Marti’s Corner – 111

May 14, 2023

Hi Everyone,

You should have a plan for what to do without electricity for an extended period of time – whether it’s rolling blackouts (like we have here in California) or an accident where the power is knocked out (a natural disaster), or any other incident where you would lose power for a day or more.  Plan now.  

You will probably lose the food in your freezer.  Can you preserve this food now to prevent that from happening?  Do you have a way to “can” this food without electricity?  

You may want to invest in a few “off-the-grid” solar panels.  This company is reliable.  You can get everything you need:  Renogy 800 Watt 12V/24V Monocrystalline Solar Premium Kit w/Rover 60A – TinyHouseEssentials  The company for the solar panels is Renogy.  They have a warehouse in southern California and can set you up.  The system you see here has 8 panels.  You can get smaller packages.  The thing you need to know about solar is that it only generates electricity in the sun, so you need batteries to store the electricity.  Also, it generates direct current, and you need a converter to change it to alternating current so you can plug in your refrigerator or whatever.  It can be complicated worrying about “watts” and such, but I wanted a few panels for my wheat grinder (have you ever tried to do this by hand??? HA!  What a joke!!!), Craig’s power tools, and maybe the sewing machine.  If the blackout were only for a day or so, I could use the panels to keep the refrigerator running.

The reason I was thinking about this week is that an article came up in my feed:  US Heading Toward Power Grid ‘Reliability Crisis,’ Energy Commissioner Warns.  We don’t need to be Chicken Little, but we should be cautious and prepare for the worst.

We decided to empty some of our 55-gallon water drums and refill the water.  I had three pumps that I specifically bought for this purpose.  NONE of them worked!!!  Ugh.  Then Craig found an electric pump, and the water just TRICKLED out!  Ugh again.  Finally, we just tipped them over (THAT was a trick) and let the water run out.

Drum Pump

The good news is that after 5 years, the water was clean and clear!  The bad news is that we need a pump we can rely on.

I’m pretty sure we used to have this one:  55-Gallon Drum Heavy Duty Barrel Siphon for Drinking Water Hand Fuel Pump, but I couldn’t find it anywhere.  If anyone has a pump they use a lot and really like, let me know, and I’ll pass that information along.

I’ve been watching videos on YouTube by Wicked Prepared.  She has several videos on Emergency Meal Kits.  She has a lot of good ideas and introduced me to some products that I’d never seen before.  Things you might want to put in a 72-hour kit.  Although a lot of her meals have canned food (which can be heavy), each “bag” will feed your whole family.  So you could have a 5-gallon bucket with several family meals as part of your 72-hour kit.  Some of her meals require no water, and no cooking.  Some require a little cooking (which you should plan for anyway!!!)

5 Emergency Meals for SHTF- A Stress-free way to feed your family when the grid goes down! – YouTube


The garden is great!  I have little green tomatoes starting to appear.  The carrots that I planted in November hardly grew at all over the winter.  They are still short and stubby, and most of them are forked.

I have baby cucumbers. I have two pumpkin plants that are really taking off, which is good because last year, all my pumpkins died.  

One pot of green beans is up and starting to get secondary leaves.  In the other pot, only one bean came up.  So???? It looks like some were eaten, and the others just didn’t come up, which is weird because it was the SAME packet of seeds!!!

My lettuce is producing again, and I’m getting a huge bag each week!  Yay!

I have 5 blueberry bushes, but only one has berries.  There is still time.  And some are only newly planted.  Maybe next year…

My blackberries are all flowering.  Blackberries can get out of control if you are not careful.  

I’m hoping the weather will warm up a little for the peppers and tomatoes and that we don’t jump from the 60s into the 90s!!!!

THIS WEEK’S PURCHASE: vegetable oil

I hope you stocked up on cans of tomato sauce when I suggested it a few weeks ago because I noticed at Winco thatOil the prices have increased from $.69 a can to $.85 a can.  

This week, pick up an extra bottle of vegetable oil or olive oil.  Name brands are over $4 for the 48-oz size, but the “off-brand” is still under $3.  Put the date on it and keep it in a cool place.  I just opened some olive oil that says May 2012 on the top.  It is not rancid!  It smells and tastes fine.  My motto is I NEVER throw anything away unless I’ve opened it and smelled it!!!

You probably should pick up an extra can of shortening as well.  I don’t use shortening too often, but it’s great for biscuits, pie crust, snickerdoodle cookies, and chocolate cake!!!  

MISC. PURCHASE: feminine supplies

I promise you, you do NOT want to be without this!!!  But you have to date them and rotate them.  Over a period of time, they will lose their ability to absorb.  Also, something you do NOT want!

Now, at my age, I no longer need them, but I keep a box of sanitary napkins in my first aid kit.  They are great for soaking up blood.  You can vacuum seal them and make them super flat, so they fit in the kit better.

Especially if you have daughters who might need them in the next couple of years.  Get some now.  Keep some in the car.  It’s just a good thing to have.


Honey-Oatmeal Bread – makes 2 loaves

I like this recipe because it uses what we have stored!  

If you have never made bread, make it a goal to try it this summer.  NOTHING tastes as good as hot bread right out of the oven – with butter and jam or honey!

  • 1 c. rolled oats – Place oats in a large bowl
  • 2 c. boiling water – pour over oats and let stand until lukewarm (about 20 min)

In a small cup, dissolve 2 TB yeast in 1/3 c. lukewarm water

In a separate bowl, sift together

  • 1/2 c. powdered milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 6 c. whole wheat flour

add dissolved yeast to cooled oatmeal and let stand for 5 min.


  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1/4 c. oil to the oatmeal mix and then add in the flour mix.

I like to let this sit for a while so that the wheat flour can absorb the water.  

Then knead for 5 min.

Let rise until double (there are tricks to this, so look it up on YouTube and watch someone!)

Then knead again.  Shape into 2 loaves (also a trick to this)

Let rise in well-greased loaf pans until it reaches to the top of the pan.  Bake for 1 hour at 325˚.  Turn out and brush with butter.


     Potato water may be used instead of plain water

     Add 1 c. raisins or 1 c. marmalade and reduce honey to 1/4 c.

     Add 1 c. cooked rice.

Chili and Rice Roll-ups serves 3-6

  • 1 pound ground beef – brown and drain excess fat

In a medium saucepan:

  • 1 can chili
  • 1/2 c. water – bring chili and water to a boil
  • 1 c. Minute Rice – add
  • Cover and cook on low for 5 min or until rice is done.
  • Add the beef to the chili and rice.
  • 6 flour tortillas

     Heat tortillas slightly in the microwave (I like to heat them in a dry frying pan)

Spoon bean mixture into each tortilla.  Garnish with shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, chopped green onion, sour cream, avocados, etc.

Grandma’s Chicken Casserole

  • 1 pound chicken, cooked, shredded (or 2 cans chicken or 1 jar chicken canned)

Grease 9 X 13 pan.  Heat oven to 425˚

Spread shredded chicken on the bottom of the pan.  

  • 2 cans Cream of chicken Soup.  
  • 2 c. milk

Mix soup with milk and pour over chicken.  

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 cans of refrigerator biscuits.  Place biscuits on top to cover.

Bake for 10 minutes or until biscuits are browned.  Turn biscuits and bake 5-10 minutes more or until biscuits are browned.



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3 months ago

Sorry but your link for the meals goes to the amazon location for the water pump. I would still love to see the 5 meals if possible. Thank you,

3 months ago

I always read your part of the newsletter first! Thanks for sharing all your great ideas.

3 months ago
Reply to  Cathleen

I like Marty’s Corner.

3 months ago

Thank you for so many delicious recipes. I can’t wait to try your oatmeal bread. I started baking when I was around 8 years old. I had many loaves that turned out like doorstops. With practice and patience over the years, I can produce a decent bread. For the past couple years I’ve been baking in a dutch oven and coals from a fire outside. I absolutely love this back to basics baking and keeping the old ways alive. When my kids were little, I told them they were keepers of knowledge. Someday it will be important to remember. We… Read more »

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