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  • Welcome to ThriveThrough

    Most features require that you have a registered account to view. ThriveThrough is an invitation only community. If you have already received your invitation code click Sign Up to begin. If you already have an account you need to Sign In.

    If you would like an invitation and don't already know a TT member who could send you one, you can apply for an invitation here and one of our members might help you out. 

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    Knife-at-180-300x225.jpg

    Introduction

    Maintaining cutting tools is very important to their safe and pleasant use.  No one likes struggling with a dull knife and the extra effort needed to push or pull a dull knife through can create momentum behind the cutting tool that can make for a dangerous situation to you and those nearby.

    There are many complicated and expensive systems on the market designed for tool sharpening.  Most of them do a very good job in a specific area or with one type of tool.  When a sharpening system is designed to handle multiple types of jobs, that is usually when the learning curve, accuracy, and price goes up.

    Many people try to sharpen their knives and get frustrated with their chosen system and then say it doesn’t work.  Well, it usually isn’t the sharpener; it may just be that the sharpening system they’ve chosen really isn’t appropriate for the type of tool needing to be sharpened.  For example, a two wheel high-speed grinder may be fine for lawnmower blades, wood lathe turning tools, and the garden shovel, but I would cringe at the thought of getting that near a fine carving tool or an expensive kitchen knife.

    There is no ‘magic bullet’ when it comes to sharpening – even though many manufacturers would love for you to think so and that it’s THEIR system that is it.

    I’d like to show how to sharpen tools – and mainly knives, very inexpensively, quickly, and with a very short learning curve.

    Sharpening Principles

    First, a bit on sharpening itself.  Go back to your 8th-grade geometry lessons;

    Two non-parallel lines will eventually cross at a single point.

    Two Non-Parallel Lines

     

    Now, extend that into three dimensions and the lines become planes.

     

     

    Where our planes cross, the point now has become a line.

    Point Becomes a Lines

     

     

     

     

    Look at the two planes as being the two sides of our knife, or bevels, and the line as being the resulting edge of those two planes coming together in a flat, single line.  That is our goal in sharpening – it’s really just that simple.  Don’t worry about your edge, just flatten the bevels and the edge will take care of itself.

    So enough with the nerdy math stuff – let’s get to building.  We’re going to sharpen knives using abrasive films, i.e. – sandpaper.  Yes, it can be done, and it’s very simple – believe me, even if you’ve given up on messy oil stones, expensive Japanese water stones, or even diamond stones – don’t despair.  Invest  the very small amount of  money it takes to get started in this, then invest a little time and practice with this sandpaper system that will teach you the principles of sharpening much better than a single expensive diamond stone will.  Then take what you learn and revisit (if you want) those expensive stones that are sitting in the drawer in the garage and you may find that they work much better than they ever did.

    Setup

    For those familiar with finishing wood or auto body work, this will sound familiar.  What we’re going to do is remove metal from our knife blades starting at a certain grit of paper (we’ll discuss where to start in a bit), to establish our bevel (geometric plane).  This grit will create a scratch pattern in the metal consistent with the size of the grit particles attached to that paper film.  These grit sizes are referred to by number; the higher the number, the smaller the grit size (more on that later).

    Now, once we have a consistent scratch pattern with one grit, we then move to the next smaller grit to remove the scratches from the last one.  This goes very quickly once the initial grit is finished.  The real trick is to decide how coarse of a grit to start with.  I’ll discuss this in more depth later when we get started on our first knife.

    Parts

    To put your sharpening system together all we’ll need is a hard, flat surface with a sharp edge, like a countertop or a workbench and sandpaper.  Not just one sandpaper, or a few pieces of sandpaper, but ALL the grits of sandpaper.  Here is what I’d recommend for a full lineup that should handle any knife – Grits starting coarse to fine;  60, 80, 100, 120, 150, 180, 220, 320, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1500, 2000.

    I am using aluminum oxide based sandpapers from Norton.  It doesn’t matter where you get your sandpaper or what brand you buy;  light colored papers make it easier to judge the feedback during the sharpening process.

    Supplies

    Most of these grits of sandpaper from 60 up through 400 grit can be found in a standard hardware or woodworking store, perhaps in the paint section.  For the finer grits 600-2000 you’ll have much better luck in an auto parts store – these ultra-fine sandpapers are usually reserved for  auto body painters.

    When making your sandpaper purchases, buy full 8 ½ x 11 sheets for the most part, you’ll want extra sheets in the papers up through 400 – those will get used up the quickest.  The higher grits 600 and up usually are found in ½ sheets and are more expensive.  That’s ok because these finer papers don’t wear out nearly as quickly.

    Some other items you may want to add would be a portable/permanent board to create your sharpening station on that can be moved out of the way when not in use, a can of spray adhesive, and a wide-point, black permanent marker.  If you go the portable board route, add a couple of clamps to hold it in place when in use.

    Supplies for Board

    Assembly

    Let’s put this together.  If you got full sheets of sandpaper, the first step would be to cut or tear them to size.  If you will be working on 5” or shorter blades, ¼ sheets should be plenty of room.  Fold each sheet of sandpaper in half and then half again.  Tear it in to quarters over the sharp edge of the table.

    Paper Grits

    IMPORTANT:  Use the marker to write the grit size on the back of each quarter sheet – once they get torn up, you may not be able to tell what grit each piece is anymore.

    If you’ve decided to go with a separate board and spray adhesive, lay out your pieces in grit size order.  Lightly apply the spray adhesive to the back of each piece and line the pieces up with their short edge right on the board’s edge.  Continue down until a piece of each grit paper is attached to your board.  I would also then write on the board near each piece of paper its grit number.

    Sharpening Board Complete

    Note above that each sheet of sandpaper is lined up with the sharp 90⁰ edge of the board.

    The setup is finished at this point – let’s move on to how to use your new tool.

    Use

     

    Take a look at the knife that you want to sharpen.  You have a decision to make about where to start on the sandpaper board – you won’t always want to start at the coarsest grit;  look at your edge;  is the knife already fairly sharp?  Are there nicks in the blade?  Are the bevels already well defined?  Is there rust to deal with?  Do you want to reshape the edge or the cutting profile?  These are the questions that will help you determine what grit to start on.  Here are some basic guidelines:

    1. No matter where you start, always continue all the way to your finest grit paper and DO NOT SKIP GRITS!  Very important!
    2. Whatever grit paper you decide to start on, completely get the shape and bevels to look exactly the way you want them to before moving on to the next finer grit.  If this requires a lot of effort and is taking too long, you need to drop back to a coarser paper and start again.
    3. Wipe off the blade and your hands between grits – you don’t want to contaminate the finer paper with grit and steel particles of the last paper you just came from – it will slow everything down.
    4. If you want to keep the shape of the knife, it’s relatively sharp and just needs a good ‘touch-up’, start at 180 grit.
    5. For a nicked blade or one that needs to have the bevels established, start on a fairly course paper like 80 or 100.  Even go to 60 when the blade is badly damaged.
    6. Keep your movements small;  it’s much more accurate and helps maintain consistency.  Large sweeping motions are difficult to control.  This is a dry system (no wet sharpening), we want  to keep our movements short and precise.
    7. Use good direct lighting and if you need a magnifier, you can find great reading glasses at a dollar store that really help with seeing what you’re doing.  As you progress and practice, you will probably do this more by feel than watching.
    8. Use sandpaper like it was free.  Change paper often.  Worn sandpaper will not cut well and frustrate you – trust me;  just peel it off and get a fresh piece.

    An easy way to determine if you’re finding and working the bevel correctly is to use the black marker to color the length of the bevel.  When you’ve removed (worn away) all the marks, you’re finished on that grit of sandpaper.

    Knife at 180

    Take your knife and lay the blade down flat on your chosen first piece of paper with the cutting edge facing left and the ricasso or plunge cut even with the edge of the board.  Now to find the bevel – with very little pressure, slide the knife to the left slowly and begin to raise the back of the knife until it just catches on the paper – you’ve found the bevel.

    Now, place your index finger on the top of the blade and start moving the knife back and forth (tip to handle) in short 1/8” – 1/4” (2mm-3mm) motions with more pressure at the tip of the blade and the handle slightly raised.  You should begin to see a grey or black spot forming on the sandpaper where the blade is making contact with the paper.

    Knife Shavings 5

    Keep moving the knife is small strokes as you slowly rock the pressure and point of contact from the tip end of the blade back towards the handle.   The great thing about this method of sharpening is that you get immediate feedback by seeing where the steel is coming off on to the sandpaper and you can manipulate that very easily; (more here, less there, etc.).  Continue on this bevel until you have an evenly wide black line on the sandpaper from the tip to the plunge cut.  Once you’ve done that, flip it over so the edge faces right and on a fresh spot of the paper, repeat the process.

     

    Knife-Shavings-4-150x150.jpg     Knife-Shavings-3-150x150.jpg     Knife-Shavings-2-150x150.jpg      Knife-Shavings-150x150.jpg

    Note in the above progression that the steel is being removed starting at the tip of the blade and moving toward the base as the point of contact is rocked towards the handle of the knife.

    Knife at 400

    Note how there are two even ‘feedback marks’ of steel filings removed from each side of the blade on this piece of 400 grit sandpaper all the way from tip to the base of the blade.  This is a good sign that it is time to move to the next finer grit paper.

    Once both sides are even and ready, wipe the blade and your hands down and repeat on the next finer grit paper.  What you will find however is once you’ve gotten past that first ‘shaping’ grit; each successive finer one will go very quickly.  All you are doing now is removing the bigger scratches and replacing them with the next finer grit scratches.  By the time you get to 2000 grit, the edge will be polished and you should be able to see your reflection in color in the edge.

    As you move towards the finer ‘polishing’ papers in the 1000+ range, the knife will be getting very sharp – be aware of how you are moving the knife back and forth so as to avoid cutting in to your sandpaper.

    Knife at 600

    Your ‘feedback’ lines will be harder to see on the silicon carbide papers in the finer grits.  Once you start to reach the last few, there will be very little steel removed from the blade but you should notice the reflection of the metal getting shinier as the steel is now getting polished.

    Test it however you feel comfortable doing so – please practice safety – this knife will be VERY sharp.

     

    The post "Hair-Popping Sharp Knives" appeared first on Brink of Freedom.

     

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    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.

    Mulch

    Mulch

        STEP 2: NUTRIENTS

    Miraculously, the forest grows without man-made fertilizers! You could say that the towering forest canopy trees are coexisting with their own supporting guild plants below on the forest floor. We want to add herbaceous plants underneath our cherry tree that will naturally fertilize.

    Some plants are dynamic accumulators, meaning that they reach their roots deep into the ground and dredge nutrients from the subsoil up into the plant itself. Cutting the leaves of these plants or letting the plants die back on their own will add those mined nutrients to the topsoil, which can then be used by the fruit tree. Many common weeds are actually dynamic accumulators.

    Other herbaceous plants are nitrogen fixers, meaning that they extract nitrogen from the air and convert it to a useable form at their root level. Nitrogen is an important nutrient for fruit trees.

    Comfrey: Luckily for us, not only does it make excellent mulch, it is an excellent dynamic accumulator.

    Chives: We added four garlic chive plants underneath each tree in a ring inside the comfrey plants, touching the trunk of the cherry trees.

    Chives and comfrey together provide nitrogen, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and silicon.

    Clover, fennel, vetch or yarrow would work well in combination or in place of comfrey and chives. I recommend checking out Toby Hemenways’ book Gaia’s Garden for his straightforward plant lists.

    Garlic Chives

    Garlic Chives

     

       STEP 3: POLLINATION

    Attract pollinators to your fruit tree in bloom and get better fruit set. April and May is the time when cherry trees are blooming and when you should have other things blooming around the cherry trees. If you build a buffet for the pollinators, they’ll tell their friends!                        

    Comfrey wins again: It is a prolific spring bloomer with very popular flowers.

    Note: We planted garlic chives in our guild, but regular chives would work just as well, and their flowers bloom in the springtime (garlic chives bloom in the fall).

    Daffodils are another excellent spring bloomer and additionally, if planted thickly at the dripline, can minimize grass invasion into the tree root zone and guild.                                                                                                                                                         

     

       STEP 4: PEST/DISEASE RESISTANCE

    Many of the afflictions of cherry trees are fungal and mildew in type. For this reason, I might consider adding herb plants to the guild that have antifungal properties.

    Chamomile, garlic, scented geraniums, and peppermint are all antifungals AND dynamic accumulators (always search for dual function). We did not add any of these additional plants to our guild because we wanted to see if the chives, being in the same Allium family as garlic, would offer sufficient resistance to fungus and mildew.

     

       STEP 5: OBSERVE

    Our cherry trees were planted in 2011, and our first real harvest came in 2013. The three pints of fruit were delicious. I can’t wait for an even bigger harvest this year!

    Often, complications in tree health or in the combination of guild plants will not show up until fruit production is in full swing. While our cherry trees have shown prolific growth and tolerance to both wet and dry conditions, this year our trees suffered an infestation from a non-cherry-tree related pest: the uncommon hawthorn lace bug. We noticed that a nearby hawthorn tree was looking lackluster, but didn’t consider that the problem might affect the cherry trees.

    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

    Summary

    Cherry trees are a worthwhile fruit-producing crop, and they benefit from the use of a guild, which supplies them with mulch, nutrients, pollinator attractors, and pest/disease resistance. As with any actions we take to create integrated design systems, we must make time to observe our work and make adjustments as we go along. If we can create well-functioning fruit tree guilds, we’ll be on our way to healthy, balanced ecosystems and highly-productive gardens.

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

  1. Portrait-226x300.jpg

    Finally an indoor aquaponics that can actually feed your family.
    closeups
    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?
    1098534_417031705083068_1551460392_n

    This is why I believe projects like The Living Refrigerator and others like it are so very very important. Food security is paramount to survival and to liberty.

    For us the next step of this project is funding. I know that times have been hard for some of you. For those with shallow pockets please support us by sharing our crowdfunding with your friends and family. For those of you who are better off then some of the less fortunate please dig deep.

    A few things we have learned along the way are that the funding projects that are the most successful are the ones that receive funding in the first few days. This gives the whole project a strong foothold. Even a $5 gift goes a very long way in the first few days.

    Please help us fund.

    Our crowdfunding will begin on January 15th, 2014, on Rocket Hub. You will be able to link to it through our website, Facebook and through Rocket Hub.

    www.flowgardens.com
    www.facebook.com/flowgardens
    1426434_186446284881599_399062676_n

     

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

     

  2. 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

    Spoiler

     

    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
     

    Spoiler

     

    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
     

    Spoiler

     

    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
     

    Spoiler

     

    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
     

    Spoiler

     

    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
     

    Spoiler

     

    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
     

    Spoiler

     

    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

    Spoiler

    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.

    Religion

    Quote

     

    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

     

    Government

    Quote

    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

    Quote

    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

    Quote

    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.

    Sources:
    http://japanifik.wordpress.com/2008/08/0...
    .
    http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat3...
    http://www.puertorico-herald.org/issues/...
    .
    http://www.consortiumnews.com/archive/st...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_of_Pigs...
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6...

    7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

    A bold example of adultery would be president Bill Clinton. Wikipedia has a list of all of the federal political sex scandals in the United States. It is too long to go over in this article but you can look for yourself.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_federal_political_sex_scandals_in_the_United_States

    A bit of a stretch and may be more in line with the fifth commandment, I would argue that by creating a welfare state and incentivising people to be single parents they are encouraging people to commit adultery or at least accuse others of committing adultery in order to receive more money from the government. Money which has been stolen from the people. And that brings us to the eighth commandment.

    8. Thou shalt not steal.

    Taxation is theft at the threat of murder or more theft. Government is getting better at making it impossible to not pay your taxes. If you have a piece of property and do not pay taxes on that piece of property the government can and probably will take your property from you. Even if you have full "ownership" of that property. If you refuse to leave the property you will be forced to leave. If you resist the force to leave you can be shot or tazed to death.

    If you do not pay your federal income tax, government will threaten, if not act on their threats to garnish your wages, arrest you, etc.

    This is theft. The only way it is not theft is if your agree to pay these taxes by way of contract or you have the option to not pay the taxes.

    Central banking is another form of theft. It provides the ability to devalue currency by creating more of it. It is the same thing as the Romans shaving gold out of their coins before dispersing it to the people at it's unaltered value.

    Only if government is only being funded by voluntary donations can you say your government does not steal from its people.

    9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

    Police dogs are now being trained to give a false signal or alert that there are drugs in a suspects vehicle. You can find evidence of this all over the internet but one case that really grabbed my attention in 2012 was the case of Nevada Highway Patrol officers and a retired police sergeant filing a racketeering complaint against the NHP and Las Vegas Metro Police in U.S. District Court. The 103 page complaint states that they training and using dogs to alert their handlers by cues, instead of by picking up a drug's scent by sniffing. When a dog gives a false alert, this results in illegal searches and seizures, including money and property.

    This is just one of many acts of bearing false witness. Look up The Crew Murders of 1970, New York State Police Troop C scandal of 1993, FBI scandal in the 1990's where the FBI confirmed police reports without investigating.

    In Iraq and Afghanistan US troops perform baiting acts. Baiting is when a soldier will drop a weapon and wait for someone to pick it up. Once they do they are fired upon. Troops have also been known to drop weapons. Dropping weapons is the act of killing someone unarmed and then dropping a weapon on the body. In 2008 three US Army soldiers were found guilty of planting evidence in this way. Sgt. Evan Vela was sentenced to a 10 year prison term for murder of an unarmed Iraqi after dropping a weapon on the victim.

    Recently Barack Obama, President of the United States, publicly pledged thirty six times that the American people would be able to keep their current health care plan if they choose to. This was done before getting a health care reform bill passed. After the bill was passed, it was discovered that millions of insurance policies would be canceled in 2014. You can keep your health care plan... for one year.

    In 1989 the US Drug Enforcement Agency set up a drug bust in Lafayette park across from the White House. Why did they setup the drug bust there? The White House asked the DEA to bust someone in the park with drugs so that president Bush Sr. could use it in a speech. The DEA was unable to bust anybody in the park so they set up a drug buy and asked the seller to visit them in Lafayette park. The drug dealer did not know where the White House was and the DEA had to give him directions to the park. This then allowed the DEA to arrest someone with drugs in the that park and Bush was able to use the cocaine from the bust in his speech saying the drugs were "seized a few days ago in a park across the street from the White House . . . . It could easily have been heroin or PCP.". You can find more on this at the Washington Post.

    A good piece of history of a false flag operation in the military can be found on the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

    There are many more examples but I think you get the idea. Government plants evidence and bears false witness.

    10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

    Even under the US constitution it allows for the government to covet using eminent domain. Stealing from someone in the name of the "public good" is not a good excuse. This year the city of Seattle in Washington state used eminent domain to steal a private companies parking lot. The city then tore down that parking lot and built a "public" parking lot that the city then collects parking fees from. You can read more on that at reason.com.

    Now let's say eminent domain is somehow okay. Would you consider it coveting if you were to steal money from someone and give it to someone else? This is also known as redistribution of wealth. Coveting someone's money because of how much they have earned and then using the force of government to steal it from that person and give it to someone else. Many people think this is exactly what should happen. They warrant this theft by calling it greed. I do agree that there are many greedy people out there. I do believe however that those greedy people can only become wealthy through government. They use the government as a tool to reduce or eliminate competition. This is done by giving gifts, promises, money, etc to elect and un-elect officials in order to get a law passed. That law usually hurts competition which allows for the greedy to become wealthy. If this tool was not available to those greedy they would have to compete in a free market. Competition is key to keeping the greedy at bay. A free market has never truly existed if a government existed along side of it. The two are opposites and cannot co-exist unless that government is 100% voluntary. Anything else is slavery.

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

    Render unto Caesar is a common phrase thrown around when trying to defend why a person should support government. This is not the entire phrase. The entire phrase is "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's". Government does not own anything. Government holds and manages it's peoples property. If you believe that government owns property then you would have to also admit that government owns you. Of course this is not true. Government owns no people or property. Government only exists because the people continue to pay for and support its existence. Even if you are in a dictatorship it is important to understand that you should not be owned by any other person. You are your own person. Ceasar only exists because you allow him to exist. He does not own anything and you do not have to render anything unto him.

    Thank you to Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi of the Freedom Feens for their inspiration and much of the information used in creating this article.

     

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

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    Travis Halverson
    Latest Article

    Quick water storage

    Quick water storage

     

    The post "Thirsty?" appeared first on Brink of Freedom.

     

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    Handguns-300x264.jpg

    It’s the question most often asked of a handgun instructor. What is the best handgun to buy? It’s a reasonable enough question… especially to the person who has never shot, much less bought, a handgun.

    The answer to the question is obviously more complex than the question itself. In fact, the answer to the question begins with a question…which usually leads to more questions. I know, you’re not supposed to answer a question with a question. But, as I stated previously, it is a complex answer.

    Here are some of the questions:

    What are you going to use the handgun for? I know, it sounds like an overly simplistic question. But if the purpose of the handgun is for concealed carry, you can rule out the large revolvers that would make excellent hunting choices for deer or similar sized game. In contrast, a pocket pistol typically does not meet the legal requirements for hunting game in most states.

    Let’s assume that you are looking for a handgun for self-defense purposes. Do you intend to carry the gun? Again, it sounds like an overly simplistic question. However, many people will choose to purchase a handgun to keep at home or possibly in their vehicle. If you are not intending to carry the handgun, size and weight become less important issues. There are advantages to purchasing a larger and heavier handgun. Capacity is the first advantage that usually comes to mind. Larger handguns typically hold more rounds of ammunition than smaller handguns. A full-size semi-auto handgun can typically accept magazines that hold 10-15 rounds depending on the specific handgun. Extended magazines are also available for some handguns that hold 30+ rounds. Smaller pocket pistols may only hold 2 to 7 rounds. Again, this depends on the specific handgun make and model. However, the rule is that the smaller the handgun, the less rounds that it will hold.

    The weight of the handgun works the same way. As a rule, the smaller the handgun… the less it will weigh. If you intend to carry the gun every day, less weight becomes a consideration to be factored into the decision making process. If the gun will sit in the nightstand drawer or the glovebox, being lightweight is not really an advantage. In fact, it can be a disadvantage. A heavier handgun absorbs more recoil when the gun is fired than a lighter handgun. This means that the shooter will feel less recoil when shooting a larger handgun of the same caliber.

    The effect of handgun weight reducing the felt recoil also means that a person can choose a handgun in a larger caliber in a heavier gun when compared to a more lightweight handgun. Smaller framed women often come to the conclusion that they need a small framed handgun. I have repeatedly had these women shoot a compact handgun followed by a full size handgun of the same caliber. Without exception, they have always determined that the recoil of the full size handgun is more comfortable than the recoil of the compact handgun.

    We can easily come to the conclusion that the larger handguns with more weight and greater capacity may be a good choice if the handgun will not be carried on a regular basis. On the other hand, if you intend to carry daily and your daily attire consists of wearing business clothes, a compact, lightweight pocket gun is far more valuable than no handgun at all. Somewhere in the middle, when wearing casual clothing, a compact semi-auto can usually be carried (and concealed) rather comfortably without great effort.

    There are some other important questions. How much time will you invest in learning to operate the handgun? How much dexterity do you have in your hands? I know individuals that were wise enough to be honest with themselves and admit that they will not be able to spend a great deal of time practicing with their self-defense handgun. As a result, they chose to purchase a 5-shot revolver. This allowed them to become proficient with the handgun with less time invested in practice and drills. Malfunctions are certainly less frequent and typically easier to correct with a revolver.

    It can be a real challenge to even load a round into the chamber of a semi-auto pistol for someone with arthritis or other issues that limit dexterity in their hands. As many people get older, they lose strength in their hands or develop arthritis. Surgeries on hands and wrists often reduce dexterity. Opting to select a revolver eliminates many of the functions necessary to operate a semi-auto pistol.

    Different handguns have different controls that must be operated. A revolver is simple enough to operate… point and squeeze the trigger. Reloading is usually pretty straight forward as well. A single-action pistol has more controls which may include a safety, magazine release, slide release, take-down lever, grip safety, etc. Then, somewhere in the middle, is the double-action only pistols.
    So, what is the best handgun for you to buy? Consider the questions discussed above.

    • What are you going to use the handgun for?
    • Will you carry the handgun or store it somewhere accessible?
    • How will you carry it? How easily can you conceal it?
    • How much time will you invest in becoming proficient with the handgun?
    • How able are you to operate the controls on the handgun?

    I have begun offering a one-on-one class for new shooters where I provide a variety of handguns in various calibers, instruct them in the use of each handgun, and have them shoot 5-10 rounds through each one. This provides the new shooter with a wealth of information and experience, not to mention confidence in selecting the right handgun for their needs.

    One of the most common misconceptions that I encounter is the belief that you must purchase a handgun before learning to shoot. The reverse is true. Find a friend or a local range that will provide instruction. Ask to shoot different handguns in different calibers. Spend some time on the range becoming familiar with the handguns and the calibers available.

     

    The post "What is the Best Handgun to Buy?" appeared first on Brink of Freedom.

     

     

  3. Fallen-Tree-300x225.jpg

    Many people will say not much, it is dead, it cannot filter the air, it cannot produce any more for us. I, on the other hand, see great potential in what others call a waste. The Native Americans would use every part of a resource, letting nothing go to waste. This principal was repeated in my permaculture course. Recently I was able to take a trip to a friend’s farm and he had several trees that had been blown over. Here is my recap of what a dead tree is worth to me. Granted some uses may take time, as in drying firewood, but it all started with the single blown over tree. This single dead tree is worth roughly at least $2,220. There are probably other ways to break it down, but just as an example.

     

    Firewood

    Firewood – $400

    In my area of suburbia dried split firewood runs for about $60-$80 a rick. Now some people claim a rick is 3×6 where the true rick is 4×8.. Dried, split, delivered, and stacked about $100/rick in my area. 3×6 prices and it would be $500. The particular tree we cut was about 4 true ricks’ worth of wood when split and stacked.

     

    Fireplace Insert

    Heating offset – $800

    In suburbia we only have heat pump/electric heat. The first year we lived in the house that is all we used to heat. Our electricity bill was through the roof that winter. We then invested in a fireplace insert, which is about 80% efficient using the wood compared to the 20% of a normal fireplace. 20% is generous for most fireplaces. The 4 ricks of wood would last us about 2-3 months. With this single fireplace we are able to heat a 1,900 square foot home throughout the entire winter and never need the heat pump/electric heat.

     

    Mushroom Log

    Mushrooms – $800

    Several of the branch logs can be stacked to make a mushroom colony. The going rate for dried oyster mushrooms is about $60/lb dried. The logs could produce for at least 2 years. If you get a more exotic variety of mushrooms then the profit from said mushrooms increases much more.

     

    Mulch

    Mulch – $100

    The branches that are too small for firewood and leaves are sent through a shredder and used for gardening mulch. A few cubic yards could be gained from the tops of a tree.

     

    Water Reduction

    Water reduction – $50

    Having a thicker layer of mulch around your plants reduces the need to water and external nutrients. This extra layer of mulch will help retain water, and reduce or eliminate the need to water your plants.

     

    Mushroom Compost

    Mushroom Compost – $50

    After the mushrooms break down the log, the compost that is left is one of the best compost you can buy. All of the nutrients and minerals the tree has taken up and stored over its lifetime are broken down and now available for a new generation of plants.

     

    Sawdust

    Sawdust – $20

    Yes even the wood chips left over from cutting up the tree can be worth something. Sawdust, combine with old candle wax, and you have a fire starter. Use sawdust in worm bins to produce compost tea, compost, and worms, cat litter, or use it as animal bedding, just to name a few. You do not want to use around any animals if the tree is a black walnut. There are toxic oils in the tree which can make animals sick or even kill them.

    This is just one example of how we as a society could use our resources more effectively. I have learned so much with my experiences over the years and the additional benefit of permaculture educations. I would like to help you use this as well. The possibilities of what you can do with what are otherwise waste materials is huge. Old tires, pallets, plastic pop bottles are normally thrown out. You can reuse these materials. Your lawn that produces nothing but work for you. You have to mow, some people water it, and unfortunately many people put chemicals for weeds and fertilizer. Why not turn this wasted space, costing you money, into something that can produce food, or even income, for you.

     

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    Vets-300x242.jpg

    As a money manager and investment advisor, I earn a living by discerning trends and taking advantage of them before they are evident to others.  Trends are often preceded by seemingly innocuous anomalies.  These anomalies can be detected by insightful observation.  Telltale signs consist of a change in momentum, a variance to correlation, the divergence from a standard ratio, or an out-of-character human event.

    My trend intuition meter was pegged on Sunday, October 14, 2013, because of events that occurred during the Million Vet March.  I’ll be watching to determine if this occurrence is an outlier or if the protest expands to become a defining political event.  I believe this single protest has the potential to escalate into a bigger movement.  Why?  Three things were different about this march when compared to other non-Left protests.

    The first anomaly was REAL diversity, as opposed to the phony broad optics choreographed into most political events.  The demographics of the protectors was telling.  The “veterans” were represented by black and white, young and old, male and female, healthy and disabled, suits and blue colors, bikers and truckers.  Judging by the slogans on the signs and banners, they were a mix of the political Center, Right, and Libertarian persuasion.  There were clearly non-veterans involved, as evidenced by the presence of the very young.

    Secondly, the “veterans” were openly defiant from the start with arguably premeditated intent on civil disobedience beyond simple protest and trespassing.  Sam Adams could not have staged a better disturbance.  This was not a peaceful feel-good kumbaya demonstration promulgated by typical milquetoast establishment Republicans.  The participants were authentic, mad as hell, and surprisingly festive.

    They moved barriers to gain access to closed monuments and then defiantly carried the blockades to the White House.  Some were even bold enough to scale the White House fence, apparently with enough righteous indignation to not care about Homeland Security rooftop snipers.

    At a minimum, their actions included inciting a riot, trespassing, theft, and destruction of government property.  All in plain sight of armed authorities and a watchful media.  While defiant and destructive demonstrations are not uncommon among the Left, they are rare, or more accurately nonexistent, among the “silent majority” Center Right middle class.

    Up until this point, similar antigovernment demonstrations organized by factions like the TEA Party have purposely avoided even the appearance of confrontation.  TEA Party demonstrators may have acted irreverent but even when provoked they were restrained and peaceful.  Special effort was made to clean up demonstration areas so that the sites were left free of litter and unmolested.  This was not the case for the Million Vet March.

    Lastly, what is most and amazingly unique about this event was that the protesters were not motivated by a self-serving reward.  The Veterans were not demanding benefits, money, healthcare or any tangible compensation for themselves.  This was not a covetous protest or a polarizing single issue stance like abortion, gay, or religion rights.  It was something more nuanced than that, something quite esoteric that generally does not result in so much anger and aggressive behavior.

    Citizens were belligerently reacting to what they perceived as the cynical closing of open space monuments.  Closings that required more expenditure of government funds to restrict than to be left open and unguarded.  The President provokingly closed and barricaded national monuments to send a message that the government could and would go out of its way to inconvenience ordinary people.

    The vindictive bureaucrat-in-chief furloughed safety inspectors at nuclear power plants but found money in the budget to barricade memorials.  The people perceived this as a brown shirt thug tactic, not to be tolerated by an otherwise peace-loving if not apathetic public.

    Obama was thumbing his nose at flyover country but the Veterans defiantly waved a one finger salute back.  This was a rare display of disrespect to the Executive Branch, an office these patriotic people otherwise revere.  Perhaps this is an awakening of the middle class.

    VetsThe elite should be very concerned.  The Veterans’ point in all this was not to simply have access to the monuments.  Remember, not only did they remove barriers, they then went out of their way to dispose of the obstructions in front of the White House.  The motive was not access.  It was rebellion.  Intended to publically MOCK the regime.  The anointed hate to be ridiculed.

    The Veterans taunted the riot gear clad police and played to the media’s cameras.  They held up clever homemade signs (my favorite: “Mr. President, tear down this wall!”) and even proudly held up pilfered official signs stating, “ALL NATIONAL PARKS ARE CLOSED”.  Unmasked and unafraid with broad smiling faces, unarmed citizens pushed back against tyranny.  And the despot did nothing.

    Inaction on the part of a bully foretells impotence.  These common people were fearless and serendipitous.  Not to be deterred by the threat of future IRS audits or ATF harassment.  They simply did not care about intrusive police state extortion.  Such bold insolence scares the governing elite.

    What can the cowardly effeminates do when intimidation fails to keep the masses in check?  The only thing they fear more than mocking is lack of power.  When mind control of the sheeple is over, the governing elites’ game is up.  And they know it.

    What will the Statists do?  They will try to downplay the success of the Million Vet March and to conceal their fear.  The media will help them make the protesters out to be crazies, extremists.  They will do everything within their power to prevent copycat defiance.

    They will also step up efforts to intimidate and extort.  But to what avail?  What are they going to do to masses of middle class protesters?  Put grandmothers in jail?

    So, where does the game changing trend come in?  If normally complacent middle class Americans are willing to charge the barricades and climb the White House fence, then it’s apparent that the people have been pushed beyond their limits and know that the tyrant has no clothes.  An emboldened middle class will not tolerate the inevitable outcomes of Obamacare- rationing, lack of choice, black market healthcare, needless suffering and death.  The coalition of the unhappy will not be a narrow minority special interest group that can easily be bought off.

    If this trend plays out, the upcoming mid-term election year may be more volatile than the 1964 Democratic Convention.  A prudent citizen will watch for warning signs and take appropriate action.

     

    The post "Million Vet March—Sign of Mayhem to Come?" appeared first on Brink of Freedom.

     

  4. Cedar
    Latest Article

    Sprouts2-300x287.jpg

    Sprouts1There have been many articles written about sprouts and how beneficial they are for you and yadda, yadda, yadda. You probably have read those articles. But… have you actually gone out of your way and started sprouting yet?

    As a longtime sprouter, I will admit it… I have slacked off for the last year to eighteen months from sprouting. I got busy, I moved twice, I have a 3-year-old daughter, I didn’t have a good place to put a sprouter… there were a lot of reasons why I got out of the habit of doing it. And then, the day before yesterday, I finally had a reason to start again. I put my hands on the jar of Mung bean seed which is in the refrigerator to move it to get to something else. When I moved it back, I decided I had no excuse, that Egg Foo Yung is a winner for a dinner this week, since we have eggs from our chickens coming out our ears, celery in the garden, leftover pork and more ingredients lurking about. When people tell me that they have too little of a space to garden for fresh greens, I always wonder why they don’t start sprouting. It only takes the size of a quart jar to grow fresh greens every 3-8 days for you and your family. There currently are two glass jars on my counter growing. One of Mung beans and one of alfalfa.

    What is sprouting?
    Sprouting in your kitchen is like having a tiny garden in the house year round and you do not even have to weed it!!! What is sprouting? It is taking the seeds of various vegetables, soaking them in water, draining and they germinate. Sprouts are super nutritious, contain vitamin C, lots of the different vitamin B complex, calcium, carbohydrates, chlorophyll, iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium, zinc, all of the amino acids, and depending on what variety you are sprouting, up to 35% protein.

    Personally I think the reason people don’t sprout more is that they are SCARED of it. It is like a science experiment. After all, most people do not even realize food comes anywhere but from the stores anymore. Growing without soil is rather intimidating to some folks. It just seems … weird. Only hippies and granola people do that. But then again, many years ago, only the hippies ate yogurt. Now yogurt is very commonplace and accepted. Maybe sprouting will be, too.

    Where do I get sprout seed?
    You can go to a health food store to find sprouting seed (they are untreated), even many normal grocery stores have it now, but you might have to ask. Or you can order them through the computer from various sources. I generally stock up once a year and buy a quart of each variety I want, then I store them in a glass jar in the refrigerator.

    You could buy a fairly complex sprouting gizmo to grow your sprouts, but I have never gotten more elaborate than a recycled glass jar and a sprouting lid which screws onto a canning jar. The very minimum that you require, besides a jar, is a strainer of some kind. You can use a small mesh strainer, or you can rubber band cheesecloth over the top. DO NOT use window screen or anything not made for food purposes. Window screen I tried once and they created the most foul-smelling sprouts ever. They smelled toxic, not fresh and clean like sprouts normally smell.

    Most people are familiar with alfalfa sprouts, but there is a WHOLE lot of other tasty sprouting options out there. Many people also think that all sprouts are served raw. Many however, are also cooked, so make sure to read to the end of this article for some yummy recipes.

    There is a plethora of options on sprouts: Alfalfa, clover, fenugreek, pea, chickpeas, mung beans, soybean, sesame, sunflower, almond, hazelnut, linseed, peanut, broccoli, cabbage, watercress, mustard, radish, daikon radish, rocket/arugula, turnip, oats, wheat, corn, rice, barley, kamut, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, onions, and celery.

    Sprouts2How to start sprouting?
    1. Soak seeds overnight in a jar with water. For alfalfa seeds I use about 1-2 tablespoons of seed and then fill half of the jar with water.

    2. The next morning, drain water and rinse with fresh water once or twice.

    3. Keep the seeds in your jar without any water. The seeds should be damp. I like to keep them out of a ‘swamp’, but they need to be moist at all times.

    4. Twice a day, plus any time that I walk past the jar, which I keep next to the kitchen sink, I rinse the seeds/sprouts with fresh water, to keep the sprouts wet and clean of bacteria or other cooties.

    5. Most sprouts are ready when they 1 inch to 3 inches long. I then put them in a sunny location for a couple of hours and they green up a bit more, giving you more chlorophyll.

    6. Rinse out with fresh water and serve immediately or store them in a covered container in your refrigerator.


    What to do with your new sprouts?
    Most people think of sprouts as alfalfa sprouts on your sandwich or salad. But the world of sprouts is unlimited as how to eat them.
    This will be one of my dinners this week:

    Egg Foo Yung
    8 eggs, beaten
    1 cup thinly sliced celery
    1 cup finely chopped onion
    1 cup bean sprouts
    1/2 cup diced fresh mushrooms
    1/3 cup chopped cooked chicken breast (or rabbit)
    1/3 cup cooked and crumbled ground beef (or elk, venison, goat)
    1/3 cup chopped cooked pork (or rabbit, beef, pork or any cooked meat)
    1 teaspoon sea salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

    Sauce
    2 cubes chicken bouillon or about 1 cup broth
    1 1/2 cups hot water
    1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar or honey
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    6 tablespoons cold water
    1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

    Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add the celery, onion, bean sprouts, mushrooms, chicken, beef, pork, salt and pepper. Mix together. Heat oil in a medium skillet or wok and brown egg mixture 1/2 cup at a time. When all of the mixture is browned, set aside.

    To Make Sauce: Dissolve the bouillon in the hot water in a small saucepan; add sugar and soy sauce and blend well over medium heat. Add cold water and cornstarch and stir until thick and smooth. Serve with Egg Foo Yung.

     

    Gado Gado Salad of Indonesia
    This salad is a mix of fruits, sprouts and vegetables served along with a unique peanut-sauce dressing. Quick and easy to make, especially on a hot day, or getting home from work late.

    • 1 cup bean sprouts
    • 2 cups mixed fruits like apple, pineapple, etc.
    • 1/2 cup chopped, boiled and cooled potatoes
    • 1/2 cup chopped, peeled cucumber

    For the dressing:

    • 5 Tablespoons roasted peanuts
    • 2 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
    • 2 whole dry Kashmiri red chilis, broken up
    • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
    • Sea salt to taste
    • Combine all the ingredients and blend in a mixer, using 5 tbsp of water till smooth.

    Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, mix well and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

    Enjoy and happy sprouting. It truly is very easy and you will get a lot of benefit for very little investment of money or time.

    ~Cedar

     

     

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  5. 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

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    599497ef5d03d_imageproxy(9).thumb.jpg.2e50df2aa0f89fabeaea9a970c9d0c60.jpg

    I like zombies. This is pretty apparent to anyone who knows me, from my “Zombies, Eat Flesh” subway t-shirt, to my extensive collection of zombie themed literature and video games and movies. I like to surf forums that relate to zombies or zombie themed topics (surviving the apocalypse, scavenging for food, forming a group of survivors, etc.) and my friends and I often get into deep, thought provoking conversations about zombies (don’t judge me).

    One day we were talking about building a post-apocalyptic society, and I was intrigued; how would we form a society? How would we manage its growth? I’m no fan of the police state idea as some of my friends suggested, since that always ends in disaster (at least in the movies). Of course, I’m no fan of the police state period, but that’s for a different conversation.

    So, after we talked for a while, I went home, but I couldn’t stop thinking about this. I puzzled it in my mind: the greatest engine for prosperity and security is freedom; as free men will come together to protect their ideals, as we have seen in America. The U.S. Constitution is one of the most brilliant documents ever conceived, and it embodies freedom for all, even if it has never been fully realized.  So I whipped out my computer and started writing.

    I wrote this document as a thought experiment. When I presented it to my friends, some thought it was good, some thought it needed improvement, and some thought it was garbage (those would be the police state advocates); but of them, I was the only one to actually write something out. I present this, not as a model for how you should structure YOUR post-zombie-apocalypse society, but merely as something to make you think, something you can enjoy reading, and something you can laugh about and talk over with your friends. Enjoy.

     

    Colony Manifesto

    Free and honest men, as is their tendency to do, will come together in the aide of one another in times of need and crisis. For their common defense, free and honest men will seek to reside near each other and to supply each other with resources to aide in their common survival. Men such as these will not seek to wrong each other out of spite, yet disagreements will arise among them as they are imperfect men in an imperfect world. Not all men are free and honest, as some are bound to sin and deceitful, and so it is for these reasons that we come together to ratify these standards for living peaceably amongst each other, and do affirm that all those who seek shelter amongst us shall abide the same.

    1. Structure
      1. The people shall come together as free men and women and shall decide together the fate of the colony, every man and woman, over the age of 16, having the right to vote and to affect the future of the colony. Every member of the colony shall also, at any time required by the needs of the colony, contribute to the collected defense of the colony.
      2. Once the colony reaches a population of no more than 60, the colony shall organize into neighborhoods of no less than 20 and no more than 39 people, decided by locale, and the free grouping of free people.
        1. Each neighborhood shall elect one (1) individual to represent them in the Congress of the Colony (hereafter referred to as The Congress or simply Congress) in all matters affecting the whole of the colony. This representative shall attend The Congress to present the will of the people in his neighborhood and shall, upon recess of that Congress, report back to his neighborhood to inform the people of updates and decisions regarding the progress of The Congress, and shall continue in this manner until the conclusion of The Congress. A new election shall be held at the conclusion of every congress for each representative, and no man or woman shall be elected to that position more than two times in a row, nor serve as any more than every fifth representative.
        2. The Congress shall convene on the first day of every month to ensure that the business of the colony is managed properly and proceeds unimpeded. They will serve one day in session to present all business to be discussed at that Congress, and then recess for two days to present the business to the Citizens of their respective neighborhoods. On the fourth day they shall reconvene and shall each present the response of their neighborhoods to each article of business, except in the event that any of the neighborhoods have not reached a consensus on the business at hand, at which point a further day of recess shall be granted, not exceeding three (3) days. The Congress shall then have three (3) days to conclude business. The duties of The Congress shall be enumerated further in this document.
      3. Once the colony has attained a size requiring the formation of twelve (12) neighborhoods, the colony shall be further divided into districts, each comprised of three to five (3-5) neighborhoods.
        1. Each neighborhood shall elect one (1) representative to manage the affairs of the neighborhood through service in the District Council (hereafter referred to as The Council or simply Council). The Council will operate in much the same manner as does The Congress, and their duties shall be listed further in this document.
        2. Each District shall elect one (1) representative to serve in The Congress which shall operate the same as prior except that there will be an extra day for initial recess as the Congressmen reports to the Councilors and they report to the people.
        3. Each neighborhood shall elect one Lawman who shall serve with the other Lawmen from the district to keep order and apprehend criminals. The term each Lawman shall serve is to be one quarter of the year, with the year beginning on January first, and no member of the colony is to serve more than one term as a Lawman in any given year. The duties and power of the Lawmen shall be enumerated further in this document.
        4. The Congress shall, from this point forward meet every other month and the election for Congressman shall be held in the second month of a congressional convention for the next cycle. In the event a special session is required for emergency business, the congress of the current cycle shall convene.
      4. Once the colony has reached a size requiring the formation of twelve (12) Districts, the colony will be further organized into regions consisting of no less than three (3) and no more than five (5) districts.
        1. Each neighborhood shall elect one (1) representative to serve on The Council.
        2. Each District shall elect one (1) representative to serve on the Regional Assembly (hereafter referred to as The Assembly). The Assembly shall operate in the same fashion as The Congress and meet every other month, with elections being held in the second month of the cycle. In addition to convening on the first day of each new cycle, The Assembly shall also convene when The Congress convenes. The congressmen shall return to their regions and relay the business of the colony to the members of The Assembly. The Assemblymen shall then relay that business to their district Councilors and once they have delivered a verdict to the congressman they shall conclude the Assembly.
        3. Each Region shall elect a representative to serve in The Congress. The Congress shall be granted one extra day of initial recess, and shall meet in the first month of each quarter year, with the year beginning on January first, and elections shall be held in the third month of the congressional cycle.
        4. Each neighborhood shall elect one Lawman who shall serve with the other Lawmen from the district to keep order and apprehend criminals.
        5. Each District shall elect a Sheriff to coordinate the efforts of the Lawmen in their District and to cooperate across the Region. The term a Sheriff shall serve is one quarter of the year, with the year beginning on January first, and no member of the colony shall serve more than one term as either a Sheriff or a Lawman in any given year. The Duties of the Sheriff shall be enumerated further in this document.
      5. Once the colony has reached a size requiring the formation of twelve (12) regions, the colony will split evenly, forming two fully functioning and self governing colonies. The colonies are then free to dissolve ties with each other or, in the spirit of this document, to band together and establish a higher form of government, preferably modeled after the Constitution of the United States of America, and work together for the betterment of their citizens, and the betterment of humanity as a whole.
    2. Duties of Elected Officials
      1. Congress
        1. To settle disputes between the highest orders of organization (neighborhoods, districts, regions, respectively).
        2. To manage the dealings of the colony with outsiders who do not wish to join (i.e., trade with other colonies, raiders, etc.).
        3. To prosecute crimes that occur between the highest orders of organization (ie, a man from one region kills a man from another)
        4. To prosecute appeals from the highest order of organization.
        5. To prosecute crimes against the colony
        6. To protect the rights of the citizens. The purpose of law is the defense of personal liberty, not the rectification of social injustice. To that end, The Congress shall pass no law constraining the personal liberties of the Citizens of the colony, and shall only have the power to pass laws respecting the rights of the Citizens.
        7. To set and standardize the weights and measures.
      2. Council
        1. To settle disputes between neighborhoods.
        2. To manage the dealings of the district with other districts.
        3. To prosecute inter-neighborhood crimes.
        4. To prosecute felonies.
        5. To manage the standard operation of the markets in their district.
      3. Assembly
        1. To settle disputes between districts.
        2. To manage the dealings of one region with another.
        3. To prosecute inter-district crimes.
        4. To prosecute appeals from the council level.
      4. Representative notes
        1. Councilors, Assemblymen, and Congressmen shall be compensated one day’s wage for every day in session. They shall serve the people from whence they come during the session and then return to their homes to continue in their business and earn their living as amongst free and honest men.
        2. A day’s wage shall be determined as what is likely to be required for sustenance and healthy maintenance of a single and averaged sized adult, and as the average of ammunition and supplies to be expended throughout the day.
      5. Lawman
        1. To conduct regular watches throughout his neighborhood and to organize a volunteer peace force to maintain watch.
        2. To apprehend for trial violators of the common law of the colony.
        3. The Lawman shall, when pursuing a suspect, have the power and authority to assemble a posse to assist with the apprehension.
      6. Sheriff
        1. To coordinate the efforts of the Lawmen under his jurisdiction.
        2. To pursue and apprehend, with the aid of the Lawmen, fugitives fleeing from one neighborhood to another.
        3. To transport suspects to trial and to transport convicts to have their sentence carried out.
        4. To facilitate the release of acquitted persons.
      7. Peace Force notes
        1. The Sheriffs and Lawmen shall be compensated with one day’s wages for each day of service.
        2. The offices of Sheriff and Lawman shall be issued some type of long rifle or shotgun for duty services as available.
        3. Volunteers for the Peace Force Watch shall provide their own weapons, but shall be provided with two (2) loads of ammunition for the duration of their watch, to be returned to the Peace Force armory if not used.
        4. The constituency of the elected officer shall develop a defining uniform which shall be issued to each person holding that office.
        5. All citizens can, if witnessing a crime, detain the offender.
    3. Common Laws
      1. The purpose of law, as stated previously in this document, is to defend personal liberties, not to rectify perceived social injustice. As such the only true law is common law, that which is naturally evident through observation in the world and behaviors around us. We find that the laws common to all man can best be enumerated through the inalienable rights endowed to us by our creator, and that among these are the rights to Life, Liberty, and Property. Let it be noted that the colony is not a democracy of mob rule, but a republic of laws of nature, and that no laws of man shall be passed that conflict with the natural and self evident laws.
        1. The right to Life encompasses many aspects of the common law. We have the right to live and so are guaranteed through common law a freedom from unwarranted attack, whether intended as lethal or non-lethal, a right to defend ourselves against such an unwarranted attack with lethal force, and a freedom to earn a living through any means we see fit, so long as that means does not violate the rights of another.
        2. The right to Liberty guarantees us freedom in activity. No one may inhibit the activities of another that does not violate the rights of any.
        3. The right to Property guarantees that every man is entitled his possessions and no others, and shall remain in possession of his belongings until such time as he should decide to part with it. People are not property
      2. While all men have certain rights, residing within the colony is a privilege. As such all persons over the age of 16 have certain responsibilities.
        1. All men and women have a responsibility to contribute to the defense of the colony. To that end, all persons over the age of 16 are required to own and maintain a firearm within the colony and to keep it with them at all times.
        2. Every man shall keep regular training with his arms and shall, when available, be afforded two loads of ammunition for his weapon on every second month with which to train.
        3. All persons have a responsibility to provide for themselves. Every able bodied man and woman over the age of 16 shall work, either farming, maintenance, scavenging, or some other job for which they may collect their wage of their own accord, or trade their service for a wage to be bartered between the two parties of the transaction.
        4. For the privilege of residing in the colony, all members of the colony will be taxed by three quarters of one days wage at the beginning of every week, with any and all excess to be stored as a colony stockpile. The elected officials may not vote to increase this tax.
        5. The Citizens of the colony have the authority to vote to trade supplies from the colony stockpile for other types of supplies and equipment that may be of use to the colony. Trade may only be initiated once enough of the stockpile has been set aside to ensure that the elected officials are compensated as intended. The elected officials may not vote to initiate trade without the approval of their constituency.
        6. Once in every third month, stockpile permitting, the colony may elect to distribute three quarters of the stockpile back to the Citizens of the colony.
        7. Every man and woman, over the age of 16, shall, for the duration of their stay in the colony, be assigned a regular shift to keep watch on and about the exterior of the colony, in order that, in the event of attack, an alarm may be raised in a timely manner.
      3. The individuals elected to government are not special citizens and are in fact merely avatars to the will of the people. To that end there are limits to the power a government may wield over its people.
        1. The government may not alter this document, except through a ballot vote amongst the populace for which they receive two thirds approval to move forward with the selected alteration.
        2. As every man is a member of the militia defending the colony, no standing army may be raised as all defensive needs have been met through the militia.
        3. The government may not, in any way, limit where arms may be borne, nor in what fashion, nor which arms. The right to bear arms is absolute.
        4. The government may not levy any taxes on its citizens, other than what has already been established in this document. The government may also not tax goods coming in or out of the Colony.
        5. The government may not initiate dealings with outsiders without approval from the people in the form of a simple majority.
        6. The government may not pass any rule or regulation that in any way limits the freedoms of the individuals, except where expressly stated above.
    4. This document is the framework we shall use for maintaining order, peace, and civility in the colony, and maintaining a safe environment. Following are the people who have read and agreed to this document and the rules set forth therein. Violation of this document may result in expulsion from the colony, and the signature of the violator following this document removes any question of knowledge from the proceedings.
  6. In connection with my article on Raleigh’s Sausage Biscuit Storm Troopers, I created a 4-minute video explaining how one bailed-out bank has sunk its fangs into food stamps.

     

    Is nothing safe from these jackals?imageproxy.thumb.jpg.b150fdd67c7ba273324859c68c777ed3.jpg

    This is just one example among thousands of a program that mulcts the public by siphoning off money to prop up astronomical welfare packages known as “bonuses” in the Orwellian parlance of Wall Street bankers. In large part, this is accomplished through corporate political contributions and lobbying.

    JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon (shown above) would have you believe the government is a burden on his bank, a paranoid delusion of fantastic proportions. In reality, Chase is larded in half a trillion dollars in public bailout money. The food stamps program, which does not count towards that total, is one example of a backdoor bailout the bank enjoys at the public’s expense.

    If you have any money in Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup or Wells Fargo, you are making a serious mistake (in addition to being part of the problem).

    Backup data supporting statements in this video may be found here and here.

     

     

    Image courtesy of WilliamBanzai7       

        

    John Titus has practiced patent litigation in federal courts for 19 years. He is the creator of the feature length documentary Bailout about the crimes that caused the ongoing financial crisis.

     

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  7. Opening-Shot.ForSite-276x300.jpg

    This is a review of a new type solar cooker I purchased, called the “Hot Pot.” It is different than box solar cookers, and I was curious if it would cook effectively, particularly in an emergency situation. I figured, if it worked well, I would be able to cook as long as there was sun, and save using other types of non-renewable fuels.

    I first heard about this cooker from good friends, Steve and Susan Gregersen. They live off the grid and rely on various means in which to cook. I respect many of their choices, as they live this lifestyle for real. I felt that if they were impressed with the “Hot Pot” solar cooker, then I might be as well. I checked the web and found the best deal for one at the Mother Earth News Store, and ordered one. Not an inexpensive device, we paid $119.99 plus $6.95 shipping. We found it for only $99.95 at another site, but the shipping was $60.00.

    We waited for, what seemed like, ever. I remember when it finally arrived, my wife Denise and I couldn’t wait to open it. The whole unit comes in a sturdy box with the reflector folded flat in the top of the box. The reflector is really unique and is made from a light metal material with a very shiny reflective material on the inside. It folds so the reflective material is protected when closed. The box has a “box in a box” which holds the Pyrex glass bowl and lid with a black enameled insert.

    Box, Reflector & hinges in one photo.ForSite.2

    The above photos show the box the “Hot Pot” arrives in, the folded reflector in the top of the box, and a close up of the hinges on the folded reflector.The Pyrex bowl and enameled insert is packaged in a box, in the box. I suggest you keep the box to store the unit in when not using it.

    The Pyrex bowl and enameled insert is packaged in a box, in the box. I suggest you keep the box to store the unit in when not using it.

    Unfortunately, we had to wait fourteen days before we had a day scheduled for full sun. Most people know I am a patient man, but when the sun finally came out, Denise and I were grabbing and running for the yard. It should be noted that while we were waiting for a sunny day, I decided to purchase a galvanized pan to set the reflector on. My reasoning was that in between snow and melting, the ground was still very cold, and I was concerned if we set the reflector directly on the ground we might have heat loss to the ground through conduction. On a hot summer day this probably is not be an issue, but it was still winter here. When summer comes, we will probably place the whole unit on a table or other raised platform. I’m actually already thinking about a pole type arrangement with a swivel top, so the reflector can be turned, in order to keep it facing the sun.

    The galvanized pan to set the reflector on as described in text.

    The galvanized pan to set the reflector on as described in text.

    Our first cooking with the “Hot Pot” was simply soup. Even though the temperature on this first try was in the low forty’s, we had hot soup for lunch in about two hours. The food you are going to cook is placed directly into the enameled black insert. The insert is then placed inside the 3 quart Pyrex glass bowl, and then the lid is placed on the insert. The bowl is place on the bottom center of the reflector, which has been positioned so that the front opening faces directly at the sun. According to the directions provided with this unit, for maximum efficiency, an adjustment should be made each hour or so to maintain a proper orientation to the sun while it moves across the sky.

    A view of the reflector setting on the galvanized pan and the bowl setting inside the reflector. Soup Made in Oven

    A view of the reflector setting on the galvanized pan and the bowl setting inside the reflector.
     

    The soup is ready to eat!

    Soup Made in Oven- The soup is ready to eat!

    Our next experiment was with freeze-dried food. I knew we could now cook regular food in the “Hot Pot”, but I wondered about freeze-dried. I opened two packages of AlpineAire Foods “Shrimp Fried Rice”. The contents of the packages were placed in the enameled insert and the appropriate amount of water was added, as indicated on the package. Now, as most of you know, you normally boil water, then place it in the meal package, close it up, and wait about seven minutes. Being a solar cooker does not actually boil water, we tried it this way.

    The contents of two freeze dried packets are placed in the enameled insert and water is added.

    The contents of two freeze dried packets are placed in the enameled insert and water is added.

    Shrimp Fried Rice from a solar cooker!

    Shrimp Fried Rice from a solar cooker!

    The result of our experiment was edible. It wasn’t as good as normal, but, because it was a little dry, we believe we might need more water than directed. Being it takes a couple of hours to rehydrate, the contents seem to suck up the water. Next time we do this, more water will be added after the first hour. We’ll see how it turns out.

    The next experiment was trying to bake a cake. We were really interested in the results of this attempt. Denise made an apple cake from scratch (the recipe can be found below) and we placed it in a round baking pan that we normally use to bake in our Dutch oven. The pan was placed inside the black enameled insert and this was placed inside the Pyrex glass bowl. The temperature outside was 47 degrees F, so we figured it would take a while. The cake was done in 3.5 hours.

    Cake mixture is prepared in a cake pan and ready to place in the "Hot Pot" enameled insert.

    Cake mixture is prepared in a cake pan and ready to place in the “Hot Pot” enameled insert.

     

    Cake pan inside the enameled insert, inside the Pyrex bowl, inside the reflector... I'm sure you get it!

    Cake pan inside the enameled insert, inside the Pyrex bowl, inside the reflector… I’m sure you get it!

     

    Cake baked, cooled, and out of pan!
    Cake baked, cooled, and out of pan!
    Nothing left to do but eat it. Nothing like the addition of a scoop of ice cream and some Carmel drizzle!

    Nothing left to do but eat it. Nothing like the addition of a scoop of ice cream and some Carmel drizzle!

    We have since experimented with various foods and are very impressed with this solar cooker. The booklet that is provided with it gives lots of cooking tips, as well as various factors that affect the speed of the cooking process. It also provides various times required for different types of food; such as eggs, rice, fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, potatoes, beans, etc.

    We liked this cooker so much we naturally ordered a second one. We now have “dual” solar cookers and can cook dinner in one while a cake is baking in the other. I just love to have options.

    Denise with Dual "Hot Pot" solar cookers. Dinner in one and a cake in the other!

    Denise with Dual “Hot Pot” solar cookers. Dinner in one and a cake in the other!

    In regard to getting optimum use of the sun, I got a great tip from my friend Susan Gregersen. She indicates, ” The best way to tell if a solar oven or cooker will build up enough heat is to stand out in the sun and look at your shadow. If your shadow is shorter than you are, you should get good solar heat for cooking. If your shadow is longer, the food will take longer to cook because the sun’s angle is lower in the sky and won’t produce as much heat, even if you try to tilt the cooker toward the sun. On a ‘short-shadow’ day with good solar cooking conditions there are things that will take longer to cook. Rice and beans are good examples. Even soaked overnight they take all day to fully cook. Potatoes, meat, and hard vegetables (carrots, raw peas) are what I’d call “medium-time” foods. Pasta and soft vegetables, as well as things like minute rice, cook fastest”.

    The bottom line is both my wife and I like this cooker. It provides us a means to cook free of non-renewable resources, as long there is sun. It is always nice to have options, and this certainly provides us with an optional cooking method. This unit, although ideal for emergencies or an alternative method to cook at the homestead, probably is too heavy and bulky for camping. Of course for car or truck camping, or use at an established camp or cabin, it will provide you with a option.

    Apple Cake Recipe:

    • 1 – stick butter
    • 1/2 cup – sugar
    • 2-3 – eggs (2 XL or 3 Med.)
    • 1 – lemon
    • 1-1/4 – cup flour
    • 2 Tsp’s – baking powder
    • 1-4 Tbsp’s – milk
    • 2 – apples

    Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix well. Stir in lemon zest and juice. Add flour, baking powder, and milk and mix well. Spread in 8″ baking pan. Peel and core apples and cut thin slices. Lay the apple slices on top of the dough and bake.

     

     

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    Salmonberries-300x225.jpg

    Salmonberries are the first berry to ripen in the spring, making them a very important foraging food source. Salmonberries are also incredibly easy to gather and can provide a lot of food if they grow well in your local climate. I actually lived off of only salmonberries for one month (not recommended) during a wilderness survival exercise! Most of the information in this article comes from my extensive first hand experience with salmonberries; I know what I’m talking about.

    Where To Find Them:

    Don’t settle for the first little salmonberry patch you find; shop around a little. When I want to find lots of salmonberries, I usually checkout my local logging roads. If that doesn’t work out for you, I suggest looking along the inside of a bend in a large river.

    Logging Truck

    • Primarily in the Pacific Northwest
    • They like lots of moisture and partial sun
    • Near running water, drainage ditches, lakes, wet spots in forests
    • Along the sides of roads, disturbed sites
    • Along the banks of rivers, especially on the inside of a bend
    • Often found in large patches, associated with red alder
    • NOT in open bogs, marshes or swamps

    What They Look Like:

    If you are any good at identifying plant families than you will easily recognize salmonberry plants by their resemblance to other plants in the Rubus family (brambles). Salmonberries stand out, however, from their relatives because they grow quite tall and have leaves that are more sharply divided than most in the Rubus family.

    Salmonberry What they look like

    • Plant grows from 1 to 4 metres tall, often drooping near the top
    • Long, narrow stems first green, then reddish, then light brown
    • Small, flimsy thorns scattered on the stems
    • Singular pink flowers in the spring
    • It is in the same family as raspberries and blackberries so they share many features
    • There is little danger of getting them mixed up with poisonous plants
    • The best way to be sure of identifying the plant is to do a google image search

    What The Berries Are Like:

    Salmonberries were so named for a very good reason: they are the colour of salmon. Don’t expect salmonberries to be as sweet as commercial berries but do expect them to be much more juicy and refreshing.

    Salmonberries

    • Very juicy and mildly sweet (the taste varies greatly)
    • Earliest berry to ripen in the Pacific Northwest
    • Flavour very distinct and unlike any other berry I have tasted
    • Colour turns from yellow, to orange (salmon), to red
    • Size ranges from small raspberry size to large blackberry size
    • They are ripe when large and plump (the colour when ripe is also very variable)

    How To Harvest Them:

    In most salmonberry patches there will be tons of dead salmonberry stems around; break off one of these to make a perfect hook for pulling the high fruit down within reach! And remember that the most important visual indication of sweetness is how big and plump the berry is. Colour has almost nothing to do with it!

    How to Harvest Theme

    • Fashion yourself a hook on a 1 metre stick from a dead Salmonberry branch
    • Use this hook to pull down tall branches
    • Use small containers because the berries are delicate and easily crushed
    • Look for lush, dark green leaves
    • Taste the best berry on a plant first; to determine if the plant is good or bad
    • Taste varies greatly between plants but all the berries on a given plant will taste roughly the same
    • Hang a basket around your neck so you can gather with both hands

    How To Use Them:

    Feel free to eat lots of salmonberries while you are harvesting. In fact tasting a berry from each plant is really important if you don’t want to be stuck with sour berries when you get home.

    • Salmonberries are mostly water so they do not preserve well
    • Bring some home to eat from the fridge over the next few days
    • Eat them fresh

    Remember that foraging is probably the number one thing you can do to help save our environment!  And if you are really worried about sustainability just be sure to place-your-poo in a spot where the salmonberry seeds can grow (seriously).

    Tips:

    Tips

    • The leaves and young shoots of the Salmonberry are also edible!
    • Remember this plant loves moisture
    • Red berries often don’t taste as sweet as the salmon coloured ones
    • Plumpness is the primary way to tell how sweet a berry will be
    • Avoid mushy berries (mould)
    • Bring mosquito protection!
    • Don’t worry about the thorns they are pretty much harmless

    Remember reading this article was a total waste of time unless you act on it. Get out there and start foraging!

     

    The post "The Complete Guide to Salmonberry Foraging" appeared first on Brink of Freedom.

     

     

  8. Cohutt
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    For the better part of 4+ years now we’ve been hearing of how the Fed has been “printing money” with many dire warnings of eminent hyperinflation.  It hasn’t happened.

    So why has inflation remained within the “normal” ranges during this period, or more specifically where is the hyperinflation?

    While a lot of people like to sling the term around, very few can actually come up with much more than the “money printing” retort or “Weimar Germany!” or “Zimbabwe!” when asked to explain hyperinflation.  For a while there, I can’t say I had anything more lucid to say about the subject; so a few months ago I spent a little time trying to understand it a bit more.

    If you wish to learn more, a good first step would be the 2012 EconTalk Podcast where host Russ Roberts interviewed guest Steve Hanke of Johns Hopkins University and The Cato Institute.  The topic was the hyperinflation episodes of the past century documented in a recent white paper he co-authored.  (The podcast can be found here along with additional information and a transcript.)  I found it interesting and perhaps the most comprehensive listing of actual hyperinflation we’ve experienced in modern history.  Through tedious digging he has documented 57 such episodes; I recommend you review the list via the EconTalk link provided above.

    Before we plunge into my $2.00 summary of hyperinflation, take note that there is a big difference between high “normal” inflation and hyperinflation. We aren’t talking about the “great inflation of the late 70’s and early 80’s (the peak in CPI was 1979-1981, where the annual rates were in excess of 11%, 13% and 10% sequentially. For more on the US inflation during the period consider this in depth white paper from the ST Louis Fed) The “red line” measure used by Mr. Hanke in his study was the one put forth by Philip Cagan in 1956:  A price level increase of at least 50% in one month defines the onset of a hyperinflation period.  When the monthly inflation rate fell below 50% per month and remained below this level for a year, it was done.

    GOLD1

    If asked to name the most common cause of hyperinflation, I think most people with at least a small exposure to economics would provide something along the lines of “hyperinflation is caused by central banks printing money to finance deficit spending”.  While central banks or their equivalent almost always are complicit in hyperinflation episodes, the lethal level of deficits actually tend to coincide or closely follow the onset of hyperinflation versus actually leading it.  The central bank influences likewise seem to be more of a parallel versus a leading contributor.  It’s not to say that countries were not running deficits and their central banks were not playing their games prior to each episode; my impression is that all were to some degree.  It is just that these activities seemed to more often have resulted from another event or condition that provided the unusual and substantial disruption to economic activity.  These shocks tended to be of the “Black Swan” variety as described in Nassim Taleb’s writings.

    Generally three common characteristics are shared among the “textbook” episodes of the last 100 years.

    1. Large debts payable in another currency (including gold) which become increasingly expensive to the local debtor currency.
    2. One or more disproportionately severe supply (production) disruptions or shocks to the economy.  The most relevant cause seems to be war, both from the diversion of resources from normal economic activity, as well as destruction of the means of production, infrastructure etc.  Output is severely disrupted and the demand equation becomes destructively unbalanced.  Change of regime (with or without a war) has been a catalyst (Soviet Union breakup as an example) and economies heavily tied to certain commodities (either produced OR consumed) have sustained sufficient disruption in peaceful times.
    3. A feedback loop of some sort that turns on and/or accelerates the cycle and allows it to run out of control until any normal balancing mechanisms are rendered useless. Usually it seems this one is where central bank and political intervention, regardless of motive, tends to allow conditions #1 and #2 to coagulate and create the perfect storm.

    The woefully brief examples outlined below are intended to give you some basic examples of how these three conditions have played out together over the last 90 or so years.

    BurningMarks

    Weimar, Germany (1922-23)
    Debts owed in another currency: War reparations owed and required to be paid in gold.
    Supply disruption: WWI damage and the occupation of the industrial Ruhr valley afterwards.
    Feedback Loop: Trade imbalance (imports heavily outweighed exports) depreciated the Mark, the depreciated Mark drove increases in prices, which exacerbated trade imbalance.  Repeat, repeat, repeat, (faster please).

    Hungary (1945-46)
    Debts owed in another currency:  Reparations, both financial and in goods to support the occupying Soviet army.
    Supply Disruption: WWII (Hungary was a battlefield and half of the capital stock was destroyed; some estimate more than 90% was damaged).
    Feedback loop:  The government tried to stabilize tax revenue by issuing a split currency. A separate currency was used for tax collection, which led to indexed deposit accounts.  Within no time everything was effectively indexed to the inflation rate and it was off to the races.

    Yugoslavia (1992-94) and the Republic of Georgia (1992-94) had episodes that spawned from wars and sanctions; both counties then followed similar patterns as outlined above, with debts and trade generally transacted in the former currency of the Soviet Union, the Ruble, prior to the establishment of their own stable currencies.  Needless to say, the Ruble devalued itself quickly in local terms.

    There are two fairly recent of examples where the supply interruption was not war; commodity price collapses set the stage for these disasters.

    Bolivia (1984-85)
    Debts owed in another currency:  Primarily dollar based debt quadrupled in the late 70’s.
    Supply Disruption:  Collapse of mineral prices, notably tin, on which the government relied heavily for export revenue to finance growing debt.
    Feedback loop:  The capital stopped flowing in 1982 (after Mexican defaults), and with no means of finance, the peso weakened when the administration attempted to de-dollarize the economy. The run on the peso accelerated and domestic unrest increased as Bolivia continued to try to pay the external debt as things fell apart.  By 1984 virtually every worker’s wages were 100% indexed with what became a monthly reset.  Things spiraled out of control very quickly.

    1Trillion

    Zimbabwe (2007-2009)
    Debts owed in another currency:  A drought-induced collapse of agriculture led to forced importation of food and resulting foreign currency debts.
    Supply Disruption: Drought followed by an ill-advised and timed land reallocation scheme cut output in half; to compound the issue, both major export crops (tobacco and maize) fell by more than two-thirds.  Mining exports virtually ceased when the rail infrastructure finally crumbled when the prolonged lack of maintenance came home to roost.
    Feedback loop:   Dollarization of the currency ensued amid large-scale immigration and the die was cast.

    So in what way do these three conditions appear today in the US or in what capacity could we see them in the near future?  I am not an economist (thankfully), but my modest effort to identify or speculate about them follows.

    1. Debts Owed in a Foreign Currency

    As long as the dollar is the reserve currency, is this really going to be a likely factor? How long before the reserve status is seriously threatened? I don’t doubt it is coming, but how far out is it? And what exactly would the impact be? It seems to me that it would still take a few years more after losing reserve status to put ourselves into a jam with foreign denominated debt. Perhaps we are already further along in this than it seems.

    2. Possible Supply Disruptions

    Energy shock?  With a born again domestic energy industry this seems to be much less a risk with each passing week.

    War?  A “real” war perhaps, something cataclysmic, such as a true WWIII in which the US military is actually contested by formidable opponents?  How about one where fighting and/or destruction occur in the lower 48 states?  It would have to be sufficiently serious to heavily divert production and supply from our domestic economy; to this I will “never say never” although our (mankind, not just the US) ability to blow up the world 640 times over would hopefully continue to serve as a caution flag to escalation.  Still, we can’t be certain of anything now can we?

    Severe civil unrest?  Domestic, political, socioeconomic, and racial tensions seem higher now than they have been for some time, but I have no scientific proof of this.  Would our worst civil unrest scenario escape beyond one or two metropolitan areas? I don’t know; perhaps it would be more likely if in concert with another of the disruptions listed here.

    Pandemic?  Personally I think this would rank high on the plausibility scale.  With our highly mobile society vs 100 years ago, could we (and would we) be able to quarantine effectively enough to snuff one out in the early stages?  I believe this would be exacerbated by related civil unrest in areas locked down.  Some want in, some want out, some inside take advantage, who knows?

    Cataclysmic natural disaster?  I could envision several possible events that could provide the impact required to knock the wind out of us.  Maybe severe earthquakes in highly populated zone(s)?  Volcanic eruptions have been sufficient in the past to significantly alter world agriculture output (and not positively) due to temporary worldwide cooling spells under immense clouds of ash.  A worldwide agriculture shock would be very ugly; it seems like a WWIII sequence would be plausible in a world with a seriously deficient food supply that lasted more than a season.  What about an interstellar EMP event?  Gee, I don’t know, does anyone you know rely heavily on devices with complex circuitry?  Let me rephrase it: do you know anyone who does not? I’m not up on the probabilities of such an event, but I do believe the probability of a significant impact to us is quite high.

    3. Rapid Feedback loop

    To this I have little to offer; I’m open to suggestions.  It seems that our “welfare state vs producers” balance is listing a bit dangerously towards the former, but is still not sufficiently past the tipping point to create an accelerating loop (YET).  However, in the earlier examples, the loop didn’t ignite until the other conditions had taken hold to some degree.  If output is severely impaired, the system tips to the left and the welfare state becomes a much larger percentage of the economy just by virtue of the economy swiftly contracting.

    TheCapitolSeal

    What policies would we witness spring out of that situation?  I am afraid the likelihood of new errant reactionary policies, even though well-intentioned (and completely destructive), would be high.  I bet that our imaginations are the limit in this case and real life versions of “The Anti Dog Eat Dog Rule”, the “Equalization of Opportunity Bill” and “Directive 10-289“ undoubtedly would be floated by those good men and women of our own “Capital District”. (I’m sorry, I think I just mixed metaphors.)

     

    My conclusion after this matchbook investigation is that US hyperinflation isn’t in the cards, at least not soon, and not without a severe supply shock to get the ball rolling.  The housing bubble/financial meltdown of 2008 perhaps could have been the kicker but it just hasn’t happened.

    Does this mean it won’t happen?  Of course not….I guess my point is that a little understanding of previous hyperinflation events in one’s bank of economic awareness is a good thing and we ought to respect the fact that none of these previously documented events were what anyone could consider “planned”.  Nobody will ring the bell ahead of time announcing the next one with absolute certainty.

    One closing thought:

    Periodically I do double check and add to the physical assets I’ve put back as potential value retaining “currencies” if world hyperinflation episode #58 descends upon us here.

    Duh 😉

     

    The post "Hyperinflation 101" appeared first on Brink of Freedom.

     

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    The prospect of military action in Syria seems a lot less likely than it did a few weeks ago; but I think that even if it doesn’t go to blows, this event will still be looked back upon as being historically significant.  Right now it looks like we’re witnessing the government of the United States attempting to go beyond their political, moral, economic, and military limits in Syria; and these guys are definitely not used to not getting what they want in the world.  After over 20 years of being the world’s sole superpower, I believe this incident highlights the world’s transition into a multipolar world.

    I should also say that war is not completely off the table at this point and, if it goes to war, it’s going to be a huge shit-show because there’s the potential for a lot of bad things to happen; ranging from only further pissing off the world as the best possible outcome and world war at the worst possible outcome.  Our recent campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as prisoner abuse scandals and drone warfare, left a sour taste in much of the world’s mouth.  Adding another preemptive war to that laundry list of complaints against us surely wouldn’t help improve our public image.  At the more extreme end of potential outcomes, Russia has beefed up her naval presence in Syrian waters and Iran has hinted towards retaliation against the United States and/or Israel if the US strikes Syria.  Israeli involvement could flare up tensions in the regions beyond their already turbulent state (although they did strike Syria in the spring).  The possibility of this going from an in-house affair; to a regional conflict; to a world war involving NATO & friends against Iran, Syria, and Russia is certainly there if cooler heads do not prevail.

    Between hurting feelings abroad and full-scale world war lies, many other potential outcomes we could face:  terrorism, being bogged down in proxy wars, economic warfare, cutting off petroleum supplies and diplomatic blowback.  With all the other problems we have in our country, we do not need more of them thrown onto our backs.  Fortunately, it does seem like the situation is de-escalating and military action looks less likely.   If we’re lucky, the American public will get out of this with only a case of shame over the guys we collectively voted for.

    A decade ago we had carte blanche in the world and undertook two separate wars.  Today we’re facing serious diplomatic resistance from Russia (and to a lesser extent, China) and the support/goading we’re getting from Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey; plus the toadyism from the UK, France, Germany, etc. on the issue doesn’t seem like a sufficient “consensus” from the world on the situation.  I think this is notable on how far the balance of power in the world has headed to the east since we last decided to flex our muscles in 2003.  I think it’s still safe to say we’re the world’s premier superpower, but it’s looking like we’re a stoppable one with limits today.

    In addition to the balance of power in the world shifting away from complete American hegemony towards a multipolar world, I think another significant reason for this operation falling flat is that our leaders in the US and Europe have failed to make a convincing enough case for it to the public.  Parliament in the UK resoundingly swatted down David Cameron’s request for authorization to use military action and there’s little enthusiasm for military action from American rank-and-file politicians.  Not only has the Obama administration and their cohorts failed to muster up the political clout to gain the world’s approval, they’ve failed to even do it within their own countries and political parties.  I think this shows a sharp decline in the power and prestige of the United States government and its figurehead.

    On the home front in pretty much all Western nations (including Turkey), the overwhelming majority of the people strongly disagree with the prospect of aggression against Syria to the point where there’s not even a real national debate over this on Main Street.  The divide between regular “folks” (as Obama is so fond of saying) and governments is pretty damn big at this point.  I don’t believe they’ve made a convincing case to the public on this one and I don’t think that I’ve talked to a single soul who thought this was a good idea.  If something does end up happening with Syria, it makes a pretty good case to reject the idea that our politicians “work for us”.  It’s particularly disheartening knowing we have a President who was basically elected on the unpopularity of the wars in the Middle East, a Secretary of State who protested the Vietnam War on the grounds that it didn’t serve our interests, and Vice President who threatened to impeach George Bush over an unconstitutional war.  John McCain is just being, well, John McCain.

    As a member of the American public, I personally don’t feel they’ve made a compelling case to convince me of the urgency of the issue.  So there’s this guy in Syria who has chemical weapons and maybe he ordered the use of them against his own people, but we’re not sure so we want to go bomb them?  How thoughtful.  If we’re really just wanting to be Good Samaritans, why haven’t we gone into North Korea yet?  They have some scary weapons in their arsenal and that guy is truly a dick.  My guess is because North Korea isn’t next to Israel and their economic output revolves around the cabbage harvest and not fossil fuels.  This inconsistency does not go unnoticed in the world and takes away from the moral credibility we once enjoyed as a nation.  In Russian President, Vladimir Putin’s, September 11, 2003, Op-ed piece in the New York Times, he states “Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.”, summing up the world’s distaste with our foreign policy.

    I believe another issue on the American public’s mind is the idea that we can’t afford another war.  We’re currently a little shy of $17 trillion in debt and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have already cost a couple trillion dollars and still counting – we’ll be paying veterans benefits for quite some time if everything goes to plan.  It should also be noted that we didn’t pay cash for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and we would probably put this one on the credit card as well; thus raking up higher interest payments on the debt.  The average American can look around and see government services being slashed, a declining economy, and our cities and infrastructure crumbling down around them, and rightfully be outraged over some of our politicians wishing to go on another seemingly pointless military adventure on the other side of the world.  What’s really interesting to me is that I believe this is the first time, that I know of, in modern American history where “we can’t afford it” actually gives the government some pause when it comes to military action; showing that we do actually have limits on how far we can go with our current paradigm in the world.

    It should also be noted that, if we step on Russia and China’s toes too hard and for too long, one way they could retaliate against us is economically.  Both hold significant amounts of US debt and could force the value of the dollar downward if they really wanted to.  We are definitely not untouchable in this regard.  When we have an economy built around confidence, a little confidence shattering can go a very long way.

    Secretary of State, John Kerry seemed hell-bent on war and made an off-the-cuff comment about how an American attack could be taken off the board if Assad turned over Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons.  Russian President, Vladimir Putin unexpectedly got the ball rolling on a plan to have Assad turn over his chemical weapons and forced Kerry to eat his words.  I think much of the world realizes that Putin had out-foxed the Americans and, after decades of dysfunction, Russia is emerging as an important player on the world scene again.  In fact, the international edition of TIME magazine featured Vladimir Putin with “America is weak and waffling.  Russia’s rich and resurgent – and its leader doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him.”  The American edition featured a football player on the cover instead.  As it stands now, this appears to be a diplomatic victory for Russia and definitely a diplomatic loss for the US that will probably haunt us for a little while.  The deal with Assad doesn’t guarantee that there will be no military action against Syria, but it definitely took some of the wind out of our hawkish politicians’ sails.

    For the record, I believe that Russia’s intentions with Syria aren’t exactly altruistic (i.e. power, money, prestige, oil), but I think Putin is looking better in the world right now than our guys and that the situation has been handled very well on the Russian end.  Ours?  Not so much.  I found it distasteful when Barack Obama snubbed Putin at the G-8 meeting, knowing that he had a list of very difficult questions waiting for him.  I also thought it was interesting that right about the time of the G-8, a massive human rights crisis magically appeared in Russia involving the persecution of homosexuals in the American media, and then magically disappeared just as fast as it came; giving President Obama another arrow in his quiver on reasons to not meet with Putin.

    So here’s where we are in the world:  Our government, quarterbacked by our Nobel Peace Prize recipient President, looks like a bully to the rest of the world and hasn’t been able to coherently justify this endeavor to anyone but themselves.  We’re a little shy of 17 trillion dollars in debt and the idea of shelling out more to pay for this is unpalatable to most.  Other nations are using soft power (i.e. diplomacy, world opinion) against us and winning.  Our military is still overstretched and worn out over the past decade.  Our leaders look like complete assholes and the American public aren’t behind them on this one, despite pressure from the mainstream media and our politicians.  Vladimir Putin looks like a saint and, well, Obama doesn’t.  Neither does Hollande, Cameron, or Merkel.  In short, I think we’ve found our limits on how far we can carry on successfully with our current geopolitical paradigm and we’re currently somewhere on the wrong side of that line now.

    I really hope we duck out of this one gracefully and use it as a learning experience, because the mile-high view of this situation looks like this could wind up being one of the key events that mark the end of America’s position as the world’s sole superpower, shattering the idea that America is exceptional.  I’d rather we see that the easy way than the hard way…

     

    The post "Is American Exceptionalism On The Ropes?" appeared first on Brink of Freedom.

     

  9. 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.

    MOST LIKELY COURSE OF ACTION

    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.

    MOST DANGEROUS COURSE OF ACTION

    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…

     

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    SHTF Falconry: Don’t Think So!


    Falconry, what is falconry? Going by the text book definition falconry is “the training of raptors to hunt wild prey for humans”. This by definition is completely wrong. Take it from the ones who know. The instincts and innate ability of a raptor to hunt prey came from millions of years of evolution and where handed down from the parents to the offspring. The only thing that you are “training” a raptor to do is to put up with a human tagging along for the hunt. This is not an easy task. Some falconers will argue that when raising an eyass (a nestling hawk or falcon) that you, in fact, do teach the bird how to hunt. In my own experience, they already have all the mechanisms and drive in place. All we do is “prime the pump” so to speak.

    Falconry has been around a very long time. When the art of falconry started is still up in the air. Some historians believe the practice started in the steppes of Mongolia between 4,000 and 6,000 B.C. Other experts believe that it started much earlier in the Middle East. Regardless of when it started, most of the evidence found on ancient falconry was tied to royalty or aristocrats of the time. This is not by coincidence! Kings, queens and the upper-class in antiquity not only had more land, money and goods; they also had more time. When it comes to a SHTF scenario, how precious will your time be? If I haven’t lost you yet let’s talk about devoting time to falconry.

    A hawk or a falcon can be equated to an Olympic wrestler when it comes to weight. A wrestler finds his or her optimum fighting weight and does everything they can do to be at that weight when it’s time to hit the mat. Raptors, on the other hand, are very opportunistic hunters and will, even if they just gorged themselves, try to plug some more food down into their crop. They do this because, in the wild you never know when your next meal will be bouncing down the fence row. A heavy bird is bad when it comes to falconry. If the bird is overweight and you cast it into the air, be prepared to stand under your bird swinging your lure for a while. If the bird is sharp or underweight, you will have just as many problems. A bird lacking in nutrition and energy will never be a good hunter. So weight is a very important aspect of falconry. You must find your bird’s hunting weight and make sure that it is at that weight when you want to go hunting. So knowing how many grams/ounces of weight your bird burns in what climate is essential. If you know this number you have dedicated at least an hour a day, EVERYDAY, to your bird. Can you afford that much time in a SHTF scenario?

    Now that we touched on maintaining weight, let’s talk about actually hunting along with your bird. I have seen comments stating that falconry would be an ideal way of hunting in a SHTF scenario. I’ve read different explanations as to why, but none of them were from actual falconers. So let’s start with the first one.

    Shooting a gun will draw unwanted attention and hunting with a hawk is silent. The first part of that statement is true. Shooting a gun will let others know where you are. The second part however is very much not so. There is a saying among falconers that speaks a lot of truth, “I spent all this time and money just to become a beagle.” That’s your role when you hunt with raptors. You put the bird in the air and flush the game out for them. Almost every animal around knows when a raptor is in the air. I’ve seen ducks hold so tight on the water that you could almost grab them with your hands because there was a falcon flying in the sky above them. I’ve seen rabbits hold so tight that I have actually stepped on them because they knew that my hawk was in the air. So to make these animals move you have to beat the bush. Walk with a stick and slap the brush trying to get something to flush. Bring a dog to flush the game. Now you’re yelling commands at the dog. Falconry is a very loud hunt when compared to any other type of hunting. Falconry is by no means silent, not by a long shot.

    The bird will be able to put food on the table. Yes and no. Yes the bird will be able to put food on the table just probably not your table. Let me explain. Some of the best hawks that I have seen hunt were able to get a double kill that day. 2 rabbits sound great. Those were ideal conditions and they were located within city limits. In a SHTF scenario, you won’t be flying hawks inside any city very long, I don’t think. Now country rabbit hunting is a lot harder and they are spaced a lot farther out which means more work for your bird with a hell of a lot flybys or misses. There will be more beating around in the bush and making noise trying to flush game on your part. The both of you will be burning precious calories by the minute. Many days I have went hawking for 4 to 5 hours and came home with sore calves and scratched shins and no meat. Now you’re tired and hungry and so is the bird, but you have no fresh meat to feed the bird. What happens now? So if the bird does make a kill, most likely you will be saving some, if not all of it, to feed back to the bird.

    This article is not meant to discourage anyone from legally becoming and practicing falconry. In fact I encourage it. Falconry has changed my life in many ways. Mostly good changes, but a few changes are bad. It’s hard to find someone to take care of your raptor when you want to take a vacation or have a family emergency. Taking care of a raptor is like taking care of an infant that will never grow up. Every day you wake up the first thing that must happen is check on the bird. Every night before you go to bed… check on the bird. Somewhere in between all that you feed it and weigh it and do some flight exercises. These must happen every day whether it’s a SHTF scenario or not.

     

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  11. Knives-300x168.jpg

    Work ShaprA sharp knife is a safe knife. We’ve all heard that in one fashion or another, there are many variations on the quote, probably because it’s true. If you’re like me you carry a knife everyday, sometimes more than one. I carry a pocket folder, wear a Leatherman on my belt and have a fixed blade in my EDC bag, that’s a lot of blades. Even people who don’t carry a knife and may even be repulsed at the idea have them in their kitchen, they are essential tools.

    Keeping these tools in top-notch shape is important to them being able to perform their intended function. Sadly for many folks the art of keeping a good edge on a blade is as mystifying as Chinese math. Blade sharpening is an art, some master it, some simply cannot. Others manage to learn enough to keep their blades functional, but never achieve the mastery of the art required to get that razor’s edge that will shave.

    In our incredible modern world there is a solution to every problem, and there are no lack of solutions when it comes to knives. I have had a lifelong love affair with knives and the art of sharpening; taking pride in being able to bring an old tired blade back to a razor’s edge with nothing more than a good stone or a diamond hone. Despite the fact I can get the job done with basic tools I’m always on the look out for a better knife sharpener, I think I have found it.

    A new sharpener by Work Sharp with the very non-creative name of WSKTS-W, which stands for Work Sharp Knife and Tool Sharpener, takes all the guess-work out of turning most any blade into a razor. Unlike many of the carbide style sharpeners that actually cut material off the blade, the Work Sharp uses belts similar to a belt sander to get the job done.

    WS w-belts

     

    The package comes with the tool, two guards and two sets of belts, a green 80 grit, red 220 grit and a purple 6000 grit. The two supplied guards have guides for the blade, one has a twenty degree angle and the other has twenty-five and sixty-five degree guides. The twenty degree is recommended for kitchen knives while the twenty-five is for field blades. The sixty-five degree guide is for scissors. The manual states it only takes five strokes per side to sharpen an average blade.

    WS head          Rotated

    I used the Work Sharp on a variety of blades, from a cheap fillet knife all the way to K Bar. The results on each of them was impressive. Because the belt is flexible with a spring loaded pulley applying the tension, it applies a very nice convex edge to the blade. A convex profile is great for maintaining a long-lived edge, but is very difficult to achieve with standard flat hones. In the picture above you can see the tension pulley; by pressing it down and turning it a quarter of a turn it locks in place to allow for easy changing of the belts. The red knob is used to adjust the tracking of the belt. Proper belt alignment ensures a quality job and prevents the belt from rubbing on the guides.

    Another nice feature seen above, is that the head can be rotated. This allows for the sharpening of other tools around the homestead or shop. Putting a new edge on an axe or a shovel is no problem, faster than a file and considerably easier than a stone.

    While it will never completely replace your usual list of sharpening instruments, after all you can’t take it into the field with you, it will certainly relegate them to that drawer in the kitchen with the melon baller. Below is what I usually use to maintain my blades. Now they will be spread out in my packs, or more packs. The Work Sharp has become my primary tool for maintaining my primary tools.

    Sharpeners

     

    As I said earlier, I used the Work Sharp on a number of knives, here is a picture of the varied blades I sharpened. It handled them all easily, creating a beautiful edge on each. I was curious how it would handle the K Bar. In a word, beautifully. The ESEE 4 pictured below created quite a shower of sparks when I put it on the belt. I used that knife as my primary fixed blade and have been maintaining it with the items pictured above. After the first pass on the belt I looked at it and was surprised at how un-uniform my edge had been. It took several passes to get the edge back to a consistent profile the full length. Another really nice aspect of the tool is how easily it takes a nick out of the blade. On a hand hone it can take a long time to slowly work a nick out, with the Work Sharp it’s nearly effortless.

    Knives

    At about $90 the Work Sharp is an investment, however it will pay dividends in time saved in maintaining your blades and keeping them all sharp and ready to use. After all, professional knife makers sharpen their knives with belts, not stones. Isn’t it time you came out of the stone age?

    Here’s a link to the Work Sharp website, http://www.worksharptools.com/knife/sharpeners/knife-sharpener/work-sharp-knife-and-tool-sharpener.html.

     

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    Warning-  Before using alternative fuels on the highway, ensure you are familiar with your state and federal laws for road use tax. The taxman takes this very seriously and getting caught with even a few gallons of untaxed fuel in your vehicle can result in thousands of dollars in fines. Off road, in generators and farm equipment and such, no problem. On the road, you are taking a risk if you don’t do the paperwork and pay the taxman.

    A GM 6.2L Diesel, an ideal candidate for alternative fuels use

    A GM 6.2L Diesel, an ideal candidate for alternative fuels use

    Why learn about alternative fuels? My first experience with alternative fuels came 15 years ago. I was in rural Alabama on a buying trip in my diesel Ford van, and let myself get way too low on fuel as the evening progressed. I pulled into a little town with 2 gas stations, and only one was open. Of course, just my luck, the open station did not sell diesel. The one with diesel would not reopen until 6:00am the next morning, and the next station was 25 miles away, and I doubted I could stretch the fuel that far with the load I was towing.

    Remembering what I had learned, I went into a local supermarket, purchased 3 gallons of vegetable oil, dumped them in my tank, and made it to the next station with diesel with no problem – in fact I found my engine ran a little quieter and smoother on the peanut oil. Had I not known this trick, I would have been sleeping in the van the next 8 hours until I could buy some fuel.

    Not only can alternative fuels bail you out of a hard spot or be available when other fuels are out and the gas stations are closed, they can save you a significant amount of money. Often these fuels can be had at a substantial discount over regular diesel, or even free. When you are working make a homestead as low-cost and self-sufficient as possible, using alternative fuels can save a lot of money.

    This article not going to go into deep specifics about what exact fuels and engines work, but give you a good basic overview that you can use to build your knowledge and learn from. From this, you will know enough to get started researching your exact situation with engines and available fuels. The primary knowledge you need it to know what engines work best and what can be used as alternative fuels.

    Engines

    The diesel engines best suited for alternative fuels are older designs that are non-computer controlled with indirect injection. This is not to say that modern diesel engines cannot use alternative fuels; however, there are factors that limit the ability to use them, and newer engines are far less tolerant. The most notable is that the modern computer controlled diesel engines, in an effort to produce the most power and economy while meeting ever more stringent emission regulations, are placing the fuel under much higher injection pressures and far more specific fuel parameters that the engine control computers demand.  Shifting away from the viscosity, lubricity, and performance of diesel can have very adverse effects on these newer engines. Another major factor is that newer diesel engines have emission control systems that can be damaged by using some of these fuels. As a general rule of thumb, anything automotive older than mid-1990’s works best with these, on generators and tractors the dates push a little later.

    Some that I have personally used and verified work well are the GM 6.2 and 6.5 V8’s, the Ford/International 6.9 and 7.3 V8’s (non-Powestroke), most 80’s VW and Mercedes diesel engines, the Kubota D905 and similar engines, and the engines found on military MEP-002A and MEP–03A diesel generators.

    A surplus 10kw diesel generator. The author has over 200 hours of use on his with a 50/50 blend of diesel and used motor oil. Every time he changes his oil he filters it and dumps in free backup power fuel.

    A surplus 10kw diesel generator. The author has over 200 hours of use on his with a 50/50 blend of diesel and used motor oil. Every time he changes his oil he filters it and dumps in free backup power fuel.

    If you have a vehicle, tractor, generator, or other diesel-powered anything you are considering using alternative fuels in, a quick search on the internet will almost always yield a list where somebody else has tried it and shared their experience. A brief search before trying it can often save you the trouble if it is not a good combination, or let you learn how to best make it work from another persons trail and error.

    Fuels

    This is a list of fuels I have either personally used or seen used in diesel-powered vehicles. This is not a complete list of all possible fuels, but it is a good starting point. Some I list as usable at a 100% mixture, some are only usable as a blend with diesel, kerosene, or another agent that thins it.

    Home Heating Oil– This is essentially No. 2 diesel with a slightly different mix that is inconsequential for use in vehicles; or often the exact same thing, and the addition of a red dye so the tax man can tell it is not taxed for road use. In some parts of the country ,there are hundreds of gallons of this at almost every older home with an oil furnace, and if one has a pump and lines in an emergency it can be pulled from the tanks and used.

    Kerosene– This also can be used with only a slight drop in power output. In a situation where all the gas stations have “no gas” signs, often the kerosene pumps will still be running. It does lack the lubricity that many diesel engines need. If available, you should mix some 2 cycle oil in at a ratio of around 100:1 to restore that lubricity. But in a pinch, don’t hesitate to use it. A few hundred gallons of it without a lubricity additive won’t harm anything. Note that it will act as a detergent and break gunk free from a fuel tank, so be prepared to change fuel filters.

     Jet/Turbine Fuels JP4/JP8– The military runs all its diesels on JP8, so the same fuel can be used in all vehicles that are turbine or piston powered. Like kerosene, it lacks lubricity; so, if possible, add 2 cycle oil.

    Unused Vegetable Oil– Vegetable and cooking oil that has not been used to cook, fresh from the bottle or even farm can be used. This is actually nothing new. Rudolf Diesel ran the very first diesel engine on peanut oil by design. It is possible to even raise soybeans as a crop for fuel. In the summer, in warm climates, you can dump it in many engines at 100% strength, no mixing. In colder climates, you cannot use it at 100%, as it will gel and the engine cannot pump it. Vehicles modified to run on vegetable oil year round will usually have a special fuel tank that circulates engine coolant through the tank to heat it; as well as heaters in line with the fuel system to ensure that fuel delivered to the engine is warm and, therefore, thin enough to run through the system; and a separate smaller tank for diesel that the engine starts and runs on until the veggie oil tank is warm. You can run in colder climates, to a point, by blending with diesel; kerosene; or, in limited amounts, gasoline. To test blend ratios, put varies ratios in jars and simply leave them out on a cold night, and see what mix gels and what stays liquid at various temps.

    A commercial second tank system, heated and filtered, for running Waste Vegetable Oil

    A commercial second tank system, heated and filtered, for running Waste Vegetable Oil

    Used vegetable Oil – Generally called Waste Vegetable Oil or WVO. This is the famous used French fry oil. Not made into biodiesel, that is something outside the scope of this article, but used directly as a fuel. DO NOT JUST DUMP USED FRYER OIL IN YOUR TANK! Used veggie oil is dirty and has emulsified water in it, and both will harm your engine. Before use, used oil needs to be filtered, ideally to a smaller micron rating than your vehicle filter, and de-watered. There are varied methods for de-watering, from centrifuges, to simply heating it to boil water off to water absorbing filters. But you need to ensure the oil is clean and free of water, then you use it just like virgin vegetable oil. In a later article I will discuss filtering.

    Motor Oil New motor oil can be mixed with fuel up to around 50% in most cases. Used motor oil is the same, farmers often called it “black diesel” and have put the used oil from the farm in diesel tanks for years. Usually called Waste Motor Oil or WMO on most online forums discussing it. The same warnings that apply as to used veggie oil above- you must filter it and remove the water, and watch in colder climates for gelling. The Army, for a while, was buying a machine that removed the oil during an oil change, filtered it, and pumped it right into the fuel tank.  They paid thousands, but you can easily build one yourself for around $100. Your friends, neighbors, and even local shops will probably be happy to give you as much free “fuel” as they can generate. One word of warning, some have found that WMO is best used in vehicles that are used for longer runs or duration, like tractors used all day or trucks run on the highway. Using it in vehicles used for short, around town drives can possibly lead to deposits being left in the engine as it does not get to full operating temperature.

    Automatic Transmission Fluid Can be run up to 100% in many engines. Since every gas station has it on the shelf, this is a good emergency option when the pumps run dry. If used ATF is burned, the same warnings about filtering apply, but in a pinch it is less likely to hold moisture dirt than motor oil.

    Hydraulic Oil Before all the engineers jump me, yes I know there are thousands of kinds of hydraulic oils. But most are around a 5-10wt oil that can be run up to 100% in these engines. Your farm supply places have it in 5 gallon buckets, and heavy equipment has gallons of it that can be removed and used in a pinch.

    Transformer Oil The kind from the big transformers on the pole or outside a big building. Do not use ones from transformers older than the 70’s as it may be full of nasty PCB’s, but anything newer will be fine. If you can find a shop that rebuilds these transformers, they may be very happy to have you haul away the oil so they don’t have to pay for disposal.

    These are just a few examples of fuels and engines. The key things to remember before using an alternative fuel in your diesel engine are to research and see if anybody has used it before, ensuring whatever fuel you are choosing is clean and free of water; and to start with a slow blend if possible. Of course, in an emergency, this isn’t always possible, so use your best judgment. But for a cost saving measure on the homestead, these basic rules will help you explore and start using low-cost diesel fuel alternatives. In an emergency you will see all sorts of possible sources of fuel along the road that most people would have never considered. Try spotting all the fuel sources on your next drive.

     

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    Can lanterns are fun, cheap, and easy to make. You can use an aluminum can or a tin one; both will work. This project is only limited by your creativity. You can cut all kinds of designs into the cans if you want or keep it simple and just make them functional. You can use can lanterns in all types of ways: to create ambiance in a backyard by hanging them from trees, to provide a light to read by, and anything in between.

     

    IMG_6486

    What You Will Need:

    • Can
    • Cutting Tool (Knife/Tin Snips/Multi-tool)
    • Old Candle Stub or Tea-light Candle
    • *Optional* – Wire

     

    Directions:

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          1. Cut a big “U”shaped door in the side of the can

     

    IMG6492

    2. Carefully bend it upwards. The edges will be sharp so be careful not to cut yourself.

    3. Put the candle in the can and that’s it!  Some advantages to this are that you can see without giving away your position or subjecting the flame to the wind.

     

    OPTIONAL

    If you want to you can go a step further and make hanging can lanterns.

    1. Cut two holes towards the top of the can, on either side of the opening so, that they are opposite each other

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    2. Take some wire, strip both ends and make hooks

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    3. Fit each end of the wire through a hole and hang

    IMG6498

     

    The best thing about these is that you can make them fast, and you can make them anywhere. Pretty much everyone I know carries a knife and a lighter, and if you don’t, then you should. Cans themselves can be found anywhere trash can be, which is everywhere. So, all you need is a piece of candle or a tea-light. These weigh basically nothing, and can be added to anyone’s gear without any noticeable difference. Don’t forget that what I have shown is the most basic and utilitarian design for the can lantern. One can go all out creating different designs by cutting shapes into the can. You just have to make sure to leave yourself room to get the candle in and light it.

     

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    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

     

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  14. 3Ec3Ic3La5I55K65J7ccaf158d7df404b12b81-3

    For me, growing shiitake mushrooms just makes good sense.

    For one, I have in my state, the lady who wrote the book (literally) on Shiitake production in woodlands – Professor Deborah Hill.  Professor Hill works out of the University of Kentucky and has answered my questions on many different occasions, even several years ago when they were at times annoying beginner questions.

    The other reason is that Shiitake is derived from the Japanese shii which is commonly thought to mean oak.  However shii is actually an evergreen tree related closely to oak.  The word take means mushroom.  Shiitakes are, for the most part, oak mushrooms.  In that case you could call my four-acre property in Western Kentucky shii-land because every third tree here is an oak.

    History

    Shiitake mushrooms, like all mushrooms, belong to the fungi kingdom.  Its proper name is Lentinula edodes.  Shiitakes are native to China, Korea, and Japan (of course).  The first written record of shiitake cultivation is attributed to the Sung Dynasty of China.  That writing was made several decades before the Normans conquered what would become medieval England.

    This mushroom has been gaining more and more popularity in the US as it becomes “hip” to eat Japanese and eastern cuisine.  In a way, the popularity of sushi has probably spread the shiitake more than anything.  Not that shiitake relates in particular to sushi, but the same Japanese restaurant that serves sushi usually has a few udon type soups that contain some quantity of shiitake mushrooms.

    Appearance

    The shiitake is a large mushroom.  The color can vary from white and tan to white and dark brown.  The brown part at the top tends to exhibit a crackle pattern exposing the white beneath.  However, it should be noted that the mushroom itself is only the fruiting body of the mycelium.  If the mushroom is the “fruit” then the mycelium is the “root”. The mycelium is an invisible thread-like mass that invades the rotting log, soaking up nutrients and moisture by breaking down the wood with an excreted acid.  A sheath protects the threads from its own acid.  It is nearly impossible to confuse another mushroom for a shiitake mushroom, once you’ve seen one.

    Growing Them 

    Inoculation

    The process of introducing mushroom starts to the wood is called inoculation.  It is essentially infection of the log.   It consists of a few steps.  I will explain the steps and why it’s done the way it’s done.

    Wood Selection

    I’m making an attempt by experimentation this year to determine just how much both type and size of wood matters.  Conventional knowledge states that oak is the way to go.  However, I theorize that using different types of wood could affect not only yield, but also speed of fruiting and duration.

    I’ve got access to, and will try, oak, sweet gum, and hickory.  There are only a few types of wood that are said to not work.  First of all, you should not use any coniferous trees.  Some do not rot well and others contain chemicals such as terpenes that are found in pines.  Most hardwoods are acceptable fodder for shiitakes.  However, it should be said that there are better and worse types to use. The harder types of wood are better.  Oak is primary, followed by maples, hickory, sweet gum, birch, sycamore, and poplar.  Walnut and black locusts are not desired because they are too hard and rot resistant due to chemicals in the wood.  Aspens and willows are also not desired because they are too soft and will allow contamination.

    Selecting the wood should be done before fall.  Paint or tape off trees you want to fell later.  The best size is said to be 4-8” in diameter.  However, it’s impossible to harvest a tree that is 6” in diameter all the way up.  In addition, a stack of logs of exactly the same size is going to fruit for the same duration and in the same manner.  I think it’s best to have a variety of sizes.  I usually cut trees with main trunks that are about a foot in diameter.  That way I can harvest a good deal of the limbs as well as the main trunk.  The size guidelines are mostly in effect to help the user deal with the wood.  An oak log a foot in diameter and 3 feet long is a chore to lift.  Simply cut them shorter.

    It is a good idea to fell them after the leaves have fallen, but before the trees bud in the spring.  During this time, the moisture content is said to be ideal in theory.  Apparently the problem with cutting trees during the growing season is that the bark is looser than during the dormant times.  The bark is essentially the armor for the log and by association – the mycelium.  Without the armor of the bark, all kinds of outside organisms can contaminate the log.

    Speaking of contamination, it’s essential to inoculate the logs within 2 weeks of cutting.  While making sure the bark stays on is a long-term protection, getting the inoculation done is a short-term protection for closing the wounds you’ve inflicted by cutting the tree to begin with.

    Drilling

    The next step to the inoculation process is drilling the holes.  If you’ve chosen sawdust spawn, then the hole size is 7/16”.  If you’ve chosen plug spawn, then the hole size is 5/16” generally speaking.  It’s important to keep the depth at about 1 inch if you’ve chosen plugs.  The plug needs to contact the bottom of the hole to avoid forming air pockets causing the mycelium to have difficulty taking.

    My new favorite type of spawn is thimble spawn, which is compressed sawdust.  It does not require waxing.  However, the drilled holes must be 13mm in diameter.

    Plugging

    The next step is inserting the spawn.  With the plugs it’s easy.  Just insert, hammer in, and you’re done.  If you are using sawdust, it helps to have a tool to take up and deposit the spawn.

    Waxing

    Cover the plug or sawdust and entire hole with a dab of cheese wax.  The goal is to simply seal the “wound” and allow the moisture to stay inside the log.

    Stacking

    After the logs are fully inoculated the next step is to stack the logs in a shady moist area.  In the north, this is commonly done by leaning them against a standing fence.  In the south, the log cabin stacking method is commonly done.  This is simply stacking the logs in a square configuration similar to a log cabin.

    Watering

    If the logs do not stay sufficiently damp, then the fungi mycelium may succumb, suffer, or not produce well.  In certain cases the grower may need to intervene by watering the logs.

    Flushing

    The actual fruiting of the mycelium by producing edible mushrooms is called flushing.  Shiitakes usually fruit in force, sending up mushrooms in quantity.  The timing all depends on the spawn type, log type, weather, moisture levels, etc.  It’s important to watch the logs after changes in rain amounts and temperature.

    I’ve found my logs start to produce when the daytime temps drop to about 55F.  During the heart of winter, production drops but picks up during every warm spell, as well as the beginning of spring.

    Apparently sometimes thumping the logs with a hammer can force them to fruit.  It is not known why this happens, but theory is that the vibration sets off a mechanism telling the mycelium it’s time to reproduce.

     

    The post "Growing Shiitake Mushrooms" appeared first on Brink of Freedom.

     

  15. Don't EVER Do This! (Unless you have to)

    EMERGENCY EXPEDIENT ONLY!

    EMERGENCY EXPEDIENT ONLY!

    Ol’ Backwoods has an emergency preparedness item for you today.

    Suppose there’s a short-term to medium-term disruption of your natural gas to your home, and you really need hot showers and clean dishes.

    This hack shows you how to run your natural gas hot water heater for short periods from a propane grill tank,  and do it safely.   By building a simple $5 pipe adapter BEFORE the emergency comes, you can be ready to go when there’s an emergency disruption of the natural gas supply.  At the bottom of the post is the engineering behind the hack, and why it works.

    I know this works, because I heated three tanks of water with my water heater using this technique.

    WARNING!  THIS IS AN EMERGENCY EXPEDIENT, ONLY TO BE USED IN TIMES OF DIRE NEED.  I am NOT LIABLE for what you do with this information; it is presented for educational purposes only, in the field of emergency preparedness.  If you do this expedient, it must be MONITORED CONSTANTLY and only be used for short periods.   It requires GOOD VENTILATION, as the expedient may increase CARBON MONOXIDE output from the water heater.  This expedient is not a replacement for natural gas service, and may damage the burner of your water heater if used for a long period of time!

    In what situations might you do this?  Any emergency that causes the interruption of natural gas service for a few days or more. Here are some examples; all have occurred before, in the US or the rest of the world.  How do I know?  I was an engineer in the natural gas industry.

    • Backhoe operator does not call utility before digging, and breaks open a residential gas main;
    • Accelerants in burning building near gas meter burns through natural gas pipe, causing the pressure to be too low to operate your water heater;
    • Train wreck or chemical plant explosion nearby to natural gas pipeline breaks pipeline open;
    • Earthquake causes a gas line break;
    • Terrorist attack against natural gas pipeline or pumping station;
    • Economic collapse.

    LET’S DO IT!

    Get a CO monitor for $25!Get a CO monitor for $25!

    You’ve decided to prepare for this emergency?  Even after my warnings?
    Okay, what do you need?  4 things:

    1. Special pipe adapter you will build below;
    2. Full propane tank from your gas grill (or buy a dedicated one);
    3. Gas grill hose & regulator off your gas grill (or buy a dedicated one);
    4. (Optional) carbon monoxide monitor (CO monitor), which everyone should have near their gas hot water heater anyway.

     

     

    THE PIPE ADAPTER

    Pipe AdapterTo the right is a picture of the special pipe adapter you will assemble and test.  The pipe adapter allows regulated-pressure propane from a gas grill tank & hose to flow into your water heater.    If you build the pipe adapter ahead of the emergency, you will be ready to make hot water with your grill tank.

    I’m not going to tell you each and every step to build and install the pipe adapter.  If you haven’t ever done basic plumbing before, this is NOT the project to start with!  If you are in a country that uses metric plumbing parts, you will have to figure out your own sizes.  Below is what we use in the US.

    The lower part is a 2″ long, ½” diameter black pipe nipple, designed for use with natural gas.  I purchased it from a local hardware store for about a dollar. Buy the black iron pipe, not galvanized. The upper part is a brass flared male 3/8″ to female ½”  pipe adapter, purchased from the same hardware store for a few dollars.

    The two parts of the pipe adapter need to be put together with PTFE (“Teflon”) cream, to prevent leaks.  Use your vise and a pipe wrench to get them very tight together.  YOU DON’T WANT LEAKS!  And we will be checking for them.  DON’T PUT PTFE CREAM ON THE MALE END of the brass piece THAT GOES TO THE GRILL HOSE!

    HOOKING THE GRILL TANK TO THE WATER HEATER

    NOTE!  YOU MUST CLOSE THE NATURAL GAS VALVE PRIOR TO REMOVING ANY PIPES!  EVEN THOUGH YOU CAN’T HEAR IT, AND YOUR WATER HEATER WON’T LIGHT, THERE STILL MAY BE NATURAL GAS COMING INTO YOUR FEED. TURN IT OFF!

    Using a pipe wrench, remove the pipe that connects between the output of the natural gas value and the input of the thermostat.  If you aren’t sure, you shouldn’t be doing this!  Usually, there is a tee where this can be accomplished easily.  The bottom of the tee goes to a capped vertical pipe, which is designed to catch condensation in the gas.  The top connection of the tee is where your pipe adapter will go.

    After putting PTFE cream on the threads of the pipe adapter, screw it into the top of the tee.

    Hook up the gas grill hose to the top of the pipe adapter.  DO NOT USE PTFE CREAM HERE!

    Okay, here’s a picture showing the FULL hookup to my water heater.  PLEASE, PLEASE pay attention to the notes in the picture.  Click to embiggen, or right-click to save it and view in your picture viewer.

    Don't EVER Do This!  (Unless you have to)

    Don’t EVER Do This! (Unless you have to)

    PROCEDURE TO LIGHT AND BURN WATER HEATER

    lather soap and water mixture with spongeFIRST, turn off propane tank valve (should already be closed), and turn off the pilot light valve AND the thermostat on the water heater.
    1. Lather 50/50 soap/water mixture over all your connections, even on your gas grill hose.  A sponge is good for this, as shown on the right (thanks WikiHow).
    2. Turn on the gas grill valve, SLOWLY to avoid triggering the leak restriction device built into the regulator.  If you are getting expanding bubbles, STOP! TURN OFF THE GAS GRILL VALVE, and work on tightening your connections. I was very careful making the pipe connections, and used enough PTFE cream on the joints, that I didn’t have any bubbles at all.
    3. Light the pilot light on your water heater. Watch it burn for at least 2 minutes. Be sure you are getting a mostly-blue flame, with some yellow edges. (YES, YES, I know, using flame color to determine fuel mix is dangerous! This whole thing is an emergency expedient, remember?)
    4. Now, turn the water heater gas valve to ON. Be sure you have no leaks at this point! More soapy water on the joints, please!
    5. No leaks? It’s time for the moment of truth. Turn the thermostat up to about 120°F (more on this later). Listen and watch for the burner to light.  Be sure it seems to be burning nice and hot, with at least 50% of the flame blue. We expect the upper part to be yellow, because, remember, this water heater wasn’t designed to be run this way. (YES, YES, we know, using flame color to determine fuel mix is dangerous! This whole thing is an emergency expedient, remember?!)

    DO NOT LEAVE THIS UNATTENDED! WATCH THE CO MONITOR!

    Remember, this hack is for emergency use ONLY.

    Run it for ½ an hour, be sure the flame is still burning good and heating water, then shut it off and go take your shower, or have someone else watch the flame and the CO monitor for you.  DO NOT LEAVE THIS UNATTENDED! WATCH THE CO MONITOR!
    for awhile! Remember, it’s an emergency, and we are conserving what little propane we have stashed.

    THE TECH BEHIND THE HACK

    First, we are heating stuff, so we should talk a little bit about the energy density of fuels.   A BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is the amount of energy required to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.

    Different fuels have different energy densities, or BTU values. A gallon of liquid propane contains 91,502 BTU’s. A pound of liquid propane contains 21,591 BTUs. A hundred cubic feed of natural gas (a so-called CCF) contains approximately 102,000 BTUs, but a hundred cubic feet of propane will yield 224,880 BTU’s – almost 2½ times more heat– because propane has a higher energy density.

    How hot does the water have to be, then? 170°F water (77°C) is hot enough for sanitizing dishes, if kept immersed for at least 30 seconds. 140°F water requires many minutes (like a long dishwasher cycle) to sanitize dishes, but takes much less energy, as we see below. An even lower temperature, like 120°F, is more reasonable if you use some kind of chemical sanitizer when washing dishes. At 120°F (water weight: 8.25 lb/gal), it takes roughly 5 minutes for a scald burn, so you are less likely to get burned at a wrong shower setting.

    Alright, how much water do we need to heat?  My hot water heater has a 38-gallon capacity, which is 315.86 pounds of water at year-round earth temperature (about 50°F here in North Carolina). The weight of a gallon of water varies between 8.312 (50°F) and 8.125 (170°F) pounds.

    Let’s calculate the amount of energy in BTU’s to raise my 315.86 pounds of water from 50°F to
    120°F:

    BTU = water weight * temperature difference = 315.86 * (120°F-50°F) = 315.86 * 70 = 22,109 BTU.

    Okay, we have the energy required to heat the water from cold to the desired temperature.   This is a straightforward application of unit conversion, since 1 BTU will raise 1 pound of water 1 degree F.

    But how long will it take to heat the water? Depends on your burner.

    My hot water heater burner, running natural gas, can supply 40,000 BTU per hour. Assuming 100% heat transfer to the water (not true, but close enough), we can heat a tank of water in:

    Hours = BTUs required / BTU /per hour = 22,109 / 40,000 = 0.57 hours x 60 min/hr = 33 minutes.

    But the burner was designed for natural gas, not propane.

    If the propane’s BTUs were used as efficiently by the water heater burner as the natural gas BTUs are, then the water would heat about 2.5 times faster on propane, because propane has about 2.5 times the energy density of natural gas.

    But it won’t burn propane as efficiently. The orifices (little holes) in the burner are sized for efficient mixing of natural gas and air, not propane and air. Propane orifices are usually about 60% of the size of a natural gas orifice, for the same BTU rating (I looked this up in a paper design table I have). That means running propane through natural gas orifices cause too much gas to be mixed with too little air, causing incomplete burning, increased carbon monoxide and soot production, and in general less energy.  Chemists call this a non-stoichiometric mixture, and the gearheads among us would say, “she’s runnin’ too rich.”  And they would both be right.

    Just how far off are the orifices for burning propane?  Not far.  A 0.129″ orifice for natural gas would yield about 59,000 BTU per hour. The propane orifice size to rate the same BTU’s should be between 0.089” (55,000 BTU/hr)  and 0.094” (61,000 BTU/hr).  To yield the 40,000 BTU/hr that my hot water heater puts out on natural gas, it would need a 0.075″ orifice to run on propane.  But it doesn’t; its orifices are likely closer to 0.129″ in diameter (nearest natural gas orifice size that corresponds to 40,000 BTU/hr), allowing too much propane through.

    So, keep in mind, it could take longer to heat the water than it does with natural gas.  In the case of my water heater, it was really pretty close; about 45 minutes vs. the about 30 minutes it takes normally.

    What other considerations are there?  The pressure of the gas at the input of the regulator on the water heater.  My water heater burner is well-matched to the gas grill regulator I have.  The water heater is rated for natural gas pressure at between 5” and 14” of water column. I bought a “Type 1” gas grill regulator (commonest type in the US), which delivers a pressure of about 11” of water column. This hack likely wouldn’t work for a much larger burner that requires a higher pressure. By the way, 7 inches water column is equivalent to 4 ounces per square inch pressure (1/4 PSI). 14 inches water column is 8 ounces pressure ( ½ PSI). 1 PSI equals 27.7 inches water column.

    Even with the correct pressure, my orifice is the wrong size, and my flame color is only about 75% blue, with the rest yellow. This means I am getting soot and CO, so be careful! I wouldn’t have even attempted this hack if my water heater wasn’t next to an exterior wall in my attic with PLENTY of ventilation.

    No, it’s not optimal. But, for a temporary expedient in time of emergency, IT WORKS. I know it works, because I heated three tanks of water with my water heater using this technique.

    I want to emphasize again: this is NOT something I would want to do all the time. If I was running off propane all the time, I would buy a propane water heater. And maybe at your bugout location, you do or will. But if you live in an area where earthquakes or man-made disruption of the natural gas system is possible— even a misplaced backhoe – this is a viable technique to get you hot showers and clean dishes in a short to medium-term emergency.

    Again, DON’T DO THIS if you aren’t sure!
    Ol’ Backwoods would to hear feedback from anybody who builds their own pipe adapter.  Leave me a comment.

     

    The post "The Scary $5 Water Heater / Gas Grill Propane Tank Emergency Expedient" 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.

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