Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Advent of a New Tick Borne Illness

    Some time ago, I presented a series here on tickborne illnesses.   The US Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia has just announced the discovery of a new tick borne virus.   Two Missouri farmers developed a viral illness following a tick bite,  which caused a devastating and life threatening drop in their platelet levels. They lived 60 miles from each other and did not share a common area in which they are believed to have become infected. There was a five to seven day interval between the time they were bitten and the onset of the illness itself.   Both of them required inpatient hospital care, of 10 and 12 days each and had severe headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fatigue. One remains weak with memory deficits.  The symptoms were similar to another tick borne illness erlichiosis.  Both men were bitten by the Lone Star tick. (Amblyomma Americanum) They were originally thought to have erlichiosis, but they did not respond to antibiotics. Later, a new virus was isolated from the blood of each man.  Weeks of recovery time were required afterward.  The CDC expects more cases and expects this illness to continue to spread.    This virus falls into the family of phlebovirus, but is genetically unique. It is similar to the Chinese phlebovirus SFTSV. These viruses can and do disrupt platelet manufacture, and although hemorrhage was not a feature of the disease in these particular two Missouri farmers, it could certainly be in others who are eventually afflicted.
   The CDC expects more cases and expects this illness to continue to spread at least to the areas in which the Lone Star tick inhabits.  This comprises a completely new zoonotic infection, and could cause death in younger, older, particularly in patients of all ages who have other types of pre-existing medical conditions.

Our other posts which concern Tick Borne Illnesses:


Prior to this, these were the only known tick borne illnesses:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

More Suggestions for your Evacuation Kit

  Every once in awhile I like to profile products of one kind or another that I have found in my travels.  As frequent followers will know, I do not receive any financial benefits from any of the profiles and information I bring to readers.

These are chocolate flavored.

This might be a welcome addition to an evacuation kit.

Ultra-Long 8 to 10 Year Shelf-Life
180 Tablets - A 15 Day Food Supply for 1 Person

A convenient, compact and lightweight food ration for any emergency. These high calorie food tablets provide full vitamin and mineral requirements plus protein for strength, carbohydrates, dextrose and lactose for fast energy, as well as fatty acids for long endurance, malt taste.

The recommended daily consumption is 12 tablets per day. These really are a true survival food that you could live on for up to several months in an emergency situation. Shelf life is estimated to be to 10 years plus. Tests have shown negligible loss of nutrients after storage at temperatures higher than normal.

Each heavy duty plastic container contains 180 tablets (15 day supply). Inside each container, under the lid is a plastic bag in which you can carry the tablets and utilize the bottle as a water canteen. Made to easily fit into a BDU leg pocket.

A Complete Meal In a chewable Tablet Form
Evolved from the Early Space Program The Best Possible Nutrition in a
very small volume tablet.
10+ Year Shelf Life Easily Carried & Stored
They Taste Great--sort of like a malt ball
Twelve 3.9 gram tabs a day are all you need
(a minimal survival ration of 240 calories per day)
180 Tabs Per Bottle — A 15 day Food Supply
Nutritional Information Per Serving Serving size:
12 tablets per day, 15 day supply. Each serving (approximately 20 cal/tab or 240 calories per day—a minimal survival amount) 4g Protein (grams), 30g Carbohydrate (grams), 12g Fat (grams), 140mg Sodium per serving (mg), Percentage of US Recommended Daily Allowance (US RDA) Protein

12 Vitamin A ............... 100 Vitamin C ............... 100 Thiamin .................. 100 Riboflavin ............... 100 Niacin .................... 100 Calcium ................... 30 Iron ........................ 100

Ingredients: Non-fat dry milk solids, sucrose, vegetable oils (including sunflower and/or safflower oil), natural and artificial flavors, sodium ascorbate, vitamin E acetate, niacinamide, ferrous fumarate, zinc gluconate, calcium pantothenate, potassium chloride, manganese glucomate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamine hydrochloride, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D3, folic acid, potassium iodine, cyanocobalamin.

These are presently out of stock on  but are for sale on Ebay for about $25.00 has them for sale for $22.99


The Esbit Pocket Stove

When closed, easy to transport which makes it excellent for evacuation kits.
Appearance when opened.
How this may be used. Cup is not included.

The Esbit stove is a practical and reliable way to know that you'll be able to boil water and heat liquids anytime you need to. Weighing only 3.25 ounces and small enough to fit in a pocket, this compact stove is perfect for hunters, campers and hikers or to have ready at home in case of an emergency. Esbit is a well known manufacturer of other travel stoves of larger sizes.  This model, and a starter set of fuel cubes sells for around ten dollars plus postage, and once in awhile, someone runs a special with free postage.
Each long burning fuel cube weighs only 0.5 ounces, does not liquefy when burning, is non-explosive and burns well at higher altitudes. In addition the fuel cubes work well as a fire starting aid. Esbit stoves and fuel are used by various NATO forces, expeditions, disaster relief organizations and a wide variety of outdoor enthusiasts.
The Esbit Pocket Stove is a remarkably simple and utterly dependable item. The small stove is unfolded and placed on a level, non-flammable surface. A fuel cube is positioned on the base plate, your metal cup or pot is then placed on the uprights. The fuel cube is lit with a match or lighter and will burn 12-15 minutes.
We suggest including a piece of aluminum foil with the stove, large enough to fashion a wind screen if the weather turns windy. With any open stove, wind will dissipate heat and increase cooking times.

  • Each cube burns 12 - 15 minutes
  • Two position uprights accomodate most cups and small pots
  • Can be extinguished and relit
  • Fuel does not produce visible smoke or sparks and is environmentally safe
  • Burns well at higher altitudes
  • Each cube is individually packaged in water resistant blister packs
  • Perfect for disaster preparation kits as well as the outdoorsman
  • 3.25 ounces, 4" x 3" x .75"
  • Ground shipping only
  • Made in Germany

This is available from on sale for under ten dollars.   It is also available from amazon and ebay, for more than that.

There may be shipping restrictions with this product.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Are These Soviet Tactics Here in Virginia ?

This is Brandon Raub     Veterans, and those with facebook, my space and blogs, watch your back.


    I don't have a Facebook or a MySpace page, and I am not planning to get one.  I do however, have a blog or two, and one has to wonder whether Soviet tactics are emerging in the US in an attempt to control ideas as they are exchanged on the internet.
              I find the post below terrifying.   It was told to me originally by my gunsmith this week, who probably is one of the best informed people I know.   When I first moved to Virginia in the mid nineteen eighties, we lived for a time in  Chesterfield, Virginia.    Chesterfield was as freedom loving as any other place, and had a large highly trained police force.   I still have friends who are on the Chesterfield County Police force as do my eldest kids.   I suppose that whether Chesterfield County Police were justified in their questioning of decorated US veteran Brandon Raub depends upon what he placed on his page, which incidentally was only supposed to have been available to family and friends, and which the FBI, we now know, routinely scans.
              How long will it be before Amnesty International has campaigns to rescue political prisoners from the mental institutions and prisons of the United States ?

                Raub has since been released:


The writing below the two sets of undulating lines, is the sole work product of :
   The Economic Collapse blog  

#8 Hauled Off To A Mental Institution For What You Believe
Do you ever worry that what you post on Facebook could get you involuntarily committed to a mental institution?
Well, that is exactly what happened to one military vet recently.
A former Marine named Brandon Raub was hauled off to a mental institution because of what he posted on his Facebook page.
This is how the Economic Policy Journal summarized what happened to Raub....
The muscle used to grab Brandon Raub was local Chesterfield County, VA police. Also present during the grab were agents of the FBI and of the Secret Service.
Both the FBI and the Secret Service claim that they were only observing and not participating in the grab. The Chesterfield County police initially stated that they were only carrying out a request from the federal agencies.
The police also claim Raub is not under arrest, even though he was led away in handcuffs and is not permitted to leave the psychiatric ward of a hospital---even though it appears that Raub is not in  any way in need of psychological care.
I note this happened in the United States of America, with local police, FBI agents and Secret Service taking part.
The claim that Raub is "not under arrest" is completely and totally ridiculous.  The authorities came to his door, slapped handcuffs on him and are holding him in a mental institution against his will.
And now he has been transferred to a facility that is 3 hours away from his family, his supporters and his legal team.
What in the world is America turning into?
The Rutherford Institute is defending Raub, and the following is an excerpt from a statement about this case on their website....
“This is not how justice in America is supposed to work—with Americans being arrested for doing nothing more than exercising their First Amendment rights, forced to undergo psychological evaluations, detained against their will and isolated from their family, friends and attorneys. This is a scary new chapter in our history,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “Brandon Raub is no different from the majority of Americans who use their private Facebook pages to post a variety of content, ranging from song lyrics and political hyperbole to trash talking their neighbors, friends and government leaders.”
This is the kind of thing that we have seen under brutal totalitarian regimes in the past.  Dissidents are grabbed by authorities and taken to mental institutions where they are conveniently "disappeared".
This kind of thing is not supposed to happen in America.
But it is happening.
And you know what?  Before the authorities start attacking people for exercising free speech on Facebook perhaps they should clean up their own house.
It turns out that thousands of DHS employees have been convicted of crimes in recent years.  The following is from a recent CNS News article....
There have been 2,527 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees and co-conspirators convicted of corruption and other criminal misconduct since 2004, according to a federal auditor.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

An Earthquake Anniversary

   One year ago this week, the Great Virginia Earthquake of 5.8 occurred on  August 23, 2011.  Since then, more than 10 million dollars worth of damage was found in a neighboring county, and their fairly large local school had to be demolished due to the serious amount of damage.  The local real estate market here has been decimated, due to fear of buying following the quake, and the damaged and ever lack luster economy. This is said to be the largest earthquake in this region ever to afflict the entire East Coast of the US.  The Washington Monument in DC was damaged, and so was the National Cathedral in DC and buldings attached to Jefferson's Rotunda at the University of Virginia. It also shut down the North Anna Nuclear Power Station for quite a time. Significant shaking was felt even in high rise office buildings in Toronto. (No, Virginia does not have a Toronto. This is THE Toronto in Canada !)  The quake was also felt in Florida.  More than 450 aftershocks have been detected since, and many of those continued to do damage to chimneys, roads, houses, wells, schools, and monuments. Significant changes also occurred to ground water levels following this quake.
    On a personal level, I now have higher radon levels within my home following the quake.  I have a lower well static water level now. My water was slightly muddy for six weeks afterward and still has more iron in it than it did.  My livestock is now perennially neurotic following so many aftershocks. I am not joking when I say the cat could use some treatment for post traumatic stress.
     Seriously though,  this is the year in which many families locally became intimately familiar with FEMA, their propaganda, and their iron grip once you have enlisted their aid and appear on their rolls.  This is also the year many people particularly in Louisa County, Virginia simply walked away from homes and mortgages when their homes simply split in half, the result of that one sunny Augist day.    This was also the day when people thought I might not be a naysayer, but that I might actually know something when I talk about preparing for both natural and man-made disasters.  Personally, I wish there had been another way.

Additional information:

Friday, August 24, 2012

The End of a Hardware Store, and in a Sense, Also an Era

   I have not posted in a couple of weeks. I assure you that this blog is not too far from my mind though.   Having found a publisher for both of the books I am writing, a lot of my time in consumed with either final research or the actual writing of the "Rational Preparedness" book.   I also must continue to move forward on other projects on the farm, and in general preparedness and organization.
   Some friends who own, among other businesses, a hardware store, are in the process of gradual liquidation.  I have already indicated that we keep a fair amount of organized hardware on the farm for future issues.  Our friends recently made everything in their store 50% off.  This enabled us to buy many of the things my daughter needed in her quest to reburbish the house she bought in July.   Everything from paint, to sanding articles, spackle, new locks, were bought at a discount and we have all been involved in the project in some manner or another.   This week, the remaining articles in the store were reduced by 75%.  To give you some idea of how sick the US economy really is, much of the hardware store materials were still there, even at 75 % off !    My husband and I discussed this, and decided to allocate funds and space in outbuildings  to properly  house and arrange items that we, or the kids might need in the future, or that may become very expensive in a super-inflationary age.   So yesterday, my son and I took sturdy buckets to the hardware store and began to load up.  We bought steel rods for welding, welding supplies, electrical supplies, brass plumbing fixtures,  rakes, stainless steel hinges, nails, pins, carriage bolts with screws, paint, drill bits, paint scrapers, tape, fasteners of all varieties, gardening items, etc. I also bought their two remaining maple trees.   We bought things we thought would last of the many things that remained, even after a fifty percent off sale.  We had also told close friends of the sale, and they arrived when we were leaving, and found things that would also be helpful to them also.


    We hear of many people stockpiling ammunition, and although this might be a good thing to have, if you will house it correctly and use it, in target practice, this might not be all we should be stocking. What about air filters, oil filters and fuel filters to cars ? What about generator oil filters ?  What about commonly used hardware ?  Look around. Pick up what you can on sale, when you can, while you can.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

On Solar Garden Lights

These look similar to the ones I gave ,in a set, to my daughter.

        There are very few very recent inventions which are as useful as solar garden lights.  These wonderful lights come in a variety of styles and types, and are now even available in about twelve varieties in many Wal-Mart stores. There is quite a price range. Some are quite inexpensive, and others are more expensive, heavier and may be larger.  Some may even function as flood lights.    They all work on the same principle. You buy the light, and pull a tab which has been preventing the unit from working while shelved in the store, and from then on, with the aid of its solar battery, it stores energy from the sun in its battery through the small collector at the top of the unit. When darkness falls, the unit senses this, and lights up.  Some provide decorative light only, but others effectively light walkways or illuminate property signs or large shrubs.  I use some of them around buildings at the farm, and even just outside the outdoor areas of the kennel, as it seems to cut down on barking at night.  I also keep a few of the smallest units in a clay vase on a wide window sill. They can have their tab pulled and be very effective emergency lights, and we don't have to use the sharp stakes which come with them designed to insert them into the ground. This helps me to hold on to my cyalume lights and not use these unnecessarily.  I also placed a few of the highly decorative and colored varieties in flower beds on the farm. The ones which gently change color all night repel deer, which is always a good thing.   I also placed one or two near young fruit trees because the deer don't chew the lower branches of the dwarf trees when the lights are gently changing color..
        Last week I have a particularly expensive set of the plain light variety to my daughter for her new house. We placed them in areas which needed illumination in the front and back of the house.   Several days later, all of them disappeared all at once !  She filed a police report and are upgrading her security system.   Who steals an entire set of solar lights from the front and back of a house that a young person has worked so hard to get ?   She filed a police report, and has arranged for the sheriff's deputies to take report in her driveway.   She also asked them to use her hidden driveway as a place to hide to catch speeders on the country road.
I am not even going to tell you which weapon she is training with !

Friday, August 3, 2012

Decisions Concerning the Publishing of a Rational Preparedness Book

        I knew this day would eventually come, and like many of you, I am in unfamiliar waters.  I have made money for years, on and off,  writing articles for nursing magazines, parenting magazines, health periodicals etc. and I am fairly comfortable generating useful information requested by a magazines on focused topics.  I quite enjoy writing articles on various aspects of preparedness, and this is largely why I devote a fair amount of time and research to this, and to my other blog.  However, now it is time, to locate a publisher for the book, "Rational Preparedness".  Yes, first it was a radio show.  Then, it became Rational Preparedness.....the blog.   There has always been a book on the subject, in the works, but it often stood aside for other projects.
              There are many decisions to be made.  First of all, if I place the work with a publisher who pays for all aspects of its being brought to life, then I lose a measure of creative control. Although I might make some cash for preps, I must proceed as I am told.   If I enter into a contractual arrangement where I contribute financially to the books production, then I may retain more rights to the work and a greater portion of royalties later.  Oddly, I realize I enjoy the journey of producing information for people.  I am less result driven than I had thought.
             I have some ongoing discussions with some publishers, but if you have suggestions, as a reader of the blog material, and some places where you would like to see the book go, or you would like to suggest or introduce me to a publisher, please let me know.   I already have retained the photographer, and have some ideas for pictures.
            Most publishers think the book should be focused on the task of introducing those who are fairly new to the concepts of preparedness, to key concepts and then fleshing the project out from there. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Foreclosures on All Sides

An abandoned home

This is sold, but just now, every type of home and property is available.

    I have concluded in the last few weeks that a foreclosure is a very strange thing, a bit like a tornado, or some other type of bizarre storm.   All homeowners were told, or should have been told at closing, that their home is recorded in their county,as their own, but that its ownership can be transferred to the bank or entity which lent them that money for its purchase, and that this can occur as quickly as three months and fifteen days past the time at which you paid your last payment, if in fact, you cease to make payments..   Your home is yours unless you can't make the payments to the bank, which include their payment (principle and interest), property taxes, and your homeowners insurance. (Now some additional rules have been added which slows the process.)
              Our first way of viewing a foreclosure was in our daughter's purchase of a government foreclosure. The parties were in default on a loan our state made to them on which they had never once paid. From that standpoint alone, foreclosure seemed like a wonderful thing.  She picks up a house for must less than it's appraisal because it needs some basic cosmetic work and a great deal of cleaning......oh, and a stove and some major appliances.   Our daughter has friends from college who were foreclosed upon in one state, and then SOMEHOW rather rapidly found a loan in this state, and happily adjusted to their loss.
               In a normal economy a foreclosure in our county only very rarely occurred. When it did, our local lawyer and our builder would buy the houses, refurbish them, and promptly rent them out.  This was the only source of rentals in the entire county, and so, this rare occurrance actually met a need.    Now, things are very different.    Now, in any one given week, there are multiple foreclosures. Because they are rural properties and often include land, most of them range from the total note having been anywhere from $349,000.-over a million dollars.  Our daughter's was a different situation in that her home cost much less to acquire.  Since the numbers alone make foreclosure a slower process, and scandals for robo-signing and rushes to foreclose have been in the news, foreclosures still commonly occur, but take more time to occur than they did previously.  In addition, some new laws have been added. Among two items, banks are not supposed to foreclose on someone who is active duty military, and so this puts off some foreclosures.  They also are not supposed to foreclose on someone who is actually dead, without making proper attempts to locate and serve the paperwork on the heirs, and waiting additional time, as well.  Still, even with these processes slowing the final act of foreclosure, multiple foreclosures are taking place in our county on a weekly basis.  There are some really unusual effects as a result of this.   Normally, foreclosures are picked up fairly rapidly, often by realtors, builders or other investors, and occasionally the savvy young family of someone else who has bought a foreclosure in the past.  In a climate where it's raining repossessions, the market has saturated.  Many realtors aren't making anything, and so as sweet as a deal might be, they don't presently have any more cash or any more credit.  Our builder and our lawyer have stopped buying homes to be refurbished as rentals. In the dead construction market, they are simply hanging on by renting out the homes they had prior to this. They can't acquire any more of them.  Investors reach a point where they have all they need.  We also have the local effect of some really significant and devastating earthquake damage from almost a year ago.  That 5.7 (or 5.8 depending upon which official body you believe) destroyed schools, and many homes here, including some which were historic landmarks.  Sometimes, very good buys exist especially for those who are handy, but the banks still cannot unload them.   Meanwhile, many homes sit empty rapidly deteriorating without families living inside to do the constant maintenance and pay heating and cooling bills.  The cumulative effect of continued aftershocks also do damage, and the last one of 2.4 magnitude occurred in the early  hours of  yesterday morning.
           Bank of America has been proactive with their glut of foreclosures.  They have created an entire website where they pre-qualify you to buy one of their foreclosures, so they are controlling the acquisition, and then you can click on the state and region in which you are interested, and speak directly to someone who has been empowered to sell, or shall I say unload, your little money-pit directly to you.   My eldest son was embroiled in such an attempted acquisition recently, but BOA acted as they always do, in the manner in which it suits them best, never for the customer.  No matter, our son would rather deal with another entity anyway.
           This week though, I got to see foreclosure from an angle in which I had not seen it before.  I will give sketchy detail in order to protect the privacy of the family concerned.    A very wealthy family with children bought a home within the last six years or so, in which they owed hundreds of thousands of dollars. They had expensive cars, and money coming in.   At some point something changed, and they were no longer able to continue the payments which to my way of thinking, must be thousands of dollars monthly.   Rather than finding a smaller home, and shifting the gears it will take to find a new place to live, this family is fighting differently.   They claim their foreclosure, which has been a fairly long time in coming, is fraudulent.  They say that the paperwork which forecloses has only been initialled and not signed, and that the Trustees empowered to foreclose are not the Trustees who appear on their original note. (My understanding is that Substitute Trustees can be appointed at anytime)    They had a gathering at their own expense this week in a very public area in our county, in which they told everyone who would listen that they are being foreclosed upon illegally and unfairly. They seem to think that if they make enough noise, the bank will feel guilty and simply let them remain in "their house".  I listened but I did not say very much.   The reality is, an intelligent family borrowed a huge sum of money for an extravagant house.  They are presently unable to pay their loan and have been, for an extended period of time. This is simply the way the game is played.   The investors who gave the money to the bank, some of whom are regular people, like my Dad, friends of mine, etc. are not receiving their payment as contractually agreed, and their only remedy is to seize the custody and control of that property in order to continue to prevent its continued deterioration, and perhaps salvage SOME of their unwise investment by selling it themselves.   In short, if you can't pay, then you can't continue to that house.    The situation worries me because rather than problem solving and finding a less expensive housing alternative, and moving forward, this family is stuck in the fight and spending their money on clowns !

Yes, they used their money to hire everything they could use to tell their neighbors that they were being foreclosed upon.

  It also worries me from the standpoint of irrational thinking. Is this how violent attacks on family members and children which end in murder suicides begin ?
          The landscape of our rural Shangri-la has forever changed.  With so many homes in foreclosure and so many property values having fallen, our county has a fraction of the available funds with which to spend on the sheriff and a few deputies. (and I have already told you we only have volunteer fire)   Our county is much quieter, much emptier, and like its neighboring counties, a much less desirable in which to live.