Pondering over Coffee: The simplest, most basic first steps needed to be prepared for emergencies, power outages, storms and such

Whether it's a hurricane, tornado, earthquake or a man made disaster, there isn't an area to live where you shouldn't prepare to provide for yourself or your family in the case of a disaster.  

All food, water, medications and other items you might need in the event of an emergency of any type as it may take the federal government or other personnel up to 3 days to get help to you.   

"FEMA suggests every family
 or individual has emergency stores 
to last 72 hours."


I've got three cups of strong, hot, black coffee in me... but it's still too early in the morning for the rest of the world to be functioning and no businesses open, etc. so I thought I'd come and just start chatting over a morning post.  What is on my mind this morning is wicked weather, storms, power outages and flooding.

All have a higher than likely chance of visiting us this week and next.  It comes with the time of year... no big deal.  At least to us.  Because we live on high ground (flooding of the house not a particular problem) and I grew up with a Grandma and father who have a healthy dose of good common sense that I'm blessed to have genetically inherited.

We keep a stocked pantry and plan for emergencies of all different types.  

Our great grandparents and grandparents had gardens. Grew their own foods, canned and froze that food in late summer harvest time to get them through the winter and spring and into early summer when the new gardens would be ready to pick.  They had lanterns and candles for power outages and unless they lived in town, they had wells or springs for water.  When things did go wrong, as they invariably will, it wasn't a "run around screaming with your hands in the air and wait for the government to come rescue you" situation, it was a moment of collecting your thoughts, pulling on your boots and getting to work to help your own situation.

And that is my personality too.

Although it's nice of the government to step in and help during emergencies, it's not something they have to do.  Unfortunately people today are of the mindset they don't have to do anything themselves to prepare or help themselves and the second anything comes up, they are throwing a fit if some government agency isn't rushing along to hand out free money, food, water, etc.  

Do you realize the grocery stores are getting food deliveries every single day?
What happens if storms pulverize those stores, floods disrupt the road traffic, grievances and strikes stop the trucking deliveries or any other scenario comes along?

No food deliveries.  No restocking. No food in the grocery stores.
Soon, chaos, confusion, anger, hungry people... looting, fires and ugliness.

You all know how sheep people rush to the stores to wipe out all the shelves of bread, milk, beer and peanut butter when there is even the utter of a snow storm coming.  Even if you get 12-18 inches of snow as many parts of the US do, more than likely the roads and businesses are going to be closed at most, just one day as we have come pretty far since 60 years ago when things might shut down for 3 days to get up and running again.  I don't know what people think they are going to do with all that bread in the one day the power *might* be out... but whatever.

The point is... if you keep a well stocked pantry, some longer term emergency storage items, flashlights, candles, extra dog food, etc. you don't have to go running around like a chicken with their head cut off.

Now, I did not intend on some well-written, precisely thought out post about this for this morning...  as I mentioned, I'm just sipping coffee and thinking about storms as they are hitting the US pretty hard this week.  And I thought I'd just chit chat over coffee about the basic need to be a little prepared.

As a matter of fact, I'm going to go refill my cup with some fresh coffee, check emails and get ready to start my day.  What I've decided to end with this simple (very very simple)  quick 'plan' for those who have zero preparations.

1.  Get 3 days worth of food, water and medicine in your cupboards and keep that much available at all times.
2.  Only buy/store what you use and like.  Don't go buying 5 cans of beans if you don't like beans. Buy what you like.
3.  Keep in mind you might not have power so have foods that are healthy but don't require power to prepare.
4.  Candles, flashlights and fresh batteries on hand.  It gets mighty dark mighty fast if all the power around you is out.
5.  Remember the 'extras' you need for babies, the elderly and pets. Think; diapers, formula, medications and pet food.

If you do nothing more... or need a very, very basic starting point - that would be it.


Ranting and Raving over Morning Coffee.................


Child protective services should be ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES for what they have become.

Over the past 10 years DHS, CPS, etc. (called different things in different areas of the US and Canada) have gone from a legit department to help keep an eye out for abuse and neglect of children to a neo-Nazi group of brain dead young idiots.

The stories are out there if you care too look... and unfortunately you don't have to try too hard to find them.  Parents letting their kids play outside like normal, healthy kids SHOULD do, are being investigated for child neglect because the parents are not literally hovering over them like helicopters.  A mother putting her cart back in the cart corral in the grocery parking lot has two drama-queens calling the police on her for leaving her child unattended in the vehicle... she was 3 car slots away putting the cart in the corral!!!  Sadly, the police officer that answered the call agreed it was wrong and she was turned into CPS.  Parents letting their kids walk 2 blocks to the bus stop, 6 blocks to the park, playing in their back yards....   THIS IS INSANITY.

One story I read last week, a woman's children were watching cartoons in the living room.  It was morning, the Mom had her pajamas on so when a delivery guy (think; UPS and FEDEX) came to the door, she didn't answer the bell, instead, let him leave the package at the door.  Not a big deal, right?

HE CALLED CPS ON HER!  Told them the children's were left attended in the house.

These calls result in visits to the parents that go FAR BEYOND  just checking to make sure the claims were bogus.

I'll get to that in a minute.  First, here is a snippet from the story this morning that made me angry about this topic all over again... because it's happening ALL THE TIME NOW!!!!

"A Canadian mom’s recent visit from Child and Family Services has caught the attention of news outlets everywhere for a number of controversial reasons. When most people think of Child Protective Services, they view the department as a safe haven for children who have been neglected or abused by their parents. So, of course, when a social worker arrived at Jacqui Kendrick’s Winnipeg home, she was quite devastated. The accusations brought against her have sparked quite a debate, because it seems as if her parental rights are being threatened without probable cause."

Stay-at-home mom Jacqui Kendrick received a visit from a social worker with Child and Family Services. The social worker reportedly asked to do a “well-being check” to ensure the safety of her children. Apparently, someone contacted CFS to complain about Kendrick allowing her children, ages 10, 5, and 2, to play unattended in her fenced-in backyard.

"... the “well-being check” process, which appears to be quite similar to an investigative probe. She was asked a series of questions about their personal life, her parenting style, and the disciplinary tactics used to reprimand her children. Needless to say, she was quite devastated by the time the process was over.

“We had to go through a whole interview asking so many questions — asking me about if we’ve ever dealt with CFS before, what my childhood was like, how I punish my children, whether we drink or do drugs,” Kendrick told CTV News. “[S]he had to look to see where my kids slept. She had to see if we had enough food in the house.”

She also recounted the times her children go out to play. She revealed they normally go outside to play after coming home from school. Even if she’s not outside with them, she can see them from her living room window and feels “completely comfortable” with them playing in the fenced-in backyard. Kendrick explained that she and her husband have taught their two older children about a rule they refer to as the “stranger danger” tactic, so they are quite aware of their surroundings and know what to do when they feel unsafe.

Needless to say, Kendrick is quite displeased with the unknown person who reported concerns about her parenting. She also had a message for that person.

“If you really had a concern, you could have knocked on my door,” Kendrick said.

To make matters worse, the seemingly awkward situation has led to the creation of a file on her family, which will always be documented. In the event another call is made to Child and Family Services, the recent well-being check will always be on file, which could possibly make things more difficult, if unfortunately, she is faced with a similar problem in the future.

Although the complaints seem relatively baseless, unfortunately, a psychologist in the Winnipeg area has admitted that the rise of the internet and social media has led many people to believe they are entitled to their opinions and feel the need to force their beliefs and perspectives on others.

While Dr. Toby Rutner agreed with Kendrick’s perspective, he admitted the opinionated world we live in has fueled people’s desires to push their own agenda.

“With the Internet, it has not only created a situation where everyone feels they are entitled to give an opinion, but [also] this approach that says everyone’s opinion is equal in value,” Rutner said.


These interviews also often involve interviewing the children away from the parents and asking inappropriate and leading questions.  In the case of the mother in the news who got a surprise visit because some nosy neighbor put in a call because her children were playing across the street from their home 'unsupervised' the CPS worker drilled the 8 year old about whether or not the parents showed them pornography - explaining they wanted to know if the parents showed the children pictures of naked men or women or children, touching each others genitals and went into details the child knew absolutely NOTHING about and managed to completely scare the child and left the parents to deal with the aftermath of trying to explain to their innocent child what the worker was talking about leading to a premature 'sex' talk.

All because the CPS worker was called because the children were playing outside.

Another point of contention is the fact that in most states (not sure about Canada) these calls can be made anonymously!  And many times they are made out of SPITE and to 'get back' at someone.  And EVERY SINGLE CALL has to be documented, an investigation ensues and it stays on record.  And the innocent parents are not allowed to be told WHO MADE THE CALL.  

This entire situation has become a huge, screwed up mess.




CPS needs to grow some balls and start to stand up for stopping STUPIDITY.
Stop the insanity!  Just because a parent isn't doing what YOU would do or what YOU think is good enough does not mean they are in the wrong, does NOT mean the children are in ANY harm and does NOT warrant a call to CPS.



Product Review - the NEW VERSION of the Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack

Life gets busy... ya know?  So I buy a product and I plan to post some thoughts about it and then... life gets busy and it sits in my draft files forgotten!  And this would be one of them.

If you looked at, bought or thought about the Kelty Redwing 50 in the past - look again.  There are two versions.  The older one and the newer one.  Maybe some already know this - but I didn't so I figure maybe some readers out there don't either. 


This is the Kelty Redwing 50.  Before I chat about it, I'll just get some of the features out of the way.
  • Hybrid loading
  • Hydration compatible
  • Water bottle pockets
  • Daisy chain
  • Zippered side pockets
  • Zippered stash pocket
  • Large front pocket with organization
  • Key fob
  • Carry handle
  • LightBeam single aluminum stay
  • HDPE frame sheet
  • Dynamic AirFlow back panel
  • AirMesh shoulder straps, waist belt, and lumbar
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Load-lifter / stabilizer straps
  • Sternum strap
  • Hip belt stabilizer straps
  • Removable hip belt
  • Scherer Cinch

Last year I had my husband with on one of my trips to Dick's Sporting Goods and I can't help myself; I always end up in the camping and hiking aisles of every store that offers them - no matter what we actually went there for.  I was trying on packs and fell in love with the Kelty RedStone 60L pack - which my husband noted, and took a picture of the tag so he would remember which one I liked when it came time for Christmas and birthdays.

Well, if you knew my husband you wouldn't be surprised that even with the tag, pack name and product information, he still bought the wrong one for me when he gave me one for my birthday.  He said, "This is the one you liked.  I took a picture of the tag."   Hmmm.   RedStone 60L...  RedWing 50L...  totally different packs.  And I do still hope to get the Redstone 60L from Dick's that I want but no matter - because the Redwing 50 is still a really good pack and I can use it for simple 1 night overnights (or even as a day pack).

This description I found online sums it up pretty well:

"The Kelty Redwing 50 is big enough for a day-and-a-half of backcountry hiking and streamlined enough for use as an around-town day pack. A host of functional features make the Redwing 50 a do-it-all pack.

A single LightBeam aluminum stay and an HDPE framesheet equip the Redwing 50 with lightweight, reliable support. The pack’s Dynamic AirFlow back panel allows warm air to escape so that you stay cooler while carrying weight. A contoured, padded waistbelt offers comfortable load support. Kelty's patented Scherer Cinch uses a pulley-like system to double the tightening force on the waistbelt, ensuring that the brunt of the pack's weight rests on your hips. When you aren't carrying heavy loads and don't need the additional support, you can remove the waistbelt entirely and reduce the weight of the pack.

The curved and padded shoulder straps on both sizes of the Redwing 50 can be quickly and easily adjusted to comfortably fit varying torso lengths. The Small/Medium size will accommodate torsos ranging from 14.5"-18.5" while the Medium/Large fits 17.5"-21" torsos. Load lifter straps relieve stress on your shoulders and an adjustable sternum strap positions the shoulder straps across the chest to prevent chafing under the arms and on the shoulders. Side compression straps help you to cinch and secure the contents of the Redwing 50 for optimal balance and load distribution."

The large main packbag of the Redwing 50 is accessed through a large, zippered front entry that allows the entire face of the pack to open wide for convenient loading and unloading. An additional large pocket located on the front panel provides internal organizational options. Additional features include zippered side pockets, a stash pocket, an ice-axe loop, a carry handle, a daisy-chain attachment system and dual mesh water bottle pockets. A lined interior pocket and built-in tube exit make the Redwing 50 hydration compatible.

It's available in different colors - I have black but it's also in blue, red and green.

The entire front face opens. Laying it down flat on the floor, it opens almost like a suitcase.

I would say this bag is Kelty's way of pushing it as a 'day pack' more than a hiking pack.  Day packs are really popular right now and this design and the quality of the pack, as well as the price, all seems to point to 'day pack' or quick travel pack more so than a 2-3 day hiking, camping, use it hard pack.

26 inches by 16 inches by 12 inches - not too large but it holds a lot
I ended up using mine as a "always packed and ready to go" pack for simple tent camping, hiking or I can grab it as an emergency 'bug out' pack as well with what I keep stocked in it.

It doesn't have some of the bells and whistles and extra pockets that many other packs do

Although I've read the waist belt is 'removable' by first removing the aluminum stay, I've not removed it or even tried so  I have no comment on that

The one thing I don't like about it is there are no pockets or zipper compartments on the waist belt at all.  I miss this!  My other packs all have a small pocket on each side of the waist belt/strap and I love that for 'quick' grab items such as Chapstick, mace, a tissue, etc.

This extra lower back padding is the "Ahhhh"  factor

Here is the older version the new one replaced.  Note a few details are different but the quick and easy way to see if you are looking at the new or old version is the lack of silver trekking pole loops.    Since it doesn't have any straps on the bottom or top to strap on a sleeping bag or sleep pad, I used the loops to attach my sleep pad and it worked pretty well.




I got mine at Dick's Sporting Goods but you can find it at Amazon, as well as some other similar packs;

Kelty Redwing 50 Bacckpack - Black
Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack, Twilight Blue
Kelty Redwing 44 Backpack, Ponderosa Pine



Quick and Easy Way to Bring Coffee Backpacking or Camping (Related to the Hamilton Beach Single Soft Pod Brewer)

This is another post on Coffee Talking that I had no intention of writing this morning!  But I'm sipping my coffee, hear of a new product coming out regarding coffee (which I'm not going to mention yet because it's only being tested in 4 states and not available on the market yet) so I popped over to Amazon just to SEE if anyone was offering this yet unnamed product... (they aren't) but then I saw these individual soft pods and realized I never mentioned these on Coffee Talking yet! 

Here is the deal... they are individual soft pods to work in single serve brewers that do NOT use little plastic k-cups - like the Hamilton Beach Personal Cup One Cup Pod Brewer (you've probably seen these in hotel rooms at some point).  You pull the little 'drawer' out, pop in a soft pod of ground coffee, push it back in, and pour a cup of water into the machine and it brews one cup of coffee.  The soft pod can be thrown away and since there is no plastic (like in k-cups) it's better for the environment too.

(You can currently get the Hamilton Beach single brewer for about $15 - $25 too, which makes it awesome for a personal brewer at your desk or in the office as well as for traveling if you want to bring your own brewer with you to your rental or hotel)  but that's not actually what today's post is about.)

These pods work great for camping and backpacking.

  • Self contained
  • No plastic
  • Can be thrown on the campfire after use
  • Lightweight
  • Can be used to brew in your cup or cut open to use the grounds inside
  • Perfectly measured for individual serving

I bring my coffee all different ways when I go camping depending on what kind of camping we are doing, how I'm going to brew it, how many nights am I camping, and how many people are with me. This is just one of many ways to bring coffee with you - but it might be just the thing you are looking for.

The first time I used soft pods I didn't brew them individually.  I used them in a percolator style coffee maker.  (Coleman 9 Cup Aluminum Coffee Pot).  Because the pods are lightweight and have no rigid plastic parts like k-cups, you remove the stem and basket from your coffee pot.  Insert a bunch of pods into the empty pot, leaving space in the center of course so you can insert the stem and basket back in, pop the top on and put it into your camping bin or backpack.  When you want to make your coffee, remove all the pods and only use as many as you wish.  You can either slice or rip them open to remove the coffee grounds to pour into the basket of your percolator or you can squish the pods around the basket.  (Remember to use the percolator you just fill the bottom with water, place the stem and basket into the coffee pot.  Fill the basket with some coffee grounds, put the top on and put it over your source of heat.  As the water comes to a boil you will see the color in the clear glass top of the pot turn from pure water to light colored tan to brown as the water filters through the coffee grounds.  When it's a nice dark 'coffee' color you know your coffee is ready to pour and drink.

The other way to use the pods is individual cups of coffee.

Place one whole, intact pod into your cup or mug.  Heat your water over the fire or your source of heat.  Pour the boiling or very hot water over the soft pod in your mug/cup.  Wait and let it brew about 3-4 minutes.  Remove the soft pod, throw it into the fire and enjoy your freshly brewed coffee.

Usually the pods come in packs of 18 and are available in a few different brands from affordable to 'high end'.  I grabbed a couple links off Amazon to share - like the Folger's Colombian Coffee Pods (Pack of 18) and Melitta but it's just a launching point.  You can use any kind of 'soft pod' on the market this way.  They take up little space, can be stored inside your coffee mug or a small camp coffee pot, can be thrown into the fire when you are finished so there is no garbage to pack out and it gives you a freshly brewed cup of coffee - which for me is really one of the highlights of camping.  That first morning cup of coffee when the sun is coming up and the air is still chilled.

Related products available through Amazon;
Melitta Dark Roast Soft Pod Pack 18 Count
Folgers Gourmet Selection Colombian Coffee Pods (Pack of 18) - Net WT 6.3oz
Folgers Gourmet Selection Hazelnut Coffee Pods (Pack of 18)
Folgers Gourmet Selection Colombian Decaffeinated Coffee Pods (Pack of 18)

Hamilton Beach Personal Cup One Cup Pod Brewer and Melitta Coffee Pods, Colombian (Pack of 6) bundle



Teen Crushes - Oh My. (C. Thomas Howell, Kevin Kubusheskie and Charlie Masso from Menudo)


Random Coffee Talk Topic!

This morning over coffee, let's talk early teenage crushes.  
Like...  age 12, 13, 14.  

I was pondering over coffee... "Who did I have a crush on when I was really young?"  and three came to mind:
  • C. Thomas Howell
  • Kevin Kubusheskie
  • Charlie Masso (Menudo)
I WISH I had taken photographs of my bedroom when I was about 13/14 years old.  I had EVERY. INCH. of my bedroom COVERED in pictures, posters and cut out pages of...  C Thomas Howell.  I mean EVER INCH.  Including my CEILING.

At $1.00 an hour babysitting (small town in the midwest and horribly under-paid) it would take me a month to save up money to go downtown to the local drugstore and buy copies of Teen Beat and Tiger magazines in order to get pictures of my crush.  I had a friend who also would save up her babysitting money and we would go together.  We would be sure to buy different magazines so we could 'trade' pictures since she liked Ralph Macchio and Tom Cruise.  We would walk 'uptown', buy all the magazines our babysitting funds would get us, walk back to my house and spend a couple hours cutting out every picture we could find of our crushes.

I'm shaking my head now at my room being literally covered in pictures... and really am kicking myself for not having any pictures of it.

When the movie The Outsiders played at the theater in our hometown I went to it 13 times.  THIRTEEN.  That is saying something when you figure the movie was only shown twice a night on Friday and Saturday, twice on Sunday and once on weeknights - and it was only in town for 2 weeks... and I was 12 years old so I had to beg my parents to get to go 13 times and for the money to get into the movies when my babysitting fund ran out.

When Ponyboy (C Thomas Howell) read Nothing Gold Can Stay in the movie, I quickly learned it by heart so I could recite it as well.  And "Nothing gold can stay" became a catch-phrase between me and my friends that we would write on our school papers, notebooks and at the bottom of the millions of little notes we would pass each other during school.  (YEP I AM ROLLING MY EYES AT MYSELF NOW TOO!!!!!)   I was 12 and 13.  What can I say?  13 year old girls are dramatic idiots.  LOL.

Ahhh.  Menudo.  Charlie.
What is funny about this crush is that I even KNEW about them - 1982/1983 when I was barely 12 years old and living in the heartland of America in a tiny farm town!  But I saw them on TV on Saturday morning between cartoons when they used to play clips of videos.  I started to search them out and was over the moon when I found their album at a local Pamida store in bigger town near where I lived.  Of course, my album was in Spanish... but I still learned every word to every song and gazed for hours at the pictures on their album covers.

Luckily my Teen Beat and Tiger magazines picked up on their popularity and I was able to start cutting out pictures of my Menudo crush.  Unfortunately, the members changed rapidly as their voices changed so my crush was short lived.

Ahhh.  Kevin.  I was so sure we could meet, fall in love, get married and have children together.
When cable TV was just starting to be offered in homes, my parents were one of the first in our small town to get it.  They took advantage of a program where you got free installation if you donated a toy to charity.  We had to go through our toys to find one to donate... and then we could get 'cable TV' which meant more than just 3 channels and it didn't go off the air at midnight.

Soon after that, one of my brothers told me about a show he saw on tv where they would dump green slime on your head if you said "I don't know".   It took about a week or two of him trying to 'catch' the show on TV so he could run and get me to show me what he was talking about but he finally did, I finally saw it... and I was hooked.

It was "You Can't Do That on Television" and I loved this show.  It was stupid but funny - and I was hooked.  But soon I ended up liking it for different reasons.  It wasn't long before I started to take notice of one of the actors a little more than the others.  As his hair grew longer, so did my crush on him grow bigger!  Ha ha.  This kid;  Kevin Kubusheskie  

Looking back now at these pictures, I can see I had a 'thing' for guys with longer hair.  It's probably no wonder that by the time I was 15 I was dating guys with hair that hit their 'collar' which was considered long back then!  Such a rebel.  :)

Anyway - my coffee cup is empty and I think I want just one more cup before I get started on the tasks I must now accomplish today.  I've enjoyed my little walk down memory lane and my very early crushes.  Later today I'm sure I'll think "Why the heck did I feel the need to talk about that?"  but... it's just the coffee talking again.

You might also be interested in these related items from Amazon;

The Outsiders
The Outsiders