Monthly Archives: August 2015

Successful Parenting 5

The 5th principle is Respect. The book states: “Family members are to learn to respect one another. Parents and children can learn to treat each other with courtesy and tenderness, holding each other in highest esteem. Parents should try to eliminate critical thoughts and words about each other and about their children.” Margaret S. Lifferth, past First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency stated: “Ask yourself these questions: Am I an example of respect in my home by the way I treat those I love the most? What is my demeanor during a sports event? If my child has a disagreement with a teacher, coach, or peer, do I listen to both sides of the issue? Do I show respect for the property of others as well as take care of my own? How do I respond to others with whom I disagree in matters of religion, lifestyle, or politics?” If we don’t show respect to others, how are our children supposed to show respect? I remember one time watching our children when we were shopping; they were touching everything in sight. Then I paid attention to the way I was picking up things to look at them closer. Then I made a conscious effort to tell our children that we should look with our eyes and not with our hands because these things did not belong to us.

Drought issues

Drought issues are in the news again.

This time it is about California, the story which prompted this article will follow at the end.

A desert is a place that gets less than 10 inches of precipitation a year. By that definition I do not live in a desert as we get 12 – 13 inches of water a year…in Wyoming, however I think that I can talk about water shortages after the many years of gardening here and my wife and I having been involved with the Master Gardener program quite a while now.

Most places, even many true deserts get enough rain fall to grow food IF it is managed properly. While the conventional wisdom is to build massive reservoirs to collect and hold water it is not the most effective use of the water which falls on our lands. One of the more effective ways to harvest and use water from the sky is to have MANY small catchment areas called swales. Swales are best described as shallow ditches on contour. Basically what they do is slow the water down as it runs off the land so that it will soak in and be used by the plants and help refill the underground aquifers for later pumping to houses. There are several other things to help with this such as mulching around plants and planting trees [preferably fruit bearing] along with shrubs to help stabilize the soil and prevent erosion.

This is best accomplished on an individual or small holding basis over much of the land. The biggest down side that I see to doing this is that there is no need for a large levi of taxes by centralized government. Oh darn ;]

As a prime example of this working is found on YouTube at Permaculture
Behind Greening the Desert with Geoff Lawton

this is about 8 minutes long and is condensed from Permaculture Greening the Desert

folks if they can do this in the middle east desert WE can do it in the USA! ya think?

Here is the original article which prompted me to write this.

It “should not be a crisis at all,” writes U.S. Representative Devin Nunes in a recent Investor’s Business Daily editorial. “Much of the media and many politicians blame the San Joaquin Valley’s water shortage on drought, but that is merely an aggravating factor,” claims the California Republican, whose congressional district is centered in the hydro-challenged area. “From my experience representing California’s agricultural heartland, I know that our water crisis is not an unfortunate natural occurrence; it is the intended result of a long-term campaign waged by radical environmentalists who resorted to political pressure as well as profuse lawsuits.”
Former Hewlett Packard CEO and presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina agrees. “Despite the fact that California has suffered from droughts for millennia,” she told Glenn Beck in April, “liberal environmentalists have prevented the building of a single new reservoir or a single new water conveyance system over decades during a period in which California’s population has doubled.”

Apartment Water Storage

Water Storage in an Apartment

We live in an apartment, so space is premium. We were worried about water storage and found a solution. The closet floor is wasted space, so we placed plastic pop carriers upside down on the floor. This provides air circulation, especially since we have carpet in the closet. Then we put water in 2 liter bottles on top of the carriers. Depending on how much space you have between the floor and the clothes will depend upon how high to stack the pop bottles.

We take empty boxes and break them down and place these on top of the carriers. Then we can place a second layer of pop bottles filled with water on top of the first layer. We then place a second layer of empty boxes on top of the second layer of bottles. Then we place our shoes which are normally on the closet floor onto the bottles which makes them easier to get to and you will have water storage, too.

If you do this with each of the closets in your apartment or home you will have at least a start of water storage. We have 2 closets in our 1 bedroom apartment and have 64 two-liter pop bottles of water stored just in the closets. With 2 of us in the apartment that will be enough for 16 days of water. If we had a disaster in our town having 16 days of water saved up would be a difference between life and death in some cases. Also not having to depend on others to help us gives us self-sufficiency.

We also have put an industrial 5 wire shelf in, where we keep extra food and store water on the bottom shelf. There is another 20 two-liter bottles of water along with quite a bit of food. It is located in the bedroom and we have placed sheets covering the shelf which covers up what is on the shelf. The shelf takes up about the space of a large dresser. The shelf was around $100 and gives us much security in knowing that we have food and water enough to sustain us in case of an emergency.

If you do not drink pop or juice in the 2 liter bottles, ask your family, friends or neighbors if they have empty bottles. Usually they will be glad to give them to you. All you have to do is to wash them out with dish soap and water, rinse well and place tap water in them. Tap water from city water supply already has chlorine in it, so no need to put more in. Also, no need to change out the water every 6 months like many people think because it already has chlorine in it. When you get to the point of needing to use it, if you are not sure about the water then you can put bleach into the bottles. No need to make things more difficult than it has to be.

Successful Parenting 4

The 4th principle is forgiveness. The book states: “Parents can be an example of forgiveness by forgiving themselves, their spouses, and their children for shortcomings.” They referred to Mosiah 26:31 which says: “And ye shall also forgive one another your trespasses: for verily I say unto you, he that forgiveth not his neighbor’s trespasses when he says that he repents, the same hath brought himself under condemnation.” President Brigham Young taught: “We should set an example that we wish them to imitate. Do we realize this? How often we see parents demand obedience, good behavior, kind words, pleasant looks, a sweet voice and a bright eye from a child or children when they themselves are full of bitterness and scolding! How inconsistent and unreasonable this is!” I remember hearing from my father do as I say not as I do. That does not work. When I watch the children in the Nursery play they pick up the play cell phones that are in there and will walk around with them talking and laughing.

FREE books

Free books this weekend

Got this e-mail from one of my favorite authors. So this applies to August 21st through August 24th 2015. I really enjoyed the time travel books and so did my grandkids. I am SOOooo looking forward to the sequels! Janice Czaplewski also has several other books out on engineering, crafts and one on surviving divorce. If the one on divorce had been available, way back when, I would have used it will some of my counseling clients…… YES, it is that good!

### Copy of the e-mail follows.

I put the time travel books up for free on Kindle from tomorrow through Monday.

Successful Parenting 3

The 3rd principle is Repentance. The book states: “Parents should acknowledge, confess, and forsake sins so that they can enjoy the guiding influence of the Holy Ghost. They can help their children understand and apply these principles in their lives.” The book referred to 3 Nephi 9:22 which says: “Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved.” How do children learn of repentance, when they see their parents and those around them say they are wrong and ask for forgiveness. The only person who ever lived on this earth that was totally without sin was Jesus, when we are wrong instead of trying to hide our wrongs if we come out and say we are wrong and ask for forgiveness so that our children see that even we make mistakes? And show them how to ask for forgiveness from those that we wrong and from our Lord.

Cottage pie

Cottage pie
1 lbs of minced [ground] beef
1 large onion
2 carrots
1 parsnip
1 table spoon Worcester sauce
2 beef stock cubes
10 medium potatoes
Butter, salt and pepper to taste

Brown the mince in a big pan [I like cast iron the best], drain and reserve any liquid. Add onions, chopped carrot and parsnip, Worcester sauce, beef cubes and enough water to cover the mince. Add salt and pepper, cook for 30 on low medium heat OR until carrots are cooked and water is reduced.

Meanwhile peel and boil the potatoes, wash, add butter salt and pepper, top the mince in a casserole dish. Place in oven at 180 degrees C [356 degrees F] and cook until potatoes are brown.

Variant: once potatoes are browned add a cup of grated cheese and return to oven until it too is bubbling and starting to turn brown.
Optional add a can or 2 to the mince at the end of simmering before adding the potatoes.

Discussion all of this can be cooked in a cast iron Dutch oven so that you can go from stove top to oven in one dish. You could also use instant potatoes instead of fresh. For the meat you could use whatever you have on hand such as chicken or pork/ham. All of the ingredients can be from your food storage program.

This is my spin on – Basic recipe is from a family friend Julie Beacon in Ireland.

Could also utilize a straw box cooker for this.

Refrigerator Pickles JBs

JB’s Refrigerator Pickles

1 – 5 quart ice cream bucket with lid.

In the bottom of the bucket:

1 large white onion diced
4 to 6 dill heads
4 to 6 minced garlic cloves
1 teaspoon mustard seed

Cut cucumbers into spears and place on end on top of the above items.


1 1/2 quarts water
1 pint vinegar
1/2 cup canning salt

Bring brine to boil and pour over cukes. Let stand uncovered for 3 days, cover and refrigerate. You can pack them into jars at this point if you prefer. Will keep in fridge for 1 year.

Note: JB used 6-7″ cukes cut into spears. I used smaller ones and left some whole, cut some in spears and cut some like hamburger slices, each type in it’s own jar. I put some of each of the first items in the bottom of individual jars, packed the cukes in and poured the brine over them. I thought it would be easier and save time rather than repacking them after their 3 day rest. I didn’t want a whole ice cream bucket in the fridge for a year. I just leave the lids off the jars but cover them with a dish towel until the 3 days is up, then I put on the lids and tuck them in the fridge.

You can use this same process for water melon rinds, zucchini or milkweed pods or stems.

What some of your favorite recipes?

Successful Parenting 2

The 2nd principal is Prayer. The book states: “Children should learn to pray individually and as a family. Children can learn early about the power of prayer.” The book referred to Alma 34:18-27 which says: “Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save. Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him. Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks. Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening. Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies. Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness. Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them. Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase. But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness. Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.” How do you get good at anything? By doing whatever that thing is over and over again. Elder Robert D. Hales stated: We need to take every opportunity to invite the Spirit of the Lord into our homes. One way we do this is by regularly practicing the “small things, family prayer, family scripture study and family home evening. As we make these things part of the pattern of our lives, they will make a big difference in the development of our children’s testimonies.”

Freezer Baskets

Using Baskets in the Freezer

We have a freezer that is at the top of the refrigerator. This is all the freezer room that we have. Our freezer was one of those nightmares that every time you went into the freezer something would fall out. Or that the door to the freezer would not close or stay closed.

So, last week I found 3 freezer baskets (they are 7 ½ inches wide X 15 inches long X 5 ½ inches deep) that are plastic coated wire baskets. I took everything out of the freezer and started putting things into the baskets according to meats, veggies, fruits, etc. I now can close my freezer and nothing falls out when I open it. I did get one more basket and am looking for 2 more that are shorter (only 9 inches long) than the others because of the way the freezer is made. The freezer is still full, but because of the baskets the items don’t slip and slide anymore. And, I can get more in the freezer, and use the available space, than before without the door not closing.

And, if I want to see what type of meat I have I can pull the whole basket out and see just what I have. Because it is just the 2 of us, when we cut up onions or peppers, we put them in snack size plastic bags and place them into the freezer and that is just enough for a meal. We also package up hamburger meat in 1 pound sizes and place in sandwich size plastic bags and then each sandwich bag gets placed in a gallon size bag then place in the freezer. Also, when I put things like hamburger meat in plastic bags, I try to make them flat and freeze them this way. It takes up less space than just a round blob. Things like chicken or pork chops or steaks get put individually in a sandwich bag and then into a gallon size bag. When we get a roast we either get a smaller one or we will divide it up into portions for 1 or 2 meals and put it in a quart size plastic bag and then into a gallon size plastic bag. These gallon size bags are marked with what kind of meat is in the smaller bags. So when you pull out one of the gallon size bags out of the basket you have all of that kind of meat that is in the freezer. Personally, I don’t like to freeze meat in the container that I bought it in because of the extra room the packaging takes. So, that is why I place them in plastic bags when I get home from the store.

I have taken hamburger meat and browned it first and then package it up, that way when you fix a meal it is quicker than having to brown the meat first before you add it to whatever you are cooking. The same goes with onion you can brown a couple of onions first and then freeze them. You could even go ahead and brown your hamburger, onion and peppers together and then freeze. This way if you are behind getting dinner ready you will have more fast food at home in the freezer ready to go.

The baskets in the freezer sure have made my life easier. And because of this I am looking at other ways to use baskets or plastic containers for the refrigerator and cabinets.