Posted: Thursday, March 26, 2009

Last Sunday a friend of mine called me and announced that Mt. Redoubt was about to erupt. He suggested that I might want to call the newspaper and tell them and be the first one to tell them. I had just arrived home from church and had also noticed the cloud of steam hovering over the mountain and my family and I determined it was steam and not a cloud. Did I call the paper or anyone about steam over the mountain? No because I am sure if Mt. Redoubts actually erupts someone else will see it and the media will respond.

There are a whole lot of things in life that we cannot control or change and I refuse to get all excited about those things that I have no control over. If it erupts I can prepare to deal with it then by protecting my family and vehicles at that point. I am pretty sure hot lava will not reach my home. I will deal with the dust and soot if and when it actually happens.

I just went through my energy audit yesterday and have several things that were already pointed out that will help us conserve energy here at our home. This is something I can work on that hopefully will conserve energy as well as make our home warmer. Less money spent on energy also means more money available for hunting and fishing trips.

Every February and March I start canning and smoking any leftover salmon that we may have in hopes of getting them out of my freezer before they freezer burn and also to make room for the fresh ones that start coming up in the spring. Hopefully I can get enough stuff out of my freezers to enable me to be able to shut down one freezer and that also conserves energy. It does not cost anything to store canned food in your home but it does cost money to run freezers.

If you have extra food in your freezers that you really do not need doesn't it make economical sense to give it to the elderly couple down the street instead of storing it so long that it freezer burns and you end up throwing it in the garbage. I constantly work and organize my freezers and have not thrown anything away for several years.

I also donate a lot of items year round to as many senior citizens as we can and it has been a very rewarding experience to be able to help these people out. I know I just said I but more correctly it should have said "WE" as there is no way I could do all the food processing we do without the help of my wife Taby and our family. It is a total family effort and if I attempted to do it all by myself I would have been buried under a huge pile of moose, fish, poultry, and vegetables.

If you only have one freezer you can really save yourself some money by adding milk jugs full of water each time you have room in your freezer. It cost less money to run a full freezer then a half empty one and if you have a power outage and throw a thick sleeping bag over your freezer it will last that much longer full of ice then being half empty. As you get more and more jugs of ice empty your freezer and put the jugs of ice on the bottom so it is easier to find what you are looking for.

You may not be able to control what our government is doing and how they are spending your tax dollars but you can do things to help control your family budget. Just because they think they can bail out all the big boys, do your part in bailing out yourself or your family. Make it a family project to plant a big garden and then help mom can or freeze the vegetables for next winter. Have you noticed the cost of these canned vegetables in the store lately? Whew!!! I am glad I do not have to depend on buying canned food in the store. I can go to my food pantry and pick out everything I need that we have either canned or I brought back from the Midwest at a much reduced rate.

I cannot control the high price of fuel here or the price of electricity or natural gas. But I do have some control over the amount we use. Keep those unneeded lights turned off and is it really necessary to have that thermostat set on 80? We have all heard the old saying, a penny saved is a penny earned and if we are wasting energy and paying a much higher cost then necessary we are wasting a lot of money.

I am a firm believer in staying active to improve your health. No one can control your health like you can and it is obvious that being healthy saves money at the doctor's office. Do things together as a family that provides both exercise as well as entertainment. Go to the recreation center and play volleyball, basketball, or simply work out. If indoor exercise is not your thing then go hiking or other things outdoors like riding bike or a kickball game in your back yard.

Be leaders in your family as well as your neighborhood by organizing things that provide good family exercise and fun for everyone. A neighborhood picnic which combines good healthy food with some forms of exercise benefits everyone. If some of those elderly are not up to participating in any of the ball games, they most likely will enjoy watching and besides it gives them the chance to get out of the house.

I have spent 6 of the past 7 days playing basketball at the gym with my children.. They go back to school next week and I will spend the rest of my days off out fishing and yes nursing my sore muscles too! Something just a little easier on me then basketball for 2 plus hours every day! I cannot control Mt. Redoubt but I can control the amount of time I can spend with my family and the things we do together. I urge you to do the same!

See you next week!

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