Tuesday, August 31, 2010

National Preparedness Month #2

OK, you've had a day to think about what you may need to be prepared for in your part of the world. Now add a few things to that, like protracted illness for you or a loved one, an accident that requires time off from work, or even worse, loss of your livelihood.

Hopefully by now you have some general concept of what you need to have on hand to make it through a few days where you live. So what does it take to start getting organized in your mind to actually be physically prepared?

You can go to websites and look up lists of stuff that people have developed as guides to what you should have on hand in a kit for use in emergencies. FEMA has one or two, other sites do as well. Google something like 'preparedness lists.' You are in the phase of starting to identify your baseline, or the specific point from which you will depart in your preparedness month journey.

Unless you are in Hurricane Earl's path, don't go hog-wild right now. Just start looking around your home to see what you have on hand already. If you have an unused storage container, like a medium-sized sterlite or rubbermaid one, remind yourself where it is and what's in it now. This is the time when you are starting to see where you are and where you need to be, so it requires a bit of thought.

I know you already have a lot on your plate, so for now just think about the 'what-if's' and look around to see what you have that would be useful if 'what-if' happens. Start getting accustomed to the fact that it could happen to you and yours. Remember the old phrase 'it always happens to the other guy'? It is sobering to reflect that to 5 billion people, you ARE the other guy.

National Preparedness Month

Yup, September is it. So why do we have a month set aside to reflect on being prepared, and for what? What does it mean to be prepared? Why all these questions? A whole month?!?! That's a long time, right?

Being prepared is both a state of mind and a level of physical preparation. Let's start with the state of mind and how to get one. Do I know what the potential emergencies are in my part of the world? Can I take care of myself and my family before, during and in the aftermath of the most likely emergencies? Where do I/we go if my home is no longer safe? Those are some of the questions that a prepared household member can answer.

We just observed the fifth anniversary of hurricane Katrina hitting New Orleans. We await Earl's arrival on the east coast of the US. Californians are always moments away from 'the big one," earthquake, of course. Yup, there's stuff to be prepared for, and usually when it's bearing down upon you, it may be a smidge late to begin the thought process in any way that will bring meaningful results.

So this first post is just about getting you to think about what the reasonable and slightly less reasonable potential emergencies are that could affect you and your family based on where you live and work. (Exclude asteroid strikes that cause mass extinction for now.)

That's all. Just think about that question for a day or two. If you are really energized by this exciting post, you can go ahead and think about whether you have a conceptual plan for how you'd deal with 'it,' whatever emergency 'it' is for you, if it happens right...NOW. Just think about it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

New Buttons!!

You may notice the new buttons on my page. I use these websites and thought I'd share them with others. So what are they about? These are websites to help you with your home and family preparedness -- I'm getting the jump on September, which is National Preparedness month.

"Prepared for what?" you may ask. Well, that depends on where you are and what's happening there. It could be for getting through hurricane season, a tornado or other weather-related disaster. For others, it could be that their industry is being hit hard by the recession and they want to be prepared in the event of losing a paycheck or two. For me, it's living in a relatively remote area, and having the potential to lose power at any time for an unknown length of time.

So what is the "Food Storage Analyzer" all about? It's like the old saying "If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there." If you don't know what makes for balanced, healthy food provisions, who knows whether you can stay healthy if you need them! By using the food storage analyzer, even for your regular groceries in your pantry, you can feel confident that what you store will provide a good balanced diet with the essential nutrients, like calcium, vitamins A and C, and iron -- along with a good balance of carbs, fiber, fat and protein.

It is really easy to use, the templates walk you through how many calories each person in your household needs, then to categories of food items. You can select common pantry items or add you own. The calculator provides you with nutritional information AND how long your clan can live on what you have stored. If you register, you can save the info and return to it. I'm very private with my personal information (which you might guess if you read my profile!!), and the registration asks for a bare minimum -- essentially enough to allow you to recover your user ID and password if you forget.

When I first used it, I discovered that I did not have much vitamin A in my pantry, and was very low on fats and oils. I added a couple cans of olive oil and carrots. Now I know that we can count on the basics. If the highway between here and the interstate is closed for weather or emergency I have all we need to get us through.

It is incredibly easy to use, and you can add your own pantry items with the info on the food labels. Give it a try! Get a head start on September!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Being Green

No, this entry is not about any ecological movement or frogs -- well there may be mention of frogs, but only in passing. It is about the beauty and bounty of RAIN. We’ve had a lot of it since the monsoon started last month. So much that we are seeing things I have not seen in years. Plants thought long dead have come back to life – dormant but not dead before. A pomegranate tree I thought was ornamental is bearing fruit. I put up a couple of quarts of black currant preserves from a bush that previously had offered a few shriveled blebs to the birds.

What is even more amazing is that some places that I have never seen green up are verdant. Usually cattle in this part of the world have a hard time scrounging enough to eat. Lately, they are actually so full of sweet green grass that they are lying down to ruminate.

There are puddles! Frogs are calling and tarantulas are out hunting for mates, which means that the ground is soft and moist enough for them to come out of hibernation.

Being in a place where rain is a blessing, not an inconvenience, reminds me that our world is a bucketful of miracles. We're having a miraculous summer!