Are You Covered?

I must admit, a few years ago when I first learned that the Affordable Care Act was to include pre-existing conditions, I thought – this really isn’t insurance.  If it’s not required that one prepare BEFORE the medical need arises, one could wait until there’s a medical problem and then have the government pay for it.  Seems like an upside-down world to me.

It’s kind of like trying to get auto insurance after you’re in an accident or home owners insurance after your home burns to the ground – life just doesn’t work that way.

But then I started thinking about how great this approach would be for food storage.  Since food storage is really nothing more than food insurance – providing coverage in the event food isn’t available at the grocery store – when I need it, is there a plan where the government would just provide it?

I think we all know the answer to that question.  The government will not save us in time of need.  We need to be personally prepared to feed our families and loved ones in the event of a collapse.

I really like the idea of thinking of our food storage as food insurance.  These days, you can buy insurance on pretty much anything, from smartphones to cars to vacations. When you buy insurance, you agree to pay a certain amount of money, whether in the form of a lump sum or as semi-frequent payments, to a company that agrees to give you money should there be damage to whatever you insure.

This is the popular way of ensuring our possessions and even ourselves (think health and life insurance). You hope that you never need to cash in on your insurance, but you’re very happy that you have it when you do.

However, many people don’t realize that there are a number of other ways you can insure yourself and your possessions besides making payments to an insurance company.  What if there was another way to insure yourself that was a bit more proactive?  Well, you’re in luck – there is!  It’s called being a Prepper.

What is a Prepper?

While the pop culture view of Preppers paints a picture of someone who is hiding in a cave paranoid about an impending doomsday event, most Preppers would find this to be highly inaccurate.  Although there are certainly people who are concerned with an apocalyptic disaster, many Preppers are more concerned with being able to deal with day to day issues or larger scale natural disasters, power outages, or the like (common sense stuff to most Preppers).

As was just mentioned, it’s pretty difficult to describe all preppers in a single, concise, definition. However, most preppers are just like you and me, who have seen or heard about disasters, like a house fire or earthquake, and have thus taken steps to be more prepared to deal with such a situation, should it happen again.

We might all have different reasons for being Preppers, but fundamentally, all Preppers want to be prepared for something.  Generally, Preppers make sure they have the tools, supplies, training, and knowledge to deal with a multitude of situations, but the specifics of these things will vary from person to person.

Prepping as a form of insurance

Think about this – when you’re a Prepper, you make sure you have the right tools, supplies, training, and knowledge to deal with a variety of situations.  Instead of giving your money to a company who promises to help you out financially in the aftermath of an emergency or disaster, being a prepper is a more proactive form of insurance. If you buy supplies and tools and invest in your own training and knowledge, you’re setting yourself up to better respond to an emergency that affects you, your family, or your friends.

Sure, this doesn’t necessarily replace the need to financially insure you or your possessions, but it does help you and your family be better prepared to react appropriately to emergency situations. Plus, while traditional insurance is really only helpful after something happens, being a prepper means you can deal with a situation while it’s happening.

How to start prepping

Although prepping is often considered a fringe activity, it’s really just about making sure you can handle many of the emergencies that can come your way.  It’s important for everyone to consider what can happen where they live and how they might best be able to address these situations.  To start prepping, considering the following things:

1)  Your current situation is (i.e. if you have a family, where you live, what your financial life is like, and what possessions you have)

2)  What kinds of emergencies are most likely to affect you, such as a hurricane, snow storm, earthquake, or more

3)  What you would need to do to protect or prepare yourself, your family, and your possessions from these potential emergencies.

Once you understand what your assets are and what potential threats they face, you can start to consider what you might need to do to protect your assets (including family). Every Prepper – and every Prepper’s strategy – is different.  Thus, it’s important to figure out what your unique needs are so you can formulate your own action plan.

Now, you can start to think about your next steps, which are to determine what you need to do to create your own ‘prepper insurance plan’.

Prepper essentials

Becoming a prepper doesn’t have to be difficult. You can make things as simple or complex as you like. But, at the end of the day, most preppers will generally have the following things in some capacity:

    Emergency supplies at home

A solid every day carry kit

A bug out bag

With these three ‘systems’ you can be prepared to deal with minor day-to-day happenings, large-scale disasters, and short-notice evacuations of your home.

The best part about these three prepper essentials? They’re customizable to best meet your needs. Instead of purchasing a premade bug out bag or emergency supply kit, you can make your own so that you have everything you need and nothing that you don’t.

Plus, many of the things that you include in these kits are multi-purpose by design, so you can also use them for fun activities, like hiking or camping.

The Verdict

At the end of the day, being a Prepper is about being prepared.  Whether you’re prepared to deal with minor cuts and scrapes at a soccer game or you’re ready to hunker down at home for four days during a blizzard because you made a great emergency supply store, prepping can be a fantastic form of insurance.

While prepping might not result in a large insurance payout, prepping can give you the peace of mind of knowing that you can reasonably handle what’s thrown your way.  Instead of waiting for a check after a disaster, you can go into any situation prepared with the right kit, knowledge, and skills to stay reasonably safe and happy given the circumstances.

We all have assets that should be protected, and being proactive and prepared is one of the best ways to insure yourself during an emergency!

Spice Up Your Life

I took a call the other day from a gentleman who was concerned about the sodium levels in the entrees of his food storage.  He had heart problems and his doctor had put him on a very restrictive diet that included low amounts of sodium.

He wanted to know if it was possible to order food storage that had little or no sodium added.  The answer was both “yes” and “no”.

Now before I get into the details of my answer, in the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit I’m a salt-aholic and proud of it.  I’m not trying to overcome it and have no desire to be a “recovering” salt-aholic.

My wife is convinced it will be the death of me and at one point in our marriage, in an attempt to appease her; I went off salt for about three months.  I was promised that over time, the natural flavor of food would become more pronounced and I wouldn’t crave salt as I had before.

Guess what – it never happened.  I never got to the point where I didn’t feel the food I ate would have tasted so much better with a little salt.  So I eventually went back to associating with my life-long friend, salt.

It’s interesting to note, the latest medical studies now show that sodium or salt isn’t such a bad thing.  It’s funny how these medical studies seem to constantly change how we think about things like cholesterol, fats, sugar and salt.

Anyway, back to the sodium question.  Let’s address the “no” first.  Every single food storage entrée has sodium added.  Why?  It’s really very simple – salt is a flavor enhancer.  Every food storage company wants their entrees to taste as delicious as possible so sodium, or salt will be added.

There is a delicate balance that most companies try to reach – that of enough salt to enhance the flavor but not so much as to raise the sodium levels to a concerning amount for some.

May I make a side note here?  Far too often, individuals confuse food storage with groceries.  They are not the same.  Food storage is for survival when there are no other options on how to feed your family.  I’m totally on board with individuals who want to purchase groceries that are organic, low fat, low sodium or whatever their dietary choices are.  Everyone should have the freedom under normal circumstances to eat the type of foods they choose.  But when it comes to survival, all of that gets thrown out the window.

There are countless stories and examples of people who due to war or famine, are placed in a survival environment with very little or no food.  When food is finally secured, the last thing on their minds is whether the food is organic or what the sodium levels are.  In fact, salt and fat are craved and desperately needed by the body to survive.

Now this doesn’t mean you have to totally ignore all your current eating preferences.  It does mean, however you may need to be flexible, understanding that your daily routine and environment may be totally different when the time comes you need to rely on your food storage.

So trying to duplicate your day to day eating preferences with your food storage won’t be easy and possibly shouldn’t be your goal.  Not that one shouldn’t try, it’s just going to require a lot more effort and cost than most folks are expecting and in some cases, may not be possible.

Now let’s address the “yes” part of the answer.  If one is very sensitive to sodium, then simply avoid the entrees.  You’ll need to purchase all your food storage al a carte.

If you purchase individual fruits, vegetables, grains and meat, these items will have very little or no sodium added.  Then one can add whatever seasoning they’d like to flavor their food.  Now this begs the question – is flavoring even necessary?  From my perspective – absolutely!

Especially if you have a lot of bulk grains and basic food storage items, if you want to keep the troops happy, you’ll need to be prepared to season your food.

Not having seasonings and spices on hand is one of the most overlooked items in food storage.  Many people build up their food storage and plan on eating a lot of rice, potatoes, and pasta, but they do not think about what they are going to do to make it taste better.  Eating rice is good; eating rice for days on end without seasoning becomes very, very boring and monotonous.

Most food storage plans do not offer additional seasoning packages as the entrees are already seasoned.  Therefore, you should plan on stockpiling as much additional seasoning as you can as it will become extremely important when the time comes to use your food storage.

Here’s a list you may want to consider.  You may keep different things depending on your tastes and cooking preferences.

1)  Salt – Yep, salt.  I don’t believe you can have too much salt.  Salt has an indeterminate shelf life and will help you keep the appropriate sodium levels when you are working hard and sweating more. I keep Kosher salt, sea salt, pickling salt, and table salt on hand.

2)  Black Pepper – Keep coarse ground black pepper on hand as well as peppercorns to grind and for canning.

3)  Chili Powder

4)  Cumin

5)  Onion Powder and Dehydrated Onions

6)  Dried Parsley

7)  Dried Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Bay Leaves, Dill Weed

8)  Garlic Powder and Garlic Salt

9)  Cinnamon

10)  Allspice

11)  Nutmeg

12)  Ground Ginger

13)  Italian Seasoning

14)  Pumpkin Pie Seasoning

15)  Seasoning Salt

16)  Steak Seasoning

17)  Paprika

18)  Ranch Seasoning

And any other seasoning you may currently like and use.  Seasonings take up very little space and typically have a great shelf life so spice up your life and be sure and store plenty of seasonings.

Stranded With No Preps

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina, one of the most devastating category 5 hurricanes in U.S. history hit the coast of Louisiana.  Its 175 mph winds and resulting flooding was the cause of over 1,200 fatalities and created $125 billion in damage.

My son and I had an extraordinary learning experience during Katrina in that we were in the New Orleans area when the hurricane hit.  We had made travel plans several weeks before the hurricane formed and intended on attending a real estate auction while there.

We’ve all heard the expression, “You never know how much someone means until they’re gone”.  There’s also a variation, “You don’t know how much it means to you until it’s taken away”.  A simple example of this is one’s health.  It may be taken for granted until it’s taken away when one is very ill.

My son and I had this type of experience in that we are very well prepared at home but we were more than a thousand miles away from our home and had to deal with Katrina totally without the security of our emergency preps.  Many valuable lessons were learned.  Here is an excerpt from my journal on what we experienced the day Katrina hit:

“Monday morning, August 29th, we woke up early and immediately turned on the TV to get the latest on Katrina. It was really pretty scary. Katrina had developed into a category 5 hurricane and was just beginning to pound New Orleans – right where we had just escaped from just a day and a half earlier.

There was a light rain outside but what really caught our eye was the way the clouds were moving. I have never seen clouds like that before. They were swirling around so fast, twisting sometimes in smaller circles inside of larger ones and coming closer to the ground than I had expected.

We were still determined to take care of business and planned on attending an auction that morning. On our way to the courthouse, we felt impressed to fill our tank – just in case. We still didn’t think we would be affected much by Katrina. We assumed it would die out or go off in another direction.

We hadn’t been at the courthouse more than an hour when they told us to evacuate, that the hurricane was headed right for us. I feel kind of stupid saying this now, but we were really kind of excited. We thought this was going to be just a fun adventure. Having never experienced a hurricane before, we were anxious to see what it would be like. I remember laughing as we ran to our car because it was raining so hard, it seriously felt like buckets of warm water were being poured on us.

We drove back to our hotel and turned on the TV. We were told that an area wide curfew would go into effect at noon. I looked at my watch and realized we had only about 30 minutes before the curfew and we had no food, water or supplies of any kind.

We decided to try and find a place to buy some food and water before it was too late. As soon as we left the hotel, all the power went out in the entire area. All the stores were closed. We could not find a single place to purchase anything.

As we were returning to our hotel, I noticed a gas station with several cars parked out front. It looked like there were people inside the little mini mart and I could see that the door was open. We immediately pulled in and I ran inside to find several people buying up everything they could. They had to have cash since the power was off.

I was immediately struck with the negative, dark side of not being prepared. I wasn’t the least bit concerned about anyone else but me and mine. The thought of sharing with others was the last thing on my mind. It’s terrible to say but I was ready to even get physical if necessary to get what we needed.

They had one of those little food bars with potato logs and fried chicken, etc. I bought everything I could (there wasn’t much left) along with several bottles of water and Gatorade. I luckily had enough cash in my pocket to cover the cost. After I paid for the food we headed back to the hotel and rationed out the food, not knowing how long it would be before we could get more.

After rationing out our food back at the hotel, we were left to sit and wait for the hurricane to hit. Without power, there was little else to do other than read. We sat in a dimly lit room, waiting for Katrina to hit, reading a line or two and then looking out the window, waiting for the unknown.

We couldn’t take it any longer. We wanted to really experience Katrina! So we got in our car and pulled out into an open area of the hotel parking lot and parked right in the middle of it all. We wanted to see what it felt like (crazy, I know). At least in the car we could turn on the radio and hear what was going on.

The winds started really picking up, approaching 100 mph. It was really a rush to feel the car shake and see the trees whipping back and forth. We even took turns jumping out of the car and trying to stand in the storm – it was really wild!

Then things started getting worse. We saw trees uprooted. We saw part of the roof of the hotel next to us blow off. We saw windows shatter. We saw pieces of metal go flying through the air and one of them go right through a parked car. We saw billboards and signs rip apart and fly through the air. Branches from trees and debris were flying everywhere. It got pretty spooky!

The only radio channel we could get was a small local station and they kept fading in and out. One thing I never knew, hurricanes set off multiple small tornadoes as they rip through an area. The radio station kept reporting all these tornadoes being set off all around us.

We were determined to ride it out and stayed in the car for several hours until the main part of the hurricane had passed over us. Our curiosity then got the best of us and we wanted to see the damage that was done around us, so we started driving around. It was really eerie because we were the only people out and about. I guess everyone else was smart and stayed indoors (actually, the curfew was still in effect and I guess we were breaking the law).

The damage was simply unbelievable! Very few buildings or homes were unaffected. Debris was everywhere which made it difficult to move about. We quickly realized it was going to take some time to bring things back to normal. We knew we would be without power for many days. We also knew we didn’t have enough food and water to wait for things to return to normal.

We then made a decision that led us to several miracles. We decided to try and drive to Jackson Mississippi, a town about 60 miles west of Meridian, where we hoped to get some supplies to help us survive. It was about 5:00 PM when we took off, once again, the only ones on the road. When we got on the highway we wished we had a 4X4. There were trees and debris all over the road. This made for a very eventful drive to Jackson.”

So much more happened, including several miracles that made it possible for us to escape the devastation of Katrina.  I’ll share more with you in additional blogs.

Don’t Get Sappy

I have many fond memories of our family cabin high in the Santa Fe National Forest in New Mexico.  It was a fairly rustic cabin with no utilities or water and an outhouse behind the cabin.  We would have to haul water up with us when we stayed there and would use Coleman lanterns for light when it got dark.  My mom would cook on a wood burning stove and we had a Franklin wood burning stove in the main room we would fire up if it got a little chilly.

We had a number of wonderful family traditions associated with the cabin, including one I wasn’t too fond of.  When we’d stay for several days and we needed a bath, we’d use a wash tub and all take turns sharing the same water.  Having eight kids, you can imagine how dirty that water got by the time the last of us got our turn.

I’m sure most of us have special family traditions especially around the holiday season.  It’s pretty common to exchange gifts with neighborhood families around Christmas time.  Usually they’re small, inexpensive gifts, many of which are homemade treats.

Growing up, we had a very special neighbor gift tradition that with today’s prices would be equivalent to about $80 per family.  It involved harvesting Christmas trees up near our cabin and giving as our neighbor gift, Christmas trees to each of our neighbors.

Usually around mid-November, we’d take a truck and trailer up to the cabin with the intent of harvesting around 25 Christmas trees.  We’d stop at the Forest Service station and purchase permits for the trees – they cost us a whopping fifty cents per tree!

Not every tree was meant for our neighbors.  My mom was quite the Christmas fanatic.  She loved all the decorations, music, lights and smells and treats of Christmas and we’d usually end up with a Christmas tree in every room of the house.  Since these were very fresh trees, we never had to water them and they’d look and feel fresh for several months.  No dried up needles falling off these trees.

When we got to the cabin, there was usually six to eight inches of snow on the ground so we’d have to bundle up to keep warm as most of us kids liked to ride in the back of the pickup while we were looking the best trees.  I remember my dad using a keyhole saw to cut down the trees and he would have us boys drag the trees to the truck.

The smell of freshly cut pine trees is such a wonderful smell that to this day, it takes me back to those memorable days of my youth.

My brother and I didn’t have work gloves and when our winter gloves got wet from the snow, we’d usually just take them off as we’d drag the trees to the truck.  It would usually take us four or five hours to find and cut down all the trees we’d purchased permits for and by then, our hands were totally covered with tree sap.

Even though the smell was great, the stickiness of the sap was terrible to deal with.  Sometimes, our fingers would stick together almost like they were super-glued.  And for those of you who have never had the pleasure of having your hands covered in tree sap – it doesn’t wash off!

We would scrub our hands with soup and water to no avail.  That sap was there for the duration.  We discovered the only relief to the stickiness was to rub our hands in the dirt.  Fine, dusty dirt worked the best.  It would stick to the tree sap like talcum powder and we were temporally sticky free.  Problem was, it made our hands look all the worse.

In addition to washing, we literally had to wait for the sap to wear off to finally get rid of the problem.  I was reminded of this when I came across a brief article about the benefits of pine sap.  Knowing how to use tree sap can be a real aid in being prepared.  Here’s some of the article:

THE MANY SURVIVAL USES OF PINE SAP

Have you ever wondered while camping how long you’d survive off of the land with little to no help? What would you eat? What would do you do to stay warm? What would you with an injury? Believe it or not, there are plenty of plants and resources that you can utilize in the wild that’ll help you survive. Today we are going to talk about the many uses of pine sap.

Did you know that the word pine or pinus means resin in Latin?

Pine trees secrete resin in their bark as a defense mechanism to close wounds from insects and other elements that they are faced with. The pine sap provides a protective hard sealant that allows the injury to heal with little interference.

THINK OF PINE SAP AS MOTHER NATURE’S BAND -AID

Because pine sap is a sticky amber glob that hardens, it’ll keep germs out, boost cell immunity and act as an anti-inflammatory on open wounds. Make sure that you properly clean or flush the area before applying pine sap.

COUGH MEDICINE & CHEWING GUM

Since pine sap is a natural antibacterial, it will stop coughing, slowly kill bacterial infections, and improve breathing when sick.

Did you know that physicians in colonial America recommended pine resin mixed with water as a remedy for ulcers, smallpox, and syphilis?

Pine sap is also edible and has been used as “gum” for hundreds of years. The great thing is it’s quick and easy to make. Simply mix pine sap, beeswax, and honey and voila! You now have something to chew on.

PINE SAP FIRE STARTER

Pine trees are one of the best trees to find in the wilderness when it comes to survival. Not only are the dried pine needles great for fires but the pine sap (sometimes known as pine pitch) is flammable and burns very well. Pine sap has been used to make candles, light sticks and just normal fires.

WATERPROOF & PATCH HOLES WITH PINE SAP

Pine sap is naturally water resistant and can be used to repair holes in tents, tarps, boots, canoes and containers. The pine pitch needs to first be heated to a liquid form (not directly over a fire since it is very flammable!) and mixed in with powdered charcoals before applying to the item you’re trying to repair.

Our ancestors have been re-purposing pine trees for thousands of years and we need to share their knowledge with future generations. Whether it be survival, medicinal or for personal uses, we still need to be generous with what we take. First look for pine trees that are damaged or have broken limbs. If there are none, be careful when extracting pine sap.

Sources
https://survivalsherpa.wordpress.com…self-reliance/
https://www.leaf.tv/articles/medical…e-resin-pitch/

Show Me Your Friends and I’ll Show You Your Future

I have a close friend who is about 10 years older than I am.  I’ll use the name Jim to protect his privacy.  Jim has had a struggle most of his married life.  One business failure after another, having to move about every other year as well as dealing with parents and sibling deaths and personal failing health.

Jim has had a very tough life and as a result, he’s struggled with his attitude.  You could always count on Jim to have a bad attitude about something.  Granted, he had plenty going on in his life that would put just about anyone in a bad mood, nevertheless, Jim had developed it into a real art.

Now I’ve always prided myself in being a very positive person.  I laugh a lot and make plenty of jokes and people often ask me wondering how I can always be so happy.  If someone asks me how I’m doing, my response is always “Great!”  I’ve always felt it was a true gift from God that I was blessed with a strong positive attitude.

Whenever I was with Jim, I would make a conscious effort to encourage him to be more positive – primarily through my example rather than preaching to him.  I hoped that if I continued to show Jim how to be positive regardless of any external influences or conditions, his life and attitude would improve.

I believe I made some small measure of progress with Jim but it seemed as if his bad attitude was so deeply seeded that my efforts simply weren’t sufficient to make any meaningful difference.  I believe the primary reason for this was his desire.  I don’t believe Jim really had a desire to change.  He had become comfortable with his poor attitude and simply didn’t have any real motivation to modify it.

As a result, I found myself starting to avoid regular association with Jim.  It was simply wearing me out, constantly trying to help Jim with his attitude.  If someone doesn’t want to change, you’re just wasting your time and energy trying to force them to do so.

I had a discussion about a similar subject with my grandson a couple of weeks ago.  An issue came up regarding a friend of his who had started doing things that had the potential of creating real problems.  This friend was making choices that could lead to decisions that would negatively impact his future and the consequences of his actions could be severe.

The natural tendency, due to their friendship, was to continue hanging out with him and trying to be a good example and positively influence him.  Unfortunately, that is seldom how the scenario plays out.  Once again, it’s all a factor of the desire one has.

Let’s look at a hypothetical example of how such a relationship usually plays out.  Let’s assume there are two individuals, Kelley and Sammy.  They are close friends and have grown up playing and spending a lot of time together.  In Kelley’s teen years, Kelley begins to make decisions that lead down a path of disobedience and experimentation that could have life-long consequences.  Breaking the law becomes an exciting adventure and lying to parents is a regular occurrence.

Sammy sees what is happening and knows Kelley’s decisions will lead to pain and regret so Sammy decides to continue spending time with Kelley in an attempt to sway Kelley back to the right path through Sammy’s good example.  So how does this usually play out?  Does Kelley forsake the bad behavior as a result of Sammy’s good example or does Sammy eventually join  and follow Kelley’s bad example?

The unfortunate facts show that it is far more likely for Sammy to eventually follow Kelley’s bad example than for Kelley to follow Sammy’s good example.  So why is this the case?

First, if Kelley does not have a desire to change, there will be an ongoing and increasing frequency of making bad decisions.  As Kelley and Sammy spend time together, Sammy will be under constant pressure to join Kelley in a variety of bad decisions.  In an attempt to persuade Kelley to make better choices, Sammy will have to constantly battle with Kelley in a friendly way.

Sooner or later, Sammy will begin to tire of the ongoing battles and will often unwittingly begin to give in.  Initially it will be with just small things but over time, accepting and embracing bad behavior will become more comfortable for Sammy until both Kelley and Sammy are making similar bad choices.

So what’s the solution?  A phrase comes to mind, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”  In other words, one must make the conscious decision to choose the type of friends that will inspire, uplift and motivate one to become better.  It’s like learning to be a good tennis player.  If you want to become a better player, you must play those that are better than you.  You will never become a better player by always playing those who are worse than you.

Spending less time with previous good friends is not an easy decision.  I so enjoyed my friendship with Jim but had to make the hard decision to distance myself from the negativism that can poison one’s attitude.

So what does all this have to do with preparedness?  There are many out there who think preppers and crazy fanatics and that it’s a foolish waste of time and money to prepared with food storage and emergency preparedness items.  If you are convinced that being prepared for difficult times ahead is the right thing for you and your family, you will need to distance yourself from the “nay sayers”.

Align yourself with like-minded individuals who will encourage you and support your efforts to become better prepared.  There are far too many negative people in the world and luckily, in most cases we have the freedom to spend time with them or not.  Don’t let the negative ones destroy your positive attitude because you felt an obligation to try and convert them.  They need to come to the decision to prepare on their own.

Meanwhile, continue to be a good example with a positive attitude and those who are ready will be attracted to your light and want to follow your lead.

Is Patience Really a Virtue?

I took my family to the cemetery of July 4th.  Now I know what you’re thinking – this guy has mixed up the holidays confusing Memorial Day with Independence Day.  Well, you’re kind of right.  You see, my father was born on July 4th so we have a tradition to visit his grave site on his birthday.  My dad served in the US Army and fought in Korea.  He always loved a parade, loved patriotic music and would get emotional about our freedoms and the flag.

So we arrived early in the morning and spread out a blanket and told stories about my mom and dad as we played patriotic music and had muffins and juice.  It’s a wonderful tradition and one we look forward to every year.

The cemetery is 170 years old and encompasses 250 acres.  There are over 120,000 persons buried there.  Needless to say, this cemetery is huge and covered with trees with rolling hills.

After our little morningside, we wanted to try and locate some of the gravestones of the early pioneers and church and civic leaders.  Due to the holiday, the sexton’s office was closed where they have a map so we relied on good old Google to find the grave sites.

I was once again amazed on how you can locate and learn just about anything through Google but I was also reminded just how impatient we’ve become in having access to a world full of information.  I became slightly irritated on a couple of occasions when after my “OK Google” command and following question, I did not receive an instantaneous answer.  What an imposition!  I had asked a question and had expected an immediate answer.

We have become so spoiled over the recent years with ever-increasing instant access to anything we want to know, we have lost the attribute of patience.  Remember the saying, “patience is a virtue”?  Most of us today don’t seem to be interested in that virtue.  “I want what I want now!” is more of what we see, hear and feel.

This lack of patience has kind of crept up on most of us.  Bit by bit as technology has improved and our lives in general have been benefited, our personalities have changed into creatures that in many cases need to detox from technology and just slow down and get back to the basics.

I have sensed a lot of stress (and felt some myself) when it comes to preparing and acquiring sufficient food storage for one’s family.  “We’ve got to get it all now before it’s too late”, seems to be the feeling many folks have.  Setting the appropriate pace and taking things in stride will definitely make the preparedness journey far more manageable.

I came across a wonderful article entitled “Feel Disconnected? Try Slowing Down” by Charlotte Larcabal that I want to share with you.  It addresses this issue perfectly.

“I love waiting,” said no one ever. But maybe they should.

If you rank standing in long lines right up there with spiders and snakes on your list of personal nightmares, you’re not alone.

Whether we’re standing in line, sitting in traffic, or watching for the bus, we hate waiting.

Luckily for us, wait times are truly becoming the stuff of nightmares: a dreaded possibility but not a daily reality. We live in the age of zero wait times. Technology is speeding everything up so much that we have shorter attention spans than goldfish (yes, really).  When the need to wait does arise, we try to fill our time—usually by turning to a mobile device.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with technology or efficiency, but a rapid pace and constant distractions might be keeping us from something more important.

More Than a Quippy Scripture

Not long ago, I was feeling spiritually adrift. I couldn’t understand it. I was going to church, rattling off prayers, and glancing at my scriptures. I occasionally felt spiritual promptings, but overall, I felt somewhat disconnected.

As I told Heavenly Father this in an anxious prayer, these words came to mind: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

It was as if the word still was highlighted, underlined, and in bold type.

I may have been doing all the right things, but I was doing them at high speeds and with shallow focus. I had adopted a distracted approach to living the gospel.

No religious practice could bring me deep spiritual connection if my participation was cursory and distracted. It was much more than a quippy scripture. To come to know God and to connect with the divine, permeating knowledge I was craving, I needed to slow down and be still.

Heeding that prompting wasn’t easy. But it made all the difference.

Now, Slow Down There …

The scriptures teach that those who “diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”

Let’s break it down: Learning the mysteries of God requires diligently seeking. It’s a consistent and intentional practice, not a onetime google. Next, the mysteries don’t pop up; they gradually unfold. This process takes time. And that time is critical! The time we take to ponder and seek gives us time to connect to the Spirit, by whose power answers come.

A prophet declared that meditation—“deep, continued reflection on some religious theme”—is “one of the … most sacred doors through which we pass into the presence of the Lord.”  By slowing down, we can open a door to revelation. We can transcend the world’s pervasive ideals and connect with the divine. We need that door. We need to slow down.

It Takes Effort

For me, slowing down meant kneeling and speaking out loud as I prayed. The reverent posture and my own audible words helped me focus better. Slowing down meant studying from physical scriptures and taking physical notes. It takes more effort and time, and that increased effort and time is a good way to “awake and arouse your faculties,” thus allowing the Spirit and the desire for truth to “work in you” and that seed of testimony to “get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit”.

We can find almost any information with a few keystrokes, but spiritual understanding and conversion require time and diligent effort. How you slow down and devote effort to the gospel isn’t important, just that you do! When we are spoon-fed information, we eliminate much of our personal participation in our own learning. We eliminate chances to connect with the Spirit.

We can certainly embrace the technology and advances that make daily tasks easier and enable us to use our time more efficiently. But we can’t afford to adopt the distracted living and shallow thinking that so often come with it. Instead of dreading the need to wait, we can embrace it as an opportunity to slow down, meditate, and deepen our connection with the Spirit.

Source:  https://www.lds.org/ensign/2018/07/young-adults/feel-disconnected-try-slowing-down?lang=eng

Beat the Heat

I came across an article from James Woods of CNN that addressed the issue of summer being hot.  I kept waiting for some real news but nope, the report was simply stating that summer is hot.  I thought, is this some new revelation to these folks at CNN?  If so, I can’t wait for the follow up story in six months stating that winter is cold.

I had to laugh when I saw this Batman cartoon.

I guess this really speaks to the fact that more and more people are losing touch with reality.  Milk comes from the grocery store, not real cows. It’s not possible to communicate with others without the use of an electronic device.  And the weather never really changes cause it’s always comfortable indoors.  News flash – if you go outside once in a while, you’ll notice the weather actually changes.

This is really concerning to me because the world around us is in the process of changing, and not for the better.  It will become more and more important for individuals to learn how to be self-reliant through actually dealing with real-world scenarios.

I know individuals who have no idea how to even check the oil level in their vehicles and others who would starve if they had to bake a loaf of bread.  There are those who throw things away just because they don’t know how to fix them when a simple turn of a screw or a new battery would make the item work like new.  Unfortunately, we’re turning into a pathetic, pampered, totally dependent group of people that will be the first to die when things get tough.

So, how do I really feel – discouraged and sad.  Mostly sad because there will be so much unnecessary suffering.  Not that hard times won’t affect us all, but those who spend just a little more time developing their survival skills rather than numbing their minds with countless hours of social media, computer games and Netflix, will have a much greater chance of not only surviving difficult times, but thriving.

Now back to the CNN article – yes, heat can be a real problem, especially for the elderly and those who have life threatening medical conditions.  Humidity is another potentially dangerous factor that can totally sap your energy and make it almost impossible to function outdoors.

I live in a dry, arid climate where temperatures of 90 or 100 degrees don’t create any real hazards or concerns.  But if one were to add 80% or 90% humidity to those temperatures, being outdoors could be very challenging if not life threatening to those who are especially sensitive.  Take a look at this heat index to see how humidity affects temperature danger levels.

So if the grid goes down, what should we do?  How can we keep the temperatures down in our homes or how can we shield ourselves from the heat if we’re forced to spend most of the day outdoors?

In many states where humidity is high, it usually not only gets hot in the summer but really hot, and humid. Going outside is like entering a sauna. Many who live in these states work outside while others may work in large metal buildings with no air-conditioning.

Nevertheless, it’s surprising how few cases of hyperthermia are treated as a result.  A big reason is they work yearlong in these conditions. The seasons change gradually, and their bodies adapt. Even then, when it gets in the high nineties, their bodies need help. The smart ones have learned the tricks on how to survive the heat.

How You Adapt to the Heat: Sweat, Blood and Oxygen

Our bodies adapt to the heat in several ways:

●   We sweat more. Sweat evaporating from skin is a great cooling mechanism. To survive the heat our bodies double their sweat production and start sweating at a lower temperature.

●   Our sweat starts containing less salt, so there’s less depletion.

●   Our heart becomes more efficient, pumping more blood per beat. That blood circulates from our core to our skin surface for cooling.

●   Our cells use oxygen more efficiently. Our metabolism slows, and so does the heat it produces.

These body adaptations are called heat acclimatization, and it takes a week or two.  So a sudden heat wave can catch our bodies by surprise. Enter the tricks on how to survive.

How to Survive the Heat If You’re Not Adapted

If you work outside:

1)   Drink a couple glasses of water, juice, or sports drinks per hour because dehydration makes hyperthermia worse. Heavy laborers need as much as a quart or two per hour. It doesn’t have to be ice cold. In fact, that can cause stomach spasms. If it’s water only, add a teaspoon of salt to the first couple of quarts per day. Limit your caffeine, sugary drinks, and alcohol, as they actually dehydrate you worse. And caveat: If your doctor has suggested limiting your amount of fluids or salt, get his or her advice on what to do.

2)   Do the heavy work before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.

3)   Take frequent breaks in the shade. Fan a little.

4)   Wear loose, breathable clothes.

5)   If you’re going to be in the sun a lot, don’t forget frequent suntan lotion, and consider a wide-brim hat.

If you’re inside with no air-conditioning:

1)   Open windows and use a fan. Good air ventilation is essential.

2)   But remember, when the heat gets in the high nineties, fans may make you feel more comfortable but cannot cool off your body temperature. Also, a high humidity can make it difficult for the sweat to evaporate. This can be especially dangerous for people whose bodies don’t adapt as well anyway, like elderly people, kids younger than four, and people with a chronic illness or who are being physically active.

3)   What does work is a cool midday shower, bath, or sponging.

4)   It’d be great if you could visit an air-conditioned facility (mall, senior center, adult day-care) during the hottest part of the day.

5)   Check on your at-risk family, friends, neighbors twice a day. Make sure they’re drinking fluids and look okay.

Know the warning signs

Heat stroke victims usually don’t recognize their own symptoms. Their survival therefore depends on their co-workers, family or friend’s abilities to detect symptoms and seek first aid and medical help immediately. While the symptoms vary from person to person, they include dry, hot skin (due to failure to sweat) or profuse sweating, a very high body temperature (often exceeding 105 F), hallucinations, confusion, seizures and complete or partial loss of consciousness.

Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, thirst, nausea, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, and elevated body temperature. Heat exhaustion can quickly progress to heat stroke.

How to Deal with a Mice Infestation

Walt Disney chose a mouse to be the quintessential icon of his empire.  This mouse has become the most recognized and beloved vermin in the history of the world – yes, Mickey Mouse.  Why did he choose a mouse?  I guess when it comes right down to it, a mouse is actually a fairly cute, none-threatening creature.  If fact, many have made pets of them.

In fact, a member of the mouse family – the pack rat, looks more like Mickey Mouse that a regular mouse.  The pack rat is a little larger than a mouse and has big round ears just like Mickey.  Unfortunately, I’ve had far too much experience with both mice and pack rats.

Our rustic cabin in the mountains has been the home of countless numbers of mice and pack rats over the years.  In spite of every attempt we’ve made to put out poison and plug the holes to make the cabin as mice free as possible, those little buggers are able to find their way in.

I must admit, there were times these little critters provided some entertainment in the form of sheer terror for the females in our family.  This usually happened in the middle of the night when you could feel the mice running over your sleeping bag or hear them climbing the walls and scampering across the floor.

I’ve been wakened in the night to the sounds of wrenches, toys and baby bottles being dragged across the floor by pack rats as they tried desperately to stow away their new found treasures.  They loved to collect all kinds of items for their nests.  I guess these critters felt that the cabin was really their domain and we were just occasional visitors.  They may have been trying to let us know the cabin was their turf and we should hit the road.

We had one very disturbing experience with the mice at our cabin.  Our water system was fed from a mountain spring through 2” black PVC flex tubing that supplied a total of nine cabins.  Our cabin is at the end of the road and is the last one connected to the water.

The owners of the cabin just up the road from us decided to try and make a parking space for their vehicles close to the road.  In the process, the tractor they were using tore up and severed the water line leading to our cabin.  When we arrived that weekend, needless to say, we were just a little upset as we had no water.

After a fair amount of time trying to do a quick and dirty repair job so we’d have water, I opened the valve pressurizing the plumbing in our cabin.  As we’ve all experienced when we turn on a faucet after the water has been turned off at our homes, it sputters and coughs blowing air with short blasts of water before the line is completely filled with pressurized water.

As I opened the cabin’s kitchen faucet, it sputtered and coughed followed by a blast of blood, guts and mouse fur!  Yes, a mouse!  Apparently, a few mice had decided it would be a fun adventure to climb inside the severed water line.  When I reattached and pressurized the line, they were in for the ride of their lives – literally!

Well, you can imagine how my wife felt about using any water from the cabin ever again and it took quite a bit of effort to clean out all the faucets in the kitchen and bathroom and then sanitize the line.  Bottom line – regardless of how cute Mickey may be, his family can destroy our food storage and create havoc in our lives.

I thought it might be helpful to discuss the issue of mice infestation and how to naturally get rid of these critters.  Here is an article that addresses this issue fairly well:

How To Get Rid Of Mice Infestation Naturally

On the homestead, you will often have chickens, food storage, or a garden. That’s what most of us do, anyway, right? It makes the homestead, “The Homestead”. Unfortunately, chicken feed laying around, compost bins with leftover chicken scraps, garden produce growing, and food storage containers can also attract another common aspect on the homestead.

Mice. A mice infestation is not the definition of fun. Truly. Having just 2 mice can mean many more in just a short time. Chemical baits are not always the best option, as they may poison the owls that would eat the mice.

Some signs of mice infestation:

●  Cereal boxes or bread bags chewed through
●  Kitchen towels are shredded (pulling threads to build a nest)
●  Mouse droppings on the floor, in drawers, or near food storage
●  Hearing scurrying in the walls

How many mice are considered an infestation? For most of us, it only takes ONE to become an infestation. Fortunately, there ARE natural ways to get rid of mice. Unfortunately, having cats isn’t always the answer. My cats like to bring LIVE mice into the house and release them. This must provide entertainment for them, watching them scurry as I scream, but I digress. So, I went to my readers and asked for their help. Here are the best ideas for getting rid of a mice infestation.

First and foremost, what you need to do when you discover you have a mice infestation:

●  Keep all food covered and stored in hard plastic containers. They can easily chew through bread bags, ziploc bags, and cereal boxes. Remove these items to hard storage containers, or store in the refrigerator.
●  Keep dishes and food crumbs cleaned up. Mice can be attracted to even small bits of leftovers.
●  Remove inside pet food dishes at night, and store that food in a hard plastic container. Nothing says “free buffet” like a dog or cat dish full of food.
●  Be sure to keep outside animals’ feed cleaned up and stored in plastic containers. We use 55 gallon sized garbage pails with tight fitting lids for this.
●  Close up any holes you can see under sinks or in walls if you can. Add some steel wool pads to the hole if possible, since they are unable to chew through that to get back in your house from that space. This is especially important if you don’t have a finished basement or a slab foundation. Any hole you can fit your thumb into is big enough for a mouse to climb through.

How To Get Rid Of Mice Infestation

Method #1 Use snap traps with peanut butter or cheese loaded in there. Snap traps are the kind you “set” and are spring loaded. The mouse climbs onto the trap, pulls at the food, and the spring goes off, snapping a metal bar across their neck or body. The mouse is usually killed instantly by this. The trick to this is to have the food near the spring so the mouse can’t get the food out and still escape. (yes, they have done that) Traps also need to be placed in direct line of where the mice scurry across the floor. Place them along the wall, since they do not usually deviate from their path.

Method #2 Use a 5 gallon bucket. Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of water. Take a paper sack and cut the top a little (inch or two) larger than the top. Lay it over the top opening, fold excess over the edge and tape it down. Making sure it’s pulled tight. Then take an Razer knife and put a cross or x in the paper. Spread a little bit of peanut butter on the center. When they walk to the center to get the peanut butter they fall into the bucket and drown.

Method #3 Peppermint leaves, or peppermint essential oil. Mice are repelled by the scent of peppermint, so laying some peppermint leaves on their path, or soaking a couple cotton balls in peppermint essential oil and laying those on the path will help keep them at bay. Of course, they may also encourage the mice to gain another path, so make sure you cover up their entry holes before you try this.

Method #4 Use Moth balls around the house. Fill the holes mice would climb in with moth balls to help repel them. Laying some around the outside doors may help as well.

Method #5 Chickens are excellent mousers. Chickens can sometimes be better mousers than cats are. If possible, let your chickens free range where you see mice outside and they will often catch them.

Remember, have mice loose in your preps can destroy hundreds if not thousands of dollars of food storage.  Mickey really doesn’t care if your preps are ruined so get aggressive and let him know who’s boss.

Source:  http://thehomesteadinghippy.com/how-to-get-rid-of-mice-infestation-naturally/

“The World Owes Us a Living”

I remember as a young boy waking up early on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons on TV.  It was a magical time for kids of my age where we could be swept away into an exciting and entertaining world of animation while our parents enjoyed a relaxed morning knowing the kids would be glued to the TV for a couple of hours.

The type of cartoons we watched were certainly different that what’s available 24/7 today on cable TV.  I’m honestly quite appalled at what is being fed to our kids today by way of so-called cartoons.  Sure, many of the cartoons of our day had a significant amount of violence (I still love to watch Wiley Coyote and the Roadrunner although I always wondered why Wiley had the money to purchase everything imaginable from the ACME company in an effort to catch the roadrunner but yet never spent any of his money on food), but the cartoons of today are often devoid of moral principles, the law of the harvest and consequences of our choices.

I happened to come across a couple of classic cartoons from yester-year that had such great messages, I thought I’d share them with you.  The first one is titled “The Wise Little Hen”.  The lesson of the law of the harvest is taught quite clearly here.  What you sow, so shall you reap.  The government isn’t going to step in and give you what you haven’t earned.  Boy, things have really changed!

The next cartoon deals with a similar situation in “The Grasshopper and the Ants”.  The grasshopper doesn’t feel a need to prepare for the winter when food will be scarce and just dances around playing his violin singing “the world owes us a living”.  Meanwhile, the ants are hard at work preparing for difficult times ahead.

The Bible tells us that there are times when those who have chosen not to repent or prepare are left to suffer the consequences rather than be saved as the grasshopper was.  The story of Noah and his ark is one such instance.  Those who listened to the counsel of the prophet, which had been given for several hundred years, to prepare by boarding the ark were saved. Those who didn’t listen to the counsel of the living prophet and didn’t board the ark died. The lesson is very brutal and hard. There are, however a few interesting points to be presented.

Noah was a just and and obedient man in his generation and he, along with his three sons, walked with God. Noah’s daughters, who had married wicked husbands, did not heed their father’s counsel and died along with the other wicked. How hard it must have been for Noah and his wife and sons to not extend mercy to their family members, especially when it started to rain. The question might be asked, “why didn’t they open the doors of the ark and let them in, or perhaps others in”? The answer is because the Lord wouldn’t let them.

The Lord had foreseen the problem and had taken care of it by taking it out of the hands of Noah. We read that the Lord shut the door or shut Noah and his family into the ark. “And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.” Genesis 7:16

I am sure that when the rain started and the floods started coming up that there were a lot of people who were suddenly very repentant and asked to be let into the ark. Could you imagine what it sounded like for those inside the ark to hear the screams, pleas and pounding of those, including children, outside of the ark? And yet the Lord in his wisdom did not give Noah the difficult choice of whether to show mercy and open the door and save them also or not. The Lord took Noah out of the decision making process on the issue. Instead we find that the Lord suffered them to receive the just consequences (death by drowning) of their non-action to heed the counsel of preparedness.

Of course the important lesson of Noah’s Ark is applied to us specifically by a prophet of God concerning following the prophets counsel regarding food storage. “The Revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah.”

So the decision is ours.  The Lord will not force us to be obedient and follow the council to provide for our families both today and in future times of need.  We can choose to be like the grasshopper, thinking the Lord will provide without our needing to do anything on our part.  Or we can be like the ants that know and understand through common sense that throughout history, there have been times of war, famine, drought or economic collapse and these possibilities will continue to try the wisdom and obedience of us all.

Oil and Fats – More Valuable than Gold

On March 4, 2018, I posted a blog about a boy growing up in war-torn Germany, how he survived and what he learned.  Here is a quote from that blog:

“Hans made an interesting observation at the end of his story.  He related how there were a number of industrious individuals who were somehow able to establish access to certain food items that were made available to survivors for a price.  Paper money had no value and was not used but precious metals including jewelry, wedding rings or any form of gold or silver was used to purchase these food items.  The most valuable commodity of all was food itself and the most valuable food item was “fat” as Hans put it.  In other words, the richest individuals during that time where those who had some supply of oil, lard or some type of fat.  This was highly sought after for the energy, calories and flavor it added to the limited supply of bread or basic grains that could found.”

War-Torn Germany – How Did This Boy Survive?

If we choose to learn from the experiences of others, it would make sense to do the research and make the investment of acquiring additional oils and fats for our food storage.  This can be a tricky business since many oils have a relatively short shelf life.  I must admit, over the years I’ve thrown away over 40 gallons of oil because I didn’t rotate it or store it properly.  I’m hoping with the information in this blog I can help you better prepare through not only storing extra oil and fats in your food storage plan but preserving it for a longer shelf-life.

Oils and fats have different shelf-lives depending on the type of oil and storage conditions. Under normal storage conditions, your oil will last from a few months to three years or more. Sealed, canned shortening powder will last three to five years but does not perform the same as regular oils. You can extend these storage times with a few tricks outlined below.

What Causes Spoilage?

Oils and fats are vulnerable to the usual causes of food spoilage: microorganisms, oxidation, heat, light, pests, and time. For properly stored oils and fats, oxidation is the most common cause of rancidity, aided by time, temperature, humidity and light. How to assist in protecting your oils and fats from all of these causes will be discussed in this article.

How Long Does Oil Keep?

Unopened oils keep longer in the refrigerator or freezer.  Once opened, moisture can become a factor so keep oils and fats in the pantry after opening.  Moisture in the oil can shorten its shelf life as much or even more than the cooler temperature preserves it.  If a cool, dry place is available, such as a basement or cellar, that would be a preferred location for storing opened oils.

Shelf Life of Common Oils and Fats

Flavored oils, such as chili oil, truffle oil, and garlic oil, spoil faster than pure oils, so it is best to store oils in their natural state and flavor them as needed or store only enough flavored oil for short-term use.

Extending Shelf Life – Protecting Oils and Fats from Microorganisms and Pests

Exposure to microorganisms and pests will spoil your fats quickly, so care should be taken to protect oils from these problems. Microorganisms are not usually a problem if you store the oils in a clean environment, properly sealed or covered. Microorganism growth is faster in a warm environment and slowed or stopped by cold temperatures. If you do suspect contamination for any reason, throw it out. Oils spoiled by microorganisms may not exhibit any signs of spoilage but can cause illness.

Pests are more of a problem with oils and fats. If you see any signs of rodents, such as signs of chewing or infiltration, consider the oil or fat spoiled and use it for non-food purposes such as making candles.

To prevent problems with microorganisms and pests, store your oil in clean, dry, thick plastic buckets or metal cans. Metal is best for preventing rodents.

Protecting Oil and Fats from Oxidation, Humidity, Heat, and Light

Oxidation is caused by exposure to air and is accelerated by heat and light. Storing your oils and fats properly slows oxidation.

Preventing Oxidation:

Store oils and fats sealed, vacuum packed, or flooded with nitrogen to exclude air
Keep them in a dry, dark location
Refrigerate or freeze them unopened
Add an antioxidant when appropriate
Date and rotate your supplies

If you cannot vacuum pack your oil or flood it with nitrogen, another way to exclude air is to completely fill the bottle before sealing it. Choose a glass bottle or jar and fill it to the rim. Clean the rim and seal the jar. Check your fill by turning the bottle upside down to observe the size of the air bubble. Ideally, you want no air, but a tiny bubble may be the best you can get, depending on the bottle. Adding an antioxidant before sealing gives you additional protection.

Using an Antioxidant

Antioxidants will prolong the life of your oils by blocking the free radicals that cause oxidation. They won’t prevent oxidation completely, but they will slow it down considerably. One option is adding rosemary essential oil to your oils after opening. Other antioxidant oils include oil of oregano, sage oil, and Vitamin E.

To reduce oxidation, you only need a small amount of antioxidant oil, between .05 to 1 percent. Approximately 3 drops to 2 teaspoons of antioxidant oil per quart of oil. The larger amount is ideal and offers the best protection, but it also adds flavor to the oil. Adding 3 drops or more of rosemary oil per quart gives you a reasonable amount of antioxidant protection without noticeably affecting the flavor.

You may want to consider using antioxidant oils when transferring oils into smaller containers to increase the shelf life of the opened oil.

How to Tell if Oil is Rancid or Spoiled

Oils and fats are usually labeled with a “Best Used By” date rather than an expiration date. Stored under normal pantry conditions, your oil should last beyond this date. However, by following these recommendations, you should be able to extend this storage time considerably.

As oil ages, it changes in color, clarity, and texture. These are the beginning signs of spoilage, but the oil may still be usable. When the oil is rancid, you will notice an unpleasant taste and smell. At this point, consider it spoiled. It won’t make you sick, but it does lose its healthy properties and may become unhealthy over time. It doesn’t taste good either, so you are better off not using it. It might still be useful for purposes other than cooking or eating.

How to Store Fats to Extend the Shelf Life

The best way to store fats and oils is in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. For normal storage, this means in a pantry, away from the stove or other heat sources. You can increase your storage time considerably by storing oil and fats in the refrigerator or freezer if you have the room. They will probably become cloudy and solidify, but this is normal and not a sign of spoilage. Remove them to room temperature for an hour or more before use, and they will return to their liquid state.

Storing large Quantities of Oils and Fats

To get the best prices on oils and fats, purchase them in large containers. However, when you are ready to use them, consider transferring amounts to small containers since the oil spoils faster once opened. Always rotate your oils and fats to keep from wasting your investment. Plan on re-packing the oil or fat immediately after opening.  Pack the oil or lard tightly into a canning jar and cover it with a warm, dry lid. Then I vacuum seal it to remove the air. Before vacuum sealing, you can also add an antioxidant oil as listed above to prolong the shelf-life.

There is no question adding extra oil to your food storage will require more vigilance in your rotation plans but as time has proven, it will be more than worth it when the times comes you are forced to reply on your food storage.