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Understanding GMO's and Why You Should Care

Genetically modified or engineered food (GM or GMO) has become a hot topic of conversation over the last couple of years. Over the last year, there has been a huge push for the FDA to require food labels on any product containing genetically modified ingredients. As a matter of fact, March 27, 2012 marked the record-breaking one million signatures in favor of GE labeling, which is more signatures than any other food petition previously submitted to the FDA. More than 40 countries worldwide, including all of Europe, already have GE labeling. You have probably seen an article or news program on the issue recently, but you may not understand what all the fuss is about. Most people don’t understand that GMO food products are big money. Over the last 10 years, the agriculture biotech industry has spent over a half billion dollars in lobbying to make sure the consumer is kept in the dark. GE crops became commercially available in the United States in 1996 and currently constitute the vast majority of corn, cotton and soybean crops grown in the country. More recently, biotechnology firms have developed genetically engineered animals, including food animals like hogs and salmon. Today, some estimates indicate over 90% of all soy and corn grown in the U.S. is done with genetically modified seeds. So what does GMO really mean? GMO stands for genetically modified organism, which refers to any food product that has been altered at the gene level. Genetically modified foods are also frequently described as genetically engineered, genetically altered or genetically manipulated. For hundreds of years farmers crossbred their plants, but crossbreeding is far different than the process GMO crops undergo. Essentially in GMO, crop genes are turned on/off, removed or altered, in an attempt to make the plant more resistant to pests or chemicals used during the pesticide spraying process. The main concern when it comes to consumer health is that scientists are unsure of how these genetic changes will affect our short- or long-term health. We are barely scratching the surface when it comes to understanding how agriculture genetics work and how they affect humans. We are just beginning to understand that our DNA can be damaged or made healthy by what we consume in the form of food. It was once thought your DNA was static (it didn’t change), but we now understand that it can be greatly affected by environmental factors, as well as by what we eat. Why are GMO foods considered detrimental to your health? Research and the effects of GMO products on health is where the meat of the controversy lies. There is now a large amount of evidence that toxins in certain GMO foods may trigger inflammatory responses, food allergies, and cause infertility. An example is tomatoes that are spliced with a fish gene in order to make the tomato frost-resistant. The result is people with fish allergies could have a reaction to the tomato or even die.
Recent animal studies showed genetically modified foods caused the following detrimental health consequences: Lung damage Immune response Lower birth rates Higher mortality rates of offspring Inability to reproduce In addition, researchers linked glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup weed killer) to Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS), a serious plant disease, in many fields around the world. Numerous studies have shown that glyphosate contributes not only to the huge increase in SDS, but also to the outbreak of some 40 different plant and crop diseases. Glyphosate weakens plants and promotes disease in a number of ways, including the following: Acting as a chelator of vital nutrients, depriving plants of the nutrients necessary for healthy plant function Destroying beneficial soil organisms that suppress disease-causing organisms and help plants absorb nutrients Interfering with photosynthesis, reducing water use efficiency, shortening root systems and causing plants to release sugars, which changes soil pH Stunting and weakening plant growth Do GMO crops have any benefits? Supporters of GMO food believe that this technology makes it possible to produce enough food for everyone to have enough to eat. This is accomplished mainly by making sturdier and more pest-resistant crops. Agriculture biotech companies also promised drought-resistant and high yielding, genetically engineered seed, but that has yet to come to fruition. Unfortunately, the agriculture biotech companies who create these products almost always write or back up all the positive research surrounding the benefits of GM crops. Talk about the fox guarding the hen house! We have already mentioned the possible health problems associated with GM crops and products, but GM products also cause environmental problems. Instead of creating crops resistant to weeds, which is one of the biggest benefit claims made by the agriculture biotech industry, the opposite is created; a new breed of super weeds that is immune to the herbicides used for weed control. Instead of using less herbicide, farmers now use more and more herbicide to battle these super weeds. Not only does this cause the foods we eat to contain higher levels of these chemicals, but those chemicals also seep into the soil and ground water. Studies also find that instead of producing more crops using GM seeds, farmers’ production is actually going down, especially when compared to farmers using poly-culture and sustainable farming techniques. Not only are the GM farmers doing far more harm to the earth than their small sustainable farmer brethren, but they also have lower output and higher cost to raise their crops and animals. Are your favorite foods contaminated with GMOs? In 2011 the Cornucopia Institute tested several “natural” labeled products, and the results were startling! They found numerous “natural” products, such as the ones listed below, contained high levels of GE ingredients, sometimes as high as 100%: Kashi® GoLean®, Mother’s® Bumpers®, Nutritious Living® Hi-Lo®, General Mills Kix® For non-organic, “natural” products making “non-GMO” claims, results showed that these claims can not always be trusted. Barbara’s Bakery® Puffins® and Whole Foods’ 365® Corn Flakes, which are both enrolled in the Non-GMO Project, contained more than 50% GE corn. This is why I always tell people to remove cereals and breakfast bars from their diet; they are also filled with sugar, chemicals, and processed white flour. I explore this topic in much more detail in my books and writings. How to Avoid GMO Products As we can see, product labels can be very misleading and confusing when it comes to choosing GMO-free items. So what to do? The easiest way to avoid GM products is to purchase items with the 100% USDA Organic sticker on the label. Federal law requires that organic food products be produced, promoting ecological sustainability, without the toxic inputs and genetically engineered ingredients common in the conventional food system. One of the best ways to get GM-free fruits and vegetables is to belong to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group or buy your food from a local farmer or Farmer’s Market. Of course you have to do your research when buying from a local farmer or Farmer's Market to make sure they follow the proper organic practices you are looking for. Remember vitamins and supplements can also contain GM ingredients, so you will have to pay attention in this area if you use these products.  Hopefully you will now have some better tools to recognize GM foods and products. Always pay attention to the labels, as they are confusing for a reason: to make it harder for you to decipher a good product from bad product. Better yet get to know your local farmer or grow your own food, as that way you are guaranteed to get the best quality food possible. Sources:        

Gary Collins

Gary Collins

Home Food Preservation

Root Cellars  I have heard of several methods for making ground temperature storage. Depending on where you live, this ground temperature may vary from 70F degrees on the gulf of Mexico, to 58F degrees in Arkansas where I live, to 50F degrees in southern Canada. That's quite a difference.  Nonetheless using the ground for its year round constant temperature is a great thing to do.  Humidity plays some role as well.  Some sections of underground storage you may want to be more humid or other sections drier yet. Containers may affect humidity as well. For example you could remove oxygen and humidity and seal the container then store in a humid, or not, underground location.  A root cellar may be a simple as a barrel or trashcan that has been buried where any exposed parts, such as a lid, are well insulated. This might be buried horizontally in a mound or hill, vertically in flat area or at some angle in between on a slope. Other types of cellars might be a house basement, might be a storm cellar and may even be a bermed out building with earthen and insulated roof. One interesting potato cellar I saw while traveling in the Utah, Idaho, Washington and Oregon area was an A-Frame structure with roofs sloped at about 45 degrees and earthen cover. All of these methods use some combination of earth (thermal mass), underground and insulation to keep the inside temperature near ground temperature year round. Another method similar in root cellar concept is to store food items in water either stream, pond or lake. If pond or lake, then deep enough to get down to the cold water layer. Could a root cellar be cooled artificially? Sure it could be cooled with a typical A/C unit. If so, insulation may be required between the inside space and the ground. Hey we could even make a highly efficient walk in freezer this way? Sure. Commercial freezers are above ground and are insulated to about R60 to R80 standards. As an example consider the typical house 2x4 walls at R11. Meaning you would need a wall about 7 times that thickness for your freezer. Or around 28 inches thick, but that's using fiberglass batt insulation. With styrofoam at 5R per inch, we would only need 16". Or with papercrete at 3R per inch, we would need 25 inches or so. The cheapest insulation here would be by far papercrete. Straw and sawdust could also be used as insulation. Though both would have to be carefully protected from moisture. I would suggest those two used as moveable insulation kept in some kind of sealed containment. As in most insulating efforts, shiny polished metallic surfaces are good for added heat reflection if possible. By the way eggs may be pickled and raw eggs may be stored in a water and mineral oil or water and "water glass"  (sodium silicate) solutions for up to 6 months or longer in a cellar. They say if the big end is beginning to float the egg is near bad. And you may add ventilation for use in winter to achieve below ground temperatures in the root cellar to increase storage time.  Carrots and other roots may be kept as fresh as when harvested by keeping them in containers of damp sand. Leave the tops sticking up so you can pull them from the sand. Granddad always said to leave the dirt on the potatoes because if washed they would rot. Maybe the dirt functioned same as sand for carrots, aye? Zeer pots Zeer pots are most likely only useful in arid climates. This method uses passive evaporation cooling. Use two pots of different sizes, one that fits entirely inside the other. A layer of wet sand is placed inside the larger pot and separates the two. If the sand dries it, is to be dampened again. It appears that one may extend the shelf life span from 2 days to about 20 days or 10 times using this method. Pickling and Fermenting Pickling is a procedure where food is preserved chemically by alcohol, salinity, alkalinity or acidity.  Fermenting is usually an initial procedure before chemical pickling, where bacterial action works on the food item until a given alcohol content or acidity or alkalinity is reached.  This is a matter of creating an life barrier for bad bacteria which would otherwise feed on the food item. Salt and vinegar (high acid) is usually used along with other possible spices which stunt bacterial growth. Lemon juice or vinegar are usually added to make sure the pH is low enough to keep the food safe. Acid - Alkali: pH of 7 is neutral. Below 7 is acid and above 7 is alkali. In acid pickling pH needs to be below 4.5. There is a such a thing as pickling with lime and pH here needs to be above 8 or 9. Most microbes survive at pH 3 to  near 7. Alcohol:  I have not heard of anyone eating anything pickled with alcohol except uh alcohol(drinking). And we might call whiskey "pickled water". I have made homemade wine. I can tell you that alcohol content of 12 to 15% and kills the yeast which is used to ferment the products. Beer yeasts are killed at lower percentage ages. 20% alcohol and higher is about right for killing any microbes.  Port wine is kept in open vats and is fortified with brandy to around 20%. Therefore, port wine is indeed pickled wine. Brandy is a product that is distilled from wine so that its alcohol content is higher than that of wine, say around 40 to 50%. Whiskey and rums and vodka's are around 40 to 50% and could be used for pickling purposes. As a last note, a food item pickled with alcohol might be cooked to remove the alcohol, though I'm not sure how good it may taste. Salt:  Salt creates an environment where there is more salt outside a bacterial cell wall than inside the cell. This kills the cell because it loses too much water. Brine water is greater than 5% salt and will kill most life. Though its tough to say just how salty a liquid or food item must be to kill all bacteria that might live in it. After all, there is life growing even in the saltiest seas. Great Salt Lake Utah Ecology(food web) As you can see by this though, the number and kind of life is greatly reduced by salinity, life is not totally eliminated. For comparison consider the ocean average salinity of 3.5% to Great Salt Lake, Utah of 5%-27% depending on the season to the Dead Sea at 33.7%
Just about anything we can think of can be pickled. Meats may be pickled and, in fact, salt and sugar curing is a form of pickling. But plant matter is fermented and not meats. Fermentation at different temperatures give different results. Vegetables and fruits both are pickled. Once pickled, a food may be left at room temperature, though I usually keep them in the frig after opening. Unlike canning, pickled items are not completely sterilized, though they may be canned and sterilized as well. I'd have a difficult time with meat that was pickled but not canned properly. Though I do eat beef jerky and it is not canned, only pickled and dried. An interesting last note is that your leather is pickled. The act of tanning is where tannin is used to pickle skin based on high acid. Salt and Sugar Curing From what I understand, meat is buried all the way around in salt for salt curing, and in sugar curing salt is also used but not as heavily. This salt pack or salt sugar pack dries the meat out so that there is little moisture (a key ingredient for life) and also kills bacteria. I know little about this method, though I think the FoxFire series books talk about how old timers did this. But I do know that salt needs to be course, not fine like table salt, or the end result is very salty. The salt is for drawing away moisture. Also the black peppering was for keeping flies away. Sodium nitrate and sodium nitrites are used in curing. Sea salts and natural salts contain amounts of each. This is responsible for the pinkish color in some cured meats. Smoking
Smoking not only flavors meats, it dries them out. Smoking is antibacterial but only protects the surface of the meat. Smoking should be used in combination with other methods of preservation. Liquid smoke, while adding flavor does nothing, for preservation. Smoking and drying or dehydrating, in my opinion, might go well together.       Canning in Jars Steam Canning Boiled Water Bath Canning Pressure Canning USDA Canning Guide PDF The food industry cans in "cans", bags, bottles and jars. But we at home can in glass jars mostly (I talk about retort bags below). Equipment for this is a large pot with a sealing lid called a canner. Note that some pressure pots you may see are only pressure cookers and not canners. A canner, such as a "Presto", will come with a pressure gauge. In general 5, 10 and 15 PSI are pressures needed. 20 is too high and will cause pressure to be released via a safety valve or else the pot might explode. The higher the pressure, the higher the temperature that can be achieved when canning. PSI means pounds of pressure per square inch above atmospheric pressure. So 15 PSI is really 30 PSI roughly, or double atmospheric pressure. The food boils in the jars within the canner at temperature above 212 degrees. At 15 PSI, it will boil at 240 degrees or higher and kill all life period, not question about it. Meats are canned at 15 PSI (though I hear altitude alters this pressure) If meats are canned at lower pressures, then lower temperatures will kill bacteria but not spores, which are like bacteria seeds. Later, if the meat is opened, these seeds can cause the bacteria to grow quickly again and become very deadly fast. Lids for jars are made such that they sink in after cooled to show that a slight vacuum seal has been made and the food is indeed sealed and protected. If you set hot jars out, as they begin to cool, you would hear popping sounds as the lids sink in. As the contents cool, they also shrink and reduce in volume slightly causing a slight vacuum. Canned items can literally be good for decades if kept in cool dark locations. Though, as they age, they do lose nutritional value.  I would like to suggest the canning dates on store bought cans are set for this maximum nutritional drop off, not for spoilage. Though eat out dated canned items at your own risk, not because I told you it was OK. Note on canning of fish or anything with small sharp bones. Pressure canning will soften bones and scales, for that matter, to the point where they may be safely chewed or eaten. Personally I wouldn't want to can the scales; however, I have seen sardines canned with scales on them. One thing a person might do is first pressure cook the fish and then remove larger bones and scales. Can the remainder (mostly meat). I have read that one may cook up sausage patties the size of a jar, then fill the jar with patties, finally fill the jar with melted lard which will solidify over the sausage. The lard actually protects the contents and, if you throw on a lid, it will vacuum seal as it cools. However, it would be safest to go ahead and cook the sausage in a canner.  Other things to know is that wax poured on top is sometimes used to seal in some items, such as jams and jellies. This is possibly as a secondary precaution in the case a jar seal is not made tight.  Finally, not all canned items have to be pressure canned. There is also hot water bath canning. And there is simply pouring something boiling hot (212F) into a jar and throwing a lid on it. This is how my uncle cans his dill pickles.
Steam canning and boiled water bath canning are virtually the same. Though I hear steam canning is not as safe. Why someone would want to steam can versus boiled water bath, I don't know. But you may find steam canners on the market. These are pans about 3 inches deep with a grate where the jars may be set above the water and steam may flow upward around the jars. A large lid the height of the jars sits on top. There is no seal and steam must leak around the lid as far as I can tell. Vacuum packing in Mylar and Canning Jars.
I feel that vacuum packing in Mylar is expensive. Mylar is a special kind of plastic that does not breath, as other plastics do. It's a bit tougher and not cheap. Mylar bags might be reused, however, if washed and trimmed.  Though each re-use will reduce the volume of the packaging. Great advantage to vacuum packing this way is that you conserve space in storage.
I suppose "Food Saver" is a well known brand of home vacuum packing machines. Food Saver also sells an attachment so that a person may vacuum pack in a regular canning jar. I think this is a super idea. Jars may be reused with ease. And it's a good thing to do with dry goods and items you want to put under refrigeration for shorter term storage. Vacuum packing anything wet will help it to last longer simply by removing the oxygen. If it were something dry, I think I'd also add a small bag of something that absorbs moisture or robs oxygen in the jar.   Retort Vacuum Packing and Canning
List of chamber sealers for sale. Note these chamber sealers are not cheap at $600 to $2,000. List of Retort pouches from the same site. Note these bags cost around $250 for $1,000, depending on the volume.
A retort bag is a bag that was invented to contain food for the space program and for the military. Retort bags are now in use in your local grocery store. I have seen spam, tuna, salmon, sardines, etc. canned in retort bags. Retort bags are a little more expensive than cans or bottles. Basically a special plastic is bonded to a given thickness of aluminum foil. This makes a tough bag that is puncture and tear resistant and keeps out light. You may buy a special machine for vacuum packing and sealing a retort bag. Then the canning process is identical to pressure canning in jars or cans. Food preserved in retort bags may be stored for decades. Though, again, may lose nutritional value over time. Retort bags may be washed and reused. Though, like the reused Mylar bags, they become smaller in volume on each successive reuse. I think you may even reuse the bags from store bought retort bagged items.  Refrigeration Keeping food items as far below ground temperature as you can and yet just above freezing will preserve them for weeks; otherwise, they would last for only hours to days at atmospheric or room temperatures down to ground temperatures. Air and light here play the most important roles. Air is most important. Depriving any refrigerated item of oxygen is key. Sealed containers help with this greatly by reducing air flow and spread of microbes from one item to another, though vacuum packing would be better yet. Drier items last longer than wetter items. Pickled items last longer than unpreserved items. Freezing Freezing will preserve most anything, but not indefinitely. Freezing only slows down bacterial growth. Freezing does not kill bacteria. Colder is better in freezing. Quick freezing and quick deep freezing is better than slow freezing. If frozen very quickly, ice crystals will not form. This is what you may have seen in the grocery store as IQF or Individually Quick Frozen products. I used to work at a Tyson's chicken processing plant. The meat industry first began using freezers that were made for quick freezing vegetables and fruits. These freezers have conveyers that circle through the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes at -60F.  The only thing I've seen wrong with IQF products is that it seemed to me that they were frost bitten quickly at home in the freezer. I think frost bite in food is something like a freeze drying effect on its surface. This toughens and disturbs the flavor of the food item, as well as the cooking properties. Meat packaged in butchers wax paper seems to do well and not become freezer burnt quickly. Blanching is a technique where you partially boil an item for a few seconds, then freeze. I think this works by coating the outside of the food item with a consistent layer of ice. Meaning no part of the food item is exposed directly to air. If food items are frozen in water then they are completely sealed off from air, which prevents freezer burn and freezer taste from getting into the food item. Fish is normally frozen in water. Frozen items may last for a year or more. Drying or Dehydration Food dehydrators are commonly sold but are easy to make. Even an aluminum foil lined box with hot light bulbs can work. I'm sure you may see videos on YouTube for homemade food dehydrators. Beef jerky, pemmican and biltong are all basically the same things;  dried meats. They differ in cuts and spices and processing procedures. Beef jerky is well known here in the U.S.A and I have commonly seen deer (venison) jerky made by individuals. In stores, beef is the main meat used; however, you might find chicken, turkey and pork as well. Even some smoked dried fish, such as salmon. I would suggest that dried meats are also somewhat pickled but not usually fermented. However, there is this notion of aged beef and venison. Aging is, in essence, slow fermentation of meat at very controlled cold temps and given moisture presence. Meats are usually dried from the raw state. However, diced meats might be dried from a cooked state for addition into soup mixes. Beef jerky usually is somewhat sweet, whereas biltong (African jerky) is not. Pemmican is basically what was a nutrition bar for mountain men in the USA during the western migration period. Pemmican is pureed fruit, finely minced meat (possibly dried and ground into almost a powdery state) and solid animal fat, such as lard (not liquid oils), combined and cooked into a bar form. You may find recipes with a quick web search for jerky, biltong or pemmican. Vegetables and fruits are commonly dried in ovens, dehydrators and even by sun drying. Sun drying would be more effective in cold and dry climates. Dried veggies make great soup mix material. Dried fruits mixed with nuts make energetic snacks. Once dried, food items again must be protected from the usual heat, air, light, water to be long lasting. I wouldn't hesitate to vacuum pack and/or refrigerate or freeze dry items to even further increase their lifespan. Remember refrigeration can be as simple as storing in a root cellar. During the drying process anything that you may do to remove humidity will help as well. Refrigeration and freezing usually remove humidity. A room dehumidifier might be a good idea as well. For example, you put the room dehumidifier and the dehydrator in an enclosed space together. If you are under central heat and air or any a/c, then dehumidification is part of that cooling process as well. O2 Absorbers and Desiccants Rock salt and even powdered milk (I've heard, in coffee filters tied up) can be used as a moisture absorber (desiccant). Both after use might have the moisture removed by cooking in oven. Rice and crackers have been used to absorb moisture from salt shakers. They might work for stored food items as well, again wrapped up in a coffee filter. Desiccants should go on bottom, and O2 absorbers on top. O2 absorbers can create a slight vacuum, I hear, on the container. O2 absorbers are usually made from iron powder and small amounts of water. The type of container and sealing are very important in O2 absorption, as any leak will ruin the process and effect.  O2 absorption is preferred in some cases to vacuum packing because it does not crush or compress the food product. Freeze Drying It appears that to freeze dry on the commercial scale one might need to buy a large freeze drier which will cost $4,000 plus and require 3 phase electrical connection and probably 240 volts.  This might be doable for a group of families, but is most likely not practical for common home freeze drying for most people. This is a 2 step process. First the product must be quickly frozen to somewhere between -60 and -120. This prevents ice crystals from forming. Next a vacuum is drawn and the product is slowly warmed back up. As it is warmed, moisture under a vacuum will vaporize from frozen to gas immediately skipping the liquid state. This is what happens to liquid water in space, instead of forming a ball it quickly vaporizes or boils away. One note about freeze drying is that the product is not deformed or compressed or crushed because the vacuum is put on it in a frozen state.

I have heard of a less expensive method of freeze drying which will work for certain foods or foods prepared a given way. I picked this up from the off-grid.net forum.  In this method you use a typical deep freeze to freeze items in canning jars. Next you take them out of the freezer and screw on canning lids which have an L shaped fitting to a 1/4" vacuum hose. This line goes to a group of connections where other jars are connected into. A 6 millibar vacuum is kept on all the jars until complete. A vacuum can be purchased for $350 on Ebay which will do the job such as, "Robinair 15600 6 CFM 2 Stage Vacuum Pump"  This is a 2 stage, 120v, 1/2 horse vacuum weighting 27lbs. Once put on vacuum the food item is simply left to warm back up to room temps. When it  is warm it is usually  done. Some foods (those that are very wet) may require a second treatment. One way to go might be in using a Savant Vapor Trap which cools down to -50c or even -105c These cost between $600 and $2,500 at the time of this writing. They have 120 and 240v models. Different models probably have different volumes which they handle.   Remember Light, moisture, temperature, and oxygen are key components in food preservation. If something is kept in a clear or translucent container, it must be kept in dark or near dark storage. When it comes to temperature, colder is usually better, but freezing some things can cause problems in taste or break containers. Remember when liquids freeze they expand. Expanding ice can crack steel even. Keep it dry
Keep it cool
Keep it air tight
Keep it dark
Keep it protected
Keep it absent of oxygen via vacuum or by removing or replacing oxygen Final note of caution. Some preservation methods and chemicals can render food toxic if too much is eaten over time. Such as salt and high blood pressure, as well as other illnesses that need low salt diets. It would be wise to research illnesses related to preservatives. Below are some interesting links I added in comments after the article was released.
Digital temp and humidity gauges for $25.

Canning in cans, including #10 cans. I think this vacuum packs as well in the cans.   An interesting read about preserving eggs, cool (50) degrees without refrigeration for up to 8 months or longer.
Here is a forum post from a guy that is doing freeze drying and canning in metal cans. This is an awesome read,
though he is using an approximately $15,000 freeze dryer Nice looking freeze drying equipment that a guy in the forum post above bought and used. A hand pump for putting a vacuum on jars and bags. I saw a post about a homemade vacuum sealer. A PVC pipe large enough to fit a jar with end caps formed the chamber. An automotive a/c compressor and 1/3 horse power electric motor was the vacuum pump. It is supposed to seal food in jars. After a vacuum is pulled, simply opening up the chamber seals the jar.   A nice vacuum canner Build your own battery powered refrigerator.

CaverDude

CaverDude

The Best Health Insurance Plan Available, On the Planet!

Is right at your finger tips and basically for free! Here in America we hear incessant talk and claims about health care and lately health insurance as a necessity of health care. And many people still think that our health care system is actually about keeping or making people healthy and that insurance is for your benefit and in your best interest. I am convinced both of those claims are completely false on a grand scale. Why? Let me explain my perspective and thoughts.         Perspective and Thoughts First, we do not have any kind of epidemic as far as real health is involved. What we do have is an epidemic of people expecting the current medical establishment to fix them with a wonder drug or some chemical concoction sold by the pharmaceutical industry. And all after they have spent a lifetime of very unhealthy habits and lifestyle. We also have a tremendous amount of people that are overweight and either obese by definition or borderline obese. This single malady accounts for the vast majority of health conditions in our society. Contrary to popular thinking, it is not a disease, as nearly all maladies are labeled these days (see Dr Fred Baughman)  HERE . Google him as well. Elevated blood pressure and all related problems are also not a disease, per se, nor are any elevated cholesterol issues or endocrine imbalances necessarily. And who has a vested interest to make those labels stick or be associated with any disease rather than a condition that could be avoided? Are heart attacks a disease or a condition mostly of bad habits and lifestyle? Diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as high cholesterol, are directly linked to our populace being vastly overweight and therefore very unhealthy. We don’t really have a health crisis, we have a lot of people simply making serious bad choices for their own health and taking no actions to improve or enhance their own health. The current so-called health care system feeds into this false paradigm with false disease labels. Very little health care revolves around personal responsibility of eating habits or nutrition or exercise on a regular basis. Most of our current system is all about treating these maladies well after the fact and little “preventive medicine” is actually dispensed at all. Seems to me the term “preventive medicine” could be replaced with personal responsibility and common sense largely, or at least many times.              Notice how convoluted and distorted many phrases are deliberately created and thrown out there by certain industries and special interests to keep the ball rolling and the dollars coming in. Combine those bad habits with a populace that expects science (pharma conglomerates) to have some kind of magic bullets always available, and then look at the side effects of those magic bullets on the TV commercials. Many times the side effects are far worse than the original malady. But  “the lady has a good relationship with her doctor and he found her this drug.” How unrealistic is that scenario? Nearly always, the original malady could be resolved naturally by simply changing one’s thinking and actions. One simple solution for many would be simply don’t eat as much. Not to mention what people eat as a factor, also, not just the volume. And all can be done easily. As well, we have become a very sedentary society, which greatly complicates the equation and helps downgrade overall health in a very large way. Very few people get anywhere near enough physical exertion/exercise to maintain good health. So there is a combination of events taking place that many accept as normal, and nothing could be further from the truth or good health. I imagine most reading this already realize some or most of these events. But many have not actually thought out the insurance complication and now that we are faced with the Obamacare illusion as a mandate, it is likely time to rethink the entire health care issue and see if we can empower ourselves. I know that we can and I will share that perspective with you. Our very best health care system is our own initiative to take responsibility for our own bodies and health. Stop and think about that. Is it actually in any way possible for anybody else, no matter what so-called degree or initials they may have after their name, to create or maintain your own health and well being? Seems well past obvious to me the answer is a resounding no! It is completely and entirely our own decisions and efforts that will enhance us. Only we can do this. Just by using a bit of common sense and good judgment, we can create and maintain our own excellent health and never need to be involved in any of the pharma that is becoming ever more rampant, or the so-called health care system. 10 years ago there were no such adverts on TV. In fact it was illegal and now, just like lawyers advertising, it is a grand and glorious thing. How odd, hey? So what is really going on here in the USA? Are these companies and organizations supposedly encouraging actual real health or are they maintaining a status quo within the current system? Is it mandatory that we play into this system and NOT take control of our own bodies and health? And is the insurance industry playing right along with Obamacare as a simple taxation scheme and control mechanism? Will they get a bailout that was actually written into the fraudulent law, to make it all better and will anything actually be better? Of course not. The taxpayer will simply get hosed again. And, in the end, receive even worse health care. But if you are healthy, you don’t need any of the procedures and meds that are so freely pumped and administered in our society at great cost. So why even go there at all? The real key is to maintain a strong and healthy immune system, a balanced endocrine system, a strong and flexible body, and understand the many illusions. Knowledge is Power Healing Myself I have healed myself of many maladies and did most of it with herbs, specific nutrients, and dietary supplements. It is equally important to know what NOT to eat and take into your body, just as a regular exercise regimen is very important and part of an overall state of health, fitness and well being. I was electrocuted in 2000. I grabbed a metal post at a sewer plant I was building in Corvallis, Oregon, and there was a short in it. The post was part of an electric gate for the entry road and I had 480 V of three phase pass through my upper body, from my arms up, straight through my brain. It was raining, of course, and the metal was wet. I could not get away from it. In fact, it pulled me in very intensely with serious muscle contractions that were beyond what anybody would ever want to experience. The pain was excruciating. I lost control of my vocal chords and began to gurgle a sort of horrific murmur. Amazingly, we think we likely cannot think when such a thing is happening , but I can assure you that is quite false. I could think very clearly and after about 15-20 seconds being under this intense current, my palms started to hurt seriously and I felt a severe burning sensation increasing fast in my hands. I realized I was going to melt down and die right there, unless I could get away from the grasp of this monster. I tried very deliberately and as hard as I could to push away and get free, to no avail. The worker with me, my son, was watching all this happen as we were setting the last pieces of pipe on the entire job. He was right in front of me making the last pipe joint and I grabbed the post to get some purchase on the pipe, when it grabbed me. He had the presence of mind to take a 2×4 and whack me with it and push me away from the post. It saved my life. Had he grabbed me, we would have certainly both melted down, me for sure as I was the conduit. I fell to the concrete and my head bounced off it. I was out cold. When I awoke, there was ambulance EMT personnel strapping me into a gurney and off we went to the hospital. It was the strangest sensation I have ever had. I was awake but I could not speak or move any part of my body. I actually thought I was dead. They were talking on the radio about whether or not I was going to make it to the hospital as we raced through the town. I was rushed into an emergency trauma room and immediately put on IV and several doctors swarmed all over my carcass. I still could not speak or move, although I was completely conscious. All motor skills ceased. I finally could move my appendages and a nurse said “he is moving”.  I was not at all sure if I was dead or alive up to that point and still very foggy. I walked out of that hospital about 3 hours later with BP of 129/72. I was in a daze like never before and it only got worse. I ended up hiring a girl to walk around with me on our job sites and take notes as I could not remember what I had said or done maybe 2 minutes ago, much less the next day. I never took any time off and went right back to work the next day. That girl stayed for 6 months and eventually I started to get my faculties and memory back. Of course, I went to numerous doctors and specialist because it was an insurance claim with workers comp. They all said I would have frontal lobe damage and I should convalesce and take it easy and, of course, they all had drugs for me to take. I refused all and did a lot of reading and research on getting hit with high voltage. I really was very lucky and I should have died, but I didn’t.  Nonetheless, I developed my own remedies mentioned below and within a year or so I was pretty well healed. The biggest problem was a lot of joint pain, and I solved that as well with herbals and exercise. I found out that such an event does serious damage to your connective tissue in your joints. That is the first place damage occurs, besides the brain, when it is passing directly through the brain, as it was in my case. In the end, I had a brain scan and there was no damage indicated whatsoever. I was 53 when I had that scan, about two years after the event. My point in telling you this event is a simple one. I have had numerous such near death events and healed myself from all of them, and guess what, you can too! All I did was some serious reading and research combined with a lot of praying and meditation, and did  NOT depend on the so-called professionals to cure me. I had previously had several serious misdiagnosis and I simply did not trust the doctoring thing. And still don’t. I did heal myself once again with lecithin, riboflavin and massive doses of specific B vitamins, C and a specific diet. All combined with a serious exercise regimen that I developed myself and lasted for 2 years. In fact, it was a lot of fun!  I firmly believe anybody can and could have done the same. Although I was not fully aware of our healing Powers at the time and this got me focused on them to a much higher degree.              So take responsibility of your own body and health and it will cost you nothing, except some time in gaining some knowledge and a little effort. What you gain will be immeasurable. It will seriously empower you and enhance your overall well being tremendously. It really is simply how we think about such things and then act. It is a power that we all have and have lost touch with. But it can be regained and expanded. There are some very good books out there for self healing with herbs and diet and other REAL natural healing means. Try it, you will seriously thank me later. The simple truth is that we have all given over our own powers to heal ourselves and our overall health to people that are not at all what they claim to be and a system that largely could care less about your health, but are dead serious about that big house or next vacation or sending the son and daughter to the the most expensive school or that new Mercedes. The very system they deal in is NOT at all about actual health or healing, but almost completely about “after the fact” reactions and many times the sales of pharma or some unnecessary test or procedures. “Well, Steve, I think we will put you on this and if that doesn’t work we will try this“ HA HA HA , no thanks guys, you can have my share of that kind of health care and backward thinking! There are some good MD’s out there but they are not the majority by far! The good ones are not the full bore drug dispensers, as most are, and actually incorporate some forms of homeopathy and  ask for your input rather than tell you some preordained fantasy about how wonderful a drug is. Take back your powers from the so-called professionals. In all areas of your life, not just your health. Below are some examples of those powers we willingly give over to others. If you go down this road, you will not need much, if any, standard practice doctoring. And, yes, if I have a compound fracture poking out I will certainly go in and get it set and sutured. So they do have a purpose. Some drugs also have a purpose, they are simply used far too much for the wrong reasons.  Although you can limit and control all those outcomes and dealings.  But to simply give over all your own healing and thinking powers is a huge mistake in any and everything, much less your actual health care! Take a look at allopathic death rates, that may give you some doubt about the so-called health care system. Here is a link on allopathic death rates http://www.whale.to/a/dean.html  in great detail. I am convinced Obamacare will fail going forward. To some degree it already has and I see no imperative or logical reasoning to show it can be implemented successfully. Mainly because it was created with lies and deceit and the overall complications of the economic and social implications were not part of the equation. It was simply a control mechanism thrown together by people who had no idea whatsoever what they were doing. The regime simply believed their own bullshit (you probably know somebody who believes their own BS and how well does that usually work out?) to the point that they would say or do anything to get this nightmare passed into law. Now they have to deal with all the lies and the basic reality of their folly, in all its forms after the fact. Therefore, they will simply ramp up the lies, distortions and illusions!  Stuff like this. to waste your tax dollars on (fed funded video advert). Is Simmons fit or just plain stupid? Are you convinced of the good deal you are gonna get? So I will continue healing and caring for myself and not be worrying a bit about any of it. I already have my confidence and resources and they did NOT come from any government agency or any form of the current ruse of supposed health care. I am very healthy and fit and plan on staying that way with zero input from the control freaks we call government. You can certainly do the same and save yourself a lot of grief. Insurance doesn’t make anybody healthy, not even one person that I am aware of! It may give some forms of ongoing maintenance after the fact with drugs, but directly giving real health is not part of the program. Usually just another magic bullet concoction with those pesky side effects. Ponder that. I have always paid out of pocket and have not been to a doctor in years. I do have VA coverage from prior events, but use it hardly at all. The simple truth is, it is all very simple stuff and anybody can heal themselves and maintain their own good health. You simply have to make the decision to do that! So I fail to see why anybody could or would equate health insurance and our current so-called health care system with providing any form of good heath. I simply don’t see that happening anywhere, any time. As Joni Mitchel said in her song  “It all comes down to you “  and that seems quite true in all things, always. The videos below are well worth the watch, they may make your day or week or life! They are all interconnected to the idea of our health, our Powers and what we have given away in error! Here is a video of a home schooled 13 year old.   He seems quite fine and healthy to me, without government intervention. Although I do not think Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg are good examples of much of anything except what is wrong. But this youngster is saying almost exactly the points I speak of regularly. It is all about how we think and then act accordingly in all things, and for sure our health and well being and simple happiness and joy. I am not a fan of TED, but that is beside the point in this case. Interestingly, you get the same messages from a rather intelligent 13 year old and that of a guy with many life experiences, time on the planet and a grasp of the world we live in. Both coming to surprisingly similar conclusions in some matters. Next is an interesting set of thoughts by a guy named Santos Binocchi Pretty well covers some of my thoughts and experiences about how we have all given over our powers to the so-called professionals. Santos is a very interesting guy. He has a lot of work on YouTube. Probably time to rethink a lot of existing and old paradigms for many reasons and take control of your own life in all its forms. Basically Santos makes points that disclaim the many illusions we all live under and explains the concept of Astrotheology. The points below are directly related to so-called health care and clearly show how it is all defined and obscured by others, whose goal is simply to control you and your money. Seems every issue is the same and well distorted these days. Lawyers destroy and distort  justice and the laws. Their real purpose has become keeping you from having much of any voice in any of it so they can make the rules. They have even developed their own language to keep you from participating and actually having any voice or representation at all. They force you to hire one of them! Of course, the judge is also one of them.What you end up with is just the illusion of any real representation, and you only get that if you have an abundance of money. Then you may actually win your point or defeat your opponent (could be the state), maybe? Facts or anything real has little to do with any of it,  because the rules of evidence are determined by who has the best lawyer and who can distort the issues the best. And that is many times who has the most money and who knows the judge and can speak with him at the golf course or donate to his favorite candidate or candidacy for himself!  How special, hey? Academics constrain many forms of knowledge in the form of new ideas, under the guise of scientific procedures. Yet we see the global warming schemes and many other thought processes manipulated by those very procedures and players of so-called science. Rupert Sheldrake, and the ten dogmas of current science in the video and others are explaining/defining the very existence of human consciousness, and the establishments of current science have been slow to even consider the thesis of morphic fields and morphic resonance. But that is changing and quantum physics is actually saying the same things and realizing there is some “stuff” holding everything together and not the materialistic atom theories of past thinking. The vested interest of academia being entirely supported by tax dollars and all the tenure and other mechanisms involved, preclude many real thought processes and defer to a system of status quo thinking/acting. So it is a slow process to change. People like Leonardo De Vinci and many others in prior history all had to circumvent the establishment and that establishment is alive and well today. Especially here in USSA! Academics/Science, also can be illusionists on a grand scale in many ways. The established religions and governments have morphed into various forms of control mechanisms. They have been perverted and polluted by men for many centuries and longer. They are not at all as originally intended in many ways. Also quite obvious the politicos are simply false images of the  people they claim to be. Representing themselves as one thing, but they are something else entirely. They are actually very illusory in deeds and words. (read my site and you will see I am NOT anti-religion at all) I just see it for what it is and what it should be! There is much more to the story and we have to go back farther in history/time to get the entire truth. So temper all things for yourself. So is it any wonder every issue, to include our health system and insurance are convoluted? And is there any question that we live in many illusions perpetrated on us by others? I discuss all these matters in great depth at my site www.downtoearthprepper.com  and offer various training for fitness, weight issues, in the field activities, healthy living and thinking in very simple terms that work!  As well as some excellent coconut charcoal products for water filtration/purification and many other uses.  Many other interesting, useful and helpful topics as well for FREE . Good on Ya! Steve Baze more rabbit holes   The post "The Best Health Insurance Plan Available, On the Planet!" appeared first on Brink of Freedom.  

Steve Baze

Steve Baze

Prevent the Flu-Naturally

According to the CDC 40 states are reporting widespread influenza outbreaks: CDC map of current flu outbreak   Flu summary for week of January 5-11,2014 The type of influenza that is making the rounds now is the H1N1 and H3N2, and influenza B virus. The problem with the flu is it has a nasty habit of mutating. This makes it difficult to develop an effective vaccine (which I am not a fan of anyway- more on that in my post for next week).  Prevention is always the best course to take in any situation. A look at the flu virus and how it spreads According to Wikipedia: Influenza, commonly known as "the flu", is an infectious disease of birds and mammals caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxovirdae, the influenza viruses. The most common symptoms are chills, fever, runny nose, sore throat ,muscle pains, headache (often severe), coughing, weakness/fatigue and general discomfort Although it is often confused with other influenza-like illnesses, especially the common cold, influenza is a more severe disease caused by a different type of virus. Influenza may produce nausea and vomiting, particularly in children, but these symptoms are more common in the unrelated gastroenteritis which is sometimes inaccurately referred to as "stomach flu" or "24-hour flu". Typically, influenza is transmitted through the air by coughs or sneezes, creating aerosols containing the virus. Influenza can also be transmitted by direct contact with bird droppings or, nasal or through contact with contaminated surfaces. Airborne aerosols have been thought to cause most infections, although which means of transmission is most important is not absolutely clear. Influenza Description and Symptoms Prevention The CDC website recommendations for preventing the flu: Get vaccinated- I personally find this recommendation not legitimate and dangerous. You must decide for yourself and your family. In my next article, I will explain why I am not an advocate of flu shots. Avoid close contact with people who are sick-  This can be a tricky piece of advice- especially if you live with the sick person. Moreover, because you can be infectious and not be symptomatic, a person can spread the flu without even knowing they have it. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing- So sad the CDC has to put this one in- but I see people all the time coughing or sneezing without covering their mouths. Wash your hands- if not able to wash hands ( if out on the road or in public) use an alcohol based hand cleaner. Make sure that it contains least 60 percent alcohol.  Avoid antibacterial soaps. According to the FDA: Every day, consumers use antibacterial soaps and body washes at home, work, school and in other public settings. Especially because so many consumers use them, FDA believes that there should be clearly demonstrated benefits to balance any potential risks. In fact, there currently is no evidence that over-the-counter (OTC) antibacterial soap products are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water, says Colleen Rogers, Ph.D., a lead microbiologist at FDA. Moreover, antibacterial soap products contain chemical ingredients, such as triclosan and triclocarban, which may carry unnecessary risks given that their benefits are unproven.FDA Concern Over Antimicrobial Handwash Products Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose. Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with a flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or nose. I will add my own preventative recommendations to the list: Make sure your Vitamin D levels are adequate. According to the online website- Vitamin D council- a study involving African-American postmenopausal women in New York found a 60% reduced risk of colds and influenza for those taking 800 IU/d vitamin D3 and 90% reduced risk for those taking 2,000 IU/d. I make sure my family is protected by taking 5,000 IU vitamin D daily and getting our Vitamin D  levels tested. We use the Vitamin D council home test kits. These are available on their website.  The studies seem to point to getting your vitamin D level to above 40 ng/dL. This usually involves taking between 2,000-5,000 IU a day during the influenza season.  Vitamin D levels and Prevention Let your food be your medicine- Avoid foods that compromise your immune system-These include sugar and highly processed foods which break down the immune system. Foods that build up the immune system help your body not succumb to the flu. Foods that contain selenium and zinc are found to help your body's immune system. Nuts, seeds, and mushrooms are high in these minerals. Omega 3s are needed to produce immune system regulators. Chia seed, flax seed, walnuts and cold water fish like salmon are all high in omega 3. Garlic and onions are a great immune booster. One of my favorite soups is onion soup this time of year. Citrus and greens are very good to eat any time of the year, but especially during the flu season. Green tea contains an ingredient called L-theanine. This seems to help the immune system in a study done by BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.  Green Tea and Flu Prevention Study Done on Healthcare Workers. Use disinfectants liberally A bottle of household bleach works wonders. Mix one part bleach with ten parts water.  Wipe down all surfaces that you or your family may come in contact with. Doorknobs, refrigerator handles. counter tops, the entire bathroom-you get the picture. Allow to air dry.  Another nice disinfectant is tea tree oil. This really works to kill mold in addition to viruses. Put a drop or so in a bottle designated for the oil. Use liberally. Always remember to label your bottles to avoid accidental ingestion. Remember to wipe down the car, also. Children's toys are a breeding ground for all kinds of lovely germs. Remember to wipe those down, along with strollers, car seats, and anything your child may decide to put in their mouth. Remember to disinfect your toothbrush. I put ours in the dishwasher when I remember to- Also dipping your brush in over the counter hydrogen peroxide and air drying works. Rinse off before using. Keep Stress Levels down When we are under stress- good or bad- it takes a toll on our immune system. Not getting regular sleep, work deadlines, being up with a sick child, getting chilled after being outside, financial stress, stress in personal relationships have a direct correlation on how our immune system fights off disease. Stress and the Immune System Find an outlet for stress. A hobby, getting together with friends, meditation, prayer, and creative outlets are all ways to deal with stress. Ask for help if you are dealing with an overwhelming task. Find a few minutes each day to indulge in something you truly enjoy. I really love a warm bath and a book when I have had a particularly hard day.   Exercise to Reduce Stress and Boost Immune System If you are already exercising- It is recommended that it should be at least a minimum daily 30-minute walk- as long as you are feeling up to it, exercise can be very beneficial in reducing stress and boosting the immune system. If you have the full blown flu, stay home and avoid exercise until you feel better. Web MD has a pretty good article on all this. Exercise to Prevent the Flu Next week I will be writing on the influenza vaccine, how Tamiflu and Relenza will soon be obsolete due to virus mutations, and a chart to distinguish between the cold and flu symptoms.

Brooke Lounsbury

Brooke Lounsbury

Hair-Popping Sharp Knives

Introduction Maintaining cutting tools is very important to their safe and pleasant use.  No one likes struggling with a dull knife and the extra effort needed to push or pull a dull knife through can create momentum behind the cutting tool that can make for a dangerous situation to you and those nearby. There are many complicated and expensive systems on the market designed for tool sharpening.  Most of them do a very good job in a specific area or with one type of tool.  When a sharpening system is designed to handle multiple types of jobs, that is usually when the learning curve, accuracy, and price goes up. Many people try to sharpen their knives and get frustrated with their chosen system and then say it doesn’t work.  Well, it usually isn’t the sharpener; it may just be that the sharpening system they’ve chosen really isn’t appropriate for the type of tool needing to be sharpened.  For example, a two wheel high-speed grinder may be fine for lawnmower blades, wood lathe turning tools, and the garden shovel, but I would cringe at the thought of getting that near a fine carving tool or an expensive kitchen knife. There is no ‘magic bullet’ when it comes to sharpening – even though many manufacturers would love for you to think so and that it’s THEIR system that is it. I’d like to show how to sharpen tools – and mainly knives, very inexpensively, quickly, and with a very short learning curve. Sharpening Principles First, a bit on sharpening itself.  Go back to your 8th-grade geometry lessons; Two non-parallel lines will eventually cross at a single point. Now, extend that into three dimensions and the lines become planes. Where our planes cross, the point now has become a line. Look at the two planes as being the two sides of our knife, or bevels, and the line as being the resulting edge of those two planes coming together in a flat, single line.  That is our goal in sharpening – it’s really just that simple.  Don’t worry about your edge, just flatten the bevels and the edge will take care of itself. So enough with the nerdy math stuff – let’s get to building.  We’re going to sharpen knives using abrasive films, i.e. – sandpaper.  Yes, it can be done, and it’s very simple – believe me, even if you’ve given up on messy oil stones, expensive Japanese water stones, or even diamond stones – don’t despair.  Invest  the very small amount of  money it takes to get started in this, then invest a little time and practice with this sandpaper system that will teach you the principles of sharpening much better than a single expensive diamond stone will.  Then take what you learn and revisit (if you want) those expensive stones that are sitting in the drawer in the garage and you may find that they work much better than they ever did. Setup For those familiar with finishing wood or auto body work, this will sound familiar.  What we’re going to do is remove metal from our knife blades starting at a certain grit of paper (we’ll discuss where to start in a bit), to establish our bevel (geometric plane).  This grit will create a scratch pattern in the metal consistent with the size of the grit particles attached to that paper film.  These grit sizes are referred to by number; the higher the number, the smaller the grit size (more on that later). Now, once we have a consistent scratch pattern with one grit, we then move to the next smaller grit to remove the scratches from the last one.  This goes very quickly once the initial grit is finished.  The real trick is to decide how coarse of a grit to start with.  I’ll discuss this in more depth later when we get started on our first knife. Parts To put your sharpening system together all we’ll need is a hard, flat surface with a sharp edge, like a countertop or a workbench and sandpaper.  Not just one sandpaper, or a few pieces of sandpaper, but ALL the grits of sandpaper.  Here is what I’d recommend for a full lineup that should handle any knife – Grits starting coarse to fine;  60, 80, 100, 120, 150, 180, 220, 320, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1500, 2000. I am using aluminum oxide based sandpapers from Norton.  It doesn’t matter where you get your sandpaper or what brand you buy;  light colored papers make it easier to judge the feedback during the sharpening process. Most of these grits of sandpaper from 60 up through 400 grit can be found in a standard hardware or woodworking store, perhaps in the paint section.  For the finer grits 600-2000 you’ll have much better luck in an auto parts store – these ultra-fine sandpapers are usually reserved for  auto body painters. When making your sandpaper purchases, buy full 8 ½ x 11 sheets for the most part, you’ll want extra sheets in the papers up through 400 – those will get used up the quickest.  The higher grits 600 and up usually are found in ½ sheets and are more expensive.  That’s ok because these finer papers don’t wear out nearly as quickly. Some other items you may want to add would be a portable/permanent board to create your sharpening station on that can be moved out of the way when not in use, a can of spray adhesive, and a wide-point, black permanent marker.  If you go the portable board route, add a couple of clamps to hold it in place when in use. Assembly Let’s put this together.  If you got full sheets of sandpaper, the first step would be to cut or tear them to size.  If you will be working on 5” or shorter blades, ¼ sheets should be plenty of room.  Fold each sheet of sandpaper in half and then half again.  Tear it in to quarters over the sharp edge of the table. IMPORTANT:  Use the marker to write the grit size on the back of each quarter sheet – once they get torn up, you may not be able to tell what grit each piece is anymore. If you’ve decided to go with a separate board and spray adhesive, lay out your pieces in grit size order.  Lightly apply the spray adhesive to the back of each piece and line the pieces up with their short edge right on the board’s edge.  Continue down until a piece of each grit paper is attached to your board.  I would also then write on the board near each piece of paper its grit number. Note above that each sheet of sandpaper is lined up with the sharp 90⁰ edge of the board. The setup is finished at this point – let’s move on to how to use your new tool. Use   Take a look at the knife that you want to sharpen.  You have a decision to make about where to start on the sandpaper board – you won’t always want to start at the coarsest grit;  look at your edge;  is the knife already fairly sharp?  Are there nicks in the blade?  Are the bevels already well defined?  Is there rust to deal with?  Do you want to reshape the edge or the cutting profile?  These are the questions that will help you determine what grit to start on.  Here are some basic guidelines: No matter where you start, always continue all the way to your finest grit paper and DO NOT SKIP GRITS!  Very important! Whatever grit paper you decide to start on, completely get the shape and bevels to look exactly the way you want them to before moving on to the next finer grit.  If this requires a lot of effort and is taking too long, you need to drop back to a coarser paper and start again. Wipe off the blade and your hands between grits – you don’t want to contaminate the finer paper with grit and steel particles of the last paper you just came from – it will slow everything down. If you want to keep the shape of the knife, it’s relatively sharp and just needs a good ‘touch-up’, start at 180 grit. For a nicked blade or one that needs to have the bevels established, start on a fairly course paper like 80 or 100.  Even go to 60 when the blade is badly damaged. Keep your movements small;  it’s much more accurate and helps maintain consistency.  Large sweeping motions are difficult to control.  This is a dry system (no wet sharpening), we want  to keep our movements short and precise. Use good direct lighting and if you need a magnifier, you can find great reading glasses at a dollar store that really help with seeing what you’re doing.  As you progress and practice, you will probably do this more by feel than watching. Use sandpaper like it was free.  Change paper often.  Worn sandpaper will not cut well and frustrate you – trust me;  just peel it off and get a fresh piece. An easy way to determine if you’re finding and working the bevel correctly is to use the black marker to color the length of the bevel.  When you’ve removed (worn away) all the marks, you’re finished on that grit of sandpaper. Take your knife and lay the blade down flat on your chosen first piece of paper with the cutting edge facing left and the ricasso or plunge cut even with the edge of the board.  Now to find the bevel – with very little pressure, slide the knife to the left slowly and begin to raise the back of the knife until it just catches on the paper – you’ve found the bevel. Now, place your index finger on the top of the blade and start moving the knife back and forth (tip to handle) in short 1/8” – 1/4” (2mm-3mm) motions with more pressure at the tip of the blade and the handle slightly raised.  You should begin to see a grey or black spot forming on the sandpaper where the blade is making contact with the paper. Keep moving the knife is small strokes as you slowly rock the pressure and point of contact from the tip end of the blade back towards the handle.   The great thing about this method of sharpening is that you get immediate feedback by seeing where the steel is coming off on to the sandpaper and you can manipulate that very easily; (more here, less there, etc.).  Continue on this bevel until you have an evenly wide black line on the sandpaper from the tip to the plunge cut.  Once you’ve done that, flip it over so the edge faces right and on a fresh spot of the paper, repeat the process.                    Note in the above progression that the steel is being removed starting at the tip of the blade and moving toward the base as the point of contact is rocked towards the handle of the knife. Note how there are two even ‘feedback marks’ of steel filings removed from each side of the blade on this piece of 400 grit sandpaper all the way from tip to the base of the blade.  This is a good sign that it is time to move to the next finer grit paper. Once both sides are even and ready, wipe the blade and your hands down and repeat on the next finer grit paper.  What you will find however is once you’ve gotten past that first ‘shaping’ grit; each successive finer one will go very quickly.  All you are doing now is removing the bigger scratches and replacing them with the next finer grit scratches.  By the time you get to 2000 grit, the edge will be polished and you should be able to see your reflection in color in the edge. As you move towards the finer ‘polishing’ papers in the 1000+ range, the knife will be getting very sharp – be aware of how you are moving the knife back and forth so as to avoid cutting in to your sandpaper. Your ‘feedback’ lines will be harder to see on the silicon carbide papers in the finer grits.  Once you start to reach the last few, there will be very little steel removed from the blade but you should notice the reflection of the metal getting shinier as the steel is now getting polished. Test it however you feel comfortable doing so – please practice safety – this knife will be VERY sharp.

Jeffrey Dheere

Jeffrey Dheere

Bee Removal 101

How to Get Rid of Bees is a question I get a lot. My company, filmed by the Discovery Channel doing a bee removal shown above, and I have tackled a lot of bees, all kinds of bees, to move them either safely to a new location, or eliminate them so you do not have other problems arise. Bee removal is an art in itself. Working with bees you plan to get stung once maybe twice, but a bee removal, if not ready, you will be falling from the ladder rolling on the ground in pain from more than just a few hundred bee stings. There are steps involved that one needs to take just like any part of beekeeping. If you are feeding, you switch from smoke to sugar water to calm the bees, when you take honey you put on crappy cologne on perfume to throw them off your scent. When removing bees you need good protection and a bee vac. If you plan to kill them, you need good ventilation and the proper insecticide. There is always the right tool for the right job, or a good wing nut to try anything. First, you need to see whether you're actually dealing with honey bees and not some other stinging insect. A good pest control like Orkin will tell you that a beekeeper needs to come to see if they are honey bees or not and if they can be saved. Some state laws and foreign countries say that honey bees are an agricultural business and if at all possible, they need to be removed and not killed. How it was explained in Denmark is that if my cow leaves my land do not shoot it, help me catch it. Made some sense, I guess, I never branded a bee, but if you want to mark your bees, be my guest. All of my bees are free range bees so I cannot say if they are mine or yours. Wasps, hornets, and yellow-jackets are just some of the nastier insects that sometimes are mistaken for bees. It's important to get the type of insect right, as the manner in which they need to be dealt with will matter for safety purposes; some are happy to let wasp colonies grow larger on their properties, while a small bee colony may be something that can be managed around. When checking what insects you're dealing with, do so with great care––a bee colony typically contains anywhere from 10,000 to 80,000 bees or more. And, if it's not bees, you could be dealing with wasps or hornets and they are easily riled and can sting more than one time. Exercise extreme caution when attempting to gather more information about the particular insects. If the bees are a brownish orange color and have fuzzy bodies, they are honeybees. So this goes into the first phase of bee removal, site visit. You will have to go and see what you are dealing with, where their location is, do you need a ladder? I may need to do a cutout if I do a cut out do I do the repair or hire out? How you plan to get to them if you need to save them or destroy them. There is a lot to think on when doing a removal. If you are doing one on your own site, then insurance is not needed. I just want to throw that out at you. Any time you do work or help for someone in a field that has any kind of danger, see about insurance. Ask if they have home insurance. Pick up a small bond if need. Do not do any work that may cost you all that you have worked for. Speaking from experience of having companies come to a site and rebuild a historic block fireplace made of handmade sand stone block, that had no idea that removing was $3,000.00 for every 20 bricks to replace.  It all worked out in the end, but be careful not only with protective garments and gear but in your wallet. After you see the site and it is in a vinyl siding wall of a home, or whatever you got yourself into, you will need to walk through the steps of the removal twice. Once to see clean run, once to see if they are not right in the location you see them. They may be going in a spot and crawling 20 feet to a good open space to place comb. When making the dry run removal, list what you are using at the time. So here are some basic steps on doing the walk through.  After you do a few I am sure you will see things I am missing. I forget more than I ever get to even try being a BKeep. First make sure you have all contact information and site location. Identify the bee or pest. See the location where the pest is and the location where they go in if there is more than one location. If over 4 feet, you will need to see what kind of device you will use to get in the air; step ladder, lift, or sky crane. You will need to see if trapping is an option. (Trapping bees is used to get bees out without doing a lot of damage to a structure. They place boxes outside the hive to catch the bees in. By placing a one-way door on the opening of the hive they want the bees removed from, the bees will go into the box or the box is placed so the bees go in it and cannot go through into the old hive, starting to build in the new box. Very hard to do but has a 70/30 chance of working. And if you get bees, you still have the comb left behind to deal with and may be a stuck queen that could not make it through the one way door.) When looking at what you are taking apart to get to the bees, have you talked about the repair to the owner? If you plan to do the repair, do you have the equipment to do it or the time? Or will they take care of it? Do you have a contractor you can use? (This goes with insurance once more. You could be spending a lot if you do not know what you are doing.) Most of the time I work with local contractors that can give me a bid to replace any cut outs. (A cut out is any time you have to cut out a place to get to the bees. Some removals need not cut out. You may just have to lift up a shed floor or pull open an old wooden wire spool. Also good for a contractor that has any information on bees that need to be removed to call you. They will get work after you do.) Swarm removal is different than a bee removal. A swarm is a traveling group of bees. A hive of bees that are established and have made comb is a removal. Most swarms are just dropped in a bucket or box. They are then packed home and placed in a hive. FREE BEES by the way. Most BKeeps do not charge for this. If a beekeeper can just show up for free bees, they just put them in a box and leave. 30 minutes max if you need to use a ladder or have to get access to the property. Farrell bees are shunned in some states for fear of disease or Africanizing of the bees. (Removal of Africanized bees is very dangerous. That is all I am going to say on Africanized bees.  I have a different position of them and own some.) Now that you have made a walk through and made the call to save the bees. You will need a bee vac and a way to save the brood comb. A bee vac is a vacuum that is used to suck up the bees without hurting them. Some are very expensive to by. You can see how to make one on YouTube I am sure. If you plan to do this for a living, you need a good one for long distance removals.  The use of the vacuum is needed for a good removal. You can use it for swarm removals as well. You place the bunch of bees out of the bee vac right into a hive.                                                                    The hard part of doing this is finding the queen. You need to find the queen or you are going to have to marry the bees to a hive or make a nuc box out of them to save them. (Marrying bees to a hive is to place a group of bees that do not have a queen, or the hive that is not going to make it on its own, to a strong hive that will take them in so you can split that hive before over population to make up a hive. A nuc box is a small hive that has four to five frames in it that is a starter hive. Mostly used for splitting hives, making queens, or a way to make stronger packages of bees for sale. A nuc has one frame of capped brood, one frame of honey, one frame of open brood comb, and then sometimes just frame of rice brood to make queens. Placing the bees right in the box that has rice brood from a removal is one way to move the hive and have the bees make a new queen. You will then have to remove the comb out of the wall. Yes, brood comb is saved and placed in nuc’s, new hives, weak hives, brooding hives, and even for feeding chickens. You cut the comb off and place in a new frame. Using rubber bands to hold the comb in place, you can put it in a hive. Using around three rubber bands will hold the comb well. I will use wire most of the time now, just wrapping it around the frame. Rubber bands break and snap. I have had one snap and kill my queen, just my luck. Think of a bungee cord spring back at you, or a rock being thrown at you on a motorcycle. That is what rain is to a bee or that rubber band. Just something I learned the hard way.                So you have opened up the wall, porch, or trunk of an old car and sucked out your bees, removed the comb and placed in frames. Took a little honey for your problems, and saved the bees. You still have to scrub the place of removal with TSP soap or more bees will come back. You have to remove the scent of the bees and the smell of honey or it will be an open spot for bees to return. One reason Orkin loves when a beekeeper says I cannot save them, destroy them. He gets to come back three to four times. If the comb is not removed, ants come for the honey, then other bugs for food and homes, then mice or rats come to chew up comb for nests, or more bees come to fill in the old comb. You could pay an exterminator three times for the one problem. That is why you pay a BKeep the first time. You will have to work with the owner of the place. Some removals can cost thousands of dollars. If insurance will not pay or because it is not life threatening or the owner does not have a reasonable way to pay for the removal;  in states that require it, you will have to have them destroyed.  Bug bombs work well, and if you can get to them spray them with a 60/40 dish soap/water spray. That is an eco-way of killing bees. But if you kill them, I would call an exterminator to do it. You have to have the right chemical and that is their job, to kill bugs. You would hate to come back for someone calling and saying I still see bees. If they see one bee and only one bee 10 minutes after you leave, they will call you and you will have to go back. This can be costly if you do not make it clear that some bees were off to work and coming home, that you cannot take them down like a hit man.   Hey I am The BEE Whisperer and I hope this helps with some of your bee problems or swarm removals that you have. If you have any questions hit me up on Facebook or email. If you need me to come to teach a class let me know. From my failures to your wins, Bee Whisperer out!

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan

How to Plant a Cherry Tree Guild

Homesteaders, gardeners, and permaculturists alike are planting more and more fruit trees around the nation. As Jack Spirko said recently, ‘Plant a garden for yourself, plant a fruit tree for your children’. Fruit trees will take a few years to begin producing, but their yield and longevity can’t be beat. Cherries are one of the more popular fruits trees. Combining them in a fruit tree guild can make for more vigorous and productive trees with less work from us. Why Tart Cherries over Sweet Cherries? On our homestead, we planted three dwarf tart cherry trees in the parking strip between the street and the sidewalk. It was a good way for us to take advantage of the unused space and expand our food production. We chose tart cherries because they are naturally more compact in size and more winter hardy and bloom later in the spring, which makes them less susceptible to frost damage than their sweet counterparts. Tart cherries have a greater tolerance for our heavy clay soil, which can get rather waterlogged at certain times of the year. Additionally, tart cherries have demonstrated a higher tolerance for more humid climates and are less frequently afflicted by the common tell-tale signs of too much humidity: mildew and fungus. For all of these reasons, tart cherries are a good choice for us here in the Midwest. The converse is true for the more arid climates out West, where the sweet cherry may perform better.   What is a Guild? A guild is a combination of plants that work synergistically together around a central plant to provide it with mulch, nutrients, better pollination, and pest or disease resistance. In a guild, each component should have at least two functions. This is for the sake of efficiency (modeled after nature) – there’s only so much room under each tree! If all goes well, your guild will become its own balanced mini-ecosystem, which means less work over time. Guilds as a Concept, Not a Recipe What nutrients my cherry trees need in my soil may be different from the nutrient needs of your cherry trees in your soil. For the guild to actually work, the combination of plants needs to be correct, and this will depend on climate, soil, sun exposure, etc. Many well-known permaculturists have created fruit tree guild recipes because of persistent requests from gardeners looking for a plug-and-play option. The important thing to remember is that any guild recipe is just a starting point, and in permaculture what follows the plug-and-play is observation.                                               Comfrey in bloom                        Build Your Guild   STEP 1: MULCH The purpose of mulch is to retain moisture in the soil and create habitat for beneficial soil organisms. We planted four comfrey plants around each of our cherry trees. We also added a heavy layer of mostly-composted wood chips. For one thing, the wood chips look tidy, but more importantly, they retain moisture and add beneficial fungal networks to the soil. Comfrey is the star of the mulching world with its giant soft leaves that can be cut back every couple of weeks throughout the growing season. Whenever I find the time, I use the chop-and-drop method to keep a continuous supply of comfrey mulch covering the soil. Comfrey is but one of many living mulch options. Mulch     STEP 2: NUTRIENTS Miraculously, the forest grows without man-made fertilizers! You could say that the towering forest canopy trees are coexisting with their own supporting guild plants below on the forest floor. We want to add herbaceous plants underneath our cherry tree that will naturally fertilize. Some plants are dynamic accumulators, meaning that they reach their roots deep into the ground and dredge nutrients from the subsoil up into the plant itself. Cutting the leaves of these plants or letting the plants die back on their own will add those mined nutrients to the topsoil, which can then be used by the fruit tree. Many common weeds are actually dynamic accumulators. Other herbaceous plants are nitrogen fixers, meaning that they extract nitrogen from the air and convert it to a useable form at their root level. Nitrogen is an important nutrient for fruit trees. Comfrey: Luckily for us, not only does it make excellent mulch, it is an excellent dynamic accumulator. Chives: We added four garlic chive plants underneath each tree in a ring inside the comfrey plants, touching the trunk of the cherry trees. Chives and comfrey together provide nitrogen, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and silicon. Clover, fennel, vetch or yarrow would work well in combination or in place of comfrey and chives. I recommend checking out Toby Hemenways’ book Gaia’s Garden for his straightforward plant lists. Garlic Chives      STEP 3: POLLINATION Attract pollinators to your fruit tree in bloom and get better fruit set. April and May is the time when cherry trees are blooming and when you should have other things blooming around the cherry trees. If you build a buffet for the pollinators, they’ll tell their friends!                         Comfrey wins again: It is a prolific spring bloomer with very popular flowers. Note: We planted garlic chives in our guild, but regular chives would work just as well, and their flowers bloom in the springtime (garlic chives bloom in the fall). Daffodils are another excellent spring bloomer and additionally, if planted thickly at the dripline, can minimize grass invasion into the tree root zone and guild.                                                                                                                                                               STEP 4: PEST/DISEASE RESISTANCE Many of the afflictions of cherry trees are fungal and mildew in type. For this reason, I might consider adding herb plants to the guild that have antifungal properties. Chamomile, garlic, scented geraniums, and peppermint are all antifungals AND dynamic accumulators (always search for dual function). We did not add any of these additional plants to our guild because we wanted to see if the chives, being in the same Allium family as garlic, would offer sufficient resistance to fungus and mildew.      STEP 5: OBSERVE Our cherry trees were planted in 2011, and our first real harvest came in 2013. The three pints of fruit were delicious. I can’t wait for an even bigger harvest this year! Often, complications in tree health or in the combination of guild plants will not show up until fruit production is in full swing. While our cherry trees have shown prolific growth and tolerance to both wet and dry conditions, this year our trees suffered an infestation from a non-cherry-tree related pest: the uncommon hawthorn lace bug. We noticed that a nearby hawthorn tree was looking lackluster, but didn’t consider that the problem might affect the cherry trees. The lacebugs showed up later in the season after the harvest, so they didn’t disrupt our happy cherry-picking. But they did do a number on the trees, which lost more and more leaves as summer went on. While it’s likely that you will not encounter lacebugs on your cherry trees, the process is the same: 1. Observe: We discovered the pests through observation. 2. Identify: We identified them with help from the internet and our local extension office. 3. Attack: We researched what the pest’s natural enemies are and how to attract them.   Hawthorn Lacebug on Cherry Leaf            STEP 6: ADJUST We discovered that lacewings, assassin bugs, ladybugs, and hoverflies are all natural predators of hawthorn lacebugs, so the essential next step for us is to add something to the guild to attract the good guys. Yarrow is my pick, because it attracts 3 of the 4 beneficial insects listed above. It is also a dynamic accumulator, and while it accumulates several nutrients, I am particularly interested in the fact that it accumulates phosphorus, one of the essential nutrients we were missing in the chives-comfrey duo. This year, we will add yarrow plants to our cherry tree guild and begin the observation process once more.   Pint of Cherries Summary Cherry trees are a worthwhile fruit-producing crop, and they benefit from the use of a guild, which supplies them with mulch, nutrients, pollinator attractors, and pest/disease resistance. As with any actions we take to create integrated design systems, we must make time to observe our work and make adjustments as we go along. If we can create well-functioning fruit tree guilds, we’ll be on our way to healthy, balanced ecosystems and highly-productive gardens.

Amy Stross

Amy Stross

Hawthorn

It is likely that the Hawthorn trees found locally in parks and yards will be Crataegus oxyacantha, English Hawthorn.  However, the Downy Hawthorn (Crataegus mollis) is native to central North America, so it may be found growing as a native in Montana.  Cratagegus odoratissima has an agreeable scent when flowering and is used as a fruit. A member of the Rose family, Hawthorns are known for clusters of pretty, white flowers and for showy fruit that looks like tiny apples in summer and fall.  I have often collected the fruits to use for color in potpourri.  The leaves are three lobed, with indentations resembling an oak leaf.  It grows more like a shrub, multi-branched with thorny branches.  It is a very hardy shrub, and species are able to grow in Zones 2 and up. Hawthorns make great hedges, and have been used as such in England and Germany for over a thousand years.  European tradition regards the tree as sacred, having furnished the Crown of Thorns for Jesus.  It makes an excellent fuel, making the hottest wood fire known. Evidence of benefit of Hawthorn compounds that support the heart and circulatory system are numerous.  It is used at the beginning stages of heart disease, for mild heart muscle weakness, pressure and tightness in the chest, and to speed recovery from heart attack.  Substances in Hawthorn interact with key enzymes in the heart to increase the pumping force of the muscle.  By dilating the blood vessels, more oxygen rich blood gets to the heart to relieve chest pressure and tightness.  Hawthorn’s action develops slowly, though.  The flowers contain more cardiac influencing properties than the berries.          Because of circulatory benefits, Hawthorn is good for arthritis and osteoporosis, in stabilizing the collagen in cartilage and bone.  Extracts of Crataegus laevigata or oxycantha relieve restlessness and anxiety in children with ADD.  Benefits for capillaries make Hawthorn a useful treatment for bloodshot eyes, swollen ankles and varicose veins.  Leukemia and cancer patients benefit from compounds that deactivate plasmin, a chemical that allows cancerous                                                                                       tumors to spread through the body.  Fatigue caused by Lupus is reduced when using Hawthorne extracts.       FLOWERING TOPS: As an infusion for cardiac disorders, use 1 oz. of dried flowers, or 2.5 ounces of fresh flowers, in 2 cups of water taken off the boil (not boiling).  Put the herb in a pot with a close fitting lid (such as a teapot).  Pour hot water over the herb.  Infuse for 10 minutes, then pour through a strainer into a teacup; store the rest in a pitcher in a cool place.  Ingest ½ cup, three times a day.  Make a fresh pot daily. Tincture: Use 1 cup of alcohol (Everclear is best) to 3 cups of distilled water.  Put 20 oz. fresh flowers, or 7 oz. dried herb into a large jar with 1 quart of tincture base and cover with the mixture.  Seal the jar and store in a cool place for two weeks, shaking occasionally.  Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter.  Store in clean, dark glass bottles.   Ingest one oz. (two tablespoons) three times a day. As with most horticultural varieties of plants, isn’t it a gift that this pretty landscaping tree is so good for us?       Bibliography: The Complete Medicinal Herbal, Penelope Ody, DK Books, 1993 The Woman’s Herbal,  McIntyre, Ann, Holt, 1994 Sunset Western Garden Book, Sunset Publishing, 2001 A Modern Herbal, Grieve, M, Dover, 1971 Prescription for Herbal Healing, Balch, Phyllis, Avery, 2002

Lynn

Lynn

Brooder Management for Starting Pastured Poultry Chicks

Getting your birds off to a good start isn’t rocket science, but it is so very important. Good or bad decisions and management practices in the first three weeks follow these birds through maturity. Make sure your brooder is as air tight as it can be within reason, but also has flaps to offer ventilation when it’s warmer outside. If you are starting them in late March or early April when the overnight lows can dip down near freezing and the spring winds are blowing, a drafty brooder will cause you lots of problems. Conversely, a batch started in August that doesn’t have good ventilation will suffer just as much. We’ve added flaps that can be propped open for cross ventilation to help aide in this. You want the air to move through the brooder, but not “on” the birds. I’ll also run a fan blowing out of the brooder in the warmer months to draw air through it. You’ll also want to make certain it is a nice and toasty 95 degrees on the floor no matter the time of year, with space enough for the birds to get away from the heat when need be. It is a delicate balance, and if it’s too hot or too cold, they will pile up and suffocate one another. After they are a week old, weather permitting, you can reduce the heat slowly. If it’s in the warmer months of the summer, you’ll want to most likely turn the heat off in the middle of the day and flip them back on at dusk. I’ll admit that our brooder configuration has room for improvement, and every step we take to improve the first three weeks of a chicks life will yield exponentially good results all the way through to processing. The same can be said if the brooder environment is stressful, with exponentially poor results. You’ll also want to make sure and give the birds plenty of grit to get their gizzards going. We’ve taken to using creek sand for two reasons. One, it’s free and store bought chick grit gets pricey fast. Two five gallon buckets take me only a few minutes to fill and bring back, which saves me buying small bags of chick grit at $6 per bag. If you use the store bought grit, you’ll find yourself cutting back on how much you use in order to save a dollar, when the opposite is what you should be doing. A healthy gizzard produces a healthy bird that yields a better finished weight in a shorter time frame. And isn’t that the name of the game? Secondly, the sand is full of minerals and bio-nutrients not found in pulverized rock that I believe are really helpful to the chicks. It also has various sizes of stone, similar to that found in nature. The chicks can pick and choose what grit size they want. Remember, we are trying to mimic nature in a production system. Everything we can do to that end will benefit our enterprise.

Darby Simpson

Darby Simpson

Food Security is Paramount to Survival and to Liberty

Finally an indoor aquaponics that can actually feed your family.

Over the last 5 years I have immersed myself in learning everything I could about sustainable agriculture, food systems and sustainable living. I have traveled thousands of miles and spent thousands of hours in study and training. I dragged my family from Seattle, WA, to Austin, TX, and back again. I have built several large aquaponics systems. I have worked on permaculture farms and taken classes on how to build sustainable housing. Through this training, I have learned some facts that at first scared the hell out of me. The things I learned pushed me to learn more and start building food systems. My passion is food and sustainable living now. My heart pushes me to feed the hungry and those who will be hungry. I believe that everyone is born for a reason. Yet so many never know what they are meant to do with their lives. I have been fortunate enough to be shown what my life’s calling is. I believe this invention and a series of others I have cooking in the oven have the ability to change the world for the better. Over the last year I have embarked on a journey that has lead me to invent a new product that I believe has the potential to change the world for the better. I believe it is a God given right as a human to have access to clean air, water and food. Because of this, I have created an indoor aquaponics garden system that has the ability to feed 2 adults 80% of their vegetable diet. I designed it to be the size of a standard refrigerator so that people in the smallest apartments could have a real garden of their own. As a country we have lost our agriculture roots. Children have no idea how plants grow or even what they look like. One of my favorite quotes is “ Kids who plant kale eat kale.” We really need to focus on the future farmers of America. With some of the scary things I learned about our food system, the worst one of all is the simple fact that we have less then a 8 year supply of phosphate rock left on the WHOLE PLANET! For anyone who really understands this, it’s a real shock to find out the world that depends on chemical fertilizers for food is about to get smacked right in the face with soaring food prices and massive food shortages. The only replacement for phosphate rock is human urine. Most people will say eeeww gross. That is until they are hungry. The problem is that to put a system in place to harvest that amount of urine will take decades. But before we even talk about a system like that we will be out of phosphate rock. Why is phosphate rock such a big deal? Well the answer is a bit long but will change your perspective on farming in one paragraph if you understand what I am about to say. The bread basket of America feeds 1/3 of the world population. We have over-farmed the fields for over 70 years. In that 70 years we have tilled, harvested and chemically burned the soil until it is dead. What do I mean by chemically burned? The soil is alive with billions of bacteria, insects and fungi. Tilling and chemical fertilizers have killed the majority of these life forms off decades ago. The soil will not support any significant life unless we use massive quantities of chemical fertilizer. Chemical fertilizer is made of 80 to 90% petroleum products and 10 to 20% phosphate rock. Once phosphate rock is gone, there will be no way to sustain the fields and they will turn into a massive wasteland. You can argue against these facts all day if you want. It will not change the truth. A note here. Many countries are aware of these issues and are moving in the right direction to solve these issues. I believe there is an intentional deception going on in America to cover up theses issues. Who would do something so evil? This is why I believe projects like The Living Refrigerator and others like it are so very very important. Food security is paramount to survival and to liberty. For us the next step of this project is funding. I know that times have been hard for some of you. For those with shallow pockets please support us by sharing our crowdfunding with your friends and family. For those of you who are better off then some of the less fortunate please dig deep. A few things we have learned along the way are that the funding projects that are the most successful are the ones that receive funding in the first few days. This gives the whole project a strong foothold. Even a $5 gift goes a very long way in the first few days. Please help us fund. Our crowdfunding will begin on January 15th, 2014, on Rocket Hub. You will be able to link to it through our website, Facebook and through Rocket Hub. www.flowgardens.com
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Mark Kirkwood

Mark Kirkwood

Starting Spring Chicks

If you are planning on raising meat birds this spring, or starting some layer chicks, now is the time to be planning and getting things in motion. When buying chicks, you have a couple of different options available to you. First, you can order direct from a hatchery. The advantages to this are that you get to order exactly what you want, have them arrive when you want, and typically pay a lower premium than buying the chicks from a local farm store. However, shipping costs on smaller orders can make this prohibitive or eliminate any potential savings. Consider ordering chicks for yourself and friends, neighbors or relatives, to split the shipping costs and to take advantage of quantity pricing breaks. You may also find that this is the only way to get meat birds, or at least the faster growing varieties such as a Cornish cross. While some farm stores carry those, not all do. You might be able to find some heritage cockerels locally in a farm store, which can produce a nice meat for you, but they take considerably longer to raise (at least twice as long) and will have a darker, smaller breast meat than most Americans are accustomed to. If you want a heritage meat bird, then buying from a hatchery direct can be a great way to save money. The male chicks are usually a fraction of the price from a hatchery as those in a farm store because they are in low demand. The main thing to consider when buying from a hatchery is it’s location relative to you! Shipping stress is your greatest enemy with day old chicks, and the longer they are in that box while in transit, the more problems (and deaths) you will have. Personally, I prefer to use a hatchery that will get the birds to me in just one night. Two nights are okay so long as you pick those birds up first thing that next morning and get them tucked into your warm brooder setup as quickly as possible. Most likely, your post office will have them on hand by 6:00 a.m. and are all too happy to have you come pick them up. Beyond that, use a hatchery with a good reputation. I’ll list several hatcheries I like at the end of this article. For more on brooder management, please check this article I wrote. Picking up birds from your local Tractor Supply, Rural King or similar type store also has it’s own pros and cons. First, you can get as few (or as many) as you like and it’s easy to mix and match breeds to meet your fancy or satisfy your kid’s desire for a specific color. Also, the birds will be at least a few days old when you pick them up, which means they are past that crucial 72 hour period after they get unloaded from the shipping box. This lets the farm store take all the initial risk. And, they have been fed for a week by someone else. The bad news is, we have no idea what they have been eating for the past week! Typically, this will have been medicated, genetically modified feed which I’m adamantly opposed to for many reasons. I always suggest trying to source GMO free grain, or even spending the added cost for certified organic grain to feed your livestock. You are what your food ate! Also, you will normally pay a much higher premium for layer chicks early in the season than if ordering direct. These chicks are also at the mercy of minimum wage store staff who may, or may not, be taking good care of them. Problems arising from mismanagement may not be evident until later on in the bird's life. The good news is, if the chicks are a week or two old and have survived in that environment, then you probably have some pretty hearty birds to take home and raise. It’s also a great way to buy 3 or 4 chicks, get your feet wet and give this whole chicken thing a try if you are new to it. Lastly, if you roll the dice and wait until later in the season to buy from a local store, just like everything else, they go on clearance. I had a friend of mine who once cleaned out a Tractor Supply of their leftover stock for .50/chick and they were already 6-8 weeks old, or a third of the way home to producing eggs. If you are an opportunist, this might be a good route to consider. You can also add your name to a mailing list for hatcheries who will sometimes discount overruns or orders that get canceled at the last minute. You can also call a hatchery to see if they have any extras they would be willing to sell at a discount. Here are some hatcheries I’ve personally had good success with over the years. We are currently using S&G Poultry out of Alabama for all of our meat birds. While I have not tried any of their laying hens, I suspect they would impress just as much as their heritage white broiler has done: S&G Poultry (Alabama) Townline Hatchery (Southern Michigan) Meyer Hatchery (Ohio) Hoover’s Hatchery (Iowa) Remember, the main thing is how fast the chicks can get to you. Every hatchery will be able to tell you how many nights they will be in the mail, make certain it isn’t more than two. While they will tell you chicks are fine for three nights, in my experience the shipping stress is just too much, especially for quick growing broilers.

Darby Simpson

Darby Simpson

Training Pigs To Electric Fence

Training new pigs to electric fencing can be an interesting process to say the least. If there is one thing about farming that I still don’t enjoy, it’s introducing these guys to electricity! The reason being is that, if something is going to go wrong with a pig, the greatest probability is that it will probably happen here. Pigs are short, stout, strong, agile, fast and powerful little buggers that can blow through a fence in nothing flat if they get fired up. The bulk of times that I have had pigs get loose has been when I first brought them onto our farm and put them into electric portable fencing, and even more recently into our permanent high tensile electric fencing that was installed this past spring. So this article is designed to help you avoid having a loose pig, especially when you first bring it home and let it out into your pasture arrangement. Personally, I would much rather chase a handful of loose cattle than one loose pig. So anything we can do to avert disaster on the front end is well worth the effort. Once a pig is loose, it is no fun rounding him back up. The only exception to this, in my experience, is if they have been on your farm for awhile and are used to you and used to being fed daily from a 5 gallon bucket. If that is the case, once you call them and/or they see the bucket you most likely won’t have too much of an issue luring them back to captivity and your biggest issue might be getting out of their way! Introducing New Livestock on the Farm Introducing a new critter to your farm can be a really stressful experience for both them and us. My first advice to you is to remain calm and collected, as the animals can sense if you are wound up and their own stress can feed off of that. This is one area I still struggle with, as it is human nature to get worked up, but thankfully my wife is great at two things when we bring new pigs home: Keeping me settled down and praying the entire time for both the pigs and me. Having a supportive spouse with farming adventures is truly priceless. Second, if at all possible, I suggest leaving the new pigs in a livestock trailer overnight after you get them to your farmstead. While this might sound cruel, you have to realize that they have just been loaded up, removed from their home, and hauled down the highway to someplace new. This can be traumatic, and is compounded by then immediately dumping them into electric fencing with new surroundings and getting shocked. Personally, I’ve had the best success in training new arrivals by letting them sleep it off overnight in the trailer while it was parked in the shade. I give them a little feed (but not much, more on that in a moment) and plenty of cold water. Normally, they make a pretty big mess with the water but get enough to drink in order to stay hydrated. When feeding and watering in a livestock trailer, take extra care to guard the door or you’ll have pigs in your yard in nothing flat.   Fencing Options Available Depending on what your physical setup is like, we can go a number of different directions in terms of “how-to” and each situation is different and requires some ingenuity on your part or guidance from an experienced lunatic farmer. For the purposes of this article I focus on a couple of different methods and ideas. Regardless of what your setup is, it’s always best (but not required) to train the pigs to your electric fence inside of something permanent. That might be a barn, woven wire fence or, in my case, high tensile fence. This is actually the first year we have had a permanent facility to train pigs in and if I could travel back in time, I would have built something to work with them in long ago. So, up until this year, all of our pigs have just been placed right out into the pasture or forest (we are currently using mature hardwoods to raise our pigs in) and directly into portable electric fence. And in short it works just fine, most of the time. For the first couple of years we used a pos/neg sheep fence from Premier fence but then switched to Premier's pig fence once it became available. I endorse either product for the purpose of raising pigs. The pig fence is a lot cheaper per foot than the sheep fence and much easier to move, especially out in the woods. But, you won’t raise anything other than a pig in it! The sheep fence is good for sheep, pigs, goats and in a pinch could be used for cattle (but is overkill for that purpose). However, it’s pricey and very heavy. Working with it out in the woods is a real chore, and I find it difficult to keep the top taught and not sagging without lots of additional fiberglass posts for added support. But if you are just starting out, utility is the key and having something that can be used for multi species is a wise investment. It also makes it easier to resell down the road when you no longer need it. What we are now doing is placing the pigs into one of our cattle corrals that we have added additional wires to, which will keep the pigs in. This is our permanent outer fence for training. We then set up some of our portable fence inside of that permanent fence and train them to it first. This way, if one breaks out we still have a second line of defense and can put him back in much easier than if we were out in the woods. Two is one and one is none philosophy. If a new pig gets loose and takes off on you, good luck. Fortunately, we have never lost a pig and, generally speaking, if they get out they usually get themselves back in as they want to be with their buddies. I think we have been really blessed in this regard and have definitely dodged some big bullets through the years. Ready, Set, STOP! So now you are all set up and ready to let them out – ready, set, stop! The last thing we want to do is have them all meet Ben Franklin at once and go stampeding through the other side of the fence. What we do here is let them out one at a time to keep things in check as much as possible. We also have a nice full tub of feed sitting just a few feet away from where we let them out as well as fresh water. Remember I said not to feed them too much the night before when you get them home? We actually want them a little hungry and here is why: They will hop out and usually go straight to the food and chow down for a few minutes. But it isn’t long before their strong curiosity takes over and they venture over to the fence. Generally speaking, once they hit it they jump backwards and squeal, then head right back over to the food. This is why we want them hungry! They just figured out that the fence hurts and we want to give them something else to go focus on, and with a hungry belly that food becomes the focus. Once they have hit the fence a couple of times, we can go ahead and let the next pig out. Usually I’ll wait about 10-15 minutes between letting pigs out so we don’t get more than one excited pig at a time. Within a couple of hours, they will pretty much be done testing the fence at least for today and are happy to eat and sleep after being cooped up in the trailer.   A young Hampshire pig being trained to portable electric fence from Premier Fence Co. with permanent high tensile fence in the background After 24-48 hours, we’ll take down the portable fence and let them experience the high tensile fence which is also hot. We have placed the wiring in the corral training area from 6” above grade to 21” above grade on 3” centers so it would be very difficult (although not impossible) for pigs to physically squeeze out between the high tensile wires. This helps me sleep at night until the pigs are fully trained.   Two young Hampshire pigs being trained to high tensile electric fence For my own operation, I also want them trained to both types of fence so I have flexibility in where we keep them or for rotating within the permanent fence. I also do this for anther important reason and that is so we can segregate groups of pigs within our permanent fence using the portable product. One mistake I have made in the past is mixing different groups of pigs that I shouldn’t have. What I mean by this is that, like any herd, there is a pecking order and the big pigs will smack the little pigs around when they are first put together. So much so that the little pigs might try and get out of the fence to get away from the bullies, even if that means getting shocked and taking the fence down in the process. If your pigs are not too different in size, then this will be somewhat mitigated (but will still occur most likely) and you can pull it off. From experience though, if you have a way to do this inside of some permanent fence or structure after your new pigs are fully trained to electric, that would be best. It can get dicey for a couple of hours until everyone settles down. Two days later, they will all be laying together with no more fighting and by the end of a week it’s one big happy herd slopping around in the mud. However, if you are thinking about more of a production model or butchering at different times of the year for your own home use, then mixing them is probably a mistake. If you have some pigs that are 200lbs and some new ones that are 75lbs, it’s best to keep them in separate groups. The big guys will really beat up on the little guys, raise their stress level and maybe even cause them to bust out of the fence. You will also want to be using different protein rations for each group, as well, which makes keeping them in different groups a no-brainer. It also makes it easier to sort when it’s time to load them up for the butcher, which is an entirely different article for next time. So remember: Keep your cool, make sure your fence is hot, have the pigs calm and slightly hungry. Let them out one at a time and it should go smoothly! Good luck.

Darby Simpson

Darby Simpson

The Use of Force Spectrum: Physical Force

At some point in a hostile encounter, the altercation could turn into one requiring fighting. For physical force, the methods used for protection are any human-powered engagements. This basically means striking, percussion, and some limited weaponry. Technically, all melee weapons fall into this category, but a distinction is made because of the legal ramifications of using some force. For instance, a punch and a baseball bat swing are both physical force, but the baseball bat represents a level of force which could prove lethal. For the 'physical force' portion of the spectrum, only force that does not carry a reasonable degree of lethality is included. There are several qualities that affect the effectiveness of physical force. Dexterity is the ability to move precisely, or exactly as intended. There have been many fighters who are light on their feet, ducking and dodging attack. These are excellent displays of dexterity. However, dexterity  is also very important in attack. The ability to move precisely into position to get the best angle for a strike, or to move into position to grab an aggressor to effect a grapple are both based on dexterity. Targeting is accomplished via dexterity. Martial practitioners train to target pressure points and weaknesses in the human anatomy to neutralize threat. This requires reasonably precise targeting. Strength is the raw force with which a technique can be delivered. The ability to push or impart large amounts of force into a target is obviously beneficial because it will more likely incapacitate an aggressor. Training should include strength building so that martial technique is more optimized. The ability to deliver this force relies on dexterity for placement, and an optimized fighter will find a balance between litheness (the ability to move precisely), and pure strength (which adds bulk to the body). Resilience is the body and mind's ability to absorb physical damage. In most physical encounters, damage is dealt quickly. The 20-minute fights seen on Kung Fu Theatre are not realistic, where two opponents fight incessantly trying to land a single blow. In reality, strikes land with startling frequency, and resiliency is often the factor that determines the victor. The adage "It's not about who's right, it's about who's left" is an example promoting the importance of resiliency. Muscle adds to resiliency because the muscle tissue is dense and protects the weaker organs underneath. Dexterity can help mitigate some damage by deflecting and dodging. The mind is important because people have a different threshold for mentally dealing with physical damage. Experience in receiving pain (and controlled amounts of damage) is important to familiarize the mind with these sensations so the protector is not coping with new sensations at a critical time. Stamina is important to be able to continue fighting. It is a measure of the body's capability to continue before becoming fatigued. While real fights do not typically last more than about 30 seconds (or about two minutes if there is pre-fighting confrontation), stress and anxiety will affect stamina by altering breathing patterns. A high stamina will allow a person to retain fighting capability for longer periods of time. Resiliency is staying power versus external factors. Stamina is staying power versus internal factors. Weapons are multipliers of force. For the physical force portion of the Use of Force Spectrum, these are small weapons such as the tactical pen, flashlight, kubotan, tanbo, or other small form-factor that would not provide a reasonable likelihood of lethal force. These add to the damage capability of physical technique simply by imparting more damage than typical human structure would. As an example, a closed fist punch delivers some force into a target. Adding the artificial structure of a roll of nickles into the fist adds extra structure, creating extra damage. Using brass knuckles, for example, adds more damage because the characteristics of the striking surface have become more capable of transferring force to the target. Proficiency is the skill-set of fighting. This could be through martial training, brawling experience, or other factors that have provided familiarization with being in a fight. All the above factors are augments for proficiency. Repeating that: All the above factors are augments for proficiency. Strength and dexterity are ineffective if a protector simply does not know what to do. Resiliency means it just takes longer for an untrained protector to get 'beaten up'. The above traits can make up for some lack in proficiency, but training in the martial sciences helps ensure the protector can bring all the above traits to bear and maximize his chance to prevail. Of all these categories, proficiency is the one most lacking in the typical person, and raising to reasonable proficiency is relatively easy. There are a number of training options available to the individual. Look beyond sport martial 'arts' and into training facilities that are protection intent. Training organizations such as the United States Martial Tactical Association and Martial Tactical Training of Michigan are two groups dedicated to this purposeful training. There are many others throughout the country.  

DonaldJ

DonaldJ

The Changing Face of the Prepper Movement and Preparedness

Interestingly most group think movements and fads morph from some original concept to something else, as the paradigm matures or disintegrates. And it seems quite evident to me, that what many would call the prepper movement, is maturing and it is observable.  For a long while prepper’s have been stereotyped as fat guys hoarding beans and bullets, and some of that was true based on what seemed to be the common perception and more or less reality of the concept of prepping. But certainly not all. A lot of focus was on gathering stores of food and all manner of supplies to be assured you and your family could endure whatever impending crisis would come our way. And, of course, all manner of weapons, munitions, and militaristic methods and mechanisms were considered as necessities and absolutes. So the public view was, and still is to some degree, of mindless paranoids bent on some form of doom and gloom or apocalyptic outcome. Has anything changed in the overall concepts and realities or dynamics of the current prepper thinking? I think it has, and is in constant motion. So let’s analyze that concept a bit further. For most of us that would consider ourselves preparedness types or preppers, the concept of “something is going to break” is obvious and perhaps quite likely. That is largely based on a sort of collective common sense or innate intuition from observation and gathering facts and real data. Those pesky things called facts and hard data always seem to get in the way of the control freaks and elitist’s and wreak havoc with their schemes they intend to force upon all of us. In our current society, I would say the preparedness types are largely the very people paying attention to those pesky facts. And they fully realize they are not at all whacked out or paranoid, but actually using good judgment and common sense. They are morphing from the few to the many and for good reason. In fact it would be hard to disprove there is a shortage of common sense within our governing bodies at any level. The evidence of ignorance, incompetence and overall lack of any good judgment is overwhelming from the elites and politicos. And these are the people that make decisions on our behalf? Fortunately there are a few who actually speak some truth like Trey Gowdy, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and a few others. But they are demonized and vilified for their efforts by the status quo elites and media. So let’s drill down a bit deeper yet on the new mindset. Recently I have noticed many are realizing that their fitness and health are paramount to the idea of being prepared for some kind of emergency or disastrous situation that would change the face of everyday life here in what I call USSA, these days. I have also noticed many people are realizing that being prepared also means letting go of some of the material trinkets and niceties we have largely grown accustomed to, and thinking a bit differently about such things. Many are reassessing their debt obligations and realizing we really don’t need a lot of the  “stuff” we thought we needed, and we likely shunned some very important parts of our lives, by being debt slaves. It reminds me a lot of the 60s and 70s when there was a surge of “return to the land” kind of thinking and a sort of rebellion against the “establishment”. In many ways the hippies were quite right, but perhaps they got side tracked and too morphed into their own self destructive force? Drugs and alcohol seemed to have done in many from that generation and the free love thing certainly did a lot of damage. I remember the mindset quite clearly. Do your own thing! Whatever makes you feel good is quite right! Even if it destroys your family and harms your children. And a lot of that did happen for sure. The faddish thinking at the time was greatly reinforced by a culture of psychologist, psychiatrists and an army of “counselors” telling people to focus on their own needs/desires and all else was some kind of madness. Even if your self interest harmed other people.The I/Me generation was actually reinforced and enabled by the so-called professionals. So do whatever makes you feel good and all will be well? HA HA HA that did not work out so well . So now I see a lot of people realizing those fallacies and moving away from the materialistic world, but with good purpose and intent in a better direction. A more balanced and realistic endeavor in my opinion. And all of it has been caused by the necessity of current events that is actually forcing us all to stop and rethink the establishment and the elitist’s that run the show.  In many ways, we have all been forced through some psychological and emotional knotholes to come out the other side looking at everything with a different view and perspective. Many are moving to rural areas where they can establish a more self sufficient environment and a sort of homestead lifestyle and finding that to be quite pleasing and healthy in many ways.  Just slowing down and stepping outside of the rat race circle is very uplifting and there is a reason for that. It seems to be twofold. On one hand, that lifestyle requires a bit more physical work and effort, much of it outdoors. That, in and of itself, is very invigorating to mind and body. Simply slowing down a bit gives one a better grasp by having the time and frame of mind to actually think a bit clearer. Quite amazing hey? So all of a sudden there is an awakening and self realization that being a bit closer to a more natural order of events is a very good thing indeed. For many positive outcomes and reasons. This thinking also generates a more self sufficient mindset on every level , not just generating your own food or raising some animals. The overall experience makes one consider all things in a broader and more realistic and down to earth manner. It brings a focus of health and overall wellbeing as a purpose and part of one’s life. It is also taking place in the suburban areas as well. This is what I talk about with the concept of our “Inner Powers”. Going inside and taking a look around and analyzing not only ourselves, but the world we live in, with all its parts and pieces. Then realizing and accepting that we can empower ourselves and help others just by our thinking and then acting! A sort of grand  assessment of all things relevant. It is a great realization that all is very much interconnected. Body, mind, spirit. That is what I see as the changes taking place in preparedness. An awareness is taking place and a mind set of empowerment, but in a very positive way, on a personal one on one level. Of course the elites in DC and elsewhere will discourage such thinking and endeavors. Because this kind of independent thinking and actions go directly against any control mechanisms they envision and want to maintain. That is where the many illusions come into play. Of course, the illusions are intended to keep us all under their control and keep the status quo humming along and those tax dollars flowing in and absolutely under their control. When all is said and done, it is of course all about controlling each and every one of us. Pretty obvious Obamacare is one of the many illusions and simply a control mechanism. I see a sort of awakening taking place and I think most of it comes from the  preparedness type thinkers that have morphed in that direction. Simply by thinking. Perhaps some of it started as a form of fear, but now it is morphing into knowledge and understanding of how incompetent and corrupt the entire system actually is. So the thinking and reactions are changing. A combination of  people from many backgrounds and experiences have reached a sort of critical mass of intelligence and common sense and that is what is driving the direction of the movement and overall thinking process. It is becoming much more prevalent in our society and much more acceptable because people know something is very wrong in USSA and it is only a matter of time before something breaks. That day will NOT be a good day. In fact it is already underway, it just has not completely failed quite yet. The massive cyber dollar printing illusion has held it all together with 17 to 20 trillion of fake dollar cyber glue. It isn’t even all printed any longer just an electronic entry into a central bank! But how long can that be maintained? Interestingly, the Obamaites have actually been a positive force in this awakening in a perverted or reverse way. How you ask? The many extreme acts since 2007 have opened many peoples’ eyes to the corruption, malfeasance and outright illegal acts of our own government and our so-called leaders, and that has forced many of us to rethink the entire paradigm of USA and consider it all from a slightly different perspective. That is the knothole we were forced to go through. It has caused us all to look deeper at the root causes and get better informed on many issues. From the Federal reserve right down to every facet of government, taxation, waste, fraud, and cronyism. And not at all because we are overreacting or paranoid , but simply because we are thinking , simple as that! Actually looking at the facts, real data and events as they unfold and calling a spade a spade. Amazing , people actually thinking and then doing! So, in my opinion, the preparedness types are some of the smart guys in the room when all is said and done. They are already reaping their just rewards via their lifestyle and frame of mind. Now just how awesome is that? By simply looking at life a bit differently, recognizing the many illusions, and grasping their health and overall wellbeing, we are empowering ourselves in very positive ways. I say, good on ya and keep up the good work! In closing, these thoughts, I do think it very prudent to have your bases covered but not overreact. It can and should be fun along the way! Keep in mind that there is an order to these events and I think it goes something like this. First our health and mindset is critical. Without our health, we cannot really think as well. And, in my view, a part of our health is fitness. I believe that some degree of fitness promotes a strong mind and overall well being. Simply by virtue of blood flowing to our brain and all body parts from some form of routine physical exertion. Also our organs are flushed with more blood and that results in a better overall function for numerous reasons. Next would be our thinking and spirit. These are also greatly affected by our overall health. After that, we get into skill sets and various other undertakings, like being mindful of having some supplies and stocks on hand. Of course, various forms of training and acquiring expertise. I think it is far more prudent to be prepared mentally and physically than just hoarding stuff, and here is my reasoning. You will enjoy the many benefits each and every day, no matter what happens, and all while headed in the right direction as well! So for me it all goes hand in hand and we each have to find our own balance with these events. Pretty simple stuff as I see it. There is no need to live in fear or anxiety. We can simply understand the many illusions that create such angst in our lives and therefore avoid and circumvent most of it. It really is all about how we think and then take actions in our lives. Also consider that these changing mindsets will bring in many more people to this thinking dynamic of “back to basics” and health empowerment. So I am certain we are headed in a good and healthy direction. I like the changing mindset and hope to be part of that improvement going forward by helping people understand the many illusions we all live in and simply understanding ourselves on a deeper level. I think that is where it all lies, within ourselves. As I say on my site, “life is a dream of sorts and you get to mold that dream, so choose your dreams wisely!”  Good luck to all, in all of your endeavors. My next piece will be on what many call our health care system and how to basically avoid it, with zero repercussions and excellent health and almost completely for free! So just how is that we learn all things

Steve Baze

Steve Baze

Thermodynamics for the Homestead

Thermodynamics is the study of heat and how heat and cold work. In this post I will try to relate some things I know to the homestead or BOL. This will be another food for thought article. I think Jack on the Survival Podcast has it right when he says, “Going green is not only for hippies or environmentalist.” It’s good for preppers, survivalist, farmers, business, and other folks. It’s merely making more efficient use of available energy and heat/cold transfers in particular because heating/cooling requires more energy in general than anything else. First let’s review some general history and facts about heat energy. The first thermometers around 1600 used distilled alcohol as the liquid for showing changes in temperature. Galileo made and used one of these. These early thermometers were not very accurate. Later in the mid 1700’s, after failed attempts to use mercury, they finally made good mercury thermometers. Some of the first early spirit thermometers were graduated with 360 marks similar to a compass or circle, thus degrees. Different people tried using different scales. The first well used and known thermometer actually used the freezing point of water on the low end and body temperature on the high end to delineate the graduation and markings. And for some strange reason he chose 32 degrees for water’s freezing point and 98 degrees for body temperature. This gave 212 for boiling point of water at sea level. Yes it’s the one many of us use today, the Fahrenheit scale. Shortly after Fahrenheit made his thermometer, another guy came up with a different scale that seemed to make more sense for measuring cold. Fahrenheit’s was designed more for measuring heat above normal temps. This new scale used freezing point of water as 100 and boiling point of water as 0. Yes you heard that right, another guy came along and inverted it so that freezing was 0 and boiling was 100. This is the Centigrade or Celsius scale. Celsius was the actual name of the inventor. During the same period of time, one man was working on a theoretical absolute zero temperature or complete absence of all heat. They figured there might be an absolute zero because of their test on gasses and liquids with pressure, volume and temperature changes. Based on those tests, they came up with calculations that determined this absolute zero point and then the Kelvin Scale of measuring temperature designed by William Thompson (Baron Kelvin) in the late 1800’s. The coldest temperature on earth was recently noted at the south pole, -94(Celsius)C, -137(Fahrenheit)F or 179(Kelvin)K. To give you a frame of reference, normal northern cold temps are -51C, -60F is 222K. -60F is also the temps at which they quick freeze fruits, meats and vegetables for better preservation and for freeze drying. -17C, 0F or 255K. Freezing point of water is 0C, 32F or 273K. Mean ground temperature in my area at 35(angle of latitude)degrees to the north is 14C, 58F or 287K. Comfortable room temperature is 23C, 75F or 297K. Body temperature is 36C, 98F or 309K. Death Valley, California, is the hottest location on earth 56C, 134F or 329K. High composting temps are 72C, 160F or 344K. Boiling point of water at sea level is 100C, 212F or 373K. Canning meat temps are 115C, 240F or 388K. Baking bread oven temps of 121C, 350F or 394K. Melting point of lead 327C, 621F or 600K. Melting point of iron 1538C, 2800F or 1810 Kelvin. The surface temperature of Pluto -240C, -400F or 33K. You can get no colder than 2.7 Kelvin in space somewhere. Of course we know the sun can be millions of degrees in temperature. But a better reference of hottest is the 426C, 800F or 699K sunny side of the planet Mercury, the closest planet to the sun; though, there are hotter temperatures on earth, such as the temps of lava coming from a volcano and the temperatures of lightning. Also fire is well known and it is quite hot. The point is that we realize how heat is produced, collects and moves from place to place by studying the measurable temperature of things. When there is a temperature change then heat is transferred. For measuring heat energy transfer there are 3 scales, Joule, BTU(British Thermal Unit) and Calorie. The BTU and Calorie are fairly simple. BTU is the amount of heat needed to raise one pound of water one degree F. Calorie is the amount of heat needed to raise one gram of water 1 degree C. You might think the Joule has something to do with raising some material one degree K, but no. It’s the force of applying one newton for a distance of one meter. Or passing one amp through a resistance of one Ohm for one second, or passing electric charge of one coulomb through an electrical potential difference of one volt, or one ‘”coulomb volt” (C·V) Or one watt of power for one second, or one “watt second” (W·s). “Isn’t that special.” I think for the rest of this article we will stick with mostly Fahrenheit scale and BTUs. In the mid 1800’s, a temperature of -110C or -166F was reached using dry ice, frozen CO2. Refrigeration was invented in the early 1800’s and was used some in the later part of the century during the US Civil War in the south. That machine used ammonia (nitrogen and hydrogen) with water as the refrigerant. They cooled a few special hospital rooms but cooling rooms, buildings and spaces would come a bit later around 1902 and the inventors name was Carrier. Now on the homestead we are mostly concerned with cooling or heating the family. Animals tend to get more heat than cooling. Plants need heat at times. We need to cool food in the preservation of food. Heat transfers via three different modes. First heat will radiate from a source to any surface or material that would absorb some of it. Second is convection where moving liquids or air transfers the heat from one place to another. Lastly heat conducts through solid or near solid objects from one atom to another and one molecule to another. These are very important principles to understand not only in making a space more comfortable but in preserving and cooking of food as well. Can we stop the transfer of heat from an area of higher temperature to an area of lower temperature? Nope, we can only slow it down. This is what insulation does. Insulation might reflect some heat, will stop most or all convection and slows conduction. In the vacuum of space heat only travels via radiation. If it hits an object, say an asteroid, space station or astronaut the object will absorb the heat and then conduct the heat to its parts. It will radiate the heat back into space from its exterior. Vacuum then is considered to be about as perfect an insulator as we can get on earth. The only real application of this at home is the thermos bottle. Heat can be reflected in the same way that light can be reflected. Shade is the blocking of solar radiation so that it is converted to conduction at the surface that blocks it. If that surface is a shiny metallic color it will reflect it instead of absorbing it. Silver and gold colors are very good. White, especially shiny white, will also reflect a great deal but not as much as silver. Shiny polished surfaces in general reflects more heat. Other colors we know absorbs more heat. Darker colors up to black are best. Dull surfaces absorb more heat. Reflecting heat is better than shading or insulating because it prevents most conduction. Wrapping something in shiny silver is the same effect as shading it from the radiation. Of course if the material is dense or solid enough it can block convection winds so that there is no convection. Windchill and wind breaking jackets come to mind. Glass can reflect and absorb some radiant heat, whereas plastic sheeting or glass won’t have the same effect. Obviously heat radiates trough the glass though. If you have ever seen the effects of sun shining on objects through a window in a room you would know this to be true. The sun heat in space just above the earth’s atmosphere can radiate a surface with 450 BTU per square foot per hour. Our atmosphere will block, absorb and reflect some of that heat radiation. On the surface of the earth we are looking at more like 350 BTU per square foot per hour in hot summer conditions at noon hours. In winter, this can be much less. In early morning and evening this can be less. Thermal mass is another important factor and is as important as insulation. Most people understand insulation fairly well but are woefully ignorant of thermal mass. All materials, except a vacuum, have thermal mass properties. Insulation, for example, has some thermal mass. Some materials are better used for thermal mass than others, however. Thermal mass is to heat what the battery is for electricity or the water tower is for water pressure. It stores heat and then radiates the heat back out. Just as you watch for materials you might use as insulation, you also search for materials that make good thermal mass. When using liquids as thermal mass convection, conduction and radiation are at play. When using a solid, only conduction and radiation are important. Although convection on the surface of the thermal mass change the speed in which it transfers heat.   Specific Gravity Table for General Materials The above link shows densities of common materials. Density is measured in grams per cubic meter. More dense materials make better thermal mass. A formula could be worked out comparing density of water to density of any material to estimate how many BTU’s a pound of it would gain if heated 1 degree F. But I have been told that won’t work, it doesn’t work that way. Instead one must use specific heat. This is in cal/gram at 0C. And that is based on liquid water, not frozen water. Specific Heat Capacity of General Materials Calorie/Gram0C converted to BTU/LB32F calculator Using the data and calculator above we can convert calories/gram0c to btu’s/lb32F. Note the calculator has BTU(IT) and BUT(th). Use IT but there appears to be little difference. Then all that is needed is to use the formula Q=cm(delta)T. That is BTUs=(Specific Heat)*Lbs*1F. I’m sorry that I didn’t have time to work out some tables for this post. But this gives you enough clues to find out how many BTU’s are added when you raise the temperature of a given pound of material 1 degree F. A gas is not used as thermal mass. Gasses however are used for insulation purposes. An example would be double, triple or more layers of glass or plastic with Krypton or Nitrogen in between the layers. Any dead air space insulates because it stops convection. Heavy and dense materials are better thermal mass. Lighter materials usually are better for insulation. For convective transfer of heat we have two kinds. One is passive. This relies on the natural convection of air or water. In an enclosed space passive relies on the natural convection cause from the heating of air or liquid. Hot air rises and so does hot water. Cold air falls and so does cold water. Yes temperature changes the weight of molecules. As these molecules flow around one another trying to move up or down they are mixing and transferring heat via conduction as well. A person can artificially move liquids or gasses. This is an active system. You can use power; be it animal, mechanical or electrical, to speed up convection and therefore speeds up the transfer of heat or cold. Let’s look at a couple of examples such as air. A cubic foot of air raised 1 degree F is .02 BTUs. If you want more accuracy use .018. A 10’x10’x10′ cube of air is 1,000 cubic feet. This means if you raise that area by 1 degree F you gained or added 18 BTU. If you lower that area by the same you lose 18 BTU. Let’s now apply this to water used as thermal mass. Recall that 1 BTU is one pound of water raised 1 degree F. 1 gallon of water weighs 8.3 lbs. If we raise that one gallon of water 1 degree F we gain 8.3 BTU’s. Same in loss if that water cools by one degree F. Note that if it cools by one degree F, then your room gained 8.3 BTU’s from that gallon of water. A 55 gallon drum, therefore, raised 1 degree F gained 456 BTUs. A 5,000 BTU air conditioner will remove 5,000 BTU per hour from a room. You may have heard of out side A/C heat pumps rated in tons. 1 ton is 12,000 BTU per hour. A shop floor heater might add 100,000 BTU per hour to a space. Count Rumford (Benjamin Thompson) in the 1800’s did extensive research in Europe with varieties of wood species. He determined BTU’s given by burning so many pounds of wood. It is possible to calculate how much a space can be heated by using a wood stove by burning a given amount of wood. Anyhow, in trying to manage this, we are simply wanting to move heat around at faster or slower rates. We are blocking and redirecting heat. We are also storing heat and then drawing it back out at given rates. We technically can not store cold, but if we remove heat from a thermal mass it has that effect. After all that’s how ice works. These same concepts apply for our bodies, a space be it living space or food storage space. Do you know why a freezer is more efficient when it’s full? It’s because of the thermal mass of the food that is in it. This is also why your food will last longer when the power goes out if the frig/freezer is more full. The food itself is a battery for cold. I’m highly considering doing more articles on this topic as a series. One for insulation. One for thermal mass. One for thermal barrier. I will talk about materials, techniques and ideas. I also have not talked in this article about humidity and evaporation cooling. I also didn’t talk about how 32 degree 1 pound of water to 32 degree ice is a 144 BTU change. I didn’t talk about how 212 liquid water to 212 steam is a 970 BTU change. I didn’t talk about in general heat energy is conserved meaning if heat is gained in one place it is lost somewhere else. But heat is a form of energy and forms of energy can change from one form to another. This is where we get into thermoelectric. That is electrically produced heat or cold actually. Indeed there is a lot to think about in thermodynamics. But this is where we need to start in order to reduce our cost or need for energy. And what is the red liquid in modern thermometers used to replace the toxic mercury? It is colored alcohol. Usually it is red but sometimes blue, green or black. Mercury, however, is still more accurate and is used in medicine or science applications. Mercury thermometers are always silver.   The post “Thermodynamics for the Homestead” appeared first on Brink of Freedom.

CaverDude

CaverDude

 

Hope and the Second Law of Thermodynamics

“All that is needed for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing.” –From Edmund Burke’s writings. “In all energy exchanges, if no energy enters or leaves the system, the potential energy of the state will always be less than that of the initial state.” –Second law of thermodynamics. “You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.” –Benjamin Franklin. Take a close look at this picture.  There are so many lessons we can learn from nature; from this one picture even.  One’s first impression might be that it is really pretty.  Many will feel a yearning to go there.  Other’s may yawn and remark on “yet another mountain shot”.  But put your analytical hat on.  What do you see when you look carefully? I see a paradigm for life, responsibility, and self-reliance.  I also remember the taste of roasted trout, but that is off the subject.  Where are the hidden lessons? Let’s start with the second law of thermodynamics.  This law is crumbling the mountains.  It is this law that formed the lake and will also destroy the lake.  And the living things like the trees show scars of battling against it. Another way to paraphrase the second law of thermodynamics is that energy does not like to be concentrated.  High energy systems release their energy over time to lower energy systems until all systems have the same energy.  So those mountains will crumble and slide and erode and fill the lake.  Millions of tons of rock will eventually lie flat; averaged by the effects of time.  The lake was formed as snow and ice—seeking a lower energy state—carved out a basin in the valley below and then filled it with water.  This trapped water continues to seek a lower energy state as it slowly carves away the natural dam.  In time there will be a meadow where the lake was with a deep stream bed on the lower end.  But the trees are a little different.  The trees are moving energy from a lower state to a higher, more concentrated state.  In other words, they are using energy to do work, pushing and stretching for the sky while storing vast amounts of energy from the sun in the form of sugars and cellulose and other hydrocarbons.  But the trees show dead limbs that succumbed to the second law.  And there are thousands of rotting logs in this forest; trees that have lost the battle.  Their concentrated energy is returning to the earth.  Even the trout in the lake are in a constant struggle to concentrate enough energy to grow rather than to starve. Life battles against the second law.  That is a definition of life.  Life concentrates the energy of the environment to do work and affect change.  Life organizes and builds and struggles against the second law to overcome it—if only for a season.  Life creates hope in the midst of deterioration. The second law of thermodynamics is also known as the law of entropy.  Since energy flows from concentrated states to less concentrated states, matter also flows from order to disorder.  That is because disorder is a lower energy state.  This is true for a bedroom and true for a nation.  It takes living things (humans) doing work to keep a bedroom organized.  Likewise, it takes people doing work to maintain order.  That is why Burke’s famous statement is true.  If good people don’t take action, then societies crumble into greater and greater disorder. Tolkien riddled another point about entropy in The Hobbit: This thing all things devours; Birds, beasts, trees, flowers; Gnaws iron, bites steel; Grinds hard stones to meal; Slays king, ruins town, And beats mountain down.   What is it?  In The Hobbit, the answer is time.  But a more precise answer might be entropy over time.  If time stopped, so would entropy.  But since time flows on, entropy does too; never ceasing, always reducing.  All we have to do to see our lives get worse is nothing!  If we, like the trees, are not working to organize, concentrate, and store energy, then we will fall and return; ashes to ashes and dust to dust. But the picture is of Middle Lake and not Middle Earth.  How do these lessons apply to self-reliance here in the real world? Benjamin Franklin’s contribution to this article makes another point about time, “You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.” Thankfully, we are all given the same amount of time and it is given in a steady stream.  We do get second chances, and thirds, and so on—up to a point.  But with time, entropy marches on.   It is tireless, relentless, and never satisfied.  Eventually entropy can build up so great a state of disorder that we don’t have the strength left to overcome it. That is why people of responsibility must act.  The trees and the trout are diligently working.  Sure they pause at times to rest, as so should we, but they know that if they are not productive, they will lose the battle with entropy.  We must also work.  People of responsibility must act or lose. This is true from the simple effort of eating healthy food to caring for tools, maintaining homes, teaching and learning, raising children, and taking responsibility for the wellbeing of ourselves, our families, our communities, and—yes—even our nation. How do you spend your precious time?  I encourage you to rest when you need to rest.  Recharge your physical and emotional batteries so you will have the strength to act.  But once rested, realize that entropy never pauses.  All that is necessary for your life to get worse is for you to do nothing. How would you like work for yourself doing business that provides wealth, self-respect, and empowerment?  How would you like to get paid for the good you do, rather than for the hours you spend bringing order to someone else’s resources while yours slowly decay?  How would you like to eat healthy foods knowing where each meal came from; celebrating the fruit of your labor?  How would you like to know that you are prepared to weather the tough times without depending on a crippled government for support?  How would you like to know that your children are responsible, loving, productive, and knowledgeable? Why would anyone give away these blessings by sitting hour after hour, day after day, year after year in front of a TV screen?!  Are people so ill at ease with their own lives that they must feed on the fictitious lives of others like vampires trying to suck life out of the living? I hope that you cannot relate to this paragraph.  I wish you all the blessings and fulfillment that life can bring.  But….  I just had my small dog do several rather ridiculous tricks for a little scrap of roast.  I don’t blame her.  She is a dog after all and really cute!  But what ridiculous tricks do you do for your master to get your scraps?  Seriously.  Think about it.  Working a dead-end job is a lower energy state.  It may take less effort to sacrifice your time in exchange for scraps.  But what if you acted like a living thing—the trees and the trout— and looked after your own business and responsibilities?  You could be feasting at the table!  It is all about personal responsibility.  It is about overcoming the second law. A great man of wisdom once wrote: I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding. And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:  So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man. I think these days we should paraphrase the last lines, “Just one more show, entertain my numbness:   Poverty from spinning my wheels--not getting anywhere--will be the result; and starvation will bully me, making me do things that I hate. “ If you have read this far, then you care.  If you care, then your walls are either strong and sturdy, or being rebuilt.  Your vineyards are productive.  You are alive.  That means you are changing your corner of the world by storing up energy and organizing resources.  You are providing for your needs and the needs of your family.  You are discovering what it means to have liberty.  You are empowering yourself and others.  If you care, then you are overcoming entropy, using your time wisely, and you are a good person doing something! This is what being alive really is.  The mountains are crumbling because they have no living mechanism to order and preserve them.  But the trees are growing because they are doing the necessary stuff. Are you alive?  No, I am not asking if you are breathing; sitting like a lump watching your world crumble.  Are you really alive celebrating the good work that you do; making a positive difference?  Time marches on and we do not have as much time left as we once did.  So DO SOMETHING!  Do something and be the person you can look up to. The new year is upon us.  We don’t really know what 2014 will bring.  But we do know that we can make a difference and start pushing back the onslaught of entropy.  Remember that freedom, liberty, and the opportunities they bring are higher energy states.  The entropy of laziness and politics erode at these ideals.  Do something to organize and build up your own personal liberty this year.  Empower yourself.  Lead by example.  Make a difference.  Build up HOPE and LOVE. Get off your butt.  Entropy never sleeps. We at 180 Tack wish you all the best in the new year!  180 Tack is the something that we are doing to make a difference.  You can share the fruit of our labors too, at www.180tack.com. 

Curt Linville

Curt Linville

Keeping Honey Bees for Survival - Getting Your Bees

Keeping Honey Bees for Survival Part 3 Getting Your Bees Now that you have your protective gear, a hive for the bees, and a book to reference, you are ready for the bees. There are nearly 20,000 species of bees—honey bees represent a small fraction of the species with between 7 and 11 species and 44 subspecies—and they come from all around the globe. Bees can be ordered online, and from local bee clubs—most are shipped via UPS. A package of bees can cost around $80-$200, depending on the species that you decide to purchase. The package weighs between three to four pounds and has around 10 to 20 thousand bees inside, which is a good number to start building your hive. Bees can be installed into the hive in a matter of minutes—and if you take your time, you can watch them get to work in the hive immediately. Shipped Package of Bees   A honey bee queen found in most commercial bee hives Naturally, my favorite bee is the free bee. Free bees can be found when bees swarm, which happens when the queen bee leaves a colony with a group of worker bees in search of a new hive. They often gather in trees or the eaves of houses, which leave them in harm's way by people who do not want them around. By offering to collect swarms, you can get free bees for your hive. Put an advertisement in the newspaper, or local listing, that you are willing to remove swarms. When the swarm first settles down and forms a cluster, it is fairly simple to capture. Swarms normally last no more than 24 hours, so you must be ready. To capture a swarm, you’ll need: A box or a bucket with a lid. I use five-gallon buckets that have a hole in the top laced with a screen so the bees are able to breathe until you can put them into a hive. A soft brush and a wide scraper. These help to move the bees, if needed. A ladder to climb on to get to the bees so you are not reaching up in the air swatting at them—sometimes they are high in the trees or the roof of the house. Your protective gear—you do not want to get stung when collecting a swarm of bees for your hive. When collecting a swarm of bees in a bush or tree, put the bucket below the area the swarm is in and give the branch a good shake. Let the nest fall into the bucket. Use the brush to sweep the remaining bees into the bucket, and then place the lid on the bucket. If the swarm is on something that you cannot shake, take the wide scraper and place it so you can scoop the bees and place them into the bucket. Use your brush to sweep the bees on the scraper and drop them in the bucket as well. When you have nearly 90 percent of the bees in the bucket, place the lid on your bucket and look to see if the remaining bees start landing on the lid. They will start to land on the bucket and fan, which tells the bees that the queen is inside the bucket and they are moving. Let the bucket set for 30 minutes and let the bees inside and outside of the bucket collect on the lid. Then pop the top of the bucket so all the bees drop to the bottom of the bucket and take the lid off. Flip the lid and brush the bees on the lid into the bucket. Then replace the lid and take the bees to their new hive. When you get to the hive you’re going to place the bees in, open it and remove four to five frames, or top bars, out of your way. Pop the bucket on the lid once more so the bees fall to the bottom of the bucket and open the lid. Then shake bees in the bucket into the hive. Once you have the swarm in the hive, replace the frames or top bars and cover the hive. You have successfully placed your bees into the hive. Be sure to check the bees in one week to see if they are building comb.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan

 

Keeping Honey Bees for Survival - How to Get Started

Part 2 How to Get Started Now that I have told you some of the many the benefits of having bees, I am going to tell you the basic style of beekeeping and some cheap ways to keep bees. Again, my focus is on survival beekeeping, or “off the grid” beekeeping. I will give you a list of what you need, and then tell you how to make some of the items, or find them cheap. Once again, I suggest that you find a book about beekeeping to help you understand the terms I use and the different kinds of hives available for beekeeping. You can find books everywhere—used book stores and yard sales are the cheapest, and you may even find used equipment there as well. As a beekeeper, you must have protection. Beekeepers suits can be expensive—cost of protective gear ranges from $100-$200, depending on what you get (hoods and gloves, full body suits, etc.). Suits can be found online, in beekeeping stores, swap meets, or yard sales. However, if you’d like to take a thrifty approach you need to have: High rubber boots, which can be found at farm supply stores or retail centers such as Walmart. Make sure you own a pair that you can get in and out of quickly and can go over your pants. Pants that can be tucked into your boots. I like to use duct tape to tape the boots onto the pants so your legs and feet are completely protected. Long-sleeve shirts than can be tucked into your pants. Hooded jackets, which can be cinched tightly around your face, so only your face shows. A ball cap is worn under the hood—the starting point of a screened hood. To make this, stitch screen over the top of the hooded jacket and then use duct tape all around the screen to keep the bees out. The cap pushes the screen away from your face. Welding gloves that you duct tape the ends to the jacket sleeves so you’re all sealed up. Another cheap way is to use a rain suit that you can duct tape your gloves, boots, waist, and stitch a screen over the face. Now that you are protected from head to toe, let’s focus on where you will keep the bees or the bee hive. The most commonly used hive is called a Langstroth hive. It is made as an open top hive and holds frames that can be removed to inspect brood (aka baby bees or larva) and to pull honey out of the hive. You can order a pre-built hive or find plans to build your own hive from the internet. There are also many books on how to build and use the Langstroth Hive. I will repeat myself again: find a book and use it as a resource. And take any classes you can find in your area. I have been keeping bees for more than 10 years, and have lost hives due to my “learning experiences”. But just like anything, you never know until you try.   The next hive I am going to show you is called a barrel top drum hive. It is made with a plastic 55-gallon drum. From one barrel you can make 2 hives. These drums can be found at   car washes, dumps, and food centers. Always wash the drum out first to make sure it is clean. Start by marking the barrel lengthwise to cut it in half. Although the barrel has a seam that would make it easy to cut it in half; we want to use the bung holes for entrances, so we end up marking lines. It is possible to cut the barrel with a handsaw, but for the sake of time, use an electric saber saw. Once the barrel is cut in two,   build a box out of 2-inch by 3-inch lumber, to fit snugly around the barrel. This frame acts as a stiffener, preventing the barrel from warping out of shape. It also acts as the support for the top bars. This will also keep the top of your hive even so that when you get your lid ready it will fit snug. Before the barrel half could be slid into the wooden frame, a portion on the barrel rim had to be cut off so that the barrel would fit squarely into the frame. Once this was done, the barrel and frame were put together and decking screws were used to secure the barrel to the frame. Counter sink the screws a little so the comb will not stick to the sides. The bees will make comb around the screws and it will be hard to get the top bars out with them stuck to the sides. Next, a set of legs were added. Try to keep the legs from extending out too far from the barrel and becoming a trip hazard while working on the hive. Also, try to avoid covering the bung hole so that there is an entrance for the bees. When making the top bars out of 3/4 inch rough-cut pine (1-inch thickness) make them long enough to extend to the outside edges of the support frame. The lid will cover the whole top so you want it even all the way around. Corrugated metal for roofing. This will get hot but you do not have to paint it or stain it every other year. Make sure you drill two holes in the front and back of the hive to help with air flow. In the winter time you can place a cork in the holes to help keep the bees warm. In colder places, you can place spray foam in the holes to keep the cold air out. You can either tie down the corrugated metal with rope or just set a couple of rocks on top. Since it is corrugated, there is plenty of ventilation as well. One sheet from The Home Depot is big enough to make covers for both hives. (In this demonstration, a stand to hold up the top bar so you can look at the comb—the bees comb mimicked the shape of the drum half.) *Note: all pictures are taken from an article, Barrel Top Bar Hive, on Robo’s World website, http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/beekeeping/barrel-top-bar-hive/. You need to put a little bit of wax on the top bar so the bee knows where to start building comb, but other than that you have just made a hive from stuff that is commonly thrown way. This is a great way to save drums, even metal ones, and use for something other than a trash can. It’s a great home for your bees and keeps the dump free of a landfill.   As a survival person, I have done 12 hives this way. The cost is none and most of the time is only a few hours to build. I have found that metal drums work the best. That way the heat does not warp the hive and it will keep its shape.   Now, remember a hive is a box with something for the bees to build comb off of. Here are a few different ones I have done as well and all seem to make good homes for bees.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan

 

Introduction To Cartography – Mapping the Garden Spot

Inkscape Map Drawing
Libre Office Calc Map Data Spreadsheet The above two files are a zip file containing an InkScape drawing of the first survey with some preliminary sketches of the garden spot and the Libre Office spreadsheet data of the first survey. This first image below is of the line plot and sketch. This is the actual field sketch. It’s on graph paper like you might find in the Walmart office supply. I would have to go to a real office supply to get the kind I wanted that had two sizes of grid on the same sheet. 5×5 inner squares inside a thicker outer square, same as what you have seen in prior articles in some of the images.     Here we see a line plot drawn in one layer of the InkScape drawing.                                               Next I circle in red some problem points. A6.1 and E should be the same station or location.           Below A7 should connect to A2 but you see there is 3 to 4 feet between them. Not good.        
            A5 should have been on top of the end of the compost pile, but did not end up that way on the sketch. Below i show you on the sketch what was wrong by circling the points with great error. You might also note that where I drew the fence was in error as well. Here is the full drawing. I think the road might be a bit wide. This image has the sketch underlay that I had scanned in. I traced over the sketch in different layers above it.                   This one would be what an actual map would look like.       This one is without the sketch but includes the line plot. It is without the line plot.                                                                                                                                                  
                                    This one is the garden details. It shows pump,                       This layer shows manure and compost.                                           This one shows road and trails. watering tank, a couple of zai square foot rows and a box. It also shows the placement of a white table I have in the garden. And the chair and bucket sitting where I normally fish.                                                                                                                                                                               Here is the pond layer.                                                    This is the trees, growth and brush layer. The dark green are cedar trees.                                                                                                There is also a persimmon tree and a couple of hardwood trees there.             
                                                                                                    This is the drops and slopes layer.                                                                                 This is the fence layer.                                               This reflects changes in terrain elevation.   I had used a cheap $15 lensatic compass for this survey. One of the first things I noticed about this compass was that the compass dial was not floating too smoothly. Nothing like the more expensive military compass. It actually floated more like the tiny compass on the end of the knife or walking stick. I also noticed a lot of trouble with glare when trying to read it. Honestly this compass might have been good for a survival situation where you are trying to find your way through the woodlands but for surveying it was terrible. You will notice some 8 degree errors and 13 degree errors in the survey data. This probably contributed to the closure problems. I surveyed some lines out to each corner of the garden fence. These stations were 3.1, 4.1,  6.1 and 7.1. I drew dashed lines between the supposed corner post locations. This should represent where the fence would be. On the road side and the pond side the fence is at irregular angles. But on the west side and the south side the fence is square with NS and EW. This seems logical and correct. I did tape measure all the lines and they should all be good except for one or two where I didn’t have a stable attachment point for the dumb end of the tape. So this may have contributed to the closure errors. I began to draw the cedar tree artistically with many lines and then decided that it looked cool but was taking a lot of time. Instead, I put them as filled loops. The waves in the pond also take a lot of time but I just like the way it looks. What would really be nice is to be able to outline an area and then draw inside it as though it were a bit map. The fill would be your drawing. If you altered the shape by stretching it, your drawing would also stretch to match. This would make a much more artistic looking map. To survey this properly I need a better compass and clinometer similar to the Sunnto brand. A better lensatic compass would help as well. For a clinometer I have a phone app clinometer. The problem with this is that you must use a mirror to read it and aim it at the same time. The mirror image is, of course, reversed. It would be nice if they would add a mirror image feature so that you could reverse it in the software and then when you looked into the mirror it would read normal. I did not take any clinometer readings. These lines were very flat. I could redo some lines of this survey and then re-draw the line plot and see if that helps. I could also re-tape a couple of lines and do the same to see if that would help. If you get the connecting lines close enough you can just move them to match and then stretch or reshape  the sketch to fit. But what I will probably do is resurvey the whole thing with a better compass and clinometer. For this to be used as a solar map I need it to be accurate to the nearest square foot almost. The post "Introduction To Cartography – Mapping the Garden Spot" appeared first on Brink of Freedom.

CaverDude

CaverDude

Government Breaks All Ten Commandments

This article will cover how government breaks all ten commandments. This is true of most, if not all, governments but I will focus on the United States of America Government and the states within its union. Whether you belong to a religion that follows the ten commandments or not. Whether you are an atheist or not. I think we can all agree that the ten commandments are not a bad piece of advice to follow or strive to follow. We can all certainly agree that we would not want to be controlled by anybody or anything that does not follow some of, if not all of, these ten commandments. If you live in a country that has a government you are more than likely being governed by a government that breaks these commandments regularly. While researching for this article, I found out there are many different versions of the ten commandments. They are slight variants, but they are there. I find this surprising given that God spoke these commandments to and was delivered by a single man. Due to this, I will choose to use the King James Version for my examples. If you are interested in the different versions you can see the ones I researched here: And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. King James English Standard
  American Standard
  New Living Translation
  New International
  Young’s Literal Translation
  Complete Jewish Bible
  Amplified Bible   There is a difference between "government" and "state". When I say state I am not always referring to the states within a country. Before we begin I would like to offer a definition for government, state, and religion. Religion Government State I would add this to the definition of state I would like to first state that I am not against religion unless it involuntary. I believe that you and I have every right to belong to a church, follow a religion or have faith in a god or gods. You and I do not have a right to force anybody to believe in what we believe in. We do not have the right to harm or physically alter someone's life that does not have the same belief. I do agree that there have been countless accounts of religion harming people in the name of a God. I do not condone that and neither should anybody else. The same goes with government. I have no problem with government or your belief in a government or governors so long as it is voluntary and does not cause harm to others or force others to do what they do not want. The same goes with people. If you wish to follow, worship and/or believe in a person, I have no problem with that at all so long as you do not force me or anybody else to follow, worship and/or believe in a person. As long as that person, persons, or you do not harm or force me to follow that person and their beliefs. It must be voluntary. This article is not meant to say government cannot exist without breaking the ten commandments. It might be possible for there to exist a government which does not break them. I am only pointing out that no government or those that govern exists that does not break these commandments. So I do not understand why anybody who believes in a religion that has these commandments in place or a similar structure in place would participate in a government. There may be a government out there that does not break any of these commandments. I do not know of one but if you do please let me know. I am being very serious. I would love to know of a government like that does not. I wish there was a government that did exist that did follow these commandments. Unfortunately, I do not know that it is possible for one to exist without at least breaking the eighth commandment. Is it possible to have a government that is completely voluntary? If you have an idea for one please let us know! A great deal of good could come from one if it were to exist. Maybe it is not possible to have a government that does follow the ten commandments. If that is the case than any religious persons who believe in the ten commandments could only come to one conclusion. There should be no government. By that token I would think you would also come to the conclusion that religion itself is a government and therefore should not be followed. It is true that in most areas being a member of a religion is voluntary. This is good. It has not always been the case however. Throughout history there have been many instances of people being forced to support, belong to, or follow a religion. Don't believe me? Just look at the crusades. It is estimated that three million people died during these crusades. That's up to 2.3% of the entire world population during that time. These crusades were in the name of religion and government. Seems to me they were breaking the sixth commandment. To be fair the crusades started because of another government and religion brutally enslaving and killing people. Middle Eastern Crusades:
First Crusade: 1096-1099 - The People's Crusade led by Count Raymond IV of Toulouse.
Second Crusade: 1144-1155 - Crusaders attack Damascus led by Holy Roman Emperor Conrad III and King Louis VII of France
Third Cursade: 1187-1192 - Led by Richard the Lionheart of England, Philip II of France, and Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I.
Fourth Crusade: 1202-1204 - Led by Fulk of Neuil where the French/Flemish advanced on Constantinople.
The Children's Crusade: 1212 - Led by a French boy, Stephen of Cloyes
Fifth Crusade: 1217-1221 - Led by King Andrew II of Hungery, Duke Leopold VI of Austria, John of Brienne.
Sixth Crusade: 1228 - 1229 - Led by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II
Seventh Crusade: 1248-1254 - Led by Louis IX of France
Eigth Crusade: 1270 - Led by Louis IX
Ninth Crusade: 1271-1272 - Led by Prince Edward (later Edward I of England). European Crusades:
Reconquista: 718-1492
Windish: 1147-1162
Northern Crusades: 1193-1290
Albigensian Crusades: 1208-1241
Crusades of the 15th Century: 1420-1431 - five crusades declared. I have analyzed these ten commandments and found ways in which each is broken by governments. The same list could be made for religions. Should we not put an end to this? If we are to form religions and governments should we not form them in a way that requires them to follow these commandments? Is that even possible? 1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Government has become, and some would argue always has been, looked onto as a necessity. This belief that government is a necessity is so strong throughout generations and therefore has been put into place at nearly every part of the earth. It has existed for so long through these generations that the people have forgotten there are other ways. Most cannot fathom or imagine a world without its existence. Many people have decided that they do not like religion or the belief in a god and therefore call themselves "atheists" or "deists". I say it is impossible for you to call yourself an atheist or a deist if you vote or willingly participate in a government. Government is no more than a religion with different commandments called "laws" which are enforced by the threat or action of violence. Those enforced laws are created by those who would call themselves various levels of gods if given the opportunity. Instead, they call themselves kings, presidents, emperors, prime minister, governor, mayor, and the list goes on. Sure they may not be Zeus but they would be fine with calling themselves Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Athena, or any other Greek god. No different than a congressman bowing before, salute or applaud the president even if they did not like each other. No different than a citizen doing so to the congressman. Even many of the governed who do believe in God and a religion will defend a president to the point of worship. All people who believe in government or believe in taking government back to when it was "good", want to take it to the future. You are putting something above God. You are kicking God off of the throne. The courthouse is the perfect example. It sets up fallible men as the judgement, not God as the judgement, over man. Even if that judgement is in the name of God, it is not judgement BY god. For those that believe in Jesus Christ as the savior our Lord, do not forget one of the most well-known lesson in your bible. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Simply, you have no right to judge another person unless you are WITHOUT sin. Even if you were without sin you would be harming another person, which would cause you to commit sin. Some religions have found a way around this. They have put into place systems that allow them to confess their sins and have them wiped away, giving them the excuse of being allowed to cast judgement. 2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. In this video people are praying TO the United States President Barack Obama. They mention "The Profit, Martin Luther King, Jr.". They chant "hear our cry Obama" and "deliver us Obama".   In this video children praise the former president of the United States George Bush: Are these people not being looked onto as profits or gods? Even if they are not directly praying to these individuals, you have to admit they are very close. This goes beyond these children and people in this film. Most are not as extreme in showing their belief in these people, but they are close. If I were to lay out a list of ten things Barack Obama has done that are horrible, I will still get resistance and excuses as to why these actions are okay. If they can't give excuses, they will say "he is the lesser of evil". The same goes with George Bush or any other former president of the United States. Look for future articles on EACH U.S. president and the actions they have taken. Governments place graven images all over the place. In almost every government building you will find a graven image. Courthouses, flags, eagles, memorials. All of these are graven images. All of these are used to remind you of who is in charge. To remind you that government is in charge, not God.        3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Many religious people refused to swear on the bible and/or taking an oath because by doing so you take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. What does vain mean? Webster defines it as: having no real value marked by futile or ineffectualness archaic having or showing undue or excessive pride in one's appearance or achievements Is the statement "this is a Christian nation" not taking the Lord's name in vain? Would that not be "showing undue or excessive pride in one's appearance"? The American dollar states "In gGd we trust". Money is printed and in turn creates inflation. Many times this is done to the point where a currency is worthless. Is that not in vain? Is that not putting the lords name on something that is purposely being devalued? Many people do not see a value in the dollar. In all probability there will come a time when the dollar is worth nothing at all. 4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Personally I do not think government ever breaks this commandment because it never works. But if you do willingly participate in a government, does your government respect the sabbath? Probably not. I guarantee you that you can find a government employee working on a Sunday. If not, who are all of these people dressed as police officers arresting people? 5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.  Courts split up families when there is not a problem. Taking kids away from parents. SWAT raiding parents because of their decision. SWAT team forced the prescription on the kid. On August 7th, 2013, a two year old child, Alexandria Hill, was taken from her parents and put into foster care because her parents were caught smoking marijuana in their home while Alexandria slept. The parents were charged by the government for "neglectful supervision". The parents were months away from getting their child back when they learned that the government put Alexandria in the care of foster parents. Those foster parents, appointed by the state, beat Alexandria to death. Her real parents never got to see Alexandria play again. In another case of the government not honouring thy mother, a mother in Detroit had been homeschooling her child. The child decided she wanted to go to public school which required the child be given immunizations. Those immunizations caused adverse reactions in the child and she was told to put the child on a prescribed psychotropic drug. The mother gave her child the drug but than stopped because they were making her reactions worse. Staff from the Child Protective Services and police came to take her child into state care. The mother refused and when they tried to force their way in she supposedly shot at the agents. A SWAT team and a tank were then sent in and the mother, Maryanne Godboldo, was arrested. Recently government has been referring itself as your federal family. On July 10th, 2013 the deputy administrator of FEMA, Richard Serino, told a senate panel that the Boston Marathon bombing "was determined to be a high risk event". This determination resulted in enhanced attention to the event across the federal family and assured a greater level of situational awareness and coordination of federal resources dedicated to the event. August 22nd, 2013, David Heyman, an assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, told a Washington think tank that the town of Joplin in Missouri had recovered from a devastating tornado "in partnership with the federal family." B. Todd Jones, director of the ATF, said "It's as close as you're going to get to blue-collar law enforcement in the federal family" on August 29th, 2013. Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Health and Human Services said "While our federal family is becoming better prepared to support the nation, we know that being truly resilient requires the whole community coming together.". In a recent case a comical motion was filed to ban references to prosecutors as "the government" during trial. The defense lawyer, Drew Justice, said "The prosecution motion sought to ban the word "government" because it makes the prosecutor " seem oppressive and to inflame the jury". He went on to say "Should this court disagree, and feel inclined to let the parties basically pick their own designation and ban words, then the defense has a few additional suggestions for amending the speech code. First, the defendant no longer wants to be called 'the Defendant'. This rather archaic term of art, obviously has a fairly negative connotation. It unfairly demeans, and dehumanizes Mr. Donald Powell. The word 'defendant' should be banned. At trial, Mr. Powell hereby demands he be addressed only by his full name, preceded by the title 'Mister'. Alternatively, he may be called simply 'the Citizen Accused.' This latter title sounds more respectable than the criminal 'Defendant'. The designation 'That innocent man' would also be acceptable. “Counsel for the Citizen Accused should be referred to primarily as the ‘Defender of the Innocent,’ ” Justice writes. “This title seems particularly appropriate, because every Citizen Accused is presumed innocent. Alternatively, counsel would also accept the designation ‘Guardian of the Realm.’ Further, the Citizen Accused humbly requests an appropriate military title for his own representative, to match that of the opposing counsel [since prosecutors are sometimes referred to as ‘general’]. Whenever addressed by name, the name 'Captain Justice' will be appropriate. … “WHEREFORE, Captain Justice, Guardian of the Realm and Leader of the Resistance, primarily asks that the court deny the state’s motion, as lacking legal basis. Alternatively, the Citizen Accused moves for an order in limiting modifying the speech code as aforementioned, and requiring any other euphemisms and feel-good terms as the court finds appropriate.” The judge found that the word “government” isn’t derogatory and denied the prosecution’s motion. Did they want to be referred to as "the federal family" instead? I do agree that the word 'government' is an oppressive word. But it is only oppressive because of governments reputation for the actions they take. Their actions are oppressive. How are any of these things honoring thy father and thy mother? They aren't! Child Protective Services have set a very low threshold on reasons to take children away from families. Why? So that they get more funding by having more cases. Bill de Blasio of New York is pushing for universal, full-day pre-kindergarten to start next school year. Now children of four years old will be sent to school. It seems government wants to take children out of the hands of parents as much as possible and as early as possible. 6. Thou shalt not kill. It seems that government is not good with the words "shalt not" and "shall not". As you probably know the government of the United States has a constitution. The 2nd amendment in their constitution is "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.". The government then puts regulations on specific types and features of firearms. They do the same with shalt not kill.
Since 1976 1356 people have been executed in the United States prison system.
1940s - nuked Japan.
Death toll: 145,000 to date in Nagasaki, 250,000 in Hiroshima 1947-49 - U.S. helps command extreme-right Greece party in Civil War.
Death toll: about 70,000 contributed by US-backed forces 1948-54 - CIA directs war against Huk Rebellion in Philippines.
Death toll: about 11,000 1950 - Independence movement crushed in Ponce, Puerto Rico
Death toll: conservative historians estimated about 8,000 peasants 1950-53 - Korean War
Death toll: about 1,776,000 1952 - CIA overthrows Democracy in Iran, installs Shah
Death toll: about 20,000 1954 - CIA directs invasion of Guatemala after new Democracy there nationalized U.S.-occupied lands
Death toll: about 140,000 missing and dead 1958 - In Lebanon, marine occupation against rebels
Death toll: about 2,000 1960-75+ - Vietnam War including Cambodia and Laos
Death toll: about 4,502,000 including civilians and resulting famines (conservative estimates) 1961 - Cuba's Bay of Pigs Invasion fails
Death toll: about 4,000 1963 - In Iraq, CIA organizes coup against President and agrees to back formerly exiled Saddam
Death toll: about 7,000 including civilians 1964 - In Panama, troops kill protesters against US-owned canal
Death toll: about 1,000 1965 - CIA assists Indonesian coup
Death toll: about 900,000 1966 - Troops and bombers threaten pro-communist parties in Dominican Republic
Death toll: about 3,000 1966-96 - Green berets in Guatemala against rebels, US backs pro-American forces in country until 1996
Death toll: about 200,000 1970 - Directs marine invasion of Oman
Death toll: about 2,000 1973 - CIA directs coup to oust elected Marxist president in Chile
Death toll: 30,000... 3,000 later disappeared under US-installed dictator 1976-92 - CIA assists South-African rebels in Angola
Death toll: median estimate at 550,000 1981-90 - CIA directs Contra invasions in Nicaragua
Death toll: median estimate at 30,000 1982-84 - Marines expel Lebanese rebels, aided by Israel
Death toll: 40,000 1987-88 - US intervenes for Iraq against Iran
Death toll: about 150,000 during time-frame, 100,000 during Desert Storm, 350,000 from resulting famine 1989 - US invades to oust CIA-installed Panamanian government gone rouge
Death toll: 2,000 1992-94 - US-led occupation of Somalia during civil war
Death toll: 50,000 in combat, 300,000 by starvation 2001+ - US Occupies Afghanistan
Death toll: 120,000 including civilians and combatants and resulting Opium Wars 2003+ - Iraqi War
Death toll: 665,000 also by starvation, displacement ESTIMATED TOTAL: 10,432,356 since the 40's. And that is just the US government evolvement. This is not including classified documentation or POW's or WWII pre-nuke. This is also not including all of the people who have been killed by US police. You can find all of those statistics here on Wikipedia. Sources:
http://japanifik.wordpress.com/2008/08/0...
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http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat3...
http://www.puertorico-herald.org/issues/...
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http://www.consortiumnews.com/archive/st...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_of_Pigs...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6... 7. Thou shalt not commit adultery. A bold example of adultery would be president Bill Clinton. Wikipedia has a list of all of the federal political sex scandals in the United States. It is too long to go over in this article but you can look for yourself. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_federal_political_sex_scandals_in_the_United_States A bit of a stretch and may be more in line with the fifth commandment, I would argue that by creating a welfare state and incentivising people to be single parents they are encouraging people to commit adultery or at least accuse others of committing adultery in order to receive more money from the government. Money which has been stolen from the people. And that brings us to the eighth commandment. 8. Thou shalt not steal. Taxation is theft at the threat of murder or more theft. Government is getting better at making it impossible to not pay your taxes. If you have a piece of property and do not pay taxes on that piece of property the government can and probably will take your property from you. Even if you have full "ownership" of that property. If you refuse to leave the property you will be forced to leave. If you resist the force to leave you can be shot or tazed to death. If you do not pay your federal income tax, government will threaten, if not act on their threats to garnish your wages, arrest you, etc. This is theft. The only way it is not theft is if your agree to pay these taxes by way of contract or you have the option to not pay the taxes. Central banking is another form of theft. It provides the ability to devalue currency by creating more of it. It is the same thing as the Romans shaving gold out of their coins before dispersing it to the people at it's unaltered value. Only if government is only being funded by voluntary donations can you say your government does not steal from its people. 9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Police dogs are now being trained to give a false signal or alert that there are drugs in a suspects vehicle. You can find evidence of this all over the internet but one case that really grabbed my attention in 2012 was the case of Nevada Highway Patrol officers and a retired police sergeant filing a racketeering complaint against the NHP and Las Vegas Metro Police in U.S. District Court. The 103 page complaint states that they training and using dogs to alert their handlers by cues, instead of by picking up a drug's scent by sniffing. When a dog gives a false alert, this results in illegal searches and seizures, including money and property. This is just one of many acts of bearing false witness. Look up The Crew Murders of 1970, New York State Police Troop C scandal of 1993, FBI scandal in the 1990's where the FBI confirmed police reports without investigating. In Iraq and Afghanistan US troops perform baiting acts. Baiting is when a soldier will drop a weapon and wait for someone to pick it up. Once they do they are fired upon. Troops have also been known to drop weapons. Dropping weapons is the act of killing someone unarmed and then dropping a weapon on the body. In 2008 three US Army soldiers were found guilty of planting evidence in this way. Sgt. Evan Vela was sentenced to a 10 year prison term for murder of an unarmed Iraqi after dropping a weapon on the victim. Recently Barack Obama, President of the United States, publicly pledged thirty six times that the American people would be able to keep their current health care plan if they choose to. This was done before getting a health care reform bill passed. After the bill was passed, it was discovered that millions of insurance policies would be canceled in 2014. You can keep your health care plan... for one year. In 1989 the US Drug Enforcement Agency set up a drug bust in Lafayette park across from the White House. Why did they setup the drug bust there? The White House asked the DEA to bust someone in the park with drugs so that president Bush Sr. could use it in a speech. The DEA was unable to bust anybody in the park so they set up a drug buy and asked the seller to visit them in Lafayette park. The drug dealer did not know where the White House was and the DEA had to give him directions to the park. This then allowed the DEA to arrest someone with drugs in the that park and Bush was able to use the cocaine from the bust in his speech saying the drugs were "seized a few days ago in a park across the street from the White House . . . . It could easily have been heroin or PCP.". You can find more on this at the Washington Post. A good piece of history of a false flag operation in the military can be found on the Gulf of Tonkin incident. There are many more examples but I think you get the idea. Government plants evidence and bears false witness. 10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. Even under the US constitution it allows for the government to covet using eminent domain. Stealing from someone in the name of the "public good" is not a good excuse. This year the city of Seattle in Washington state used eminent domain to steal a private companies parking lot. The city then tore down that parking lot and built a "public" parking lot that the city then collects parking fees from. You can read more on that at reason.com. Now let's say eminent domain is somehow okay. Would you consider it coveting if you were to steal money from someone and give it to someone else? This is also known as redistribution of wealth. Coveting someone's money because of how much they have earned and then using the force of government to steal it from that person and give it to someone else. Many people think this is exactly what should happen. They warrant this theft by calling it greed. I do agree that there are many greedy people out there. I do believe however that those greedy people can only become wealthy through government. They use the government as a tool to reduce or eliminate competition. This is done by giving gifts, promises, money, etc to elect and un-elect officials in order to get a law passed. That law usually hurts competition which allows for the greedy to become wealthy. If this tool was not available to those greedy they would have to compete in a free market. Competition is key to keeping the greedy at bay. A free market has never truly existed if a government existed along side of it. The two are opposites and cannot co-exist unless that government is 100% voluntary. Anything else is slavery. And God spoke all these words, saying, I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. Render unto Caesar is a common phrase thrown around when trying to defend why a person should support government. This is not the entire phrase. The entire phrase is "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's". Government does not own anything. Government holds and manages it's peoples property. If you believe that government owns property then you would have to also admit that government owns you. Of course this is not true. Government owns no people or property. Government only exists because the people continue to pay for and support its existence. Even if you are in a dictatorship it is important to understand that you should not be owned by any other person. You are your own person. Ceasar only exists because you allow him to exist. He does not own anything and you do not have to render anything unto him. Thank you to Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi of the Freedom Feens for their inspiration and much of the information used in creating this article.

Josiah Wallingford

Josiah Wallingford

Bees used for Home Fortification

Bees used for Home Fortification By: Michael Jordan, “The BEE Whisperer” abeefriendlycompany@gmail.com I know now that most of you know some beekeeping skills, products that you can make from them and sell, but did you know bees were used for more than just making a food source? This little insect has so many uses it is hard not to think that it would not make a pet, hiding place, but also a weapon. Your mind is now thinking of bees as a weapon. Of course, the first thing that goes in one’s head is to throw them at someone. This was used in so many ways. In the days of catapults beehives known as skeeps were thrown over the walls to help in the invasion of that castle or town. This would cause mass havoc just like when you hear of beehives flipping on the freeway from pollination transports and it shuts down the freeway. Bees were also used to flush out people as well. Tossing a bag of bees in a car would make them flee the car. This was used in some stagecoach knock overs. People often forget on the high plains you did not have a mess of bullets. So a man would ride up and throw a bag of bees in the stagecoach, this making the stage pull over to be overtaken by robbers. I was told at one time, true or not, that bees were used to flush out bank robbers one time. One of the robbers worked at the bank, it was well known that the man was deathly allergic to bee stings. The police had a local beekeeper come in and place bees in the air vents, this flushing out the robbers. Now if it is true or not is not my question here, but think if you have to flush someone out of a bunker, or home. Not a bad idea. Now think of honey as a weapon. From the first century B.C., records the misfortunes of a Roman campaign, led by Pompeii the Great, against the Heptakometes in Asia Minor. Interestingly, it is not the bees themselves that are employed in this instance but, rather, their honey. About one thousand of Pompeii's Roman troops were passing through a narrow mountain pass when they encountered a cache of honey. The soldiers accustomed to raiding and looting to augment their provisions halted their advance and eagerly devoured the honey-- and soon became afflicted with delirium and violent seizures of vomiting and purges! In such a condition they were easily defeated by the local Heptakomete defenders who took their cue to attack. It seems that the honey had been left in the soldiers' path not in an act of flight from the advancing forces but as a poisonous bait to stupefy them. Beware that honey produced during certain times of the year is naturally poisonous. Honey yielded from the nectar of such plants as Rhododendron ponticum and Azalea pontica contain alkaloids that are toxic to humans but harmless to bees. After the offending blooms have stopped flowering, beekeepers in areas where these plants are common (such as the area of present-day Turkey where this incident occurred) routinely remove this toxic honey so it doesn't contaminate subsequently produced stores. The poisonous honey is then fed back to the bees during the time of darth-- if it hasn't been used first for national defense. Military application of bees has continued into modern times. In a novel approach practiced by the Tiv of Nigeria, bees were kept in special horns also containing powdered poisons. Thus dusted to increase the efficacy of their own venom, the bees would be released in the heat of battle to attack the Tiv's enemies (it is not, however, recorded why the bees do not succumb to the poison themselves or how the bees distinguish between the Tiv and their foes). During the American Civil War, Union troops were almost routed when southern artillery shattered a row of hives in a yard through which they were passing. Bees pitched at the enemy or booby trapped to topple over with trip wires were used to the advantage of both sides during skirmishes in World War I. There are even some reports that the Viet Cong used sabotaged Apis dorsata nests against Americans during the Vietnam War. What makes bees such a scary weapon? It is the sting. People are scared of the sting end of the bee. Yes everyone is allergic to a bee sting, YES EVERYONE! The toxin in the venom is the same as a rattlesnake. I do not know of anyone that is not allergic to that. Yes, some just get a bump or lump for a few days, but others can puff up so bad they cannot move, and yes there is the 1 in 20 that may need to go the ER room for anaphylactic shock. Bee stings take getting used to if you’re a beekeeper. Beekeepers are an odd group. Not slapping or waving their hands at the bees. This action with the hands makes the bees even madder and then they swarm attack. Everyone will die from too many bee stings. How many is that ….500+. The killer bees or Africanized bees are so deadly due to the fact the hives have more bees in them than your basic domesticated beehive. So lashing out a few hundred bees to sting you is no problem for them. The mass stinging from the bees causes death. Rule of thumb, keep Benadryl on hand. With that now in your head, you can take bees out of a hive and then pull the stingers out and get the toxin. Mashing all you can. Then place this mix in a syringe. This now can be injected into your target. This will take a lot of time and bees but hard to find the killer if used. How do you stop elephants raiding crops without harming the environment or the elephant? The solution – to exploit a surprising fact: elephants are terrified of bees. The beehives are suspended on wires between posts with a flat thatched roof above to protect from the sun in the traditional Kenyan style. So far, boundaries have been created for 17 farms, incorporating 170 beehives into 1.7 kilometers of fencing. Now think of placing beehives by lawn gates or out by the back fence. That will keep solicitors from knocking on your door, the kids down the street from jumping the fence. Placing bee hives around your homestead keeps some animals out and some people, too. Just keep them up off the ground or your chickens will have a great meal. You can hang them in the trees, or in places over walkways.  You can shoot at them to stop ground movement. A few taps with a BB gun and that boy kissing on your daughter will be leaving real quick, and it was the bees, not dad. Having your beehives on trailers is nice, as well. They can be placed as roadblocks. Other than smashing through them, leaving pissed bees behind, no one is just going to run up and try to pull it out of the way. Giving you time. One application that I think is awesome, a great hiding place. Just think of putting your extra ammo/guns/money/silver or other things you do not need right away under the hive or hidden in the bottom of a hive. The classical Roman poet Vergil is said to have thwarted soldiers from looting his valuables by storing them in his beehives. The town of Beyenburg (which translates to "Beetown"), in northern Germany, nuns turned loose their bees and sought shelter, leaving the bees to drive off the intruders looking for trinkets. One could place a wall safe in that is open to a bee hive on the outer side. Just when they thought they had the goods, bees everywhere. The other is using beeswax to cover all goods to keep water out. Then one can place objects in water if need.  Using your bees as a hiding place will make others look other places first. There are even bigger plans in the works for the use of bees in military applications, medical applications, and in the construction field.  They are now using bees to find poison gas and explosives. Training the bees is simply a matter of bribing them with sugary treats. It all revolves around training and reward, a classical Pavlovian conditioning of the honeybees. We expose the bees to the odor, say the smell of TNT explosive, for a few seconds and simultaneously give the bees a sugar syrup reward. After 4 or 5 exposures, the bees associate the odor with the reward. Consequently, if the bees are exposed to an air sample containing the substance the bees are trained to smell, the odor elicits a Proboscis Extension Reflex response - the bees stick out their tongue in expectation of food. The whole bee training process takes a matter of a few hours; it is very quick. In addition to explosives, the scientists have been able to train bees to detect food product quality, such as very early stages of fruit spoilage, decay odors, counterfeit products, even cancer. Preliminary studies have shown that the insects could be trained to pick up key chemical markers to diagnose diseases such as tuberculosis. The bees can also detect the smell emitted by the dry rot fungus, as it breaks down timber, and so can warn building engineers long before beams start to collapse. This crazy little insect that most have thought of as a hippie movement to save the bee is not to be overlooked. Pollination of your food source is a must. Eating good raw honey is a must for good health. Having wax and other products from the bees is a must to preserve and keep products. When sitting at home and thinking should we have bees is not the question. The question is where I put them to my most advantage. I have had bees for over 15 years. I have studied them all over the world. I have seen IV bags made with honey and salt, bullets poured out of wax, and honey used on burn victims. I would never count out having honey bees in my survival location. Think about what you would use the bees for. My friend keeps bees because his mother-in-law is allergic to them. I guess her visits are short and long spaced. Thank you for reading. I am Michael Jordan, “The BEE Whisperer,” Owner of A BEE Friendly Company, INC. located in Wyoming. I have been teaching the art of bees and beekeeping for over 15 years. I have studied bees in my many travels over the world. Bees and Beekeepers are different all over the world. The style of beekeeping used is up to you. There are over 20,000 types of bees and 1500 of them are a type of honey bee. If you work with bees I would love to hear from you. If you want me to come and teach a group or class for you, let me know, I love to talk bees, I travel all over the world doing so. You can reach me at abeefriendlycompany@gmail.com. Get me there and we can all bee friendly. "Make a buzz, have a Bee Hive. When you Talk about Green Technology there is nothing greener than a Beekeeper!" - Michael Jordan -

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan

Deer Hunt - Debone, Process, Slice

In the last two post I talked about the Hunt up to dragging the deer home. I talked about gutting, skinning and quartering the deer. In this one I will talk about deboning, processing and slicing the deer. We started by soaking the deer in refrigerated temperature salt water for 24 hours. We changed this water 3 times using a full container of Morton table salt each time. This was to get as much blood out of the meat as possible. The meat doesn’t actually absorb much salt. Again we had perfect butchering temperature of around 45 degrees and dropping to 35 degrees before midnight. The first thing to do was to setup the butcher block. We grabbed an empty metal 50 gallon drum, wiped the bottom clean and draped a clean towel over it. The block went on this and it was the perfect height for me. We prepared the knives, mainly different kitchen knives. We also had the skinning knife and if I’d thought about it the Tanto Knife, too. As it turns out, the skinning knife worked out well with some of the butchering. The first thing I worked on was the back legs or hams. The first thing to do is to use the skinning knife to remove this slimy fat and membranes. This seems a bit tedious. On wild game there is this liquid gel looking fat. I’ve been told this comes from eating acorns. After it’s cleaned of this, I sliced on the inside down the bone and to each joint. I found the knee joint and cut it apart. I trimmed around the joints and bone removing huge chunks of muscle as I went. Aside from huge chunks, there will be bits and pieces, scraps and scrapings from the bone. These become stew meat. The bones are saved also for simmering to a broth. The pieces that will become stew meat I cut into small bite size pieces. I pretty much always cut across the grain. The only time I might cut with the grain is to make a piece that I turn around and then chop across the grain again into stew meat. I bagged these in two 1 gallon zip lock bags and labeled them “Ham, Butt, Rump” with a Sharpie. I put the stew meat in a 5 gallon stainless steel stew pot as I went. I next worked on the front legs. I began cleaning them. These have 2 joints to cut through. The two lower sections will all become stew meat as they are tough meat to chew. The upper portion has a shoulder blade that, if cut across, makes T-Bone steaks. I filleted this instead. Again I made stew meat. Anything that could not be identified as roast, steak or other became stew meat. Anything I messed up while cutting became stew meat. Bones were saved for broth. I bagged this from near the shoulder blade and labeled it “front shoulder meat.” Next I took the rump end of the back bone and began cleaning it. The first thing to do was to cut off the tenderloin. You begin near the top of the back bone on either side and fillet along the bones. Roll this meat as you fillet. It makes a nice roll as it comes off. You will get one from each side. I then trimmed meat from around the rump area and pelvis area. Much of this became stew meat. I sawed off the pelvis with the Wyoming Saw. I then threw all the pelvis bone away. Underneath the back bones and ribs is a large piece of tender meat as well. I cut those out and laid them to the side. I took the tenderloin which has a rather thick membrane on one side and laid it on that membrane. As Gary instructed me I made butterfly steaks. You cut 3/4″ from the edge inward a cross sectional cut down to the membrane but not through it. Then you cut again 3/4 cross cut down and completely through the membrane. The membrane holds the two pieces of the butterfly steak together when you fold it. Once I got both ends of the back done we had 23 butterfly steaks from the tenderloin. I fried some up and oh man the best deer I had ever eaten. It was not tough at all and every bit as good as any good beef steak that you have ever had. I scraped up scraps and bits and made more stew meat and threw it in the stew pot. We were getting quite a pile of stew meat by this time. Next I worked on the belly meat and the ribs. I cleaned and cut up the belly meat first and placed that on the tray. Gary says he usually cuts that up into stew meat as well but I left it in whole pieces. I then began cleaning ribs and cutting them in half with the Wyoming saw. I cut and threw away any bruised or bloody meat around the wound area. I was having a lot of trouble holding the meat while sawing. I found myself lifting the saw pushing it forward and then dragging it back to saw. This worked but it would always hang and smash and push the meat when going forward with it. I then looked at the blade and noted the saw teeth were pointing forward. I thought I might reverse the blade and see what effect it had. Amazingly it worked perfectly as expected after I reversed it so that the teeth were pointing towards me. I could saw easily in both directions and when the teeth would bite in, it was against my pushing the meat and bone which worked as you would expect. The loppers would have worked well here too and even some garden shears for cutting the ribs. I next used the bone saw to cut the neck into 3 neck roasts of a few pounds each. I put the neck roast in bags labeled “neck roast.” I put the tenderloin steaks in 4 bags labeled “tenderloin butterfly steaks.” I put the belly meat in a bag labelled “belly meat.” I put the ribs in 4 bags labeled “ribs.” I put the meat that came from under the back bone and ribs in a bag labeled “underneath meat” for lack of better naming. Then I put the rest of the stew meat scraps from that in the pot, I next bagged up 3 handfuls of stew meat into a bag which made 4 bags of stew meat. Other cuts that could have been made are pork chop like cuts and leg chop cuts. To make pork chop cuts a jig saw or sawzall could have been used to split the back bone right down the middle. Then again to cut the bone across the spine. These cross sectional cuts on each side would be like pork chops. The tenderloin in this case is part of the chops instead of making butterfly steaks. If you cut across the ham leg bone or below the shoulder up from then you get leg chops with the round bone in the center of each one. Also we should have chilled this deer with some ice an hour or so before I began processing it. It needs to be brought up near the freezing point to stiffen the meat up good. I would think this would especially be necessary when making these cross sectional chops. The next morning I got the $70 slicer out that I had just bought from Lowe’s Hardware store. I set it up on the freezer and pulled out the ham/butt meat. For jerky meat you want to select the leanest cuts. I took the largest pieces of this and sliced it as thinly as i could across the grain for jerky meat. I ended up with two 3 lb bags of jerky meat. This will make 1.5 lbs for each bag when dried. The slicer would make a ratcheting noise if you pushed it too hard, or if the meat, skin, sinew or membranes caused it to bind. It also turned a lot slower than the slicers we used in the restaurant business, however it did the job fine. The rest I put back in the bags they came out of and put everything back in the freezer. Before I did all that, I pulled everything out and weighed it on the scales. This is the scales like you might get from Walmart for weighing yourself on. I weighed in at 220 lbs. I picked up the cooler of meat with bone and it weight 305 lbs. I took the bone out and it weight 13 lbs less. The only bone left in it was the ribs and neck bones. This was 72 lbs but wait, I weighed the cooler and it was 20 lbs. So I’m going to say we deboned and dressed this out to 55 lbs of meat. I had taken a few pounds over to my camper before I did the weighing. We estimate by this that the deer must have weighed in at 110 to 120 lbs. This makes it a pretty good sized doe. This 50 lbs of meat or so filled a 5 cubic foot freezer about 1/4 full. We can assume we could kill about 5 deer for the season if we eat some as we go. I will have to kill a few more to get more than my money back on all the hunting stuff I bought. But this one doe I would say, if compared to beef prices, would be worth $250 in the freezer. Now ask me if I think the processor fee of $60 to $80 is worth it? If you have the money it most surely is. I had almost decided to take it to a processor nearby but I wanted the experience of cleaning it myself and I wanted to spend that money on the 5 cubic foot freezer instead. All in all it wasn’t that bad and I’ll probably do it myself a few more times before I take one to a processor. It took me 5 hours to process the meat after soaking and another 30 minutes the next morning slicing the jerky meat. Again, next time I expect it to go twice as fast. If you had someone helping, the time could be cut in half yet again. For example two people skinning, quartering, processing, slicing, maybe 2 to 2.5 hours max. One last note about the Rossi Tuffy 410. I did not practice a lick with it. When I went to shoot the deer I simply pointed, aimed down the barrel and shot. I’d say that says something about the gun as a survival pack gun. I mean think about it? Shouldn’t that little 410 be as good as a Indian bow, long bow, cross bow, compound bow, recurve bow? It should be as good as many pistols used for deer hunting right? But we will see as I use it more. Call it what you want, “kids gun”, “toy gun.” I call it a very light weight survival tool.  

CaverDude

CaverDude

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    • Thank you for your service and your fighting spirit! I'm an army brat and know what it's like to have a father in Croatia doing what he needs to do to keep his troops and his family safe.
    • I didn't find the OP as negative. Shared/mutual feelings definitely! I was on a great path and able to GSD in lots of areas. Prepping was never a new idea to me. My family had always done it and we just didn't have a name for it. Having stores of supplies, rotating stock, and long term thinking were just the way to do things. The MAG was my family - uncles, cousins, and neighbors. However, the loss of my grandfather saw that come to an end through some internal disagreements, and errant children (my generation). I've been trying to put those pieces back together for the last several years as one of the "older" kids that saw and really experienced what we used to be. One or two were coming back to the fold and then off to AFG I went.       Simple things that I was on task with went out the window - ground prep for my current bugout and future home property, maintaining ever increasing stores of food, teaching and experiencing things with my kids as they grow up, etc. I was REALLY off track at first. I had a radical change in location (from NM to DC to AFG)) and total loss of access to my previous resources. As I slowly get back to that state (puns abound), I have worked on other areas - I learned a new language (1+ in Dari), I'm still practicing my gardening (underneath my bunk here in AFG) and teaching those skills to my Afghan counterparts. Scrounging around the base looking for items to build a garden plot has been interesting, Teaching (very trying in a new language) has been reinforcing my own understanding of topics and I keep adding to the plans and outlining what I need to get done. Although most of it is on paper, I am regaining focus and the plan continues to solidify. The greatest frustration is the loss of time with the ground prep - it COULD have been building more resilient soil and base infrastructure if I had only two more months before I left (in 2015) and I would be returning to a somewhat thriving base. Although, I don't feel overly angry about it because I was pushing the envelope then and know it wasn't because I was BSing and just didn't get it done.      It is tough to keep the frustration from getting in the way, but groups like this here and Jack's podcast have been invaluable to keeping the focus. It did help to hear that I'm not the only one. It does help to hear that others are getting through it and the ways we are all doing so. Fortunately, living a better way "if things get tough or even if they don't" resonates deeply with me. Understanding that things can be executed incrementally has taken the greater stress off of not getting something done as long as I can keep chipping away at the overall plan. The greater my self reliance becomes, the greater I feel. It's also a driving factor in working with others to get them to experience the same personal relief when you have "x" level of preps. An extra pack of batteries, week of food, proper tools in the car, skill set to do something themselves, etc has shown the light for lots of friends and served as building blocks for their lives as well. Josiah's (and many others) efforts (and sacrifices) aren't going unnoticed. I greatly appreciate those efforts and look forward to contributing to group.
    • I am finding myself slacking with my preps trying to get ThriveThrough going so that others can find each other, build MAG's, and advance their preps. Hopefully, this will pay off and many more people will be prepared. Then I can get back to advancing my preps further than I currently am. 
    • I'm going to do this with 1 or 2 x 6 this year. Had to do a lot of diging to find em last year. Check out my club for more pictures!
    • Thank you, ProtectorCdn! I can imagine the work put in on those beds. I'm jealous about the beach 😀 All the best in health and possibilities.  
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