Sunday, May 22, 2022

The Return of the Craftsman Style Home


                           This is an example of a modern day Craftsman style home. The contact information on the page will allow you to contact them and buy plans for it, if you wish.

                          When we were looking for a first home, we couldn't possibly have considered building one. We knew we needed to find a small home in reasonable condition, and it's styling could not be of paramount importance.  We were lucky in that our first affordable home that we were able to purchase had been a summer home on the side of a mountain range, near a lake. It took a couple of years to complete all we had planned, but we were able to convert the home to a year round home and make it lovely enough to sell for several times what we had originally paid. A few homes later, we were finally in a position that we could have a home built for us.  In those years, the McMansion was popular.  There were many different designs of slightly scaled down mini mansions of transitional design, sometimes made with different shades of brick.  Sometimes, these homes were not only larger than the family needed, but they were designed in such a way that maintaining them was harder than first or second homeowners could do. Since real estate was going up every few years, people tended to buy on the upper edge of affordability, thinking that those empty rooms would help them grow their investments even more.

         The last time we built another home, all styles and types were in vogue.  Everything from Frank Lloyd Wright copies, to all flavor of modern homes were available. There were also modern versions of farmhouses and traditional colonial homes available. Choosing one could be daunting and I think many people let their pocketbook help them choose what to build.

                In the years past "the Great Recession" families aren't seeking to build as large a home as they once might have.  Families are focused on keeping energy bills at a reasonable rate. Many people understand that a smaller space, well organized may be as comfortable as a large space that perhaps was not as well planned as it might have been. Families may be smaller now, and a fair number of single people are buying homes. Also, although my family and I moved about every four or five years and put the profit down on the next home, people are less likely to do that now. Many people are perfectly content to buy one home, and remain there indefinitely.

            In many places, including rural ones, modern version of the craftsman style home are being built.  What IS a craftsman style home ?  Between about 1900 and 1929, some reacted against the large highly ornate Victorian home and wished to build a simpler home that could be constructed with human hands, rejecting some of the more ornate items made by machines.  These homes have a more basic design and may have stonework and exposed beams that could have been made by artisans.

            The modern craftsman style home has broad appeal now.  They range from small bungalows with craftsman styling, to a larger more modern interpretation which may include a garage, wooden built-ins, masonry fireplaces, and stone accents. Some are two story now, and a few of them are inspired by craftsman design elements, but are large farmhouse or even mansion styled.  They have in common, horizontal lines and often gabled roofing. Some have dormers in the roof boosting the space.

            This aesthetic does please a lot of people and provides an awful lot of room for personalization.  There are a couple of words of wisdom that I would like to pass on to anyone buying or building a house. First, purchase all the land you think you will need.  Needing to move later to acquire more land is always difficult, and then recouping a similar house can also be challenging.  Collect pictures of houses and plans for such for a considerable time before entering a contract to have one built.  Understand that it almost always take longer to build a home than is anticipated, .  Often, when the exterior is complete and the roof closed in and siding on, you are only half way through the process because the interiors take some time and the septic and well are usually constructed last.

             The building of a family home can be rewarding, but takes care and consideration on the part of the family who has hired a builder.






Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Is Kratom the Cause of the Tragic Loss of Molly Meghan Miller ?


                    In December, 2017, everyone in Charlottesville, Virginia was looking for Molly Meghan Miller.   Molly was a young woman who despite her many friends who were attending college, had taken an alternate path, and become a mason, and had bought a house that she and her fiance were renovating.  She had disappeared on December 29th, and the last thing anyone recalled her doing was buying some extra ingredients for a holiday meal she had been preparing.  Charlottesville was good at looking for young women.  Over the years a number of them had disappeared, and some had been found dead, and so this matter came with some urgency.

                    Despite the fact that Molly was 5'8" and 115 lbs, she had a muscular upper body, the result of her work as a mason's apprentice. She wouldn't have been easy to abduct, people speculated.

                    Although Molly's house was fully searched and she was not initially located there, ultimately a police detective brought blood hounds in, and Molly's body was found in a less obvious location in the basement she had been renovating.  After an autopsy, the medical examiner's best choice was that Molly had committed suicide.  This has not set well with her many friends and acquaintances.

                     A short time after Molly's death, her mother released a statement in explanation of what she believes happened, and to caution others with regard to the same issue.

Perhaps it is because places in the country are now selling kratom and it's finding new acceptance in a time in which many people have limited trust for their physicians, but I need to post something I posted elsewhere in 2018. Please read and distribute. Given the right circumstances kratom may be very dangerous.

Some time ago, I posted about the sudden and strange death of Molly Meghan Miller, who was missing and then later found dead in an unheated and unfinished part of her home.. It seems that the toxicology report on her death may soon be made available to her family.
. This is important because very few of us, in healthcare or not, know about kratom, it's risks and its dangers.


(The portion of the post between the asterisk line has been written by Molly Meghan Miller's mother.)

Help Save The Next Girl shared Marian McConnell's post.
January 6 2018

MOLLY MILLER – We Believe Accidental Overdose of Kratom
Molly suffered most of her adult life from the excruciating monthly pain of endometriosis (a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus). While overall she was healthy, strong, and active, for about a week every month she could be incapacitated from the pain. We (and her doctors) tried everything from laser surgery, prescription pain killers, acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and as of about 2 years ago, she began taking an herbal remedy, Kratom. Up until December 29th, the Kratom worked well for her with little to no negative side effects, and allowed her to function normally and have better quality of life. It was very expensive and not covered by insurance.
On Friday December 29th, she went to Harris Teeter and used her credit card to get the money necessary to pick up the COD package from FedEx – she always ordered the Kratom online and had it delivered. It is legal and the Police have copies of the paperwork confirming her purchases and the source (company) that she bought it from. I had accompanied her many times to do that, and had also witnessed her taking the Kratom drops (in tea) when she was having her period.
I had looked up Kratom online and seen some mild possible side effects mentioned, but didn’t investigate far enough; it was my sister who found the link that made us realize what obviously happened.

In this article by Desert Hope Treatment Center it says about Kratom Overdose:
“Possible signs of a kratom overdose include: Nausea, Irritability, Agitation, Drowsiness, Elevated blood pressure, Rapid heartbeat, Psychosis, Seizure.
These symptoms can be dangerous, and that danger is compounded by the fact that there’s not yet much information on what dose is appropriate. It’s highly recommended to start out small, taking just a few grams at first to figure out how much your body can handle. What is known is that kratom produces stimulant effects at smaller doses, but as the dose is raised, it can produce strong sedative and euphoric effects. At even higher doses, it can produce hallucinations and delusions. Beyond that, overdose is likely. Psychosis mixed with panic attacks, aggression, or severe depression can become very dangerous as the individual may lose touch with reality and cause injury to others or even attempt suicide.”
We are 100% convinced Molly accidentally overdosed on Kratom; perhaps put too many drops in her tea, took an extra dose for extra pain, or got a bad batch, and it made her do what she did because her thought processes were distorted by the Kratom. She was happy and making positive plans up until that night; there was NO indication that she was upset or planning anything other than good things.
We are still awaiting the results of the toxicology report, which the Police specifically requested to look for the presence (and if possible the quantity) of Kratom in her system. Regardless of the results (which may be difficult to get due to the cold temperature of the house), we know without a doubt this is what happened.
With all the challenges in the world today for treating chronic pain safely and effectively, it is imperative that everyone know about the dangers of Kratom. If there can be a blessing in this tragedy, perhaps it’s that other lives can be saved by knowing that this drug can be fatal.
In our grief, this has given us relief knowing that it was Kratom, and not anyone (including herself), who drove her to behave as she did. We love Molly and will continue to pour our love and care on her fiancé Anson, along with spreading the word about the dangers of Kratom to keep this from happening to anyone else. Molly wants it that way.
Marian McConnell (Molly’s Mother)


                  I am posting this now for several reasons.  At least in Virginia, many stores that sell everything from vaping supplies to materials for packaging, are now selling Kratom.   People, particularly in the preparedness community may be looking for ways to manage transient or chronic pain.   I also know that when one of my sons survived a lightning strike that his pain was not particularly managed well, and that physicians are pressured not to prescribe opioids whenever possible.  Pain management may not be handled well by the medical community just now, and yet Kratom may be very dangerous for some.

                    It is for this reason, I must post the experience of Molly's family.  Molly should not be forgotten.  Please think twice before self medicating for any reason with Kratom.
                    Once again, I send condolences to her family and friends as we once again, remember the life of Molly Meghan Miller.


Sunday, April 10, 2022

What is Your State of Preparedness ?



   I have been passing preparedness information along to people on this blog for more than ten years. I have been providing plans for disaster preparedness to families with members who are medically fragile since about two thousand.  A few of you have asked why the number of posts I have been posting here have diminished.

                 As early as the nineteen-nineties there were strong indications that hospitals, utility companies and governments were becoming overly focused on profits and less on their constituency.  The individual or the individual family was becoming expendable.  It was obvious, even then, that families needed to make plans to take care of their members themselves for periods of time. Even then, it made sense to skip a vacation that year to prepare for times without power, times where it might be difficult to buy food or medicine.  "You're focusing on the poor", I was often told.   No, actually, I was focusing on everyone who eats or who can become ill, which is everyone. I also reminded people that most people are just a few paychecks away from being "poor".

                 After I did the podcasts and published the book, our number of international readers increased, especially in Venezuela, and in France, and lately in the UK.  I have tried to expand some of my posts to include brand names of items in those places.

                 The fact is, that in 2020, if you aren't concerned about inflation, gasoline and diesel prices, corruption in government, fraudulent elections, impending wars, corruption and agendas in health care, political unheaval, a deterioration in the standard and focus of education, then you aren't paying attention.

                 My advice is as it always has been.  Buy your own home, in as rural an area as is practical or possible for your own family. Grow whatever food you can. Keep chickens for eggs if possible,  Grow sprouts on the kitchen window year round.  Adopt a dog as a sentry for your home.  Organize your home and your documents.  Make a family plan for sheltering in place and for family evacuation, and include your dog and other pets in those plans.  Each family member should learn all they can about some aspect of rural life and elf sufficiency that they can.  Educate yourself.  If at all possible, you should homeschool your children.  You will encounter the like-minded as you move through life.  Focus on your nuclear family, but if you have extended family living in your area, keep an eye on them, and let them aid you when possible.  Nurture your personal relationship with God and let your family see this.  If you can find a nurturing church, then do so, but your own relationship with God is much more important than your relationship with a church that man has created to facilitate the same.

            Learn to use the equipment you have. Make sure you have basic first aid skills and then expand upon them. Learn to consider buying some things used, before spending a great deal on a new one perhaps of questionable quality.  Learn to safely own and use firearms. Make sure that they are stored in a manner that does not endanger your children or grandchildren.  Make sure that the electronics, phones, internet devices you have, you own, and do not own you.

            Be alert to the ever increasing number of scams which exist, which are focused on parting you from your money, or even transferring the title of your home without your knowledge.  

            Protect your children, in all the manners which this date and time requires.

             Read what you can.  There are ten years of posts here on various aspects of this subject. This would be a great place to start.  At this point, I understand and accept that I have done my best, but that people who aren't awake now, are never going to be.

Monday, March 14, 2022

A Mention of Post COVID hair loss



  There is so much to comment or to lament upon in the world today, and yet I am busy. I tend to put the work in on the farm, the books I write and less time spent on the blogs. I am almost absent from social media now. Once in a while there is something I want to mention to my readers of ten years, particularly when I have not found the topic elsewhere, or when it is not yet covered very well.

                    Despite the big push to receive COVID-19 injections, many people haven't. Some of the people who have had the injections have developed COVID-19 anyway. It is an odd virus and it can manifest clinically in a number of ways.  One of the symptoms that can occur, often two to three months following recovery is hair loss.  Official writings on COVID doesn't yet acknowledge hair loss as one of COVID-19 sequelae, but suffice it to say that specialist physicians in infection control are diverted and consumed with a number of other issues, some of which are much more serious than hair loss.

                    Still, a fair number of people, especially women, are seeing a dermatologist concerning what seems to them a significant loss of hair about three months following the resolution of their case of COVID, which may have been uncomplicated, or may have resulted in hospitalization.

                   Significant loss of hair can occur as a result of a high fever, due to vitamin or iron deficiencies, or during periods of hormonal shift. Some women lose hair during menopause. Of course, new onset hypothyroidism can also be a cause of part widening, another symptom of hair thinning.

                   If you are losing a significant amount of hair two to three months following COVID-19, you may wish to see your physician. Some people following COVID do have a swollen thyroid gland, and gland enlargement can occur in the presence of normal thyroid output, in low output states and even in high output states. You should be assessed for thyroid enlargement (also known as goiter) and you should have a T3 level and TSH lab levels drawn.  If these return as normal, you and your physician will have ruled out thyroid dysfunction as the cause of your hair loss.

                  For many people, the diagnosis will be something called telogen effluvium.   This is a state where the hair follicles on the head go into a resting phase in larger numbers than normal.  Stress, illness, fever, and vitamin deficiencies can also contribute to the state.  Telogen effluvium can persist for as long as 6-9 months, although many cases are much shorter.

                   Your doctor may wish to recommend one of the specialty vitamin formulations which aid in hair growth.  Viviscal and  Nutrafol are probably the most familiar.  You should also ask your physician if you need to supplement iron, as iron deficiency can contribute to hair loss, particularly in women.

                   If your hair loss seems mild and you have not seen your physician, until you do, you may wish to supplement with a good basic multivitamin, with iron if you are female. It should also have supplemental B vitamins, Vitamin D3, and especially Biotin.  Some women have said that applying rosemary oil to their scalp prior to washing their hair has been beneficial in avoiding further stress to the follicles while washing hair and brushing.

                    Please let me know if you have something to contribute to this discussion. Very little is written about it just now with regard to the link between COVID and transient hair loss following recovery.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Tell Me of Shortages


   Most of us now have seen or experienced shortages of one kind or another following the COVID-19 debacle and the events which have occurred afterward. We are told these are generated a number of ways. First, China who makes a great deal of the products sold in the US has experienced supply chain interruptions as a result of upheavals following their own COVID experience. There are interruptions at differing levels of the supply chain there, and this is resulting in less product overall.  Secondly, we are being told that there are massive numbers of container ships from Asia waiting to unload in primarily West coast US ports, and that due to vaccine mandates, there aren't the numbers of people required to unload them. My first thought was that other than some paper plates, gift wrap, and a few non-essential items, it doesn't hurt me much not to be able to get access to Chinese goods. Most of the gifts I buy for family for Christmas are American made.  So I haven't been all that concerned.

              I have been aware that everywhere from pharmacies to Dollar General, Family Dollar, Wal-Mart, Dollar Tree, other Dollar-type stores and everywhere in between have experienced some rolling shortages. First, there were shortages of toilet paper, then masks, then isopropyl alcohol, then hand sanitizer, then liquid hand soap, then medical gloves, then chux (which have all sorts of uses)  Then, there were shortages of yeast and a variety of different foods, including breads. There were sharp rises in the cost of meats. Now there are shortages of first aid supplies, nebulizer kits, etc. Of course, the types of shortages you may notice depend upon your area to some degree, what you might be seeking, your family size and your use patterns.  Keep in mind that with gas prices having risen under the Biden Regime from $1.79 a gallon last year to about $3.50 a gallon that this too will reduce widespread or complete distribution of goods to you and your family. A lot of the goods you won't be able to get won't matter, but some of them certainly will.  Many of us use dog coats in Winter, and since they rarely last for years, we buy them as Winter is coming. Most of us have not been able to locate the broad range of sizes of these we need.  In some areas, children's acetaminophen, loratadine, acetaminophen in regular strength, and ibuprofen have been in short supply or available only in the versions of the drugs many of us do not use.  Gauze roller bandage has been in short supply, as it is frequently made in China, and when it hasn't arrived, clinics and hospitals have snapped up all the American made versions, leaving little to none for the rest of us.


                What are your abatement strategies ?

First,  don't buy up things you don't really use because you think they might be in short supply.

Second,   Stock ahead on prescription and OTC meds your family uses wherever possible.  Leave what you do not normally use, on the shelf.  All these things do expire. Let them be on a pharmacy shelf.  Stay ahead on nebulizer supplies if you use these.

Third,  Assess your first aid supplies.  Beef up anything you need there.

Fourth,   Holiday shop a little early this year with a focus on the locally or American made. Focus on the practical not the fanciful this year.

Fifth,  Consider having "breakfast for dinner" one night a week. Breakfast can be an inexpensive dinner.  Eggs, bacon and pancakes, can be made in many different ways.  If eggs are plentiful, consider a dinner quiche.  Consider new ways to use what you have. You can stir fry spam with vegetables, even though many of us, aren't big spam fans. Enlarge your mealtime repertoire.

                 We will get through this, and when we do, we will have clearer ideas about what we use, and what we don't.   Take care of yourselves during this unusual holiday season. The things that matter were never the material gifts anyway.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Less Has Changed than You Think





       I haven't posted a great deal during COVID-19, and the governmental oversteps and shortages that followed. I think some people thought this would increase the number of posts, but frankly there is no reason.   In my first book, Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness, I am seeking to prepare the reader to do two things.  Prepare the family for emergencies that necessitate an emergency evacuation, and two, prepare for circumstances that necessitate sheltering in place.  All emergencies fall into either one action or the other.   (I do understand that some of them require sheltering in place while planning a speedy retreat from the area. )  Covid and the governmental oversteps which have occurred is no different. These happenings simply take you to being a more independent family unit or individual than you were before.

                    You need remember just a few things.

1. Your children need to hear that you will move Heaven and Earth to keep them safe, whatever the circumstances.

2. Stand tall.  No employer should be able to mandate an injection of anything, just as they cannot demand you relinquish a kidney for them, or have an abortion because it will be inconvenient for the office for you to be having a baby in the Summer, or near Christmas.  Always keep your resume updated, and keep an on paper notebook of places you could work in an emergency.  Sometimes, taking a vacation from your ordinary field of work is a blessing, ask any of the nurses who have.

3. Always have some emergency food.  The way banks are working today, you could be separated from your own money for a week or two.  Keep some cash well hidden in your home for just such emergencies. You should also have emergency food within your home.

4. Buy medications ahead whenever possible. Do the same with prescription medications your family uses long term, if you can.

5. It's always a good idea to know where you might move, and to what state and area, should things become rapidly inhospitable where you are. There are times to hold on to the homestead, and there are times to flee.

6. Although every personal circumstance has challenges, they all also have advantages. You don't have to solve everyone's problems right now. Solve your own and solve those of your own family.

7. If you're homeschooling, please know that your children will learn more from you than from any other teacher they ever have. Take a deep breath. Teach gradually. Celebrate the small victories and know that the sooner YOU choose their curriculum, and not the government schools do, then the better.

More to come.



Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Where is Ella Mae Begay ?



  As you know, we have been giving preparedness information here for more than ten years, and also, in a sense, tracking the deterioration of our society in that time also.  Many, many, children, young people, young men and young women have been listed and missing from both the US and from Canada in this time.  Once in a while, a mature person also goes missing due to foul play.




                       Occasionally, the people who disappear are simply lost. Others are having a mental health crisis and might not remember who they are or where they belong. Most of these people are eventually found, though it can be surprising as to how long this may take sometimes.

                 Other times, children, teens and even young men are stolen sometimes to be sold as the children of other people, as workers of others, or sometimes as slaves. There are also indications that some of the people who disappear from the US become slaves to people in foreign lands, sometimes the Middle East.

               We therefore need to be alert to situations that don't look right to us.  A man who is seeking to control a child, a woman, or girls at a rest stop could be someone who has abducted these women. A woman trying to escape from a bathroom might be someone who has been abducted and is seeking assistance in a bathroom. Please feel free to call police for such situations as this is a big problem now in our nation.  Young men also disappear. Some are pressed into prostitution, but others may be pressed into working for the cartels.

             Sometimes, men or women disappear from Indian reservations, and it can be very hard to locate them again.  There are 61 active missing persons cases from the Navajo Nation alone, dating back to the 1970s.

              Ella Mae Begay is a 62 year old woman who is known for her lovely Navajo handiwork, which graces the top of this posts page. She is considered a master Navajo pictorial rug weaver. Some of her work has been sold in art galleries. She is about 5'1" tall, and about 120 lbs, with dark hair and eyes. She is also a Navajo elder. She was also considered her family's matriarch.

              She spoke to family at length via telephone in June and was happy and exciting about some gatherings they were planning to have.  On June 15, 2021, she was reported missing, and teams were dispatched in and around her home in Sweetwater, Arizona, as both she and her silver truck are missing. The truck is a Silver 2005 Ford F-150 with ARIZONA license plate AFE7101.  Teams were dispatched over a very wide area, hoping to find Ella Mae in a broken down truck somewhere, but there was no luck. Both Arizona and Utah have been searched for her.

             The FBI is now involved in investigating her disappearance. One person is being held on other charges and is said to be a person of interest in her case, but there is no resolution to the case as yet. She and her vehicle have now been missing for months.




                    For reasons which are not yet clear to the rest of us, police have said that this matter has been transitioned to a homicide investigation.   Still , there is no resolution to this case. It is still possible that she is alive, and possibly in another state.  Please call the FBI if you see her vehicle, or someone who looks like Ella Mae. She has a family who is desperately worried about her, and they deserve to have some type of a resolution to this case.