Emergency Preparedness 101

Okay, let's be direct and upfront about it: we all need to get sorted on the emergency preparedness front. Let's all stop for a minute, and be real about whether we have put our big girl pants on and actually done what needs to be done, in order to survive a significant civil or natural emergency.

Be honest, are you prepared?
Have you got what it takes to make it through a civil or natural emergency when it does occur?
Have you got a plan in place, that will help you and your loved ones ride out days without access to outside help and support?

Here in New Zealand, those who work in Civil Defence has been telling us for ages to get it sorted. We see all the ads, we get the flyers... and we can be guilty of doing little (or even frankly a big fat nothing!) towards being prepared in case of an emergency.

We quietly (and quite honestly, rather foolishly) think: It will be okay, outside help will come.

The reality is however, when disaster does strike, or a major emergency occurs that interrupts local civil services on a large scale, there is no guarantee whatsoever that what is currently taken for granted will be there at all.

Let it sink in: Help will highly likely not come for some time.
It won't.
You need to be prepared, Friends.
You need to get prepared and get a household plan and emergency supplies kit per household member sorted.
End of story.

I can confess that for a while some time back, I personally was tentatively trying to do something towards doing the right thing for our own household, and we stored some bottles of water in the deep freezer. But really and truly, that was pretty much it on our emergency preparedness front, here in my neck-of-the-woods. We are just as guilty about being inadequately prepared as many others would also honestly confess to be.

Yet, in the past weeks we have had more frequent reminders from the earth around us, here in good old New Zealand. Each tremor and unsettling shake with the re-occurring earthquake movements has reminded us, to think about having things on-hand in the form of more extensive emergency supply kits NOW.

Those earth tremors that we hear about, and the resulting damage they cause, need to motivate us. We each need to get a move on about putting together plans and actual collections of extra essential-to-life supplies set up. We need to get a move on, and get a plan and some resources sorted out NOW.

So how do we get going? How do we get even somewhat prepared from the get go?

Well, putting together a plan of action, and putting together a basic emergency kit per household member by putting aside an extra item or two each grocery shopping day, would be a good start.

There are sensible, wise people who have put up numerous blog posts and Youtube videos on what would be a good basic kit for each household member, in the event of an emergency. There are websites also with detailed information, and even products for sale, that are very easily able to purchased and collected over time.

Jennifer Morris is one New Zealand based blogger who comes to mind, who has graciously shared her household's checklists over on her blog. You can check out her blog post on the 72-hour emergency kits she put together for each member of her household for starters, and see how one local kiwi family are getting prepared.

 72-hour emergency kits

Useful things like solar powered LED torches can easily be purchased here in New Zealand off our Ebay equivalent online website, Trade Me.  There are a number of online websites specialising in long life food packs, and other particularly useful and essential items which would be perfect to tuck away in each of your emergency kits. 

Emergency staples such as long life food are good to look to include in each emergency kit. If you require Kosher or Halal friendly long life food, there are available to be purchased also. Such online websites as survive-it.co.nz, supply long life food ration packs, such as these Mainstay brand Emergency 3-Day Rations.

Such items as water purification tablets, and even water storage containers, are all things to consider putting away in an emergency kit.  There are numerous local and international online suppliers, that make it very easy to go about getting an emergency supply kit in place for each member of your family.

The recent earthquakes here in New Zealand are unsettling. They remind each of us again that there are things beyond our own control, and nature is able to literally rattle us all occasionally and turn our lives completely upside down in an instant. Getting prepared ahead of time for a civil emergency is actually relatively easy. It is wise and sensible to do so. Let's each get on with doing what is best for us and our loved ones now.

Miss Petal Feels Poorly

Miss Petal, one of our backyard chickens was looking poorly this morning. Unlike her sisters, who all scurried over when I brought out their breakfast, she stood wobbling to one side. I could tell she wanted to rush on over also. However, at the risk of falling flat on her beak, she simply stood with a wobble happening, moving backwards and forwards.

Our feathered girls are very much family members here in our neck-of-the-woods. Since we adopted our rescued hens (they are all ex-battery girls) we have enjoyed seeing them every morning, out and about enjoying their garden area.

We have had six hens to date in total, and over time have sadly had two of them pass away. With each passing there are tears and grief. Yet there is some small comfort also, as we know for a time each got to live a much better life than they originally experienced in the battery hen factory farm they came from.

Whether they are suffering perhaps from being egg bound, or have a sore toe or leg or some other ailment, each time one of them is looking under the weather, there is something of a ruffling of their human keeper's feathers here in our home (pun intended, of course!). We love our girls! Any moments of hurt and suffering always touch our hearts, and cause concern.

So today Miss Petal was uplifted from her place amongst our flock, and brought inside for some extra tender loving care. Set up in a quiet area, suspended in a chicken sling to take the weight off her feet, she perked up enough to have her breakfast and settled down for a time to heal.

We hope you feel better soon, Miss Petal. We love you.

My Backyard: Beautiful Beetroot

What a delight to find this huge beetroot present in the garden! Finding produce like this is just such a blessing. Seeing produce like this result, truly warms your heart when you have put such a lot of your heart into growing your own food.

Composting, mulching, companion planting, seed saving, working with the needs of particular crops, and embracing a completely earth-friendly gardening practice, via the Back to Eden Gardening Method, all took some research for our household to come to grips with. Yet, now we are seeing such wonderful rewarding results, time and time again.

The taste of spray-free produce is just so wonderful. With thick mulching across garden beds, water content increases also, so that the resulting fruit, vegetables and herbs are just so much more succulent. With less than 600 square metres to work within, our household can testify that you simply do not need a farm sized property to produce good, wholesome food crops.

Seeing produce like this huge beetroot present in our garden is truly a delight. We highly recommend taking what steps you can towards growing your own food, in a completely earth-friendly fashion. We sincerely encourage you to embrace the Garden of Eden methodology for growing your own food crops. The results speak for themselves. Go for it.

The Value of I'm Sorry

"I'm sorry." More often than not, they are the first words spoken when a mistake is made and when an error of judgement occurs. Yet, what value do they really have?

Being a full-time home educator, and being with my children on a daily basis (notably now also during what would for many be the usual daily working/schooling hours), I am very privy to the ins and outs of relationship dynamics between my children, as well as how they go about their interactions with others.

As we journey the homeschooling journey, we are engaging together in those aspects of teaching and developing their social and inter-personal relationship skills that are all important life skills; alongside the usual and typically taught academic areas of study. This has recently got me really thinking about the value we place around saying sorry.

"I'm sorry."

We have all had some experience with these very words. Whether we were brought up to speak them out, (preferably quickly, was the typical emphasis also!) when we ourselves transgressed. Or, we have been at the receiving end of them. But what do they in fact achieve? What value does saying, " I'm sorry," truly have? It has been something that I have been thinking about lately. 

"I'm sorry."

They are words that seem to float around occasionally, as part of inter-personal interactions. They are used to appease, to hopefully voice to the recipient something of an acknowledgement of our guilt, our self-knowledge of having done wrong. Yet what does saying "I'm sorry" really achieve?

Have we pacified our children, by bringing them up to respond with "I'm sorry," when they transgress? Have we provided them with a false sense of manufactured ease to be able to step away from responsibility and accountability, by instructing them to say, "I'm sorry," each time they fault?

Have we watered down an awareness of the importance of making amends, of self-correcting, of putting that which was dis-placed back in place?

Has the use of the word sorry, aided our sense of guilt becoming the major primary focus; rather than our need to put right the wrong we set in place?

As the one at the receiving end, how often are we left feeling dissatisfied? How often are we left with the full outcome of the mistake and error, to deal with it in fact ourselves?

At times it can well seem that the tables are turned, and suddenly the wrong-doer is now the one seeking to have their feelings soothed. There can be that sense that to not accept their voiced sorry-ness as all that is completely required to put the wrong right again, will show a lack of social grace, or even good character on our part.

"I'm sorry." It acknowledges the wrong-doer's position in the experience had; that of wrong-doer. It is expected to serve as an acknowledgement of guilt. Yet, how many times does the word sorry actually make amends? It doesn't.

Words cannot make actual amends. Actions made amends. Actions create correction. Until actions take place, the words "I'm sorry," are a sticking plaster on a gaping wound. In themselves, they simply do not achieve anything, with regard to constructive restoration and the righting of a wrong carried out.

Do we as parents place the emphasis far more on an expression of guilt, by drumming in to our children the need to apologise, rather than putting right that which was wrongly done?

Have we created the situation where the feeling of guilt is supposed to be at such a level, that our children are in fact to be guided and directed by guilt in their decision making, rather than their sense of right and wrong, when it comes to instructing them in life skills?

Have we endeavoured to make guilt the big monster that will prod them into behaving? 

We may well have fallen very short by teaching generations upon generations of children to apologise, and not to see the necessary value in amendment, the need for active responsibility, and for literally participating in helping assist and restore that which was created as a result of their error.

These are thoughts I have been challenged by recently, and they have got me really thinking about what it means to guide our children in their inter-personal interactions with others. We all want our children to communicate well, and have positive inter-personal skills in place when socialising with others - so perhaps we need to really think through what are the real consequences of what we are teaching them, that little bit more.


DIY Diva: Pedestal Serving Dishes

A couple of charity shop items and a tube of super glue......

With everything clean and dry, the glue is applied.

The two items are carefully aligned and placed so the glue adheres them together.

Put aside to allow the glue to dry, they will soon be ready.

The result? A collection of rather glamorous new pedestal serving dishes. Ta da!

Homeschooling: Book Haul #3

It is amazing what lovely books you can find in church opportunity shops and even recycling centre shops. I was delighted to get this haul of books today. There are a number of classic books, as well as early readers.

October has been a wonderful month for finding pre-loved books, to add to our home library collection. Perhaps there are a number of people doing a sort out of their home library bookshelves, as part of their current spring cleaning? October has certainly been a great month for finding books in good pre-loved condition, and at very reasonable prices, from what I have experienced this past month!

Another really great haul of pre-loved books, obtained while out visiting another local community. These were all fantastic finds for sure!