Saturday, March 5, 2011

Weekly Challenge and Assignment (Week of March 6th)

Hi Carson Ward Family,


" If in 1936 we had told the Saints, 'You should better prepare, because the time is coming when'---remember, in 1936 the problem was money, -- there was always enough to buy, not money -- if we had told you then that the time would come when you could not buy all the meat you wanted, and perhaps not any at times; that you could not get butter, and that you could not get sugar, and that you could not get clothing, and that the farmers could get no machinery, and so on down the whole list of things that you cannot get now and that therefore you should prepare for a stormy day, we would have been laughed to scorn. But I say to you again, the advise given is good today, and you would better prepare for the times ahead, that you may not be like the five foolish virgins with no oil in your lamps." (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., "Church News", March 2, 1946)

This advise was given to the Saints 65 years ago, but still holds true as much today as it did then. For the past year or so, I have felt such a strong urgency from the spirit we need to be prepared for what is coming, with food and water and cash in small bills (kept in our home). Once again, we may have money to purchase the things we need to sustain life and provide for our family's needs, but their may be nothing to purchase. Many countries throughout the world have suffered great produce losses this year due to weather conditions. Wheat, rice, sugar and other items have almost doubled in price, food prices are continually rising and will continue to rise. Also, the American dollar is becoming more and more less valuable. There will become a time when the dollar will not purchase even a grain of rice or wheat.

When our son Adam was serving his mission in Honduras in the Tegucigalpa Mission, his Mission President had been inspired to stock up on food and water for the missionaries in his Mission. He did not know why, but he heeded the warning. While Adam was serving his mission, Hurricane Mitch hit Honduras and other surrounding countries at an unbelievable force, torants of rain came barreling done causing flooding and mud slides. Many, many lives where lost, flooding resulted in the loss of homes and buildings, loss of food and shelter, and loss of income for the people living there. Adam and his companion were evacuated by people in the area just before the rushing water hit their area. He spent a few days sitting on a cold wet cement floor with his companion and hundreds of other village people with the only clothes on his back and his backpack with his scriptures inside. When the Mission Home located them, they were taken to the Mission Home with the other missionaries, all were safe and well. Because his Mission President had heeded the warning by the spirit, he was able to provided for this missionaries and the missionaries in the another Mission Home.

I want you to think of the worst case scenario that could happen to you and your family. Could there be a huge earthquake they are predicting? Could your home be destroyed? Could you be without electricity, heat, a way to cook, water, food, and shelter? Could you or other families members be injured needing medical treatment? Yes, all this can happen! Would you be prepared to provide for you and your family's shelter, a way to cook, food to eat, fresh water to drink, and medical supplies to help the injured? How well prepared are you and your family, your loves ones, your neighbors? Sister Cummings asked me if she could share this website/blog with her neighbors. Of course you can, please do!

Our Government and City Officials says we need to be prepared to take care of ourself and our families for at least several days, I say at least two weeks or more. Look how long it took FEMA, Search and Rescue Teams and other volunteer groups to get into the area when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. If a major earthquake hits California, roads will be impassable, airports will be shut down, it will take weeks, maybe months before supplies can be brought here and gotten to the people. FEMA is saying they cannot handle a huge devastation. Once again, how prepared are we? Will we be able to take care of ourselves and our family?

I do not mean to scare you, but may be that is what it will take to get the members of our Ward to start preparing and be prepared. You will be on your own, except for the help neighbors might be able to lend, if a major disaster hits this area for many days, may be weeks. Let us each strive to be as prepared as we possible can be prepared!

Weekly Assignment:

Now that we have completed the 72 Hour Emergency Individual Backpacks and the 72 Hour Emergency Family Pack/Bag we are going to start thinking about different types of ways to cook, and purchase some of them. If our gas or electricity is not working, or our home is uninhabitable, we will not be able to cook the regular way. Check out the blog posting "Cooking, Heating and Lighting" on the right side regarding different types of ways to cook. There are several listed there.

This week's assignment:

Purchase, if you do not already have one, a Butane Fuel Stove and some cans of Butane Fuel. You can purchase a one burner stove at Murukai in Gardena on Artesia and Western and in Torrance on Sepulveda and Hawthorne near Limburg Nutrition, across the street from Toys R US for $12. The Butane Fuel is about $1.65 a can, you can purchase a 4 pack for about $4.95. If you can, have at least two of this type of stove on hand, that way you can cook more than one thing at a time. If you already have one, may be purchase another one, especially if you have a medium or large size family. I cooked on one of these stoves for 3 months while our kitchen was being remodeled. I must say, I got pretty good at it, it was like camping out for 3 months. You can use these stoves in your house, just keep away from flammable things. I would have on hand a chase or two of the Butane Fuel, purchase a 4 pack a couple of times a month until you have a case or two.

If you already have the Butane Stove and Fuel, then purchase extra bags of charcoal for your BBQ or an extra bottle of Propane for the gas BBQ. Make sure you store it in a safe place away from the house, in a cool dry place. This also goes for the charcoal.

I want us to have several different ways to cook, Butane Stove, Charcoal and/or Propane BBQ, wood pit, Dutch Oven, etc. We will discuss and add other ones as the weeks go by.

Weekly Challenge:

Always continue to add to your 3 months food supply and year's supply. Use the 7-14 day menu plan as mentioned in previous blog postings.

Continue to dig up an area for your vegetable garden, purchase containers for your container vegetable garden and purchase seeds only right now. We will not purchase the vegetable plants until you are ready to plant the vegetable garden.

Container vegetables gardens-- make sure the container is deep enough for the root system and big enough for the vegetables. Most flower containers 12+ inches wide will be deep enough. Carrots will need a deep container since the carrots grow about 6-10 inches below the dirt. A round container will work just as well as a row in ground garden. Most vegetables will need their own container, like tomatoes, zucchini. You may be able to get two bell pepper plants in one container if wide enough. Celery, carrots, radishes you can plant several in one container. Make sure you put in a good vegetable fertilizer before planting the vegetables. Also, put marigolds around like in the ground vegetable garden (see tips below).

Tips on how to plant and have a successful vegetable garden:

1. Carrots-- Most people find them very hard to grow, I did before last spring/summer. I usually planted the small carrots seeds right into the dirt, but the ants/bugs carried them off or they were tiny carrots. I bought some carrots seeds that were on a strip of paper towel. I planted the strips with the carrots seeds and to my wonderful surprise, I got beautiful big carrots. So this year I got the idea why not make my own, much cheaper. I am taking a long strip of paper towels, about 3-4 feet long, depending on the length where you will plant them, cutting the long paper towels into about 2-3 long strips (you need enough width to fold it over and have about 2-3 inches width once folded), wet the paper towels (light soaked), lay it out on the counter top, sprinkle on the carrot seeds, not to heavy, fold over the paper towel and let it dry. When you are ready to plant the strip, build up a mound of dirt about 6-8 inches tall, knock off a thin layer of dirt, lay down the carrot seed strip, cover lightly with dirt, about an 1/2-1 inch, water gently. Keep the seeds moist, you may have to water a few times a day if too warm, until they germinate. See carrot seed package for germination time, sometimes takes a little longer that it says.

2. Bell Pepper-- I like to buy this in plants, not seeds. Decide where you want the bell peppers, read the direction on the plant how far apart to plant them, dig up a hole a little deeper than normal, put in match sticks (5-6) in the hole, bell peppers like sulfur, cover the matches with about 2 inches of dirt, put in the bell pepper plant and cover the hole. Water and continue to water every day for several weeks until starts to mature, then water twice a week. When bell peppers start to appear, but in 3 1/4 inches wooden dowels around the plant with string. This will help hold up the plant and heavy bell peppers as they grow.

3. Tomatoes-- Decide where you will plant your tomatoes, usually along the back or side of your garden area so they do not shadow other smaller plants next to them. Plant them about 12 inches apart or enough to put in the tomato cages they will group up in. When planting the tomatoes, do not buy ones that are really tall, take off some of the bottom leaves and plant the tomato plant bottom stem length wise with just the top leaves showing above the ground (about 4 inches), this gives the tomato plant a better root system to hold it up. If you have tuna cans, take off the both top and bottom, cleaned them out, and put the tomato can around the stem before planting it, and press the tuna can into the soil leaving about 1-1 1/2 inches above ground. This keeps cut worms from attacking your tomato plants. If you do not have tuna cans, use strips of a paper grocery bag, cut in strips, rap around the tomato stem, place half below the dirt and half above the dirt. Water and continue to water each day for several weeks until the plant become more mature. Tomatoes need a lot of water. Water in early morning and late after noon when hot.

4. Corn-- Decide on where the row will be, push a hole in the loose dirt with your finger, place the corn seeds, about 3-4 per hole, about 1 inches below the dirt, make the holes about 6 inches apart, cover the seeds and water. Once the seeds germinate, remove the smaller ones and only have one plant per hole. Water as needed.

5. Zucchini and Cucumbers-- Build up a hill of dirt about 8 inches in diameter, about 6 inches tall, and about 12 inches apart. Push in a hole with your finger about 1 inch deep, put in about 3-4 seeds, cover. When they germinate remove all but the two stronger bigger plants. Water twice a day in the beginning. Once mature you can water twice a week. Check out the seed packet for time to germinate. Zucchini takes a lot of room but produces a lot of zucchini. Once the zucchini starts to grow do not let them get too big, they will start to seed. Watch them, they grow every quickly and can become huge in just a few days. Good length is about 8 inches, like in the grocery store. Cucumbers spread out, so they need room. It is ok to let them spread out between the bell peppers, broccoli and other plants. Keep away from the carrots, they are more delicate.

6. Radishes-- They grow quickly. Good to sprinkle the seeds around the corn and carrots. Make sure you cover the seeds, about 1/2 inch of dirt. Once they mature you can pull them up and they help aerate the ground and other plants. Or, you can make a row by building up like the carrots, sprinkle on the seeds, cover lightly with dirt and water, keep the seed moist.

7. Broccoli-- Buy plants. Plant them in a row like the bell peppers, about 8-10 inches apart, see the plant for directions. Water as needed. When they mature do not let them go to seed, I will explain more before harvest time.

8. Beans-- Pole beans, like green beans, kidney, navy, butter bean, etc--you can grow a lot in a small space. Tie 6 tall 1/2 inch diameter wooden dowels together with string. Make a tie-pie with them, do not spread out to far, about 2 feet. Plant 6 beans around each pole 1 inch deep. Water as needed. Watch them grown around the poles.

9. Onions-- plant yellow or white onion bulbs about 2-3 inches apart. Green onions, you can plant seeds or bulbs. Water as needed.

10. Pumpkins-- You usual do not plant these until the end of May or first week in June if you want to have them in time for Halloween/Fall. You plant them just like the zucchini, but they take a lot of room, their vines spread out very far. A fun thing to do with your children is when they are small, carve them name in the pumpkin, not to deep, and watch their name grow!

11. Celery-- I like to use plants, seeds are tiny and bugs carry them away. Plant in a row about 6 inches apart. No need for mounds like the carrots and radishes. Water as needed.

If there are any vegetables you would like tips on how to grow please post a comment question with your name at the end of this blog posting, or email me at


1. Make sure you put in a good vegetable garden fertilizer before planting, I like Miracle Grow, mix in well.
2. Plan out where you will plant things, taller things like corn, tomatoes, pole beans need to be in the back or on the side where they will not shade the smaller plants as the sun comes up from the east.
3. Your vegetable garden needs at least 8 hours of sun a day. So before you dig up your vegetable garden, make sure that area gets enough sunlight during the day.
4. When plants and seeds are starting out they need water, water twice a day, early morning and later after noon (after 4PM if possible), but not at night. Water long enough to saturated the dirt. Do not over water. Water gently, not to hard when plants are young.
5. Check for weed weekly, pull weeds out, do not let them get to big or over take your vegetable garden.
6. Great Tip: Plant marigolds around in the vegetable garden, bugs do not like the smell. Better than inspect insecticides. If you see snails, sprinkle around snail pelts as needed but not on the plants.

I will give more great tips next week. If the weather is going to be good, not to cold at night, you can start planting your vegetable garden next weekend, especially the cool vegetables like broccoli, carrots, radishes, lettuce , celery, and onions.

New Blog posting : "What to do in an evacuation situation" is posted after this posting. I will be moving it to the side with the other postings next week. Read it and discuss it in your Family Home Evening this week.

Remember: Post your name at end of this blog for the March Monthly FREE Giveaway Drawing.

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