72 hour “Go Bag”

Today I worked on putting together a Family “Go bag.”  This would be the bag we would grab in the event that we needed to evacuate our home.  Because so much of our efforts are focused on being prepared here at home it seems strange to think about preparedness in regards to being prepared to leave. As a young married couple my husband and I lived in apartment in Columbus, Ohio.  In fact we lived there during Y2K as well as on 9/11, which  in my opinion were 2 of the most uncertain times as far as domestic stability is concerned.  (at least during my adult life)  I remember thinking about how we would “escape” the city in a hurry if we needed to in order to reach either one of our parents homes in the country.  This was one of the many reasons I was so relived to move out of the city and into our own home where we have more control over our surrounding.  (At least some days we do) Now I don’t have to worry about things such as, “What if the power goes out?”  We have prepared ourselves for these occasions with things such as wood heat, a back up generator, a gas stove, oil lamps, etc.
But what if there was an emergency that forced you to quickly take the family and leave?   It may sound an unlikely event and it probably is.  However that is exactly what happened to my family in 1988.  We lived in rural Seneca County Ohio when there was a pipeline rupture and 100,000 gallons of flammable toluene spilled into the nearby Sandusky River.  My mother gathered my sisters and I with a few toys and clothes and  drove us to stay with friends.  It was an awful good thing she did.  We were only gone 3 days but I remember worrying about my goldfish being hungry. I also remember coming how and finding them not only dead but seriously decomposed in the tank.  It was a good thing we left.  Would you be ready to evacuate your family to safety if needed?  Being prepared means not only having the peace of mind to know you are ready to leave quickly but also that your family’s needs will be met and that you can make a stressful situation a little easier on you and your family.
There are many, many website and lists you can access to determine what to put in a 72 hour kit or you can buy one already packaged.  I decided to prepare my own because I think this will best meet the needs of our family.  I have broken our 72 hour kit into 10 areas, but everyones needs will be somewhat different.

1. Water – You will need at minimum 1 gal. /person/ day
2. Food – canned, dehydrated, high protein food items
3. First Aid – a well stocked first aid kit
4. Tools – Lots of options including flashlight, radio, lighter, whistle, candles, can opener….
5. Personal Hygiene – toilet paper, diapers, wipes, toothbrushes, soap, ..again depends on personal needs
6. Clothing – rain poncho, sturdy shoes, undergarments, change of clothes of each family member
7. Bedding – sleeping bags or blankets for family members
8. Documents – copies of important papers including insurance policies and cards, licenses, account #s
9. Entertainment – Also will depend on family needs may be cards, crayons, coloring book, blocks
10. Cash – you will need to decide how much you need but I certainly would rather have cash than plastic if there is an emergency.

Today I completed the clothing, first aid and personal hygiene portions of our kit.  I certainly hope we never need our “Go Bag”  but I will be happy to have it ready. It may seems a little overwhelming to think about, but I would encourage you to prepare something if only a single backpack with water, food and essential medications.  I don’t know about anyone else but I certainly don’t want to be stuck waiting around for someone else to come rescue me or feed me if there is an emergency.

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Fresh Veggies..Yummmm

Last night we harvested our first broccoli. I steamed it and it was Really good. So far we have just been eating fresh. (no preserving yet)  I did get out my canning recipes yesterday and take inventory all all my supplies to see what I need.  There isn’t much worse than being part way through canning and run out of lids when it takes 20 minutes to get to the nearest store to buy more. I picked up Ana Micka’s book, The Fresh Girls Guide to Easy Canning and Preserving and there are alot of really great recipes in it.  Especially if you are looking for something a little different or more creative than the usual canning recipes I tend to find. It also came with a DVD but I haven’t watched it yet.
 So back to the garden, so far we have picked a few tomatoes, summer squash, cucs and green peppers. The cauliflower is getting really close to being ready.  I do wish now that I had planed more Roma tomatoes.  I may try and see if I can get a few more in.  I think I may have time if I start the gallon sized ones. I am also considering putting in an herb garden.  I have always grown my herbs in containers but I have a rather bare spot in my flower garden just outside the front door that is just begging to be planted!   I keep thinking how nice it would be to have a small herb garden there.  I think Ill see what dear hubby thinks.

The Family Clothesline

Last winter my clothesline inadvertently got broken while we were bringing in wood so, this year I got a new one. I was so glad when hubby put it up, it was the first project this Spring. I love to hang out clothes! I know to some it sounds strange to some but I love the smell of line dried clothes. I love the act of doing it, somehow it is soothing to my soul. Its also good exercise. I also love knowing we are using the free solar and wind power God has given us rather than using propane. I do think eventually we will need another one since I have no problem filling this one. Or perhaps Ill have to start spreading more loads out during the week instead of doing most of it on one day.
I love my new clothesline because:

1) Its twice as big as the old one.

2) Its near the swing set so the little ones can play while I hang out and fold clothes Plus, I usually get help for at least the first half of the basket 🙂

3) Its in a better spot, so most days the clothes dry much quicker in the new location.

Color Cubes

Its been a fairly warm summer here in Ohio and since we decided not to put the pool up this year we have been having all kinds of other fun water related activities outside in the yard. I dont remember where I saw this idea last year but the girls had so much fun mixing the colors and watching the ice cubes melt. Not only was it fun to cool off in the little splash pool but we also talked about primary and secondary colors..so they learned something too! The girls fingers were a little stained when they were done but if you ask me a small price to pay for an hour of giggles.

I used ice cub trays and an egg keeper to make the ice cubes just because I thought it would be fun to have dfferent shapes. I put 3 drops of food coloring in each cube. As it ended up when I took the cubes out there was enough dye residue in the trays that when I filled them again there was plenty of color to make another tray.


A new home for our few remaining chicks..Thanks to Mother Earth News

Its been a busy summer so far but we have been having lots of fun..so much fun I haven’t had time to share it although I think about it often. Unfortunately our poor chicks didn’t have so much fun this spring. We started out with 25 beautiful little chicks, who were much adored by all.

We still had 5 laying hens from 2 years ago so when they were big enough to go out to the coop we took 1/2 to mom and dads (next door) and put half outside. They did great until about 3 weeks ago. Until this time we have let our chickens freely roam during the day and they go in the coop on their own at night, We have never lost a single chicken! In the span of 3 days we went from 17 chickens to 3! Some were stolen from inside the coop .. don’t ask me how and some in broad daylight. I just don’t understand. We had been planning to fence a new area for them and had seeded an area earlier this spring in anticipation of our growing flock. Well they did end up getting a new home but not what we planned. My dear hubby found an article in last months MotherEarth News for building a Mighty Chicken-Mobile. (www.MotherEarthNews.com/coop-animation) In the interest of time he modified it some but I am happy to say our remaining chickens are doing well. Instead of having the whole pasture fenced we just move them around every few days. Once it gets cold they will have to move into the bigger coop, but for now, so far so good! We are all already looking forward to more chicks next year.

The specifics of construction:

We used 3 ft welded wire fencing for the majority of the chicken pen.

C- clips were used to construct the boxes.

We used scrape pieces of polycarbonate from a greenhouse project to make the enclosed part.

I originally was going to use wash pans for the nesting boxes but they were $4.99 each so I found these ones at Goodwill for less than $1 each.

The original planned called for the opening to be on top but it was too high for our girls to reach in so we moved it to the side.

We will likely add wheels and handles as time allows, for now it can just be picked up to be moved.

The poly is painted white to provide some sun relief as we are still working on other shade options.

Total price for all materials to build 2 Portable chicken pen —-$110.00