Friday, December 30, 2011

Assembling Your Own Excellent First Aid Kit.....Starting with the best bag

These are the products of First aid

   One of the ways of saving money is to amass your own first aid kit, rather than buying one which is completed.

      I first discussed this in a post in September:

   I continued this discussion:

         Both the blue and the orange bags are sold empty for $13.99 a piece at:

   They also stock a variety of more expensive, more complicated kits, as well as selling kits which are fairly complete, like these

Empty First Responder Bag (On Call Bag) - Orange

Empty First Responder Bag (On Call Bag) - Orange
(*****Just a reminder that I bring many companies to your attention that I believe are good sources. None of them, unless I specifically state they are a paid contributor to my show, have paid for being here.  I pay the same amounts for these products that you do.)

ITEM / SKU: URG-999205

This bag keeps you ready and supplied for emergencies with the equipment stored in a conveniently. The bag has one main inner compartment with 2 built-in pockets along the length, as well as 2 outer pockets and a zippered compartment in the top cover. The bag is easy to carry with its adjustable shoulder strap and reinforced plastic carry handle.

(unless otherwise noted)
888-228-6694 CALL US TOLL FREE!
Wholesale to the Public Manufacturer Direct Medic bags, EMT Bags, Tactical Kits, Field Packs, & other great Pre-Hosital Safety Product Sales since 1993

Saving Money by Learning to Cut Your Child's Hair

            Hairdressers and barbers are likely not to be very pleased with me when I tell you that since 1981, there have been very few occasions in which my family and I have visited a hairdresser.  I have never taken any formal haircutting or hairdressing classes. Normally, hospitalized patients in the US can have a hairdresser who has an arrangement with the hospital, in to cut their hair.  The only place this is not permitted is in intensive care units. In ICUs, the nurses must pinch hit, and do occasionally cut hair when medically necessary.  From time to time, I had homeless patients in the ICU, and before they were discharged, I would provide them with clothing from Goodwill or other good second hand shops and give them a good haircut.  This was my practice ground.
           Once I had children,a trim was an easy thing to do, and it was much easier than taking a child to a barber.  I bought good haircutting scissors from a hairdressers supply shop (like Sally Beauty Supply in the US)  I would clean them with alcohol after each haircutting, as I would do with my haircutting combs.  I also bought a clipper set.  One of the things I did not have, but now you do, is the book below, which you can download.

(As is usual here on "Rational Preparedness, the writing and information between the sets of double lines is exclusively the work of the author of the book,  Steven Woodham.)


Someone once said the difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut is a few weeks. I’m not so sure. As a hairstylist for 23 years, I’ve seen some bad haircuts. That’s one reason I wrote, Cut Hair at Home. Anyone can cut hair. My illustrated haircut book shows how to cut all types of haircuts including: long haircuts, short haircuts, mens haircuts, womens haircuts, kids haircuts, hairstyles including: flat top haircuts, shag haircut, buzz haircuts, spike haircuts, clipper haircuts, layered haircuts, feathered haircuts, military haircuts; Any haircut imaginable from layered haircuts to clipper haircuts




So, once you have some tutelage from the above, and professional scissors, and a clipper set, you can cautiously begin at first, just to trim hair. Keep in mind that the law in every place of which I am aware allows you to cut hair of family members, however you are not permitted to cut the hair of others for money, so this isn't a way to make spare cash on the side, no matter which country you live in !       To this day, if one of my family members wants a particularly fashionable haircut, we pay, and I go with them, and I watch them do it, so that I can at least maintain the cut for a period of time. You can gradually begin to take over most of the haircuts your family needs.  Keep in mind, that you must take on haircutting slowly.  A really bad haircut has economic ramifications. The plan is to save money, without embarassing your husband beyond belief at work with a terrifying haircut !  Know that over time, you get better and better.  My husband had a haircut during  a business trip in the last couple of years, and I have been cutting his hair for so long, that we take for granted that almost anyone else can too.  His haircut was not as good as the ones I have been giving.

A complete clipper set.  This is especially useful for shaving neck hair and neatening up a man's short haircut.

Reeling In Family Finance

Governments may be able to cut budgets, but most of us with households have been dealing with less for many years, the best we can hope to do is shave our budgets.
     On this blog I talk a great deal about getting this, and acquiring that, and although I do include the more frugal approach to doing things, I don't often address where the money comes from in order to do these things.
I don't care who you are, whether you are mired in poverty or wealthy beyond your prior imaginings, everyone needs a budget. Even those who are wealthy, within three years have been shown to develop habits which tend to challenge their wealth. This is why many wealthy people have primary homes in foreclosure now, as well as those who are poorer or aspiring to be middle class. This is true not only of the US, but of many other nations as well.
             How do we make a budget ?  It starts with a listing of monthly expenses, including your mortgage or rent,all  insurance costs, food costs, phone, health care costs, electricity and other utilities, loan payments including student loans, and transportation costs. You should include some funds allocated for entertainment and some for maintenance of your home if you own it.   Then you list your total family income, after withholding taxes, and see where the trends are.  In the past, only 25% of your total salary should be going to housing, but since 1990, many people elected to spend more.  Seriously look at ways that these expenses could be shaved.  In my house, the electricity is higher than it should be, and we have instituted a strict "turn it off if you are not using it" policy.  In addition, you may wish to place electronic devices on a surge protector with a switch, so that you can turn off all the electronic devices in a room with the click of one switch.  Even low use items use more power than we think.   Hot water is a major cause of electrical costs for those families whose heater is powered by electricity.  In many countries, there is a switch which activates hot water for an anticipated shower.  Here in the US we do this less often, but an electrician can install a timer where hot water is set to be available for the hours in which your family showers or does dishes.

This is a programmable hot water heater timer.  This unit is intended for an electrical hot water heater, although there are a few units available which will do the same for a gas heated hot water heater. These devices must be installed by a licensed electrician in order to be safe.

  We saved a fortune when I had one of these installed in our first house.

               Seriously look at your budget and see what can be realistically shaved off.  If nothing else can, they begin to look at other ways of making some supplemental income.  The most important thing to do in advance of gathering "preparedness items", is to have an emergency savings account.  A family's emergency savings account should be liquid cash for emergencies.  Financial planners tell us it should be 3-6 months of household operational expenses put away for emergencies, and ear-marked for nothing else.  For years we lived without this, and for years we had difficulties when unexpected expenses surfaced.  So, you should ear mark some money from your budget each week for "Emergency savings account".
               After you have an emergency savings account, it is a good idea to allocate funds for "Emergency Supplies".  This is ideally the fund from which you can finance many of the things I talk about on the blog.
I will discuss more about family finance at other times.

Coins add up.....make no mistake.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Received for Christmas

                I keep a pretty good preparedness library at home.  Some women want shoes or gift certificates for dresses or pedicures, and I want things that enhance our educational and survival supplies.   One of my family members was lucky enough to find this book on sale, and know that I would be interested in it.  Originally published in 1908, it addressed design and function issues of frugality and practicality.  It has been updated, and added to, in a version which was published in 2007.  This book is easily available, rather inexpensively on,  Ebay, and on Amazon, if not your local library.   It is especially useful if you are considering building a get away cabin, or even a first house. In fact, in perusing its pages, I am reminded of the very first house I ever bought which sat on a small wooded lot on the side of a mountain.   Before you build or renovate any structure, you should take a look inside this small book for ideas and insight.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Growing Sprouts at Home

This is a standard canning jar with a sprouting lid with sprouts growing inside, for periodic harvest.

   Regardless of your climate or your living conditions, you can grow sprouts regularly to supplement your vitamins, your roughage, and to provide delicious additions to salads or sandwiches.

   Emergency Essentials sells a sprout kit for only under $15.00 US.    You provide your own glass canning jar, and buy their special plastic lid, and buy the seeds and follow the directions and you are instantly growing sprouts.   If you are sans such a lid, the same thing can be achieved using cheesecloth rubber banded at the top of the jar lid region. This would be much more labor intensive and therefore I recommend, one of the lids.

 According to Emergency Essentials
Some good sprouting seeds are: alfalfa, mung beans, triticale, soy beans, lentils, whole peas, adzuki beans, clover, garbanzo beans, rye, wheat, beans, rice, and oats. The last five seeds mentioned sprout in only two days. The rest sprout in about three to five days.

This is the lid which can be inexpensively purchased from Emergency Essentials for your canning jar

Lid fairly close to actual size

  This is the entire set presently on sale.  You provide your own glass canning jar.

Although it is certainly simpler to start with a complete set such as this, if you are in another nation and cannot order the set from the US, you can certainly structure one yourself.

There are many different types of sprouting vessels. You can buy one type or another or fashion your own.
   If you plan to fashion your own "kitchen sprout farm" for personal use, you could proceed like this:

This is an excellent source of different types of sprouting containers:

These are directions from

Please check out their site.  Once you have sprouted, and want to expand your activities or try the numerous varieties of sprouts, the people below are absolute sprout experts.  Visit

(Data within the doubled-lines is the work product of
Please visit their site, and buy from them when you are ready !)

Welcome to Sproutpeople University!
We call this class Sprouting 101

This is a close-up of Russian mix sprouts


These are French Garden sprouts

These are alfalfa sprouts which are probably most familiar to Americans.


If you pay attention you will learn the most basic truths of sprouting - according to us Sproutpeople.

The Basics of Sprouting:

  • Seed Storage: Keeping your dormant seeds happy.
  • Soaking: Turning a dormant seed into a nutritional powerhouse.
  • Rinsing: Water is the key ingredient in sprouts. Use it liberally.
  • Draining: It is essential that sprouts be drained thoroughly after rinsing. Sitting in a puddle is the most common cause of crop failure.
  • Air Circulation: If your sprouts can’t breathe while growing - they can die. Don’t put them in a closed cabinet.
  • Greening: Photosynthesis is cool, and so is Chlorophyll, but not all sprouts are into it, nor is it necessary. Sprouts of all colors are packed with flavor and nutrition!
  • Cleanliness: Your seed should be clean and your sprouting device should be sterile. Wash your sprouter well between crops. Sterilize when necessary.
  • Storage: Properly stored, fresh sprouts will keep for up to 6 weeks in your refrigerator but fresher is better. Never refrigerate wet sprouts.
  • Eat More Sprouts! Grow More Often!

Click the links below for a thorough education, in each area of study.

Seed Storage

Dormant seeds can last for centuries - or weeks. Learn what you can do to keep them viable for as long as possible.

Seed Prep

Though it is not always necessary, it is always a good idea to Prep your seeds before you Soak them.


Dry seeds are dormant.
Soaking a seed ends it's dormancy and begins a new life.
In nature this seed will make a plant which can, in turn make seeds, which can in turn make more plants, which can make More Seeds which make More Plants and more and More and MORE!
We eat all this potential. Its no wonder sprouts are SO nutritious!
REMEMBER: Once a seed has soaked up it's fill of water, it is Alive! It is now a nutritional phenomenon, with its own enzymes - it will take nothing but will only add to your body. We are used to sprouts having tails, but they don't have to. You can eat any soaked seed and know that you are giving your body an amazing nutritional gift.


Given proper moisture a seed will germinate.
Rinsing is the process by which we add moisture to our sprouts. Draining is the process by which we regulate the amount of moisture our sprouts have available - until their next Rinse.
The Sproutpeople's Principals of Rinsing:
Use cool water (60-70°F)
Use a lot of water
Use high pressure water whenever possible.
Rinse 2-3 times daily.


The Sproutpeople's Principals of Draining:
Drain as much of the Rinse water
out of your sprouts
as is humanly possible.
Be Thorough!

Air Circulation

In between Rinse and Drain cycles your sprouts do their growing. During that time it is essential that they can breathe. The best sprouting devices help them breathe, but you need to pay some attention too. There isn't much to it - sprouts can grow just about anywhere - as long as they can breathe, but don't have so much air movement that they dry out between Rinses.
We set our sprouter on our kitchen counter. We don't mind the diffuse sunlight or the 150 watts of incandescent light. Light just does not matter much. A plant can only perform photosynthesis when it has leaves. Until then light has little if any effect, and they need to breathe - so don't hide your sprouts!


On the day your Sprouts are ready to take in light - when their cotyledons (leaves) have shed their hulls or are about to - allow your sprouts light - if you've been keeping it from them. If you grow them - like we do - where light is already available, just watch the magic (it'll take a couple days so you might want to grab a sandwich if you plan on watching every moment @:-)
If you are Growing Grass or Greens you will have kept the light away most likely, so now is the time to uncover them. When you see them growing tall (an inch or so for Grass and 1-2 inches for Greens) but yellow (sans chlorophyll), uncover the container and move it to a well lit location.


Some of the crops we offer can or must be planted on soil or another moisture retaining medium. Click to learn all about planting.

When Are They Done?

You will find the answer to this question on each and every seed "detail" page. Follow that link, click the seed category (ie - if you're looking for Alfalfa, click Leafy), then click the name of the seed you want to know about (ie - once on the Leafy page, click Alfalfa). You may also use our new (is 2010 still new?) "Back Door" to those same detail pages.


De-hulling is the process of removing hulls (seed coats) from your finished sprouts.
We don't de-hull much. We never bother with Beans, we brush what we can off of our Greens - and since we grow our Leafy sprouts vertically, the hulls fall off naturally as we rinse. The only sprouts we always de-hull are Brassicas.

Storing your Harvest

Before moving your sprouts to that big cool box in your kitchen, they should be dry to the touch. In most cases we let our sprouts sit for 8-12 hours after their final Rinse, and extremely thorough Drain before we refrigerate them, but if our salad spinner can contain them, we use it.

Sprouter Cleanliness

You should thoroughly clean your Sprouter as often as you can. We wash thoroughly with soap and water between crops, or use the dishwasher (if the sprouter can take it). It is always best to have a clean Sprouter - that way your crop will have a head start. You can sterilize your Sprouter too - and you should - especially if you start having crop failures.

Travel Sprouting

It isn't actually a basic element of sprouting, but if you are lucky enough to be on the road, we'll tell you how to keep on sproutin'


A Final word from Jane:

     Not only is growing sprouts an excellent educational activity for children, but it is a relatively inexpensive way for families to supplement their own food.  Find out what types of seeds are ideal in your area or in your country for sprouting.   This is also a way of always having some type of greenery for salads, sandwiches and soups, year round.  Depending upon the seeds you start with, what you grow is organic, and free of pesticides.
      Depending upon where you are in the world, this could also become a small business for some, providing organic sprouts for other families.   Please let me know how this works for you.


A fine blog post on this subject can be found on the blog of my friends:

Monday, December 26, 2011

Aggression in England


Man killed amid Britain's post-Christmas sales

Killing on landmark retail street and subway strike fail to halt record Boxing Day sales

LONDON (AP) -- A teenager was fatally stabbed Monday after an argument broke out in a sports store on London's most famous retail street as thousands of shoppers flocked to Britain's capital seeking post-Christmas bargains.
The killing of the 18-year-old man on Oxford Street — and a second wounding in the same road — did little to deter shoppers crowding into neighboring stores in the landmark shopping district. Bargain hunters were also largely untroubled by a subway strike which badly disrupted the city's public transport services.
Selfridges — close to the scene of Monday's stabbing and one of Britain's most popular department stores — reported its biggest ever first hour of trading Monday morning, while the New West End Company, which represents traders on central London's shopping streets, reported 15 million pounds (US$23.5 million) in sales in the first three hours of trading.
"As ever, the West End's Boxing Day sales have attracted shoppers in their hundreds of thousands," said Jace Tyrrell, of the New West End Company.
Sue West, Selfridges' director of operations, said that ladies' accessories and jewelry were the most popular items snapped up. "Despite Tube disruptions ... we had record sales in our first hour," West said.
London's air ambulance helicopter had earlier rushed to the street following the fatal stabbing. Authorities said the teenage victim died before medics could administer help.
Police erected a tent outside a Foot Locker sports store as they carried out investigations and confirmed that ten people had been arrested in connection with the death.
Officers said a second stabbing took place close by — on the corner of Oxford Street and Regent Street — but insisted it wasn't immediately known if the two incidents were linked.
Det. Chief Insp. Mark Dunne, of London's Metropolitan police, said two groups of young people appeared to have become involved in a large-scale altercation before the teenager's death.
Dunne said that little more was known about the circumstances, but there were likely to be large numbers of witnesses. "This is probably the busiest place in the United Kingdom right now, on the busiest shopping day," he told reporters at the scene.
"A number of weapons have been recovered from that scene — whether I have got the murder weapon I don't know. There's an assortment of items, but no guns," he said.
On London's subway network, the ASLEF train drivers' labor union staged a one-day strike to demand extra pay and additional time off for members working on the public holiday.
Despite the disruptions, huge crowds — some lining up outside stores from midnight — rushed into department stores in London and other British cities as soon as doors opened early Monday.
The London Underground, the organization that manages the subway system, condemned the move, saying it was pointless and demonstrated "a complete disregard for our customers." Authorities said extra buses were running in main shopping areas to cater to the increased flow of travelers on one of the year's busiest shopping days.
The ASLEF union has warned it plans to stage three more strikes in January and February if the dispute is not resolved.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

            Russian Orthodox Christmas is celebrated in early January.   Here in the US, most Christians celebrate it on December 25th.     May this song help you remember the reason for the season.  Merry Christmas.

             We spent a quieter Christmas than most, remembering the family members who have passed in the last few years, both young and old.  Our remaining kids, several of them grown, were home, and we had a traditional Christmas dinner of turkey, potatoes, broccoli with cheese sauce, stuffing, and rolls. We chose to skip making a dessert this year. We were full afterward.   We wish all of you who are celebrating Christians, a meaningful Christmas this year.  As our Lord and Savior would have us do, we also wish those of you who practice another faith, best wishes and a blessed day also.

Merry Christmas to all !

This is Barlow Girl,a group of sisters who hail from the Chicago, Illinois area.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sending Prayers to Families of Sakhalin Island, Far Eastern Russia

The oil rig "Kolskaya", prior to capsizing    (Picture: France 24)

A view of some of the industry on Sakhalin Island

A map of Russia's Far East including the location of Sakhalin Island. The area is very cold but full of natural beauty. (Picture BBC. Also appears on Pavlas Family Blog)

My husband and I were in Russia's Far East in 2001 throughout December. Although we never personally visited Sakhalin Island, members of our party did. The region of Russia's Far East and Sakhalin region are bitterly cold and unforgiving in Winter.  Sakhalin Island can be a difficult place in which to make a living. It is therefore with sorrow that I report that the Kolskaya Oil Drilling Rig off Sakhalin capsized today, with 67 crew members aboard. The men of this rig were not there trying to become wealthy. They were there paying to support families and children, at difficult work in an environment which I can vouch for as inhospitable, particularly in the middle and end of December.    Sakhalin is one of the most ethnically diverse places in Russia. The island itself has beautiful thick forests and many lakes as well.    As of this moment, fourteen crew members have been rescued, and the remainder are missing. The conditions are such that hypothermia would set in very rapidly in such a circumstance. Tonight please pray for those families and those souls lost off Kolskaya, off Sakhalin Island.

UPDATE:   Please see a 2013 post also on the subject of Sakhalin Island, Russia

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Take Care with Winter Driving

          Most of us who have lived in snowy climates have had some practice with near misses, snow, and with icy roads.  In the Northeastern US most people are well experienced and therefore fairly cautious in snow and ice, but in the US South we see snow and ice a bit less often and so some of us are less experienced and do not adjust our speed or our chances taken accordingly.
           Wherever you are, keep a driving emergency kit in your car, and take care this winter driving season.


Considering an Escape Cabin for Emergencies


    It was many years ago now that I decided that I wanted to live in an intensely rural area and that I would structure our lives to adapt to the decided inconvenience of living much farther from normal conveniences than most people.  My reasons were many.  First, at that time, land and homes were much cheaper in rural areas than they are now. Now, telecommuting is possible for many people, and therefore they will pay more for the perfect rural home, whereas years ago, very few people were prepared to get a small car when a larger one was fashionable, and make a lengthy daily commute.  Secondly, I truly believe that children are more creative, and that their intelligence and creativity are given more chances to develop when they have space, fewer restrictions and are able to raise animals and develop their own projects.  This might not work for everyone, but our kids did really well with this. I also truly believe that in a national emergency, we will be handily ignored, just as we always are when the US census is done.
          However,  I accept that everyone, by virtue of their job, their nation, their circumstances, or their medical history can't seek an intensely rural neighborhood.  Many people make their living in an urban area where they are quite happy, and that is fine.  This means that there are many people living in urban environments who realize that in a national disaster or national emergency that they may need to evacuate their city long before an official order to do so comes.   Whenever possible, we should avoid evacuating under an official order. By the time we have to evacuate officially from somewhere, everyone else will be doing the same thing. The roads will be clogged, hotels will be filled and you may be headed toward a shelter, which can be clearly suboptimal.  Additionally, you are told to take your pets with you, yet shelters will not take pets. Whenever possible, have an evacuation plan well in advance of an official one, and make the decision to evacuate your urban area in advance.  This means that you will evacuate a few times when it turns out to be unneeded, and my response to that is, that it is great practice.
          In many areas, especially after the economy began to slip, small structures in good shape, in lake or recreational areas went up for sale for very reasonable amounts.   Urban, and some suburbanites decided that their investments were not doing well anyway, and so they might as well invest in an emergency cabin or getaway.   At first this seemed like an extreme idea, but as time goes on, it seems a very intelligent idea.   An emergency cabin allows a family to continue to draw the higher salary they would in the city, while having a stable get away escape plan, including their own home.   I now know people in Russia, Belgium, England, Scotland, Canada, Belize, the United States, France, and Spain, who have emergency getaway cabins.   Many of these were basic vacation structures that did not cost much.  Most of these people have someone local who watches the property and takes care of very basic things there.  Many have electricity, but it is turned off at the breaker unless the owners are there. They pay a very small monthly rate to have electricity available but unused. Still others operate using a generator to charge marine batteries and then use an inverter for limited power needs. They have a plumber winterize the property and turn off the water, so that no pipes burst, as many of these structures are only heated when the family is visiting. A few have a shallow well and are able to obtain their water outside the structure.  The owner does travel there periodically.   Lately there has been quite an acceleration in terms of stocking these structures for emergency use.
           Many of these properties have been refurbished, well cleaned, and are now stocked with some 30 year variety emergency freeze dried food, toiletries, toilet paper, a medical kit, reference books, clothing for each family member for each season, etc.   A few of them have installed a safe with weapons. Some have been built with a hidden basement.
           A getaway cabin is not for everyone, and a family can go as spartan or as elaborately as their finances permit. It IS an idea with merit however, as evidenced by the number of people who have chosen to do it. Some people have purchased these homes, and plan to retire to them permanently when possible.
             The key to buying one successfully is to do plenty of research in your target area well in advance. Consider paying cash if you find something very inexpensive.  Have a home inspection done, even if you have to pay a chunk to do it. You don't want an emergency structure with termites !  Look into homeowner's insurance too. It is no longer cheap in most areas.  Think about how you would locate and pay a low use caretaker, perhaps a trusted friend or relative in the area of your cabin.  Do all of the work involved and then don't hesitate to strike when the right thing comes along.  Many people have found that the peace of mind coupled with a safe quiet place for weekend vacations was well worth the blood, sweat and tears it took to get there.

Update on the Long Gun Registry Abolition of Canada

Currently in Canada

     I periodically update the posts on this blog when something has changed or when material has updated, but there is more to say than will fit on the end of the original post.   From my own primarily American perspective, the abolition of the long gun registry,   Since 1995, Canadian shotgun and rifle owners have been required to be licensed and to register each firearm in the Canadian Firearms Program which is in Miramichi, New Brunswick. This database is known as "The Long Gun Registry".  This meant that rural owners and hunters needed to register.   The database also houses data on other guns which are restricted furthur in Canada and can only be held with a higher level Possession and Acquisition License (known as a PAL)
        Bill C-19 proposes that  records of non-restricted firearms, currently found in the registry, would be erased from the firearms information systems, meaning law enforcement, and the government, would have no permanent, central, traceable record of the number of non-restricted firearms an individual may own. Canadian gun laws would then revert to a time before 1977.
          Most of us who own and safely use firearms for defense against dangerous or animals in rural settings, or who hunt, see this change as a positive thing.  I won't even touch upon the idea that having firearms in every home would prevent an easy hypothetical Chinese or renegade Russian invasion of Canada someday.  However, not everyone agrees with me.  Some chiefs in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have expressed concerns that an estimated seven million rifles and shotguns would disappear from traceable records making their presently easy job of tracking rifles, much more difficult.
            In Quebec officials plan to challenge the new law when it passes.  If the federal registry ends, Quebec plans to create its own database.  They wish to preserve the data they say they participated in gathering and in paying for. They also want the data from Ontario, which the federal government has committed to destroy.  Once again, just as in the US, we have the attitudes of rural citizens who need long guns for reasonable practices squarely in opposition to urban dwellers in Montreal, for example, who simply believe there is no safe or rational reason for anyone to own a gun.  The fight to abolish the long gun regsitry of Canada is not yet over.

UPDATE:  Please see our updated post dated mid February in which we discuss the final demise of the Canadian Long Gun Registry.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Our Friends in Belgium Check In

The city of Liege, in happier times

Our friends in Belgium have checked in following a silence of a few days after the shootings in Liege. Our friends are well.  Due to fuel prices, they have not gone out a lot this year,or this season and consequently were not shopping in the square in Liege when the attack occurred.   If the fuel had been cheaper, or perhaps in another perhaps better economic year, they might have been.  So far, about 7 people are dead, including the gunman, and the cleaning lady who was working next door to the gunman's home, and the infant.  More than 122 people are badly injured and in hospitals.  Please pray for these people and for the families who are grieving the losses of their family members..
               Also of note, the gunman was an Arab who had been on the criminal fringe since his teen years.  Just as the gunman in Norway had been a Christian, and we did not begin blaming Christians for the Norwegian attack, we cannot blame Arabs for the terrible act of this mentally ill man, who happens to be an Arab. Our friends have indicated that anti-Muslim sentiment has swelled since these attacks. We need to remember that sometimes psychotic people kill others, whether they are Muslim, atheists, Christians, or any other faction or variety of faith.

A shop in Liege

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Zodi Extreme Portable Hot Shower

                Particularly when you have a large family, teenagers, or you or your daughter have long hair, one of the most challenging and stressful things can be getting a shower for everyone when you need one, following an emergency or a disaster.  An emergency which restricts water can happen anytime.  The tank to your well pump can fail, your well can be struck by lightning, your septic tank can require revision, or simply need pumping.  If you have city or town water, contamination or damage to water infrastructure can occur.  In any event, we can be left without ways to get a shower which we might desperately need.   I wanted to bring your attention to one mode of showering.
             The Zodi Extreme Portable Hot Shower is said to set up within one minute.  It uses propane gas in order to heat the water quickly enough for a shampoo and shower.

This self contained hot water system is constructed of stainless steel for extra durability. Also, the simple hand pump operation on the unit and the included stove with its 10,000 BTU output have made the Zodi Extreme SC the #1 hot shower of choice for emergency, camping, hunting, or back country use for years. Both the stainless steel unit and the steel stove that produces the heat, together make it your own “water heater” and “shower” in an emergency. The Zodi Extreme SC also includes a water temperature indicator, showerhead, and an on/off control for extra convenience.

This unit is available from    (Emergency Essentials Co)
 or from or

                                                          Featuring stainless steel construction for extra durability and hand pump operations for self-contained use, the Zodi Extreme has been the #1 hot shower of choice for back country use for years.      The 10,000 BTU steel stove completes the 8170 as a truly self-contained hot shower. Includes water temperature indicator and showerhead with on/off control for extra convenience.

  • Heats to over 100ยบ F in about 5 minutes
  • Handy thermometer displays water temperature
  • 1 piece hand pump pressurizes system without batteries
  • 6 foot shower hose with on/off control showerhead for extra convenience
  • No need to hoist, sealed hand pump pressures system in seconds
  • Completely self contained! Enjoy hot showers anytime, anywhere
  • Sets up in under 1 minute
  • Simple to use just fill with water and place on rugged stove
  • High quality stainless steel construction will never rust
  • 10,000 BTU stove collapses for transport, doubles and a cooking stove
  • Stainless steel burner construction for extra durability
  • Weight: 10 lbs
  • Includes Soft Case for easy transport.



    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Address Anemia Now


      Generally and simply put, anemia is a condition in which the person discussed has insufficient circulating healthy red blood cells with which to carry oxygenated blood to all organs and all cells.  Of course, this disorder is a continuum, and is multifactorial.   Some cases might be relatively mild and fairly easily resolved while others are chronic and much more resistant to treatment or to resolution. Make no mistake though, anemia is a co-factor in deaths for a number of other disorders, and it's much more common than is realized. People with anemia lack the stamina they need in a survival situation. They may be short of breath on exertion. They may be more fatigued than normal. If they have fair skin, they may present with pallor, but in darker skinned individuals, this may be missed.They may not think as clearly as they should in an emergency.
           The anemia that most of us are most comfortable thinking about is the type women get, which is simply from menstrual losses. Women need 18 mg. of iron daily when they are of menstrual age, and even more when they are pregnant or lactating. This can be hard to do dietarily alone, and so a good prenatal vitamin is a good idea when planning a pregnancy, pregnant or when lactating.  When anemia occurs for this population of women, it is usually relatively easily corrected and it is due to a deficiency disorder.  Still, it is very important to address this.
            Sometimes people become anemic because they have a deficiency disorder of another type. Vitamin B-12 deficiency, folic acid deficiency, and even Vitamin C deficiency impede the absorption of iron and can lead to anemia. Some people do not absorb these vitamins as well as they should, and as a result, don't absorb iron adequately, when when they do ingest what would normally be an adequate amount. Sometimes, their physician must readjust not only their vitamins, but their iron dose upwards as well.
             People who use proton pump inhibitors, like omeprazole for legitimate gastro-esophageal reflux disease, can also develop some serious anemias. Iron depends upon an acid rich environment within the stomach in order for absorption to occur. When these drugs are ordered longer term, bloodwork should be checked periodically to look for anemia. Very few physicians seem to know this, but in clinic, I have seen this a fair bit. If you must take these medications in the longer term, ask your physician to check a hemoglobin and hematocrit periodically.
             People who take certain medications, such as aspirin, NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, and some other drugs for example, may lose small amounts of gastrointestinal blood, and small amounts add up over time, and may lead to anemia.
             Some patients with ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease have chronic anemia for multiple reasons. They find it difficult to ingest sufficient iron rich food because they have adjusted their diets in some manner. They also may be bleeding periodically from their gastrointestinal tracts losing RBCs (red blood cells) AND they have impeded absorption abilities from a gastrointestinal tract which is experiencing a disease process.  They may also have difficulties because ANYONE with a chronic inflammatory disorder of any type may well have difficulties making adequate RBCs on the marrow level.
               My last comment was designed to help you appreciate that ANYONE with any inflammatory disorder may have difficulty manufacturing RBCs and may develop anemia. This would include people in the Lupus continuum, those with rheumatoid arthritis, and even those with autoimmune thyroiditis, as in Hashimoto's thyroiditis.  Those with hypothyroidism may also have difficulty keeping up with RBC production.   Some patients, especially those with a known inflammatory disorder may also destroy more RBCs than they should, faster than a healthy body would normally recycle them. People with cancer or kidney disease may also be anemic, sometimes from the necessary treatment to both of those disorders.
                Some older patients may experience a dminished ability to manufacture RBCs even with an excellent diet.
                These are some of the causes of general anemia. There are more.  I experienced a severe case of anemia a few years ago when I was bitten on the back of the leg by a brown recluse spider.  The bite itself was mild, and healed well.  I did not equate the fatigue and shortness of breath that followed with a possible longer term reaction to the bite.  I saw my doctor and was being treated for asthma when it was noticed that I had a severe and critical anemia. At first, my internist thought I might have a bone marrow failure. When he questioned me, I finally remembered the spider bite which had been a couple of months before.  Eventually, they settled on a diagnosis of a hemolytic anemia secondary to a brown recluse bite.  The anemia resolved eventually using a prescription dose of iron, called Repliva.  (Excellent drug, buffered to be well tolerated by many patients.  Anemic patients often report gastrointestinal discomfort of many types, and often don't take kindly to iron replacement.)
                  Certain heavy metal poisonings and improperly managed vegetarianism can also result in anemia.
                To review, the causes of anemia are multifactorial. Anemia is an important contributor to death in many disorders. People with heart rhythm disturbances are more likely to die if they also have anemia, for example. Assessment of potential anemia should be ongoing in any patient with a chronic illness, especially those with an autoimmune disorder, not simply those with obvious bleeding.   Alcoholics should also be regularly assessed for anemia as well. Women and particularly mothers are anemia prone.  Children should also be assessed. 
                Many of us are entering a time in which our health care, our finances, and our comfort in general with the world feels less secure than it once did. It would certainly be beneficial to be thinking clearly and dealing with a full complement of red blood cells, without anemia.  Please have this checked now, if anything I have mentioned concerns you.    Most cases of anemia are managed relatively easily once they are diagnosed.  You need not know enough about all anemias to treat them all, but you do need to have an operational knowledge of the potential causations of anemias sufficient to seek treatment prior to a major disaster, as a person interested in preparedness.  Consider the possibility of anemia in yourself and your family members today, and ask your physician for a simple blood test for this, well in advance of a crisis of another kind.

    Sunday, December 11, 2011

    Thinking of Our Friends in Belgium

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

          We have friends in Belgium.  The gentleman moved there from England some years ago, married a lovely Belgian girl and raised his family there. They are very bright and hard working and have a rural home there.
    Things in Belgium have been tough  This month Belgium finally reached a deal in which it once again had a government after 535 days without one. The Guinness Book of Records says that this is the longest in modern history that a modern nation has not had a government. Without writing pages upon pages on this, Belgium owes 90 plus percent of it's GDP and is economically insecure. In addition, Belgium is quite diverse and has multilingual Belgians. Their political party leanings and disagreements tend to be along language lines. Broad insecurity financially in Europe as a whole is not helping. Belgians discuss day to day the very real possibility of a European Depression. There was talk of splitting Belgium into two different countries.
               As a result our friends in rural Belgium are careful financially, and planning toward relative independence. Lawlessness there, however transient would be disastrous because without weaponry, defending rural areas especially could be difficult. The hope is the new government will aid both social and economic stability. Our friends in Belgium are bright and well informed, and I believe they will do well.  To everyone else, this may be a good time to buy some food ahead as a hedge against inflation.  Explore where you might garden in order to grow some of your own foods.  Consider a side business in order to make more money. You are not alone. There are no countries that are really doing well at this moment.  Hang in there.

    An excellent article on the recent political trials in Belgium is:    by Adam Taylor

    Belgium by Wikimedia Commons

    Rural Belgium      Hermanth's photoblog

    UPDATE;   I posted this before the gun attack this week in Liege, Belgium.   One of the last things I heard from our friends there is that they were moderately fearful of potential civil unrest, and now this attack happens.  I have not yet heard from them since the attack.    We send our best wishes and prayers to our friends in Belgium, the people and families impacted by this terrible shooting, and to the grieving families there.

    An Additional Kefir Recipe

    This is an additional recipe for Kefir, which was obtained from:

    I do not know that I am sold on ALL the health benefits as stated below, but certainly boosting the positive bacteria in the gut allows the entire body to function optimally digestively and from an immune standpoint.

    Recipe begins here:

    Making your own Kefir not only is highly beneficial for your health, but it is also incredibly easy to make (and fun too!) People have many different ways of making their own Kefir, but here is our simple technique to get you started…Hope you enjoy!
    To begin making your own Kefir, you will need the following supplies:

    • 2-3 Large Wide-Mouth Glass Jars (32 oz Mason Jars work Great!)
    • Wooden Spoon (Preferably with Holes)
    • Small Strainer (Ideally a plastic strainer since metals interferes with the kefir grains (stainless steel ok))
    • Cheese Cloth (Or a lid…Used to cover the jar during fermentation)
    • Fresh Milk (From Cow, Goat or Sheep. We prefer Goat as it is easiest for most people to digest, sometimes even those with lactose intolerances! And if you have access to Raw Milk, even better!)
    • Kefir Grains (Choose a high-quality strain such as Cultures For Health)
    Please Note: It is very important to make sure that everything you use is VERY clean to avoid any contamination during fermentation. They should be washed with gentle soap and unchlorinated water and then left to air-dry.


    Step 1 . Preparing the Culture
    Place the Kefir Grains in your glass jar. Use roughly 1-3 tbsps of grains per Quart of Milk. Pour milk over the top to fill the jar. If you have a lid, then loosely seal it on (so that pressure can escape). And if you are using cheese cloth, then stretch it over top and wrap a rubber band around the jar’s mouth to secure. The idea is to keep fruit flies/insects out, yet still allow the grains to breath. Now you’re ready to ferment!
    Step 2. Let the Fermentation Begin!
    Place your jar in a safe spot away from light and at room temperature. Noting that warm air speeds up the growth and cold air slows it down. Now simply leave the jar alone and wait anywhere from 12-48 hours! How long you leave your kefir to ferment is really up to you. People have many different preferences, but we prefer leaving it for 24 hours. 12 hours makes a thinner, sweeter Kefir and 48 hours makes a thicker, tangier Kefir. At a few points along the way, feel free to stir (with a wooden spoon) and taste your batch to find just the right fizz for you! You should be able to tell that it is alive!
    Step 3. Ready to Drink
    So your jar of milk has been sitting out for a day and it is to your liking… Now it is almost time to enjoy! But first, we must strain out the grains. Simply pour your milk through a non-metal strainer and into a clean new jar. This is your Kefir ready to drink… And remaining in your strainer are the gelatinous grains which can be re-used forever – this is the magic of Kefir! If you plan to make more right away, then simply place those grains (which do not need to be washed) in new jar and repeat the process from step 1. Otherwise cover them in a little milk and then store in the fridge for later use. And there you have it folks, making Kefir is that easy!
    Important Things to Note:
    • Kefir Grains will multiply and grow forever. It is an endless self propagating process. In only a few weeks of making Kefir, you might have even double what you started with. You can share your excess grains with friends or divide them in half and start two batches! I’ve been using my grains from Cultures For Health for years and they are still living and healthy!
    • Try to obtain kefir grains, not just a “starter”, which is sometimes sold. Kefir grains can be used “forever”, whereas “starters” can only be used 7 times or so.
    • To store kefir grains if not in use, simply submerge in a little milk, cover and leave in fridge for about two weeks.
    • Be very certain to never use metal implements. It will begin to break down the life force within. However a stainless steel strainer is allowed.
    • Your Kefir grains might require an adjustment period of a batch or two after events like being shipped or switching types of milk. When you receive your kefir grains, don’t be disappointed if the first couple of batches taste awful! The yeast build-up during shipping needs to level out. When switching types of milk, your kefir will go through a couple of “transition” batches, where it may taste differently, as well. For this reason, it’s best to stick with one type of milk if possible, using excess grains for other types.

    This video is a nice quick demonstration of just how easy it is to make your own kefir! Good luck and please let me know if you have any questions (-:
    Making kefir yourself rather than buying it pre made in a store is the best way to utilize the health benefits. The store bought versions contain far less of the naturally occurring probiotic organisms than the homemade version. The miracle secrets are hidden in the yeasts and bacteria within which come to life during fermentation. Originating among shepherds in the North Caucasus region of Russia, kefir has long been drunk by people around the world for good health and immunity leading to a long life. Loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and probiotics, kefir is a natural cure for almost everything from hypertension to insomnia. Here are just a few of the many things that kefir has been known to help with:
    • Increases endurance against microbial infections
    • Reduces stress, calms & strengthens the nervous system
    • Cleanses the intestines
    • Alleviates insomnia & neural depression
    • Prevents vein hardness & muscle spasms
    • Reduces hypertension and balances cholesterol
    • Cleans the blood while removing irregularities
    • Aids in treatment of liver diseases
    • Helps with Eczema and similar skin disorders
    • Encourages rapid healing of injuries and burns
    • Cures urinary inflammations
    • Good for gastric and intestinal disorders
    • Regulates and greatly aids in digestion
    • Ideal for a healthy diet preventing weight gain
    • Strengthens bones and contributes to sound muscle formation
    • Slows the aging process by maintaining continual biological renewal
    • Cleans the blood from detrimental materials with it’s antioxidant benefits
    • Reduces side effects of Menopause
    • Greatly contributes to cell renewal
    • Helps to neutralize radiation and and chemotherapy treatment
    • Aids in cancer prevention
    • Energizes the brain and creates mental clarity
    • Positive role on normal growth
    • For the treatment of Anemia and B-12 deficiencies
    • Strengthens immune and nervous system

    Why I am obsessed with making Kefir!

    by admin on March 22, 2011
    To be honest I don’t really like milk, never really have… but I have found fermented Kefir to be much different! In fact, I’ve been drinking goat milk kefir for years now because I find it very soothing and calming to my stomach.  I’ve always bought it from the store, but not until recently did I realize I can just make my own, packed with even more nutrients and for much cheaper! I recently read the book “Body Ecology Diet” by Donna Gates (which I highly recommend BTW), which helped me realize just how incredible, and important Kefir really is for your overall health and well-being. It is like REAL super-charged living pro-biotics which are required by your digestive system to help process all your nutrients you ingest and send them to the appropriate places to help your body nourish and heal itself. It keeps things running smoothly. And not until I tried my own homemade kefir did I realize the difference from the store-bought kind. My skin has become clearer and softer, more youthful looking, I hardly ever experience indigestion and I have endless energy. These personal results are what prompted me to share the knowledge of just how easy and beneficial making your own kefir can be!! I hope you all enjoy. Please let me know how it goes for you!