TIPS for Creating Your Emergency Water Supply

TIPS for Creating Your Emergency Water Supply

cat drinking water from a clear glass water bowl

It’s storming outside. The electric has gone out. There has been area flooding. Your water system is either not working properly or the water is contaminated. What do you do while you wait for the storm to end and the flood waters to recede? Even if the water is available soon, it most likely won’t be safe to drink right away.


In today’s Sunday Snacks with Sam and Elliewe share our personal thoughts and suggestions. We don’t have all the answers. We’re working on these solutions ourselves. But we’d like to offer some tips and ideas to get you thinking about your own situation. Our goal? To keep you and your family prepared for just such emergencies.

In our video we share some of the following:

  • Your hot water tank has potable (drinkable) water. It’s the same water that goes to your kitchen sink (and bathroom, etc)
  • Products such as LifeStraws™ can help you if you have contaminated water or live near a stream that you can use
  • If you’re in an area that floods a good deal, there is a bladder (plastic bag) that fits a bathtub. You can fill this with water to use in an emergency.
  • You can also use household bleach (unscented) to sanitize your water.
  • Interestingly, if you’ve started your 30-day food supply, the liquid in canned fruits and vegetables can also quench your thirst or be used in preparing meals.
  • And don’t forget your pets … they’ll need water, too!

PLEASE NOTE: Ellie incorrectly makes a comment about using bleach for sanitizing water. CLICK HERE for the link to the EPA that explains the amount and use of chlorine bleach to correctly sanitize your water.

CLICK HERE to read the transcript while listening to the tape.

Preparation IS Security

We are sharing our tips and ideas – not to frighten you – but to encourage you to consider your own location and situation and to prepare accordingly.

You know we love to hear from you – your ideas, tips, and yes, even your questions.

In the meantime, think ahead and be safe!

NOTE: If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common-sense approaches to sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word. Visit and like our youtube channel and our Facebook page. Sign up for our newsletter  – the form’s on the HOME page. Share your thoughts with us on youtube or FB. And, please, share us with your friends. Here’s to your peace of mind because you’re prepared!

Between us, we have over 100 years of experience, and Sam’s only 40!
If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common-sense approaches to
sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word.


What’s in YOUR Home Pantry?

What’s in YOUR Home Pantry?

Food-storage-closet-home-pantry-from-Unsplash-by-Annie_SprattWell, good morning. Good morning. Happy Sunday Snacks with Sam and Ellie. Today, because we’ve been talking about preparedness, we’re here to talk to you about pantries – your home pantry and food storage. One of the things that are near and dear to my stomach is obviously having food on hand, your budget, and being able to make food efficiently. And when I say efficiently, I mean like cost and taste, its taste is very crucial. No savings if nobody eats it.

Let’s Talk Food Storage

No matter the size of your home, there’s room to create a pantry to store food to feed your family in an emergency situation that could include power outages, storms, food shortages at the grocery store, etc.

Ellie lives in an apartment, She uses a couple of shelves on a bookcase, and under her bed storage. Sam has a home where she uses a small closet (actually a bit smaller than the one in the photo) and in her basement.

But there are a number of places where you can find a place to store some food supplies as well as toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, and other items you use frequently around your home. A shelf or two in your laundry room will work. Remember, they can be placed a bit higher because you won’t be reaching for items as frequently. Another spot, under beds. You can take milk crates and stack them to use for storage or place boards on them to give you even more space. A small corner that isn’t useful for anything could have a small shelf for storage. Get creative, look around and see what spot might be perfect for a few items that will add to your sense of preparedness.

To read the transcript while listening to our video, CLICK HERE.



  • If you haven’t really started a pantry for emergencies, start small.
  • Keep items that you know your family will eat.
  • Purchasing an extra condiment, spice, pasta, flour, sugar, non-fat milk, water, and canned goods for the pantry is a great place to begin. Then when you use your backup, replace it in the pantry.
  • Sam shares a great point – rehydrating your dried beans in boiling water will have them ready to eat faster.
  • Ellie shares her best tip by encouraging you to use Google search for recipes:
    type in a couple of items you have on hand – add the words ‘easy recipe’ – and see what you discover
  • Added later – if power is out, you can use an outdoor grill or Sterno fuel, etc. to heat up water or cook items. Not as convenient, but it will help. Do a search to learn more and be safe.
  • Again, start small. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll create a pantry that works for your family.


A small pantry can be of enormous help when you need it!

If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common sense approaches to sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word. Visit and like our youtube channel and our Facebook page. And sign up for our newsletter  – the form’s on the HOME page. Share your thoughts with us on youtube or FB. Here’s to your peace of mind because you’re prepared!

What Does Sustainability Mean To YOU!

What Does Sustainability Mean To YOU!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been noticing that our food prices are starting to go ​up at the grocery store.

I am Sam ​Groff ​of Beyond TP and Milk. I’m ready to chat with you about some of the serious things about why Ellie and I created ​​Beyond TP and MIlk.​ ​So our original venture was the idea that during the pandemic, a lot of people were confused about what was going on and started buying up all the TP​ and milk and panicking.

There’s a lot of other ways to be prepared. And you know, one of mine is in my fluffy butts ​(chickens). ​They’re so much fun. Yes, they are cute and cuddly and fun and amazing. And some people would ​view them as pets.
I view them as a resource. They are a sustainable food source for myself and my family. Each chicken for multiple years will give me​ eggs​, and they’re amazing layers.​ ​I’ve got a bunch of different breeds that are here on our little property. And we have ones that are really, really good with our kids.
So they have a coop, which is the big green thing. And then they have a massive run. Now, again, chickens aren’t for everybody, not everybody has a whole lot of space, but for us, that was a sustainable easy way for us to be able to take care of things.
Now, am I the best chicken farmer? Probably not. There’s so much more​ ​I’m still learning. Like in the last year I pulled all of my old CDs that we weren’t using anymore and I put them out thinking that would be ​a fun playtoy ​for them.​ ​​We always hear that chickens need to be entertained​.
​B​ut ​an added bonus was by putting these up ​has actually help​ed us keep predators away​. The flash in the nighttime and during ​the day ​from the sun distracts the predators and keeps them away.
So that’s the beauty of the simplicity of sustainability and utilizing the resources that you have on hand and finding out how to make the best out of them.
So ​with Beyond TP and Milk, and with chickens, one of the simple tasks that we’ve done is try to make our yard sustainable for our chickens.​ ​Now, mind you, when we moved here, this backyard was entirely full of trees. ​That means our whole backyard is super​ lumpy. We’re missing chunks of ground because of roots riding out from the bottom and under the ground.​ ​But that means that our ground is super duper fertile. ​We have a lot of extra nutrients and things available to us in our soil, but it doesn’t look the prettiest for most people.
So that’s why we’ve mulched around the chicken coop and around the shed. But that mulch​,​ remember​,​ it was free.​ I told you about that.

​The second thing is ​it’s ​adding a layer of soil and nutrients as it decomposes into our backyard, into our landscape.​ ​Now, the neat part about what we did with this mulch is that it’s not just the mulch. ​We have straw in here.

​In the wintertime, what we do ​is around the base of our chicken coop, we have it open so that the girls can get in and out underneath there. ​They have extra living quarters where like, you know, their chickens. We want them to have as much freedom and free reign as possible. But with that ​it’s also ventilated all summer. So it helps keep the coop cooler. But in the winter ​when ​it gets cold​, we completely surround the base of our coop with straw bales.

Now that’s a two-fold exercise. What it does is it’s a windbreak, but in the springtime, what we use it for is to create a layer of ​soil for ourselves.​ ​So weput the straw underneath the wood chips and the girls then start mixing it all up because the​y’re chickens​.​ ​They ​love to scratch​.​​ That scratching, that mixing brings us a new layer of nutrients ​to the soil. It gives the chickens entertainment. It adds to the healthy ecosystem and sustainability of our yard. And it gives us an easy babysitter for the chickens when they’re out and about in the yard, because we do like to let them free reign when we’re out here working​.​
hand holding fresh eggs with chickens grazing in the yard in the background​S​o sustainability and worrying about the food chain is only going to get you so far until you actually start putting it in action.My husband and I started doing this and putting these things in action slowly, not everything’s going to happen overnight. That’s the biggest thing I can stress to you​.​ ​Try one small thing at a time​. ​We tried the straw bales underneath the chicken coop two years ago.​ ​It worked amazing.
We did it again this year​. ​The year that we did it the first time​,​ we put the straw directly into our garden beds and we made lasagna gardening. It was on your beds, whatever you want to call them. And that was effective. So now it’s every year, how do we sustain that sort of stuff to bring it about so that our land, our property is helping us continue to maintain our stuff. Well, everybody​,​ have a good one.
Again, th​is is Sam ​Groff ​signing off for ​Beyond TP and Milk. ​E​njoy one small step in sustainability because I’m telling you right now, we are on the verge of seeing things that we haven’t seen in a long time ​in this country with pricing. We gotta be starting to really come full circle and take care of it in our own homes. All right. 
Have a good one, everybody. Bye.
Between us, we have over 100-years of experience and Sam’s only 39! If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common sense approaches to sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word.
Grape Babies and Sustainability Fun

Grape Babies and Sustainability Fun

Let’s talk grapes!

I love a good grape. Never really grew grapes ever in my life until we moved into this house, I was like, this is something I want to do. I’ve always wanted to have a beautiful grape arbor and just think, think Italian Villa. I always wanted to have that little space and I thought it would always be so cool.

So my husband puts up with my shenanigans. And here we have it this year. It’s finally done. So it’s connected to our chicken coop. And as you can see, the grapes are happily growing on it. We use the tires not to keep in soil or anything. We use the tires entirely to keep our chickens out.
Now, when the grapes got put in, I bought them off-season. I know they’re purple. That’s all I know.
Whoa! I haven’t seen these before. Look, I think there’ll be grapes. We’ve never had grapes before. This would be our first year with fruit. So I’ll definitely have to keep you along for the journey!
So Beyond TP and Milk is so much about sustainability and living a life that you could control. I can go to the store and buy grapes, but think about all the wildfires that have ravaged the west coast, what happens? Grape prices go through the roof.
My son loves grapes. So we’ll try to grow some. I don’t know. I’ve never grown it. And yeah, it’s taken some time effort, and a little bit of learning, but now I didn’t even know these (buds) were here yesterday. This is so amazing.
Our trellis was a pretty simple task. It has a cinderblock base so that the wood wouldn’t be directly in the soil. It’s got pressure-treated posts and one massive pressure-treated T joint, regular 2x4s on the outside and a pressure treated 8′ in the center
So sustainability comes from a lot of ideas. You decide what it means in your life. You want to embrace it. It is more than just how much I can be prepared. It can also be about having fun. You want to have grapes? Want an Italian villa? Embrace it. Have fun with it. But enjoy the process!
Between us, we have over 100-years of experience, and Sam’s only 39! If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common sense approaches to sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word.
Types of Tomatoes in Simple Language

Types of Tomatoes in Simple Language

I’m here doing a sustainability gardening channel. I am not thinking I am a cool beans. What I am is somebody who has epically failed at tomatoes multiple years in a row.

I used to love growing tomatoes.

Then the last four years, I have really just hated growing them. I grow them because I love to eat them. And they have a definitively different flavor than the ones you get from a hothouse and the grocery store. But what’s my problem. I have been gardening my entire life? Why have I struggled with tomatoes until this year?
Oh, until the end of last year, beginning of this year, I didn’t realize that there were different types of tomatoes. Obviously, I know that there are different breeds of tomatoes, but there are actually, definitively, two different types of tomatoes – actually three.

Determinate – INdeterminate and Semi-Determinate

I just learned that one while doing more research within the last week! The two types of tomatoes typically are determinate, which just flat out means “Bush.” Why can’t they just say, this is a “Bush tomato (determinate) vs indeterminate  – vine” – tall, massive tree-like thing. It would make life so much easier if they wrote these things on the tags. Okay, maybe they do and I didn’t know what I was looking for.
If you try to plant them (determinate and indeterminate) the same way and you try to grow them the same way, you’ll have the epic failure that I’ve had every year.
So this year in my garden I put Amish paste tomatoes, and, um, I put six of them in one bed. There are bushing tomatoes. So I’m going to try to use the age-old theory of caging. We’ll see if that works. I’ll keep you posted.
Well, what I wanted to really let you know about in this video is that there are three types of tomatoes, they’re determinate, which are the short bushy ones. Then there are the semi-determinates, which are the three that I staked into my garden in a totally separate bed from the Amish paste tomatoes. They are a Celebrity tomato and are semi-determinate. So I put massive tree stakes and I’m not joking. I put massive tree stakes in the soil next to the plant so that as they grow up, I will be able to continue to trellis them for lack of a better term to that tree stake and not have it fall over every year.
Now, mind you, none of these, these tomato plants, have I grown from seed? I have not. I have bought them at a local nursery.
IMPORTANT: Um, now the one other thing that I learned about tomatoes is they’re in the nightshade family. Something about their leaves is toxic to specifically chickens and I will do more research and get back to you on that.

The Wrap UP

So to wrap up, there were three types of tomatoes. I am going to be trying different methods this year for different kinds of tomatoes. And I will keep you posted on our progress to see if we are successful or just epic failing.
Keep going and keep trying new things in your garden. Like this year, I’ve never potted tomatoes. We’re going to try something new and it’s making me happy. It’s exciting. You’ve got to find that loving thing for you because sustainability is about what lights you up and makes you happy.
If it’s the sustainability of knowing how to make bread in your kitchen when there’s no more yeast, you can do an awesome sourdough! Rock on! If that’s how to be able to wash your dishes or wash your clothes with a washboard when they decide to actually cut off all the water to your house, because wait, they have to replace fire hydrants.
That’s what sustainability is really – kind of going back to those grassroots skills-based things that we all kind of let lapse because of industrialization and just because of the convenience of things.
But as we’ve learned, hopefully, we’ve learned the resources aren’t always available, and sometimes we need to buckle down and know how to take care of ourselves. So enjoy tomatoes, enjoy gardening. Find that one thing that lights you up, people, talk to you later.
Bye bye.
Between us, we have over 100-years of experience, and Sam’s only 39! If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common sense approaches to sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word. 
Simple Water Bottle Hack

Simple Water Bottle Hack

It’s been way too long since we’ve posted. But we’re back with lots to share. 

Make Drainage Far Easier in Pots

We all have plants that we’d like to put into containers. I always try to do a few tomato plants that way. To make life easier, instead of adding rocks and sand for draining, recycle a plastic water bottle or 2 or 3.
Now you may be wondering why I’d even have plastic bottles. Well, I like to keep bottled water for emergencies. A great example going on right now at my house is the water is turned off because they’re replacing a fire hydrant in our block.

Simple hack!

So I’ll take a deep pot and, after rinsing, cleaning, and putting the lid back on, I’ll place 3 or 4 in the bottom of the pot. VOILA! Instant drainage! Excellent reuse of plastic!
Another tip while we’re talking about potting plants. The old soil used for annuals can also be re-used the next year by adding fresh mushroom soil and a bit of worm castings.
Have fun with the plants you put into containers while you reuse and recycle – all to have a sustainable lifestyle!
Between us, we have over 100-years of experience and Sam’s only 39! If you enjoy our life hacks and simple common sense approaches to sustainability and everyday life, please spread the word.