Twenty one years ago, I woke up one January morning to a huge earthquake and my mother screaming for me to get out of bed.

My family was unprepared for the 1994 Northridge, California earthquake. I was grateful that we didn’t lose water in our town, as my parents didn’t have any stored–and grateful that our house was above the dam (which, thankfully, didn’t break–but much of our our town was located below the dam).

When we went back to school a week later, the other students and the teachers still didn’t have water in their homes.

Right now, my family is prepared with food and water, should a disaster strike, be it a natural disaster or a financial one.

Be that as it may:

Several items in our pantry are low, and I am even out of canned tomatoes (I try not to ever run out of pantry items), which are a staple in many of my recipes. If we don’t have any sales, I won’t be able to make those recipes. I want to focus on building up items that are low in my pantry.

I want to master some alternative cooking methods, so that, should we be without power in an emergency, I can still cook what I have. As a bonus, doing these things will save me a bit off of my natural gas bill, since I won’t be using the stove or oven as often.

I plan to use my solar oven at least once a week this year, and more often as I master it. We have plenty of sun here!

My husband is building some rocket stoves. I am saving the grape vine and tree prunings to use to practice with these. I want to be able to cook and bake with these. They only take a small amount of fuel and make very little smoke.

I want to continue to find ways to reduce our utility bills.

I want to update our 72-hour kits, and purchase the neccessary items that we don’t have in them. 

I want to sell several things around the house that are no longer being used, to reduce clutter and as a source of money to help me update our 72-hour kits.

I want to develop several more recipes that can be made with pantry-only items.

I want to continue to compost, and do a better job of turning the compost more often, so that I can better fertilize the garden with items that we would normally throw out. I also want to do more trench composting.

I want to grow more in my garden, including more parsley, more lettuce, more Swiss chard, more green onions, and more yard-long beans.

I want to glean and process more olives this year. 

I want to waste less food. Try as I may, things go bad. Reducing our waste and more quickly processing garden fruits will save us money and build up our pantry.

I want to scan all of our important documents, and get those and our photos saved on two thumb drives. (My dad has two; he keeps one on his safe deposit box, and the other at home, and then switches them out each month). 


Feel free to share your goals for 2015 in the comments section below!

This post contains an affiliate link. You can read my disclosure policy here.


Similar Posts


  1. I also lived in the San Fernando Valley during the Northridge earthquake in 1994, right next to the city. My mother that lived 10 min. away lost her condo & car. She came & stayed with us & we had plenty of food & water. We did loose water service & electricity. As a newlwed I stared learning how to be better prepared & adding to our supplies every year. I also need to practice using our solar oven & update our kits & rotate water. Also need to update our first aid kits. I need to do more pressure canning & practice making bread. We eat more tortillas than bread & those are easy to make. Another goal is the organize our office & scan more important documents & photos.

  2. Happy New Year 2015

    I am hopeful and encouraged with the opportunities of the New Year. Great opportunity to reflect and plan forward.

    -I want to manage our freezer and frozen foods a little better and use up and make the most of what we have.
    -Daily reflection, prayer, and moments of silence to think, pause, and be thankful.
    -Review our financial records for 2014 and see how we did as compared to 2013 overall.
    -Pick up, do, and take the moments to organize in small nuggets not overall rehalls.
    That’s it… simple.

  3. I just wanted to stop by and say that your blog is incredibly inspirational. Thanks for sharing your story, recipes, how-tos, and beautiful creations with the world. I want to buy my first sewing machine soon and hope to one day be half the sewer that you are!

    I hope that you and your family have a wonderful and blessed 2015.

  4. Brandy, I have several dry stack towers, made of 24 bricks & 3 patio pavers. A tower would take less than 5 minutes to convert to a rocket stove. All that would be needed is to remove the artichoke garden topper, take off the top patio paver, remove 8 bricks & the next patio paver. From the inside of the tower, I would turn one of the bricks on the bottom row to make an opening, then restock the 8 bricks removed, & top with the metal type of burner grill used on a gas stove.

    I am looking for the grill now, but in an emergency, I could just use a larger pot or skillet, which I have. I like that the materials are there as a decorative part of the garden, ready to go with a simple conversion. I also save prunings as firewood, & as you say, it doesn’t take much. I have several paper grocery bags full of well dried prunings, on a shelf in the garage. They are 4 years old, & would be excellent for a rocket stove.

    I have been considering saving toilet paper tubes filled with dryer lint as fire starters. They work great for camping, & in my oldest daughter’s wood stove. I think they would work well in a rocket stove, too, & they are free.

  5. I, too, wanted to express how thankful I am for your blog. I check for postings most days even when I don’t post a comment. Had never thought of storing a backup drive in my safe deposit box. Thank-you for that idea. My overall goals for 2015 are to reduce clutter and to better manage my budget. To that end, I have decided to go back to a cash and envelope system for my groceries. I set it up last week with a trip to the bank for the cash, a new spiral notebook to record purchases and a zippered pouch. All ready to go. I know if I do the little things, I will get to my other goals. As part of best using my resources, I also need to reduce food waste. Baby steps.

  6. Happy New Year everyone! Brandy, I loved this post as it made me think about my long term goals for this year a bit more. I tend to plan more short term than long term for most things. So after some reflection, here are some of the long term plans I want to do this year:

    *I am booked for an upcoming surgery at the end of January, which is my main priority right now. Most of my efforts at the moment are towards preparing for this. Once I have recouped, I will be able to start working at some of my other long term goals.
    *We are trying to save for a down payment on a house. We’re getting closer to the goal amount, but I will be continuing to focus on saving as much as I can so more of our funds can be channeled into our savings. I will also keep watching the real estate market so I am well prepared in price comparisons when the time comes to look at purchasing a home.
    *I will continue to use my job working at a pioneer village to expand my knowledge on frugal living. I have learned quite a bit about gardening (there are many people I work with who are very knowledgeable which is a huge blessing) and how the pioneers in our area survived without depending on grocery stores and hydro. Many of these ideas and techniques are also transferable to my own frugal living. I have also learned skills like embroidery and a little about weaving, which I hope to continue developing in the new year.
    *I want to continue to expand my cooking skills, such as how to cook dried beans and how to make baked beans completely from scratch. I wish I had learned this when my grandma was alive. Apparently she made really good baked beans!
    *I will continue to find ways to make quick, frugal meals that everyone in my family likes, so that we can avoid eating out when life gets too busy.
    *I want to continue to prepare healthy, quick grab lunch items for my daughter’s lunch (and mine when I’m working) in stead of buying overpriced and unhealthy convenience items like cookies or granola bars.
    *My 11 year old daughter is on the autism spectrum (Asperger’s) so she is socially delayed. We will be working on some life skills in the new year to help her develop some personal independence moving forward. This year we will work on her taking responsibility for her morning routine (set alarm, pick out own clothes, take shower without assistance, prepare her own breakfast and make her own lunch for school). Each year I hope to add new skills such as cooking, doing laundry, keeping house etc. These skills are difficult for her to master as she has extreme difficulty with any changes in her routine. Fears (like handling hot food/pots) and sensory issues (like the loud noise of the vacuum) can be debilitating for her making it far more difficult to teach than the average child. My hope is to teach these skills slowly so she will have greater efficiency and independence as an adult.

    That is everything that I can think of for now. I hope everyone has a wonderful, prosperous New Year!

  7. I’m not big on making resolutions, but I like the idea of thinking about goals for the year 🙂

    My biggest one is to build up the pantry and maybe save a little bit of money while I am working, since it is a very real possibility that I will be out of work in May when my current contract ends. The biggest thing of course is the grocery budget. It’s hard when I am working full time plus commuting, but I need to work on planning ahead and doing lots of shopping and cooking on the weekend. I need to clean out an inventory the freezer so I can have room for meat when I find sales, as well as keeping homemade baked goods for the kids lunches. I also need to be better about bringing my own breakfasts and lunches to work.

    I also have a solar cooker that I need to learn how to use. Brandy, I would love for you to post about yours along the way.

    I love to sew, and my goal is to make at least one thing per month using patterns and fabric that I already have (mostly clothes for the kids).

    I need to work on building up and utilizing the garden beds in our new home. I need to set up drip irrigation on the side of the house.

  8. My two major goals are:
    1. Lose an additional 100 pounds to get down to a “normal weight”.
    2. Save at least $1,000. I’m paying for my daughter’s college so there is little money to save.

    Everything else I do will be based on these goals, such as organizing my house to gather up items for a yard sale in the spring as well as have a calm, relaxing envirornment. Increasing what I grow in my various garden plots and containers will help with reducing the food budget and eating a more blanced, healthy diet. I plan to clean out the refriigerator each week to avoid waste and use what I buy. I want to consider each expenditure and whether it contributes to these goals or not. There are a lot of things I would like to buy (such as the dehydrator advertised on this page), but I need to get the savings up first.

    Good luck and best wishes to everyone in 2015. I’ve been very blessed in my life and hope to use the talents and treasures with which God has blessed me. Thanks to everyone that particpates on this blog since you encourage me to do just that.

    P.S. I’m changing my signature name from Mari to Mari in MD (abbreviation for the state of Maryland for those who live overseas and might not know our state abbreviations) because I find it helpful when others do that.

  9. i too would like to build up my emergency food supply; have a better garden and can more items; get my sewing room organized and use up some of my fabrics. need to start a project to earn some money. have a great new year.

  10. Happy New Year Brandy, May I suggest scanning photos & saving them in the cloud. I’m saving them in google drive, dropbox for free & if there is a fire I know they are safe. I also have an exterior hard drive(passport) but if Im gone in an fire or eq don’t know if it will survive. Do some research on it online. Have a wonderful year. Thanks for being an inspiration & keeping me motivated to keep learning new things.

  11. I love your goals, Brandy. Being more prepared has been on my heart as well. I’ve made a lot of progress as far as my year’s supply is going this year. I’m thinking about investing in a solar oven, and I for sure need more water! As far as New Year’s goals, I decided on doing a New Year’s Word instead of specific goals this year – it worked really well for me last year. 🙂 http://www.letsdosomegoodtoday.com/2014/12/31/352/

  12. I bought a sun oven late last summer. We live in a ground floor condo in the Seattle area, and have a small patio with southern/eastern exposure. I was able to use the oven well into September until the sun got too low on the horizon to heat the oven to a safe temperature. But, before then, I managed to cook several full meals in it on sunny days. I can’t wait to start using it again the spring. It should be a great option for people who live in the desert and have lots of sun.

  13. Go for cloud storage with your photos too – that way if the thumb drives fail or if something catastrophic happens and you both lose your homes, you’ll still have your photos. Cloud storage systems occasionally offer free-for-life deals. I don’t save every single photo on the cloud; I do digital scrapbooking, and then save the digital scrapbooks on thumb drives (one at work, one at the back of both of our cars), a portable hard drive (home grab-bag) and cloud storage. I also save other important documents there – insurance papers, a copy of our will, etc. I update everything on my birthday – I chose that date because the 1st of the year is too busy; and my birthday comes right before bushfire season starts; and I know me, I wouldn’t do it more than once a year. Yes, there’s a chance I might lose up to 12 months of photos; but I figure losing a year is better than losing everything; and like I said, know me, if I try to do it more than once a year it’ll just not get done.

  14. Oh, and my goals for 2015 – Finish up the upstairs bedrooms and bathroom that are in a state of half-done disarray (we are horrible at starting a project, and then not finishing it for several months); and practice unconditional love. I tend to be fairly cynical and judgemental so that will take a lot of work; but I’m making progress.

  15. My outlook for the new year:
    Word: Balance
    personal goal: restorative yoga and more photography
    health goal: move at least three days a week (walk, snowshoe, swim, yoga, zumba, etc)
    financial goal: cash only for everyday purchases (no credit card)
    family goal: monthly movie/game nights and bedtime routine
    marriage goal: monthly dates
    spiritual goal: daily devotion and gratitude journal

  16. Marivene,I have saved the oven racks and the cast iron burner racks of my expired gas stove for use on a fire pit. You have given me an additional idea for their usage .Thank-you:)

  17. We have also done two thumb drives with all our important documents. One is kept out of our home at another location. It has a record of all the passwords and account numbers we use. I made one for my family when I was travelling overseas as I am the one who does most of the online bill paying.

  18. It is wonderful that you are teaching your daughter life skills. I work with a few Autistic individuals who spent 40+ years in institutions. Institution staff told us not to bother trying teaching new skills as it would not be successful. Staff refused to believe this and it is amazing the things that these individuals have overcome and accomplished. Taking things slowly and being consistent was the key. You are setting your daughter up for a bright future.

  19. My goal for 2015 is to pay down debt and live frugally. Sounds so simple, ha!
    I will continue to read your blog as it inspires me to try harder at living within our means.

  20. Happy New Year, Brandy! There are always one or more great ideas I take away every time I visit. Scanning important documents and storing them on a thumb drive is a great idea, and I also like the TP tubes and lint idea as firestarters. Most of my laundry is hung on the line, but I do use my dryer on occasion, and it doesn’t seem to take much to create a lot of lint. For several years, I regularly used a hotbox, which is just a very well-insulated box. My ex found instructions online. I’m sure there are even more tutorials now. I used it most while building my house. I was so rarely in the house, between my job and building the house, and would start a pot of grains or potatoes in the morning, put it in the hotbox, and it would be cooked perfectly at dinner time. I don’t typically make resolutions, but I’ve gotten several ideas to ponder here. Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts and experiences!

  21. Brandy, you always amaze me. I am going to print this. There are plenty of wonderful goals from your FB friends too. Thank you . Thank you. Thank you.

  22. I’m thankful for 2014, both the joys and the challenges, and am looking forward optimistically toward 2015.

    My personal goals: Read 24 books, 2 per month. Restart scrapbooking hobby and restart my genealogy search.
    My health goals: Exercise at least 3 times per week and incorporate more walking/moving in my daily routine.
    My financial goals: With my husband, re-examine our budget looking for ways to trim. Start an 18-month challenge to save enough money to pay cash for my husband, daughter and I to do an Alaska vacation for her high school graduation gift. We will cut out most eating out, sell unused items, funnel rebates and extra money into the “Alaska or bust” kitty in addition to our regular monthly contribution for family vacations. We will also forgo a vacation in 2015 in order to help make this happen in 2016.
    My family goals: Spend more time with my aging mother (she’s 80) and more time with my daughter in her last 1 and 1/2 years before heading off to college. We will cook and bake together, visit state universities and simply hang out together more.
    My marriage goals: Plan a date night twice per month. We won’t necessarily go out but we’ll do something fun together.
    Spiritual goals: Find at least one thing per day to be thankful for and write it down.

  23. Your daughter is really blessed that you are teaching her life skills. I used to work with kids on the spectrum…I miss them.I used social stories sometimes to help with new schedule changes. I believe Carol Gray has written a lot about this. The basic idea is you write a story
    about the changes in routine and read it several time before the schedule change. It helps prepare the kiddo for the change. I used
    to write social stories on the spot if we were having an unplanned change. Grab a pen and write your own. It works great with younger children for things they are not real familiar with (doctor, dentist, mommys having a new baby). Blessings, Patti from San Diego:)

  24. Dear All,

    Thank you for the lovely post and reminders of being ready/prepared for any life journey–good and bad.

    I have already stated my primary goals are to reduce debt and declutter.

    I made a list of goals and selected one word as inspiration for 2015. I have never tried doing the one word technique in place of New Year’s resolutions but I am going to give it a try (as well as make goals).

    As I reread and reflected on my blog postings for the last year, I felt like there was too much “Oh woe is me” themes. I am going to declutter my mind from those kind of thoughts and hope for positive results. For myself, I want/need to focus on on “spiritual preparedness” for the New Year as well as other kinds of preparedness.

    Best wishes to all for a New Year.


  25. I also have putting together 72 hour kits on my list of goals for 2015, in addition to improved emergency kits for our vehicles. Other goals include:
    -finish paying off last 2 credit cards (will try a debt snowball for this)
    -plant a small garden- we have just purchased and moved into this home and our yard needs to be completely done over after years of neglect from the previous owner. This will be our major goal with regards to our home this year.
    -spend a lot of time working on donating or selling many items from our home. We have so much excess and have realized with this move that we can live with so much less. Our plans are for 2 garage sales- one in the spring and one in the fall.
    Happy New Year to all!

  26. Our goals for 2015 are to continue to build our pantry & freezers and be generally prepared for whatever may come our way – financial issues, natural disaster, etc. Watch the sale ads and use them to build our pantry. Change the way we shop by cutting back and sticking to our lists to restock what we need. Also to continue to pay down debt and add to our savings. Reduce our “frivolous” spending – even though we are quite frugal, we do sometimes find ourselves frittering away money on things we don’t need, especially on the weekends.

  27. My husband is self employed and things haven’t been great for the last few months and we are preparing for that to continue being the case for the foreseeable future. So…our goals this year are as follows.

    *Make it through January and at least February before touching our savings. This will entail being very intentional with our spending. If work picks back up early, we will be able to resume saving by March. Unfortunately we don’t know if that will be the case.

    *Complete a No Spend 90 Day Challenge. I will be blogging my way through that. We are using this as a time to pray and to financially fast in order to make a big decision that we have to have settled by April 30th.

    *Either purchase a big piece of equipment for the business (if we are able to keep the business running) or use that money to move to a place where we are able to find employment.

    *Be more intentional in our parenting.

  28. I read every day with my granddaughter who has Aspergers. She is high functioning, but socially challenged. Over the last year & a half, we have read thru all of the historical American Girls books, except Julie, because I don’t have that set. Besides learning a lot about history, we found that the books provided a platform to discuss a lot of things like manners, being nice, & how to handle when others are not nice to you. We are reading the American Girl History Mysteries now, & so far, they are providing much the same platform for discussion. Reading every day with grandma also provides her with a little extra attention, which is helpful, & has moved her from the lowest reading group to the highest.

  29. Goals for 2015… try to work out a debt reduction plan.. seems impossible but will start with baby steps and go from there. More importantly keep from spending. Need to reorganize pantry and food stores, rotate, rotate, rotate. Also need to rotate and restock water this year. Summer goal is to build an outdoor wood cob oven, have fire bricks already just need to get started. Need to get back to using clothes line again or drying racks inside to cut back on electric use. Want to try batch cooking some meals on weekends for when I am working more during the week, less eating out. We shall see how well we can do this year.

  30. Your preparedness goals have me excited, especially the one about learning to cook alternatively. Curious, have you ever heard of Wonder Ovens? I’d say this would be your best next item to try out. In my 5 years of practice with emergency/ alternative cooking my opinion is that between the Sun Oven and Wonder Oven you can do most anything. Also, just an FYI, with your size of family you will most likely discover that you’ll be needing a second Sun Oven to be able to cook enough food. And as you get started, just a tip, the best time to cook with your sun oven is mid morning, and never after 2pm. Because of the space and sunlight hour limits it’s difficult to cook enough food for a large family with just one sun oven. I share my experience Sun Oven cooking and wonder oven cooking on my blog. I also have 160+ pantry only meals if you’re looking for ideas there. I guest posted recently an “everything you ever need to know” about Wonder Ovens at the Backdoor Survival blog. This post will give you a good idea of all this particular tool can do and the kinds of things you can learn to cook with it, so maybe it’ll help. http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/slow-cooking-with-the-amazing-wonder-oven/

    Cheering you on as you strive for these great goals this year!!:)

  31. Hi Brandy, what is a 72 hour kit and what do you put in it ?

    This year’s goals are –

    * To make more presents. I can make lots for the females in the family but the men are a challenge.
    * Open up an online gift shop through my blog.
    * Continue to beat my gift budget. Leftover money is used for the Boxing Day sales, my food slush fund and holiday spending money.
    * Find more ways to save water, electricity and gas.
    * Use the craft supplies on hand to make gifts or to sell.
    * Declutter more cupboards. I’m not a hoarder at all but I like order and space in my cupboards.

  32. Hi Megan!

    It’s been a long time since I’ve looked at your site.

    I have been thinking about a wonder oven, too; it’s nice that you have sewing patterns available, too!

    I don’t know if you are new to my site or not, but we lived on our food storage for over a year, because we had to. I don’t store a lot of the more expensive options anymore; I had a few then, including powdered eggs, canned chicken, and dried fruit, but those aren’t things I can afford to store anymore. We’ve spent the last 7 years working on building up our food storage for very little–and had many months of living on it since then, too. So the pantry-only meals that I want to add will be meatless. Right now we have the blessing of our garden, year-round, but I know that in a long-term emergency situation, we would be without that, and I want to be prepared for that possibility.

    I will definitely check out your solar oven cooking tips. I’m old hat at cooking from scratch and spending 6 hours a day in the kitchen, but baking and cooking in the solar oven is going to take some practice, I’m sure!

  33. Wendy, a 72-hour kit is to help you make it through the first three days of a major emergency (hurricane, earthquake, flooding, wildfire, etc.) It’s put in a backpack so that you can grab it and go, if you need to.

    There are lots of different opinions on what they should contain, but it is essentially food, clothing, water, cash, and emergency supplies. Some of the best articles I’ve read on this are these:


  34. I went back and looked over the goals of 2014. I met most of them. One however I did not meet. I am going to meet that goal this year for sure.
    My goals this year are pretty much the same except I changed one. I am now going to turn off the TV more often and do more sewing and reading. I am guilty of too much TV. I work 60 hours a week, so it is difficult sometimes to get it all done.

    I want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year and hope that your year is blessed with all things good.

    Thank you Brandi for a wonderful blog with so many ideas. I am always learning something new. As an older woman I am surprised that I can still learn so many new tricks.

  35. I want to build emergency kits. I don’t have any. I don’t know where to begin. Besides water. I’ve read so many things and I’m confused. It’s my goal this year to get it done.
    I really want a garden but we rent a home that’s surrounded by hundreds of farm acres. They use pesticides and I don’t want them blowing on my garden. So, I’ll pray for God’s will to be done. If it’s His will we move- again- then so be it. Until then, I need to learn how to can to preserve the foods we buy.
    I want to learn how to sew especially since I received a sewing machine as a gift.
    I want to save more energy and help my family see the benefits without frustrating them.
    I want to be debt free
    I want to spend more time with my family. We hardly do that. It’s sad.
    I want to be healthy and help my family to be.
    Most importantly, I want to build my relationship with God and help family to as well.

  36. Thanks Brandy. I had a feeling it was something like that Although we wouldn’t really have those emergencies where we live in suburban Melbourne, Australia I will look at those links. It’s something we should all think about.

  37. Brandi, will you let us know how cold it is outside when you try out your solar oven? I have wanted to acquire one of those for quite a while now…thinking mostly for emergency use, but also for keeping the house cooler in warm weather. However, I really want to know if it is a viable option for baking in the winter should we need it.

  38. I’d like to. Of course, some places are sunny in winter and some are cloudy. We have sun here and warmer temperatures than other places, and are further south, all of which I would imagine would affect things. Still, we plan on doing it each week and seeing how it does!

  39. Wendy, emergencies can vary from place to place, but most definitely occur everywhere, no matter where you live. Just watch the evening news. I may not be at risk of having a Tsunami hit in Ontario, Canada, but we certainly have had our share of winter storms and unexpected power outages, which for some areas lasted over a week. You could be hit by out of control wild fires which prompts an unexpected evacuation, or maybe your city is put into a quarantine lock-down due to an epidemic outbreak…and lengthy power outages can (and do) occur everywhere! The idea of a 72 hour emergency kit is that if something unexpected happens, you have something with the bare essentials supplies to help you through the first few days (water, food, change of clothing, flashlight with batteries, matches, etc.). The kits are made portable so if you had to leave your home unexpectedly, they can be grabbed quickly and taken with you. The reality is everyone should have a kit, no matter where you live!!!

  40. Wow, lots of good goals here!

    My 2015 goals are: (1) Bake bread at least once per month; (2) Read 15 books; (3) Grow 200+ pounds of produce this summer; (4) Create and implement a monthly cleaning schedule; (5) Have monthly financial update discussions with my husband; (6) Visit Aldi to make an informed opinion, and add it to my shopping routine, if appropriate; (7) Put together a chore list for my daughter, and make it part of her routine; (8) Pay off $5,000 worth of debt; (9) Make ahead and freeze two meals per month; (10) Sell all remaining small-business inventory; (11) Redesign blog; (12) Create a weekly meal plan every week.

  41. Add me to the list of Northridge EQ survivors! My husband & I had only been married about 6 wks. when we got that one. We always joked that we survived a big wedding, 2 wks. of the bed-ridden flu bug, Christmas, & then the EQ…so we knew we could survive ANYTHING! (We’re at 21 yrs. 🙂 ). We lived in Simi Valley so we had a pretty tough commute into Hollywood for several months. We hadn’t unpacked any of our wedding gifts yet so everything was in a closet and not one thing broke!!!

    We had a good store of food and water so we did quite well. We used our bbq for cooking and the swimming pool water to flush the toilets until we got the okay that nothing was leaking. The hardest part was having to listen to the radio since we didn’t have electricity or cable. In this day and age, we’re so visual that we just couldn’t imagine what the news talkers were describing.

    That was my 3rd major EQ and I hope it was my last!!! I’m no longer in Southern Cali.

    Happy 2015!

  42. Marivene, I have saved the tubes for years, filling them with lint and adding candle bits, when have them. I know some people use cardboard egg cartons but we need to take our cartons into the farm to get more eggs. My husband uses
    sawdust (compressed) in one of the stoves in his workshop. We also burn nutshells and scraps of wood too small for
    other use. We don’t need to buy wood for our stove as we get it off the property.

  43. Dear Brandy
    Happy New Year!
    In several of your blog-posts you have mentioned “gleaning”. As I understand that term it is something along the line of “picking produce or grains left behind after the land-owner is done with the harvest” and I was wondering what measures you take to make sure you don’t unintentionally end up stealing produce.
    Also I wanted to thank you for the encouragement you and your website was to me in the past year.

  44. That’s easy–I always, ALWAYS ask permission!

    Gleaning is a little different when it comes to fruit trees. Usually you will see fruit trees with the fruit left on them to rot, where the owners never pick them at all. This is a great opportunity to knock and ask permission. The owners are grateful not to have to clean up the rotting fruit, because you are picking the fruit before the rest of it falls (and good manners would have you help clean up what has already fallen).

    We don’t have big fields around here to glean, but my sister-in-law passed one after dropping her son off at college. The farmer had closed his farm for the year (there was a sign) and frost had not come; she could see food still sitting on the vines. She knocked, and he had no intention of picking anything else for the year. She asked him if she could glean, and he said yes. She brought home melons, tomatoes, and more. She said there was so much more left in his field that it could have fed many families.

    Gleaning is the Lord’s way of providing for those in need. It still involves work–not just picking, but also processing.

    There is so much food that goes to waste. If you look for it, you will see it, and be amazed.

    I picked olives last year from a man who planted fruitless olive trees (the only kind allowed here, but sometimes they fruit anyway). He has 6 trees, and 4 of them fruited. He is responsible to clean up all of those olives, and he has no desire to process any of them. They fall in his rocks (lots of work to clean up) and on the sidewalk. His HOA will fine him if he doesn’t clean them up. He is more than happy to have people come pick them; in fact, he wanted me to pick ALL of them! (I wish I had the containers to do it last year!) This was after 3 other people had come to pick.

    The other thing you can do is forage. If you live somewhere other than the desert, you will have a lot more foraging opportunities. There are people who teach classes on it, bloggers who blog on it, and guidebooks to help you with it. Different areas have different laws for foraging, but you can pick berries, nuts, mushrooms, fiddleheads, nettles, purslane, and much more. Just make sure to check your local laws, and be informed so that you know what you are picking is indeed edible and not poisonous.

  45. Congratulations on helping your granddaughter with her reading skills, and especially with her incredible jump in the reading levels. As an elementary school librarian, this just excites me to no end:) Her confidence in reading will boost her confidence socially as well.

  46. Excellent post and comments ! Makes one really think about goals and the new year !

    * We are new empty nesters and really need to learn how to cook now for just 2. I think I will have less waste !
    * Up our pantry supplies. When our middle daughter moved back to OR, I let her take ALOT of what was in my pantry.
    * Because our utilities have gone down so much I am wanting to use a certain amount of that money monthly and replace all my gardening tools. Along with adding fruit trees to the garden !
    * Continue to fine tune the budget.. This year will be alot of adjusting (we had 3-4 extra people in our home living with us last year)
    * I want to start some new hobbies, just don’t know what yet. Currently I crochet, and I gave my sewing machine to my daughter.

  47. Angel, if you are worried about the pesticides in use they just won’t get on food you grow. If you have a well they can leach into ground water, blow in through your open windows, settle on to the grass, sandbox, swingset where your children play. Pets will lick them off their paws. If it is really worrisome to you the you may need to be proactive about where you live.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *