Windstorm Preparations

Windstorm preparations

A long line into the sewer district. There is another line visible further to the east. Click to enlarge

In preparation for the approaching storm, scenes like these were repeated all along the Wasatch Front. There were temporary waste collection sites at LDS Church stake centers and at other locations. After helping in our ward, Dan and I drove through several streets in central Kaysville and found hundreds of people and dozens of trailers being loaded. It was an impressive sight.

Windstorm preparations

Follow a laden trailer if you don't know where to go

Windstorm preparations

Because men were driving the pickups, directions were provided without having to ask

Windstorm preparations

Though the line was long we didn't have to wait long

Windstorm preparations


Windstorm preparations

Even minivans were drafted into service

Windstorm preparations

The line as we drove for the exit

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Kaysville Windstorm Part 2

Kaysville windstorm preparations

Kaysville 14th ward members turned out in force to clean up

It is not often that the Governor warns the citizens of Utah about the weather. But he did just that Saturday night when he urged residents along the northern Wasatch Front to prepare for another windstorm, forecast to begin at 5pm Sunday.

After Thursday’s windstorm, most residents have not had time to completely clean up.

In preparation, our stake president instructed wards to have their priesthood organize to remove branches and other debris that could become airborne in the approaching high winds. Accordingly, in our ward at church this morning the priesthood were asked to assemble in work clothes at 1pm. There was no asking for volunteers, it was just assumed that all able-bodied men would respond — which we did.

We collected all the green waste and took it to the Central Davis Sewer District where it will be converted to ground wood waste and mixed with biosolids, then composted and sold to the general public. It was quite the operation (follow the link for photographs), with armadas of pickups and trailers.

Kaysville windstorm preparations

There were large tree trunks to deal with as well as branches

Kaysville windstorm preparations

Chains saws were the weapon of choice

Kaysville windstorm preparations

Sister Blair handed out hot chocolate

Dan and I, after we had finished within our ward boundaries, drove to my daughter’s home for a branch meeting. There we removed part of a tree that was entangled in the power line to her home. The power is still out from Thursday’s winds. When we had finished cutting down the branches we asked Sarah’s ward members if they would take away the debris and they immediately dispatched ten men to her backyard.

Kaysville windstorm preparations

With the power still off it was a good time to clear away the branches that were stressing the power lines

Kaysville windstorm preparations

Dan did most of the work under my skilled supervision

Kaysville windstorm preparations

Sarah's ward had an efficient operation in progress

Kaysville windstorm preparations

Ever wondered what was inside those Mormon steeples? Nothing, at least now there isn't

Kaysville windstorm preparations

Mmm, I was wondering where that chair of ours ended up

Normally, Mormons view a Sunday as the sabbath day, a day to be kept holy. Occasionally, and this is the first time for me, members have to work together on a Sunday to secure their communities.


The high wind warning was cancelled but some gusts did hit 40 miles per hour.
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Simple Water Heater Emergency Heat

This year’s Halloween nor’easter has started me thinking about how to heat my apartment if the power goes out for an extended period of time.

If the water and gas are still on, one possibility is to make a simple hydronic heating system using the water heater. The basic idea is to hook a hose to the hot water faucet, run it around a room, then to a drain.

As a proof of concept I picked up a faucet to garden hose adapter and some extra hose from Home Depot. After setting up the system I turned off the furnace and went to sleep.

Table of Results

Time Room °F Flow Rate GPM °F in °F out BTUs Notes
10:00 pm 70.1 0.5 150 100 12,500 Max. flow water heater can sustain
10:23 pm 76.8 0.2 150 100 5,000 Reduced flow
10:27 pm 77.4 0.2 150 95 5,500
10:57 pm 79.3 0.2 150 95 5,500 Too hot, opened window and door
11:19 pm 77.5 0.1 150 90 3,000 Reduced flow, closed window and door
04:30 am 75.9 0.1 145 85 3,000

The system worked extremely well. I suspect it could easily heat two rooms.

Setup Details

Procure a dual thread for 3/4 inch hose or male 55/64 inch adapter, model number 37.0109.98, $5.95. Alternatively the hose could be attached directly to the washing machine faucet.

Attach adapter to hot water faucet

Attach adapter to hot water faucet. Connect hose to adapter

Spread hose around the room

Spread hose around the room

Ensure there are no kinks

Ensure there are no kinks

Drain waste water into tub

Drain waste water into tub


Joint Family Home Evening: 72 Hour Kits

Water, water filter, and bleach
With three of my five children now married I asked them if once a month they would like to get together for a Joint Family Home Evening (JFHE). Everyone agreed so we all met for the first time this month for the purpose of putting together our 72 hour emergency kits. We decided to gradually build up the kits over a period of months.

Readers of my blog are welcome to add any words of advice as this is the first time most of us have tried to assemble a kit that one can actually carry any decent distance.

Three categories I have ranked in order of importance:

  1. Water
  2. Food
  3. Shelter


At our first JFHE the focus was on water. For the kits we assembled:

  • Nine 20 fluid ounce bottles of water
  • One 2/3 fluid ounce bottle of bleach
  • One water filtration bottle


The nine bottles in the photograph are used 20 fluid ounce Gatorade bottles, previously collected, filled with water. This amounts to a total of 1.41 U.S. gallons, or just shy of a half a gallon a day, or three bottles a day, for drinking.

One bottle of bleach is approximately 390 drops. One needs eight drops of regular Clorox bleach to purify a gallon of water, or double that for cloudy water. Even in a worst case the yield will be 24 gallons of water.

I added a label to the bleach that reads “Bleach. 8 drops / gallon. double for cloudy.” This guards against the priesthood from accidentally bleaching the hair of the sick.

To Disinfect Water: If you need to purify water during an emergency, (and don’t have the means to boil it for 3–5 minutes), you can disinfect your water using bleach:
For clear water—add 8 drops (1/8 tsp.) of bleach per gallon of water
For cloudy water—add 16 drops (1/4 tsp.) of bleach per gallon of water

Mix the solution thoroughly and let it stand for about 30 minutes before using it. Properly treated water should have a slight chlorine odor. If it doesn’t, repeat dosage and allow water to stand an additional 15 minutes. The treated water can be made drinkable by pouring it between clean containers several times. (Source: The Clorox Company)

Each family has a water filtration bottle. This can be used in conjunction with the bleach to improve the taste of the treated water. The other members of the family would have an additional bottle of bleach instead of the filtration bottle.


If supplies are already at hand, for example, tap water and household bleach, I count this as no cost.

The families will now have a month to assemble these items, or something similar. Next time we will address food, or at least the main meals.

Thoughts anyone?
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Till Everything

Tomato cage caught in the tiller
When I am out in the garden I till everything. Today as I was tilling I noticed that the width of my tilling had suddenly extended by another foot and a half, mowing down some flowers that weren’t scheduled for destruction. Until the flowers began to shred, I hadn’t noticed that a tomato cage was mangled in the rotors, sticking out of the side. It took me quite some time to extract what was left of the cage. I need more practice till I can get it right.

At the time there were not any tomatoes in the cage, and now there never will be. Oh well, till next time.
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Temple Square at General Conference

Temple Square at General Conference

Last month from January 17-23, Philadelphia became the first city in nearly 50 years to reestablish National Thrift Week. National Thrift Week was an American social movement that was begun in 1916 and continued until 1966, when it was abandoned.

Apparently for many, thrift has been a forgotten virtue for the last few decades but it is now making a comeback. Let’s look at what the original National Thrift Week was trying to accomplish and then follow up with quotes from Mormon Church presidents because for Mormons at least, thrift never went out of style.

National Thrift Week

In 1922, according to the New York Times, the committee in charge of National Thrift Week emphasized:

  • Enrolling 500,000 individuals to operate their finances on the budget plan. State Thrift Week committees had quotas.
  • Observance of Benjamin Franklin’s birthday in cooperation with schools, patriotic societies and businesses. Franklin was a keen practitioner of thrift.
  • Thrift is “common sense applied to spending.”
  • Visits by school children to banks and trust companies after school and banking hours.

The National Thrift Week program had a ten-point program such as “work and earn” to increase production; “make a budget” to plan expenditures in advance; “pay your bills promptly” to avoid the curse of debt; “invest in reliable securities” such as Liberty bonds; and “share with others” by giving to the church and other worthy causes.

Mormon Church Presidents Speak on Thrift

While Mormons do not need a National Thrift Week to encourage thrift, nevertheless additional focus on this excellent virtue is welcome. As a Mormon, I have heard thrift and preparedness preached over the pulpit for decades. I suppose that it has been continuously spoken of because not all Mormons have been listening. However, many members have heeded the exhortations of their leaders and have prospered accordingly.

The following are quotes on thrift, self-reliance, and giving by the last eleven presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1901 to the present. These pronouncements carry considerable weight with most members of the Church, even after a president has died.

Joseph F. Smith

6th President, served: 1901–1918

Joseph F. Smith“…I met a brother—I need not call his name, for he is but one among thousands who can bear the same testimony, not only by the word of mouth but by the evidences of thrift, of prosperity, of progress and of improvement which surround him in the midst of the deserts.

This season he has gathered in rich harvests, his farms having produced in abundance, while the farms of many of his neighbors are clogged with weeds, and their harvests have been only one-half or one-third what his has been.

How do you account for it? I account for it in the fact that God has blessed him; and so does he, for he is an intelligent man, a man that not only labors wisely and prudently, but in the fear of God, and in the desire of his heart to obey his laws.”

“Chapter 31: Obedience to the Law of Tithing,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith

Heber J. Grant

7th President, served: 1918–1945

Heber J. Grant“Our primary purpose was to set up, in so far as it might be possible, a system under which the curse of idleness would be done away with, the evils of a dole abolished, and independence, industry, thrift, and self-respect be once more established amongst our people.

The aim of the Church is to help the people to help themselves. Work is to be re-enthroned as the ruling principle of the lives of our Church membership.”

Conference Report, October 1936, 3

George Albert Smith

8th President, served: 1945–1951

George Albert Smith“The Saints need to give not only of their substance but of themselves. This is the Lord’s work. This is not the work of man. If we desire to be identified with the kingdom of our Lord, the celestial kingdom, this is our opportunity to prepare—with love unfeigned, with industry, with thrift, with perseverance, with a desire to do all that is within our power to bless others, to give—not to be always feeling we must receive, but desire to give, for I say to you: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20:35).

The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of giving, not only of our substance but of ourselves, and I thank my Heavenly Father that I belong to such an organization that has been so instructed.”

Conference Report, October 1934, 52

David O. McKay

9th President, served: 1951–1970

David O. McKay“Giving something for nothing as a grant is contrary to the fundamental teachings of the Church. The real purpose of the Church Security Plan is to produce independence on the part of each individual, to make him self-supporting, to replace idleness with thrift and productivity.”

Pathways to Happiness, David O. McKay, 374

Joseph Fielding Smith

10th President, served: 1970–1972

Joseph Fielding SmithAt a press conference the day following his appointment as president of the Church he had expressed amazement at all the “fuss” being made over him. As the months wore on he had cause to feel even more amazed.

One minor recognition that caught his fancy, however, was that he was the holder of the oldest savings deposit account in the Zion’s Savings Bank (now Zion’s First National Bank). His father had opened an account there in his name when he was born in 1876, just three years after the bank was begun. And the account remained intact until his death in 1972.

President Smith was always a strong believer in thrift and the savings account was symbolic of that thrift.

Life of Joseph Fielding Smith, John J. Stewart

Harold B. Lee

11th President, served: 1972–1973

Harold B. Lee“In what we might liken unto a great ‘pincer movement’ of enemy forces to encircle us, we are being surfeited with the doctrine that we can get ‘something for nothing.’

When the smoke of the present frenzied social conflict has cleared away and the carnage resulting therefrom carefully counted, we shall have had proved again that we cannot get something for nothing and continue to prosper, and that the habit of giving instead of getting is the way to happiness. Then our faith in those tried and trusted virtues of thrift, self-sacrifice, and frugality will have triumphed over the vices of reckless spending, selfishness, and a disregard for decent standards of common civic virtue and morality.”

Stand Ye In Holy Places, Harold B. Lee, 337

Spencer W. Kimball

12th President, served: 1973–1985

Spencer W. Kimball“Now, when I was a little boy in Southern Arizona our Latter-day Saints were the pioneers. They were struggling to get their feet planted in the soil-to establish themselves. They were largely employed by others, often at pitifully low levels of income. They were the post-hole diggers, the hewers of wood and the drawers of water. They were the farm hands, the mill workers, domestic servants in the homes, the railroad section hands.

Now, I would not have you think that such work was dishonorable, nor unholy, nor improper, but it is limiting. But in my short life I have seen this people through education and thrift rise to new planes and become the leaders in the communities and hold high places in government, business, professional, social, and political affairs. I have seen them become the landowners and many of them become independent and financially secure, as well as faithful spiritually.”

Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, Spencer W. Kimball, 381

Ezra Taft Benson

13th President, served: 1985–1994

Ezra Taft Benson“A sterling virtue which builds manliness and independence is frugality of thrift. ‘Waste not, want not’ has long been the clarion call.

In more recent years, however, this maxim has given way to so-called ‘deficit spending.’ Many have been teaching that we must spend our way into prosperity. How do you regard this philosophy? Have you stopped to analyze its effect upon the independence, self-reliance, and character of the individual? And what of its possible effect upon the very existence of this nation as a haven for freedom-loving men and women?

No man in debt is truly free. He who has not learned thrift and economy is constantly beset with problems and misgivings about the future. His own freedom and peace of mind are endangered. Those dependent upon him are likewise jeopardized in their self-respect and freedom.

So Shall Ye Reap, Ezra Taft Benson, 165

Howard W. Hunter

14th President, served: 1994–1995

Howard W. Hunter“The basic virtues of thrift, self-reliance, independence, enterprise, diligence, integrity, morality, faith in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ, were the principles upon which this, the greatest nation in the world, has been built.

We must not sell this priceless, divine heritage which was largely paid for by the blood of patriots and prophets for a mess of pottage, for a counterfeit, a false doctrine parading under the cloak of love and compassion, of humanitarianism, even of Christianity.”

“The Law of the Harvest: As a Man Sows, So Shall He Reap”, Howard W. Hunter, BYU Devotional, March 8, 1966

Gordon B. Hinckley

15th President, served: 1995–2008

Gordon B. Hinckley“I commend to you the virtues of thrift and industry. In doing so, I do not wish you to be a ‘tightwad,’ if you will pardon that expression, or to be a freeloader, or anything of the kind.

But it is the labor and the thrift of people that make a nation strong. It is work and thrift that make the family independent.

Debt can be a terrible thing. It is so easy to incur and so difficult to repay. Borrowed money is had only at a price, and that price can be burdensome. Bankruptcy generally is the bitter fruit of debt. It is a tragic fulfillment of a simple process.”

Thou Shalt Not Covet,” Ensign, March 1990, 4

Thomas S. Monson

16th President, served: 2008-

Thomas S. Monson“Industry, thrift, self-reliance continue as guiding principles of this effort. As a people, we should avoid unreasonable debt.”

Thomas S. Monson, “Goal beyond Victory“, Ensign, Nov. 1988, 44

“Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their year’s supply of food and clothing and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year’s supply of debt and are food-free.”

President Thomas S. Monson, “That Noble Gift—Love at Home,” Church News, May 12, 2001, 7


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Making Wax Filled Lint Egg Carton Fire Starters

The Utah Preppers blog had a post yesterday on making fire starter candles. As I already had melted wax on the stove for making candles, I gave fire starters a try. Here is how it turned out, along with a field test video.

Egg carton with dryer lint

Fill the base of an empty cardboard egg carton with dryer lint

Melting the wax

Melt some old candles

Egg carton filled with hot wax

Pour the hot wax into the egg carton

Egg carton filled with cooled wax

Let cool

Lots of fire starters

Cut into separate fire starters

A Field Test

Having never used a homemade fire starter before, it was time for a field test. We lit the fire starter and placed twigs on the flames. We had a couple of false starts when the wind blew out the match. After demonstrating that the fire starter does work, we cleared away the burning wood and examined the fire starter. It was still giving out plenty of flame.

Using a fire starter

Testing a fire starter

Fire starter gets the fire started

The fire starter successfully gets the fire started

Fire starter is still burning

After several minutes, we clear the wood and the fire starter is still burning

Field Test Video

Finally, Be Careful

Ten red starters sitting in the camp,
Ten red starters sitting in the camp,
And if one red starter should accidentally glow,
There’ll be no happy campers sitting in the camp.

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A Simple Preparedness Plan

All Is Safely Gathered InCome, ye thankful people, come;
Raise the song of harvest home.
All is safely gathered in
Ere the winter storms begin.

This preparedness plan is really simple:

  • Three-month supply
    Build a small supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet.
  • Drinking water
    Store water in sturdy, leak-proof, breakage-resistant containers. Consider using plastic bottles commonly used for juices and soda.
  • Financial reserve
    Save a little money each week, gradually increasing it to a reasonable amount.
  • Longer-term supply
    Where permitted, gradually build a supply of food that will last a long time and that you can use to stay alive, such as wheat, white rice, and beans.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will recognize that this plan was detailed in the pamphlet All Is Safely Gather In: Family Home Storage. The plan can be simplified even further, at least for those beginning their family home storage, by focusing on the first three items.

The First Presidency wrote:

We encourage Church members worldwide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings. We ask that you be wise as you store food and water and build your savings. Do not go to extremes; it is not prudent, for example, to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once. With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve.

This preparedness plan is simple and realistic. Newly married couples can easily follow this plan and build a decent food storage over time. Young Single Adults can too. When I was single I had 350 pounds of wheat, among other food supplies, that I sold to help pay for my travel to the United States when I emigrated.

Today I hope I have given you something to chew on.

God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied.
Come to God’s own temple, come;
Raise the song of harvest home.

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A Can of Seeds

Canned Garden Seeds

I purchased a can of non-hybrid garden seeds. They are a good item to store for a time when seeds may be hard to obtain or become very expensive.

Why Non-Hybrids?

If you are trying to be self-sufficient, using hybrid seeds is not a good idea. The seed of hybrid vegetables does not grow true — you may not get taste, productivity, or even appearance. Only open pollinated, or “heirloom”, or “traditional” varieties will produce seed which, when saved and planted next year, will give you the same results as the parent plant.

Save your own seeds. This cuts gardening costs by 25% to 50%. Non-hybrids taste better. Many hybrids are now selling for high prices. When you save your own seeds, you only buy once.

A Can of Seeds

There are enough seeds to plant more than 3/4 acres. The varieties have been recommended by Utah State University for short season climates; with excellent adaptability for most regions. Complete instructions for planting are included. There are 16 varieties:

  • Sweet Corn, Golden Bantam, 5 oz
  • Spinach, Bloomsdale Longstanding, 10 gr
  • Pepper, Yolo Wonder, 5 gr
  • Peas, Lincoln, 5 oz
  • Cabbage, Golden Acre, 10 gr
  • Winter Squash, Waltham Butternut, 10 gr
  • Swiss Chard, Lucullus, 10 gr
  • Cucumber, Straight Eight, 10 gr
  • Radish Champion , 10 gr
  • Onion, Utah Yellow Sweet Spanish, 10 gr
  • Lettuce, Romaine Paris Island Cos, 5 gr
  • Pole Bean, Kentucky Wonder Brown, 5 oz
  • Beet, Detroit Dark Red, 10 gr
  • Carrot, Scarlet Nantes, 10 gr
  • Squash Zucchini, Black Beauty, 10 gr
  • Tomato, Rutgers PS, 5 gr

The unopened seeds should store for four years or more depending on storage temperature. The seeds have been carefully dried to their optimum moisture content to increase their storage life. The cooler the storage temperature, the longer the storage life of your seeds.

This can of seeds is ideal for emergency and preparedness storage. The best place to store your seed would be in a cool, dry, dark location such as a basement. For best results store unopened can in a refrigerator or freezer. You can replant the seeds of these non-hybrid varieties for future harvests.

Now all I have to do is to figure out how to grow them. :)
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