Thursday, July 24, 2014

Out of Town

This is a 300 acre ranch near Boise, Idaho.

              I am away this week. (Yes, I finally found someone I would trust  to stay here at the house and take care of my beloved horses.)  This was a tough trip to take simply because it occurred on the heels of one of my dogs multiple copperhead bites.  Before I left, the dog was very well recovered, and is still doing just fine.   When I travel I don't usually spend much time on the internet, and so I usually don't make blog posts while I am away.  However, I thought this was important to mention.

                       Several years ago when Wal-Mart and Sam's Club started selling Augason Farms freeze dried food and other items for preparedness, I did think it interesting.  I learned also that many midwestern and western Super Wal-Marts actually have the Augason's #10  (industrial) cans on the shelves in their stores rather than simply available online.  I told myself that they were exploiting, quite rightly,  the opportunity to provide us all with emergency food and nothing more.

                         A week ago, the Wall Street Journal wrote an article and related to us that Wal-Mart recently participated in exercises in preparation for a major earthquake along the New Madrid fault line.  (The New Madrid covers Tennessee, Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas.)  These states are a great deal more populous than they were in the 1880s, the last time a significant earthquake occurred there.  The US Geological Survey has also admitted that there is potential for much more severe quakes than they had believed prior.  I know there is no shortage of their little vans and trucks in Virginia within fifty miles of the epicenter of the 5.7 (or 5.8, depending who you believe) earthquake that occurred in 2011.

                        It is not my intention to frighten anyone, but a little preparation can go a long way in keeping your family safe from a significant earthquake which is a distinct possibility in many, many places in the United States.

Wherever you are and whether earthquakes have been known to occur in your region or not, please consider the following:

1. Check all of your bedrooms.  Make sure that there are no large bookcases, televisions, stained glass hangings or anything else attached above beds that could collapse on the head of a family member in the event of an earthquake.

2. Secure televisions, bookcases, stoves to the wall.

3. Do some reading on earthquakes, and create a written earthquake plan for your family.

4. Consider anchoring your hot water heater.

5. Place emergency supplies in a couple of different places on your property.   A new galvanized trash can with emergency supplies placed in your garage could be all you and your family could access following a severe enough earthquake that you are prohibited from reentering your home until FEMA inspects it.  Have multiple supplies in different places.

These are my prior posts on this subject:

The first four links below are important to read if you haven't before.

                   Stay safe, and I will try to do the same.

Friday, July 18, 2014

After Yesterday

(Photo: )

        I feel, almost hung over this morning.  All of the world events from yesterday caught up with me, making it hard for me to sleep, and I sat up late until almost 2 am listening on television to everyone from Russia Today, CCTV (from China), to Nightline with all the information and perspectives on both the downed 777 jet over Ukraine, and Israel's ground mission into the Gaza Strip.   No, I don't know anyone who lives on the Gaza Strip.   So far as I know, I don't know anyone who was on the Malaysian Air flight yesterday from Amsterdam to Kuala Lampur, however we all could have.  KLM (Dutch) Airways sold tickets and then had to transfer a certain number of passengers to Malaysian Air, and so a fair number of Dutch families with babies and small children were headed on the flight to a connecting one bound for Australia.  US News kept saying yesterday that "we don't yet know whether any of the nearly 300 people on the flight were American".   Who cares ?     They were people.  They were families, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, employees, who were simply using modern transportation to either vacation, see family, or go somewhere on business. The crew was simply doing their job.  These people were from Earth.   These souls were simply flying in a plane when at 33,000 feet a surface to air Russian-made missile blew their plane into pieces, ending all of their lives.  Their families are now thrust into my own daily existence of the instant and unanticipated vaporization of a family member caused by a sudden death.  Not to whine, but almost six years later, there is no real "closure".  The family members who remain will function again, but they will never be the same.   Whether these families are Malaysian, Dutch, Chinese, American, French, German, or anything else is of no interest to me. We all have more in common as human beings, than we have differences.

                 I hope that Ukraine is able to begin to control and police its territory again.  I pray that Russia realizes that by virtue of its land mass, it is already the largest nation on Earth and doesn't need to occupy and foment insurgencies in its neighbors.  I hope that Gaza stops lopping rockets into Israel.  I hope that Israeli forces are fair and just while "mowing the grass" (their phrase, not mine) in Gaza this week as they seek those who would intermittently attack Israel.

               I pray for common sense, for peace, and some level of understanding. Sometimes, it seems that no progress at all has been made since Jesus visited.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A New Life For A Russian Base 155 miles from Florida


This is a Russian base in Cuba which is now slated to be reopened. (Photo: Photograph: Cristobal Herrera/AP )

       I like many of the ordinary Russian people I met when I was in both Vladivostok and then Moscow for a month a few years ago. I have nothing but respect for the people.  As a group, if any generalizations at all can be made, they are a creative, tenacious, generous  and strong bunch. I have many Russian friends and I appreciate their adaptation to the entrepreneureal spirit and their sense of humor.  I have often said that even if that particular Russian family has little, they will give you half.  Russia breeds determined strong people as the weather alone will kill off anyone who is the least bit ambivalent about remaining alive!    Of course, just as I can't be blamed for the foibles of our own president, the Russian people are often separate and distinct from the actions and ideas of their own leaders.

                 Recently, Mr. Putin made a trip to Cuba, which is only 155 miles from the United States mainland.   He forgave thirty two billion dollars in Cuban debt to Russia in order to sweeten the deal.  (Yes, 90% of Cuba's debt to Russia)   Mr. Putin has asked if he may resurrect a massive Soviet era style base for the purpose of "listening to this hemisphere".  He has received permission.  This will be the only Russian listening post and base in the Western hemisphere.    Do you remember my prior post some time ago, where I said that our high schools and universities  should be teaching Russian, if just to monitor Russia's official actions AND potential terrorism from there ?

                In addition, this is one more important news item which is being reported on foreign news services, but I have not heard even a mention of it from US News services.  US mainstream news outlets continue to do an abyssmal job of letting us know what is really going on, both here and around the world.   Where was Mr. Obama while this was being negotiated ?   Probably golfing or getting a nap, but he doesn't actually appear to be working in US interests anyway.    Did you know that Russia has asked whether it can put a base in Alaska ?  I'll bet Mr. Obama doesn't either.

Information on the new Russian Cuban Base:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Important Information in Canine Copperhead Snake Bites


    I spent a very busy and sleepless weekend following an overnight copperhead attack of my border collie while she was in her own kennel.  This is an important post for anyone who has a dog and who lives in a region in which copperhead snakes reside.

            I posted it on my blog Life After the Rescues

Here is a direct link to the post:

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Let Me Tell You About My Third Degree Black Belt in Craigslist !

There is currently no Third degree black belt in Craigslist, but I am convinced it is a sport. If there were, you could use your belt in tandem with several bungees,  to help secure items to the back of your truck !
  (Rendering: )

        I have no particular special skills with regard to shopping, other than persistence.  I don't have a huge amount of spare money, and if by some miracle, I occasionally do, it goes toward college tuition for a couple of my sons.  Yes, my cash is committed !  There is absolutely no reason you couldn't have the same results as I have shopping on Craigslist or on other similar venues.

           For years when our family has needed something, I have always looked first at the Mid-Virginia Trading Post newspaper. There is likely something similar in your area.  It's about a dollar, and it lists in categories everything from pets, livestock, cars, car parts, tires, furniture, appliances,  child and baby items, hobby items, sports equipment, etc. and a variety of different services.   Of course you need to be careful. I wouldn't travel alone to see or to pick up any of the items I considered buying. Sometimes someone does offer something that is poorly described and then you have made a trip for nothing.  That happens when you plan to buy retail too !    However, when we compare the US to Canada, for example,  we have a huge population in comparison. At any one time, our neighbors and most people have a large number of things they either bought unwisely or that they inherited, or that they bought    The chance that something you need was bought by someone in your area, and that they don't need it any more, is pretty good. The task simply becomes locating the item and the people willing to part with it.. Then, most people understand that they are going to need to discount whatever it is fairly well in order for the buyer to look past any doubts they have about buying something second hand.  Most of the time, a deal can be made.  Mid-Virginia Trading Post is also on the internet now, but they charge for membership, and so I evolved into the habit of perusing Craigslist first, because it is free to review the listings.

             I don't remember the very first thing I bought on Craigslist, but among the first things were an unusual type of duck and some unusual breed chickens I had wanted for a long time.  (Yes, some of the dealers actually have NPIP certification.)  There are a lot of really fine poultry breeders who list on Craigslist in many areas.  Some of their breeding overflow is listed on Craigslist, and they can be an excellent source of unusual heritage or rare breeds.    Once I had made contact with them, I also had a source of supplies and housing for poultry because they did that too.  These were not only a great buy but they have been very healthy stock indeed.   If you are a rural or farm person, Craigslist can also be a source of purebred livestock herding dogs, livestock housing, horses, donkeys, mules, sheep, smaller pets, varietal including heritage poultry, (Swans, chickens, ducks, turkey, quail, geese etc.), and supplies for these animals, often from people who are occasionally getting out of one animal and into another.  They can be a great source for healthy barn cats and domestic cats too.

           I bought an amazing auger through Craigslist, which is the subject of an earlier blog post.

            Then, as I related in another post some time ago, our daughter bought her first home. Even though the home was reasonable, she needed to replace oak floors, buy a riding lawn mower,  paint the interior and buy a bed. This didn't leave any money to speak of for a washer and dryer, a new stove, incidental rugs, a kitchen table and chairs, lamps,  and furniture.  She looked at garage sales, and I read the Craigslist ads to two areas adjacent to us, daily.  I called on items she needed immediately and was available to look as soon as possible.  Taking a picture of the item and e-mailing it to her also helped to settle the issue of whether she wanted the item or not, once I got there. I also paid one of my sons to load and transport the larger items such as the stove etc.   My husband and I picked up the washer dryer set when we finally found one she liked. We did have a tough time getting to some of these places with a truck fast enough. It seemed that many times, the best buys went before my husband was off from work and could get there with a truck. Eventually, we were successful and got everything she needed.   Her entire home was carefully furnished for about seven hundred dollars (not including her new bed) and it looks great !

           Then, after my daughter bought her home through a conventional realtor, I began looking through Craigslist real estate ads to see if anything came up for one of my sons.  He didn't find a house, but we did find a very nice two acre piece of land very reasonably, which we promptly bought.    Another one of our sons needed a car, and he couldn't take on a payment along with college.  We were very lucky in that we fairly quickly located a late model Ford Focus that had just sold in a car auction.  The new owner had done some minimal work, and placed it up for sale on Craigslist, in January.  We bought it, insured and registered it, and then went about replacing a few missing things in it.  When we replaced a few things that we couldn't find online at the dealers, they could not believe how reasonably we bought the car.  The car is serving him well, and one day last week, while mine was being serviced, I used it too.

          A couple of years ago, a supplier of new corral panels and farm gates which I use to contain horses and for training were being advertised on Craigslist.  They were priced as factory direct and were much less money than I would normally buy such things from our farm supply stores.  I bought them and the man delivered them at a prearranged appointment on a specific day.  The quality and value was astounding.

          I also got some antique iron lawn furniture via Craigslist a man was selling after he inherited a large Richmond home.

This is an actual piece that I bought on Craigslist.

          We enjoy gardening here.  On Craigslist I have been lucky enough to get a number of plants, shrubs and trees from anything from "free if you dig it up" to plants for $1.-$10.     We bought forsythia, irises, water iris, papyrus, day lillies,  jonquils,  orange trees, ficus, fig trees, apple and pear trees, roses, and many others.

People often split plants that they gave in their garden, and then sell them on Craigslist.

           Making maximal use of Craigslist demands that you look at the categories in which you are most interested daily.   Looking at your two closest urban or quasi-urban centers makes the most sense.  Use the star feature in order to mark the things in which you have an interest.  If you are truly interested and the price is okay, contact them immediately in the manner in which they indicate.  (Some enter a phone number, some want to be contacted via e-mail, others use the contact through Craigslist.)   In order to get the item, be the first one available to come and get it, whenever possible.   Bring cash with smaller bills whenever possible.  Get a receipt, if just to protect yourself should you ever buy anything that someone later says is stolen.  At least you will avoid being charged with being in possession of stolen goods !   If someone won't give you a receipt, then that should be a bright red flag.   Most of the people on Craigslist are decent people who are trying to clean up, part with some things, or prepare to move.  They want to sell whatever it is fairly quickly and with a minimum of difficulty.  A few will help you load whatever it is.  Most will not or cannot, so bring someone with muscle, and a vehicle that will allow you to take whatever it is home. Bring a tarp, some old towels, and moving pads if you have them so that the item doesn't damage your vehicle while being moved, and so that the item you bought is protected.  If the item overhangs your vehicles back bumper, then you need to attach a red flag at the back of it as a warning to other drivers.  This is state law in most places in the US, but it's good common sense if you are somewhere where it isn't.

          In the US we still have some people who acquire things too easily and don't appreciate the things they have. This fuels their parting with some fantastic things much faster than I would.   I tend to get full use out of things until I can't anymore, and then I often give whatever the item is to someone who will cherish it as much as I did.
          Ebay and Half dot com are also excellent sources of unusual items. Don't overlook how useful these sources can be.

          Don't miss some of these fantastic chances to get a wonderful buy. Don't pay retail unless you have exhausted the possibility of paying less elsewhere for it.  If you consider the possibility of considering a gently used item, this will help you stretch your funds so that when you do need to buy something retail for cash that you will have the option of selecting the best item, and not necessarily the very cheapest one.

          Most importantly, this applies directly to preparedness.  Many times, items your family needs for preparedness, for home evacuation, sheltering-in-place, or farm or animal evacuation are available on Craigslist.  Don't let this avenue of preparedness pass you by.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Intelligent Use of What You Have in Animal Housing

                   If you paid contractors to make animal housing for you, you could conceivably spend more for the housing than you will for many of the farm animals.   Conversely, when it's eventually time to sell, you don't want structures that reduce your property's value looking like the trash dump in Appalachia a hundred years ago.  Therefore it makes practical sense to make structures which are reasonably appealing and attractive, especially if you value what your wife thinks !    Much of preparedness is assessing what you have available,  and what could reasonably and safely be used for an alternate purpose. Here is just one of those ideas.   The property owner was able to get someone to leave a giant wooden spool at his home.  Such spools are used by power companies and even sometimes by contractors who are burying cable for other purposes.  The owner was undaunted, and developed a plan to use the spool for something they needed.

                     The homeowner placed wooden slats all the way around the spool leaving an opening as a door. They already had the wood, although it needed to be cut to size. He secured them with screws so they could be repaired or easily altered later.

               This is a clearer view.

            This type of housing would not only be useful for a pig, but for goats, sheep, or even dogs.   Although it's rather large, it could also be used for poultry.   You could stain the outside of it or paint with protectant in order to increase its lifespan.  You could also roof the top if you had roofing material available.

             As long as the item you substitute for does the job and does not look ghastly, then inventive use of the items you have can be very beneficial.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

On Brandon Raub

               Some time ago, I brought you information on Brandon Raub, the Marine who was arrested by federal agents, placed in a mental hospital simply because he had said some unfavorable things regarding the present US government administration.  He was eventually vindicated by a judge who stated that there had never been enough evidence to send him away to another part of the state on a psychiatric mandatory hold in the first place. Searches of his home following his arrest  revealed that he didn't even own guns.

                Since then, when Mr. Raub with the aid of the Rutherford Institute, tried to sue the government in association with the violation of his civil rights etc., surprisingly, the case was thrown out of court.

                Yesterday,  Mr. Raub was once again arrested.    This time the 28 year old  was arrested for allegedly providing alcohol to two minor girls, and for allegedly exposing himself to one of them.  His brother Brentley was also present during this time.

                Is this a clean collar or is this a set up and payback for embarrassing the local police, the alphabet agencies involved, and the present governmental administration ?    It will be interesting to see how this particular case plays out.

Our prior posts on Brandon Raub:

Original case files and transcripts can be found at: