Salt – Fact or Fiction


  • Salt is one of the most precious natural compounds known to man. The word salt comes from the Latin word for salary – when people were actually paid in salt.1
  • Table salt is composed of 97.5% sodium chloride. It is dried at more than 1,200º F. which separates out other naturally occurring minerals, making it a toxic compound to the human body.2
  • For the body to metabolize chemical table salt, it must waste tremendous amounts of energy to keep the body at optimum fluid balance – 20 grams of cellular water for each gram of table salt.2
  • Americans consume over 5 grams of sodium chloride per day. Much of this is found in pre-processed foods, used as a flavor enhancer. Doctors recommend diets much lower than this.2
  • Crystal salt like Pink Himalayan and Artisan salt contain 84 trace elements that are vital to health. They are alkaline minerals that help keep us hydrated, balance sodium-potassium rations and include electrolytes.3
  • Iodine was added to salt during production in America around 1924, at the request of government initiatives, due to iodine deficiency disorders. Lack of iodine had been related to thyroid disorders resulting in goiters (enlarged growths in the neck) and in mental deficiencies in new-borns.4
  • Recent research into iodine levels in 80 types of iodized salt brands showed that only 20% have enough of the micronutrient to be considered enough for daily level consumption.4
  • Benefits of consuming sea salt include building a strong immune system, enhancing digestion, reducing inflammation in the respiratory system, enhance heart health, prevent osteoporosis, and preserve hormones that help you deal with stress.5

The literature is filled with conflicting information. Is it good for you or not?

Billie Nicholson, Editor
March 2015




March Newsletter Articles:

Add Sprouting Seeds to Your Supplies

How Bleach Kills Germs

Salt – Fact or Fiction

Onions More Benefits Than You Know

Veggie Balls for Pasta from the Solar Chef

Every Day Uses for WD-40

Sun Ovens Teach Solar Energy Concepts

Starting Seeds and Caring for Seedlings

Add Sprouting Seeds to Your Supplies


Sprouting seeds

Top left to right: Peas, Mung Beans; Bottom left to right: Lentils and Wheat Photo:

Sprouts are one of the most concentrated natural sources for all life’s building blocks. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, proteins, enzymes, amino-acids, and trace elements. Seed sprouting is a capability everyone has, no matter where you live. It is a simple technique and with only the need for clean water, requires no energy to prepare.1 As a matter of fact, you can sprout seeds while you’re on the move, if necessary and will create no cooking odor to give away your position.

For survival preparation and self reliance, there are few better foods. Sprouting seeds can be stored for a long time – up to four years at stable 70º F, and even longer if stored in a colder environment. From time to time we test our supply for viability simply by sprouting some. Buy them in bulk and package them yourself in glass canning jars with rubber ringed lids. These will keep out vermin.2 Sprouted seeds increase in nutritional value exponentially over cooked dried seeds. Being natural nutrition, the components will fully penetrate the cell membranes and even help oxygenate cells.


Nutrition Packed and Ready to Go

In a survival situation and you’re hungry now, simply soaking seeds, nuts, grains or legumes in water for 30 minutes will activate some enzymes, increasing their nutritional value.3  Starch begins to disappear and is replaced by enzymes and an increased quality of protein, fat, certain amino acids, total sugar and B-group vitamins appear.4

Sprout different types of seeds to add more variety into your diet. In addition to good nutrition, many studies are showing that they have health benefits to protect us from diseases. Some sprouts have components that lower bad cholesterol and fat. Others offer protection against cancers. Alfalfa, broccoli and soybeans have been extensively studied.5

Preparedness Pro recommends 15 pounds of veggie seeds and 5-6 pounds protein seeds per adult for a year’s supply. For more information on how to start sprouting, see Sprouting 101.



Billie Nicholson, Editor
March 2015


March Newsletter Articles:

Add Sprouting Seeds to Your Supplies

How Bleach Kills Germs

Salt – Fact or Fiction

Onions More Benefits Than You Know

Veggie Balls for Pasta from the Solar Chef

Every Day Uses for WD-40

Sun Ovens Teach Solar Energy Concepts

Starting Seeds and Caring for Seedlings

Home-Made Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

Billie and Robert Nicholson

Tomato Vinaigrette DressingTired of purchasing salad dressings with all kinds of “secret” ingredients and unknown preservatives? Here is an alternative. Compare this with store-bought salad dressings and you will find: a. Cost savings b. Tastes better  c. Known contents (what you know and trust)  d.  You can vary the ingredients to your taste  e. Gives you the satisfaction of being independent, more in charge of your food sources & improving your family’s quality of life. Send us your modifications for comparison.


2 Sun dried tomatoes (or 1/2 cup dried slices – we dried our tomatoes by slicing & putting them in dehydrator – Sun Oven® works great – on parchment, added some herbs and dried them @ 95º F)

1 large clove garlic, sliced

1 tsp capers, rinsed

3 sprigs fresh Oregano (dried will work)

3 sprigs fresh Parsley

1 TBS Tomato Paste (we open can of paste & freeze the leftover paste in ice cube tray, wrap each spoonful in plastic wrap and store in zip-lock bag in freezer for later use)

1/8 cup filtered water

1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pinch of Red Pepper (we dried ours, then ground up seeds and all for more kick)

Pinch of fresh ground Black Pepper

Pinch of salt (optional)

sun-dried tomato vinaigrette


Start with the dry ingredients first in a blender on high, then add other ingredients and blend together. Decant into bottle of your choice and refrigerate between uses.  This delicious salad dressing will thicken over time and you can add a touch more water to help it pour easily. We serve one to two tablespoons per 2 cup salad.


Billie Nicholson, Editor

February 2015

Predicting the Weather

What is Weather?

What is weather, how is it formed and how can future weather be predicted? Weather is the state of the atmosphere, to the degree that it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy. Almost all weather conditions begin with the sun. It provides the energy to raise temperatures, and the uneven warming (water warms slower than soil and shady soil warms slower than soil in the sun) triggers air movement. Add to that a spinning earth and you have a weather producing machine.Weather forms when the air masses begin to move, based on air pressure (temperature and moisture) differences, interacting with the surface of the earth and one another. This air movement influences air throughout all levels of the atmosphere, not just close to the earth’s surface.Weather conditions have a profound influence on human life and humans have been thinking about it for centuries. Even today it is a frequent topic of conversation.

Weather Observations

Ancient weather forecasting relied on observed patterns. Over the years these observations became known as weather lore and were used as the basis of predicting weather. With the invention of the electric telegraph in 1835 modern forecasting began. The telegraphed reports of weather conditions from a wide area almost instantaneously allowed predictions of impending weather events to be made using the knowledge of what was going on upwind.3

The Weather Bureau, established in 1870, originally was assigned to the U.S. Army Signal Service within the Department of War. Twenty years later it was transferred to the Department of Agriculture. In the early 1900’s scientists proposed that the evolution and motion of the atmosphere was governed by complex mathematical equations, the laws of fluid motion and thermodynamics, could be used to calculate and thus predict the coming weather. Today we use supercomputers to carry out these calculations. Granted current weather forecasters do not always get it right, things have come a long way since 1870.4



Anticipating Weather Changes

How will we anticipate weather conditions in a survival situation? We will need to return to the knowledge base of observations in nature to help us guesstimate weather changes. An article in The Preparedness Review, Winter 2014 (TPR5-Winter 2014.pdf)includes some behaviors to note:

  • Wild animals tend to feed heavily before a storm.
  • Animals make noise before a storm.
  • Herding animals get together before a storm.
  • Bees are nowhere to be found before a storm.
  • “Red sky in the morning, sailors (and everyone else) take warning.”
  • Body aches and pains appear before a storm
  • The lower the clouds the greater the chances for a storm.

 Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Weather

Earth, Eastern Hemisphere
Part of NASA’s Blue Marble collection, this image is a composite built from images taken during eight orbits by the Suomi NPP satellite on March 30.

Billie Nicholson, Editor
February 2015


The Many Uses of Powdered Milk

   What is Powdered Milk?

Wikipedia defines powdered milk as a manufactured dairy product made by evaporating milk to dryness.This technique gives milk a much longer shelf life than liquid milk; it doesn’t need to be refrigerated; and in this evaporated state, it is easier to transport.
Marco Polo wrote of sun-dried skim milk during the days of Kublai Kahn, whose troops carried it in the form of a paste. The first form of modern production was invented by a Russian physician. Today powdered milk is usually made by spray drying milk products. The milk is concentrated to about 50% milk solids, which is then sprayed into a heated chamber where the water evaporates instantly, leaving powdered milk solids. Another process is freeze drying which preserves more nutrients that heat drying. The drying method may alter the solubility in cold water and the flavor.1

Powdered Milk is Nutritious

Most of us have had a less than pleasing experience with powdered milk. Improvements in the processing techniques has resulted in a much more agreeable product. It is a prepper staple that we should all add to our supplies. One cup of dry milk provides you with a good source of protein, vitamins A and D, calcium, magnesium and essential fats.2

Powdered Milk Facts

Here are some things you should know about powdered milk:
•  There is a big difference between Regular Nonfat Dry Milk and Instant Nonfat Dry Milk. Regular can be turned into a variety of milk products; Instant can only be drinkable milk.
•  There are almost twice as many servings in Regular Nonfat Dry Milk as in Instant.
•  There is more protein per serving in Regular Nonfat Dry Milk.
•  Instant Nonfat Dry Milk tastes better.
•  Instant dissolves easier than Regular Nonfat Dry Milk.
• Instant can be found in most grocery stores; Regular is available online in emergency preparedness stores.

Regular Nonfat Dried Milk can be used to make:
Sour Cream – by mixing 1/3 c dry milk with 3/4 cup plain yogurt. Makes a great low fat dip.4
Regular Milk – just substitute 1/3 cup dry milk and 1 cup cold water. Best chilled.
White Sauce – mix 1/3 cup dry milk, 3tsp melted butter and 3 TBS flour to form a paste. Slowly ad 1 cup water and whisk until smooth.
Yogurt – can be made using 1 cup Regular Nonfat Dried Milk mixed with 2 cups warm water (110ºF) and 2 TBS plain yogurt as a starter. Keep at 110º about 8 hours to thicken. This technique can also be used to make Yogurt Sour Cream and Cream Cheese. These can be used in pancake mixes and Stroganoff recipes3 as well as hot cocoa, instant oatmeal and pudding mixes.2


Billie Nicholson, Editor
February 2015

Storage Closet Remedy

Suzanne Borges

I wanted to maximize storage options in our new broom closet but didn’t want to add another “honey-do” list. We do too much digging under cabinets and through boxes to find things, so most storage items aren’t going to help that. My first idea was door hanging shelves, but they might be noisy and tall items could fall off. My problem was also complicated by the fact that the broom closet’s door is only 19-1/4″ wide. I am blessed that the door has no knob on the inside and two magnetic catches. As long as what I found allowed for door closure without too much weight, I was good to go. Last night at Walmart I found my solution in the closet accessories area — a hanging shoe bag. For $9 I have what I want.

Storage Remedy

Storage Closet Remedy











Billie Nicholson, Editor
February 2015


By Measles & Rubella Initiative

Measles is highly contagious


Public Domain_US Gov.

Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus and spread through coughing and sneezing. 90% of people coming in contact with an infected person will become infected if they are not already immune. Immunity is achieved by either having been vaccinated or having previously contracted the disease. Symptoms include a high fever, severe skin rash, cough and sensitivity to light.

In 2000, prior to the formation of the Measles & Rubella Initiative, more than 500,000 children died worldwide from measles complications each year. About 30% of reported measles cases have complications like pneumonia, blindness, diarrhea and encephalitis. These debilitating effects are most common in children under five and adults over the age of twenty.

 There is no specific treatment for measles

Most patients will recover with rest and supportive treatment. Treatments for the symptoms include ibuprofen to reduce fever and pain and fluids.

With the introduction of vaccines around the world, by 2012 the death rate had been cut significantly, but still kills about 122,000 children – mostly children less than five years old. Measles can be completely prevented with two doses of a safe, effective and inexpensive vaccine. Avoid measles parties.1

A recent outbreak of measles cases has been linked to a popular theme park. The strain of measles in the California cases has been matched to the strain circulating in the Philippines. Stephen Cochi, senior advisor with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “That virus has spread around the world.” From his experience tracking previous measles outbreaks in the U.S., Cochi says the source was probably an American. “It’s really traveling Americans who are unvaccinated, then return to the U.S. with the virus, who are causing most of the current out-breaks.” 2


Billie Nicholson, Editor
February 2015

Contributions to a Food Bank

Food BankGenerosity during the holidays often includes contributions to food banks. Do you think about contributing something healthy? One in seven Americans visited a food pantry in 2013 according to Feeding America. These include elderly, single parents, returning veterans, and the recently released incarcerated. These are human beings whose hard times have forced them to choose between paying the electricity bill or buying food. Many may be suffering from medical problems related to diet. As you consider contributing to a food bank to help feed the needy this holiday season, include nutrient rich, non-perishable food. Here is a list suggested by Super Food Drive.


  1. Brown or Wild Rice
  2. Quinoa or Cous-cous
  3. Wheat Berries, Amaranth
  4. Steel cut or rolled Oats
  5. Whole Wheat or Brown Rice Pasta
  6. Whole Grain Cereals  (5 grams fiber)


  1. Canned Cold Water Fish – water packed: (Tuna, Sardines or Wild Salmon)
  2. Canned Beans & Legumes: (Black Beans, Garbanzo, Adzuki, Kidney, Lentils)
  3. Seeds and Nuts – unsalted: (Pumpkin, Sunflower, Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews)
  4. Nut Butters – natural & non-hydrogenated:  (Almond, Peanut, Macadamia or Tahini butter)

Fruit and Vegetables

  1. Canned Fruit and Vegetables – low sodium and packed in water not syrup
  2. Dried Fruits – no added sugar: (Blueberries, Prunes, Cranberries, Apples, Mangos
  3. Canned Soups – low sodium
  4. Low sodium sauces like Tomato and Alfredo

Herbs & Spices

  1. Green and White Tea
  2. Herbs & Spices – to flavor beans and grains: Oregano, Basil, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, Rosemary, Thyme, Dill, Ginger and Cinnamon)

Cooking Oils

  1. Olive oil
  2. Coconut oil
  3. Canola oil
  4. Sesame Oil


Share the Joy of the holiday season: Include a copy of your favorite recipe for making a meal using the items you donate.

Billie Nicholson, Editor
December, 2014

This month’s issue includes:

  • During our conversations with Pearl Harbor Survivors, they continued to warn us of the importance of being prepared – on every level, from our national military down to each individual. During World War II, everyone sacrificed to insure that world peace would be restored.
  • Mama’s Last Gift ~ Who would expect 33 year old jelly to be any good? The jelly was firm and no crystallization or mold was apparent. A taste test confirmed the goodness within.
  • Preparing for a Pandemic ~ A pandemic is basically a global epidemic. Learn how to protect your family should a viral sickness begin to spread around the world.

Mama’s Last Gift

As a child growing up on a farm in Virginia, we learned to grow our own food as well as raise a cash crop. Our Mom spent many hours working with us to harvest and preserve food. As she aged, Mom slowly reduced the items she preserved, but still kept making some of those things like jellies. After she passed away in 2008, my sisters and I were clearing out the household goods. In my stash were two jars of jelly, which I saved, probably because she had made them more than that I expected to eat them someday. Mama grew up during the depression and didn’t waste anything, including jelly jars. The two I brought home were old 40 oz., JIF  Peanut butter jars, with the labels still attached, which she used for the jelly, put up in 1981. Who would expect 33 year old jelly to be any good?

The other day I went looking for a jar of jelly and decided to open one of those old jars. Well, shut my mouth. When I opened that jelly, it was “goood.” The seal was sound and there was no pitting or etching of the inside lid. The jelly was firm and no crystallization or mold was apparent. An initial taste test confirmed the goodness within. We toasted homemade bread, buttered it and slathered it with Mama’s homemade goodness.

One jar was made from Scuppernong grapes, which Daddy would have received in trade for watermelons or canteloupe. The other jar was wild berries which he would have gathered on our farm. Some of Mama’s favorite memories were of Daddy, grinning from ear to ear just like a kid, as he walked across the back yard with his baseball cap filled with blackberries.

Mama's Last Gift

A 40 oz. jar of jelly was too big to handle. We decided to divide it into smaller containers. While we were at it, we sterilized new jars and lids and heated the jelly to boiling and reprocessed them in a water bath without adding additional pectin. Each of these large jars made three 12 oz. new jars.  The USDA recommends using home canned items within one year, so I’m not encouraging anyone to do this.

As we enjoyed the homemade bread and jelly,  I remembered my mother. Throughout her life she unselfishly gave of her time, experience and values. It was wonderful to be wrapped in Mama’s arms one more time with her last gift.

Billie Nicholson, Editor
December, 2014

This month’s issue includes:

  • During our conversations with Pearl Harbor Survivors, they continued to warn us of the importance of being prepared – on every level, from our national military down to each individual. During World War II, everyone sacrificed to insure that world peace would be restored.

  • Preparing for a Pandemic ~ A pandemic is basically a global epidemic. Learn how to protect your family should a viral sickness begin to spread around the world.
  • Generosity during the holidays often includes contributions to food banks. Think about contributing something healthy in your Food Bank Contribution.

Preparing for a Pandemic

Community Emergency Response Team

What is a pandemic?

A pandemic is basically a global epidemic — an infectious disease that spreads rapidly to a large population in more than one continent.1 For example, influenza or ebola are highly contagious viruses. Two main features of any pandemic are:

  1. The virus is a new strain that has never infected people before, like the swine or avian flu in recent years, infecting a population which has no immunity to it.
  2. The infections spread on a global scale with a high mortality rate.2

Viruses can live on hard surfaces for up to eight (8) hours. Your exposure to sick people can increase the possibility of catching the disease. During the winter season, viral infection increases due to the low humidity in the air. This allows the germs to remain airborne longer.3 The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends keeping a 6 foot buffer from sick people to cut down on the spread of disease.

Research shows anxiety and stress can weaken your immune system leaving you more vulnerable to infections.  Smoking cigarettes weakens the tiny disease-fighting hairs tucked inside the nasal passages and the lungs, which trap and dispose of germs. Drinking large quantities of alcohol in a short period of time weakens the immune system as well as dehydrating a person reducing the nose and throat’s ability to trap germs in mucus.4

Seasonal flu symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Coughing and/or sore throat
  • Runny of stuffy nose
  • Headaches and/or body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

Swine or Avian Flu Symptoms include:

  • All the seasonal symptoms PLUS
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (exception – children)
  • Can be fatal

What to do when a pandemic is predicted?

Build a pandemic kit: to minimize germ/virus spread, care-givers should limit physical exposure to the contagious elements like body fluids.

  • Disposable hooded Tyvek suits with elastic wrists ankles and non-skid socks
  • Safety Goggles
  • N95-100 particulate respirator
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Liquid bandage spray protects against infection and helps wounds heal quicker
  • Anti microbial wipes to prevent the spread of germs and maintain  sanitary conditions
  • Tissue packs to contain mucus and sneezing and coughing spray
  • Trash bags for sanitary disposal of waste and used protective clothing
  • Antiseptic hand sanitizer gel can be used if access to good old soap and water isn’t available
  • Plastic sheeting is suggested to provide a separation between the sick and the not sick
  • Duct tape to use with the plastic sheeting

Acquire medication: to provide some comfort for fevers and congestion

  • Elderberry juice is a natural flu med, clinically proven to reduce the length of flu sickness – for a sick person: 1-3 Tbs every 4-6 hours; as an immune boost: 1-2 Tbs daily
  • Tylenol/ibuprofen for fever and aches and pain reduction 
  • Decongestants to provide comfort from coughs and colds; saline nasal spray

Food and supplies: to feed your family for the 90 days that it takes a pandemic to circle the globe, infect, kill, and then burn itself out from lack of susceptible hosts 

  • In addition to a variety of food for healthy people, include items that are easy to swallow and nutritious for the sick, like broths and jello.
  • Soap, disinfectants, rubbing alcohol, cleaning supplies
  • Extra bed linens, water proof mattress and pillow covers
  • Gasoline
  • Humidifiers

When to hunker down?

Pay attention to the news and other lines of communication in your community. When you learn that sickness is within 100 miles of your home, it is time to go into social isolation. Did you know that it takes less than 10% of key infrastructure workers calling in sick to disrupt delivery of utilities? That means no electricity. Are you prepared for that?

  • Isolation means no outside contact
  • Do not come within 20 feet of other people; be aware of any coughing or sneezing
  • Do not accept anything from anyone without 10 days of isolation; then sterilize
  • No grocery store for 90 days
  • No work – check on possibility of working from home
  • No school – get school work assignments for children to do at home
  • Don’t go to hospital except in case of immediate life threatening emergency
  • Be prepared for power grid to fail
  • Set up an isolation area for anyone who may become sick

What should be in an isolation room?

This should be in a separate building or outside in an RV, trailer, or tent. Remove all unnecessary items from the room. If someone exhibits symptoms, isolate them immediately. One person should be designated as the care giver. If there are two or more sick people, have them share a room and bathroom. Document the disease progress. If you have to keep the sick in the same dwelling, use the plastic sheeting and duct tape to create a barrier, floor t0 ceiling.

Isolation room contents: put these things in the isolation room and leave them there

  • Tissues
  • Trashcan with a lid and plastic liners
  • Plenty of water for the sick
  • Thermometer
  • Humidifier – extra moisture aids breathing
  • Face masks for the sick to protect care giver
  • Window fan for negative pressure and air circulation
  • Waste bucket

Wash all bedding and other clothing on the hottest setting. Wear gloves when handling contaminated items. Use disposable dishes and utensils. Use rubbing alcohol for sterilizing the sick room. Once infected with a flu virus a person is contagious  for up to 10 days. Protect yourself while caring for the sick by using protective clothing, masks and gloves. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently and increase your vitamins to boost immune system.


Billie Nicholson, Editor
December 2014

This month’s issue includes:
  • During our conversations with Pearl Harbor Survivors, they continued to warn us of the importance of being prepared – on every level, from our national military down to each individual. During World War II, everyone sacrificed to insure that world peace would be restored.
  • Mama’s Last Gift ~ Who would expect 33 year old jelly to be any good? The jelly was firm and no crystallization or mold was apparent. A taste test confirmed the goodness within.
  • As you make your list and check it twice for holiday gifts, (even from-you-to-you gifts), check out our “Prepared Family Combo.”
  • Deer hunting season is a highlight of the winter months. Here is our favorite recipe made in the Sun Oven®. Served with warm Artisan bread, this makes a hearty meal in any weather.
  • Persimmons are a sweet and delicious fruit filled with vitamins and minerals. The Fuyu variety makes a nutritious persimmon leather.
  • Generosity during the holidays often includes contributions to food banks. Think about adding healthy items in your Food Bank Contribution.

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