Saturday, December 31, 2011

Go Bags And Emergency Preparedness

Go bags could be just about anything that you can carry stuff in. That does not mean a paper bag is a good choice for a go bag. If you are putting stuff in the bag you expect to keep you alive, you want something that is sturdy enough to take a beating and constant use.

It should be light enough to carry so that it will not kill you by slowing you down so much that you can not get to a safe place when you are carrying it.

It needs to hold your life-saving items securely. It needs to have strong straps or handles that will not break easily. 

Your go bag will be more useful if you can find whatever you are looking for inside it quickly. It would also make it better if it is easy to pack and unpack. That can mean lots of pockets or containers inside to organize the contents. Containers and pockets can add weight and you need to be able to tell what is in the pockets and containers without opening a lot of them to find something. Some kind of marking or labels for the contents of pockets or containers may be a way for you to know where things are. A map and checklist of the entire contents of your go bag may also be helpful.

You need to decide what type of go bag you want. Do you want a duffle or sports bag type? Do you want your hands free with a backpack? Would a wheelie bag be any good? Will it need to go over ground where the wheels will be a problem? Does your evacuation route have good sidewalks all the way? How much do you need to carry? How heavy are the contents of your go bag? How strong are you and how much can you comfortably and safely carry?

If you have children and pets will you have separate go bags for each of them? If so, what kind of go bag will you need for each of them? They have small backpacks for tiny children. The rule of thumb for backpacks for children is a maximum of 15% of their body weight in a backpack.

They do have backpacks for dogs and some people take their dogs hiking and let their dog carry their own food supply and bowl, etc. This sort of backpack would be ideal for a pet's go bag. Preparation for the pet's backpack is necessary. They don't universally take immediately to carrying a backpack and will have to be trained, to take it as a matter of course or even like it. If they think of wearing the backpack as a prelude to a fun walk, they will be cooperative when you need it in an emergency.

I have not yet tried a backpack on my cats, but am thinking about it. They do tricks and learn new things constantly, so I expect it can be done. I have trained cats to walk on a leash before. A leash would probably be necessary to evacuate cats if you want them to carry little backpacks. A caution here is that emergency shelters for pets require them to be in a carrier or on a leash and they must have proof of vaccinations and licenses etc.

If you practice carrying a backpack or other go bag, you will be able to carry a heavier one and handle it better. It is a good idea to practice with a weight that is equivalent to the contents of the go bag. The same is true for your entire family.

Ok. Now go out there, get your go bag, fill it up with the items you have selected and practice carrying it! Once you do that, you and your family are that much safer and ready for emergencies.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Why Be Prepared For Emergencies?

The purpose of this  blog post and the whole blog is to help people to know enough not to die after a disaster.

More people die after a disaster than during the disaster. Most of those people do not need to die. They only die because they do not know enough to stay alive. The most important disaster preparation that you can make is to prepare yourself to think clearly enough to live through a disaster and stay alive afterward.

It will make it much easier to stay alive during and after a disaster, if you have enough supplies to meet your necessities until help arrives.

There are lots of reasons to be prepared for emergencies. Staying alive is an obvious reason to be prepared for emergencies. There are others that are less obvious.

If you experience your own personal emergency like job loss or serious injury, being prepared will help you. You can eat your stored foods until you have enough money to buy more

One of my favorite reasons for my emergency food preparedness is that it allows me to stay out of stores and go shopping less often. This gives you more time and money because you don't have to go back and forth to the store and you have less chances to go off your budget and buy unnecessary things. I also appreciate not spending my personal energy on running back and forth shopping. I feel more serene and peaceful without the unnecessary trips.

Another reason for emergency storage is related to the less trips part of it. Less trips means less gas burnt and is better for the earth.

There are unselfish reasons for emergency food storage as well. When you know someone who is having problems getting enough to eat you are able to spare food at any time to be able to help them out. It is a good idea to provide recipe print outs when you share from your food storage, however. The average person that you share with may have no idea how to cook and use it. I have experienced this. It is helpful at times to even help them cook it and show them how.

People who are suddenly impoverished are often in a bad mental state and may have trouble thinking clearly. If you don't help them with recipes and cooking assistance I have found they may waste your precious food and go hungry anyway.

During an emergency, if you have plentiful stores of food you are usually able to feed others who are not so prepared. There are cautions about this. There will be so many people who are unprepared that you will not be likely to be able to feed all of them. Hungry people can get ugly. You might be better off if you can get the food distributed by a third party such as a disaster agency like the Red Cross or a Rescue Mission. That way you can keep your anonymity and safety.

If you are prepared for emergencies, you will feel better. One way to get rid of worry about potential problems is to prepare for them. Once you have your disaster preparedness in place it will take one more worry out of your life. You can be happier and more serene and enjoy life more.

I am sorry if regular readers are tired of me repeating some of the ideas mentioned in this post. I believe some readers of this blog may not stay around to keep reading. If they only read one post, I hope to have something important in that one post that might some day save their life.

People remember things better with repetition and I hope for that to happen with the ideas in this blog. I would like for people to remember things in these posts so they can use them to save their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

More About Dried Foods For Emergency Preparedness

The best way to make sure that your emergency food stores will work for you in an emergency is to use it. It should be food that you already eat regularly. You can rotate your emergency foods into your daily diet and replenish it as you use it. 

When you do that, it will never spoil or go stale and you will know how to cook it during an emergency. You can use your ordinary recipes and won't have to spend time looking up recipes.

I use dried foods in my daily life to save a lot of money. When you shop on an empty stomach you are much more likely to spend more money than you planned or need to spend. The way to stop this is to make certain that you have a full stomach before you get in the store.

There have been many studies done that show that people will even spend more on non-food items when they shop hungry. I blogged a little about this in one of my earlier posts about weight loss.

If I am going to be out all day and know that I will get hungry before I finish shopping I take along a snack in my pocket. A full meal of dried foods will fit in a small pocket. I take a bottle of water along as well. In the summer when I lived in a hot climate I took a bottle of frozen water so it was nice and cool to drink.

You need to drink extra water when you eat dried food or you can easily get dehydrated. Your digestive system must have water to work properly or it will pull the liquids out of your body if you don't drink enough water.

There is an important warning about dried foods: Even though the dried foods seem like just a little bit of food because most of the water was removed, it will  be just as big as it was before it was dried, inside you. That means you can get a really horrible stomach ache if you eat too much. 

It works best to eat the dried food slowly; chew it very well and drink plenty of water as you eat it. That way you can gauge how much to eat to fill you up comfortably. Be sure to share this warning with anyone you share your dried foods with. I believe it is possible for someone to be seriously injured without knowing about this.

I plan a balanced meal when I take my pocket meal of dried foods along. That means a protein, a carbohydrate and something from the fruits and vegetables group. The carbohydrate of my choice is usually crackers I make myself because they are small and don't take much room either. I can share a recipe for the crackers if people want it. They are  very tasty and everyone I have given them to really likes them too. They are also healthy.

I used to make them with freshly ground flours, but my grinder that I have now is not satisfactory. I found one that will probably work ok, but have to put it on the list to get later. Things made with freshly ground flour taste much better and are lots healthier as well. Once you get a routine down, it is not too much trouble to grind your own grains before you bake.

This blog post seems to be long enough so I will end here by telling you that I want to add more about dried foods in my next post or so.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pick A Water Filter For Your Budget and Needs

 My favorite water filter would be a lousy choice for a go bag if you had to evacuate on foot or were in a very crowded vehicle. There are lots of commercial water filters on the market. Some are very big and heavy and some are very small.There are some tiny ones available that are like a drinking straw and are very light and easy to carry. These do not filter very much water and the cost per gallon is high.

My personal preferences in filters may not work at all for someone else. They are largely a matter of what an individual likes and wants to spend and their circumstances. The most likely disasters in your area could also influence your decision on a water filter for emergency preparedness.

I will just tell you about them and you can decide or go read more about them and then decide what you want.

My favorite is a ceramic filter that has silver in the ceramic filter elements. You can buy these according to size of filter elements, and quantity of filter elements. They work by gravity. You pour the water to be filtered in the top. The water goes through the filter elements and into a lower container with a spigot that you can take drinking water out of. The bigger and more filter elements you have in this filter, the faster and more water you can filter. They are big and heavy and cost a lot. They are easy to use and you get very clean water from them. The per gallon cost is low and they filter a lot of water before you need a replacement filter element.

There are water filters that are made for filtering water for a whole village. They are made so that they can have water pumped by muscle power through a filter. This allows a lot of water to be filtered in a short while. These are good if you have a very large family or want to filter water for a village. They cost a lot, the cost per gallon is low and they are fast. They are not very portable.

There are little straw water filters that can be easily carried in a go bag or pocket for everyday preparedness. They are pretty cheap, but the cost per gallon is high.

Some water filters look like a sports water bottle. You put your water to be cleaned in the bottle and sip out of a straw. The clean water comes out of the straw. This is not too expensive, the cost per gallon is slightly lower than the straw types, but still high.

You can buy tablets or liquids to put in water and shake it up and let it sit for a while. They kill germs. They are cheap, and take very little room and are light and are easy to carry. Their cost per gallon is low. Their disadvantage is that you are drinking the stuff that killed the germs.

You can find some of these various types of filters, especially the smaller, lighter ones, in sporting goods and backpacking stores. Military surplus stores often have water filters.

The larger ones, like the ceramic element ones with  silver in them, are harder to find. Companies that sell food storage and that specialize in emergency preparedness have them. Places that sell bulk foods and farm supply stores online and offline often have water filters, including the big ones.

The whole village ones can be found in places that sell to missionaries and to homesteaders.

I want to write about go bags next.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Water Storage For Emergency Preparedness

As I mentioned previously, you can die a lot faster without water than without food. Water needs to be way up on your list of priorities for surviving a disaster. You could easily die before any help gets to you if you do not have water.

Therefore, I would recommend that you store some water for emergencies. I would also like for you to do that. Please store some water for emergencies. The minimum is a gallon a day per person. Include extra if you have pets or plants. That is very minimum. It does not include enough for keeping yourself or your surroundings or your clothes clean. Three gallons a day is more realistic. If you live in a dry climate you will need to drink all three gallons to stay alive, so then you will have to allow more for cleaning and cooking.

If you do not want or cannot afford to buy water containers to store emergency water in, you need to save up plastic bottles and clean them out to use.
They can be pop bottles, juice bottles, and milk bottles. It would be best to use bottles that held food or drink. 

There are some kinds of plastic that leak chemicals into whatever is in them that are not good for you to drink. If the bottles you use came with food or drink already in them, you have a pretty good chance that they will be ok for holding your water safely. 

There are several different types of plastic, classified in the United States according to recycling numbers. One can tell by those numbers whether the plastic is safe to put water in. Numbers 1-5 are good. Numbers 6-7 are bad. The numbers are usually in a little triangle on the bottom of the container.

I filter my water before I store it. That is because I filter all of my tap water. My city floods the tap water with chlorine and fluoride. Neither of those agrees with me, so I get the fluoride and chlorine out before I drink it. I don't want it in my stored water either. 

Most authorities say to put a couple of drops of chlorine in your stored water to keep it clean while it is stored. 

It is also recommended that you change your stored water every six months. That also involves cleaning the containers.

I think it is a lot easier to rotate my water storage into my daily water use. That way you don't have a huge operation every six months.

I like to use a Mr. Coffee coffeemaker. They have a permanent filter that is in addition to the regular paper filters that most coffeemakers have. The permanent filter has charcoal in it and is supposed to remove 97.something percent of bad stuff out of the water. I like it. The water tastes much better out of that than the tap and I don't get sick from it like I do tap water. 

I never use that Mr. Coffee coffeemaker for coffee. It is only for water. It is too hard to keep cleaning it when it is used for coffee. That is the cheapest and still easy-to-use system for getting clean water that I have found so far. The coffeemaker is not part of my actual emergency preparedness system because it requires electricity. Most disasters mean no electricity. It is part of the water storage part of my emergency preparedness. I have other plans for ongoing clean water during an emergency.

It is possible to do a lot of blog posts on where to put your emergency preparedness items, so I will. Later. I am roughly posting according to priorities in what will kill you first if you don't do it. 

I want to post next about different kinds of commercial filters available on the market and the advantages and disadvantages of them.

Monday, December 26, 2011

More About Water For Emergency Preparedness

There are several places to get water that most people do not think of right off. One of these is your hot water heater. You can get a special tool made only for turning off your hot water heater. That discourages it from ending up in somebody's toolbox, but a wrench will work. You can tape the special tool onto the back of the hot water heater to help keep it there for an emergency. 

Another water source is the back of your toilet. The hot water heater water is fairly likely to be clean, but the water in the back of your toilet is not good to consider clean. I never use those automatic toilet bowl cleaners since I first thought of the idea of needing the back of the toilet for drinking some day. Most have instructions for accidental ingestion and the phone number of the poison control center.

If you are in an emergency, you may want to prioritize shutting the valves in and out of the hot water heater and the back of the toilet to trap the water in there. If you do that don't forget to unhook the float valve in the toilet tank so someone doesn't flush your drinking water away to the sewage plant.

If you live in a rainy or snowy area during a disaster you have an easier time getting water to drink. Snow can be melted and you will have clean drinking water. Skip the yellow snow, especially if it has someone's name written in it. They can drink that snow.

If it is raining during most disasters you can put out every container you can manage and catch your drinking water. If you want the water from your rain gutters and spouts off of your roof you will have to clean it before you drink it unless your roof and gutters are very clean.

If there is volcanic ash, a dust or sand storm, or nuclear fallout, your outside water sources are more of a problem. I will cover nuclear emergencies later. The ash, dust, or sand are just things that must be filtered to get clean water.

There are three main ways to clean water, filter it, heat it, or put something in it to kill germs. If you heat it you can either boil it to kill germs, or distill it to leave the germs and other impurities behind. Distilling can take a lot more fuel. 

Iodine and chlorine are two of the most popular ways to put something in water to kill germs. You can get tablets or filters that have something in them to kill germs. I like the ceramic with silver because the silver is less hard on your body than the other things you put in water to kill germs. It kind of defeats the purpose if you kill yourself along with the germs.

If you want to filter, and you have an expensive filter or one that has a very limited amount of filtering it can do, you can protect the filter. That is done by using a pre-filter. That means something to take some of the bigger stuff out before it clogs up your expensive filter. That could be cloth. If you have a lot of big stuff in your water, you could run it through more than one pre-filter. Start with the biggest pre-filter first. That could be rocks then, pebbles, then coarse sand, then fine sand, for example.

There are some tricky military survival ways to filter or distill water, but this is too complex for this point in my blog posts.

I want to blog about storing water for emergencies next.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Water For Emergencies

Water is extremely important to being comfortable during or even surviving an emergency. Most people can survive for at least a week with no food at all. If you don't have water you may be lucky to live a few days. Water should be an important part of your emergency preparedness. 

People often do not understand why water might be a problem during an emergency. They can just turn on the tap and water will come out, right?


It is not that easy. Many disasters involve no water coming out of the faucets or bad water coming out that is not safe to drink. Earthquakes often break water lines and wreck wells and city water reservoirs or purification plants. Floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and tsunamis often cause contaminated water. Those are just a few of the highlights of why you want to have water stored for emergencies.

An alternative to storing water is to have a very good purifier to be able to clean up whatever water you can get. That one is dependent on being able to get any water to clean. Not all disasters will leave you that option. If you want to leave your options open, you could keep some water stored and have a filter system as backup.

If you intend to filter water you need to consider impurities and disease. Just running your water through progressively smaller layers of filters will work like a stream in nature and take out most of the dirty things from the water. Then you need to think about disease causing organisms, like parasites and germs. Boiling will kill most diseases and parasites, but that requires fuel that might be scarce.

You can buy filters that take care of both types of water cleaning problems, but the really good ones can be quite expensive. I used to have a very good one that had ceramic filtering elements with silver in them to kill any germs that were small enough to get through the pores in the ceramics. It worked on gravity. You simply poured water into the container and it went through the filter and into another container with a spigot for draining out clean water. I used it all the time because I lived in a city with very bad water. That was made in Switzerland, but the same type is also made in the United States now. I do not know whether it is made in other countries as well.

I plan to go into more detail about different emergency preparedness areas after I hit the highlights. 

Next post is for more about water for emergency preparedness.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sprouting Has A Good Place In Your Food Storage

Sprouts are even more space saving than dried foods because a small amount of seeds will produce a much larger amount of food and good nutrition when they are sprouted and ready to eat. The shelf space that the seeds for sprouting take up is very small. 

Here is what you need to do sprouting:
Seeds that are not chemically treated (I also prefer organic, and non GMO seeds)
1 glass jar for each variety of seeds you wish to sprout at one time
A piece of screen or cloth like cheesecloth for each jar (small seeds may require more layers of cloth or screen)
1 string or rubber band to hold the cloth over the mouth of the jar
Clean, not too cold or hot water for rinsing and soaking the seeds

Exact instructions for different types of seeds vary, but some basics apply to most. Put the seeds in your sprouting jar or sprouter. Rinse the seeds off and drain the rinse water. Pour warm water on the seeds and leave them soaking overnight or about 6-8 hours or so. The exact time is not that critical. The soaking water needs to be several times the volume of the seeds that you wish to sprout. They will expand a lot while they are soaking and some will not be kept wet if you don't have enough water on them. If that happens they probably won't sprout. 

You can use a glass jar with a piece of cloth or screen across the lid to keep the seeds in when you drain them. You will have to keep the seeds fairly warm when your are sprouting them, though. If you are in cold weather without power, you will have to keep the seeds near your body while you are sprouting them. If this last sentence sounds odd to you, that is because you live in a warmer climate than I do. I live in Alaska and it is very relevant here.

After the seeds have soaked initially, they need to be drained and rinsed a couple of times. You can save the soaking water to use for beverages, soups or other cooking. It is very nutritious and adds flavor to soups. It also saves water if you do not have a lot. You can re-use the water every time you rinse the seeds that you are sprouting.

After the first soaking, you will need to re-soak the seeds for about 10-15 minutes at least twice a day. Drain and rinse them again two or three times each time you re-soak them.

You need to do this until the sprouts are ready to eat. It will vary from 3 to 10 days most of the time. After the sprouts are big enough, they will gain a little more nutrition if you expose them to light for an hour or more so that they turn green. That is just the tiny "leaves" on the top ends.

Give the sprouts a final rinse or two and they are ready for consumption or cold storage, if that is available. If you do not have a working  refrigerator during the emergency, they will keep at room temperature for at least a day or so unless it is very hot or very cold.

If you buy a sprouter, they will usually come with instructions on how to use them on various seeds. Seeds intended especially for sprouting often have instructions for that type of seed.

You can buy different sorts of sprouters that allow you to sprout more than one type of seed at a time or will automatically soak and rinse the seeds or are especially easy to use. I bought one of the latter and I like it very much. It is even possible to do sprouting while you are travelling. That would include if you find it necessary to evacuate on foot and it takes several days to reach your destination. There are backpackers who sprout as they go hiking.

Sprouting is a very good thing to do all the time if you like to eat healthy fresh food or cheap food. If you eat a variety of sprouts it is not necessary to buy any produce for your nutrition. Since I began sprouting, my food bill has dropped a lot. This allows me to buy the preparedness items that I can not make like a good wind up radio. If you work at reducing your food costs you can do likewise.

Lowering your budget is not an obvious part of disaster preparedness, but if you think about the cost of some of the items on your list, you can easily see why it is. I plan to write about how to save money so you can afford to have the preparedness items you need sooner, or at all.

There are some larger seeds that you can sprout as well as the usual ones. Pumpkin seeds and walnuts are in this category. They are called "soaks" rather than sprouts because they don't actually sprout before you eat them. They are usually soaked overnight and eaten the next day. These are good if you are in a hurry for something to eat and want the extra nutrition from sprouting. Most regular sprouting takes from three days to a little over a week to be ready to eat. That means you could plan to eat soaks for a few days until your first sprouts are ready if you are just starting out in an emergency.

You can use sprouts on most foods just to give it a nutrition boost or because you want something fresh to eat. I even put them on my breakfast cereal at times. You can make salads entirely of sprouts and incorporate them into baked or fried foods. This can be helpful to keep you from getting bored with your emergency foods during  a longer term disaster.

I must apologize for a problem with my blog. The dates did not post correctly due to an error I made. I had to go back and re-do the dates because it was giving the same date to different posts. If you have been using the notifier on my site to tell you when I do a new post that will not have been working and you will have missed some new posts that are up. I am attempting to post daily at this time.

I wish to post about water for emergency preparedness next. It will probably require several posts since it can require a lot of information and is even more important to your well being than food.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Dried Foods For Disaster Preparedness

Dried foods are excellent for emergency preparedness food storage because they don't need to be refrigerated or frozen. (No electricity required to keep them from spoiling.) They don't take up a lot of space, and are easy to prepare.

Freeze dried foods are especially good for emergencies. I belonged to a buyers group a while back and got free samples. They taste very good, take little space to store and are easy to prepare. Their drawback is their high cost. If you can afford them and like them they can be a good way to go. If the cost of freeze dried foods gives you pause, you could buy just a few of them and make the bulk of your emergency meals out of other foods.

It is possible to dry your own emergency foods. I do this myself. I do not dry all of the foods in my emergency storage, but the ones I dry increase the  amount of time I can last during an emergency. They also lower the cost of my food storage.

My first tentative attempts at drying food were not for an emergency. I wanted to have dried orange peel to use in cooking. The stuff I got from the spice section in the grocery store tasted like Tang. This was not the taste I wanted. I thought that grating a little orange peel and drying it could not be that hard.

I grated it on the fine part of my grater and spread it on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels and put another layer of paper towels over it to keep the dust out. It worked just great. I always keep some on hand now. I don't always eat organic oranges and the grated peel I have stored is organic and is always ready when without an extra trip to the grocery. The convenience is a worthwhile benefit.

Since then I have dried many more leftover bits of food on top of my fridge on a cookie sheet lined with cheesecloth or paper towels. I did it enough to justify getting a food drier from a yard sale. 

It is also good for making fruit leather. I do not make it for myself, because it is too sweet for me most of the time. Children love it though. They love it even more if you let them help make it. It is wetter than regular fruit and takes up to three days or even longer to dry. It depends on your drier, weather and other things. It is long enough to get up good anticipation by the time it is ready. Forget about storing any from the first batch.

Fruit leather is ideal for a food storage program because it does not require any preparation to eat. The hardest part is having some left for emergencies.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Why Prepare For Emergencies/Disasters?

Emergency preparedness is useful for more than a national or local disaster. It can keep you afloat if you lose a job or have an unexpected illness or injury. It is easier to see this during times of high unemployment and financial uncertainty. It just makes sense to think about how you will get by if you lose your job or get in a car wreck.

A more mundane reason for emergency food storage is convenience and economy. It is generally cheaper to buy in bulk. If you buy enough oats to last for six months it will probably cost you less per serving than if you buy enough for a few meals. You will not have to go to the store as often and that will be convenient and save you time and gas money. 

Stores are designed to make you spend more money than you need to. The less time you spend in stores, the less money you spend. 

A lot of people can see that a disaster could happen where they live. Looking at the news of extreme weather events worldwide and tsunamis and earthquakes encourages more thinking about what they can do to be prepared. 

If you are kind of sitting on the fence about an emergency plan and doing something about it, I hope you will read my blog and take action. 

It is ok to start with a pillowcase with a candle, matches, and a can of tuna in it. That will not get you through a long emergency, but it is a start. You are that much closer to being prepared than if you did nothing.

There is an old song that I like called the Arkansas Traveler. It is about a man who didn't want to patch his roof when it was not raining because the leaks were not a problem. That is how I look at preparedness. You have to patch the leaks before it rains. Don't wait for a disaster to come to your neighborhood, to show you the necessity for emergency preparedness.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I Get Up Close And Personal About Emergency Preparedness

I want to make my blog the best that I can manage, so that means that I read stuff about: "How Write A Good Blog," a lot. I just read that one should write stories and write about your personal experiences and feelings in a blog to make it more interesting. I have actually been trying to avoid this. Hoo boy! Now we are all in for it! It will be a lot easier for  me to do that than keep it impersonal.

I suppose all of that means I should tell you that I have a fat cat purring in my lap. This one is the amateur one who is only about three years old. The professional cat, a twenty-two-year-old, is napping elsewhere. I have the keyboard on his back and he seems to like it. It can make typing a little more of a challenge.

Anyway. I actually want people to read my blog and rush out and get prepared for a disaster. I think that will keep the people who do that alive more than people who do not do get prepared for a disaster. 

My readership is not huge, so far anyway, but you have to start somewhere. I hope the few who have read this, are a little safer because of it.

I read a story that scared me when I read it. I thought that it would be good to put a link to it in my blog so maybe it will scare more people into getting prepared for disasters. We can try it and see what happens. 

Link to scary preparedness story

If your family members, like mine, have mixed reactions to the idea of disaster preparedness, maybe showing the story to them will rattle them enough to get prepared. I am printing it out and sending my family hard copies.

This has been a brief interruption in my process of trying to help people be prepared for disasters. I plan to go back to the subject at hand, disaster food. 

I enlarged the text on this post so that I could see it sitting way back from the screen to avoid disturbing my cat any more. I kind of like it enlarged like this and am going to keep doing it. I am waiting for new glasses with bifocal lenses so I can have closeup and computer vision in the same pair of glasses. I was going to shrink the font size when the cat left, (he did,) but I changed my mind.

I like sitting comfortably back in my seat while I type. It is much better than having my face glued to the monitor. I hope you readers are not bothered by it, and maybe some like it better.

Next post I will get back to emergency preparedness food, I hope in a more interesting way.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Emergency Preparedness Supplies Food

I hope you have started your disaster supplies list and have gotten together items for it that you already have on hand. If you are going to keep a can opener in your disaster supplies, it would be a good idea to have an extra one that you always keep in your supplies container(s), for example. The same applies to other items in daily use, an extra  one should always stay in the emergency supplies container.

Even your supplies intended for keeping and using in your home to shelter in place should be a special container that is easy and quick to get to and can be moved easily. Reasons for this are that if the power is out it would be hard to find what you need if the items are all over your home, some disasters involve being in one room of your home for a while. The last could be a hurricane or tornado alert, for example. You would want to bring your disaster supplies to that room as quickly as possible.

If you cannot afford to buy all the items on your disaster supplies list at one time, you may want to decide what to get first and keep working on it to complete it as soon as possible. You will need to decide your philosophy about what you want to do with your preparedness plans for yourself and your family. Some people are happy to get a three day supply and leave it at that. Others make preparedness a lifestyle. Most people are somewhere in between. Some churches suggest that their members always have a two year supply of food and other necessities on hand.

With times and financial matters in shaky condition worldwide, I believe that more than three days is better. Once you decide how much food, etc. you want to have prepared, you need to decide what you want to eat. A lot of people spend money on prepackaged disaster food in neat little boxes to stack in a closet, attic or basement. I do not like that approach because it tends to waste food. The prepackaged stuff is not necessarily what you and your family want to eat even if you know how to cook it. Foods that you and your family already eat every day are a better choice. You know you like those foods and how to cook them. They make you feel normal and happy. This can be very important to keep your spirits up in a tense disaster situation.

Your cooking arrangements may have to be different during a disaster if there is a power outage. An alternative cooking method would be a good idea for a preparedness item to have on hand. I like rocket stoves. That does not mean you have to like rocket stoves. Check around for what is available for you and pick what you like best.

Your food items should be things that do not require a working refrigerator or freezer. Power outages are often a feature of disasters and a freezer full of spoiling food would not prepare you for a disaster. Canned and dried foods are a more useful choice.  MREs are often considered a necessity for preparedness. I don't agree. The ex-military people I have spoken to about them convinced me that MREs are not good for preparedness in general. One of their worst disadvantages is that they cause horrible constipation if consumed regularly with nothing else to eat. You don't want to be sick in an emergency, so why eat something that will encourage that?

MREs are convenient and don't require much thought to prepare. Some of them even include something that allows you to pull a tab and they automatically heat. That can be good if you are not able to think well during an emergency, but it would be a good idea to be able to manage to think well enough that you won't need to use an MRE to prepare food to eat instead. MREs do not require much thought to buy and have on hand either. That is also a benefit. If you must use MREs, then limit how many and have other food to use as well.

Freeze dried food is also convenient, but the biggest drawback is that it is expensive. If you live on nothing but freeze dried food, you might prefer to plan to dine out at an expensive restaurant for the duration of the disaster on the money it will cost.  Just kidding.  Sorta. They do cost a lot, but they do taste great. Some companies give free samples and I have tried them and can say they are quite delicious. The ones I tried were only a couple of brands and were touted as being gourmet quality. I could not vouch for all brands on a taste test. If the company you decide on does not offer free samples, perhaps you could buy a small amount and give it a taste test for your family, before you decide to buy more.

I just buy my regular food involving dried and canned goods and figure out how many meals it will cover and restock it regularly. Putting a sticker on your food items to make it easier to rotate your supply, will help prevent spoiled and wasted food.

Comfort items are a good idea to include for emergencies.  Examples might be hot chocolate including marshmallows or brownies. Every person and every family has their own special comfort items so be kind to yourselves and have them for emergencies too. The tenseness during an emergency can be eased by comfort items.

I plan to cover more about food for emergency preparedness.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Prepare For Disasters - Make Your Family Safer

The Red Cross is a quasi-goverment organization. They work so closely with the govenment of the US that they are almost part of it. They usually arrive on the scene of a disaster before most government agencies do. They specialize in preparedness training and putting up and running shelters. They are a huge organization and their web site reflects all this. It is so big and complex that even people who work for the Red Cross don't know about the whole site.

The Red Cross site(s) are something that can easily overwhelm one if you let it. Don't let it overwhelm you. It is just fine to look around on it a little, but put your time into getting your basic preparedness supplies first and working out your personal and family disaster plan. After you do that you can cruise the Red Cross site and spend the rest of your life getting educated about disaster preparedness.

The Red Cross depends on volunteers and likes more of them any time. If you feel moved to become a Red Cross volunteer they do have fringe benefits. You may get a discount on classes with them. CPR, AED and First Aid are something every family should have at least one family member certified to be able to do. The Red Cross class is kind of pricey, but what is a life worth?

If you can't afford a Red Cross class even at a discount there are other options. FEMA recently paid for CPR, AED and First Aid for free all over the country. I got my certificate free because I am a volunteer leader for my local Neighborhood Emergency Watch. That is not to be confused with the crime fighters. The one I volunteer for is for getting prepared for emergencies like fires, floods, earthquakes, etc. Funds for this are limited so don't wait. My training was given through the American Heart Association, paid by the local Emergency Management Center, with funding that came from FEMA. You don't have to be a Neighborhood Emergency Watch Leader to get free training, but you get cuts in line for it and they are already low on the free classes in my area.

The Red Cross used to have a list that was specifically for go bags. A search on their site brings up pages of not necessarily directly relevant information and it could take a while to find out for sure if they still have the go bag list. I don't have a lot of time to write this today, so I am going to give you some suggestions on how to pare down your list of items to take with you to a shelter or if you can not take much with you to evacuate.

I would start with copies of important papers and medical necessities. I like hand sanitizer because studies I have read say that most diseases are spread by hand contact. Hand sanitizer does not require water, which may be hard to come by, especially clean water. I also like something to clean with like a washcloth. They have super absorbent towels that are very small and weigh very little. They are usually expensive.

Shelters are very boring and you can spend a lot of time just sitting with nothing to do. Something to entertain yourself and your family, especially if you have children, may prevent another disaster by keeping you occupied enough to avoid strangling each other. The entertainment would be better if it does not involve electricity, or batteries, neither of which may be available.

If anyone in the family is high-strung you might want to bring something like Bach Rescue Remedy. It is an herbal calming solution that does not use drugs and is not habit forming. You might want to check the ingredients to see that nobody is allergic to anything in it. I use it for my pets when I take them to the vet and it works very well for that purpose.  It is made for humans, though.

No pillows are given in shelters, if you need one, bring it. You may not be happy with the blankets either, but you have to decide how much you can carry and what space there will be for what you bring. If you are simply evacuating, the space in your vehicle or on your back is the limiting factor.

At least a change of underwear and socks is a good idea, and an entire change of clothes per person, if you can manage it. I find it helpful to pick my backpack to be used as a go bag and actually pack it to help decide what to leave out. You have probably already noticed that suggested items could fill up a huge vehicle and leave no room in it for people if you were to take them all. It will definitely be necessary to prioritize what to bring.

I lightly pencil in priority numbers on a printed list and start with the top ones and work my way down. Checking to see what will fit in your go bag periodically is very useful. Checking to see what you can actually comfortably carry and still walk is also useful.

Here are a couple of links to Red Cross pages of a supply list and a print out of emergency contact cards for all family members to have with them at all times. Emergencies are rarely conveniently scheduled for when you have everything you need handy.

Red Cross PDF supplies suggestions
Red Cross PDF Family Emergency contact cards to print out for each family member

No supplies are much use unless you are able to use them. I suggest you and your family practice. I will blog about that too.

You Can Prepare For Disasters

There is not so much need to worry about what will happen in a disaster if you plan for what you will do and prepare for it. It is not a really difficult thing to do if you find out what you will need and break down what you need to have and do to get ready.

There are several government agencies and nonprofits that have information available to the public about what to do in a disaster. I will provide links to some of them in this blog post.

There are two main ways to deal with a disaster. One is to evacuate to a safer place, perhaps a shelter that has been set up for people who have been evacuated. The other is to stay put and "shelter in place". If local authorities tell you that it is necessary to evacuate, you need to pay attention to them and evacuate. People who do not do this often end up dead. If you are told that it is ok to stay put and take shelter in your home, then you can shelter in place.

I believe the most important thing for you to have when a disaster happens is information. You need to know that the disaster has happened, what kind of disaster it is and whether the local authorities want you to evacuate. If you need to evacuate, you need to know where your shelter will be and safe ways to get to it. The emergency alert system tests that stop your radio and TV programs are to make sure the system works right in a disaster. The regular stations will stop normal broadcasting during an emergency alert and tell you where to tune in to find out what you need to know about the emergency.

There are many kinds of disasters and it can be overwhelming if you think you have to prepare for all of them at once. Relax, you do not need to do everything at once. There are certain things you will need in almost any disaster that are the same. Once you look at lists of disaster preparedness items you will see that once you are ready for one kind of disaster, you will be mostly ready for most other types of disasters.

The lists on the sites I am giving you links to are very comprehensive. They are meant to cover what many different people and families might need. Every person and every family is different. You and your family will probably not need everything on the list. You can start with what you think is most important. and work your way down to the less important and things you may not need at all.

If your time and budget are limited, you can prepare just a little bit at a time. You can start with being prepared for a disaster that lasts only a few hours and work your way toward longer term ones.  One meal at a time for you and your family to be able to eat during a disaster is ok as a starting place. Next you can prepare for a whole day and then three days, and so on.

I would like to suggest that you prepare a "go bag" first. This is a package that you can easily carry, backpacks are good, in case you are in a disaster where you have to evacuate. The sites I will give you links to will have lists of suggested items for go bags. There may be items not listed that you will want in your go bag and the go bags for your family. Again, go bags are as different as the people who make them. You will probably not need everything on the go bag list.

Here are some sites with information about preparing for disasters and lists of suggested items for preparedness for go bags and sheltering in place:

This link to FEMA explains about Go Bags

This is FEMAs list of basic supplies.

PDF short basic list of supplies

This link has FEMAs ideas for making your disaster plan.

FEMAs ideas for plans depending on where you are when a disaster happens.

FEMAs in depth guide to preparedness

The list of preparedness supplies starts on page 31 in the last link. You will probably not want to start right off with FEMAs in depth guide to preparedness, because it is very long and has a lot of information to digest, but you can copy it and maybe print it out so you can get ready to read it later. Don't postpone this indefinitely, though. Most of us like to procrastinate and that can be fatal. This needs to be a priority for everyone. You could die if you are not ready to evacuate and have to run around grabbing things and looking for them at the last minute. Avoid that by being prepared.

I am going to do another post, or several, on other disaster preparedness sites because this one is getting too long. I want to make this easy to read for people who are not used to preparedness.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I Decide To Blog About Saving My *ss (Survival)

About a year from now, a large number of people from past and present think that the world will experience an enormous catastrophe that may end life on the earth. There are some real heavyweights lined up on this idea and it is pretty scary that there are so many of them. This could make a person wonder about their survival, which I do not like.

The Mayan and Egyptian calendars agree within about a year. Nostrodamus and more recent prognosticators agree about it. Youtube has enough about the subject to let you watch depressing videos for hours, maybe days. I didn't watch them all, but it was enough to worry me a lot.

These gloomy ideas are about the physical part of the world. The prevailing engine of all of this destruction is largely agreed to be a polar shift. This is when the magnetic poles of the earth shift so that compasses point to a new north. The process involves the rather sudden shift of tectonic plates and that means a big mess for anything sitting on those tectonic plates, including humans. Part of that mess is earthquakes that would probably make a 9.0 look puny, and tsunamis to match. Another part would be volcanoes erupting en masse.

As if all the above was not bad enough, financial whizzes are talking bad stuff in their area. We seem to be on the verge of a global financial collapse. I think I am on the email list for every one of these bozos and they are all offering me free videos to rain on my parade. I watched one that showed me graphs that absolutely prove that if all the income of every single person in the USA were used, paying off the national debt would be impossible. Math is not one of my gifts, but we owe trillions and we keep adding more trillions yearly. My math is adequate to tell me a trillion is an awful big number and we are in deep doo doo.

It does not require rocket science to guess that my reaction would be to want to hie myself to the country and hole up for the cataclysm. I had already independently concluded that we are in for a polar shift in the near future, before I was made aware that a lot of other people think it will come next December 21.

I have been blogging away on various and sundry subjects that strike my fancy. I read that you should blog about what you know and what you are passionate about. I know a lot of different things since I have been in training for becoming self sufficient for most of my life. I am passionate about quite a few things too, but what could I be more passionate about than my personal survival?

I feel pretty strongly about making sure I die a natural death at the end of my allotted span. I believe I will just blog about this. Lots of things are involved in this prospect for me, so it will get a lot of variety in there so I don't get bored blogging about the same thing all the time. In some ways I have a short attention span. I gather that the attention span of the average internet surfer can be compared to that of a gnat, so that might work out well.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sifting Predictions For Next December's CataclysmicDisaster

I am a female prepper. I believe that we are to be differentiated from survivalists because we are more focused on our survival itself than on making it into a competitive activity. I had already been working on disaster preparedness before I found out what the excitement was about for 2012.

Youtube is the first place I discovered predictions about the disasters expected next December 21 of 2011. A lot of impressive types agree about it. The Mayan and Egyptian calendars are in agreement within about a year. A year sounds like a lot to us, but these folks made these predictions thousands of years ago. On the time scale of thousands of years, one year is pretty close, especially when you consider they were not using the same year lengths.

The majority of people who expect the world to end next December think it will come in the form of a polar shift. A polar shift is a sudden rearrangement of the tectonic plates that we humans live on. The continents shift in movements big enough and fast enough to cause massive earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.

I do not think the world will end next December, but I do think it could be a rough year to live through. I am not ready for such a big disaster as is expected, but I can handle smaller ones ok. I am making an effort to be prepared for next year's disaster the best I am able to do. I figure it is better to be ready and not have the disaster and not have it happen than the reverse.

I have given several people a quick tour of youtube videos on the subject of next year's cataclysmic disaaster. They were all pretty upset by what they saw, but all thanked me for it and said they would rather know than not. It occurred to me that more people might also appreciate it, so this blog post is going to do the same for my gentle readers.

This one explains what a polar shift is and that scientists have found they have happened before

This one is maps of what will be under water after 2012

There are lots more of these and whole sites with nothing but this stuff. It is enough to scare stuff right out of you. I do not think you should let it make you panic. I am going to do more posts about suggestions on what to do if you think this might or will happen.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Cream Puffs Recipe

Now that I have done several posts about how to keep your weight down during the holidays, I have to give you my recipe for cream puffs. I make these almost every year. The few years that I have not made them, I have felt deprived all year. I believe feeling deprived is fattening, so I mostly make them.

This is not a low fat recipe, but I have tweaked it a little to minimize the damage done by eating them. This recipe for cream puffs and also for the blanc mange filling comes from I particularly like their recipes and the variations given in their comments and the tips that others who have made the recipe give.

Cream Puffs - Shellie Wendell Modified by Yvonne

Prep Time: 30 min. Cook Time: 25  Ready in 55 min.  Servings: 20 (I usually make them bite sized, which makes a lot more of them) (The prep time is really off with my version because the blanc mange has to set at least 6 hours in a fridge.)

1 recipe of blanc mange to be used for filling (Make this the night or day before the shells.)
1 package of low fat whipped cream substitute
1 bottle of maraschino cherries

1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
In a large pot, bring water and butter to a rolling boil. Stir in flour and salt until the mixture form a ball.

Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon or stand mixer, beat in the eggs one at a
time, mixing well after each. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Centers should be dry.
When the shells are cool, either split them and fill them with the blanc mange mixture, or use a pastry bag to pipe the blanc mange into the shells. I just cut the tops off of the shells and hollow them out a little more with a grapefruit spoon.

I fill them using a spoon to put the blanc mange in the shells. I follow this with fake whipped cream and maraschino cherries. Last, I drizzle a little bit of cherry juice on the cherries to make it run down the whipped cream a little. I find this recipe handy for family members who live far away and can't get to celebrations on time, because I put extra shells in the freezer in a plastic container and bring then out when the late ones show up. You have to be careful and not rattle them around in the container when they are frozen, because they will break easily.

If I don't have the time to make the blanc mange, some purchased sorbet or pudding will work for filling. This looks so festive with the maraschino cherries, that you can get away with a fairly ordinary meal with this for dessert. This can be important if you already spent your holiday budget when late relatives show up for the holiday dinner and all the other good stuff is gone.

Blanc Mange - Chef Dunask Modified by Yvonne

Prep Time: 8 minutes  Cook Time: 15 minutes  Ready in: 6 hrs. and 23 minutes  Servings: 5 ( more if bite size)

Ingredients: 3 cups milk, divided  ( use low fat milk)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup white sugar (I replace part of the sugar with stevia, no more than half)
1 tsp. vanilla extract (I also add mint flavoring) optional
2 cinnamon sticks (I omit this)
1 lemon peel, cut into strips (I also omit this)
1 pinch ground cinnamon (I also omit this)
3 ounces shaved chocolate, for garnish ( I also omit this)

Place 1 cup of the milk into a saucepan.  Add lemon peel and cinnamon sticks. Bring milk to a simmer over medium heat.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and sugar.  Whisk remaining milk into the cornstarch mixture. When the milk in the pan begins to simmer, pour the cornstarch mixture into the saucepan in a thin steady stream. Whisk vigorously and increase heat just a bit to bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Allow the mixture to boil for about 20 seconds while continuing to whisk, then remove from heat. Remove the lemon peel and cinnamon sticks. Stir in the pinch of cinnamon and, if using, the vanilla (and mint).

Pour into a dish or mold, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight. Garnish with shaved chocolate just before serving.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The USA Is Already Getting Left Behind In the Dust On The Way To Solar Power

I went to a recent lecture by Alaskans who went on a tour of Norway to see what they are doing with their PFD eqivalent. They have a 600 million fund they use to make more money and fund universal health care and free education from preschool through Doctorates.  They are doing lots of other good stuff too. They hooked up a volcano to a power plant, for example.

This is another renewable energy project Europe is working on with Morocco, Egypt, and other countries:

I went to another lecture about alternative energy and found out that Europe is working on Tidal power plants. They are actually building them now.

Some Alaskan politicians went to Norway and were impressed. It would be nice if they did something useful with the information. We can't do exactly what they do in Norway, but we can use some of their ideas and do it our way.

The Guardian article talks about Desertec, a solar power project based in Morocco, so far, with plans to include other desert countries to generate a giant solar power plant. It is intended supply the needs of desert locals and 15% of Europe's power needs. They had been aiming at 2050, but are moving the schedule up to 2020 in the advent of Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Germany is the engine pushing this project and they have decided to completely eliminate nuclear power from their grid as soon as possible. Desertec is part of their way of achieving this goal. CSP , Concentrated Solar Power is the favored technology. It has been in use in other areas already including the USA.  "Flagsol is the German company that specialises in building concentrated solar power (CSP) plants in the deserts of the US, Spain and now Egypt.," according to the Guardian. Technology from two other German companies is being used for Desertec. "And only two companies in the world make the glass tube receivers, which is where the main intellectual property of this technology lays – Schott Solar and Siemens," according to Bodo Becker, the operations manager at Flagsol. He was interviewed by the Guardian writer, Leo Hickman, in the article linked above.

The United States is getting ready to sign on to an international agreement to have legal penalties for countries that do not meet limits to pollution. Renewable power sources are necessary for the human race to survive. This country will be at a severe disadvantage if it does not have adequate domestic resources for renewable energy. We are not tending to business very well when we let those US producers, of the equipment we will need, go to other countries like China. Continued decisions like these can add up to a position for our country as a third world nation in the not-so-distant future, instead of the world leader status we enjoy now. Let's not get left behind in the dust cloud of other nations passing us by.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Thoughts On Gender Role Perceptions

What younger age cohorts say about male/female roles is interesting. I have read that women can develop the physiques that we regard as typical for men. Maybe humans will soon stop having sex-linked characteristics. I am not sure whether that is good or not.  Maybe there will be a reversal in size and strength characteristics between men and women. There are other species where that is the norm.

Being too stereotyped for gender roles is not effective for homesteading, it seems to me. If you homestead you need to be more versatile than city folk on the grid.

I am a jill of all trades, but I can't do everything. I have more tools than most men, but some I am not so adept with. I am kind of wary of power tools so I don't use/understand them well. I do pretty well with hand tools though. I can do some basic car repairs and read the manual whenever I buy a vehicle and note suggested regular maintenance, etc.

I can do three plumbing things, change washers and filters in faucets, fix float valves, and wield a mean plunger. A plumber said he'd hire me for an apprentice because those items are what they do most of the time. lol.

I do basic carpentry and can do some home repairs and design and build simple furniture, using mostly hand tools. I also carve well, but consider that art, not carpentry.

I don't feel motivated to learn much more about mechanics, carpentry, or plumbing than I already know, because I prefer to stick to what I am pretty good at. I am able to outfit a person from headgear to footgear and everything in between. I am able to make it artistic and aesthetically pleasing if I have time as well. I can make most basic furnishings from the wood part to the soft parts and can cover the windows practically and aesthetically.

I can come up with something edible out of most ingredients. I can use herbs and food to help with healing and have a rapport with and can train most animals.

I'm pretty girly/feminine and prefer to wear dresses most of the time, even for gardening. I'm more comfortable with a somewhat male/female division of labor than a complete free-for-all about it. Some of this may have to do with my baby boomer generation.

Maybe this difference in younger people and their perception of gender roles is part of a change in the human race. lol. I am not sure whether this is good or not. It certainly is interesting and gives me a lot to think about.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

You Can Choose To Survive

The Arctic and Antarctic areas have been referred to as the "weatPeople who refuse to believe in climate change at this point, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, are choosing to select themselves out of survival. This is a natural process and pointless to attempt to interfere with. 

Ozone depletion in the areas where we want it to protect the planet from excess warming and other effects, is a chain reaction. Once started it tends to keep going.

We have already managed to destabilize critical weather making systems worldwide. One of these is the jet stream. This is an area of rapidly moving winds that normally stays up so far above the surface of the planet that it does not have an easily discernible effect on people living on the surface. Our changes in the ozone layer have caused the jet stream to drop down almost to land at times in some areas. The jet stream moves weather around the world so much that meteorologists have referred to it as a "conveyor belt for weather".

When the jet stream drops so low it causes extreme weather events. and since this is a trend instead of an event, we can expect this to worsen.

her factories for the world". These areas have been destabilized. Big surprise: destabilizing the weather factories of the world is causing weather extremes all over the world.

This has been information for the use of people who choose to select themselves for survival. Fasten your seat belts, it's gonna be a bumpy ride!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

22-Year-Old Cat Playing And Doing Tricks

Grass (oat grass)
This is my 22-year-old cat playing in a box.

He is getting ready to attack his brother.

He is getting ready to shake hands with me.

He is shaking hands here.
He is sitting up begging for a treat.

He does a lot of tricks and talks too. I am going to video tape and record him so people can see him doing these things. Some people don't know cats can do tricks or talk. His brother does tricks and talks also, but he is only about three and does not do very many yet.

Some of the things he says:

I love you.
Wawa or warer (water)

Kissy. (Kiss)
Fur. He uses more of a V sound than an F.
Purr. He says it like "Rurr." He usually purrs when I ask him to. If he is not in the mood he will do a short purr and stop. If I ask again he says, "Rurr!" in an aggrieved tone and won't do it any more.
Uh uh!  He says this to me when I am getting ready to do something he doesn't like. One of these is putting him in his carrier to go to the vet or picking him up when he doesn't want me to.
Ah ah ah!  He says this when I am already doing something he doesn't like. He has said this to vets giving him a shot.
A a a a a!  He uses this for both the above.
Bad boy!  He says bad boy to his brother sometimes.

He uses all of those appropriately and seems to understand them. He also appears to understand more words that he does not say.
Some of these are commands for doing tricks and behavior:
Shake hands.
Give me a kiss.
Cover your poop.
No, bad.
Around. (for turn around)
Do your kitten laundry. ( I tell him this when I want him to lick medicine off his paw.)
Good boy.
Come on up. (Jump up in my lap.)
Be a baby.. I tell him this when I want him to knead his afghan and pretend to be nursing. (It calms him when he is upset.)
He used to roll over when I told him to, but it seems to bother him to do it and I don't want him to hurt himself because of his age, so we stopped that trick.

He started talking when he was a kitten and heard my older cat talking then. She had a much larger vocabulary than he does, but I had to teach her a lot of what she said. I have not had to teach him much of what he says. He still learns new things to say. "Bad boy", is a new one. It freaks out his brother when he says it to him. He seems to like that.

His brother sounds like a siamese and has a bigger repoirtoire of sounds that he can make. This means he can speak more clearly because he can get sounds that are closer to English. He may talk better and have a bigger vocabulary eventually. He only says a few words so far. He is just starting to realize that talking gets him what he wants, so he is interested now. His favorite word is, "Play". He uses it a lot, but not if he can wait for his brother to say it first.

I believe all cats are capable of talking because neighbors cats have often started doing it when they heard mine talking. A friend called my first talking cat the "hundredth monkey." I am not sure if that is true, but all my talking cats so far, started because they heard another cat talking. I have seen cats on the internet, especially youtube talking, so maybe they don't need to hear another cat talking first.

I think all cats can do tricks, although some won't do more than one or two. I have been able to teach friends cats to do tricks and have taught a few people to teach their cats to do tricks. Training the people is a lot harder.

The first time I taught a cat to do a trick was a race between my sister and I. My sister had a dog and I had a cat and we were going to see whose pet learned to roll over first. My cat won by about a week.