Florida before hurricane Irma

To Florida with Love: 30 Survival Tips…

This is too little, too late, I know, but if it can help someone in Florida to survive, it will be worth every moment it takes to post.

Or to read.

I found this on facebook, with an encouragement to “please share”, so here goes:

  • Start running your ice makers TODAY. Bag the ice. Fill the space between your freezer items as much as you can. A full freezer stays colder longer than one with empty spaces. And besides, you may need that frozen water in the form of water in the near future.
  • Freeze regular tap water for pets, cleaning, or drinking. Use Tupperware-type containers. REMEMBER to leave a small bit of space between the top of the water and the lids so the ice expands but doesn’t crack the container.
  • Start using your perishables TODAY to make more room for ice in the freezer.
  • Another tip of freezing water in gallon baggies—they can fit upright in the freezer well and you can thaw as needed.
  • Sanitize at least one bathtub and fill with water 24 hours before the storm hits. BUT TODAY MEANWHILE make sure your tub will hold water through a storm. YOU MIGHT THINK YOUR TUB HOLDS WATER but a 20-minute bath is not the same as keeping filled for several days. Fill it with about 2 inches of water and check on it after a couple of hours. If the water is lower, replace your stopper and try again, OR fill several plastic totes/bins with water & keep them in the tub or a secure low-traffic area of your house. (Or seal the drain with plastic wrap, a plastic baggie, and duct tape for good measure.)
  • SECURE ALL FIREARMS and AMMUNITION PROPERLY.
  • Gas up all vehicles and check tires and oil TODAY. Gas up all gas cans.
  • Get cash TODAY from ATM. Enough to get you through tolls and out of town to get supplies and more gas later. Call your bank if you plan on leaving the state so they don’t freeze your card for out-of-area “suspicious” transactions.
  • Screenshot or scan and send to your own email all of your important documents. Put originals in sealed bags or plastic bins. Think about sending second copy to friend or family who do not live in your area.
  • Stock up on pet and livestock food and supplies. Have your animals’ records handy in case you need to shelter them at a storm-safe facility.
  • Share evacuation plans with family and friends so they know where you will be. Have second location ready and known to all, in case first plan fails.
  • Store family heirlooms and photos in plastic bins in a high place, second floor, attic, or safe room if you can’t take them with you.
  • Keep old rags and beach towels on your stormside windowsills. Even with the best windows and shutters, water seeping from the horizontal wind pressure happens. A few soaked towels are better than soaked floors or drywall.
  • I also advise duct-taping windows and door frames to prevent water seepage. Windows are NOT made to withstand horizontal rain. While you are at it, buy some sturdy tarps—you may need them.
  • Shutter windows and doors and bring everything outside into your garage or house TODAY. Do not wait until the day before. Better to get done early and relax than wait until its too late, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE MANDATORY PERSONNEL (health care worker, emergency worker, or first responder). Remember that EVERYTHING is a potential projectile in hurricane-force winds. As long as you are out there, check for any weak or low hanging branches that are too near your house, windows, etc., and take them down now.
  • If you own greenhouses, remove plastic sheeting now. Better to destroy sheeting that to loose the entire structure (built like a box kite) in these winds.
  • If you don’t already have your hurricane supplies (non-perishable food, non-electric can opener, paper plates, lamp oil, etc.), get them TODAY. Shelves are already empty in some places.
  • Back up important computer files on a thumb drive! Place drive in a safe or other water-tight arrangement.
  • Get an advance or a refill on your prescriptions TODAY!
  • Unplug electronics as power fluctuations in high winds can cause damage.
  • If you do evacuate, put everything in your freezer and refrigerator into ice chests. Unplug and prop open your freezer and refrigerator. If you do not, when the power goes out—and it will—you will come home to rotting food and an uncleanable freezer or refrigerator.
  • Before you leave, turn off the MAIN power switch to your house or else you may come home to a fried AC unit because of power surges.
  • Take a shower (while you can) and wash your bedding and all laundry. You don’t know the next time you might be able to.
  • Declutter your living space—in cases of extended power outages, you may be living without a good light source for some time and tripping hazards can be avoided if you take the time to declutter TODAY.
  • Make sure your emergency weather radio is charged up and set to receive the news and information you need. Sign up with local emergency management to receive important warnings via your cell phone. When chemical plants are blowing up because they have lost power for refrigeration, this is the only way you might know to seal your home! More Duct tape!
  • Easily forgotten but as important as all of that—photos or videos of every inch of your house and a list of all belongings of value for your insurance company. Again, email to self and to family/friends.
  • Plastic bins can open during extreme vacuum. Duck tape completely around each bin, in both directions. (Like fancy ribbon around a present forms a “plus” on top and bottom)
  • Scan and email all photos to yourself and to friend or family in safe places.
  • For this hurricane, I’d also try to tie down my car. Cars have been blowing away in the Caribbean. Try chaining axle to a tree?
  • Gather some excellent firewood and store it in a plastic bin, too, along with very securely wrapped matches or lighter. It will help if you are cold and wet, afterwards. Once you get a good fire going in, say, the carport or some other sheltered place, you can add wet wood to it, but you cannot start a fire with wet wood. Also, then you can cook. If you have a fireplace, even better. Raise a pot off the flame with the next pieces of wet wood, or a few rocks or bricks, which are best if dry. Wet ones sometimes crumble or pop…
  • If it’s hot weather, stay cooler with wet clothing, wet towels around neck.
  • Hurricanes also bring tornadoes with them. Usually these are weak funnels that seldom touch, or only touch very briefly. Still, have a tornado plan, too…
  • Pray. Don’t forget to pray.

God Bless You!
Please copy and paste!

 

He'll return in the clouds

Overheard: The Manger Is Empty…

…But so is the grave.

Jesus just is not here, visibly, these days. We cannot go up to Him and walk a mile or two with Him, these days. We cannot hear Him speaking with our physical ears, cannot touch the scars in His hands, cannot set our children on His lap.

But the day is coming.

When Jesus departed from this world, angels appeared to His friends to tell them:

This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven. Acts 1:11

And, although the Bible shows us in many places that He will come back in a cloud, just as He left, it is careful to point out one difference in His manner of reappearing. When He left, He was quietly teaching His faithful few. However, when He returns:

…the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God… 1 Thessalonians 4:16

Then, in the first chapter of 2 Thessalonians, we read that Jesus will be revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.

The adorable baby in the manger scene is history, only one part of the Good News. The rest of the Gospel will be more terrifying, more like what the Shepherds saw when the angels appeared to them and had to tell them not to be afraid, because it was SUCH a sight.

Will there be other differences?

Yes.

The first time Jesus came, it was quietly and humbly, through the act of human birth, in a shelter meant for animals, and few recognized Him for who He was–one of Mary’s cousins, some shepherds, a handful of prophets from afar, a couple of elderly people at temple–then after His miracles, there were more, hundreds or maybe thousands, but not like when He returns.

  • The next time He comes, there will be no doubt, everyone on earth will see Him in all His grandeur, and recognize Him as the Lord.

The first time, He came in poverty, the son of a workingman, dressed simply.

  • The next time, He will come in glory, the Son of the Living God, dressed in a robe dipped in blood.

The first time, Jesus came as an ordinary person with eyes of compassion, who had no crown except of thorns.

  • When He comes again, He will be wearing many crowns and His eyes will blaze with fire.

The first time Jesus came to Jerusalem riding a lowly donkey and those who knew Him bowed before Him.

  • Next time? A magnificent white horse will be His mount, and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess He is Lord.
    And all will realize He is the Pierced One.
    And they will mourn.
    And there will be no doubt who He is, for He will display His title boldly, “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”.

Yes, He is coming back.

However, how many of those who gaze upon the innocent little Babe out in the cold and say, “Awwww…,” will gape at the King returning in a blaze of fire and begin trembling?

The first time, He was a gentle servant. The next time He will be as a conquering general of a powerful army that no physical or spiritual means can defeat, or even begin to touch.

The first time, He came as a man of peace, to lay down His life to save others. The next time He is coming to use His sword against His enemies: those who deliberately refused to believe Him and aligned themselves with His demonic enemy.

The first time He came, He gave us all a second chance to become sons of the Living God. The next time, no one will have a single chance. Those who think God doesn’t care about sin anymore will be in for a rude awakening.

The first time He came, He cried out, “Father, forgive them…” The next time, the time for forgiveness will be over.

Boycotting, suing, fining, jailing, firing, and removing children from Christians, solely because of their faith, will come to an abrupt stop, even in this country.

And His mission will be different:

First time: He frustrated all who knew Him, because they knew about His power and thought He should just take over dictatorial Rome and establish a never-ending kingdom. But that was not in His mission statement, then.
Next time: Taking over is exactly the plan, according to all prophecy.

First time: His mission was to die, in order to defeat death and hell for us.
Next time: His mission will be as follows, “I am the Living One: I was dead and behold I am alive forever and ever!” and He will have the keys to death and hell IN HIS HAND.

First time: His mission was to walk this earth with His followers.
Next time: His mission is to ride the skies with His followers behind Him in a vast army.

Oh, and there is only one way to participate in His second mission:

Enlist for the first mission.

Give Old Candles a New Beginning

All during the year, we burn lovely scented candles from several sources, and as each one grows too small to be safe, I dig out and save the last bit, in a zipper bag. For ages I did not know what to do with these candle bottoms, carefully removed from lovely jars and votive cups. They still smelled great and it seemed such a waste just to pitch them, although sometimes, I did.

Then I met a woman who knew what to do and my life changed. (And my candle hoard changed.) I began saving candle bottoms with a vengeance, even offering to clean up the jars and cups of friends, if I could have the remains.

Yes, I had more!

What do I do with them? I make one big candle and burn it to start off the year! Here is this year’s “starter” candle, made from last year’s candle bottoms, and sorry I’ve almost burned it all gone before this topic arose! Believe me, it almost overflowed with contents a few days ago:

Beginning again

Beginning again

So how do my friend and I do this? Simple!

  1. Anchor a dripless dinner candle in the bottom of a large candle jar, such as you see here. I do this by dropping a bit of melted wax into the center of the jar and pushing the candle down onto the melted drops. I hold it there until the melted drops set and will hold without me.
  2. Then I carefully set chunks, slices, shavings, and crumbles of old candle bottoms into the space between the center candle and the jar walls. I also use leftovers from tart warmers.
  3. Light the dinner candle and let it melt down, some, to hold the wax pieces in place when you move it around, and then let it cool. After that, you can let it burn as long as you like. It all will melt together and become one lovely, undefinable fragrance.

That’s all there is to it. It smells so lovely, reminiscent of all the fragrances I’ve loved in the past year. Mine are mostly outdoorsy scents such as pine, bayberry, or lavender. My friend calls hers “tuty fruity”.

But anyone can romance the last of last year by giving old candles a new beginning this way.

Have fun!

Wonderful Smoked Turkey Habit. You will develop an addiction?

Our Thanksgiving Habit

One thing we do every year, almost as a habit, is smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving. A huge turkey.

I’ve posted about it before, but this year we will make two of them, and I got photos for ya! So here goes:

1. Thaw, trim, and rinse turkey.

Rinsed 23 lb. Turkey

Rinsed 23 lb. Turkey

2. Pour charcoal into fuel portion of smoker.

Enough charcoal for 12 hours.

Enough charcoal for 12 hours.

3. Set into bottom of smoker.

Charcoal in place

Charcoal in place

4. Do whatever you do to light charcoal.

Light charcoal

Light charcoal

5.  Once charcoal is very hot and turning white, add grill, to sterilized it.

Burning off the grill

Burning off the grill

6. Once all flame dies down, carefully remove grill and insert empty water pan in place over (not on) charcoals, and replace grill over water pan. Carefully fill with about 1 1/4 gallons of water.

Water pan in place over charcoal and under grill

Water pan in place over charcoal and under grill

7. Place turkey on grill.

Turkey on grill in smoker

Turkey on grill in smoker

8. Close smoker and go to bed.

Good night!

Good night!

9. Do not check progress by opening smoker!

In the morning, you will have a lovely smoked turkey. The meat should be tender and pink like ham. The joints should be loose or separating. The skin should be crackling in places and dark from smoke. Mmm! Look here!

Any questions? Ask in the comments, below, and I’ll be happy to answer quickly!

Have fun!


Edit to add: Our smoker is nearly burned out. 😦 Worst part is that we canNOT find another like it. Smaller ones do not work. Electric too expensive. The company that made our smoker just does not make them anymore. Help! 😉

 

This is fire.

Fire Prevention Now!

 

Facts about home holiday fires

  • One of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
  • Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 31 reported home structure Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 144 total reported home structure fires.
  • A heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in every four of Christmas tree fires.
  • More than half (56 percent) of home candle fires occur when something that can catch on fire is too close to the candle. (Note: the wooden cabinet above your kitchen countertop candle is flammable.
  • December is the peak time of year for home candle-caused fires.

Housefire!

What can you do?

  1. Make sure all your tree ornaments are flame retardant or fireproof.
  2. Check all light strings and if one is broken, do not fix! REPLACE.
  3. Check live tree water three times per day. Dry air? Huge tree? Teensy pan?
  4. Never, ever, ever put lit candles on a tree.
  5. Never sleep or leave the house with the tree lit. If you forget, call a neighbor and ask him or her to turn off those lights. Even if they have to break in, it’s worth it.
  6. Pay attention to candles. Blow them out.

Be safe, friends!

 

Tomatoes. Wow. Not.

No tomatoes

Peppers, yes.

This year, it seems either you HAVE enough tomatoes, thank you…

…or else you don’t.

This year, we don’t. We planted 40 Bradleys and Brandywines and got about ten quarts of tomato juice, total.

She sighs.

However, she DOES have tomato recipes and for those of you who have been blessed, she is willing to share and bless you even more!

Have fun! And use the contact page to let her know if you need more recipes, because, unlike the tomatoes, she does have more recipes. Ha.

So here goes!

FIVE CUP VEGETABLE SALAD

1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup Italian dressing

Stir and serve cold. Some like it better the second day.

ro-nO-TELl

Into each pint jar, place:

1 whole jalapeno
1 pinch rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp. salt

Fill each jar, then, with blanched and peeled tomatoes.
Apply hot flat and screw band.
Pressure can at 5 lbs. of pressure for 10 minutes.

MY SPAGHETTI SAUCE

2 T. olive oil
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
2 c. raw sliced mushrooms
1 large onion, chopped
2 or 3 cloves garlic, pressed (or 4) (or 6 or 10)
1 t. powdered cayenne

Cook, stirring, on medium-high until meat is done and crumbly, mushrooms are dark brown, and onion is soft.

Add and stir:

3 T. dried Italian herb mix

Add and stir thoroughly, mashing tomatoes. Simmer for ½ hour:

1 quart canned tomatoes (or about fifteen medium peeled tomatoes)
1 small can tomato paste

Add and stir:

¼ c. Worcestershire sauce
½ c. catsup
several drops of liquid smoke

Add while stirring thoroughly:

2 T. cornstarch mixed with ½ c. water or tomato juice

Continue simmering until sauce thickens. Serve over pasta or spaghetti squash.

TOMATO BREAD

Warm:

2 ¼ c. tomato juice (OR whiz enough whole tomatoes, skin and all, to make that amount)
¼ c. tomato sauce
2 T. butter

Stir into and mix well:

3 c. white flour
1 pkg. yeast
3 T. sugar
1 t. salt

Add and knead:
3 ½ c. – 4 c. more flour

Let rise twice and bake in 2 regular size, greased loaf pans at 375 for 10 minutes and 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Divine for grilled cheese sandwiches!

Okay, that’s all. Love y’all. You can thank me now. 😉

Do you live where tornadoes happen often?

Tornadoes are extremely rare in Utah, but down...
Tornadoes are extremely rare in Utah, but downtown Salt Lake City was struck by this F2 tornado in 1999, which killed one person. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maybe I should ask, “Do you live in the United States?” because the U.S. has the most tornadoes in the world.

You thought so, didn’t you!

From 1950, when we began to keep official records, here are the 10 states that have the most tornadoes per square mile, in order of greatest to least.

  1. Florida
  2. Kansas
  3. Maryland
  4. Illinois
  5. Mississippi
  6. Iowa
  7. Oklahoma
  8. South Carolina
  9. Alabama
  10. Louisiana

Surprised? Me too. However the states that have the most notorious tornadoes are not all up there and some of the above states have lots of teensy tornadoes that don’t do much. Your highest chances of experiencing the most damaging tornado are in the following five states:

Alabama, Texas, Iowa, Kansas, or Oklahoma
They’re all tied for first.

Scared yet?

Okay, I publish this annually in one form or another, in hopes of allaying some of your anxiety about this life and death topic. This year, it’s just a list of links, but if you search “tornado” in the search window above (click on the magnifying glass for a nice surprise) you will find a few more curiosities on the subject.

Pay attention and live:

How to Prepare for Tornado Weather

Ten Steps to Tornado Safety

Story of My Tornado Experience

Story of a Stranger Who Borrowed Our House in a Tornado

A tornado near Seymour, Texas
A tornado near Seymour, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)