomic bomb" solar flares had caused a magnetic storm and telegraph lines exploded and poles lit on fire and killed communication across the globe. I guess it could be compared to using a blow dryer and then stepping in the tub...and washing your hair with the blow-dryer in your hand...not a pretty picture. It created a geo-magnetic storm of which had never been seen before or since...but it could happen again. 

Even though telegraphs are an infantile system in comparison with our internet and electrical grid today, they were still used it for commerce and communication (including private messages). Our grid is still sensitive. If it were to all be blown successively like it was in 1859, many records could be lost forever. 

Think of all the sensitive information that could be lost if it happened again. What kinds of things do we use electronic storage for? It would typically have the same effect as an EMP...but it happens naturally.

  • Family pictures
  • Family videos
  • Genealogy charts
  • Draft records, marriage records, death records
  • School work
  • Scanned letters
  • Other important documents/ images
  • Financial information
  • Scanned/ typed journals
  • Etc.

Today I have spent a few hours updating a portable hard drive with this type of sensitive information from our computers. I typically do it every four months. We take lots of pictures so I don't want to loose any of them. If a solar flare hits I have something super easy that I have put together that costs little money and takes little effort. 

The instructions are found in this "Tip of the Week" -

So, lets say is still sounds too Sci-Fi and you still don't quite believe that solar flares exist and can cause damage to delicate electrical information...maybe you'll believe an article that is on NASA's website. :)

Even if a solar flare never shows its face and alters your life forever... there is another storm that could wipe out everything. Kids. 

A few months ago I had the impression to update my electronic files and I put it away. Not a week later my oldest son had learned that if there are too many things on your desktop it can slow your computer down. So as a favor (*cough*) he cleaned the desktop and even emptied the "recycle bin". Such a good boy. There were files on there that were gone forever. Luckily the week before, I had made a back up and was able to replace that information (not back on the desktop of course...). 

It is always a good idea to have back ups of all of these types of records. Nephi made a second set of plates and it has benefited generations of people because he listened and obeyed. That's pretty amazing.  

Monday, June 20, 2016

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - How Are 72 Hour Kits Like Underwear?

Inline image 1
Its kinda snug....

You would never share somebody else's underwear would you? That is just unheard of? Your undies fit you, and know...they're personal. 

72 Hour kits are known by many names...Bug Out Bags, GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) Bags, DPHTF (Doggie Poopie Hits the Fan) Bags, etc...basically if you need to get out of town at a moments notice, you've got something ready to go. 

Getting a generic list for 72 hour kits is pretty much the same thing. Lame. They typically aren't "personal" and will have little value if you pack glow sticks when you would be better served to pack matches. Or if you have no kids that are currently in diapers but you pack them because the list says so...that's a waste of space. Do you know how to use a compass? A 72 hour kit can be as big or as small as you like. If it is really big (like a duffle bag) it will be hard to haul it around if your shoulders are the ones that might have to do the hauling. If it is too small, it may be of "little" use to you. If you get one of those ready made kits (though incredibly convenient...maybe) they might have food that is a) nasty or b) you or your children have allergies to it (or it is loaded with MSG...just sayin'). 

Ok, there ARE basics that every kit should have. They should things that light fires, a way to cook your food (like a mess kit), portable water filters, portable pottable water, and things like that. Your basics. 

Speaking of is really important to have meals that your family is familiar with and they will eat. My family loves Mountain House, but it can be expensive. However, it is something they like and will eat. Add boiled water and BAM you have dinner!! We eat them sometimes for special treats :). Wisefoods has some MRE type foods that you heat up and put over rice. Some I have liked, and some I have not. 

I have found a new MRE company who has no MSG, they are NON-GMO, AND they have gluten free options. They are called Legacy Premium (this is their site if you'd like to call for samples too . If they are as good as they sound, we might be looking into getting more of those. I called them to see if they have free samples. They do and it is being shipped to me. I'll let you know how I like them next week. You can always get crackers, tuna and stuff like that, but you do have to rotate them more often and if it isn't done say every General Conference, you can have rancid food when you need it the most and that is what you need the least...rancid food that is. 

Beyond the basics, the 72 hour kits need to be more personal. This is where the super convenient "ready made" 72 hour kits veer from "one size fits all". You need to have your own personal medicines. A change of clothes (especially a long sleeved shirt and socks). Here are some ideas and where I have gotten them that helps to make your 72 hour kit more of your own: 

  • Emergency drinking water packets (they are smaller than water bottles - Amazon)
  • MRE complete meals (I have found some Mountain House at Walmart in the camping isle or on their website)
  • Emergency candles (I made some of my own - beeswax :) )
  • Emergency Poncho (found on
  • Emergency Blanket (found on
  • Water purification tablets (Wal-Mart)
  • Compass (Wal-Mart)
  • Disposable Hand Warmer (Wal-Mart)
  • Canteen (Wal-Mart and
  • Pair of Work gloves (Home Depot)
  • Eating Utensils (check these out...they are like pocket knife style
  • First Aid Kit ( Army surplus store in Sierra Vista)
  • Nylon cord (Walmart)
  • Wind and Waterproof matches (Walmart)
  • Tissue (in a waterproof bag) (Walmart)
  • Roll toilet tissue (also waterproof bag) (Walmart)
  • Can opener (GI type - on my utensil set)
  • Whistle (Wal-Mart)
  • Magnesium fire starter (Walmart & Big 5)
  • Knife (swiss army type - Walmart)
  • Butane lighter (Walmart & Thriftee)
  • FM 21-76 US Army Survival Manual
  • Pocket soap (made it :) )
  • Small stove and fuel (NOT Sterno) (Walmart) ...we have an Emberlit stove ( or Gasone butane stove (Big 5)
  • An off brand diva cup (for a washable option to "Auntie Flow" that uses very little water) (Amazon)
  • Folding scissors (Walmart)
  • Light sticks (Walmart)
  • Roll Duck tape (Walmart)
  • Waste bags (Walmart)
  • Stainless Steel Mess Kit (Big 5)
  • Water Bottle Filter (I have Life straw and Sawyer)
  • A change of clothes (you'll need to change these every once in a while because kids grow and Thanksgiving can mess with our waistlines...)
  • A jump drive with important scanned documents and pictures
I keep gloves and long sleeved shirts for everyone in my family in my car 72 hour kit all the time. They have come in handy more than I realized they might. I also carry 2 gallons all the time in my vehicle. These have also come in handy a great many times (none of which were emergencies, but every day life requires a little water). Because we use these items we find out what works for us and what doesn't. 

You may never meet an emergency...but then again you may need to evacuate at a moments the people in Forestdale AZ. 

And don't forget to pack an extra pair of "funderwear", because if the need arises you're gonna need 'em. Because you have done your homework and planned ahead, there will be less anxiety and fear.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Take a Chilll Pill

Inline image 1

Calgon...take me away...

It might just be me, but it seems to have gotten hotter sooner this year...yeesh!!  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 (which is a stretch...we hardly ever see that kind of temp), 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 :).