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  1. rafthydroponics-300x225.jpg.1e272629487d150e6eb62475171ea6c2.jpg

    When I think of Hydroponics I also think of Aquaponics. Aquaculture is the raising of fish and Aquaponics is using fish waste water to fertilize a hydroponics bed. But also there is Aeroponics, which is the spraying or misting of roots and plants with nutrient solutions. Hydroponics is generally thought of as the growing of plants in a water solution alone, which is called water culture. However, some plants are better grown in a sterile medium of some kind like sand, gravel, saw dust, peat, straw, etc. In those cases it is called sand culture, or gravel culture, or peat culture, etc. The basics are the same, which is that nutrient rich water is pumped and gravity fed though the medium and around the roots.

    As it turns out, all plant nutrients in the form of ions of various salts can be suspended in water. These "nutrients" are all basic elements. Of the 100 or so elements in the chart of elements table about 60 have been found in plants. And, of that, only a few are considered to be essential. To be exact 16 (wikipedia says 14, different sources vary) are essential and, of those, some are more essential in greater quantity. Those are called macro-nutrients. Those needed in less quantity are called micro-nutrients.

    Hydrogen, carbon and oxygen are the main elements and guess what? Plants get most of that from air and water. Of those three, carbon and oxygen are 45% each with hydrogen at 6%. Yes we have all heard that plants breath co2, giving off oxygen, and we animals breath oxygen, exhaling co2. Of the macronutrients we also have the famous NPK or nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (the primary macronutrients). The other three secondary macronutrients that most of us don't think about are calcium, magnesium and sulfur. Micronutrients needed can be chlorine, boron, iron, manganese, zinc, copper and, strangely, molybdenum. Of those, we might have thought of iron, manganese, zinc and copper, but not the rest. And there are a few elements outside that which some plants might need, such as selenium or nickel. There was one plant, a tree, found recently where they discovered gold in its leaves. There was not enough gold to try to get rich getting gold from its leaves; however, the tree might be used as an indicator that there is gold in the ground beneath it. As far as they could tell, the plant has no use for the gold, it just happened to draw it up with other nutrients.

    About 15% of a plant's mass is dry weight. 90% of that dry weight is hydrogen, carbon and oxygen, and it gets much of that from the air and water. This means that 1.5% of a plant's weight are nutrients. Of 100 pounds of plant matter, 1.5 pounds are nutrients. The point being the nutrients you buy for hydroponics are very compact compared to the plants they will produce. Or to say it another way, a little plant nutrient will go along way.

    If you research you might find information similar the following.

    Carbon 45%
    Oxygen 45%
    Hydrogen 6%
    Nitrogen 1.5%
    Potassium 1.0%
    Calcium .5%
    Magnesium .2%
    Phosphorus .2%
    Sulphur .1%
    Chlorine .01%
    Iron .01%
    Manganese .005%
    Boron .002%
    Zinc .002%
    Copper .0006%
    Molybdenum .00001%

    Aside from plant nutrients, another major factor which is to be considered is the pH. 7 is neutral pH. Less than 7 is acidic. More than 7 is alkaline. PH of 6 to 7 is best for plants to properly convert the salts to something they can use. The pH is different for various elements, however. So a plant requiring one element more than others might want a pH that is suited more for that element.
    With all but aeroponics, air is needed, as well. This can be achieved with aquarium air pumps and air stones. If you think about it, soil has air in it, and that air  is more carbon dioxide rich than the atmosphere. The rotting plant matter and humus and manures help to provide a looseness which gives the soil more air. In aeroponics, the roots are sprayed or misted so air is a constant. In hydroponics, water levels need to be raised and lowered to to help with aeration.

    Some advantages of growing with hydroponics versus soil are:

    • The growing medium can be totally sterilized. This means no diseases, fungus, weeds, bugs, etc. to bother your plants while they are growing. One interesting method for this is using steam, though I'm not totally sure how well this would work out on the homestead.
    • No weeds.
    • No bugs (probably indoors only), at least it reduces bugs outdoors.
    • Lower chance of diseases.
    • Plant nutrition and pH can be controlled precisely at each stage of plant growth and evenly to all plants at the same time.
    • You can space plants closer together and get more yield per square foot.
    • You can automate the watering more precisely and there is less water loss due to evaporation versus flooding or other typical irrigation methods.
    • More sanitary because you are not using manures, which could transmit human diseases to fruit.
    • Plants mature faster.
    • Plants are not stressed as much during transplanting. Transplant shock is not as severe. Start your plants in, say, sand or vermiculite, then transplant to the growing medium.
    • Pesticides and herbicides are not necessary. Pesticides are not necessary if grown indoors, but some may be if grown outdoors. Herbicides won't be necessary at all; however, you might have to protect the nutrient solution from sun light so that algae won't grow in it.

    What might some possible disadvantages be?

    • Cost and labor in designing and setting up the system, containers, pumps, etc.
    • If using a medium (sand,gravel, saw dust, etc.), a change, or at least cleaning of the medium, is necessary after so many cycles.
    • Roots clog the medium.
    • The nutrients needed probably come totally from industry byproducts. Yes nutrients are terrible dangerous chemicals (satire alert). What? Not organic? If a bag of sulfur can be labeled organic, I'd say these nutrient solutions are organic, too. My concern here is that we are dependent on the systems of support for the nutrients.  (Nutrients would be a good prepper item to stock up on with possibly an infinite shelf life).

    In soil, apparently we have nutrients as ions, meaning basic molecules that contain any of the 16 nutrient elements. There are different molecules for different elements. We generally call this chemical fertilizers. Organic is where plant and animal matter have been decayed or broken down to the point that it has become these chemical molecular ions. Some of these elements also come from rock, gravel, clays, and sands that have been broken down to where the roots can grab them and use them. Much of the soil is not usable by the plant and is simply good for aeration and supporting the plant structurally while it lives.

    Plants roots absorb nutrients via chemical magnetism between molecules.  Soil nutrients are - ions which are attracted by + molecules inside the plant cells. Water is pulled into the plant via a suction created by evaporation of water from plant leaves. Nutrients move to the leaves where they are turned into food for the plant and its parts by photosynthesis. Strangely, plants can take in water and nutrients through their stems and leaves, as well as roots. The point is that nutrient solution in contact with plant parts makes plants grow.
    I say all the above to give you an introduction to hydroponics. I myself have yet to try this method of growing food. But I'd like to try it for some staple items. Corn, beets, carrots, potatoes and rice come to mind as staples. About the grains, such as wheat, oats and such, I'm not sure on how easy it would be or how to go about it.  You may have heard of fodder systems for feeding livestock. This is a form of hydroponics. I would think root crops would be nicely grown in a sand culture. Corn might be best grown in a gravel culture, I would probably support corn with string as it grew. Other plants such as tomatoes, melons, squash, lettuce, greens, etc. might be good grown in water culture.
    The basics should all be about the same. You will need some kind of containment for the air, water or medium culture. This container will need to be water tight. Solution will flow from one end to another through it and the medium. Pumps will be needed to circulate the solution. Alternatively, if your setup doesn't actually flow, then changing out the solution will have the same effect.  So, on the small scale, pumps are not absolutely necessary. However, aeration will be using the fish tank pumps and stones.

    For plants where roots will hang down into the water, something will be needed to support the plant itself. Anything with a funnel shaped hole might suffice. And this might be one good reason to raise your own cotton. After you have sprouted your plants in perlite, vermiculite or sand, or whatever, you can transplant it to the bed by stuffing its roots down through the hole then supporting the plant with cotton. Alternatively, peat or rockwool (an insulation) might be used, as well. Could recycled fiberglass insulation work? For making holes you could get a cone shaped bit from the hardware store and drill the cone shape hole into 1" plywood. If using styrofoam, one might just cut the hole the proper shape with a pocket knife. And styrofoam will float in the water solution.

    Alternatively, one might make cone shaped pieces from any plastic material and insert that into a flat hole in flat material. Have you ever made a paper funnel for pouring oil into your car? Same concept. The thing is that you need to have this cone shape to allow the roots to be lowered below into the solution and to hold the stem. Again, some material needs to be packed into the cone to hold the stem in place.

    Hydrogen 1.0079
    Carbon 12.0107
    Oxygen 15.9994
    Nitrogen 14.0067
    PHosphorus 30.9738
    Potassium 39.0983
    Sulphur 32.065
    Magnesim 24.305
    Calcium 40.078
    Iron 55.845
    Chlorine 35.453
    Manganese 54.938
    Boron 10.811
    Zinc 65.39
    Copper 63.546
    Molybdenum 95.94
    Nickel 58.6934
    Selenium 78.96
    Aluminum 26.9815

    The above table is the atomic mass of each nutrient (element). Atomic mass is defined as 1/12th the mass of a carbon 12 atom. This gives us a ratio for figuring atomic mass of molecules. We can then determine what percentage of the molecule is our nutrient. Using this, we can figure ppm mg/l. That is parts per million milligrams per liter. A good digital scale, such as a scientific or scale used to measure gun powder, might be used to weight out a fertilizer salt to be added to a solution. Just as percent means out of one hundred, ppm means out of one million. One microliter is one ppm of a liter. 1,000 microliters would be a milliliter. PPM, though, is a ratio that is used with any measuring system. PPM for gallons would be 1 millionth of a gallon. And one ounce of a gallon is 7,812.5 ppm.

    Sources for plant nutrients

    • Dry fertilizer compounds
    • Liquid fertilizer solutions
    • Teas (manure tea, compost tea)
    • Home mixed liquid fertilizer solutions

    The last one, of course, will be made from the first three. Some compounds are more soluble in water than others. This means they dissolve well and stay suspended. Solubility ratios might be 1:1, 1:2, 1:3, 1:4, 1:5, 1:15, 1:60, 1:300, 1:500. Compounds that are less soluble tend to be better for gravel and sand cultures and anything but pure water culture. The end result is that you mix up something liquid that can be added to your tank of water at a nutrient level, which will feed the plants and yet not burn them with too much nutrient. This is called a nutrient formulation.  Nutrient formulations are like recipes for nutrient solutions.

    Fertilizer compounds should give you amounts of each compound (molecule). It should give you the name of the compound and possibly the molecule itself. You will need to calculate a ratio for each compound. First, you will need to figure the molecular weight of a compound. A nutrient will be one atom in that molecule. You will need to figure the total weight for that element. A molecule may have more than one atom of the nutrient. Online Molecular weight calculator. You could try to calculate molecular weight yourself and then check it with an online molecular weight calculator.

    1 mg/l is one ppm. You will divide the nutrient weight by the molecule weight to get a ratio. This ratio will be .2358, for example, or .4231 or .1258. Let's say you need 150 ppm of the nutrient in the solution. This means 150 mg/l. By the way, it's probably best to just calculate this in mg/l and later convert to ounces per gallon if you must. So we divide 150 ppm by a ratio, say, .3092 and get 485 mg of your fertilizer compound to get the proper ppm in your 1 liter solution.

    Compounds are usually not 100% pure and may be, for example, 40% up to 98% purity. I would assume the impurities are not harmful to plants and they should tell you what they are. Let's say in the above example the compound was 85% pure. 85% is .85. We divide 485 by .85 and get 570 mg. I made up the numbers above, but you get the point. Now we multiply 570 by the total number of liters of water in our system. Say, 100 liters, which would give 5,700 mg or 5.7 grams.

    Factors that affect the formulation might be the following.

    • Plant species and variety
    • Stage of plant growth
    • Part of plant being harvested (stem, root, leaves, fruit etc. )
    • Hours of sunlight
    • Intensity of sun
    • Temperatures

    You will most likely be mixing your solutions from solid fertilizer compounds or from liquid solutions or both. In order for you to use some manure or compost tea, you would have to test your tea solution for nutrient content. This is not cheap or fast. Though there may be some general data already established  for popular manure teas. For example, fish waste for a given type of fish in aquaponics. Or for a given compost recipe. Local county extension offices would probably test a tea solution for you and maybe for free. However, most people probably wouldn't bother unless you are wanting to find non-industrial organic solutions.

    You may experience nutrient deficiencies. This can be a complicated issue. Testing can be time consuming or expensive. You can get strip test kits from the hardware store. But you, as a homesteader, will basically have to watch for symptoms and then change out or amend your water. I won't really go into talking about symptoms in this article. Conversely, having a toxic nutrient level is usually not a problem. And, again, there might be differing nutrient requirements at different stages of growth.  That means there may not be a single generic one size fits all nutrient solution. Some further research and study here will be necessary.

    As preppers we might simply experiment with hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics. We might have a small system setup so that, if needed, we could fire up the hydroponics system for a few months and produce some staples.  Or one might live off the produce day in and day out. In the case of a greenhouse or poly tunnel, we could live off of some of it year round. Hydroponics is not without work, however. It is merely another way to skin the cat.

    If you wanted to try aeroponics  you might check out www.dripworks.com Drip Works for some drip and spray emitters and other components. However, I don't have a clue if these will clog or stop up due to the solution not being pure water.


  2. balance.jpg.3f8188a127a3d84a79d06bdbc534f8c7.jpg In part one, I wrote about physical detoxification and about food and environmental pollution detoxification. I  focused on how the foods we eat, the water we drink and the skin care products we use impact our health. I am now going to talk about the mind-body connection. And how our minds/attitudes can change our physiology, how to take control of our health, and heal ourselves with very little, if any, medical intervention.  I was going to write on how light and electrical pollution has been found to be very dangerous to our health; however, due to the length of this article, I will be posting another article on the dangers and solutions to electromagnetic exposure in the near future.

    Let's get started

    The term, mind/body connection has been thrown around and misused in many circles. Our minds are our bodies and vice-versa. The only thing that separates the two, in reality, is the fact that our brains have no pain receptors. Therefore, we cannot tell when something is going "right" or "wrong" in our brain. Inflammation of the brain has been linked to depression, Depression is caused by inflammation and so it leads to reason that decreasing inflammation can help a depressed person. Just like a diabetic who has neuropathy in their feet and cannot feel the nail, they stepped on, our brains are in a similar situation. Inflammation can have many causes. Stress and a poor diet are the primary culprits. Increased cortisol levels are a result of stress, which, in turn, causes inflammation.

    Let's take a look at stress:

    According to Mayo Clinic: "Your body is hard-wired to react to stress in ways meant to protect you against threats from predators and other aggressors. Such threats are rare today, but that doesn't mean that life is free of stress. On the contrary, you undoubtedly face multiple demands each day, such as shouldering a huge workload, making ends meet and taking care of your family. Your body treats these so-called minor hassles as threats. As a result, you may feel as if you're constantly under assault. But you can fight back. You don't have to let stress control your life.

    Understanding the natural stress response

    When you encounter a perceived threat- a large dog barks at you during your morning walk, for instance- your hypothalamus, a tiny region at the base of your brain, sets off an alarm system in your body. Through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, this system prompts your adrenal glands, located atop your kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain's use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues. Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system, and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with regions of your brain that control mood, motivation, and fear.

    When the natural stress response goes haywire

    The body's stress-response system is usually self-limiting. Once a perceived threat has passed, hormone levels return to normal. As adrenaline and cortisol levels drop, your heart rate and blood pressure return to baseline levels and other systems resume their regular activities. But when stressors are always present and you constantly feel under attack, that fight-or-flight reaction stays turned on. The long-term activation of the stress-response system — and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones — can disrupt almost all your body's processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including:

    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Digestive problems
    • Heart disease
    • Sleep problems
    • Weight gain
    • Memory and concentration impairment

    That's why it's so important to learn healthy ways to cope with the stressors in your life." Even "good" stress can cause the adrenals to overreact.

    Coping with stress

    Stress Coping ScaleIn order to treat stress, we need to realize we are under stress. For example, it is not natural for a person to sit in a projectile (automobile) and go 70mph, but many of us do this daily. Our modern lifestyles do not allow for much in the way of alleviating and managing stress in a healthy way. Many people will resort to drinking to calm their nerves. This is a temporary solution which actually makes the cortisol levels in the body rise. Alcohol and cortisol levels Also, we are very much isolated in our modern world. There have been studies showing that breast cancer survivors are five times more likely to survive if they have a strong support system of friends and family. Social isolation causes cortisol levels to rise, giving way to inflammation in the body. This affects all our organs, but especially our heart and endocrine systems.    Social isolation also leads to higher cortisol levels 

    Tips on coping with and alleviating stress

    It is important to realize that each person will react to stress in a different way. Age, sex, cultural background, social support, emotional, physical and spiritual health all contribute to how a person reacts to and handles stress.  The following is a general guideline for handling stress and stress reduction

    1. Plan ahead. The simple act of planning almost anything helps reduce the potential for stress tremendously. Look at all aspects of your life. From meal planning to physical activity to social functions to a quiet time for meditation- these all help reduce stress and keep our lives in balance.
    2. Rethink your priorities. In our fast-paced world, we can start to take on too many projects and start to feel overwhelmed. I recently heard a saying "You can do anything but not everything." This applies to all parts of our lives. Sitting down and writing out priorities will give you a better picture as to what is truly important in your life. I use a planner to put down those things that I must do, should do, and want to do. Make sure you have meaningful social interaction as one of your priorities, along with meditation and prayer every day to calm and clear the mind.
    3. Reduce unnecessary clutter.  Whether it is actual physical clutter or clutter in not organizing or the clutter in our heads, getting rid of that which does not serve us is a step in the right direction. Clear out those things that do not serve you anymore. Whether it is a garage or closet that needs organizing or thoughts that serve no productive purpose, work on streamlining your life as much as possible.
    4. Learn to relax. Learn to achieve an inner, calm, peaceful state no matter what your outward circumstances. Meditation and prayer have been found to significantly reduce stress levels. 15 minutes a day has shown to reduce cortisol levels and increase productivity. It has been said that prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening to God. Even if you do not subscribe to a religious precept, meditation will help calm the mind, thereby reducing stress levels. Here is a link on how to meditate  and a link on how to pray
    5. Release the stress. This can be accomplished by exercise, which uses up the adrenaline produced by stress, writing in a journal, talking to a friend or safe person, looking at the stress in a different light (I like to look at what's causing my stress and ask myself if it will really matter in 100 years from now- if I answer "no", I let it go). If overly tired, take a long hot bath. Add lavender and citrus essential oils to the bath. Our sense of smell is directly wired into our limbic system, which processes emotion and learning. Here is an excellent article on aromatherapy and its uses.
    6. Learn deep breathing. Inhale slowly through your nose. Hold for two counts. Slowly exhale through your nose. Do this five times. Studies have shown that doing this simple exercise reduces blood pressure and cortisol levels. Anytime you start to feel stress coming on, try this simple exercise.

    In conclusion - Our bodies and minds are not separate. What happens to one part happens to another. We need to look at the whole picture- what we eat, our activity level, social/support system, our attitudes and spiritual activities, and find a balance that works for us. Only then will we be able to live the most productive and fulfilling life we were meant to live all along.

    Part 3 of this series will go into the very real dangers of man made radiation and some proven protocols to rid our bodies and reduce our exposure and damage it has on our bodies.

  3. pretty-loaded-9620.jpg

    “Here, shoot this,” said Tom.

    “What do I do? How do I hold it and what if I push the wrong button?” Molly replied. “Ok, I’ll shoot it.”

    Boom! “Ouch! Damn that hurt! Is it supposed to hurt like that?” cried Molly.

    “Were you even aiming the gun at the target?” Tom yelled. “That shouldn’t hurt. Let’s try this again.”

    Does the above scenario sound familiar? That was me nineteen years ago learning how to shoot. I have to admit that I loved the fact that I could shoot the gun, but I was terrified each time, because I didn’t understand what I thought was a complicated thing capable of killing me. I knew I needed to hold perfectly still during each shot and I failed at that miserably. I didn’t understand how to truly use the sights on the gun and looking at the target confused me because I couldn’t focus on the sights and target all at once. Finally, I didn’t get a chance to look at the box of ammo and wasn’t shown how to load the gun on my own, it was just handed to me.

    It’s not rocket science that men and women are different creatures, so why do some people teach men and women the same way to shoot? Let’s face it, men are more logical and have great spatial skills and they can pick up a gun and seem to have a pretty good idea of what to do. Women, on the other hand, are emotional and we have to go through every single step to understand how the gun works.

    Frank, an instructor of mine, told me to learn from Vicki Farnam and Diane Nicholl in the book Teaching Women to Shoot so I could really help address women’s issues when it comes to shooting firearms effectively. The authors were pioneers in helping women shoot and as I read the book I finally started to understand what I needed to do. I had a lot of “Aha!” moments and after nineteen years these authors addressed issues I had dealt with for many years.

    The fundamentals of shooting need to be addressed one by one and presented in detail and in an orderly sequence for women to comprehend them. I will address the following areas that need to be taught to women: safety, gun parts, slide lock, fit, grip, stance, sight alignment, trigger control, recoil, and follow through.

    The first step with teaching guns is always teaching the four universal safety rules as follows:

    1. All firearms are always loaded.
    2. Never point a firearm at anything you’re not willing to kill or destroy.
    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until on target and ready to fire. This is known as the master grip.
    4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond.

    Next, show the master grip and focus on ALWAYS keeping your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

    In our Pretty Loaded gun class we go through a power point that explains all the parts of the gun and we show a video to the students so they can visualize how a semi-automatic pistol and revolver works. It’s very important for women to understand every part on the gun, because it is very intimidating to not know what each button or lever does.

    I always take the time to reiterate that the only thing on the gun that will make it go “boom” is pressing the trigger and the trigger requires 5 to 12 pounds of pressure depending on the gun. I have actually had students think that the magazine release or slide lock lever fired the gun also.

    We then talk about clearing the gun and doing a chamber check and go over this slowly with each student until they are comfortable. Women struggle with this part depending on the size of their hands, the size of the gun, and their strength.

    Have the woman point the gun down range with a master grip and turn her body 90 degrees to the right (assuming right handed shooter). The gun should be held close to the body and rotate the gun so the ejection port is tilted towards the ground. Place the weak hand over the top of the slide as far back as possible and do not cover the ejection port. The strong hand is then positioned on the gun so the thumb is underneath the slide lock lever. Then push the hands away from each other, pushing the slide lock lever up when the notch is above the lever. This is an area where we always make them focus on where the gun is pointed during this process. The slide locking back needs to be mastered safely and many times to make it comfortable for them. 

    The next topic is how to hold the gun properly and this is where you need to pay attention to grip. A lot of women hold the gun the wrong way and then they end up being injured by slide bite or they limp wrist the gun and it doesn’t cycle properly. To grip the gun, place the grip of the gun in the web of the strong hand between the thumb and index finger. The strong hand should also be as high as possible on the back strap of the gun. The weak hand is then placed as high as possible on the side of the gun and is wrapped on top of the strong hand so the index finger is under the trigger guard. The thumbs should be pointing up and parallel to each other and touching the slide (I know that some people advocate a thumbs forward grip, but the “lineage” of my instructors has been thumbs up). I tell my students that the strong hand has a push feeling and the weaker hand has a pull feeling so the gun is secure.

    A gun that fits the woman is very important and it will be more comfortable and precise to shoot so make sure the slide should line up with the bones in the forearm.

    The weaver stance works well with women because the weight of the gun is kept closer to the body with the arms bent and this helps with muscle fatigue. The strong side foot drops back and the other foot is forward as if in a fighting stance. It is important to not let the shooter lean back at the waist to counter balance the weight of the gun.

    The next thing to focus on is sight alignment. To do this correctly, the front sight is aligned with the top of the rear sight with equal space on either side of the front sight while pressing the trigger. It is important to explain that our eyes only focus at one distance at a time and it is impossible to keep the sight and the target in focus at the same time. Once things are lined up, focus on the front sight with the back sights and target blurred. A great tip here is to explain the arc of movement and it is impossible for anyone to hold completely still. It is important to continually reconfirm the position of the front site and make any adjustments as she presses the trigger.

    Trigger control is very important and it is critiical to not allow the finger to fly off the trigger after the gun fires. The finger holds the trigger all the way to the rear during recoil and after the sights are aligned the finger allows the trigger to move forward enough to reengage the sear so the trigger can be pressed again for the next shot. With most modern semi auto pistols, this audible and tactile position is called the “trigger reset”. This takes some time and muscle memory to master this, but should be addressed immediately.

    Recoil is probably what scares most women about shooting a gun. Recoil produces movement and noise and this can startle women, making them more anxious. It is very important to have good ear protection and sometimes doubling the ear protection helps with this problem. The most important thing is not letting the woman shoot too big of a gun for her hands or too large of a caliber. This is where the proper grip and stance will really help with recoil. Make this initial experience a good one so they are not anxious every time they shoot.

    Follow-through is the last issue we address. If they look over the sights at the target just before, during or after the trigger press, then the shot will be a miss. Proper sight alignment and minimizing the movement of the gun for a fraction of a second it takes for the gun to fire and the bullet to travel the length of the barrel and past the muzzle will improve accuracy.

    The final thing to teach women is how to read a box of ammo and look at the gun to see what ammo works with the gun. The more you can have them take responsibility for their gun and “own it” will make them remember important information. The difference between target and defense ammunition is something to carefully point out as well. All ammo is not created equal, and it’s especially important to be sure the defensive ammo of choice functions well in that specific firearm before deeming it worthy of trusting your life to.

    The next time you want to take the woman in your life shooting try to follow the steps above and you will probably have a great experience. Even better? Get a trained instructor, especially someone who works well with women if they are available in your area.

    Be Safe. Be Empowered. And become LOADED!


  4. 180_Tack_Bearline_Recovery_1.JPG

    Okay, I'm a nut about motorcycles. Just ask my wife and she'll simply roll her eyes in confirmation. Like many riders, I started riding when I was a little kid on my hand-me-down Honda Trail 50 and it has been my passion ever since. It's been 30 years since first discovering this love of mine and luckily I've learned a few things along the way. One quickly realizes that if you want to continue your journey in this fantastic hobby, you will want to outfit yourself with the best protective gear you can afford. You also figure out that there are a few tools and emergency items you'll want to have along with you as well. I consider these statements to be pretty obvious ones and like to think I do pretty well to abide by them since we all know what happens when you don't. Right, Murphy's Law gives you a sly smirk and proceeds to promptly bite you in the ass as it is tasked to do. Unfortunately this past weekend I discovered that I am not above that law. 

    I am telling this quick story because it has to do with one of our products at 180 Tack, the BearLine+. I always carry my personal BearLine+ in the tail bag of my trail bike on any ride I go on. It's just there, just in case and not only because I am a co-founder of this company but because I truly value it as a tool not to be left at home. I dutifully point it out any chance I get to those who feign the slightest curiosity. We put the "+" sign at the end of the name because it is much more than your average hang-a-meal bear line. In my hobby, it's a life saver! No, of course I don't mean I'd actually parish without the BearLine+, but I would be stuck for a very long time off trail without it possibly wishing I could die as I struggle with the weight of my 400 lb motorcycle. 
    If you have ever lost your dirt bike or 4-wheeler over the side of a steep trail edge where the only way to continue on is to get your machine back on the trail, you know what I talking about. Frankly, it sucks! Even if you have a riding buddy with you to help work it back onto the trail, they are heavy and it's extremely exhausting. The BearLine+ is the absolute necessary tool to have with you in these situations.That's because this versatile system acts as a compact winch system because you can arrange the 500 lb test paracord and climbing-rated carabiners into a block & tackle system allowing you to easily hoist your machine back onto the trail. 
    The reason I bring up this weekend's ride is because it was the first time I failed to have my BearLine+ system on my bike and it was, of course, during this ride that we needed it. My riding buddy and I came around a corner to find another rider about 25 ft off the trail down a very steep embankment. He was already exhausted from trying to get his bike back up to the trail and he had only been there a few minutes. His rear tire was dug in and his bike was going nowhere. We fortunately did luck out in this particular situation because 4 other riders came across our little scene and were available to assist. Of course the first tongue-in-cheek question posed by one of those riders was "does anyone have a come-along?". You can imagine my frustration when I had to explain that "I own a company that manufactures this great product and if only I had it with me today, I could show you how well it works!" But I did not have it this day of course and could not demonstrate it. Luckily, between the multiple riders we had available, we were able to sweat and grunt to get the heavy bike back to the trail where it belonged. But, most of us also ride in places where we're not likely to run across 5 other riders to help us out of our predicament. So, by learning my lesson and posting this quick blog about it, I hope I've convinced you to take a hard look at your tools and emergency equipment you bring along with on your next adventure. The BearLine+ will always be in my tool kit from now on. No excuses will be tolerated! ~ Travis
    You can find the 180 Tack BearLine+ by following this LINK Don't leave home without it.


  5. Rob Kaiser
    Latest Article

    9 years ago.



    This “Facebook memory” popped up today in my news feed while having coffee and relaxing on this long holiday weekend.  It is a long weekend on account of:

    Independence Day, also referred to as the Fourth of July or July Fourth, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire.[1] The Congress actually voted to declare independence two days earlier, on July 2.

    This is a photo I took of myself long before selfies were a thing.  I was working as a consulting utility forester, working with major gas/electric utility systems to address their vegetation management needs. Much of this involved working and walking alone to assess the terrain, habitat, and environmental conditions where the work needed to take place – it was a great job.  If you’re interested in learning more about this type of work, visit this site here.

    There are so many times that I think about what activities I’ve chosen to engage in for a primary source of income over the years.  While the decisions I’ve made and the actions that I’ve taken have never resulted in what many would consider a large income stream – they have resulted in happiness and a good quality of life.

    This year, I will turn 40.  As part of my personal wellness program, I see a counselor regularly.  One thing I recently observed is that I *never* find myself bitching or complaining about my work.  I’ve created a life where I’ve spent half of my years on this planet working outdoors during all seasons.  It seemed natural.

    However, it wasn’t good enough.  For the last few years, I began voraciously “chasing my dream” of becoming the next rock star market farmer, permaculture farm designer, community organizer, green industry entrepreneur, writer, blogger, content creator, or whatever else I found myself focusing on at that time.

    Much of this work was performed to my own detriment.  I pursued the “good cause” and failed to embrace many of these principles I stood and for and preached in my own life – specifically “self care.”  The article titled “Why Many Farmers Eat Like Crap” sums it up very nicely.  I began to hate my #hustle.

    This year, I decided this year to step back from the pursuit of those dreams.  The reality is that many of those dreams were little else other than someone *else’s* dreams that I admired.  I’ve shifted focus to living the life *I* am living…now and in this moment. It’s all I’ve ever done and all that I know how to do.

    One man whose dreams I was chasing was Curtis Stone.  I have nothing but the utmost respect for Curtis and the work that he’s done.  He’s a mentor and a friend.  He has always advised people to keep their ideology in their back pocket.  I’m going to take this a step further and suggest you put your dreams there too.

    That’s not so say that you should leave them there, but sometimes it’s important to take time and reevaluate what you are chasing and why.  Sometimes, when we get so caught up in the #hustle, we lose sight of the life we’ve been actively creating for ourselves.  Let’s give ourselves some credit every once in a while.

    Rather than tirelessly chase dreams, think about the dreams you’re chasing.  Why are you chasing these dreams in the first place?  What’s you’re purpose in life?  If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?

    You don’t necessarily need to figure it all out right now, because it’s also very easy to sit around getting nothing done while contemplating your navel and the universe.  However, I do encourage getting these thoughts down on a regular basis.  This will help you identify the purpose in mission is your life.  The why.

    Last September, I wrote a blog post titled, Three Primary Components of a Deliberate Living System.  This post and many others like it helped me determine my why.  Blog posts since then have been sporadic at best and the weekly email I used to send also seemed to lose its’ purpose.  It began to show in my work.

    It bothered me, but I soon decided that I needed to do what’s best for me.  I needed to begin practicing self-care first.  All of this is relevant and culminates in the content of this long blog post that I find myself writing today.  It is relevant because the development and creation of Deliberate Living Systems was based (in part) on the idea of self-sufficiency, freedom, and independence.

    As we read at the beginning of the article, “Independence Day, also referred to as the Fourth of July or July Fourth, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire.[1] The Congress actually voted to declare independence two days earlier, on July 2.”

    As the forefathers of this country declared independence from the British Empire, I find myself continually thinking about ways that I wish to declare independence from the systems of support and the mindsets that I know.  I am my own sovereign being and I encourage each and every person that reads this to understand that this is the truth – but only if you want it to be and allow it to happen in your own way.  You cannot live through other people’s dreams…

    …you must find your own.  You must find your purpose.  You must find your way.  You are creating your own Deliberate Living System.  The primary components that comprise your systems will change, but before you can recognize this as truth, you need to understand and identify what those components are in the first place.  I’d encourage you to take some time and do so this weekend.

    There is no better time to celebrate Independence Day than to figure out what it is that you seek independence from and how and why you seek it.  Declare your independence today and celebrate the life you are actively creating.  Moreover, share it with someone and talk about what you’re doing to make it happen.  Have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend.

    Live deliberately, my friends.


    The post "Independence Day" appeared first on Deliberate Living Systems.


  6. Lynn Cochrane
    Latest Article

    If you would like your Christmas celebration on a smaller scale this year, you might consider using a rosemary plant, available at plant nurseries, as a Christmas tree.  A dense, evergreen, aromatic shrub, it has resinous, needlelike leaves and soft blue flowers. 

    The upright varieties are hardier, while prostrate ones are more tender. “Arp” is the hardiest rosemary, taking temperatures as low as -10 degrees F.  Instructions for overwintering are to wrap in plastic sheeting and shelter from winter winds.  Many folks grow them in pots and bring them in for the winter, just in time for use as a Christmas tree.  It succeeds best in a light, dry soil and sheltered situation, such as the base of a low wall facing south.

    Rosmarinus - Officinalis - RosemaryRich in tradition, the Spaniards revere it as one of the bushes that gave shelter to the Virgin Mary in the flight into Egypt and call it Romero, the Pilgrim’s flower.  It was introduced in England by Phillippa of Hainault, wife of Edward III in the 14th century.

    When trimming your “tree”, save the needles for use in cooking.  Rosemary roasted potatoes are especially delicious.  The best lamb roast I have ever eaten was in New Zealand, with a rosemary herb crust.  Known as the herb of remembrance, rosemary is said to improve memory and fidelity for lovers.  Because of this symbolism, it is used at weddings, funerals, decking churches and halls, and as incense in religious ceremonies.

    This is one of the greatest medicinal herbs, especially considering how affordable it is.  Rosemary increases the blood supply to the skin, reducing pain in rheumatic muscles and joints.  Rosemary baths help with low blood pressure, varicose veins, bruises, and sprains.  Because it helps to relax muscles, use for indigestion, cramps and irritable bowel syndrome.  Its fungicidal action kills Candida albicans, the cause of yeast infections.

    Dilute the essential oil using 10 drops per tablespoon of vegetable oil, such as olive, sunflower, almond or jojoba oil.   I use the essential oil in pain relieving formulas.  It is also a good rub, applied topically, for congested lungs.  Add a few drops to the bath after a long, tiring day.  It can be applied to the scalp to promote hair growth.  Rub on your temples to lessen headaches.


    Essential oils are too highly concentrated to use internally.  Harvest the aerial parts of the plant (the needles and flowers).   It is best to steep one ounce of dried herb, or two ounces of fresh herb, in 5 cups of water. Make it fresh each day.  Drink hot or cold. A tea can be used for colds, flu, rheumatic pains, and indigestion. It is stimulating, so avoid use before bedtime.

    Since this herb is a uterine stimulant, it should not be used medically during pregnancy.  You should never ingest the essential oil.  Small amounts of rosemary used in cooking do not pose a risk of any side effects.

    Enjoy the holidays, and winter, with rosemary!


    The Complete Medicinal Herbal, Penelope Ody, DK Books, 1993

    A Modern Herbal, Mrs. M. Grieve, Dover, 1971

    Prescription for Herbal Healing, Phyllis Balch, Avery, 2002

    Sunset Western Garden Book, Sunset Publishing, 2001

    Rosmarinus Officinalis illustration, from NRCS Plants Database, Britton, N.L.


     Herbal medicine and teas, as a method of healing, are not recognized in the USA.  Lynn Wallingford makes no health claims.  Any herbal or tea information is not intended to treat, diagnose, or prescribe in any way, and is for informational purposes only.  She does not take responsibility for your experience using them.  She trusts that you will consult a licensed healthcare professional when appropriate, especially pregnant women, nursing mothers, anyone over 60 years of age, anyone under 12 years of age, or anyone with a serious medical condition.

  7. If you follow my blog at all, you’ve no doubt noticed that I have not had the time to write any posts this summer.  We have been busier than normal with the farm, and most of my “spare” time has been invested into the podcast that I’m doing weekly with Diego Footer of Permaculture Voices called “Grass Fed Life“.

    For those of you who really value the information I’ve put out on the blog over the past three years, hopefully you’ve found the time to the listen to the podcast.  Episode number 22 (8 Reasons Why You Might NOT Want To Start A Pastured Poultry Enterprise) came out today, and with it there are now over 23+ hours of audio for you to listen to.  Contained within that audio is a lot of what I hope you would agree to be very valuable information.  In all sincerity, there is way more content there than I could ever write for the blog during the same time period.  We have covered everything from production on poultry and pork, to marketing dynamics and business basics.  All in all, I think it’s a pretty solid replacement during the growing season for the written blog.  But rest assured, I’ll get back to writing more blog posts this winter.

    Many of you have been e-mailing and asking about when our next workshop would be scheduled and I’m happy to announce that we have one on the calendar for November 3rd-5th near our farm in Martinsville, IN.  The Farm Business Essentials 3-day workshop is going to be intense, and I’m extremely excited about it!  My excitement stems from two main sources:  First, the curriculum we’ll be covering in this workshop is the meaty stuff that really matters if you want to make a legitimate go of farming for profit.  This is the teaching that I really get into and enjoy sharing because it is so profoundly important to your success.  Second, I’ll be co-teaching this workshop with my friend Diego Footer.  Diego brings a lot to the table in terms of transitioning from one career to another, as he is currently working to build an income source that will allow him to work from home and spend more time with his young family.  On top of that, he has spent countless hundreds of hours talking with and interviewing farmers in the regenerative agricultural space.  The knowledge base he has to share in a workshop of this nature is incalculable.

    I want to be clear that this workshop is specifically aimed at for profit farming, and not homesteading.  The main focus will be aimed at helping aspiring farmers and existing farmers create a personal plan to transition towards an intentional part-time or full-time farming venture.  We’ll certainly spend some time (about 25% of the workshop) on the “nuts and bolts” of how-to produce poultry and pork as well as an exhaustive tour of our farm.  But the majority of our time will be focused on things like selecting the appropriate enterprise(s) for you on your farm at this point in time.  We’ll also cover things like how to set realistic expectations for your farm, how to get your family on board and how to create a comprehensive year to year growth plan.  We’ll also talk about balancing family with farm business startup, running a business, scaling up production while balancing marketing and refining your farm venture to decrease costs while increasing profits.  This is not a class you will sit in and simply listen to the speakers talk – this will be an interactive experience where your participation will be expected in order for you to get the most value out of the workshop!  You can read the entire itinerary on the Permaculture Voices website.  We also have hotel accommodations listed as well for those of you coming in from out of town (please note the group rate discount code!).

    So what’s included and what is the cost?

    We have worked very hard to try and pack a lot of value into this workshop, and I think we have done just that.  Please note that our three days together are going to be long and intense!  But if you are serious about farming for profit, then please consider investing into yourself!  For an in depth conversation about the workshop between myself and Diego, please listen to Episode 22 of Grass Fed Life.

    $499 PER PERSON – EARLYBIRD PRICING ($599 after October 1)

    $449 PER PERSON WITH TWO OR MORE REGISTRATIONS ($499 each after October 1)

    We also have 12 VIP Spots Available (as of this writing only 3 of these remain available): 

    There is no extra costs for these spots.  The first 12 registrants will be given VIP status. Each VIP attendee is invited to a special dinner on the farm on the night of November 5, will receive the whole PV3 Broadacre Video Package ($99 value), and get a free 1/2 hour of consulting with Darby AFTER the workshop. Darby will answer any questions that you might have and address any issues that you might need help with. These VIP spots are limited to the first 12 registrants.

    There are a total of 25 workshop tickets available.  The attendance of the event is limited to make the event more personal and allow a more customized and tailored content for the attendees.

    What is else is included:

    • Lunch provided each day.  Local and organic, meat provided by Darby’s farm.
    • Snacks, coffee, water, and tea are provided throughout the workshop.
    • Printed workbook containing all workshop notes and worksheets.
    • Pre-Workshop Videos- Available immediately upon registration.
      • Darby Simpson: Farm Marketing & Business Planning: Real World Proven Strategies (3HR)
      • Greg Judy: Successful Implementation Using High Density Planned Grazing (3HR)
      • Greg Judy: The Economics For Leasing Land, How To Find It and Develop It For Maximum Income (3HR)
    • Farm tour of Darby’s farm.  See the systems in action.
    • Access to 3 monthly follow up webinars AFTER the workshop to help keep you on track and answer any follow up questions.
    • 30 minute consult PRIOR to the workshop to help make sure that your concerns are addressed during the workshop.

    Please note that this is the only workshop and/or speaking event that I currently have on the calendar.  If the above content sounds like a good fit for where you are at with your farm, then please join us for this upcoming event this November!  I’ll look forward to meeting many of you in person and I promise you’ll get way more value than you pay for at this event.  Knowing what I know now, if I could travel back in time and attend something of this nature I would do it in a heartbeat.  I feel strongly that this is one of the best investments you can make into yourself, your family and your farm business!

    The post Farm Business Essentials: November Workshop appeared first on Darby Simpson.

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    You’re at 10,000 feet. It’s been a few days at this altitude and you wonder when you’ll stop breathing hard. Not that it matters because if you’re not able to track, shoot, and pack out that elk, it’s likely your family will not survive the winter.

    The exhaustion threatens to beat you down. You’ve given your extra rations to your wife and children. Now there are new mouths to feed. You weren’t sure you were going to see them again after it happened. Now that they’ve shown up, rations are going to have to be redistributed. After all, they’re like family.

    Building a raft, a snow hut, debris shelter, working a bow drill, digging holes, carrying injured family members – that exercise program you bought didn’t prepare you for any of that.

    Fit for What?

    Information on physical fitness is a lot like the food supply in the United States. There’s a lot of it and most of it is not good for you.

    There’s fitness as sport, workouts to get you “beach ready,” exercise routines that have as their goal nothing more than leaving you in a pool of sweat or vomit, "8-Minute Abs", and body destroying cardio fests.

    When anyone embarks on a fitness regimen, the question that should be asked is: “What am I trying to get fit for?” It is particularly critical to have the right answer to this question in a prepping or survival situation. Fitness is relative and depends on the goal.

    Your gym work has to support the technical skills you’ve developed and the tasks you will need to perform.

    You may be walking long distances; have to engage in hand-to-hand combat; lift and carry heavy objects; sprint away from danger; have the energy to do the planting, feeding, and mending on the homestead; or pack out the elk you shot.

    Is it possible to train to accomplish all these tasks and still have time to eat and sleep? What if you weren’t the all-state quarterback in high school? What if you don’t have the time or money for a gym membership? What if you’re in your mid-50’s (like me) or older?

    This isn’t about “working out.” Working out is for stressed executives, soccer moms, and former high school athletes trying to relive their glory days. This is about training.

    The First Rule

    The first rule is to avoid injury. Whatever program you choose shouldn’t hurt you. This is not about competition. Pain and injuries to shoulders, knees, and lower backs are epidemic in gyms.

    Expensive Tissue

    When most guys go to the gym, they try to do what the culture and our instincts tell them to do: build as much muscle as possible. As guys, we are usually more interested in “show” rather than “go.” There are a couple of problems with this approach. One problem is that muscle mass is metabolically expensive. It takes a lot of energy to move that extra weight.

    The big muscled guy will tire out much more quickly because of the additional oxygen required by his larger frame. In addition, bigger muscles aren’t necessarily stronger muscles.

    If food is scarce, having a low body fat percentage and six-pack abs will be more of a sign of impending starvation than sex appeal.

    In the words of strength coach James Radcliffe, “Bullets are better than bowling balls.”

    Human Movements

    You could argue that you need to have endurance, agility, speed, flexibility, strength, and quickness. You don’t have time to work on all these specific attributes. These are good if you had the time but I think for a prepping/survival situation, there’s a better way to approach your training.

    Your training program should improve your ability to move the way humans were born to move. The training will help you to do it with power, efficiency, and strength. The movements are squatting, pushing, pulling, lunging, rotating, and gait (walking or running).

    All these seem simple until we try to do them under load or for long duration.

    Going Long or Going Strong?

    If you are new to training, or you haven’t exercised in a while, know that almost anything thing you do will get you better (assuming you don’t hurt yourself) for about six to eight weeks. Then your progress will stall. This can be okay depending on your starting condition and the intensity of your program.

    [blockquote cite="Strength coach Mark Rippetoe"]Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general.[/blockquote]

    Think of strength as the big glass that you will pour all the other physical qualities into. Being strong makes it easier to endure.

    Sports physiologists talk about different types of strength: absolute strength, relative strength, explosive strength, strength endurance, power endurance. Power endurance is what you want to work on. The following discussion of energy systems will make the reasons for that clearer.

    Energy Systems

    I could get real geeky here but I’m going to try to avoid that. We’re going to be talking about three main energy systems:

      • Alactic anaerobic
      • Lactic anaerobic
      •  Aerobic

    sandbag-shoulder.jpgThe alactic system is used for short bursts of power for sprinting fifty yards, knocking someone to the ground or pulling a slab of concrete off of your buddy. The lactic system is used for muscle-burning activities like running 800 meters, the high intensity exercise programs like P90x, or wrestling around on the ground with a bad guy. The aerobic system is used for things like long distance running or hiking. Which one is most important to train? I would argue that being able to do repeated bouts of explosive, powerful movements (alactic) for extended periods of time (aerobic) makes the most sense. Training these two make the most sense because of the tasks you will most likely have to accomplish in most survival scenarios. Training in these energy systems is also less likely to compromise your immune and musculoskeletal systems.The aerobic system is an important base for just about every movement. Please understand that I am not talking about chronic endurance training of the sort that marathon runners undertake. This will cause you to lose muscle mass and explosiveness and leave you prone to injury and illness.

    You are probably stronger in one of these energy systems than the others. When it comes to physical training, most of us play to our strengths. This can be a mistake. At 55 years of age, I can do 15 pull-ups and deadlift close to 400 lbs. at a bodyweight of 178 lbs. I don’t like working on my endurance. The takeaway for me is that the thing I’m reluctant to do is exactly the hole in my armor that I need to cover up and I’ve adjusted my training program accordingly.

    Principles Over Tools

    I’m as much of a gear head as the next guy. This carries over into my fitness training. It’s something that I’ve only recently gotten under control. There are all kinds of tools to get the job(s) done. You have kettlebells, dumbbells, cables, clubbells, barbells, “ab blasters,” suspension trainers, fancy machines, a universe of running shoes for different situations, and the Shake Weight.

    You can actually get everything done with just a duffle bag or Alice pack. Add some gym rings and you can go to another level.

    If all you have access to is bodyweight, you can make incredible gains in the areas you need them. I can detail a variety of programs using all these tools in a later article.

    You should cross train. What I mean by that is you should combine lifting heavy objects with an endurance activity like ruck marching (start with weight as light as ten pounds and work up to 40 or 50 lbs.). If you have access to a pool, lake, pond, or the ocean swimming is a great addition that can work all the energy systems.

    Figure out ways to increase load. If you don’t have access to weights, use big rocks or a duffle bag containing chains or pea gravel wrapped in plastic garbage bags.

    Start running hills. This can help ease you into sprinting. Some of us have too much mileage to do anything that resembles fast running and that’s okay. You can substitute jumping and medicine ball exercises to aid your explosiveness.

    In the end, your strength and fitness have to complement your technical training. If you can’t repair a motor, take care of your livestock, use a gun properly, or use a map and compass, all the physical training in the world won’t keep you from going over the edge.

    Think about pressure testing your strength and skills by entering adventure races, orienteering competitions, local Strongman or Highland Games competitions, and IPSC contests. It can only help.

  8. imageproxy.thumb.jpg.026840922ed484a48075e1fff69c0f9a.jpg

    Here’s a question that I get from potato lovers:  “How can I grow potatoes in abundance in limited space?”

    Growing potatoes in tires can be quite simple and here are my instructions how to do it and have a bumper crop.  You get a chance to do some recycling and vertical gardening all together.

    Depending on the size of the tires, I first wash them. If they are small enough for me to get them in my pickup truck, I’ll take them to a car wash and wash them under pressure with soap then rinse with water. Inside the tire and outside as well, making sure the tread is free from road grim and grit.

    You’ll want to set the tire away from an prevailing winds to keep their foliage from getting wind damage.  Make sure the spot you select will be free of most foot traffic and out of the way of activities to avoid the set-up from being knocked over.

    Press down any growth on the ground such as clover or grass, and lay a thick mat of saturated newspapers over the grass or area which you will be setting the tire over. Over this put down 2 nice layers of cardboard: one long ways, the other cross ways: you can cut the cardboard away AFTER you position the tires on top of the cardboard. The newspaper will soon deteriorate into the soil, but the cardboard hangs around for awhile, giving added protection against weeds and grass that would come up into the tire.

    Whether or not you trim away the rim of the top tire is your decision. Some tires I do trim, others I do not. The bigger the tire is, the more likely I am to trim away the sidewall up to its tread. (This is just my own way of doing things).

    Wet the cardboard down really good then start stuffing newspapers, leaves, straw, corncobs, sawdust or whatever you have that will absorb moisture into the inner rim of the tires so when rains come, the organic material will take up the excess moisture and hold it until the plants need it the most: moisture will “wick” away from the inner rim into the main tire container area.

    Once the rim is packed with such materials you have on hand or can obtain at no cost to you or for little cost, crumble your topsoil, potting soil and cover the cardboard with 3 or so inches of this mixture, then seat your potato seeds into that mixture. I always add a dusting of hardwood ashes I’ve kept from the wood stove over the potatoes. Potash is very good for root crops.

    Once your potatoes are in place, dusted with wood ash, cover with a layer (not pressed down) of straw, shredded newspapers, compost, or whatever mulch you’ll be using, then cover the top hole with a piece of glass, Plexiglas, or you can rig clear plastic over the top if you have nothing else to use. Glass and/or Plexiglas is ever so much easier on you the gardener, than using the plastic cover is, because the bed must be watered weekly unless rainfall measures 1-inch. You never want the soil to dry out, and potatoes (sweet and Irish) need a lot of water to return you a bumper crop.

    Irish potatoes need only 4-inches of top growth. When your tater vines/plants reach 6-inches tall, it’s time to add a 2-inch layer of mulch, and snug it up around the potato plant stems. When it’s time, add another tire on top of the first one. And just keep adding mulch, water, and tires until the stack grows 5-6 tires tall. You may need to drive a wooden stay on 2 or 3 sides of the tires so they won’t blow over when storms come, or when you brush against them, or dogs hit them while chasing a ball, or once night temps no longer offer a chance of frost, you can omit the glass top: if you have predators who might eat the tater vine, you can use an old window screen instead of the glass top. And when the temps get around or above 80 degrees, put a layer of newspaper around the upper edge of the top most tire: this will to deflect heat away from the tire and preserves inner moisture as well.

    The first blooms that form, I pinch off. This pours more growth to the roots which is what you’ll harvest anyhow. The 2nd set of blooms, I allow to form and soon after the vines will begin to dry and become mulch. You can “dig” your taters by removing one tire at a time.

    If you’ll prepare another tire spot before unloading your tater tire, as soon as you remove one tire, you can roll it over on top of the cardboard spot you’ve just made beside your tater tire, and by the time your potatoes are all lying out on the ground, you’ll have another tater tower built ready to plant into again to make another crop of late fall taters to harvest just before a hard freeze hits your area…depending, of course, on just what area that is.

    Keep It Growing!

    The post "How To Successfully Grow Potatoes In Tires" appeared first on Brink of Freedom.



    My Story

    A radical way to never pay for food, no food stamps needed.

    A million years ago I heard of dumpster diving through the gutter punk propaganda. When I was 17, I figured freedom was outside of a job, so I dabbled with the notion of voluntary poverty. My first boyfriend and I left Texas to sleep on the streets of Philadelphia for a week. I will say up front that it was one of the best weeks of my life. During that week we were part of the street community and got to know a bunch of travelers. That’s where I first heard of dumpster diving. I had no idea what dumpster diving meant and it went on the back burner for about 5 years. When I was 22, I typed “dumpster diving” into the search engine of YouTube and was surprised at what I saw. Hello, someone’s pulling food out of the trash. I remember thinking that it seemed novel and how I wanted to try it, but there was a mental barrier that prevented me from even formulating the steps to simply trying it. It resumed back burner status for another 4 years. When I was 26, a good friend told me that he was getting into dumpster diving and invited me along. I’ve learned a lot in 4 years.

    Fruit and Vegetables

    You’ve got to try it. I know how fantastic the mind can be, making up scary stories, but the mind has nothing on reality. I’ve seen hundreds of dumpsters and would estimate 9 out of 10 dumpsters are clean. Not everyone is a complete slob when throwing out their trash, so set that aside and consider this; in the last 30 days my husband and I spent $50 on food and have not touched 70% of it. When saving for our tiny house and land, we had to whittle our food budget down to $140 a week, but in reality we’d spend an average of $200 a week on food. Now it’s almost like we’re getting paid $800-$1,000 a month to dumpster dive our food or rather, instead of paying ourselves and having more money, we just work less because we have fewer expenses.

    I’m going to lay out the steps then address some commonly asked questions.

    Vitamins and Juice

    Phase one: Just get inside a dumpster, any dumpster, whatever is closest.

    There’s generally 3 sizes of dumpsters that I come across. The small ones that say “organics only” are for produce. Those are the size of residential plastic flip-top trash cans. There are the large metal trash cans that I can’t see over and have to usually climb in or peek through the sliding metal door. There’s a slightly smaller metal trash can that folks a few inches taller than me can see into. They don’t have sliding doors but large flip-lids.

    That first week of diving, we knew that coffee shops threw out pastries so we went to one. That was my first time getting INSIDE of a dumpster. I was excited to cross that bridge and was unaware of discretion. I opened bags that clearly had coffee grinds in them and got my hands dirty. I felt liberated in that trash can and knew I was willing to follow this through. I think we ended up finding some sandwiches that were tightly wrapped up and completely edible, bags of cookies from 7-11 and 2 boxes of $50 Neiman Marcus chocolates! Finding things of value, even if it wasn’t something I wanted, meant that I would be provided for.

    Plenty to go round

    Phase two: Find food and eat it

    The first time I ate food from the trash was the first time I opened the organics only dumpster behind the Mexican store near my apartment. I hit a goldmine! The top 3 feet of the trash can was dozens of perfectly ripe bananas. I ate one and felt liberated. I took my bag off, filled it as high as I could and walked home. I loved that dumpster.

    If you have any thoughts of food in the dumpster being dirty or smelly, then it’s a sign that you’ve probably have never gotten food from the trash. The majority of the food dumpsters where I dive contain food that looks right off of the shelf. There’s a documentary called DIVE that shows a group of homies that live off of the dumpster finds and they eat better than ever. I’ve heard more than once there is an improvement of food choices once you dumpster often, and there are enough people out there living exclusively or supplementary on dumpstered food that it’s worth looking into.


    Phase three: Branch out

    After we got comfortable with dumpstering a few local spots, we started branching out. Diversifying has been a double-edged sword for us. For one, it gets us out of our routine, which makes for a really fun adventure, but it also creates varying levels of disappointment. Let’s say we hit the streets to find new places but it happens to be trash day so we drive around and it’s nothing but dead ends. Sad face. But sometimes we’d hit a goldmine and we’d all feel like a million bucks.

    In the beginning, we had the Mexican grocery store and in the back of our mind we knew doughnut/bagel/coffee shops where always an option because they trash everything daily, but we wanted to really look around. Dumpster diving is known for it’s endless amount of junk food. When something comes to its “sell by” date, it’s often that a whole case that gets trashed. Just the other day we dumpstered 2 cases of unopened honey buns which was over 10 pounds! For a long time we avoided dumpster diving but not because we didn’t want to eat from the trash. For 9 years I was vegan, for 2 years I was raw vegan and for 4 years I was paleo/WAP. I have a long history of having a really neurotic (orthorexic) relationship with food and a lifetime supply of bagels and doughnuts wasn’t going to cut it. I’ve come a long way, I’m willing to enjoy a wide variety of junk food and fresh food. Back in the day the fresh food issue was still at hand. Once we branched out, connected with other divers in our area, and didn’t just write certain places off was when we found the mother load of daily fresh produce. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of places throw out produce but often it’s a mixed bag of decent, rotten and bruised produce, however our mother load always looks better than produce I’ve seen being sold on shelves.

    Dairy and Junk Food

    Phase four: Dream big

    Don’t think, “Oh the trash can is going to be dirty with nothing I like and I’m going to get caught….” That’s not dreaming big. On the Facebook dumpster diving page www.facebook.com/groups/freeusa/ (closed group) a women dumpstered 38 kind bars from an office supply store. We’re always on the look out to have snacks that my husband can take to college and eat between class. Seeing her picture was pretty inspiring. She branched out, tried new places, maybe got into the dumpster and her family is better off for it. Dreaming big is looking at your needs and wants and expecting those things to be provided to you, but not at a cost. You’re not putting someone out by meeting your needs, these are things that are going to the dump that still have value. My idea of “dreaming big” is never paying for food outside of social events. My friend who invited me out 4 years ago never pays for food and on the dumpster Facebook page there are others just like him. Whether it’s supplemental or exclusive dumpster diving food can be a part of your dreams.


    Phase five: Repeat set four

    I was working 50-70 hour weeks for too long and burned out. I stopped working and we were living on the cheap, spending  $1 on food which was pasta and rice. I really had it in my head that in order to live within my means I had to lower my quality of life because I had been living off meat and veggies. I think that humbled me a lot. Chilling out on of my orthorexic tendencies really made way for some serious dumpster diving. Now we have fresh squeezed OJ every day, fruit smoothies for snacks, I made homemade tomato sauce,  and we dumpstered a 20 pound spiral cut ham.

    Dumpster diving can meet more than just your immediate needs.

    We give away a lot of food to those who are interested in what we’re doing. We keep snacks in the car and when we pull up to traffic lights where hobos are asking for money we hand then 8 bags of M&Ms or a bag of potato chips. On the Facebook dumpster diving page, a pastor posted a picture of 50 pounds of meat that he and his wife were going to grill for the homeless. Some people wish they had more money to help while other people help out by diving food for those in need. There are families on tough times who dumpster dive to make ends meet. Dumpster diving and prepping go hand in hand. Ask any dumpster diver to show you their pantry, fridge, freezer or backup freezer because they are set!


    Is it legal?

    I doubt it, but every place is different, I just assume that the law would rather you starve and die before you’re allowed to touch their precious trash before it’s hauled off…. but that’s not always the case. The way I think of it this “if there is $200 in that trash can would I get in?” and the answer is always yes. When diving, I always think about “What if a cop rolls up, what am I going to say?” I think I would probably say that our country is broke and I’d rather reserve food stamps for someone who really needs it. (I’d try to make that sound the least “hippie” as possible) Plus there is The Good Samaritan Law and the 1988 supreme court (California Vs Greenwood) trash picking ruling. It says picking trash is legal if you’re not trespassing.

    Food not Waste

    Do you actually get in the trash can?

    I’m always willing, but seldom do. We dumpstered a grabbing stick and I’m impressed with how handy it is! Getting in the dumpster isn’t required.

    When is the best time to go?

    We all go at different times and all have success. The key is consistency! Pick a handful of stores and check them every day for a week.

    Where is the best place to dumpster dive?

    Every dumpster ever, I’m not kidding. Whether you’re looking for food, clothes, shoes, pet food, etc., imagine every dumpster having something you need. Remember the case of kind bars at an office supply store! Plus the more you look for something the more in the zone you’ll be. Compactors are not your friend but keep an eye out, next to compactors can be a small dumpster with a gold mine in it.

    Bringing home the groceries

    What kind of people dig through trash?

    I asked our dumpster diving group what their skill or education levels are and here’s what I got: “Associates in Science (nursing), CNA,  Bachelor’s degree in Biology, Master’s degree in Library and Information Science, office manager,  freelance writer, AA graphic design,  AA in business, Masters Industrial Hygiene/Hazardous Materials,  BA in Education,  BS in Business Marketing,  GED with some college,  B.S. in Mass Communication, plus 1 years study for a master’s degree, Bachelors in Environmental Science,  Bachelors in Psychology, and marketing minor in business administration, PhD and work at a university”;  the list went on but I barely graduated high school, so I’m not trying to do a song and dance about dumpster divers being top notch, well groomed people. I’m really trying to illustrate a spectrum for those who are only imagining hobos.

    How do you know what’s edible or not?

    If the food isn’t identical to what you’d pay for, then leave it where you find it. Smell will tell you most of what you want know. Smell and sight together will damn near paint a perfect picture. Use your brain, use Google’s brain and watch Dive the documentary.

    Get in there

    If I can answer any questions,  I would love to hear them all.


    The post "Dumpster Diving – Food for Freedom" appeared first on Brink of Freedom.


  10. Primal-Power-Method-Bison-Chili_opt.jpg.a493b0b9f5bdcf6e41127b5500e6b238.jpg

    Primal Power Method Bison Chile Recipe

    Here is a tasty recipe created by one of my favorite Primal Power Method followers – Corina Luu



    • 2 pounds grass fed Bison
    • 1 large red onion
    • 6 garlic cloves
    • 1 28oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
    • 1 15oz can tomato sauce
    • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
    • 1 cup beef broth
    • 1 Tbsp chili powder
    • 1 Tbsp cumin powder
    • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
    • 2 tsp cacao powder
    • 2 tsp ground corainder
    • 1 tsp granulated garlic
    • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 1-2 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt (your taste preference)


    1. In a large Dutch oven cook bison, onion and garlic together until bison is browned.

    2. Add your broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and pureed pumpkin (stir well).

    3. Add in seasonings, mix well and cook for 20 minutes so that all your flavors blend together.

    4. Scoop some into a bowl and add your favorite toppings (see Rosemary Bread recipe).



    Make sure to stay in touch with Gary by following the links below:

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    Source article is from Primal Power Method

  11. home-invasion-thief-300x201.jpg

    Home Invasions…”I don’t like ’em, they’re scary!” That’s what my wife said when I was talking to her about possible article topics. But really, that is how you should feel about the topic, too. Home Invasions are one of the fastest growing crimes and are become somewhat of a trend among career criminals.

    What is a Home Invasion?

    A Home Invasion is much like a burglary…only much worse!! It is a forcible or unwanted entrance into your home while you or a family member is present. They are usually accompanied by any number of additional crimes and often go on for several days before deciding to leave. Consider the following statistics regarding home invasions:

    3,600,000 – Home invasions each year between 1994 and 2000.
    8,000+ – Home invasions in North America each day.
    38% of assaults occur during home invasion.
    60% of rapes occur during home invasion.
    1 in 5 homes will experience a home invasion or break in.

    Home invasions are one of the most dangerous crimes, often resulting in violence against the victims. Violent crimes in general have steadily increased for more than 20 years. According to the Bureau of Justice statistics on violent crimes, you have a 126% chance of being a victim of violent crime. So do your children. This does mean that some people will be victims multiple times while others will not, but how do you take steps to ensure that you are in the right group?

    Many people think that a security system will protect them from violent crimes within their homes. I can tell you, as a Military Police Officer and Sheriff’s Deputy, there is little chance that law enforcement will respond quickly enough to stop a crime from occurring. The average response time for a 911 call is 26 minutes. While sad, there is a very high frequency of false 911 calls, and so officers rarely race to get there. Most agencies have policies against speeding to get to a 911 call, even when violence is being reported.

    Others claim that their martial arts training will protect them. Sadly, this is woefully inadequate in most real world encounters. Are you prepared for multiple attackers taking you by surprise at night when many still have difficulty clearing their mind enough to respond appropriately? This does not even consider the fact that most of these violent encounters involve weapons on the part of the attackers.

    But the most popular response to protecting your home from violent crime is having a gun readily available and being trained to use it. I’m an advocate of the second amendment and strongly encourage anyone who can own a gun to do so and learn how to effectively use it. But is having a gun enough?

    home-invasion defense

    Firearms for Home Defense

    Home invasions are fast paced and chaotic. You won’t know if there’s one attacker or many. Depending on the layout of your home, you may leave your family vulnerable by unknowingly allowing an attacker to bypass you while you clear other areas of your home. There is a high probability that you may find the attacker between you and your family, even if they are on the other side of a wall, restricting your ability to shoot due to the threat of over-penetration.

    If you have a family, your home defensive plan probably looks something like this: We are alerted to a threat, your wife (spouse) gathers the children and calls the police while holding a firearm as a last defense, in case something should happen to you. You grab your handgun or shotgun, and begin clearing your home to ensure that there is no threat.

    Now let me ask you a question: With you by yourself, are you really prepared to take on several attackers with weapons of their own? Please put away the bravado for a second and, for the sake of your family, really think this one through. Are you willing to rest the safety of your wife (spouse) and children on your ability to single-handedly clear your home if there are actually multiple attackers present?

    Think about that long and hard, because if it ever happens to you — and the chances are increasingly greater that it will — you do not want to make the wrong decision here.

    Here is another question to think about: if a special operations team were going to enter your home and clear it, would they send one guy, or a team? Can an individual highly trained operator conduct this task at peak performance alone? Unless you are one of these few men, then soberly consider your own limitations and what failure means to your loved ones.

    Family Protection: When You’re Gone

    Let’s pretend that you are Rambo, capable of taking on vast hordes of Vietcong, zombies, and home invaders with ease. You have millions of rounds of ammunition, several strategically placed mini-guns and you even decided to set up some claymores under your porch; just in case. No one is getting into your home and harming your family on your watch…

    But what about when you aren’t there? “I will always be there,” you reply with confidence. Really? You don’t go to work? You don’t travel for your job? You don’t take overnight hunting or fishing trips with the boys? Will you really always be there?

    What about when your wife takes a trip to the mall alone in the evening.(delete) Some dear friends of ours just had a terrible experience where the wife was kidnapped in a car, driven around for several hours, and then dumped back off at the mall. Terrible situations like this happen. Are you sure they will never happen to you?

    How can you, as a loving protector, ensure that your family will be safe in your absence? The real answer is that you can never fully ensure it, but you can certainly take steps that give you and yours a much increased level of protection.

    Dynamics of a Home Invasion

    In the military, when we were planning for operations, one of the most important questions to answer before determining a course of action for our mission was the enemy course of action. We would lay out their most likely course of action (what we thought they would actually do) and their most dangerous course of action (what could they best do to defeat our efforts?). Before we get too deeply into the things that you can do to protect yourself and your family in the event of a home invasion, let’s discuss for a moment what a home invasion actually looks like and how they are successfully carried out.


    The most frequent method used by gangs and other small groups is to approach a house and have one member approach the door.

    home_invasion entry

    The others in the group (usually 3-5 guys) will hide nearby to quickly get in the door, but will try to remain out of sight from the resident answering the door. When the first member reaches the door, he first checks the door to see if its unlocked, and if so, they will push their way in quickly, usually taking the family members by surprise. If they find it locked, they will usually ring the doorbell. As soon as the door is unlocked, they open it as forcibly as possible, usually knocking the person answering the door on the ground and get inside the house as quickly as possible. Once inside the house, they try to use threat of force to quiet and restrain the family members. From that point on, everyone in the house is extremely vulnerable and bad things happen.


    You leave the door open and/or the home invaders use violent force as an initial means of entry. If this occurs, all occupants should stop at nothing to resist and fight. This is usually an indication that they will eventually cause serious harm and even death to all occupants of the home.

    Tactical Application in Home Defense

    In my next article, we will begin to get into some of the specific things that you can actually do for home invasion defense.

    For now, it would be a good idea to try to evaluate and work through your house and family vulnerabilities. If you have time list them out. If you have specific questions, list them in the comments of this article. I will try to address each through this series of articles…


    The post "Home Invasion Defense Tactics" appeared first on Brink of Freedom.


  12. 599328afac9b0_imageproxy(7).thumb.jpg.9623ab09c236f1373dcadf52b203ef7a.jpg

    The Four Boat Anchors Holding Back Permaculture

    Where does the future of Permaculture lie?  Well, I would like to start off with where it doesn’t lie as that may lead us along faster if we are open and honest about it.  These are areas where I feel we are wasting time if we put any real effort into them…

    • Influencing the individual politics of others
    • Bitching about what is wrong with the current system
    • Doing everything for free or as a “nonprofit”
    • Focusing on PDCs over on the ground “workshops” and multiple income sources

    I honestly believe each of the above represents no less than a series of boat anchors that hold back permaculture from moving forward at a much faster pace and gaining broader main stream acceptance.  Indeed if each is examined with a basic analysis of what it creates versus what it impedes the true way to move Permaculture into broader acceptance becomes clear in my opinion.

    Boat Anchor One – Influencing the Individual Politics of Others

    Let me be clear, I feel we are largely past the point of political solutions to most of mankind’s problems.  I classify myself as an anarcho libertarian but I really don’t care what you call yourself, I really don’t.  You can be a liberal, a conservative, a centrist, whatever, as long as you are using and practicing permaculture, I feel we are going in the right direction.  Make no mistake I am happy to debate politics with you, just not as a permaculture teacher or evangelist.

    Permaculture-AnarchistIt is my personal contention that permaculture is an anti-political movement, one that is more anarchist than anything else.  Yet I will admit I am not an authority when it comes to this claim, I prefer to cite permaculture’s founder, Bill Mollison in making this claim.  Bill said the following in an interview you can view at this link http://www.scottlondon.com/interviews/mollison.html`

    “Permaculture is anti-political. There is no room for politicians or administrators or priests. And there are no laws either. The only ethics we obey are: care of the earth, care of people, and reinvestment in those ends.”

    Friends, I just don’t think it gets clearer than that!  Too many permaculturists seem obsessed with solutions through legislation, “We need the government to _________”.  I laugh at this because what we in Permaculture most need from government is for them to get the hell out of our way.  Doubt me?  Try to set up an ecovillage and really live fully off grid.  When you do, the first real problem you will encounter is the government, along with a mile of codes.  Frankly urban farmers and front yard gardens are assaulted almost daily in many parts of the US.  Hell, why do you think Joel Salitan wrote a book called, “Everything I Want to do is Illegal”?

    To me Permaculture is our best solution because it calls for action rather than committees and endless discussions about why the other side is the problem.  Let me put it this way, if you are worried about carbon, leave taxes out of it when spreading the permaculture message.  Stick to how to build self-sufficiency and less carbon will go in the air and more will go in the soil.  One hugul bed will put more carbon in the soil then a hundred CFL bulbs will prevent from going into the atmosphere.  You want social justice and food for the poor, go plant a garden where it will feed the poor.  It is that simple.  Now the truth is, when you plant that garden, likely the only problem you will tend to encounter is government obstruction.   You may want to consider that the next time you put your faith in a state based solution.  The key is though none of this is important if what you really want is more permaculture systems, permaculture businesses and permaculture living.

    Teach permaculture thinking, and by that I mean the design science of permaculture.  Once people have that it will influence them, it will lead them to better choices.  You don’t have to tell them where they are wrong in your view, just show them how to be productive and you will accomplish more.  There have been thousands of people turned off by what most would call “leftist ideology” in permaculture.  Frankly, if you choose one side of the current political spectrum as your platform, you just shut down 50% of your market.  I’d call that cutting off your nose to spite your face.  Let me be clear, it doesn’t matter which side you choose, you cost yourself 50% of your potential market, either way.

    The big reason to get off the politics though in permaculture is it works, it converts the unconverted.  To be blunt, when taught pragmatically, permaculture converts the heathens!  Preaching to the converted about things you all agree about does almost nothing to further permaculture thinking and design implementation.  Teaching things like technique, design and function stacking is what does that.  Does it really work?  In early 2013, Geoff Lawton approached me and asked that I promote his online PDC to my audience.  I was happy to do so, well, the results were over 500 registrations out of my audience alone.  The majority of these people are either politically right leaning or are libertarian oriented such as myself.  In other words not the usual suspects.

    So where do you apply your political goals?  In political arenas, and if you want to take permaculture with you God speed!  I would love to see both liberals and conservatives shoving permaculture thinking at their elected officials.  Hell, wouldn’t you like to see a couple million letter to congressmen that read, “Dear Honorable ______, I would like to know how your current policies are taking responsibility for ourselves and that of our children?  Further I would like to know how you are caring for the earth, caring for people and returning all surplus to the system you are taking it from?”  I think it is a long road and you are talking to people more concerned with power rather than solutions but, hey, I want permaculture everywhere so go for it.  Just understand, you insist on making permaculture a political ideology, you will never grow it as rapidly as it can be grown on its own merits.

    I would like to ask permaculturists that use the phrase “climate change” in every third sentence a simple question.  If God himself spoke to your face and said, “I control the climate, fossil fuels have nothing to do with it”, would you still be as passionate about permaculture as you are now?  Frankly my answer is yes I sure as hell would!  I am trying to feed people, create individual liberty, stop desertification and prevent soil erosion along with a million other things.   And hey if you really believe we need carbon sequestration, set a goal to get 10,000 feet of hugul beds installed or to get 100 food forests planted and don’t worry who the hell does it.  I mean, what is really important, the solution or who is “right” about the problem?  Please read that last question again and it you have a hard time answering it, think about what that really means.

    Boat Anchor Two – Bitching about what is wrong with the current system.

    This one there is a place for, that place is waking people up, but once they are awake, shelve it and focus on what to do right, not what others are doing wrong.  Frankly I am a permaculture maniac when it comes to spreading the word.  I know it works, I know how important it is and I will get a person interested by any tactic that will work as long as it is ethical.  If showing them a factory chicken farm will do it, done!  If explaining our main export is top soil will do it, done!  If explaining GMOs and the reality that Roundup and Atrazine are in our food supply will do it, done!  If explaining that I can cut their electric bill will do it, done!  If showing them a beautiful food forest will do it, then I will do that.

    The last item is the one I prefer, I feel it works better.  You show someone massive productivity, great quality food and ease of maintenance and you generally get a question along the lines of “How can I do that”?  If I get that question, I answer it, if I get a question like, “What can I do about GMOs?” I answer that.  The key though is once I get a “how do I” or “what can I” from someone, I don’t really need to talk about what is wrong ever again; I simply need to show them and teach them what works.

    At this point I want to instill the following in a person, the prime directive and the three ethics.

    • Prime Directive – The only responsible action is to take responsibility for ourselves and for that of our children.
    • Ethic One – Care of the earth.
    • Ethic Two – Care of people.
    • Ethic Three – Return of surplus to the end of the first two

    If I can get them that far, from that point on, all I want to discuss is design science and system implementation.  If they just want a garden, great we start there.  Gardens are the gateway drug to permaculture.  Sure they will have more weed issues and struggle a bit more in the beginning than if they sheet mulched and planted a more involved polyculture with some minor earthworks, but that is their choice.  When they get tired of fighting but hooked on good food, they will ask for more.

    I am not focused on the farm conglomerate with 10,000 acres of GMO soy.  It concerns me, but I know I won’t change their minds with words or calling a congressman.  Nor will I focus on the CAFOs.  I am instead looking for the land owner barely getting by with 100 acres and some cattle who will consider a permaculture system.  I want to tell this person, I can do the following for you…

    • Produce more and healthier cattle than you are right now that will sell at a premium
    • Reduce your expenses
    • Also produce hogs on that same land
    • Also produce chickens on that same land
    • Also produce over 100 varieties of nuts and fruits on that same land
    • Eliminate or drastically reduce irrigation
    • Enable you to hire more people at a great wage and still make more money for yourself
    • Make your land so productive and valuable that you will never risk losing it
    • Make your land so beautiful that your community will want to help you protect it
    • Build your top soil and fertility
    • Use heavy equipment for 2 weeks in a way that will eliminate your need to use it ever again
    • Give you more water than you know what to do with
    • Eliminate any need for fertilizer, herbicides or pesticides
    • Give your farm so much value some people will pay just to come look at it
    • Make is so beautiful and stable your great grandchildren will cherish it and you for creating it

    When I think about that, I have no time for bitching about what is wrong with our current system.  People do that daily, they gripe and moan and complain and then go to Walmart and buy the very crappy food they are bitching about.

    On that note, I am not about to tell a single mom barely getting by how shitty food at Walmart is for her kids.  She knows that and doesn’t need me to make her feel worse about it.  Here is what I want to tell that mom, let me show you how to…

    • Grow food in your back yard from things you can get for free
    • Teach your children responsibility, work ethics and to care about themselves and others
    • Cut the cost of your grocery bills
    • Create a place your children want to spend their time and their friends want to be there too
    • Empower yourself to not be dependent on others
    • Know that you will be okay even if support systems like water or electricity fail
    • Feed your kids food of such high quality that it will put food from yuppie places like Whole Foods to shame
    • Inspire your entire neighborhood to do the same things
    • Solve problems, move yourself into a better place in life and understand true wealth
    • Set you and your family on fire with the knowledge that what you do matters

    This approach works because it focuses on what people can do and most importantly what they can do now.  Some in permaculture seem addicted to problems, that is all they wish to discuss, Monsanto this and factory farming that.  Hey I get it, but do you know what happens if you tell a person long enough about how many problems there are?  First they get pissed off, then they start talking about what should be done, then they get overwhelmed, then they go back to business as usual and feel defeated.  They simply feel there is nothing they can do.  You want permaculture to move forward, show people what to do, help them do it and ask them to pass that on.

    Rich stars on TV may advocate organic food and talk about the evils of factory farming, but one guy with a shovel can do more to fix that problem than any such people will ever do.   You want to fix our current issues, hand out shovels, rakes, hoes and instructions on how to use them.

    Boat Anchor Three – Doing everything for free or as a “nonprofit”.

    I find this one to be a well-meaning sentiment but largely connected to the first boat anchor of political ideology.  We have entered a world where profit is equated with “evil corporations” and all corporations are evil in the minds of many people today.  Then that same person who fears the connotations of evil corporations, incorporates but as a nonprofit.  Let me say something as a business person, totally devoid of permaculture, just as a flat business principle.  You don’t set up a corporate structure on any feel good ideology, political correctness or anything other than practical, pragmatic and legal reasoning.

    A nonprofit corporation is just as capable of doing evil as a for profit corporation.  In fact, in some cases, they can do more harm by hiding behind the lacy white curtain of “nonprofit status”.  Over 300 million given to the Red Cross for the Haitian earthquake, blowing away like a fart in the wind springs to mind! Plenty of big nonprofits collect millions and millions of dollars and have CEOs with the same G class jets as Exxon and Monsanto CEOs.  Being a not for profit corporation is a technical and legal decision.  I have set up companies as both not for profit and as for profit and I prefer for profit, mainly because the government has less to say about how I run my business.

    There are times specifically when working with government agencies or specific NGOs (non-governmental organizations) where this status makes a lot of sense or is it becomes practically mandatory.   I will leave the not for profit discussion with this piece of advice; before setting up any business entity, discuss it with a qualified business attorney with a solid understanding of tax law.  Don’t do it on LegalZoom.com, on your own for ANY BUSINESS, and know why the hell you are choosing the specific form.

    I bring the above up only because the zeal to be a nonprofit company in permaculture is seldom fueled in my experience by any of the value of that structure.  It is mostly fueled because of this concept that to profit is somehow wrong or evil.  Look guys, here is a permaculture principle, “obtain a yield” and how about “a yield is technically unlimited”?  Well, in a business, yield is profit that is why a business exists to make a profit.  Businesses that make no profit end up bankrupt, got it?

    When many starry eyed permaculture newbies want to become a professional permaculture teacher/consultant/writer/superhero/etc and race right for 501C3 status here is what they are actually saying, “I want to make enough money to pay myself and perhaps my employees a reasonable salary; I don’t want the company itself to be profitable”.  Great you don’t need 501C status, the year of waiting to be approved and the additional restrictions that it comes with it for that.  Instead, just pay out all profit as salary, if you feel overpaid, donate the surplus.  Done, your company makes zero profit; you pay the taxes as an individual and donate any of the evil money that is “too much for one person to have” to whatever you want.  Sadly though if this is how you think, likely those evil profits will never show up and you will be working a typical wage slave J-O-B in order to fund your “business”.

    Let me put it to you this way, permaculture is the greatest system of design, Bitcoin_Digital_Currencythinking and problem solving ever created.  If you really get it, you should be able to build a back yard oasis one day and paddock shift systems bordered by food forest strips the next.  Then you should be able to solve the functional problems of a typical business that has nothing to do with farming the very next day.   Sure you might bill the mom in the burbs at a lower rate than the farmer with 80 acres and you might not, as with all things permaculture, “it depends”.  If that mom in the burbs is well to do and can afford it, she gets my market rate.  If she is not so well to do but simply middle class maybe I work the rate a bit lower.  If she is dead broke, she can pay me with adding to my portfolio, a letter of recommendation and a promise to be a force of good in her community, but she is going to provide value for value or I ain’t doing it. Does that make sense?  We all have “value” and value should be exchanged for value in business.

    Whether you are teaching and consulting or running your own farm, permaculture needs to be profitable if you are doing it as a business.  Don’t get me wrong, if you have a job you want to keep, pay your bills that way and just love doing permaculture that is fine.  If you have extra time and want to organize “permablitzs” at no real fee, go ahead, that is awesome, but you won’t pay your mortgage that way, so don’t delude yourself into thinking you will.

    Let me put it to you this way, money is not evil.  Money is nothing but a symbol for energy agreed upon as such by members of an economy.  It is merely a means of exchange, nothing more. It isn’t alive; it doesn’t make its own decisions.  Money, to put it in a permaculture metaphor, is like a giant bulldozer.  In the hands of one man it can destroy a forest or put a strip mall in where a park used to be.  Yet in our hands it can build a damn, rip a key line, build a swale and establish a food forest.  Oh and for that dozer to do all those wonderful things you know what you need?  Money!  You need money to buy or rent the dozer, money to fuel it, money for a good operator to run it, money for infrastructure for the dozer to install, etc.

    Simply put, many in permaculture suffer from a poverty consciousness.  Permaculture is about abundance, one can’t really create abundance with a mindset glued to scarcity.  So if you have a poverty consciousness and want to succeed in a permaculture business, get over it.  Then you can be as charitable as you want and hell, you will likely end up having a great deal to give.


    Boat Anchor Four – Focusing on PDCs over on the ground “workshops” and multiple income sources

    I have had a few conversations with “successful permaculture businesses” and when reviewing their revenue teaching 2-6 PDCs a year provided from 75-95% of their income.  Whoa!  Talk about exposure to a down economy!  Hey guys, isn’t this supposed to be about sustainability?  How sustainable is a field with one crop?  Now bridge the gap in your mind, how sustainable is a business with one revenue source?  The PDC is the big money maker for many “pros”, some because frankly they are simply that good and that in demand.  For those folks, great, rock on.  Yet there can only be so many people of that status in what is, at least for now, a relatively small emerging market.   For many, the reason PDCs are the main source of revenue is only because it’s the one thing they can sell enough of at a high enough price to survive.

    I personally don’t try to make a lot of money on permaculture but we do fairly well with on the ground workshops.  I can do this because I am not in permaculture for money; I have a business that pays my bills.  I do permaculture for the pure evangelistic zeal of spreading it.  Yet I do know how to run businesses, so if I were to quit my career as a Podcaster, how would I build a profitable permaculture business.  I would do something like this

    • Install the best green and shade houses I could afford – plant business selling plants and cuttings
    • Install a blow you away permaculture site on my own property – feeds the above and tours for a fee
    • Save and market the shit out of seeds, specifically stuff that isn’t in every catalog – seed business
    • Set up pasture based laying chickens and if possible meat birds – eggs sold to neighbors may be meat too
    • I would run 6-8 large scale on the ground workshops a year, dirty hands stuff – student fees
    • I would likely teach 2 PDCs a year at most, I would follow Bill Wilson’s model and do part online and on site. http://midwestpermaculture.com/about/our-certification-courses/ – Yes a solid income from PDCs

    I would however, really make my mark as a local consultant.  I would go to every botanical garden, nature center or arboretum in 100 miles of my home and learn every plant that can be grown in my area.   I would have meet up groups teaching basics like sheet mulching for free and for small fees in some instances.  I would find a local herbalist and become a local plants expert.  I would visit every place with a lawn where someone would talk to me and show them photos of what it could become.  I would never answer questions from people the way we do in a PDC with “it depends” rather with, do this or do that, or tell me more so I can answer that for you.

    The focus on PDCs as a gold standard for revenue, to me is a boat anchor because, while I wish every person on the planet would do it, it simply really isn’t for everyone.  A PDC is really quite demanding, it requires a very high level of thinking and like most educations; it is more about how to learn rather than what you learn.  When you leave a PDC one of two things happens.

    1.  You now have a way of thinking that leads to a lifetime of developing, teaching, designing but above all learning.  You have been converted into a student of permaculture forever.  A status you will never graduate from.
    2. You think to yourself something like, “none of my real questions about what to plant in my yard where answered with anything other than ‘it depends’, why did I pay 1,200 dollars for that”?

    You see, a PDC doesn’t actually make you to be a great designer; it gives you a foundation so you can become one.  A PDC is a gateway to a lifetime of study, research and gaining experience.  A permaculturist, if he or she is really good, is an architect of natural systems.  One doesn’t become an architect in a 72 hour course.  Many people take a PDC and sadly end up with feeling like option 2 versus option 1 above and I think, at least to a degree, it is because we oversell PDCs.

    I recently taught a course with a fellow teacher.  An individual with what I would call a Ferrari level permaculture education.  A teacher certified by the PRI as a teacher, a guy with almost every course you can take under his belt.  The man is brilliant in every way a permaculturist can be.  Yet, at the end of this class as students presented designs (this was not a PDC) he kept saying things like, “You did that design and you don’t even have a PDC”.  Frankly about 90% of the students had not taken a PDC before this class and my co-instructor was actually apprehensive about teaching a course as complex as we put together to people who had not yet taken a PDC.  Again, I think this is because we have over sold the PDC to even ourselves.

    I think there are two types of people that should take PDCs, they are

    1. People that want an actual career of some sort in permaculture and know exactly what they will and won’t get at a PDC.
    2. People that don’t want a career but know exactly what they will and won’t get at a PDC and still want to take one.

    Both should see PDCs as a foundation, not as a one-time event.  If you go to a good school to learn about self-defense with firearms, they will spend most of their time teaching you how to train on your own once you leave.  So it is with a PDC.  You are exposed to systems, designs, patterns, function stacking from concepts used all over the world; many will never apply to you directly.  Most of us will never develop a chinampa because we won’t have a location suitable for doing it.  Yet every PDC I have ever been part of has chinampas as part of the instruction.  The reason to me as it leads so many, “Well, what if I did _______” thoughts.  That is the point; the point isn’t to try to build a chinampa system in a Chicago suburb on a 10th of an acre or in a California desert where it just doesn’t fit.  The value in the knowledge of a chinampa, even if you never build one, is what elements of it you can stack into a more appropriate solution for a design’s needs and restrictions.

    This is the thinking one should go into a PDC with.  If not likely you won’t really get the most out of it.  Many people will be much better served to go to an intensive workshop about sheet mulching and urban back yard design that is tailored to where they live.  So guess what folks, sell that to them, deliver it and do a damn good job with it.  Teach them about 50 or more plants and show them how to catch roof water, don’t talk about it, do it, show it, and really teach it.  Show them how to get IBCs cheap, don’t just say it, show it.  Give people sources of materials and plants not just what stuff to use and buy.  Form relationships with suppliers; network the shit out of those relationships as well.

    My point is this.  In permaculture there are many vertical markets.  The top level educational market of PDCs and advanced earthworks, soils, urban design, long term internships, etc. is actually a very narrow vertical.  The larger markets are things like…

    • Local demand for how to design my own back yard
    • Seeds and plants
    • Site level consulting
    • Dozens more

    The truth is a lot of people in our world are broke because we are busy trying to sell something expensive to a group that is also often broke.  There are millions of people that want at least a piece of what we have to offer and many of them have money, lots of money.  Sell to them and sell them what they want and what they actually need.  If they don’t need a PDC, sell them what they do need. If you do that you might find that many will start buying.


    Some may think I am overly harsh in this article.  I am sorry if anyone feels that way but I come at this with a very long track record of being successful in business.  I am not here to talk about mud fairies and rainbows.  I see permaculture as a solution to many of the most critical problems in our time.  I want as many on board with as much as they will get on board with as I can get.  The “hippy market” is small and mostly, not fully, but mostly broke.  I can’t get permaculture into 1,000,000 new back yards with that approach, and neither can you.  If we want the vast majority to get at least a little tuned in to permaculture we have to take it to them, in their language on their level.

    I will be doing a presentation on these concepts at Permaculture Voices in March of 2014. In my presentation I will lay out detailed plans for making Permaculture profitable and main stream.  If you would like to learn more about this conference where over 40 of Permaculture’s biggest names will be presenting, visit www.permaculturevoices.com


    The post "The Future of Permaculture" appeared first on Brink of Freedom.

  13. 1024px-Ten_Commandments_altar_screen_in_the_Temple_Church_London-620x330.jpg.73fd4036bc6a0869d9177637f48a7113.jpg

    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



    1.Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
    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 showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
    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.
    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.
    5.Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
    6.Thou shalt not kill.
    7.Thou shalt not commit adultery.
    8.Thou shalt not steal.
    9.Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
    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.

    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.


    English Standard



    1.You shall have no other gods before me.
    2.You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
    3.You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
    4.Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
    5.Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
    6.You shall not murder.
    7.You shall not commit adultery.
    8.You shall not steal.
    9.You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
    10.You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

    And God spake all these words, saying, I am Jehovah thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.


    American Standard



    1.Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
    2.Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor 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 unto them, nor serve them, for I Jehovah thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation of them that hate me, and showing lovingkindness unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.
    3.Thou shalt not take the name of Jehovah thy God in vain; for Jehovah will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
    4.Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is a sabbath unto Jehovah thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore Jehovah blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
    5.Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee.
    6.Thou shalt not kill.
    7.Thou shalt not commit adultery.
    8.Thou shalt not steal.
    9.Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
    10.Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.

    Then God gave the people all these instructions: I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.


    New Living Translation



    1.You must not have any other god but me.
    2.You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.
    3.You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.
    4.Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.
    5.Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
    6.You must not murder.
    7.You must not commit adultery.
    8.You must not steal.
    9.You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.
    10.You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.

    And God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.


    New International



    1.You shall have no other gods before me.
    2.You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
    3.You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
    4.Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
    5.Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
    6.You shall not murder.
    7.You shall not commit adultery.
    8.You shall not steal.
    9.You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
    10.You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

    And God speaketh all these words, saying, I [am] Jehovah thy God, who hath brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of a house of servants.


    Young’s Literal Translation



    1.Thou hast no other Gods before Me.
    2.Thou dost not make to thyself a graven image, or any likeness which [is] in the heavens above, or which [is] in the earth beneath, or which [is] in the waters under the earth. Thou dost not bow thyself to them, nor serve them: for I, Jehovah thy God, [am] a zealous God, charging iniquity of fathers on sons, on the third [generation], and on the fourth, of those hating Me, and doing kindness to thousands, of those loving Me and keeping My commands.
    3.Thou dost not take up the name of Jehovah thy God for a vain thing, for Jehovah acquitteth not him who taketh up His name for a vain thing.
    4.Remember the Sabbath-day to sanctify it; six days thou dost labour, and hast done all thy work, and the seventh day [is] a Sabbath to Jehovah thy God; thou dost not do any work, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, thy man-servant, and thy handmaid, and thy cattle, and thy sojourner who is within thy gates, — for six days hath Jehovah made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that [is] in them, and resteth in the seventh day; therefore hath Jehovah blessed the Sabbath-day, and doth sanctify it.
    5.Honour thy father and thy mother, so that thy days are prolonged on the ground which Jehovah thy God is giving to thee.
    6.Thou dost not murder.
    7.Thou dost not commit adultery.
    8.Thou dost not steal.
    9.Thou dost not answer against thy neighbour a false testimony.
    10.Thou dost not desire the house of thy neighbour, thou dost not desire the wife of thy neighbour, or his man-servant, or his handmaid, or his ox, or his ass, or anything which [is] thy neighbour’s.

    Then God said all these words: I am Adonai your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the abode of slavery.


    Complete Jewish Bible



    1.You are to have no other gods before me.
    2.You are not to make for yourselves a carved image or any kind of representation of anything in heaven above, on the earth beneath or in the water below the shoreline. You are not to bow down to them or serve them; for I, Adonai your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but displaying grace to the thousandth generation of those who love me and obey my mitzvot.
    3.You are not to use lightly the name of Adonai your God, because Adonai will not leave unpunished someone who uses his name lightly.
    4.Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God. You have six days to labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Shabbat for Adonai your God. On it, you are not to do any kind of work — not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your livestock, and not the foreigner staying with you inside the gates to your property. For in six days, Adonai made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. This is why Adonai blessed the day, Shabbat, and separated it for himself.
    5.Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land which Adonai your God is giving you.
    6.Do not murder.
    7.Do not commit adultery.
    8.Do not steal.
    9.Do not give false evidence against your neighbor. 10, Do not covet your neighbor’s house; do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox, his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

    Then God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, Who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.


    Amplified Bible


    1.You shall have no other gods before or besides Me.
    2.You shall not make yourself any graven image [to worship it] or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; You shall not bow down yourself to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, But showing mercy and steadfast love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments.
    3.You shall not use or repeat the name of the Lord your God in vain [that is, lightly or frivolously, in false affirmations or profanely]; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. [Earnestly] remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (withdrawn from common employment and dedicated to God). Six days you shall labor and do all your work, But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your domestic animals, or the sojourner within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. That is why the
    4.Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it [set it apart for His purposes].
    5.Regard (treat with honor, due obedience, and courtesy) your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land the Lord your God gives you.
    6.You shall not commit murder.
    7.You shall not commit adultery.
    8.You shall not steal.
    9.You shall not witness falsely against your neighbor.
    10.You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.


    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.




    re·li·gion noun \ri-ˈli-jən\

    a : the belief in a god or in a group of gods
    b : an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods
    c : an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group
    - Websters Dictionary




    gov·ern·ment noun, often attributive \ˈgə-vər(n)-mənt, -və-mənt; ˈgə-bəm-ənt, -vəm-\state noun, often attributive \ˈstāt\
    a : the group of people who control and make decisions for a country, state, etc.
    b : a particular system used for controlling a country, state, etc.
    c : the process or manner of controlling a country, state, etc.
    - Websters Dictionary



    state noun, often attributive \ˈstāt\

    a : a politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory; especially : one that is sovereign
    b : the political organization of such a body of people
    c : a government or politically organized society having a particular character
    - Websters Dictionary

    I would add this to the definition of state


    d : a government which is worshiped by those who believe it's existence is good and/or necessary
    - Josiah Wallingford

    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.

    Federal-Courthouse-building.thumb.jpg.ccc6943f23f0b86ddc543aec47917fea.jpg   Lincoln_Memorial_Lincoln_contrasty.thumb.jpg.c513ddf0748a052d8874e83ad237e9ae.jpg   Eagle_statue_-_Eccles_Building.thumb.jpg.b7205a6af270a137eeb9d0a063494d15.jpgUSCG_-_Flag_with_Fringe.thumb.png.26d582e50bef31f7ca51bd301f53ba51.png

    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:

    1. having no real value
    2. marked by futile or ineffectualness
    3. archaic
    4. 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.


    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.


    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.


    This article "Government Breaks All Ten Commandments" appeared first on Brink of Freedom.

  14. pain2-300x225.jpgEvery day I meet people who are in chronic pain. In fact, twice in the past I had chronic pain. Once in my lower back and once in my left knee. At its worst the back pain kept me from standing upright or walking, and the knee pain kept me from walking up or down stairs or inclines. Military medicine wanted to operate both times.

    The first time I was living in San Diego and I found a movement specialist in Los Angeles who showed me how to correct the back issue, with movement not surgery. Years later I was living in Washington when the knee became debilitating, so I flew to LA again with the same results. The knee was rehabbed with movement instead of surgery.

    Most of the people I work with now are everyday people who want to move better and feel better. However, being close to Fort Lewis I see military and law enforcement personnel everyday who are walking around in pain. Why? Compromised movement plus the load of equipment equals lasting effects.

    Why is back and knee pain in particular so hard to diagnose? Mostly because Western medicine is made up primarily of systems specialists, and chronic pain is often the effect of whole body issues. When my lower back was in pain, the doctors and physical therapists I went to focused on the back. However, they were unsuccessful because the back was not the issue, merely the symptom. My back pain actually came from a misalignment of the sacrum and the right pelvis bone. Instead of manually adjusting the two, I was given a prescription of simple exercise that allowed the effected muscles to relax and the bones to naturally reseat themselves. But the misalignment is just part of the story.

    Have you ever seen a baby so flexible it put its toes in its mouth? Of course, now if I brought in an anesthesiologist right now and put you under do you think your toes would make it your mouth? Surprise! They would. We think of our flexibility as if muscles stretch like rubber bands. But the elasticity of our muscles has little to do with our joint range of motion. Instead our nervous system places restrictions on our movement as a result of trauma we experience throughout our lives.

    Here is an example: at birth you are completely flexible, at age 5 you roll your ankle, at 10 you have a bike wreck, at 12 you fall out of a tree, at 16 you have a shoulder injury from baseball, then you start driving, watching TV/computer screen, wear glasses, get a tattoo, and finally have a really stressful day a work – and your back starts hurting.

    If your back is the result of cumulative stress, then all the Motrin, cortisone shots, spinal manipulations, surgeries, etc… that are frequently done will not get rid of the back pain.

    Finally, one day you come to see me. I watch you walk across the room. I look at which compensation based on past trauma, or current habits, is most effecting your movement. We work on that and get measurable results. With those results we prescribe movement and dosages to start correcting the problems and get you out of pain.

    If you are in chronic pain, you are not preparing for SHTF, you are in it now and under more stress it will only get worse. By learning to understand and resolve chronic pain issues now you can get out of pain and be better prepared to help those around you during a crisis.

    So, as for stress. Physical stress is cumulative throughout our lives. It may be the result of trauma, or posture, or repetitive movements. Physical stress from movement is the lowest of the five stressors that contribute to chronic pain, but the most often contributor so this is where we start making corrections.

    The next higher stressor is your vestibular system. This is your sense of balance and movement and is often a contributor if a person is extremely sedentary, or has sustained a severe traumatic injury in the past, like an auto accident.

    The next higher stressor is vision. Our eyes perform 29 functions. When we fail to exercise them adequately, maybe by starring at a computer all day, they begin to fail us and cause high levels of stress on our nervous system.

    Next up is nutrition. If you do not have adequate vitamins, minerals, and water your body cannot maintain or repair itself.

    At the top of the pyramid is mental stress. This is stress derived from how you react to external stimulus such as family, work, living conditions, or threats.

    When all these stresses combine, it can push you over your personal stress threshold and result in chronic pain. But, long before they get to the pain stage, they begin to effect performance. So, stress affects all of us and needs to be resolved as much as possible. Over the next few articles I hope to give you some tools to self-assess and start to control stress to improve both pain and performance.


    The post "Stress Part One: Cumulative Stress and Chronic Pain" appeared first on Brink of Freedom.


  15. Ivan Loomis
    Latest Article

    yogapants1.thumb.jpg.5b9a61b435ccbb12c2162f32bebd1050.jpgWhile the dynamic of today's nuclear family has changed some in recent decades, the ruts of historical roles of family members are still deeply etched. Hopefully, the tide of the two income household will reach a high water mark, and more families will try to see to it that one parent can stay home with their children.

    Whether roles within the family fall along gender lines or not, the roles are usually well defined. Myself, being the man of the house, find I feel ultimately responsible for not only being the provider but also being the protector. As the protector we want to don the sword and shield and protect our family should the need arise. But therein lies the rub…

    As the provider for my family, I am often gone. My work takes me far away and for lengths of time. And whether your job is across town or across the world, and regardless of if it is for few hours a day or weeks at a time, you are gone. And who then is left to protect your family? No matter how much we want to be there for our family, we are often gone for large swaths of time throughout the day. But for example, in my case, my wife is…

    Personally, I love training. I love shooting. I love spending days on the range. I enjoy the pursuit of knowledge and development through professional firearms courses. But all of those come with a substantial time and financial cost. And while I should practice, maintain and further develop my skills, I have found those costs better spent if spread between my spouse and me.

    While I am with my family X amount of time, my wife is with them nearly ALL the time. So it only makes sense that an investment in the safety of your family is an investment in the training of your spouse. Sometimes this can be tricky.

    Some people are afraid of or don’t like firearms. This often stems from a lack of knowledge and experience on the subject. But at any rate, it needs to be dealt with delicately. Usually, this does not involve you taking your spouse to the range. Here is where a professional course is worth its weight in gold…

    About 3 years ago my wife and I attended a 3-day level 1 pistol class. It took the students from no skills to shooting dynamic drills by the end of the course. It isn’t to say it was just for beginners, but it was structured in a way that everyone, regardless of skill level, was pulling information out of it along the way. But it wasn’t throwing new students into the deep end either.

    The class was phenomenal. Not only in the information covered (there are only so many ways to teach sight alignment, trigger control, etc.) but in how the information was put into perspective. The drills were often put into the context of a scenario. Such as being in the checkout line at a grocery store when someone starts shooting the place up. Or a parking lot at the mall…

    The instructor did a great job of bringing the reason for the skills home to the students. He did this in a way that made sense and touched on the reality of the world we live in, regardless of how we may perceive it at times.

    In talking with the instructor off line, I was thanking him for putting on such a great class and commenting on how much my wife not only enjoyed it but also how the lessons were driven home in the examples he gave. He, in turn, brought up a funny analogy that seems to have held true with respect to shooting.

    To paraphrase: “Someone’s first experience shooting is like losing their virginity. If it is a bad experience it leaves a long lasting impression. And conversely, if it is a good experience, people get hooked.”

    Two days after that first pistol class we took, my wife woke up that morning and said to me, “I keep having dreams about shooting since that class.” She then left the boys with me for a little while, went across town and bought herself a Glock 17.

    Go talk to someone that has been shooting and doesn’t like it though… It will usually come out that their first experience was not a good one. And for some reason, someone usually thinks it is a good idea to hand a new shooter a 12 gauge shotgun right out the gate. Don’t do this… Set them up for success.

    While you can most certainly impart the firearms knowledge you have, it is money well spent to find a legitimate class. There is a reason Professionals have made a Profession out of teaching firearms skills. With this in mind, choose that first class wisely.

    My wife has since been to a number of classes, some great, some ok and some sub par. Find a reputable instructor. There are some great ones out there and a number of them travel. Chances are you can find something relatively close. Do your research as well and look for After Action Reports and reviews from students. And of course don’t be afraid to contact the instructor directly and ask if the class your looking into is a good fit with respect to skill level.

    While there are a lot of teachers out there, two that my wife and I have experience with that stand out are Matthew Graham of Graham Combat and Chris Costa of Costa Ludus. Both are highly recommended.

    And lastly, should you go through a course with your spouse, go to opposite ends of the firing line. You are there for your individual learning experience. You can chat and compare notes during lunch. Get the most out of the experience you are paying for.

    Stay armed and stay proficient…

  16. selfdefense-300x193.jpg

    If you have never delved into the world of martial arts and unarmed self-defense, it can be pretty intimidating trying to decide what style, school and instructor would be best for you. Today we’re going to go over some key points that you should keep in mind when choosing a martial arts school and some red flags to look out for to keep you from getting ripped off or misled.

    Do you want to learn martial arts or do you want to learn REAL self-defense?

    This is an important question to ask before even looking at a prospective school. It seems like the two should go hand in hand but I can tell you from experience that the majority of traditional martial arts schools aren’t in the business of teaching you how to actually defend yourself. They’re in the business of teaching martial arts, but you’re not going to ever be thrown into even a somewhat realistic fight or flight defensive situation in your training. You’ll learn technique, you’ll learn speed and you’ll be required to memorize forms for belt testing purposes, and you’ll even do “sparring” with other students but I can tell you from many years of experience, it’s not the same as a real combat situation.

    If you’re looking to “study” a martial art style then this type of training may be for you. There are quite a few benefits to it. All martial arts will help you stay in shape, there’s a lot of networking connections available at these schools with other students and instructors and there’s definitely a rich history that goes along with any traditional martial arts.

    If you’re looking to train in real-life, unarmed defensive combat, traditional martial arts schools are just going to disappoint you. Yes there are some techniques and training that could be useful in any martial arts, but unless you’re looking to train in a new style year after year, piecing together your own defensive strategies, it’s not worth it. You’ll learn a lot of bad habits and even if the teaching gives you some confidence, stylized martial arts isn’t going to prepare you to actually defend yourself in a survival situation in most cases.

    Start asking good questions

    If real defensive training is what you are looking for, then you need to start asking questions and doing some research. There are several self-defense instructors and schools out there that are not teaching the same old stylized martial arts. However, the demand for stylized martial arts; the same “teach my 10-year-old to do some kicks and break boards” type of teaching is a lot higher than the demand for realistic self-defense training. Unless you get lucky, you’re going to have to find these schools. They typically don’t advertise very much. The school isn’t going to be a modern, expensive dojo, and you’re probably not going to see white uniforms or colored belts of any kind. These instructors teach what they teach as a labor of love and dedication. They’re not in it for the money. These are the type of people you want to be learning from.

    The best way to find a realistic self-defense school and instructor is to ask around to people that would be most likely to know of such classes. Police officers are a great start. Many police officers take practical self-defense courses either through their departments or just on their own time. They may be able to point you in the right direction for what you’re looking for. Obviously Google and Craigslist are other good search tools.

    Beware the money trap, leave the kids at home

    As someone that was actively involved in a family-run martial arts school, I can tell you from experience that there are more schools out there that are in it for the money than there are for the training. Martial arts can be a very expensive hobby. There are monthly dues, uniform fees, belt fees, testing fees, competition fees, safety gear to buy…the list can go on and on. If you’re focusing on real self-defense, actually learning real ways to defend yourself, you shouldn’t be looking to a school that has all these fees. Realistically all you should be looking for is a school with a reasonable monthly or even per-class fee and that’s it. Despite what a lot of schools might think, a $100 uniform and a $30 cloth belt aren’t necessary to learn self-defense.

    Many martial arts schools focus heavily on bringing in children into their classes. I’m kind of torn on this one. I know from growing up in a household that centered on martial arts that it can do some great things for children. Martial arts are great for teaching discipline and self-confidence. Again though, we need to go back to the first question… are we here for martial arts or are we here to learn how to defend ourselves? If you’re looking for a hobby for your children that can teach them some really good life skills, then yeah, a traditional martial arts academy might be a good choice.

    On the other hand, I don’t care how many black belts a 12-year-old has, you put them in a real defensive situation with someone much bigger and stronger and all the training in the world isn’t going to be worth a whole lot. So again, if you’re looking to actually learn how to defend yourself, and are looking for a teacher that solely focuses on realistic self-defense keep an eye out for any children in the class. If there are any, that’s probably a queue that this school isn’t for you.

    If you liked this article you may enjoy:
    Are You Physically Fit Enough to Survive SHTF?
    What Will a Total Economic Collapse Look Like?
    The Top 4 Reasons Why You’re Not Going to Survive Bugging Out to the Woods

    Follow Ready4ItAll on Facebook!


    The post "How to Find the Best Martial Arts Schools for Self-Defense Training" appeared first on Brink of Freedom.


  17. USMC-090309-M-2697B-001.jpg

    Advanced physical force and intermediate force are the tools and skills that go beyond physical force in the Use of Force spectrum but are still not considered lethal force. They included advanced martial training; such as expertise in multiple weapon types,  professional-level martial training, chemical sprays, electro-muscular disruption technology, and adaptations of lethal force to minimize damage (such as bean bag shells for shotguns).

    This article is NOT a primer on what is legal or not legal in certain states, as the laws vary. The reader is encouraged to research the laws pertaining to their state and to consult their legal counsel to verify their understanding of these laws.

    Advanced martial training is included in intermediate force only from the standpoint that such training brings additional scrutiny to the protector when utilizing this skill set. This is NOT the notion that 'hands and feet are registered as lethal weapons' because that is a myth. However, credentials in advanced martial skill can be used to question if the level of force administered was necessary for protection, or if it was excessive. This is sometimes initiated through 'disparity of force' arguments. In disparity of force, a lone protector against multiple attackers may be able to respond to the altercation with lethal force, even if none of his attackers are using lethal force instruments, only because the 4 against 1 scenario provides enough justification that life or great bodily harm is a reasonable possibility. Similarly, in an altercation between a mid-20's athlete arguing with granny over a parking space, if granny starts swinging her cane, the other individual may not necessarily be able to justify a physical force response, because granny is no real threat. Expertise in martial training may be used to demonstrate a force disparity based on capability. Remember, a prosecuting attorney's job is to get convictions, and any legal avenue he can bring to bear on the case may be used.

    Chemical weapons are often allowed to use anytime physical force is justified (again, check for yourself in your state). The most widely accepted is OC spray, which stands for oleoresin capsicum. It is an inflammatory, so when sprayed affects the eyes, nose, and mucus membranes of the target. While some people are not as affected by this type of attack, it will have an effect on most of the population. The inflammatory effects take time to onset. This can be between 10 and 20 seconds, depending on the target. In that onset time, the target will feel discomfort, but will not be overly incapacitated. Repeat offenders who have been sprayed multiple times are also far more likely to control any anxiety over getting sprayed, so while the spray will affect them, any panic associated debilitation will be averted. Users of OC spray are well served by having a strong martial background so that they can protect themselves while the effects of the spray set in.

    Another advanced force item is an electro-muscular disruption. TASER is a popular brand device for this. In the case of these devices, an electrical signal is imparted to the target using frequency and high voltage to disrupt the nervous system's ability to send signals to the body. The effects are a kind of stun because the target can no longer control most bodily functions. These effects are instantaneous, but the nature of the device is such that one shot is usually all that the device has the capacity for. In that one shot, two probes must make contact with the target to create the signal loop. Fortunately, the probes' small wires can also act as a signal loop so contact with the wires is sufficient to get some effect.

    There are other intermediate force options available, primarily to law enforcement, which include bean bag rounds fired from shotguns, using weapons such as flashlights and batons in a controlling way, and other alternatives. These options are not generally available to civilians or may constitute lethal force. For instance, a night stick used by a police officer trained in using it as a grappling aid would fall under advanced physical force. If the same scenario was played out between non-LEO civilians, the use of the weapon may constitute lethal force.

    Advanced physical force options are an excellent way for a protector to be able to help ensure he is not harmed by using these tools in an effective and law-abiding way. A fight against a thug may have been a challenge, but if the thug has been hit with pepper spray, it makes the protector more likely to prevail.

    There are multiple courses around the country that instruct intermediate force options available to the non-LEO civilian. Like all protection training, these courses should be explored and attended, and proficiency gained, before relying on the force option for personal protection. Each of these options has very unique characteristics and require an understanding and proficiency to correctly employ. Paying for a pepper spray canister from the hardware store does not generate this proficiency. Training does.


  18. MJ Banner

    The Urban Guerrilla
    “Hops, it is from more than just BEER”
    By Michael Jordan
    A.K.A: Freyr MOJ, the Crimson JUGGERNAUT

    Hops growing up

    Hops, world renowned for the use in beer, is making a big comeback for gardens and baking. I was asked what I do with hop, well I make starts every year. Hops is getting expensive, so, over the last 10 years, I have been growing my own. Yes, I do brew beer, but there may things hops is good for.

    Hops are primarily used to reduce tension and aid in sleep. As a sleep aid, hops can be used in a sachet inside of a pillow. The aromatic properties of the herb will help one to fall asleep. For tension, hops can be taken to help relax the muscles and soothe anxiety. As a digestive aid, hops can help to relax spasms of the digestive system and aid in digestion

    Dosage: As an infusion, drink one cup in the evening to aid sleep. As a tincture, take 20 drops in a glass of water 3 times daily for anxiety. Take 10 drops with water up to 5 times daily for digestion. As a tablet, take for stress or as a sleep aid. As a capsule, take 500 mg, 3 times daily before meals, to help increase appetite. A sachet may be made and placed in your pillow to aid in sleep.

    Safety: You should not use hops if you suffer from depression. Consult your health care provider before beginning use of any herb.

    The shoots that corkscrew up out of the ground in the spring are quite tender and can be sautéed like asparagus. Combs stuffs hop leaves with hop flower petals, cheeses, and aromatics before tempura-frying them to make a cheesy-herbal beggar's purse.

    One of my favorite things to make with hops is bread. The hops give the bread a distinctive, though not very pronounced, hoppy aroma, and also, as I thought it might, a bitter finish, which is quite nice, once you get used to it. You probably need to like hops a lot though. The crumb is relatively heavy for a white-flour loaf, but soft and moist; the crust is soft and chewy. The flavor and aroma is awesome. This bread helps me with sleep and tension.


    Hops closeupSoft Hops Yeast


    3-quart sauce pan

    1 quart glass jar with lid

    small sieve



    1/3 cup dried hops

    6 cups quality water

    1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

    1/2 teaspoon sea salt

    1/4 teaspoon dry active yeast or

    1/3 cup good soft yeast from the previous batch



    1. Simmer hops in water for 1/2 an hour letting the steam escape, to make a strong tea. The water will boil down to about 3 1/2 cups.
    2. Sterilize jar and lid in boiling water. I do this by pouring boiling water into the jar and over the lid.
    3. Place flour and salt in sterile jar, and strain boiling tea over the flour. Stir thoroughly. It is important to scald the flour to keep the yeast from souring.
    4. Cover loosely and allow to cool.
    5. When it is cool (not cold) add yeast and stir to incorporate. Cover loosely and keep at room temperature. It will bubble and ferment, producing a quality yeast.
    6. When it has fermented (6-12 hours), cover tightly and store in a cool place.


    Yields: 3 1/2 cups soft yeast.

    Keeps 2 week, properly stored. When the yeast has a strong tart smell and watery appearance, it is too old for use.

    Soft Hops Yeast Bread


    • ¼ cup corn meal
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 ½ cups water
    • 2 ½ cups milk
    • ¾ cup soft hop yeast
    • 10-12 cups flour, divided


    Optional Glaze:

    • 1 egg
    • 1 tablespoon water



    1. In saucepan, combine cornmeal, salt and water. Bring to a boil, and simmer ten minutes, to form a thin gruel. Transfer to a non-metal mixing bowl.
    2. Stir in milk, to cool the mixture.
    3. Add yeast and 4 cups flour (I use whole wheat) to make a thick batter. Mix thoroughly and cover. This is called a sponge.
    4. Let sit in a warm (room temperature) place 2 – 12 hours. It can be worked again when the surface appears somewhat watery, though it is best to mix the sponge in the evening and finish making the bread the next morning.
    5. Stir in 4 cups all-purpose flour, to form stiff dough.
    6. Turn out onto a heavily floured surface, cover with more flour and knead to incorporate ingredients (10-15 minutes).
    7. Leave dough on the work surface, to rest while you clean out and grease the mixing bowl.
    8. Knead dough for twenty minutes, to develop the gluten. Return dough to mixing bowl and cover.
    9. Let rise in a warm area until doubled in bulk. This rising will take 45 minutes to 4 hours, depending on how long the sponge was allowed to develop.
    10. Knead again, divide and shape into loaves. This recipe will make three 4” x 8” loaves, or two 5” x 9” loaves. It can also be divided and shaped into rolls or hamburger buns.
    11. Place the dough in greased pans, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. This rising should take no more than an hour.
    12. Mix glaze and brush on loaves or rolls.
    13. Bake loaves at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, for 50-60 minutes, or until the bread comes away from the sides of the pan and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. - Rolls and buns are baked at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, for about 25 minutes.
    14. When bread has baked, turn out of pans onto a wire rack to cool. For a softer crust, cover loaves with a hand towel while they cool.

    Note: This dough tends to rise up and not out, so make the base of the loaves or buns the desired size of the final product.

    hops bread


    Yeast Cakes from Hops


    • 1 cup mashed potatoes
    • 1 cup potato water
    • 1 cup flour
    • 1 cup dried hops
    • 2 Tbsp. sugar
    • 4 cups corn meal (approx.)
    • 1 dried yeast cake (optional)


    Boil 3 or 4 peeled potatoes in unsalted water. When done, drain the potatoes and mash them well, but save the potato water to use later. Cover the hop blossoms with water and bring to a boil. Drain off the water and save it, too. (Ella's mother dissolved a dried yeast cake left from her last batch into this water as a booster.)

    Put flour in a pan and slowly stir in the potato water you saved. Be careful not to use too much water. Mix slowly so that the flour won't be lumpy. If the mixture is too runny, it might be necessary to cook it until it is a thick paste-like dough.

    Add mashed potatoes and sugar. Mix well and then slowly add the hop water until you have a medium soft dough. Let rise double. Then punch down and work in enough corn meal to make a stiff dough. Roll out the dough on a board to about 1/2 inch thick and cut into cakes. Let the cakes dry, turning them often to make sure they dry evenly. When you think they are good and dry, hang them up in a muslin bag for a few days to make sure they won't mold. After this you can store them in fruit jars or however you wish.

    We followed this recipe using the called for amounts of ingredients and found it made two large pans of yeast cakes. Whereas this amount would be fine in a large family where bread is made often, it was much more than we needed. You may want to cut it down some, especially the first time you make it.

    So then next time you plant something, try some hops. Not only will you have a great vine plant to weave in and out of your trellises, you have a plant that you can use to make something more than beer with.

    MJ Bottom Banner

  19. Portrait-226x300.jpg

    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.



    The post "Food Security is Paramount to Survival and to Liberty" appeared first on Brink of Freedom.


  20. Who am I?

    Hello. My name is Jeff Dols and I am the proud owner of Fallen Oaks Farm. This column will be dedicated to chronicling my journey to transform my 17 acre property into a permaculture farm. Five years ago, my wife and I moved to Loudon, TN to get out to the "country" where we could have more space for ourselves and what would become our herd of dogs, cats, parrots, horses, pigs, chickens, and goats.

    After buying the new house, it was time to make room for the horses and pigs that belonged to my wife. They were living out at her parents place since we didn't have room for them at our old house, and there was almost no fencing at our new house. For the first year, we set about fencing off areas for the horse pasture and the pig pasture. I learned a great deal about the many types of soil on my property, and I also learned the important of wearing gloves whilst pounding in t-posts. After several months, several hundred posts, and a few thousand feet of fence, the pastures were finally done and we welcomed the pigs and horses out to the new homestead. From there, we soon acquired a small goat herd so that I could chase my dream of producing my own goat cheese (a dream I am happy to say I have finally achieved). And finally, we added a small flock of chickens for eggs production.


    About a four years ago, I became familiar with a gentleman named Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast (thesurvivalpodcast.com). Thanks to Jack's podcast, I became aware of something called permaculture. From the moment I first of heard of it, I was hooked. I began trying to learn all I could about what it meant to develop a permaculture system. If you do not know what permaculture means, that's okay. I will be talking about it plenty in future posts, but it revealed a real passion that I didn't know I had. I've learned that I want to be closer to the land, to know where my food comes from, and to help my community do the same.

    It was again Jack Spirko that first taught me the word PermaEthos back when it was in its infancy and was meant to be a community in the wilds of Texas. Needless to say, that vision did not last, and soon turned into something entirely different. PermaEthos would now transform farms into showcases for Permaculture's benefits, and the project would be initially funded by a Permaculture Design Certification course. The sale of the PDC was limited to only 1000 students, and on the day of the sale I recall sweating in the shade (I was putting up more fence) beneath a tall pine refreshing my phone's browser feverishly while waiting for the sale to go live. When it finally appeared I frantically smashed away at my phone with aching thumbs as quickly as I was able, and to my relief I became founding member #150. 

    Using what I have learned in the PermaEthos PDC, it is my goal to turn Fallen Oaks Farm into a permaculture farm to provide my community with fresh, wholesome food, and to help people to develop similar systems for themselves. I want to be able to show visitors how everything in the system from fruit trees all the way down to mushrooms, it working together and then be able to provide them with the very same plants they've seen. My dream is to become a Permaculture teacher and consultant so that I might spread the knowledge and understanding that I have gained. It's going to be a long journey, but I look forward to every bit of it and sharing it with you. Until next time, take care!

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    Recent Articles


    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!

    Comfrey in bloomIf 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.




    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

    Garlic Chives



    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.                                                                                                                                                         



    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.

    Hawthorn Lacebug on Cherry LeafThe 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

    Pint of Cherries


    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.

    The post "How to Plant a Cherry Tree Guild" appeared first on Brink of Freedom.

  21. ship.jpeg


    Blood and Treasure

    The war drums are beating once again.  It seems we are determined to get involved in yet another foreign conflict that we can ill afford. With the U.S. debt now at $17 trillion dollars, leadership from both sides of the aisle are supporting military action on a country that is little to no threat to the U.S. So what is this one going to cost us?

    The proposed strike alone is estimated to expend 200 to 300 tomahawk missiles which range from $600,000 to $1,400,000 each.  So we can easily figure on $250,000,000 just in missiles. We currently have five destroyers and one amphibious ship positioned in the Mediterranean to effect the assault. I am not aware of any of those ships being able to run on sunshine, so we can assume they are using quite a bit of fuel. Destroyers hold around 500,000 gallons. At $3.50 a gallon, that is a cool $10 million just to get a fill up for all six ships.

    Speaking of gas. Iran has made threats in the past of closing the Strait of Hormuz. We could easily see oil prices jump 10% due to U.S. involvement in Syria.

    Can We Afford It?

    As I mentioned before, the U.S. debt is $17 trillion, and interest rates are spiking. During the 1980’s, the bench mark 10 year treasury rate jumped to 15.8%. If rates returned to even half of that level, interest only payments on our debt would be $1,343,000,000,000.00. That is more than half of the $2.5 trillion our government currently receives in annual revenue. At the 15.8% rate of the 1980’s, the interest payments on our current debt would exceed everything the government receives in revenue.

    So, yes, the potential for disaster is here. Read my recent article on Syria to learn more and get links to write your representatives and tell them we can’t afford another war.

    Happy prepping!

    Prepper Recon


    The post "Syria- The Cost of Conflict" appeared first on Brink of Freedom.


  22. Backyard SW

    The Soil

    One of the first challenges a modern homesteader is faced with is poor soil. In rare instances, soil may not be your immediate issue, but you should be looking downstream to make sure this does not become a future concern. This challenge is easily overcome in the short term, but without sustainable systems and a balance of plant life, this can become a continuing problem. To address the poor soil issue and to become a more resilient homesteader, it is essential that we deal with those things that affect soil quality and provide long terms solutions to maintaining and improving soil fertility.


    One of the easiest things we can start doing to build rich soil is to begin composting. Compost is easily made from table scraps, cut vegetation such as weeds and grass clippings, and other debris such as paper, cardboard, sawdust, coffee grinds, and lots of other household wastes. I won’t go into the details of how to compost, but it is important that you start transitioning as much of your household waste into enriched usable compost for your garden beds. We are currently composting about 40% of our household trash, which is 100% of our food scraps and about 20% of our other waste. I am hopeful that we will be able to compost 100% of our paper trash as well, so the only thing we are paying for removal will be our plastics, metals, and sewage.

    Water Management

    The next thing we can do to enrich our soil is to increase the moisture levels. Our soil is very dry and clay colored, which is pretty common in the eastern range of Colorado. The soil consists of some decomposed granite, but mostly clay and dirt, which is a term I use to describe dead soil. There is little to no moisture in the soil and any moisture put into the soil quickly dissipates. This is usually due to the lack of biological material in the soil. Biological material becomes depleted through farming, and over grazing. Farming, or more accurately plowing, turns over the soil, causing the under soil to become exposed. The UV light from the sun kills all the micro-organisms that have surfaced, reducing the fertility. Repeating this process each season further depletes these micro-organisms, which, in turn, further reduces the amount of nutrients that can be retained within the soil. Let’s think of the soil as a lake that is teaming with all sorts of micro-organisms, and if we want bigger organism in this lake, then we need to identify and correct the problem at the smallest level to have the greatest impact over the long term. If we can provide an environment within the soil directly conducive to maintaining and growing these micro-organisms, then we can begin to build fertility back in to the soil, and have our soil produce fruit and vegetables for us. How do we get fertility back into our soil? Let’s continue and examine the water situation and determine if there is enough rainfall, and at those specific times needed by the plants and trees we intend to grow. It is not our intent to just turn on a garden hose and water the garden if we go a week or more without any rainfall. That puts us at a deficit, as we have to pay for those utilities. We may also decide to implement a gray water solution to be able to provide for our water demand in times of drought. We should address this issue through known techniques for water retainment, and maximize our retainment strategies for snow and rainfall, to either store that water or divert and spread that drainage over the backyard. 

    Backyard Diagram

    Notice the water movement, sun direction, and drip-line irrigation systems along with water storage barrels and pond, and hugel beds/enriched soil areas

    The Landscape

    There are several techniques that we can use to provide moisture and fertility back into our soil. Let’s start analyzing the possibilities and determine which work best in our situation. Our backyard has a standard down slope away from the house, which is approximately a decline of 1 foot per every 15-20 feet, but, over time, a channel has formed from the gutter downspouts and created a valley where most of the water travels. Unless we plan to plant our entire garden into these valleys then we need to start spreading the water across other areas of the backyard.

    Water Storage

    To determine the amount of rainwater, you can use a simple calculation found at: http://rainwaterharvesting.tamu.edu/calculators/. This will give you a reasonable estimate for your storage solution. There is a really nice spreadsheet you can use at the above link to calculate your total annual rainfall catchment system. We then will include a pond at the end of the swale system to retain any run off that may be leaving our property. This will serve us in watering our vegetation, and perhaps a place to grow fish and experiment with some aquaponics. Aside from providing a rain water or gray water storage system, we need to look at how we can provide water across the whole area. The options I’m considering are: a drip-line irrigation system; several soaker hoses; mini or micro swales; hugel beds; or a combination of some or all these.

    Drip-Line Irrigation

    This system will require the purchasing of tubing and hoses that connect together and are placed in the garden beds. This system is a good way to regulate the water for a specific area and to move water to areas that may be difficult to irrigate by other means. These system can also be put on a timer and can be controlled for plants with specific watering needs. These systems are relatively low-tech and are easily set up by the typical homeowner. The materials are relatively inexpensive compared to a full on sprinkler system, but can incur additional cost if you intend to put the system on some type of environmental control system to control watering. These systems are extremely useful for greenhouses, perhaps cold beds, and raised garden beds.

    Soaker Hoses

    These are typically for smaller watering requirements, such as a tree or small stand of trees, that you intend to continually water throughout the day. Though these can be more effective if placed on a timer and are set to water periodically. These connect directly to a typical garden hose and are used to saturate an area.


    Swales can be constructed to slow the water as it moves over the land after the rains.  By constructing a swale, you can channel the water and slow it down so that it has a greater chance to be absorbed by the landscape and increase the soil fertility. Swales are typically 10-12 feet wide, are a couple feet deep, and have a 3-4 ft berm on the downhill side. They are constructed on contour to allow the water to fill the swale and slowly trickle down through each swale system. Swales can be scaled down to most situations. However, I have a concern of building one that is less than 3 feet wide, as I am not certain they will be as effective at allowing a reasonable amount of absorption into the berm.

    Hugel Beds

    These are a great way to retain water in a specific area, and are great for creating a rich soil planting environment. Typically these are to be constructed on contour and are used for water retainment. The concept is that you dig down about 2 feet into the soil, then several feet wide and as long as you desire. After moving all of the soil to the side, you place hard wood into the channel you just created. Using logs, branches debris, cut wood, and other slash, until you have about 2 feet above the surface covered. Then you pile on mulch and other trimmings and clipping before returning the soil back onto the mound. You are free to mix in manure, compost and other enriched soil as you continue to build the height of the mound to approximately 6 feet tall. The concept is that the wood in the hugel bed will soak up the run off and will provide an environment that will enrich the soil as the wood slowly decomposes.  This happens in nature when a tree falls over, the ground lays claim and begins to break down the fallen trunk. We can accelerate this process by covering the wood with soil, creating a mound, and then further planting on this mound. This is made more effective when placed on contour so that, as water moves over the area, it will be retained in these hugel beds.

    The Plan

    Backyard Diagram 2

    HC: Honecrisp Apple; Frt Cocktail: Fruit Cocktail i.e. Peach, Plum, Apricot, and Nectarine; Crtl: Cortland Apple.

    Notice 2 Cherry trees, one on the side of the house and one on the north side of the backyard.

    Which systems are the best water retention, and provide the most fertility to the soil? Well, I think I may be employing each of these in some facet, though I don’t have a need to construct a 6 foot tall hugel bed or a 10 feet wide swale. I will probably be cutting these down to size and perhaps building hugel beds and swales on a much smaller scale. The biggest thing that concerns me with constructing swales is that I am removing top soil from an area, and that area is not very permitting for a path, as it may contain water during certain times, i.e. after it rains. I will probably need to experiment more with this idea, and make that determination. The next question is where do I use drip-lines, soaker hoses, hugel beds, and swales. It should be fairly easy to move the water to the outside edges with either a drip-line or soaker hose. To determine the others may be a bit more difficult, as I also have seven fruit trees to plant, so it may not be effective for me to decide where the swales, and hugel beds will need to go in until I map where the trees need to be planted. It seems that I may be grid-locked, so let me review the situation. Looking at the diagram above shows the optimal water movement across the backyard. If I plan the swales to move the water in these directions, then I should be planting my trees on the downhill side of the swale or hugel beds. I will be planting the trees in two clusters and then three single standing trees. The diagram shows the tree placement and selection, based on the sun requirements and other concerns. I want to keep the trees within the fence line so as to prevent fruit from falling in my neighbors yard. Now we need to overlay the two diagrams and determine where the swales and hugel beds need to be placed. Tree #4 will probably need to be moved to the south to be planted on the downslope of the swale cutting through that area. The hugel bed should work in place of the existing raised bed just to the right of the patio. The raised bed can then be relocated to the other side of the patio along with expanding a few more beds into that area. Placing a small pond at the end of the swale system will allow the catchment and redistribution of water throughout the entire area. Eventually, we can make the determination to keep fish or other aquatic life in that small pond, if there is to be water present year round. This will give us another opportunity to provide an enriched water source for the garden plants.


    I am still undecided about the swale system, as of this writing, and will be repositioning the trees, as needed, within the vicinity of the diagram above. The water retainment system, though still a sketch, now has a plan and we can start taking necessary actions to shore-up this design. The soil should be well nourished throughout the system and some of those dry areas should be made more fertile through the use of the hugel bed, drip-lines, and swale systems. I am confident that this is a strong design and will allow us to plant more varieties into different areas. I will be working on the next article in this series so, if you have suggestions, comments, or see omissions, please feel free to include in the comments section below. This is a working plan, and though we have a direction, there is always room for improvements and considerations along the way. Thanks to all those that have expressed such a high interest in this topic, it is through your feedback that I have decided to carry on this series of articles.

    The post "Creating the Backyard Homestead: Repairing The Soil" appeared first on Brink of Freedom.


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    Recent Articles

    Acorns Knife - Photo by Rick AdamsI know much has been said and written about the processing and use of acorns; still, I’m going to share my recent class on acorn processing for those of you who haven’t yet tried acorns.

    First, in the very beginning, nearly 40 years ago, I had read that local Native Americans ate acorns once they were “leached,” though none of my books back then said a lot about how that leaching was done.  Some books said that the local Indians would grind the acorns into flour, and then put it into these makeshift colanders, and then pour hot (or cold) water over it so that the bitter tannic acid washes out.

    Gln Moon Acorn Desert - Photo by Christopher NyergesAnyway, I processed my acorns that way for years until I met Linda Sheer, who grew up in Appalachia living the old traditional ways.  She showed me a better way.  The leaching part was still necessary, and boiling was the quick way to leach.  But she told me that, on their farm, they’d simply soak the shelled acorns, and change the water twice a day or so.  The leaching could take a month, but the acorns would taste better.  Next, she once pulled me to the side when I was huffing and puffing trying to grind my dried acorns in a wheat grinder.  She said, “ You must like doing things the hard way,” and then she told me that a better way was to take the still-wet leached acorns and run them through a meat grinder!  What a difference. That is still how I do it to this day.

    When you grind a wet acorn, it goes through the meat grinder easily and there is hardly any work.  I can then cook with the coarsely ground acorns, or –more commonly – I dry it for later use.  Then, I fine-grind into acorn flour in my coffee grinder before use.

    Keep in mind that there are at least three books (that I know of) that deal exclusively with acorn processing and recipes. So, while everything I tell you is true, there may be other opinions or ways of doing these things.

    I take my acorn flour and mix it half and half with wheat flour and make pancakes, biscuits, cookies, that sort of thing.

    I have noticed at urban powwows that they grind acorns in an electric food processor until it is a fine powder, then they put a cloth into a large colander, and put the acorn meal into the colander. Then, boiling water is poured into the colander and the tannic acid is leached out quickly.  This is a great way to process acorns.

    Still, I like keeping the acorns whole only because it is less sloppy than grinding first.  Plus, the selection of the cloth that you put into the colander is very important.  With a fine weave, you lose no acorn meal, but it takes forever for the water to process through.  With too open of a weave, the water flows through quickly, but you lose all the fine flour.

    Acorn Molcajete RA - Photo by Christopher NyergesI took this large metate to my recent acorn processing class and students ground the shelled acorns by hand.  We then put the finely ground flour into various colanders with various cloths, and practiced leaching with both hot and cold water.  The cold water-leached acorns tasted better.

    We also boiled some whole acorns, and ran them through the meat grinder, and made pancakes too.  I was surprised that everyone found these to be the tastiest of all the acorn pancakes we had that morning.

    If you want to learn more about this, please buy my “Guide to Wild Foods” book, available from bookstores, Amazon, or www.ChristopherNyerges.com.  A lot of good information on acorn use can also be found in “Temalpakh: Cahuilla Indian knowledge and usage of plants,” by Saubel and Bean.