Thursday, January 24, 2008

Stud Baker

Here is a cool pic of the bread making experience from Doug T at church. What a stud. He converted a kerosene heater into an oven! I'm so proud of him.

Get Baked,

The Bucket Mid January 2008

I thought in this month's edition, I'd write about the few ways my life has changed because of this calling. This endeavor has played such a remarkable role in bringing the gospel to a daily focus. Not since my mission (or teaching at the MTC) have I felt the gospel as a powerful force in my daily life. Not that prayer and scripture don't already fulfill that need, but adding the food storage/emergency preparedness component to my life seems to magnify how I experience the gospel.

Here are three words that describe the “New and Improved” Andrew:

Hoarder—I have developed a nasty habit of buying food in excess to store in the basement. I find it electrifying to go downstairs and count my cans! It is a wonderful sense of accomplishment when I have reached the right amount of a certain type of food.

Impulse shopper—A few days ago, we were at a certain “Big-Box Super Center” enjoying the free market society. I could have made a special visit to the flat screen TVs, the automotive section or even the dress sock isle, but no, I really wanted to grab some more yeast. Did you know there is regular yeast, quick yeast and instant yeast? Amazing. I went to Costco to pick up a few things for Kristy on Friday. I came home with three buckets of wheat. Not on the list—complete impulse buy. Kristy sent me to the grocery store for frozen vegetables and I came home with a bunch of MRE's and dehydrated foods.

Baker—I have been developing hobbies over the last couple of years. I really enjoy reading and fly fishing. Over Christmas, I made my first batch of whole-wheat bread using my wheat grinder and now I'm hooked. I've made pancakes, muffins, and 6 loaves of bread. The bread has become my new favorite treat. Kristy's Bosch mixer will soon become Andy's Bosch mixer. Much to Kristy's dismay, the bread making is now a weekly tradition! The only thing I need now is my own apron.

Making a lot of dough,

The Bucket January 2008

The Bucket
Learn it, Love it, Do it!

The Little Red Hen
Edited for Content and Length

One summer day the Little Red Hen found a grain of wheat. “A grain of wheat!” said the Little Red Hen to herself. “I will plant it.” She asked the pig: “Will you help me plant this grain of wheat?” “Not I!” said the pig. “Then I will plant it myself,” said the Little Red Hen. And she did.

Soon the wheat grew tall, and the Little Red Hen knew it was time to reap it. “Who will help me reap the wheat?” she asked.”Not I!” said the pig. “Then I will reap it myself,” said the Little Red Hen. And she did.

She reaped the wheat, and it was ready to be taken to the mill and made into flour. “Who will help me carry the wheat to the mill?” she asked. “Not I!” said the pig. “Then I will carry it myself,” said the Little Red Hen. And she did. She carried the wheat to the mill, and the miller made it into flour.

When she got it home, she asked, “Who will help me make the flour into dough?” “Not I!” said the pig. “Then I will make the dough myself,” said the Little Red Hen. And she did.
“Who will help me bake the bread?” said the Little Red Hen. “Not I!” said the pig. “then I will bake it myself,” said the Little Red Hen. And she did.

After the loaf had been taken from the oven, it was set on the windowsill to cool. “And now,” said the Little Red Hen, “who will help me eat the bread?” “I will! said the pig. “No, I will eat it myself!” said the Little Red Hen. And she did.

Don't be a pig!

Cluck Cluck,

The Bucket November 2007

The Bucket
Learn it, Love it, Do it!

Life is interesting. Depending on who you listen to, we are either in the best of times or the worst of times. Some might be looking too close and some are not looking at all. Some are ruled by fear while others seemed to be asleep at the wheel. Some of us want to hide, while others throw caution to the wind. Let us not be ruled by fear or procrastination; let us be driven by simple faith and obedience. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of good news and preparation. We must prepare ourselves spiritually and temporally. We prepare not because we fear the future, but because being prepared is simply who we are as Saints.

I am concerned that some members of the ward are getting overwhelmed with the entire food storage/emergency preparedness issue. Depending on who you listen to, it seems that if you don't know how churn your own butter or make soap from horse hair, you are in a lot of trouble. Please understand that the Lord is asking us to first obtain a three month's supply and then complete our year supply. No one will go hungry because they can't make wheat burgers. Frankly, I don't think we will be making them any time soon.

Luckily for me, I'm married to the most grounded person I know. She is the epitome of balance and temperance (unless it involves chips and salsa). She has taught me to only worry about the things that I can control. Oil prices, the dollar, George Bush and global warming are all things over which I have little control. I can learn to make bread. I can find fun things to add to my food storage. I can learn as I go. I will be blessed because I simply kept the commandment. Remember, Nephi didn't know how to build a ship until they came to the shore. One step at a time, my friends.

Next week I will be passing out order forms for the food storage party. We will have two stations on Saturday, December 15th from 2-4pm. We will need at least 10 volunteers! While I would love the entire ward to participate, you don't have to attend to order food.

Hermetically sealed,

The Bucket October 2007

The Bucket
Learn it, Love it, Do it!

Can you feel it? There's something special in the air. It's electric! It feels like the growing excitement of game day. I'm feeling a spring in my step! Ooh, goose bumps. You feel it too, don't you? Rumor has it there is another food storage party in Ogden on Saturday, December 15th from 2:00pm to 4:00pm. We will have two stations which means we'll need at least 10 volunteers. This will allow us to can an enormous amount of food. We will be passing out sign-up sheets and order forms in mid-November. Start saving your pennies! Wheat—a wonderful gift for the whole family!

The stake has a couple of food storage and emergency preparedness activities that are coming soon. One activity that I am really excited about is a wheat demonstration. They will have various examples of practical uses and recipes for wheat. I think someone said they will show us how to make wheat burgers. Won't that be thrilling! Being raised a Michigander and not always a Mormon, how was I supposed to know you can make wheat burgers? When I get more info, I'll pass it on.

On a different note, do you pay much attention to the world economy? When you get the paper, are commodity prices the first thing on your mind? Have you thought about the wheat production in domestic and foreign markets? Here's a recent headline I read just the other day, “Global wheat supply shortage spikes prices, worries importers.” Canada, Australia, and Russia report monumental drops in their wheat production. There are many factors at play, but the most alarming factor is severe drought.

If that doesn't get your attention, let me leave you with these words from President Spencer W. Kimball, “Let's do these things because they are right, because they are satisfying, and because we are obedient to the counsels or the Lord. In this spirit we will be prepared for most eventualities, and the Lord will prosper and comfort us.”

Tight Lids,

The Bucket August 2007

The Bucket
Learn it, Love it, Do it!

It's finally happening! That's right, the Food Storage classes are finally scheduled. Mark your calendars, clear your schedules, and figure out where we live. On August 23rd and 24th, we will be having a course for rookies. The party begins at 7pm and the vanilla ice cream will be floating in A&W promptly at 7:45. You only have to come to one night—unless of course you want floats two nights in a row.
The agenda will be as follows:
1.Reality Check
2.The First 90 days
3.Long Term Needs
4.Calculating Needs
5.Food Storage Strategies
The main objective of the class is to answer the issue of “Jeepers, I want to get my food storage, but I just don't know how to get started.” Veterans are also encouraged to come. Your practical advice is not only welcomed, but needed. I know this class sounds extremely exciting, and you all want to come, but you will need to reserve your seats by calling me. If you get voice mail, just leave a message.
In other news, the Young Women will be canning wheat on the last Tuesday of the month. They are invited to encourage their families to order some cans for this special activity. Each 5.7lb can of wheat is $2.00. Young Women, please let Sister Hall know how many cans your family would like by Sunday the 19th. Parents, we will be canning at the chapel so you can come down at the end of the activity and pick up your orders. We will all be very sad if the Young Women leaders have to deliver wheat into the wee hours of the night.
On a personal note, I have decided to create a goal for my calling. My intent is to help every ward member have a 3-month supply. I am hoping that by utilizing The Bucket, monthly food storage opportunities, occasional classes, and my endearing personality, I will be able to motivate you to take action. Considering the private nature of this work, there really isn't an appropriate way to follow up. However, if a family wanted to set a goal and have me follow up, I'd love to support you in your efforts.
You are all so wonderful. In fact, just today, Kristy and I considered throwing out some questionable macaroni, but I told her that we should keep it to give to needy ward members in times of hardship. What a guy, huh?

Get Canned,

The Bucket July 2007

The other day I was thinking about what I want for Christmas. Besides my flat screen LCD TV for the den, I thought that Kristy and I should finish up our food storage and buy a wheat grinder. Needless to say, I was told that wheat grinders are fine, but not for Christmas. Hmmm, maybe she'd rather have a kerosene stove/oven combo! I'll let you know how that goes over!

While at the Food Storage Center in Ogden, I asked for some more information cards explaining how much of each food item to gather for a year's supply. I was informed that they didn't have any more because the Church was changing its emphasis from a year's supply to a three month supply! I asked the missionary to speculate as to why this was and she looked at me with a sad face and said, “If the church can't get people to store a year's supply, maybe they would be willing to at least do three months' worth.” I imagine that the Church is striving to simplify the process in order to encourage members to at least get started. It is important to note, that on all the literature, the Church still states that once the three month supply is obtained, members should continue until the one year supply is completed!

Here's a thought on water: get some! We are instructed to have at least 14 gallons per person for a two-week supply. Please note that this will only cover the basics for survival. You are on your own for finding water for personal hygiene and washing clothes and dishes. Moreover, if the need for water is longer than two weeks, do you have a plan for longer term water needs? Please don't say “bleach.” I suggest buying chlorine at a pool supply store. The lesson is that the chlorine “goes away” while the cleaners and detergents in bleach remain. I currently have seven 5-gallon containers and a 55 gallon barrel. I want to have some portable water in case of evacuation. Do not store your water directly on the cement floor or near gasoline—put them on 2x4s.

As I consider food storage, it really is an interesting issue. Are you really going to need it? I have life insurance coverage from which I still haven't seen any benefit. What a waste of money! I pay for homeowners insurance and I've never filed a claim. Once I get the house paid off, I'm going to cancel the policy because I'll never use it. I'm going to take a trip on a new luxury ship called the Titanic—that thing is so massive, it will never sink! I think I'm going to throw out the wheat and water, and just store Zingers and root beer because I will only store what I eat! In all honesty, I hope I'll never have to use my food storage, but if I do, I don't want my wife and children to go without because I didn't follow the counsel of the prophet!

Love you all and hope you have a wonderful summer. If you need any help with your storage needs, let me know!

The Bucket June 2007--Edited

I know what you are thinking, “Another edition of The Bucket! I can't wait to read this and add it to my collection!” I hope I don't disappoint. Have you come to feel the wonderful spirit that comes with working on your food storage? Upon accepting this assignment I thought it would be a more “temporal” rather than “spiritual” calling. I have found that I have felt the Spirit in this calling in exactly the same way as I did in previous callings. I remember the excitement as a missionary when someone committed to obey a specific commandment. I have felt the same when a home teaching family came to church for the first time in many years. It is my testimony that the Spirit you feel as you follow the Savior's example is also present when working on your food storage. I promise you will also feel the Spirit as you not only commit to gathering your year supply but actually do it.

This month, we have two ways to help you do just that! On Saturday, June 23rd, we will be having another food storage activity in Ogden. The party will start at 11:00am ending at 1:00pm. We will need 4 volunteers with one person willing to make use of their pickup truck for deliveries. Please contact Andrew. The main items will be wheat, rolled oats, sugar, and macaroni. Other items will also be available if you would like to order!

As Always,

The Bucket May 2007

One of my favorite activities is to explore the fridge, freezer and cupboards after Kristy has been to the store. Without fail, she brings home something that makes the mouth water—usually Cookies-n-Cream Ice Cream or Marie Callendar pies. It is exciting for me to think about having a treat in the evenings—it's “comfort food” in more ways than one. Lately, I have also found that my food storage is another source of comfort food. After April's trip to the Food Storage Center, I was really excited to put my newly obtained wheat on the shelves in the storage room. My cans are all lined up just screaming to be used! I still have a long way to go to complete my year supply, but it is exciting to see the food start to pile up.

That leads me to this month's topic—goal setting. In Proverbs 29:18 it says that “where there is no vision, the people perish.” I think the first step is to have a “vision” of what you want to accomplish. In our storage room, I have a plan as to where everything is going to be stored and how much I need. I obviously have a long way to go, but I can “see” it coming together. In preparation for June's trip to the storage center, I am considering what items I can obtain to help get me closer to “fulfilling the vision.” By doing so, I keep motivated and driven to fulfill this important commandment.

Over the next couple of months, we will be hosting a couple of food storage workshops. One will be for “rookies” and the other for “seasoned vets.” The rookie workshop will cover how to calculate the amount of food needed, what type of food to store and general strategies on how to store it. Those who attend will set goals on what to accomplish first and develop a plan to meet the goal. Many times we complicate the task so much we fail to even get started. The direction from the church is simply to have a year's supply of food. There are some like me who mistakenly think they need to learn how to harness the energy of the sun to produce their own water, dig a fallout shelter, and grow corn to produce their own ethanol without first fulfilling the initial counsel from the First Presidency. The vet's workshop will cover advanced storage techniques, food preparation, and “life management” during a long-term crisis. You are all invited to one or both workshops—stay tuned for time and location.

Finally, on Saturday, June 23rd, we will be having another food storage activity in Ogden. The party will start at 11:00am ending at 1:00pm. We will need 4 volunteers with one person willing to make use of their pickup truck for deliveries. Please contact Andrew. The main items will be wheat, rolled oats, sugar, and macaroni. Other items will also be available if you would like to order!

As always,

The Bucket April 2007

In my line of work,I frequently hear the expression, “I wish I had done this sooner!” There are so many things in life in which this statement rings true. One reason why I delay is because I just don't know how to adequately tackle the problem or it seems overwhelming. When it comes to food storage, not only is it overwhelming, but it is a change of lifestyle. Along with change of lifestyle, comes sacrifice. We finished a lot of our basement last fall and included a den—the only space that is deemed “man space.” There is a special place on my wall for a humble-sized flat screen LCD television. I've been tempted several times to make the purchase, however, I decided that I would feel a lot better about my new toy if I were to get my food storage first. It is really hard to relax in the den with a guilty conscience. Needless to say, I am motivated!

There are two methods to acquiring your food storage: 1) buy a little at a time or 2) save your money and go on a wild spending spree to finish it all at once. Since I find it fun to spend a lot of money quickly, I've chosen the latter option. The only issue remaining is how much of everything to buy. Until recently, the church had a great calculator that helped you figure out exactly how much of each product you needed. It seems they've replaced it with a more general tool. There is still a worksheet that you can use that will guide you in this process. When you are ready to calculate how much you need, give me a call if you would like assistance.

The other thing to consider is how you will prepare the food in an emergency—no gas or no power. Learning how to make bread during a crisis probably is not a very calming activity. Once you start your food storage, consider practicing/finding recipes and cooking methods assuming you have no electricity or gas in the house. If you need some helpful tips, give me a call.

Finally, this Friday, April 20th, we will be having another food storage night up in Ogden. The party will start at 5:00pm ending at 7:00pm. We will need 4 volunteers with one person willing to make use of their pickup truck for deliveries. The main items will be rolled oats and sugar. Other items will also be available if you would like to order!

It is a delight to be a part of your ward! On Sundays, I look around at all of you and consider myself lucky to be among so many wonderful people. You truly are the elect of God and are remarkable in every way. Please allow me to serve you in my capacity as the “Food Storage Guy.” If you need to find someplace to start, give me a call!

As always,


For the past 6 months, I have been "publishing" a newsletter about food storage for my local church congregation. It has been a fun activity and a good creative outlet. I have decided to take the newsletter global for all to enjoy. I will start by publishing past editions. You will notice many "Andy-isms," a little humor, some spirituallity, and a lot of excitement. I look forward to your commentary.