solar cooking & energy


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By Kellene Bishop

Hey Folks. Several months ago I was waiting for a solar oven business to finally post it’s site. They didn’t. Why? Because they were bought out by another company–Five Star Preparedness. So when I found that out, I made friends with Five Star. (It wasn’t really hard because they use the same executive virtual office that we do. Hee hee) Anyway, their site is not yet live, BUT…I wanted to let you know that they ARE able to take solar oven orders now. All you have to do is call them at 801-734-9596. They only offer two solar ovens, but they are the only two that I recommend. And the best part is, that they are offering a KILLER price on these. After they shared the price with me I thought, “Hmmm…that’s pretty much in line.” But then they shared with me that EACH solar oven purchase includes two 3-qt enamel pans, thermometer, and a WAPI–oh, and the prices included shipping. In that case, I have to say that they are the best priced that I’ve seen. In fact when I went to the manufacturers sites, they didn’t even offer them for these prices.

five-star-preparedness-global-sun-ovenI’ll give you the run down on the ovens for your education. The heartiest one is the Global Sun Oven. It’s got a 15 year guarantee and is intended to be used everyday for 15 years. (You’re not likely to use it that much. So that should tell you about it’s ruggedness.) It weighs 21 pounds, but it has a “suitcase” handle on it and is easily portable. It gets up to 450 degrees and you can double stack pans in it. It also has a leveler in it, so that regardless of you having to tilt its base in the winter time, your food stays level.  I have personally done a 17 pound turkey in mine (about a pound shy of what they claim you can do in them…but I couldn’t find a bigger bird.) Anyway, the limited time offer price through Five Star Preparedness is $255. That includes shipping, thermometer, two 3-qt. dark enamel pans, a water pasteurization indicator, and the reflector, of course.

Photo c/o Solar Cooker

Photo c/o Solar Cooker

The other oven is the SOS Solar Oven (also known as the Sport). This one weighs only 10 pounds. It’s intended for regular use for 5 years. It has a wider surface than the Global, but it’s not as deep. I like mine for that reason, but it’s not as rugged as the other. The limited time offer price through Five Star Preparedness is $175. That also includes shipping, a recipe book, thermometer, WAPI, and two 3-qt. enamel pans.

I’ll provide you guys with a link when they give me one. But in the meantime, you guys can at least get yours for a killer price. By the way, I tried to get a discount for Prep Pro folks, but they claim (reasonably enough) that every day, every item is priced rock bottom so that they can get as many of these into people’s homes as possible. Makes sense to me.  Let me know how you guys like them. I LOVE mine. (And am even thinking about getting another Global in the event I have to cook for a small army of folks in a disaster.)

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

I'm a Daring Cook!

I'm a Daring Cook!

My confession is not that I’m a good cook. The confession is that I’m a bit daring in my cooking, in that I’m not afraid to try new things and new recipes. I can usually read through a recipe and determine whether or not it will be good, and even what to add or subtract from it prior to making it. In the past I’ve even ventured to cook things on the fly, even when it was for a large gathering. I started this somewhat dangerous habit on the menu of a girlfriend’s wedding reception over 12 years ago. I still remember how amazingly well the Swiss cheese fondue turned out by my combining a few recipes. All was well. The food was great. I felt I could trust my culinary instincts and I’ve done so ever since. Until yesterday…

This is where the confession comes in. Yesterday I taught a solar oven cooking class for a kitchen store. To be honest, I was kind of bored with the same old recipes I’d been using. I had recently received a new cookbook in the mail from Amazon that was supposed to be specifically for solar oven cooking. It was the only book I saw on Amazon dedicated specifically to solar oven cooking recipes. I saw a couple things they did a bit differently than I would, but I figured that the recipes were safe. To my horror, I was soooo wrong. And what’s worse is that I used these sweet ladies in the class as guinea pigs! The bread I made was tender, thanks to the solar oven, but just downright uneventful, and perhaps even painful to eat as a result. The enchilada recipe could not have been more bland. While I usually play my group recipes down on the less-spicy side of things in order to not offend a sensitive palate, I have to say that the taste of this recipe was just plain torture. Boy howdy, was I embarrassed!

solar-powered-ovenI decided that I didn’t like getting my butt kicked by some amateurish cook/author. So, considering I have another solar oven class to teach tonight, I decided to try the recipes again, this time letting my instincts kick in and make them worthy of the Preparedness Pro name. I’m happy to say that I managed to do that today. In light of the fact that some of you are taking the Preparedness Pro food challenge this month and some are also taking the Solar Oven Challenge of cooking for 2 days in their solar oven alone, I decided to share my redeemed recipes with you. Not only do I hope you enjoy them, but at least this time I can be assured that you won’t hate them. 🙂 Enjoy! Oh, and for those of you who attended the class yesterday, I’m SO sorry that the food was less than stellar. If you come tonight at Macey’s in Orem, at 7 p.m., I’m sure I’ll make it up to you. 🙂

Our Ms. Divine Chicken Enchilada Recipe - photo c/o Preparedness Pro

Our Ms. Divine Chicken Enchilada Recipe - photo c/o Preparedness Pro

Divine Ms. Chicken Casserole

2 T. butter

¼ C. white flour

1 ½ C. chicken broth

½ C. plain yogurt

1 (3 oz.) block of cream cheese, cut into about 5 pieces

1 t. of cumin

1 t. black pepper

½ t. garlic powder

1 C. of green enchilada sauce

1 small can of diced green chilies—heat of chilies is dependent on your taste buds

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1 inch strips

3 C. of cooked and shredded chicken

1 small can of sliced olives

1 ½ C. of grated Monterey Jack cheese

2 scallions, thinly sliced, greens only

Slices of fresh avocado for garnish

Melt the butter on the stove over medium heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly until bubbly. Add the broth and increase heat to high. Add the cream cheese, cumin, pepper, yogurt. Stir with a whisk until hot, but not boiling. Add the enchilada sauce and green chilies, continuing to whisk.

Cover the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan or small round Graniteware pan with about a third of the sauce. Sprinkle half of the tortilla strips over the sauce, then layer with the chicken, olives, and all but ½ C of the cheese. Then add another third of the sauce. Top with the remaining tortilla strips, sauce, and then cheese.

Cover with the pan lid or a dark, moist towel and bake at about 300 to 350 F degrees for 1 to 2 hours in the solar oven, until the cheese has melted. Serve with sprinkled scallions and sliced avocado. Yum! Yields 6 servings.

Easy Onion Dill Cheese Bread - photo c/o Preparedness Pro

Easy Onion Dill Cheese Bread - photo c/o Preparedness Pro

Easy Onion Dill Cheese Bread

1 large onion, finely diced

3 C. Bisquick

1 egg

1 ¼ C. buttermilk

1 T. dried dill

2 C. shredded cheddar cheese

Scant dash of salt

In a large bowl, beat the egg and buttermilk until well blended. Stir in the baking mix and mix until completely moistened. Stir in the dill, onions, and 2/3  of the cheese.

Lightly oil a dark 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Cover and cook in the solar oven (about 300 degrees) about 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

(Note: This is a dense bread, not light and fluffy. It also makes for great muffins. Just cook a little bit less time.)

Chocolate Chocolate Molten Chocolate Cake

Since we have previously published the delectable Chocolate Chocolate Molten Chocolate Cake, click here for the recipe!

Chocolate Chocolate Molten Chocolate Cake - photo c/o Preparedness Pro

Chocolate Chocolate Molten Chocolate Cake - photo c/o Preparedness Pro

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

Tap Water photo c/o scienceblogs.com

Tap Water photo c/o scienceblogs.com

Water Storage Myth: Treat your water and then store it.
Water Storage Fact: Actually, if you use regular tap water, it’s already treated. There’s no need to add any additional chemicals to it when it’s just going to be sitting in a container. If your water needs treatment, do so at the point of using it, not prior to storing it.

Water Storage Myth: Don’t store your water barrels on cement.
Water Storage Fact: Actually, there’s always a missing component to this myth. The key is not to store your water barrels on HEATED cement, and even that’s questionable advice. To store your water in your basement on the cement floor is just fine. There’s no need to make your barrels less stable by putting them on 2 x 4s. Cement only leaches chemicals when it gets hot. If you’re going to store your water in your garage, where the sun heats up the connecting driveway cement, then yes, I’d consider raising your barrels up on floor boards or such.

Water Storage Myth: Stored water tastes bad.
Water Storage Fact: Stored water is merely lacking oxygen. You can get it back to tasting great simply by pouring it back and forth a couple of times between a couple of pitchers, or glasses. This will infuse oxygen back into your water. 

Photo c/o flickr.com

Photo c/o flickr.com

Water Storage Myth: I’ve got a pool out back for our water storage, so I don’t need to store any otherwise.
Water Storage Fact: One who has this opinion is taking a big risk, one which I would not venture to take. It’s presuming that no animal waste, nuclear waste, or other biological poisoning will enter the pool water. Also, if there is a water shortage in your area, and your big pool is out there for all of the desperate folks to see, you’re simply begging for some dangerous self-defense scenarios. You might as well leave your car doors unlocked with your wallet on the front seat. In the event of a real emergency, I would ALWAYS recommend that families store water as well as presuming that their pool water supply will be available, thus preventing it from outdoor contaminates and ensuring that you have water to survive in the event of all possible scenarios.

Water Storage Myth: I have iodine tablets and I know where the river is.
Water Storage Fact: You and everybody else. Just how long do you think that river supply is going to be available to you and your family? How useful will that river supply be to you in the event of a flood? Iodine tables don’t do too well with cleaning out home and body parts. How much vital physical energy will it take you to fetch enough water for you and your family to survive long term? People who have this attitude sure are taking a huge gamble. Remember that conserving your own physical energy should be your first priority in an emergency. So purposefully putting yourself in a situation in which you need to work hard for water is short-sighted. Also, you’re assuming that your iodine tablets will take care of whatever is in the outdoor water, regardless of what it’s been exposed to. (See previous myth/fact example) If you have water stored in quality containers in your home, you can save your physical energy for other more important tasks, and you will ensure that your water supply is protected and is YOURS. Not only that, but chemical treatment of water is not the safest.  Heating your water, such as boiling it, is by far the safest method of treating your water.

You’re also assuming that you won’t be quarantined and that the streets will be safe to travel.

Photo c/o alwaysupward.com

Photo c/o alwaysupward.com

Water Storage Myth: Boil your water for 10 minutes in order for it to be safe.
Water Storage Fact: Actually, you do not need to boil your water. Boiling the water is actually a waste of precious fuel. Water boils at 212 degrees. However, getting your water to a heat of 160 degrees for 30 minutes will kill all pathogens, and 185 degrees at for only 3 minutes. This is true even at a high altitude. (Note that my preferred way of heating water is in a solar oven. No fuel waste!)

Water Storage Myth: You only need 2 weeks worth of water for your family.
Water Storage Fact: Two weeks is only enough to get you from one point to another. Long-term survival will require a year’s supply of water. The magnitude of a disaster which would create a long-term water shortage, would also require 3.5 years of repairs in order for you to have the kind of water access you are accustomed to now. So really, a one year supply of water is still a minimalistic “get-us-through-until-we-can-find-a-good-well-or-other-water-supply” kind of storage. And besides, if you’re not storing a year’s supply of water, no one else is. So now let’s compound your problem exponentially in your community and discover just how fast the “native get restless.”

Water Storage Myth: I don’t need to drink a gallon of water a day!
Water Storage Fact: The recommend amount of one gallon per person, per day is not just for drinking. It’s for bathing, (as hygiene is critical), sanitation (you gotta manually flush your stuff in an emergency, folks), medical (some instances require more drinking water than others), cooking, and cleaning. Next time you think one gallon of water a day sounds like a lot, measure how much water you put in the pot when you boil water, wash your dishes, or wash your clothes. It’s a LOT more than you think!

Also, your kidneys process the equivalent of 400-500 gallons of water per DAY! If you don’t feed your body new water, then the old water ends up looking like nasty oil in a car that hasn’t been changed in 10,000 miles. When times are tough, you don’t want to try and use that kidney of yours as a commercial slime filter, do you?

Water Storage Myth: Food is more important than water.
Water Storage Fact: Nope. You can go several days without food. You cannot live without water for longer than ONE day without seriously beginning to tax your body. It only goes downhill from there. Without water, your muscles lose their elasticity, your organs shut down, and your senses are dulled. None of these are situations you want to occur during an emergency.

Water Storage Myth: I don’t need water. I’ve got a year’s supply of Gatorade.
Water Storage Fact: Liquid intake is not the same as water intake. The moment you add ANYTHING to your water, your body no longer takes it in as water. It has to process it, filter it, and THEN use what water is left in the liquid before it benefits from it. If your body has to work hard to process the liquids it takes in, it’s using more vital energy. In a perfect world, your water drink for refreshment would consist of distilled water, as that’s what you body can use the most readily.

Don't Store Water in Milk Jugs! photo c/o chartertn.net

Don't Store Water in Milk Jugs! photo c/o chartertn.net

Water Storage Myth: I’ve got 2-liter bottles, old milk jugs, and juice bottles full of water. I’m set.
Water Storage Fact: Ok. This is better than nothing. But if it’s water than you intend on saving your life, I would definitely consider more sturdy and durable containers. In my opinion, even the water that is sold in the stores is insufficiently packaged for long-term storage in most cases. The plastic is too vulnerable for rugged use and access. I also don’t advise storing drinking water in used containers. And whatever you do, stop storing water in the old milk jugs. Those are the WORST in terms of chemical leaking and plastic breakdown.

Water Storage Myth: I’ve got ten 55 gallon drums full of water. I’m set.
Water Storage Fact: It’s great that you’ve got that much water. However, consider also having some water that’s more portable as well. It will make your life physically easier in surviving a long-term emergency situation. And by all means, make sure you’ve got the hardware necessary to get your water out of those big drums such as a hand pump, wrench, etc.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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Today I happened upon an individual who, as of July 1, has commited to cook with her solar oven each sunny day for an entire year.  The Solar Oven Chef, as she calls herself, posts images of meals she’s prepared each day in her solar oven.  She has prepared everything from ribs to bread to pizza and meatloaf — excellent variety!  By the end of the Solar Oven Chef’s one year experiment, preparing meals in her solar oven will be second nature. 

solar-oven-chef-cakesolar-oven-chef-pizzasolar-oven-roasted-chicken-vegetables

As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, cooking with a solar oven is a great way to prepare meals, not only in an emergency, but everyday — particularly during the summer when the kitchen is hot enough to begin with. 

solar-powered-ovenIf you follow Preparedness Pro regularly, you know I’m all about using what you store for an emergency in order to be familiar with how to use your supplies and so your family is accustomed to it.  If you intend to use a solar oven in an emergency, I’d recommend learning to prepare meals in one.  Do you have a solar oven?  Have you used it yet?  Are you familiar with adjusting your favorite recipes’ cook times in a solar oven? 

We have recently begun issuing challenges to our readers.  Here is the solar oven challenge.  Would you be willing to prepare your meals in a solar oven for two days?  You could even try the solar oven challenge this weekend.  This is an excellent exercise to practice how you may prepare your meals in an emergency and be better prepared when the time inevitably comes. 

Are you willing to step up to the plate and take the solar oven challenge? 

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

Candlelight

Candlelight

In the event of a long-term power outage, the obvious inconveniences will unfold such as a lack of heat or air-conditioning, television, microwave, and video games.  However, many folks dangerously underestimate their need for appropriate lighting.  You may be unaware that insufficient lighting will not only be incredibly inconvenient, but dangerous on so many levels and can also quickly lead to depression.  Indeed, the lighting that surrounds you directly affects your mood.  And believe me, while candlelight is great for a brief romantic evening, you’ll soon tire and even be annoyed by it in a long-term emergency situation.

If you’re going to spend the money on lighting preparations, be sure you take the time to test it…long term, in the dark, not just turning it on in the store and feeling like it’s sufficient.  Many folks have “candles stored by the dozens” without ever testing the lighting they have on hand to ensure it’s suitable.  As I always say, never have equipment on hand that you haven’t used and become familiar with.  Let’s explore some of your lighting options.

Lantern Reflector photo c/o coleman.com

Lantern Reflector photo c/o coleman.com

Battery operated lanterns can be quite convenient, complete with a remote control.  However, in the event of a power outage due to a large solar flare or an EMP attack, your lantern will most likely become useless.  Be sure that you have a mix of lighting options.  Don’t rely solely on one fuel, one type of candle, or just battery operated equipment for your lighting.  Each lighting solution you elect to use is preferred if you can magnify it with a bulb like you see on a lantern, or a reflector like the ones from colonial days—a silver plate behind the candle in order to project the light.  Placing candles in front of a mirror is a great way to reflect the light as well.  You can usually get by with purchasing cheaper candles if you’re able to use this method.  This is in part why we have stored many square mirror tiles, which are great to use for signaling as well.

Next, your lighting must be portable.  While some stationary lighting in your shelter is fine, be prepared to have dependable and effective lighting for travel, even if your travel is simply to the backyard “outhouse.”

Candles for lighting are affordable, but you will find they put out very little usable light.  Lanterns, whether oil or battery powered, will usually give you more light.  However, you will need several light sources to give your family the kind of light that you will need to function. 

There are several reliable solar powered lighting options.  I’ve tried and used many of the solar powered head lamps, flashlights, and such.  Try some for yourself and don’t be afraid to send them back or return them when they just don’t cut it.  You want a piece of equipment that holds its charge for several hours, not just 30 minutes.  Make sure the light puts out sufficient power in order for you to function.

Lanterns that use white gas and propane get very hot and have an intense smell.  Use extreme caution using either of these for indoor lighting.

Many candles are poorly constructed as they allow the light to tunnel into the wax as it burns down.  Thus, the more it burns, the more the light is hidden.  Be sure that your candles continue to convey their light at the top of the candle. 

Hurricane Oil Lamp photo c/o vermontlanterns.com

Hurricane Oil Lamp photo c/o vermontlanterns.com

Small oil lamps are surprisingly effective in putting out light.  Care and caution must be used when using them inside your shelter of course, and around children.  This is why my one of my preferred type of lighting is oil lamps like the ones you see in antique stores.  I really like the hurricane version which runs on oil, but are also protected with a bit of metal décor around the edges, making them sturdier.  Plus, they are attractive enough to have on display everyday in my home. 

  • In a pinch you can place some canola oil in an empty tuna fish or other like shallow can, with the lid mostly attached.  
  • Press down the lid to create a slope from the side of the can in which the lid is still connected.  
  • Pour a little bit of canola oil in the can.  
  • Tightly wad a thin wick of paper towel or newspaper, and place it in the oil, on its side running up the slope of the lid.  
  • Just a small portion of the wick should be pointed up out of the can.  
  • You can also take a jar, put some sand in the bottom and then place a small votive candle on top of the sand.  The candle inside the jar will aid in providing stronger reflection.

If you’ve invested in those otherwise useless florescent glow-sticks, you’ll soon realize that they won’t give you much operable light.  However, if you heat them in a pan on low heat for a minute or two, it will dramatically enhance their lighting power.  Of course they won’t last as long this way, but they are mostly useless otherwise.  I suppose you could also string several of them up around your shelter, but it will take a lot of them to provide sufficient lighting.

The oil that you store for your lamps actually has a very long shelf life.  You can even use cooking oil that has gone rancid in some cases.  Of course olive oil is an ideal fuel because of its medicinal and cooking uses as well as its extensive shelf life.

In closing, I want to extend a Two-Day Light Challenge.  Try living solely off of your emergency lighting for two whole days.  Go ahead and live with your other luxuries during those two days.  But for two days use JUST the lighting that you have planned on using in an emergency.  See how ready you really are.  Are you game?

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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No, You’re Not Crazy
By Kellene Bishop

Do you have a skeptical spouse?

Do you have a skeptical spouse?

How to influence that skeptical spouse when it comes to emergency preparedness efforts is a query I hear frequently in my line of work.  I affectionately call it the “$64 million dollar question.”  Surprisingly, the question isn’t dominated by one particular sex or the other, either.  I guess both men and women are equally skeptical when it comes to this topic.  Obviously, it is tough to have one member of the family focused on something so important without the support of knowledge, enthusiasm and additional expertise from the other.  Being on the same page for this sort of thing boils down to more than just being able to “share in a hobby”—it’s literally lifesaving.  That’s why I address this query with some very specific and deliberate strategies.

  1. Money.  Money is usually the number one reason why a spouse is not on board with food storage acquisition.  The minute you go out and put a bunch of money on a credit card to obtain some emergency preparedness supplies, you’ve created a valid barrier.  Even if your spouse was on board with preparedness, that shouldn’t be an acceptable action.  Be just as prudent in acquiring your supplies as you are in the fact that you DO prepare for a rainy day.  I assure you that when you come home with a couple bags of emergency preparedness supplies and are able to tell your spouse that you got them for nearly free or cheap, you will have successfully taken down one of their most strident objections.  Just as many divorces ultimately end as the result of a disagreement about finances, emergency preparedness efforts are thwarted the same way.  If you are prudent and consistent in your preparedness efforts, you’ll be able to prepare without starting World War III in your home.
  2. USE and Familiarity.  Any spouse would be understandably frustrated to have their partner bring home a relatively large or significant investment such as a solar oven, a pressure cooker, a Glock handgun, etc., only to have it collect dust and take up valuable space.  No purchase you make for emergency preparedness should be disconnected or “foreign” to you.  You should incorporate it in your life on a regular basis.  It’s really not so much about “emergency preparedness” as it is just plain “preparedness.”  For example, I have a lot of folks who attend my “Bring on the Sun” solar oven class and tell me that they have owned one for ages but never knew how to use it.  Obviously they bought it “for emergencies.”  Argh!  That makes me cringe.  I have to wonder how their spouse felt about tripping over this big lug of inconvenience that was purchased “just in case the aliens attack.”  If you don’t use it folks, it’s no help to you and it doesn’t get attached to a realistic scenario in your spouses mind.  When you can present a delicious meal that was prepared in your pressure cooker, for example, the doubting spouse will simply see the meal as a yummy, simple, and efficient way of cooking—not another expense for a “fantasy ‘what if’ scenario” that they don’t believe will actually occur.  If the use of your tools and preparedness supplies is sporadic, it sends the wrong message to the doubters in your life about your level of commitment to preparedness.  If you’re committed enough to use money out of your family budget to acquire it, then you really should be serious enough to utilize and be familiar with the item as well. 
    Pressure canner for canning meat

    Pressure canner for canning meat

    I have the luxury of being equally yoked with my husband in our emergency preparedness efforts, but I can assure you that if I were to ask him to get me something that costs more than 50 bucks, I darn well better be prepared to show him the WHY I would like such a tool, and then immediately use it when it comes into the home.  For example, he bought me a large pressure canner for our anniversary recently.  I made sure that I was canning meat that very weekend, showed him how easy it was, and then followed up with making a couple of yummy meals from the results of that canning.  You can bet that he didn’t feel like the purchase was a waste.  (Especially now that I brought home over $50 of FREE steak to can this weekend. :))  If you bring home that handgun, be prepared to practice with it and participate in as many classes as you can.  If you purchase the Food Saver, start using it.  I think you get my point.  (By the way, I’ve discovered that the best bang for your buck on a Food Saver is ONLINE at Costco.  The Food Saver comes with all of the necessary attachments, plus the bags for only $78 bucks, including shipping.  Even in comparison to Ebay, that’s a great deal.) 

  3. Education.  Use every opportunity to factually educate your spouse—not preach to them.  For example, make a scrumptious casserole or brisket in your solar oven.  When you present it to your spouse and family for dinner, tell them how easy it was and how it didn’t require any electricity.  You don’t even need to mention the word “preparedness.”  The dots will get connected eventually so that you don’t have to translate everything into plans for an emergency.  If you aren’t able to spend the money on something until your spouse is “converted”, then borrow someone else’s and demonstrate it for them.  You’ll be better off mentally for having used it successfully, and you’ll be better for putting your mind in the position of a student, then a teacher.  It’s a win/win situation with this approach.  In order to properly educate those around you, be sure to be fully educated yourself so that your “teachings” aren’t just theory or supposition.  They are much more readily accepted when delivered this way.
  4. Patience.  Your own preparedness efforts take patience and faith.  The same holds true in educating the doubters in your life.  Patience is usually only fortified by consistency.  If the doubting spouse in your life sees a crack in your resolve, they tend to go after it mercilessly.  Make your plan and then execute it with the resources that you have available to you.  Be patient and faithful that those around you will receive their own enlightenment about preparedness little by little as well.  Your example will go a very long way in helping them to understand and internalize for themselves the importance of this mindset.  
  5. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

    Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

    Immersion.  A lot of folks believe that “doomsday” will never come.  They have heard about it for so long that they are just plain tired of hearing it and being beat up by it.  In other words, it’s not a reality to them at all.  To the unbeliever, it’s just a fantasy created by the makers of bottled water, camp stoves, and generators.  One of the easiest ways to educate someone on the reality of preparedness is to help “immerse” them in a world in which such may be needed.  Movies, books, and even “hypothetical questions” like “what do you think we would do if…” are very helpful in educating the mind of someone who may not “get it.”  As I’ve shared previously, I loved the books Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank, One Second After by William Forstchen, Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse by James Rawles, among many others.  These are enjoyable books but also enlightening, causing even the most educated “prepper” to consider the reality of areas or possibilities that they may have missed previously.  I also have found the right movies to work towards this purpose as well, such as “Independence Day,” “Twister,” “Outbreak,” “Red Dawn,” etc.  These tactics are beneficial to those who need to mentally expose themselves to the possibility of unexpected events, but they are also great ways to strengthen your mental preparedness, too, as you find yourself mulling over what you’ve read or viewed and ask yourself “What would I do if…?” kinds of questions.

    Clearly I wouldn’t be a preparedness pro instructor if I didn’t also encourage you to take advantage of various classes offered to help you and your family better prepare for disasters.  CERT training for example, doesn’t have to be about handling “the end of the world.”  It can simply be about being a better asset to a community.  But it will also go a long way in helping to transition the mind and the heart of resistant “preppers.”

     Obviously, getting those you love and care for on board with preparedness is an important task.  Unfortunately there isn’t a quick fix for it.  Your efforts will need to be informed, consistent, prudent, and patient.  But I can assure you that by using these efforts, you have the best chance of being successful.  Good luck!

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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By Kellene Bishop

Food Storage.  It really doesn’t have to be complicated.

Medical Emergency Preparedness photo c/o ehow.com

Medical Emergency Preparedness photo c/o ehow.com

When it comes to emergency preparedness, there are actually 10 different components to consider, listed below in order of priority:

  1. Spiritual
  2. Mental
  3. Physical
  4. Medical
  5. Clothing/Shelter
  6. Water
  7. Food
  8. Fuel
  9. Financial
  10. Communication

empty-grocery-shelvesFood storage is only one part, and in order of priority would actually be “#7” out of those ten components.  What that means is there are a whole lot of other components that need attention more than your food storage in order for your food storage supplies to be usable and effective for you.  And yet when I mention “emergency preparedness” to folks, the first thing—and sometimes the ONLY thing that comes to their mind is food storage.  If your mind is fixated on all the obstacles of food storage, then of course it’s going to be overwhelming.  If you feel like you’ve got such a long ways to go yet to be even remotely “ready” then of course it’s going to feel overwhelming.  But just how much more of a burden do people create for themselves by trying to ignore it.  I assure you, if you think it’s tough doing food storage now, try doing it when there’s no food on the shelves, no money to exchange, no possibility of travel, and no way to prepare it.   That’s all you’ll be left with if you attempt to ignore or marginalize what may seem an “uncomfortable” or inconvenient activity.   But if you’re making progress on something that was previously uncomfortable, unknown, or inconvenient, then the feeling of stress and anxiety is eliminated.  You start thinking of what’s possible to accomplish in your preparation efforts.  If you continue in being overwhelmed, you’re likely arrive to a point of paralysis once you realize just how much more there is to preparedness besides food storage.  I assure you that such does not need to be the case.

preparedness-pro-iconWhen I teach my “UNDERwhelmed in Food Storage” class, my goal is to make food storage accumulation and preparation much less taxing on the attendees.  I desire to make it more of a “minor thought” instead of an overwhelming one, and thus free up time and resources to be spent ensuring your preparedness in the other categories.

Thus far I’ve shown you that food storage is cheap or free to accumulate in most instances, it’s easy to prepare, can still taste GREAT—so long as it’s a dish or food that you’re already familiar with—and finally, it’s even easy to prepare without electricity.  In fact, if you actually put into practice what I’ve taught you so far about alternative ways to prepare your foods, while initially you may feel out of your element, I’m certain that you will actually enjoy the alternative cooking recommendations.  In fact, the reasons I use a pressure cooker and a solar oven now in my everyday life is because it takes so much stress and time off my plate as I work from home and teach a bazillion classes.  Additionally it delivers a superior taste, texture and nutrition level than I would experience otherwise.

mcdonalds-angus-burgersI think a lot of folks are overwhelmed simply because they don’t have the mental preparation necessary to succeed in their preparation efforts.  Let me give you an example.  What if you saw that your beef prices just raised to $12/pound and were of a lesser quality that you were accustomed to.  That would stress you out, right?  Whereas if you were able to obtain your desired beef for less a tenth of that price, and be assured that it was a quality product, your stress would be alleviated substantially, right?  Well, guess what?  If you go to McDonald’s right now, you can order a “1/3 pound Angus Beef Burger” for only $3.99.  Let’s see.  That makes that beef about $12 a pound.  You also have some serious nutritional concerns with such a burger due to the excess amounts of salt added to it, as well as McDonald’s reputation for using less-than-stellar grade beef.  So, my question is, when you pass that marquis outside of McDonald’s, do you feel a bit of anxiety to think that a “fast food joint” is selling beef for $12 a pound?!  Of course not.  But guess why that is the case?  Because you simply need a little more strengthening in your mental preparedness category.  Let’s explore this thought further. 

Look at it this way, if I was selling a product to you that was cheap or free, easy to use, safe, easily accessible, and it would save your family’s life, you would embrace it in a heartbeat, right?  Well, that’s exactly what food storage is.  The only reason why we think otherwise is because we’ve heard so much to the contrary for so long.  So really, why be overwhelmed with it? 

Now, contrast that with overly expensive, overly complicated, questionable quality and nutrition, inaccessible—especially during an emergency—and definitely NOT lifesaving for your family.  Just how fast would you embrace that?

Keep your food storage as simple as you need it to be.  Increase your knowledge and your food “repertoire” as you desire and in a pace you’re comfortable with.

Keep it as affordable as possible.

Keep it as nutritious as possible.

And keep on storing it.

If you do, you’ll find that “overwhelmed” is quickly replaced by peace and comfort.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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