Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Continuing Our Discussion on Hand Tools

           There is nothing quite like having the best hand tool for the job. It never ceases to amaze me how much easier a task is, with the correct tool, and also how much faster such a task goes.  When we hired our builder to build outbuildings on the farm in the last couple of years, we noticed many things .  Often, when we were taking care of animals, we were noticing many of the things the builders were doing.  One of the things we learned, is that they never used substandard tools.  I might use an inexpensive hammer which I bought on sale at a Lowes, but the builder would use something he called a "California Framing Hammer" which was larger, and exquisitely balanced.   Of course, my hammer cost five dollars and his cost a hundred and fifteen. However, his hammer was made of titanium and could achieve much more in an hour than mine could. He let me use it for a short time, and I had to concede that this was one amazing hammer.  I have one of my own now, which I gathered for half price at a hardware store going out of business, but I had the luxury of waiting for one to go on sale.

This is a California Framing Hammer, also known in some circles as a "Mexican framing hammer". I later discovered that it has these features:
  • Computer-designed for optimum balance
  • Lightweight titanium body provides greater velocity and reduces arm and shoulder fatigue
  • Ergonomic design diminishes stress
  • High density anti-vibration handle
  • Extra large crowned striking face for accurate power blows
  • Unique free floating pin moves on impact to minimize sting
  • Exclusive anti-vibration pad provides maximum shock absorption
  • Replaceable high carbon, heat-treated steel caps in plain face and milled face
Made in USA

                 In my family growing up, it was always important to my parents that we knew how to do everything.  Men needed to learn to cook and women ought to be able to check their vehicle's oil, add it, and for that matter, change it.  I complained bitterly while my father taught me to paint a house, work on my car, and be able to calculate how much life insurance women need, as well as men.  We continued this tradition with our own kids.  My daughter can sheetrock with rare proficiency and can build amazing picture frames, as well as do all the things we think of as traditional female tasks.  My sons enjoy all the traditional male tasks, the shooting, gun cleaning, and building things, but they can patch and alter clothing if they need to, and a couple of them are probably better natural cooks than I am.  I think it's very valuable to accept that each person will gravitate to some of the tasks which we think of as being more representative of their sex, but I also think that when your daughter wishes to work on a car with her Dad, or when your son wants to bake cupcakes that we need to understand that a well rounded healthy person is capable of doing many things.  It is within keeping with this way of thinking that we have always encouraged all of our children to begin to collect their own personal set of hand tools. My eldest son has collected power tools as well, and uses them, but everyone has a tool set they add to gradually.  This is one of the items my father always had, and this has found a place in our kits as well.

This is a handdrill.  Different size drill bits can be used in order to complete a variety of tasks. Many women find this easier and more comfortable to begin to use than a power drill, especially in the beginning.

This is a plane.  This is a wonderful tool to have when doors in homes and cabinets stick and you may benefit from shaving just a bit off the bottom of the door. These are quite sharp, but can be very useful.

These are more expensive than most people assembling a tool kit can afford, but these are exquisite.

Wiha Z 99000206 ESD Tool Kit -

  • Diagonal cutting pliers: 160 mm (1 pc.)
  • Needle nose pliers: 200 mm (1 pc.)
  • Wiha SoftFinish® screwdrivers (3 pcs.)     We had a chance to see this set in an electrical supply house here in Virginia, and these German made tools are amazing. 

This is a source of not only hand tools but power tools as well.  They can be purchased from using the internet and have good prices and specials for some of their tools.

You may also talk to their experts in order to discuss what the best tool for your task might be, at:

 1.800.876.2325  M-F 8-5 US MST

From time to time I will mention new hand tools, and perhaps a few power tools we have bought and that we like.

Using and Replacing Vinyl Siding

This is a house covered with vinyl siding. (Picture: Exovations)   When vinyl siding is properly selected, and properly installed, it should be indistinguishable from the street from conventional siding or even hardiplank.

    Vinyl siding used to conjure thoughts of trailers and substandard housing, and used to be rather thin.  However, now in both the US and Canada, vinyl comprises a thick durable product, in a variety of styles and colors, textures, which beading to simulate conventional siding, or without. . It is relatively easily installed, and may be easily repaired when damaged.  Now, some very expensive and gracious homes may be covered with vinyl siding.
       One of the benefits to vinyl siding, is its durability and ease in cleaning, hosing or mild power washing. Another is that depending upon the variety you select, and what you place under it, your energy efficiency can increase greatly, which means your utility bills can decrease !   If you are replacing pre-existing siding on a home, or if you are planning to place vinyl over a pre-existing siding, you should contact a certified installer.  It could be disastrous to place vinyl over a home with siding which has dampness, a carpenter ant issue, or worse, termites.   A family who must periodically paint a sided house, may save a fortune by replacing the siding, or occasionally having this siding placed over intact siding below.
         Although most of our outbuildings are sided in wood, many homeowners are choosing to side outbuildings and storage sheds with vinyl siding, and then learning to trim around the windows and doors. This is not only beneficial as a means by which to side one's outbuildings but in terms of learning how to replace siding in the event that you must repair siding on your home.
           Do your research and pick a quality vinyl siding.  Remember that a cheap product take the same amount of time to install and costs the same from a standpoint of a paid installation.  Use the right materials.

Vinyl siding comes in long strips which are fashioned as you see above.

As terrific as vinyl siding may be, this is what will happen should you barbecue on a deck nearby the siding itself. Also, when surburban homes have fires nearby, this can also happen.

This is an example of a properly selected, thick enough, vinyl siding, which has been properly installed.  Note the corner trim.

Vinyl siding installation should always start at the bottom of the project. The pieces are secured with a nail gun gently but not tightly as they must shrink and swell with the weather.  Pieces are generally cut using a power table saw. 

This is the Wiss tool for removing damaged pieces of vinyl siding.  It also is invaluable in anchoring them to other pieces after hanging.

This is the Kobalt vinyl siding tool sold by Lowe's.  My son who replaced some of these recently likes this tool for vinyl siding best.  It is relatively inexpensive at around six US dollars.

Each time a new row of two is installed, the lip is anchored to the lower piece using this special blade which can be purchased at many hardware stores.  This is an inexpensive and excellent tool to have should you have a home or building with vinyl siding.  (Picture: DIY Home Network)

This type of damage can occur, not only when one selects a cheaper product, but when one uses a weed whacker too close to the siding of the home itself.

This is an example of warped vinyl siding.  It was applied too tightly to the house, and has warped. Once it warps it cannot be corrected without being replaced.

This is the vinyl siding installation manual for download:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Coming Full Circle

      This blog is about family preparedness, and of course, sometimes I digress in terms of discussing some of the parts of life which are normal and are expected.   Our eldest children were born in my early twenties, and then we had two more in my thirties and then, we adopted a fifth in my forties.  I am in my late forties now, and so our two eldest kids are in their twenties.   I remember both of my parents being older parents, and when I was a young person I used to think how much more difficult having children older must be than when you are in your twenties. This may have been a factor in our beginning to have children in our twenties.  This is interesting now, because now the tables have turned once again, and I have friends my age who have either having, or adopting young children, when my mindset is so clearly beyond those days.  It is a bit mind bending to have children in their twenties, and to be in one's late forties, and to still feel and be relatively young oneself.   It's funny that I thought that by the time a portion of my kids were grown, that I would somehow "have all the answers".  The fact is, that I not only don't have all the answers, but I don't even know all the questions !  I also miss my parents, who have both now passed.
          It is not enough to have a home base set up securely here for my husband and myself.  We must make sure that our kids have a wide range of preparedness skills and are able to take care of themselves also.  This of course, means many things. It means that your children need to be situationally aware. It means that they need to be competent in terms of preparing their own food,  maintaining their vehicles, and managing their jobs and their finances.  It means they need to know something about first aid and medical care.
          This week, our daughter was looking at a small farm she is considering buying, and she asked us to come along to provide input.   This was the ultimate in mind bending.  Here we are, still relatively young parents, and our daughter is carefully looking at properties she is considering purchasing.  In those moments, I remembered so clearly,  the day we looked at our own very first home.  Much has changed.  When we looked at a first home, we were in another state, and we were relegated to only the smallest and least expensive properties as a starter home.  Our daughter has remained in our home a bit longer than we did, and has more saved. She is also looking for a home in a period of time in which there are abundant foreclosures, and if she is careful, she may be able to get much more house and land than we were able to obtain initially.  In the state of the US economy, she may also be stuck there much longer than we were.  She can afford to be more particular than we were.  She also must be careful, as a larger home, may provide you with more rope in which to hang yourself.  An older farmhouse, even if it superficially appears to be charming, may have issues and flaws which may make this home a "money pit".
            Ultimately, the choices will need to be hers, and until then, a homebuilder or home inspector would probably be her best bet in examining this home for hidden issues.  I can't help but think how much simpler life was, when all she needed was a car.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Why Would We Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector ?

   The leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in North America is carbon monoxide poisoning.   Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas which occurs as a result of incomplete combustion of organic matter.  Defective gas stoves, gas log systems, gas hot water heaters, gas or kerosene space heaters, or even drift from a car in a garage or an idling car down-wind have all be known to cause carbon monoxide contamination of a home.      It is possible to be rapidly killed by carbon monoxide poisoning, or if one's exposure is low and chronic, to have headaches, tiredness, dizziness, neurological symptoms,  and sometimes flu-like symptoms.  People with other medical problems may also develop high blood sugar, cardiac arrhythmias, vision and hearing difficulties, and gastrointestinal complaints.    The fetus of a pregnant woman is particularly vulnerable even to low levels of carbon monoxide.  Because, it replaces oxygen at the site on the red blood cell where the oxygen molecules would normally bind and travel, it causes hypoxia. Carbon monoxide poisoning can therefore cause hallucinations.  It is felt that at least some of the houses that people believe are haunted, are actually cases of carbon monoxide hallucinations.
         Although most of us believe we can detect incomplete combustion from smell, this is often not true, and may account for the number of winter and power outage deaths which occur annually.   Songwriter, performer, and parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic's parents, Nick and Mary died of carbon monoxide poisoning in their California home in April, 2004, the result of the flue to their chimney having closed without their knowing. Singer Charlotte Church and her two children narrowly escaped death from carbon monoxide poisoning last year, when the new boiler she had installed in her home was apparently installed incorrectly.  Her grandfather suggested she purchase a detector when she experienced headaches over a couple of weeks following the installation.

           Many towns and counties not only have ordinances which require smoke detectors in residences, but carbon monoxide detectors as well.  Carbon monoxide detectors used to be quite expensive, on the order of about $80. and they required replacement about every three years.  New models and new technologies have allowed basic models to be marketed for about $20. US, with an expected lifespan of 6-7 years per unit.  When the unit ages and is no longer effective, it will alarm.   Experts recommend that families have a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of their home.   Of course, a smoke detector in all the places recommended is a fine idea as well.    Certainly, change the batteries twice annually, when you change the batteries to your smoke detectors, which most people do during daylight savings time, both ahead, and back.  Of course, anytime twice a year when you can remember to change these batteries would be fine.

This is the unit our family has used for years.

This is the variety we have now, on each floor.

       Some carbon monoxide detectors are wired into your home.  Others are battery operated.  To cover all contingencies, it probably makes sense to have one that does both.  This way, you are protected during power outages, the time in which most families are most likely to use an alternative appliance for heating and cooking, and when their most likely exposures to carbon monoxide exposure can be.         

        First aid for carbon monoxide exposure will be covered in another post.  The most important thing is to remove the patient suspected of receiving carbon monoxide poisoning, from the contaminated area at once.  A flushed face is a LATE sign of carbon monoxide poisoning.   Afflicted persons need fresh air, and may need CPR, and transport to a hospital for specialized care.


Exploring the Possibility of Adding Lightning Rods


                In a prior post I discussed strategies for avoiding injuries to human beings from lightning.  This post is going to focus on strategies for protecting the structures themselves from being struck by lightning and from lightning damage.  Ardent followers of this blog might recall that this interest of mine has been piqued by the lightning strike of one of our large metal roofed outbuildings, while a family member was inside.  Our family member is still recovering from the damage received in last autumn's injury.   I am still doing research on exactly how we might have lightning rods properly  installed and grounded on the multiple types of farm buildings and the home we have, each of which have differing types of roof lines.
                 One cannot place metal lightning rods on the top of the building alone.  It is necessary to place a grounding wire from them and properly anchor it to ground.   Improperly installed lightning rods may be more dangerous than not having lightning rods at all.

The following information comes from:

Lightning Rod Parts   877. 866.3189

Their work product is provided between the two rows of undulating lines.   Please contact them should you need to buy articles in order to protect your own buildings from lightning.

(Comment by Jane)This is a simple drawing which illustrates that lightning rods need to be attached to grounding wires in order that the lightning may travel and dissipate in the ground, rather than through your building.

(Comment by Jane)This picture illustrates the complexity of lightning protection in a larger or more complex structure. Should you need to see this diagram larger than this, it is available at          The correct materials and the correct mode of installation are essential.  If you are unable to do this correctly, you should contact an electrical contractor with experience in lightning rod installation and lightning abatement. Be sure to check their references.


          Electrical contractors who specialize in lightning rod installation may be expensive, but damage to your home may be much more costly.  Before adding lightning rods to your home, you should contact your homeowner's insurance carrier.  A few of them will not insure homes with lightning rods on the off chance that installation has been done incorrectly.  
          In many areas, lightning is a rare phenomenon which tends to strike either in the hills or in the ocean.  For some of us though, especially those of us on properties with metallic ore in rocks or with buildings on a high perch, lightning strikes are a frequent and dangerous possibility.  We had a lightning storm yesterday, in February !

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Considering Varieties of Fencing for Animals, Privacy and Security

                Fencing is a complex subject.  People on farms or on forested areas can often have very different types of fencing than those of us in suburban areas, or even urban ones.   This is an overview of fencing, so that you'll have some ideas should you reach a point where you need to fence to enclose animals or to perhaps to stop foot traffic through your own property.
                 People in urban areas are somewhat restricted in the types of fencing they can use. Most of the time, their city, village, or neighborhood limits the type and purpose of the fencing you may use. I remember in London, seeing a lot of iron fencing.   Iron fencing is expensive but can be quite attractive.  In many places, a painted product which looks a lot like iron is sold, but is actually aluminum.  This might be worth looking into should you need to gate a small area in an urban area for perhaps security purposes.

Iron fencing.  This is heavy, durable and attractive, but also expensive.

                       The aluminum fence above comes in many colors, is highly durable and not only provides high security, but installs quickly by the manufacturer.  A lot of people with swimming pools find that these meet the local requirements for protection of children.

                        One of the most popular and least expensive types of fencing in the US is chain link.
Chain link comes in aluminum, but also comes in brown, black or green vinyl dipped.   In my first house we fenced using brown vinyl dipped, and it looked very attractive.  It also required no maintenance, and lasted a very long time.

This is a vinyl dipped mesh.  This is not only attractive, but lasts a long time.   (Picture: Hoover Fencing Co.)

This is an example of a black vinyl dipped chain link fence.  (Picture: Bergfeld Recreation)

   Chain link also makes some really excellent dog runs. Some people bury it below ground to prevent an industrious dog from digging below, and getting injured trying to exit the fenced area.

                         Often surburban homeowners need fences for a variety of purposes.  Sometimes, they wish to allow their children to play without being seen, or they wish to keep dogs inside their own yard.  Sometimes, they wish to boost their backyard privacy or even boost their backyard security.    Sometimes wooden fences can do this job well, especially when they are a treated wood.   When our eldest children were small, we lived in a suburban house.  One year after receiving our tax return, we replaced our chain link fencing, with wooden privacy fencing very much like this.  We bought it, and my husband installed it at the cost of a torn rotator cuff.
           If you install wooden privacy fence in sections, make sure that you read up on how to make sure its level.  Make sure you follow your communities guidelines for avoiding buried pipelines of different varieties.  Make sure you have assistance to help with measuring and making sure the buried posts are plumb. Use a level.  Power tools are very helpful when securing each wooden screen section to the buried posts.  Plan your gates and gate hardware carefully.  Completing this task well can ensure your home selling for much more than you had planned, as a solid secure fence is a definite selling point when it's time to sell your home.

        Wooden privacy fences come in many varieties.

This is a commonly used and solid style of wooden privacy fence.  This requires more maintenance than a vinyl dipped chain link fence, but can last many years. (Picture: Advanced Fence Systems)


This wooden fence with post can have multiple gates installed. Some will allow a tractor or car to be driven inside and some are small enough to allow the passage of people or animals. (Picture: Advanced Fence Systems)

(Picture: Better Decks and Fences, Lawrenceville, GA)

This is a wooden fencing with wire fencing attached. In this instance it makes climbing the fence to get to the pool difficult, but this would also be an excellent fence to enclose a vegetable garden.(Picture: cwwconstruction)

             Those of us who live on farms have to consider some other types of fencing sometimes.  These are some of the fencing varieties used in rural settings.

This particular fence is a white vinyl and is very popular on local horse farms.  It is also possible to make such a fence in wood and then to paint it, although it would be more maintenance on a continuous basis. (Photo: Aiken-Augusta Fence) It is also possible to get the same fence in black. The vinyl fences also come with a lifetime warranty.
This is a 4 rail horse fencing which is often used for horses, alpacas, or donkeys or sheep.  This fencing can be painted with creosote to help to maintain it, despite the fact that this is pressure treated lumber. (Picture:
Many time in rural areas, the area we need to fence is so large that it is financially impossible or financially impractical to fence in any other way other than this.  Posts are placed in the ground, and then wires run tightly on the inside or the outside of such fencing. This can also be coupled with conventional farm gates.  Keep in mind that when such fences are electrified, it is done less for the animals you wish to keep in, and more for predators you need to keep on the outside. I have been zapped, particularly on the back of the legs many times. This is simply a reminder to people and animals to keep in, or keep out.  (Picture:

This is the type of fencing we had the first year we had alpacas. This is called "Elk Exclusion fencing", and although elk are likely no longer found in our area, this is an excellent and relatively inexpensive fencing. We did not have the wore at the top, but many people include it. (Photo:

     Most of us believe that barbed wire style fencing is unsuitable for animals, and can be dangerous. However, on large acreages it has its uses.  I have four rows of marked barbed wire on metal posts to help to remind others who may be trespassing, that beyond that point, is the portion of our farm in which we practice and target shoot.   Continuing to trespass beyond that point could be more dangerous than the barbed wire itself !    It's also a reminder to people on ATVs not to trespass in that area.

barbed wire   (Picture:
These are styles of barbed wire fencing.  It is essential if you ever install this, that you read all the directions, wear gloves, and wear eye protection while you do so. (Picture:  which is American Fence and Supply) I used the four row style on the top for the back of our forested farm.

       This should provide a smattering of ideas for fencing.  Fencing projects can be very small, as you might need for an herb garden, to very large as you might need for a rural property for horses.  Properly considered and installed fencing can be an incredible investment impacting not only the utility of a farm or residence, but the future saleability of it as well. 


   This is another post including a new innovative ecological type of livestock and horse fencing.
   Please also see this post:


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Defending our Homes Around the World

This is a crossbow.  This website is information on a man who teaches how to build crossbows.

   In most of the United States, it is possible for most people to own a rifle or a handgun. This of course, does depend upon where you reside.  I am fortunate in that in my location we are permitted weapons. This makes defending our farm and our animals against rabid animals, predators such as coydogs, coyotes, wolves, and even the occasional traveling mountain lion, possible.  Although our friends the black bears have never been dangerous to us here, the possibility indeed exists, and we would need decent firepower to defend ourselves in the unlikely event that a bear ever loses his mind.  Our laws here also do have provisions for our shooting human beings if they clearly endanger us or our family members.  Our family is therefore trained on a variety of firearms and we are very careful with them.  They are also contained in such a manner that that we can get them quickly, but those breaking in to our home, could not.
                 I realize what a benefit this is, because in much of the world, this is not so.   Guns in Russia are tightly regulated in many places.   In Canada, rifles exist for hunting, but anyone who shoots a human being even in self defense, breaking into their home, is very likely to be charged with murder.  In Australia, guns are tightly restricted, with only 5.2% of the population owning one, and therefore taking responsibility for protecting the remainder from feral animals.  In England, some police are issued guns, and the criminals have them.  A few people in rural areas have one for hunting.  In Belgium, the police have guns, but since 2006, it has become very very difficult for citizens to have them, even for hunting.  In fact, the police no longer carry their guns when they are off duty there. They are to be left in their lockers.       These policies challenge ordinary people in many ways.  In many places in the world, police cannot be there in a flash.  In a civil unrest or home invasion situation, how are we to defend ourselves and our families ?
                 The first thing we can and should do, is to secure our homes in any way we can. We need to make sure that we have effective locks, and that sliding glass doors can be effectively blocked so that we can get out, but that others cannot force the sliding door open. We need to do our own survey outside our homes as to how easy it might be to enter through a window.  Many people are surprized at how easy it is to break into their home.We need to do some research and then, we need to fortify our homes intelligently.   The second thing we should do is try to complete tasks at the most intelligent time of day.   I don't feed animals after dark for many reasons, but one of them is that predators are out on the farm at that time.  I tend to do most things at the safest times of day.   During periods of civil unrest, you would need to calculate when the safest times to do things outside your home might be. Many times, this is first thing in the morning, and then returning home as quickly as possible.    Then, we need to find out what the laws are where we reside with regard to self defense.  It may be that all you are permitted to do in your region is to hide or evade injury as best you can.  It may be that in your home, you are permitted to take some action, but you must ascertain this.   In some places, you cannot use a firearm, but a crossbow, a sword or a knife would be acceptable to defend your family in an emergency.   Of course, you should receive some type of training before attempting to use a weapon which could be turned around and used on you or on a member of your family.   It may be true that in a period of civil unrest the police will be less likely to prosecute those who injure or kill those in your own home, but you should be sure, what the laws are where you reside, and first, follow them, when you can. There is an old saying for those who find they must use their gun in their home. "Better to be judged by twelve, than carried by six" which for those of you in foreign lands, means that it is probably better to be judged for shooting someone in your home or in a self defensive posture, than it is to be carried in a coffin my three people on each side.

This is a Kershaw knife

                Give some thought today on what you would do if your region experienced some type of civil unrest for a time, where you could not depart from your home to buy additional food.  What would you do, if police were otherwise engaged and someone tried to break into your home in order to obtain the food you might have there.  Even developed nations can have episodes of civil unrest and can descend into a mad free-for-all for a period of time.  Now is the time to carefully learn what is acceptable where you are, and to plan accordingly.

These are combat canes

This is a taser

This is a Smith and Wesson expandable baton.   With a few lessons this can be a very effective weapon, even when used by women who generally have less upper body strength and less wingspan. This can be especially effective in closed quarters.  It is essential that you check on your local laws as possession of this article can be illegal in some cities. There are brands which are manufactured in Europe.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

International Preparedness..........Family by Family


          When I first began this blog, I did so as a place to write some of the finer points I made on my preparedness program.  Sometimes it's easier to understand something, or certainly to go to links when you see them on a page, rather than when you hear them on a radio program or podcast.   I actually thought that most of our listeners would be American, and that a few would be from Canada.  I have been pleasantly surprized in that although we certainly have our share of Americans from many states, that we have many Canadians, and we certainly have worldwide preparedness interest here as well.
Of course this makes my tasks here more difficult. There are many products that are easily available in most places in the US, which might not be as readily available in Ghana, Uruguay, or even in Belize. Sometimes I can refer Americans to to get something which is not readily supplied in a hardware store, yet the same item may not be available for international sale.
I remember in 2002, smoke detectors (because they contain some radioactive components which could be subject to theoretical misuse) and GPS (geospatial positioning system) devices were actually prohibited in Russia. Since then, I have heard that Russia has some devices which are acceptable to them.
No matter where we live on this planet, we have many commonalities. We all need clean water, adequate amounts of healthy food, and safe shelter. We are all subject to natural and not-so-natural disasters. Those of us with children have much in common. We all want our children to be safe, and to find a safer, calmer, and better course than we did. In each place on the planet, our challenges, our problems, and the availability of items which may make some of our tasks easier, differ. I thank all of you for coming here for ideas, but I also urge you to find groups, or make internet groups for your own nation, simply to share information or to support one another with regard to simple preparedness. I will still be here trying to figure out how families in Zambia can get some of the health supplies they need, but I can assure you that you will receive much more than you give by connecting with your countrymen and learning of their challenges and solutions also. I know I have.

Please see:

Here We Go Again.........Another Aftershock

               Here we are, peacefully sleeping, with almost a month of no earthquakes on the US Eastern Seaboard (except for a small one in Maine) when we were awoken by a large bang and a rumble at 0212.  How I was hoping the "aftershocks" were over.  Even a 2.7 as this was, can do damage depending upon location and how superficial the quake really was.  I hope this morning, there is no house, barn, or road damage.   The Memphis website indicated that there have been on the order of 117 aftershocks in the area following the initial 5.8 quake in August, 2011.

See also:

and also:

        I learned this week that researchers and students at the University of Memphis are also studying the quakes which have occurred here in Virginia.   Perhaps we will receive some interesting information.

A map indicating the location of quakes, most aftershocks, and detection stations and who they belong to.


This is also an additional reminder. If you have measured your household radon, particularly the levels in an occupied or finished basement, or one with finished bedrooms, and you have an earthquake, you would do well to remeasure the radon levels of your home after the earthquake itself, or following the aftershock cluster. An earthquake could change the cracks in rock and soil and could raise or even diminish the radon levels in your home. In places with frequent aftershocks or quakes, a continuous radon monitor may be a good idea.