Friday, November 30, 2012

"What I Learned from Daniel" is Available Now !

The cover of "What I Learned from Daniel"    Our continued days on Earth are never guaranteed. A few of us really good folk are called Home, with no discernible reason.

      This week I learned that my second book

        What I Learned from Daniel             has been released.

         by Jane-Alexandra Krehbiel

   The publisher is still putting final touches on this book's website, and I have not yet held a copy of this book in my hand.  Still, it can be ordered right now, from the following sources.

   For now, this is where I noticed the book is being advertised:

On Amazon



Kindle variety:

At Barnes and Noble:



Nook is also available..


Over the next couple of weeks it's distribution will continue until it's available worldwide.
I will update this list, on this one post, and I will add this books website, as soon as it's ready.


              What has it got to do with preparedness and survival you ask ?  That's an excellent question.
Both Rational Preparedness and What I Learned from Daniel were written at the same time. Some mornings and nights, I was anxious to write chapters on the nuts and bolts of preparedness, and other times I was focused on how we psychologically survive when the worst of things happen.   Rational Preparedness is the action oriented brief text on preparing for emergencies.   What I Learned from Daniel is a tribute to our youngest son, and the story not only of how important he is and was to us, but how we move forward after a completely unexpected and supernatural passing.   There are clues to psychological survival of a family which following a true disaster, is important and necessary.

            What I Learned from Daniel is not a sad book.   It is a conversational journey through some of the busiest and happiest days of our lives and then through the shock of how an unexpected and instantaneous passing of a twelve and a half year old with no known medical issues, could occur.  Then, it traces some of the funny, bizarre, and unusual things that happened afterward, as our family learns exactly how to move ahead following the loss of our youngest member.  Daniel would wish you to be inspired.  We will all face losses and trials in our lives. This is how one family did it, starting with shell shock.   This book was released for sale, two days shy of the fourth anniversary of Daniel's passing from Earth.

           Daniel's blog, which has existed for almost four years now, can be found at:


Thursday, November 29, 2012

On Set Backs

We can surround ourselves with memories of the past, but life will move on anyway.

  When I was a child in church and the minister would say, that Earth is not our home, I used to think that he was just plain crazy.  In rural counties in the 1960s, people worked hard. They sent their children to a neighborhood school.  Husbands and wives raised their children together. Gasoline was 54.9 cents per gallon, and cheaper if you drove out farther.  Out in the country, there were still a few old machines which dispensed a small green bottle of coca cola for ten cents.   Soda was a slice of Heaven for a kid, because it was a rarity.  Most of us had soda on birthdays, Christmas, or if we were sick. People protected their children for the most part, keeping them safe until they too could take their places in the world and protect their own children.  Of course, there were reasons for this.  America's memory of WWII still existed. My father's generation had fought a war in which the very existence of our way of life was threatened..  They wanted their children and grandchildren to grow up and feel safe, and I realize that I was very much a beneficiary of this.  There was also a feeling that communists wanted to alter or destroy our good way of life in the US, and so people were afraid to disappoint God and lose his favor.  Most families we knew were intact and were loving. When a parent died, the entire town would rally around a family and take the son to ballgames, and the daughter out to buy clothes before school started.  People helped each other.  When my mother had pneumonia, other rural owners and farms brought eggs, casseroles, whatever they could to try to help.  They brought toys to occupy my brother and I, so we could let my mother recover.  It seemed to me that life was very good, and so were people, and that trials would come, but that also as the minister said, we would be enveloped in safety and that when trials would come, God would be there to make sure that our learning was not more than we could manage.
                     Well, the exuberance of youth is not foolish.  It exists because it's what we need in order to go out into the world and make a life in the face of a world which I realize now, is  really not our home. God has built in the cockiness of youth because it allows us to learn to be everything from neurosurgeons to pilots before we think too hard about how difficult and how unwise some things are.  Hopefully, by the time you are a professional fighter pilot or a neurosurgeon and your exuberance of youth leaves you, you have some judgement in its place.  My exuberance of youth was spent learning to be a nurse, and then a young wife and mother of two small children, who decided that in the 1980s, her family's opportunities would be better in the South than in the cold and expensive Northeast.  I did not awaken to many of the realities of life for many, until I was firmly placed in Virginia as a young homeowner.
                      Set backs come in every life. Some of them, like the loss of a grandparent can be foreseen, and anticipated, and others strike us out of the blue.  There have certainly been set backs in my own life in addition to the anticipated variety.  Our third child being born a preemie and then having repeated apnea was a challenge.  The financial challenges of that experience, even with insurance were frightening.  Our young daughter developing juvenile autoimmune diabetes following a virus, was another faith shaking difficulty.  The trials of life when our eldest son developed Crohn's Disease and could not attain a remission also changed our family life for the duration.   I was very lucky however, in that I have never known a blinding loss until my late forties when our youngest son died when he was 12 of uncertain causes.  The eventual theory, the result of multiple autopsies is that he experienced a heart rhythm disturbance, as do an increasing number of children and young adults, who often are playing sports when they die suddenly.  This particular family set back has been life defining, and I am not sure that we ever really get over set backs of this magnitude during our time on Earth.  We just learn that we must move forward, if just for those we still love.

Make sure that your bathroom is comfortable enough to grieve in, because in this life, we will sometime.

                     Financial challenges are much more a part of life now, than I believe they were for the contemporaries of my parents in the 1960s.   People were frugal then, but it was easier to get a start, and perhaps people knew how to help one another better than they do today. When I was a child, I never knew anyone on welfare or anyone who had lost a home.  When a girl in our church had a baby out of wedlock in the 1960s, the church condemned what she had done because she had potentially condemned that child to a life without one of his parent's support, and then they promptly embraced the girl, and gathered to provide all of her needs, until several years later when she actually married the child's father.   Now, much of our country has lost its way.  Throngs of people collect welfare and still have their hair and nails done.  Some view Medicaid as their health insurance, the same as any other.  Sometimes the people who are long term foodbank users have later model Mercedes Benzes.  I now know people who not only collect welfare and foodstamps, but who desperately need it. I have gone from never knowing anyone who ever lost a home, to knowing many who have lost a home to foreclosure.  I know an increasing number of people who have walked away from a home.

Map by

                    Financial challenges come to us all eventually, either in youth, middle or old age.  Of course, frugal and careful living can decrease the chances of feeling this for a long time, but cannot immunize us from financial loss or financial challenges.  My family should be so much more financially secure than we are, but health issues, a long term sluggish economy and changes in opportunities have stopped our assets from growing in value, and made others worthless.   A few years ago, when my mother died, she left her home to my biological brother, who was unable to come to sell it from out of state.  In order to help him, I bought it, in order to liquify his cash and help him get a start. I thought my mother would have appreciated this chance for him.  I thought it likely that I could resell, either without any loss, or with a minimal one.  Just after, the economy crashed, and the property has not only continued to diminish in value, but its taxes, homeowner's insurance, maintenance and repairs have continued to soar.  I need to sell as no one here needs to be in that town.  And so, I must sell at what is a terrible loss, and that's if I can sell at all.
                      Of course, my loss pales in comparison to the losses of some of my friends this year alone.  One lost her farm house when a rat chewed the wires in her upright freezer and caused a fire.  She had no homeowner's insurance.  Another friend lost the farm she was moving to, when a large wildfire swallowed her rural village leaving it as a burned out war zone, with her animals nowhere to be found.  One friend lost his health this year after his wife left him. His recovery is unlikely, although I did speak with him today and helped him to organize and schedule some urgent health appointments.
                      Set backs of every kind come in this life.  Some can be predicted, others cannot.  It's a good thing to be charitable. It's an important thing to be prepared in anticipation of  wide varieties of set backs.  It's important to give some thought to economic collapse, because more and more intelligent people, and not simply extremists, think this is a genuine possibility, both in Europe, and here in the US.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Discussing "Prepper's Home Defense"


   In my own book, Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness,  I make comments concerning home and personal security because my book is intended for a worldwide audience.  However, I knew that Jim Cobb, whom I consider a friend, was writing a book called Prepper's Home Defense, which was due out very close to the time that Rational Preparedness would be.  I therefore made the comments regarding personal defense which were important to me, and referred everyone to Prepper's Home Defense.  This seemed like a brave thing to do since I hadn't yet read Jim's manuscript or the book itself.   I did know, however, that in the years that I have known Jim that he has been a voice of reason and experience with regard to these subjects. He has worked in the security and investigation fields for twenty years and brings a broad range of experience and expertise to the subject.  He has also been a radio program guest on the subject and is a sane voice in the preparedness community.  Jim's book also has a foreward written by Jerry Ahern, his last professional writing before his recent passing. Jim and his wife Tammy have three sons, and so he understands our need to protect our families, the most valuable assets we have while here on Earth.    Yesterday, Jim's publisher sent me a copy of Prepper's Home Defense which I sat reading cover to cover. (Consequently, I didn't complete my TTD or Tasks to Do list yesterday.)
            First of all, I should say that Jim's book has been published by Ulysses Press, and that my book comes from a competing publisher, so I have no obligation to push a competing book other than to tell you it complements my own and will be of help to you. Jim Cobb looks at preparedness and survival from a different vantage point than I do, and it's an important one.  The book is comprehensive, orderly, yet conversational enough to read and digest quickly.  It is useful to those in the continental US, and also to those in other nations who might not have access to handguns or shotguns.

The full and most correct title of the book is:

  Prepper's Home Defense: Security Strategies to Protect Your Family By Any Means Necessary

      This is a snapshot of the meat of the book itself, from the  table of contents:

Foreward  (by Jerry Ahern)

 Section I        Security Planning

  Chapter 1     Basic Security Concepts
  Chapter 2     Operations Security

Section II      Physical Defense

   Chapter 3   Perimeter Defense
   Chapter 4   Structure Hardening
   Chapter 5   Safe Rooms
   Chapter 6   Secure Storage and Hidden Storage

Section III    Prepper Armory

  Chapter 7   Firearms
  Chapter 8   Other Weapons
  Chapter 9   Hand to Hand Combat

 Section IV   Other Considerations

  Chapter 10   Guard Dogs
  Chapter 11    Communications
  Chapter 12    Mutual Aid Agreements
  Chapter 13    Children and Security
  Chapter 14    Bugging Out
  Chapter 15    Excursions


  Furthur Reading
  Recommended Suppliers
  Photo Credits
  About the Author

             You can buy this book from a number of sources, the most convenient probably being Amazon where it is currently on sale.  This is the link:

           I like this book because it simply addresses security issues which are of concern in preparedness circles, and also because even after twenty five years of prepping, it gave me some additional perspectives especially in the areas of structure hardening, safe rooms, and communications.  I didn't even realize that we have a "Mutual Aid Agreement" with another group until I read this book.
           Jim Cobb gets my wholehearted recommendation for this book.    Thanks for reading, everyone.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fraud Alert


         I don't do a great deal of internet shopping, but sometimes I do.  I use a debit card tied to a particular account I use for Ebay, Amazon, and a couple of other stores. I tend to move money into that account, and then spend it via internet.  I do this because if there is a problem, I don't want the account responsible for paying the household or the farm bills being breached.    It's a good thing I have this practice.  This month, I am quite honestly finishing up my practical gift giving for Christmas.  With so many kids, and now so many grown and needing much more expensive things, I have to budget all year for Christmas necessities.  I try to give them what they want without breaking the bank or being excessive.
                   This week, I needed one more thing for one of my son's and so I bought it on Amazon. A few minutes later, I got an e-mail saying that my credit card had been declined at that they wanted specifics to my checking account.  Since I had made a deposit several days before, there was something wrong.  I cancelled the purchase on Amazon, and called the miniscule number on the back of my card.  My purchase was declined because at 3 am that day, someone in England who had my card number attempted to charge something there. Since I had not told them I would be in England, and the item was an unusual purchase for me, card security declined that charge. They also locked down my card so I could not use it either. They will issue me a new card and number within a week to ten days.   I know I should be grateful, but I don't feel particularly grateful.  I am about forty miles from a bank and about sixteen miles from an ATM.  This morning I realized that I needed to pay cash for everything. I thought I would stop at an ATM and get cash and then pay cash for the days purchases, including some groceries.  Of course on the drive there, I realized that without a working card the ATM is certainly not going to give me money from my own account !  I will need to drive to the bank on Monday for cash.

                      There are a few take away lessons from this.  One, make sure your internet purchase debit or credit card is divorced from your checking account which pays your bills, otherwise something like this could be disastrous. Secondly, consider one of those prepaid cards and only put on it hat you know you need to use for internet transactions.  Third, keep some cash at home.  I do this, but it is so secure and so inaccessible that it's easier for me to go to the bank than it is for me to try to access it.
                    The lesson is clear. When we are not paying as close attention to our wallets, our charges on statements, the criminals are out there saving our numbers, or getting them from work.  One of the companies with which I do business, sold my credit card number.
                   Be especially careful this year. Not only are thieves very sophisticated, but many are pretty desperate also.
                    This time, it was a credit card breach.  Next time it could be an identity theft. Be careful !

Friday, November 23, 2012

Practical Gift Giving

               Several months ago I posted on practical gift giving, and I said that September is the time to start your Christmas list, and what you plan to give.  Of course, my emphasis is always on something which will be useful and appreciated.  Frivolous gift giving can be wonderful, but most times, people want to choose the frivolous and truly personal for themselves.  When I give a gift to a loved one, I shoot for emcompassing both their interests and their needs. If I am really doing my job then I capture something they need but didn't even know existed.  I don't believe in giving a fantastic gift at all costs.  My gifts have to make good financial sense, or I don't give them.
              I learned about gift giving from not only having five children, but by having three brother in law who also have wives and children. Although we don't give gifts now, giving to adult males, their wives and children as well as your parents, and then your spouse and children can be difficult.
             First of all, it's important to draw the line. Most families simply cannot afford to give expensive gifts to anyone but their children, and perhaps their parents.  In the past, there have been some years where my budget for my spouses gift for Christmas was all of twenty dollars. Money is tight everywhere, and if it isn't that tight for you, then you aren't paying enough attention, and you could allocate better yourself !
             The most important element in practical gift giving, especially for Christmas is to start with enough time.  Starting in September allows you time to list the people you will be giving gifts to this season.  Then, there is time for you to discover sizes and preferences. Starting then will give you plenty of time to check your local sources for availability and price, and to take a look at these items for viability. Then, take a look on,  e-bay, and amazon.  Run searches and see if a specialty shop has a better buy on this item than any of the companies I mentioned. This doesn't take very long and it can save half or even more.
             This year for example, I wanted to get a tactical jacket for one of my sons who has a concealed weapons permit.  I had in mind a Kitanica jacket, which is the top of the line and would allow him to carry a concealed weapon comfortably.

                The Kitanica Mark v, is a terrific jacket, but for six hundred dollars was not only beyond my budget, but it exceeded what my son needed.  He only needed a comfortable three season jacket which allowed him to have an additional manner of weapon carry without calling attention to himself.   So, I began looking at other types of jackets, eventually settling on this one, which meets all the needs and comes in under budget for about sixty-four dollars plus postage.

                              This is the Rothco 3 season "carry jacket" which simply allows another way of carrying a concealed weapon and magazines.    Sometimes, the much cheaper alternative will not meet your needs, but this time, it certainly does.  Many times, it does. The Rothco is also valuable in this case because it really cannot be differentiated or detected as a "carry jacket" and this is always valuable.

                              Another one of my kids needs a new hard-drive this year for his computer. I was going to get one which allowed an obscene amount of data, and then I realized, that if we spent just a little more on that, we could get his TWO of slightly less capacity, and this would provide some redundancy, should anything ever become corrupted.

                             Our daughter has really already had her principle Christmas gift this year.  She needed a stove for her new home, and she wanted a particular type that was expensive.  We ran around and found the exact stove on Craig's list.   It was very lightly used, but an incredible buy.   A family had bought a fairly new home, and found this stove in it.  They had a stainless steel professional stove they were bringing to the house, and they needed to sell this one.  We bought it, cleaned it, and it is just like new, with all its paperwork, but for a fraction of the original cost new.   She will have plenty of smaller kitchen oriented gifts this year to give her something to open.

                             Don't forget books as presents.  Our daughter's boyfriend really is a family member to us now, and he has a fairly new interest in preparedness and survival. (I wonder where he got it......tee, hee)  There are plenty of excellent books for his hard library which can be purchased very reasonably, along with some other practical items to unwrap.

                           Our money supplies are finite. We need to spend time honing in on the best use of our money and the gift that will be the most help to those we love.  Free yourself this year to get what will achieve this.     Before you buy your wife a vacuum cleaner she has not asked for,  this is the one area in which a romantic gift may be in order.  You will need to assess this carefully.  I have always preferred practical gifts and a gift certificate to Victoria's Secret would have been an egregious misspending of money. I would rather have a certain brand of chocolate or ammunition.   Many women care less about the gift and more that you know them, and carefully considered it.   Sometimes, you may even have to ask what they want.   This is fine, because even after more than twenty-five years of marriage, my husband cannot yet read my mind !



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Why There is Thanksgiving Sadness

Every Thanksgiving is a snapshot in time which may not come again.  (

    I am a little reticent about Thanksgiving.   In the 90s, my mother in law died in her fifties before Thanksgiving.   Then in 2006, my beloved golden retriever Susan, who had helped to raise all our children, passed of old age, early in the morning the day after Thanksgiving.  She passed at 5 am on a pillow on our bedroom floor. Despite her old age, this was a great loss, and I knew even then, it was the beginning of a trail of losses.   The following year, my mother passed in the hospital the day after Thanksgiving.  I was eating some leftover turkey with some stuffing and gravy when I got the phone call. I still remember how I felt as I sat down in the dining room to compose myself.  The following year, my father passed before Thanksgiving, and I had the great honor to sit with him for five days beforehand.  He was quite lucid and this gave us both a chance to tell each other some things and for me to confirm some final life directions.  Just after Thanksgiving in 2008, our youngest son passed at 12 1/2.   There was a clean autopsy, and physician think he may have had a spontaneous heart rhythm disturbance.  We were supposed to be comforted by the fact that this is happening more and more to children who play sports and to professional athletes also.  I don't think misery really loves company.  I don't think I want anyone to lose a loved one, on a holiday, just after, or any other time.
             I suppose it's probably normal for me to approach Thanksgiving with a little trepidation.  "Whose turn is it this year ?"  is a thought which sneaks in sometimes.  With my new onset atrial fibrillation experienced seven times this year, I think the likelihood is there that it will be me.
             Still, with all this holiday baggage, it doesn't matter.  We ARE here, and we ARE going to celebrate because no one is every promised or guaranteed any day, let alone another Thanksgiving, or another Christmas.  We are here, until we aren't.  The crime would be squandering that time in which we are.
              I could look at our trail of Thanksgiving losses as very bad luck.  Or I could see it as it is.  God has orchestrated for us that He calls us when he is ready, and is demonstrating to our family that there is a plan.  Our family members will be well until they are called, and then they will be lovingly called to go home.  I try really hard not to be sad in the holiday season.  Most of the time, it works.

   Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.  Give a hug to everyone because sometimes it IS their last year with us.


UPDATE:    Thanksgiving Day, 2013        So many people are reading this post this year, that I thought I owed all of you an update.   My health has improved greatly from a year ago.  I am no longer having atrial fibrillation since I supplemented magnesium glycinate, and changed from omeprazole which decreases needed magnesium levels over time, to ranitidine, for GERD.
   There is a book called "Beat Your A-Fib" which you can see at     If atrial fibrillation is a problem for you, read this book and then discuss whether implementing its recommendations are right for you, with your doctor.
                  I am still dealing with animal health issues this year.   My son's thirteen year old Siberian Husky is requiring pretty intensive care as a result of probable Addison's Disease with fluid and electrolyte imbalances.  This Thanksgiving, I will be working hard with him on his appetite, until the vet reopens after Thanksgiving for more definitive treatment.    It is my hope that we will avoid a Thanksgiving season loss this year.


The Value of an Excellent Auger

                I have often been accused of being easily entertained.  I think that being easily entertained is a great gift and not an indication of a simple or feeble mind, but  then, I will let you decide.   People in the country, myself included can get very excited about watching things that might not hold the same fascination for urban dwellers.  For example, I loved watching the well drilling truck come and dig us an amazingly deep well. I was incredibly grateful for the well driller who enjoyed explaining everything he was doing, right down to why he selected where he was drilling, and what type of soil he was passing through, and why we had all those gray rock shards when he finally hit gallons of water.   Installing farm gates and fencing is no less life changing, but it can also be darn hard work. Watching a farm take shape and become more utilitarian and more comfortable to run is no less exciting.
                My first experience with digging a deep and narrow hole came in the installation of a mailbox in our first home,  in a place where the prior owner didn't have a mailbox.  I used a post hole digger very similar to the one below, and it was darn hard work, especially in the rocky side of the road.

This may be an ergonomic and durable post hole digger, but the only way it approaches perfection is to come with a highly muscular ranch hand with very significant upper body strength.

                When we moved to our first farm and needed fencing, my poor dear husband knew no other way than to spent his weekends with the post hole digger placing deep holes for fence posts for gates and fencing for the animals.  At first he seemed to increase his own upper strength, and he seemed to get quite a bit done. However he also tore his rotator cuff doing it.   Then we found that if we carefully marked where the fence post holes should go, that our older kids and their friends were pretty good at continuing, albeit slowly and in the very rocky Virginia clay.
                 Four years later, when the original farm had skyrocketed in value and in taxes, and we chose to move on and redesign the farm keeping the features we loved best, one of my largest concerns was that we would have to refence it.   Because we were under the gun in terms of time, we chose to hire some people to help us with many of the tasks there, at least initially.   They did not waste time using a mere post hole digger.
These are some of the tools our builders and contractors used.

This is the Earthquake post hole digger
     The Earthquake Post Hole Digger is designed so that a reasonably sized human being can hold it and dig holes for most fencing, except corner posts which frankly need to be larger than this machine can do.  Still this makes short work of something which took us weeks to do, the first time around.

                      Later, while discovering all the wonderful farm implements which attach to the tractor, we found an auger bit.   These are wonderful, but do need to be compatible with the type of tractor you own.

                       You could purchase an auger bit designed to work with your own tractor, such as the one below.  This is how people with large farms continue to gradually fence large areas over time, and install multiple gates to boot.   Much of our farm is forested, and so only a percentage of ours actually has fencing around barns and outbuildings.

     The item below is the item my husband would prefer I buy prior to considering the Apocalypse pony I have had my eye on.  He thinks that the item below would be far more useful.

This is a:


One man operation, tows at legal speeds. includes quik-attach tow-bar w/ adjustable ball coupler.

System also operates class II popular HTMA hydraulic tools.

Used for fencing, sign erection, general digging among other uses.

It is equipped with a Honda GX 390 13.0 HP 4 cycle gasoline engine w/ oil alert.

Includes a 12 inch diameter 42" long auger bit.

Has pin for connection.

Unit digs up to 4 ft
Maximum drilling torque is 276 ft / lbs @ 8 GPM @ 2000 PSI.
Forward and reverse drive
1 3/8" drive shaft hex connection.

              My reason for devoting a post to augers is that whatever type of job you have to do, there is an auger designed precisely for that.   Make sure that before you buy or rent an auger than you do some research on what they can do.  Also make sure that you call whatever version of "Miss Utility" you have in your state or area to make sure you are not doing damage when digging to any underground power or other structures.    If you are a small wristed person, like I am, or you are a person with a prior history of a repetitive motion disorder such as carpal tunnel syndrome, then the vibration of one of these tools should you use one that needs to be held, is going to exacerbate your carpal tunnel syndrome.  In that event, it might actually be wiser to hire a man with an auger for a day.
            Remember also that you can own a fairly ordinary piece of land, and then fence or gate it, and make it much more desirable for resale because you have substantially increased its utilitarian possibilities, kept dogs inside, limited the intrusions of people and other animals to your garden, and enhanced general security.

This is one of our prior posts on fencing which might interest you:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I Need a Horse of the Apocalypse

This is a picture from USA Today.  This is how I imagine walking with my own horse to be.

      Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted a horse. My paternal great grandparents were large scale cattle ranchers and of course, accomplished horsemen.  My father had logged more time on a horse than on a bicycle as a boy. This did not mean I was getting a horse !   My brother had one for a short time when a neighbor gave him one, but eventually it was sent to a military base to be the horse of many children who lived at the base.  Despite being horse experts, every one of my relatives had been badly injured at some point in association with a horse.  My grandfather was in a coma for a time when he was thrown by a horse. My father was thrown as a youngster, and sustained multiple breaks in his arm, which, on occasion, bothered him for the rest of his life.  My father did not need to convince my urbanite mother. The consensus was that I did not need a horse.
         Then, I grew up and had a series of suburban homes where horses would not have been allowed. Then, after having four children, we bought and made two farms so my own children could enjoy animals.  We have now lived on one farm or another for fourteen years, and although we have raised and enjoyed alpacas, we have never had a horse.  My husband doesn't think I should get a horse.  He once heard of an accomplished horsewoman who got kicked in the head, quite accidentally, while caring for a favorite horse and who was killed instantly. He thinks that I don't need to tempt fate.   I say that we have barn and stall space in a lovely barn. We buy quality hay anyway for the alpacas.  The equine and farm vets come out here anyway, and some of them are friends.  I know not one, but three great farriers.  I already give the alpacas their shots, I can easily be taught to do the worming and the annual shots to a horse. I have friends who own really excellent race horses. Still, I have had to put this wish aside.
           This year has not been my year. I have had no less than seven episodes of symptomatic atrial fibrillation and I am not feeling as well as I did a year ago.  Fifty is not feeling particularly good to me.  Obama has somehow snared a second term at the presidency and this to me, means that that our nation is going to slide off a fiscal cliff whether Congress thinks they have fixed it or not.  This man does not do my heart any good at all !  Businesses I care about are going out, one by one.  I have worked like a dog this year and have not just one, but TWO books coming out this year, one of which you are aware, and another coming very soon.   Of course, this is a terrible time to launch anything, because no one has any money ! Even Barnes and Noble is ordering my books as orders come in, rather than buying a big stack !  I have had to give up even my rare caffeinated pepsi with lemon, and even chocolate due to the caffeine.  I am in no mood.  I have earned something from my bucket list !
             I have virtually given up my quest to get my own horse to ride.  I was overprotected unnecessarily, and now I really do have a reason to be skittish.  I can't do the same level of activity I did before should I trigger another episode of a-fib.

Look at how happy these humans with miniature ponies are !          No one is going to throw them, or kick them in the head ! (Photo: )

            This week, I had an opportunity to buy the sweetest little miniature pony.   He is about as tall as my waist and can pull a small cart.  I can reach everywhere on this adorable creature to do all the grooming. I am told by our friend the farrier, that his needs would be meager.  Still, my husband says, "No".     "We don't need more animals in a time where animal feed and hay is sky rocketing ", he insists.  "But honey",  I have said, "If I don't get a horse soon, then I will never have one.  I will even craft a farm evacuation plan for him".
My husband is content to let my chance to own a horse, even a tiny horse, slide by.   This might be my only chance to own a horse that I can really care for myself.   He would be my little pony while everything else I care about folds or closes in.  He could be my Apocalypse pony !   He could be my Horse of the Apocalypse !    Quick !  Someone e-mail my husband and intercede on my behalf, before the horse is sold !
           If I am lucky, I have distracted you and myself from all the issues and genuine challenges of this week. I think I can stop complaining now !  (Grin)

Update:  My husband and I went out to lunch this holiday weekend at Panera.  As we ate our soups and salads, he was making use of their wi-fi and using his phone.  He read this blog post from the phone, and told me that if I really want the horse, I can get it, but of course, I would be responsible for its care, feeding, farrier, and veterinary care.  I will check and see if it is still available.

Update:  Febriary, 2014:
I now have four horses that I have had for nearly a year.  The horses range from age 2 to 19 and are different varieties.  I have been true to my promise and I do all of the grooming, feeding, stall mucking, hoof picking, and I gather, pay for not only their food but visits from the farrier and the equine vet.  I do all the immunizations which are presently twice a year.  In addition, all four of them had their dental work done this year.  (Quite something.  I had never seen that done before.)  Not only is this hard work, but I am in better shape than I have been in years.   My husband likes them more than he will admit, but because he doesn't feed them, they won't give him the time of day !   The alpacas and other animals seem to be quite happy with them.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jim Cobb's New Book: Prepper's Home Defense

          When I was writing the book "Rational Preparedness:A Primer to Preparedness",  I knew that my friend Jim Cobb was writing a book and it was expected to be released before mine.   This was a big help to me because I knew that I would not have to go into much detail in terms of security strategies,  home operational security, and the nuts and bolts of weaponry and security devices. Certainly, home defense, security and these issues are subjects for an entire book themselves.   I knew that I could express some opinions, and simply refer readers to his book.

          Well, since our two books are with different publishers, and because publishing is an inexact science to say the least, the Rational Preparedness book was released first, and inside, I mention Jim Cobb's book "Prepper's Home Defense" as an authoritative and important work on home defense issues.

         Jim's book will be released very shortly, though he has asked that everyone buy the book on his "Book Bomb Day" which is December 4th, 2012,  in order to make the book move up on rankings, such as Amazon and others.  (Why didn't I think of that ?)

      Some of the things covered in his book are:

           • Perimeter Security Systems and Traps
           • House Fortifications and Safe Rooms
           • Secured and Hidden Storage
           • Firearms and Defensive Combat Techniques
           • Gathering Intelligence and Forming Alliances


Jim Cobb has worked in the investigation and security fields for twenty years and has been a survivalist most of his life. His articles on preparedness have been published in national magazines such as Boy's Life. You can find him online at as well as blogging for Jim lives in the Upper Midwest with his beautiful wife and their three adolescent weapons of mass destruction.

This is its link on Amazon, which is probably the speediest way to get one.


I think you will be pleased...

New Racism in America

These are puppets of different races. Perhaps adults should be watching the puppets as well as children.

    I live in Virginia, and whether everyone else knows this or not, the Richmond area has almost a 50% African American population.   In Virginia, there are African American lawyers, physicians, teachers, college professors, high ranking police officials, nurses, and college presidents.  Descendants of those who were once slaves of Thomas Jefferson and his family, are now doing rather well.  Lawrence Douglas Wilder, the first African American governor in the US, I count as a friend.  I have white friends, I have yellow friends, and I have black friends. I suppose I was raised to do what Martin Luther King said, which is to, and I am paraphrasing here, to judge each man and woman by the content of their character.   An extension of this is that I don't like or support everyone who is white, just because they share my race, or even my haircolor. I don't like everyone of Scottish ancestry, like me.  Not every Asian or American Indian is my close friend, although some of them really are. I have several African American friends who are very important to me.  Yet, somehow, if I criticize the actions of Barack Hussein Obama, I am somehow magically transformed into a racist.   Racism is not giving a pass to everyone of a different race than you. It is politely calling them as you see them, regardless of the race, creed and color of the person involved.
        I do read the commentaries of Americans on Yahoo which follow the articles.  One woman posted a reasonable concern following the re-election of Mr. Obama, and this was the follow up she received.

From a  Yahoo Poster this week:

From E   Yahoo
Your white ancestors brought mine here on slave galleys. My ancestors built America with blood, sweat and tears under harsh treatment. Now we have taken it back. Once you go black you never go back...just ask your wives. We have taken the presidency, your white gals, and soon we'll take 80% of your jobs. Go away, get off OUR land. We dont want you here. Get back on your ships and sail away. This is our land now, and dont any of you white people EVER forget that. We quietly outsmarted you. We are the superior race now!!!!

 This is very concerning. How many poorly educated African Americans genuinely feel this way ?
      Many whites NEVER had slaves.  One branch of my family came to The New World as indentured servants themselves and worked their way up to dirt farmers.  Another branch worked side by side with Chinese immigrants to make enough to feed all their families.  The farm I reside on today, had former slaves choosing to remain with the elderly couple who had "owned them"  prior to their liberation. The farm was inherited by these slaves, and their descendants eventually sold it to me.  There is and always will be some injustice in the world. However, in many places,in the US and around the world, we really do cooperate interracially for the good of everyone.

 This week, I forwarded this to my white and my black friends. This kind of inflammatory posting by the writer, will ultimately feed a racial divide and create violence between races. I want each one of them to be careful and to stay safe.  How ironic that a biracial president who could have built upon all this progress, presides in a time in which new racial wounds have been opened.

Update: I noticed today when I went back to look at the responses to "E"'s commentary, that Yahoo had pulled his post.  It remained up for five days.

UPDATE:   July 20, 2013       President Obama seems to be nurturing the racial divide once again.
This week, he was saying that he will never forget being followed in a department store when he was alone as a teen.   He attributes this to his African American heritage.   Does he not understand that we all were ?  I too was followed in a J.C. Penneys when I was seventeen, not because I was white, or female, but simply because I was a teenager without a parent present and because at that time, it was teens without parents present who were doing a great deal of the shop lifting in that era.  Gosh, I had hoped he was brighter than that.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Why is All the Ammo Selling Out ?

( Photo: )

    I really work hard to be a moderate voice in the preparedness community.  This is not always easy as some of my friends are really serious preparedness people, and we don't always agree on everything.  Today was one of those days when it was hard to be moderate.
           For some time, most of us who have guns for sport or protection have noticed an ever rising increase in the costs of ammunition.  In part this may be due to the costs of copper and materials. It may also be due to increased regulation for component parts of ammunition.  It may also be due in a small way to quantitative easing, the promiscuous printing of money by our governmental authorities. In the long term, printing money without an increase in the actual goods and services this money is chasing, produces inflation. Therefore, the increase in ammo pricing may be due, in a small way, to excessive money printing.  Lastly, there are the forces of simple supply and demand at work here. For whatever reason, people have noticed they can't get ammo when they want, and so they are more likely to buy extra, and this too may tighten supplies a little.
           Today, my eldest son and I were on a distant trip to the Wal-Mart to check out the pharmacy and get some ice cream to follow our Sunday dinner with all the family.  We couldn't help but wonder why so many people, both men and women were collected over by the sporting department.  It must be a sale, I thought !
We got closer and I noticed the gentlemen working the ammunition counter working hard.  The glass cases  which house the collection of ammo were almost empty ! " Did you have a sale ?", I asked.   "No", said the man.  "It's just been crazy this week".   Before they were all gone, I picked up a box of ammo for one of my handguns, and paid for it at the sporting counter.  The men around me started talking about their fear that Mr. Obama would issue some type of Executive Order which would limit our ability to get ammo of any kind.  Another man said that the regime would control all the copper coming into the US by January, 2013, and none would be allocated for ammo.  All of these buyers of ammo were upset and afraid.   I thought this was unlikely, but I was wrong about Mr. Obama being voted out also. Some of them were telling me that other gun shops are also out of the caliber rounds (bullets) that they need.  They were clearly worried.

           I always carry a weapon, in part because I have a concealed weapons permit, and in part because where I live, in an extremely rural section of the country, its simply necessary.  Rabid small animals are commonplace here, and they will occasionally attack human beings.  Sometimes, I need to protect my livestock and other animals from predators. I would generally prefer to use a rifle for that, but my handgun is powerful, and does some real damage to most animals.  I have never needed to do this, but my sons have killed poisonous snakes here on the farm with handguns, rather effectively.  In fact, there is actually a round for that, called snake shot.  One of the reasons I handled the road rage incident this week so well and I was so calm, is I knew that if the man got out of his car, and we could not get away, and we feared for our lives, that I was armed. I also know that I am able to protect my family should anyone break in here.
         I don't know how justified the concerns for disappearing ammo really are, at this point.  I will buy some rounds, and I will look into a reloading set up, but I have other things I KNOW I need which take precedence for now.

These are some ammunition reloading supplies. We might have to learn to do this.

On Road Rage

( Photo: )

        I have been very lucky.  Living out in the middle of true forested nowhere, I drive a great deal. I even drive a diesel car so that the range and the fuel mileage is excellent so that I don't have to fill up very often.  I have been aware that in other towns and cities road rage incidents have resulted in the deaths of individuals, either when people used cars to attack one another, or when they pulled firearms. In Virginia in the past year, a man drove his car into another driver's car deliberately knocking him off a concrete bridge and onto the road below.  I never drive anywhere without carrying a weapon, but a weapon is not the appropriate tool when dealing with a nut in a vehicle.
                What I knew about road rage was pretty much confined to what I taught my kids when I taught them to drive, which is:    

    1. Avoid eye contact with those who wish to fight or are bizarre or erratic drivers.

    2. Do not engage those who try to get a reaction from you while driving.

    3. Hang back from bizarre or erratic drivers whenever you can.

    4. Notify police of erratic drivers using cellphone as soon as you safely can.

    5. If someone follows you in your car for an extended period, drive to your nearest police station, and know where all the police stations are.

    6. Drive with your car locked, and call police if someone hit your car "deliberately", because this does happen.

          Up to this week, I have honestly never personally encountered a case of road rage.

  This week I was driving down a four lane highway just under the posted limit.   There was a fair amount of traffic ahead of me. A car driving quickly appeared behind me, and began to honk as if he wanted me to move. This was impossible as there were cars on wither side of me and many in front stopped at a light. The man was in a new car with a dew rag on his head.  He irrationally tried to pull to one side of me and then the other, in an attempt to force others to stop and let him get around them. Meanwhile, I could see in the rear view mirror lots of yelling and arm waving.  Finally, he forced someone next to me into the ditch, and he sped ahead of me.  Three times he sped up and three times he hit the brakes hard, as if he were trying to get me to hit him in the rear.  By that time, my eldest son, who is also armed, took down the plate number, the description of the car, and the description of this man.  We phoned police as soon as we could and indicated where the driver of this car went.  The man was clearly trying to get into an accident with someone in order to generate some kind of a fight.  As a muscular large black man in his twenties, he would likely have won any physical altercation, with just about anyone.

            There are a few take-away points from this.

1. As the economy continues to deteriorate, we are likely to see more and more people crushing under the pressure of their lives and responsibilities, and some of them will descend into road rage.  Driving, especially in urban or congested areas is likely to become more dangerous.

2. Police used not to take "road rage" incidents too seriously.  Now with deaths up from these behaviors, many of them see this as a genuine hazard.  They may well ask you to prosecute this person.

3. Hang back and don't interact with the motor manic.  Let them move along whenever you can.

4. Although I was thinking that if this man exited his car and walked toward us, I would feel threatened enough to draw my weapon, most states do not allow us to fire a firearm from a vehicle.  There is a special charge in our state for those who fire from the inside of cars. The law was designed to make drive by shooters think again, but it does extend to other situations.  So, getting away from dangerous individuals and situations is by far the better plan, whenever you can.

5. Always stay calm yourself in such situations.  Two people losing their minds isn't going to make the situation any better.

6. Consider driving with good sunglasses.  You can be watching someone or taking down a license plate without anyone realizing what you are looking at.

7. Keep post it notes and a pen handy in your car.  I memorized this man's plate, but in a stressful situation, I might not have.  Cellphone pics might not show enough detail to get license plate information.

        In all, I was surprised at how well my son and I did.  We actually knew when this man was behind us that he was a road rage problem.  When he tried to get into an accident with us from the front, we weren't surprised and therefore I just was careful, even in bumper to bumper traffic not to follow him very closely.
I don't know what happened afterward, although I know the police are very anxious to speak with him.

        There is not much else we could have done.  I already avoid driving in most cities during rush hour.  I already buy a lot of things over the internet.  Sometimes, we just need to be on the road, and we want to be practiced in urban driving.  Give some thought as to how you would handle this, when it happens to you.
According to AAA, there are 1200 deaths in the US annually from road rage.   Therapists are working on creating a psychiatric classification for this disorder.   I also read that there are people serving consecutive life sentences for murders which are the result of road rage.     


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How Could Mr. Obama Have Won Again ?

Our nation is in distress.
(This flag image was found at

   I don't begrudge a minority candidate at all.  I would have no problem with a Democrat such as former Virginia Governor Lawrence Douglas Wilder being president.  Color is not what it has been about for me. It never was, and likely never will be.

             A bit more than four years ago, I ordered Barack Hussein Obama's books from and I read them.  He's not a bad person, he simply believes different things than I.  He believes that a US National Health is needed. He believes that people should be forced to buy the health insurance he indicates. He believes that the federal government needs to be more powerful.  He believes in plans and programs which lean toward socialism.  I simply don't.

           I believe that most times, the states themselves know what is best for their own geography, their own situation, and their own citizenry, and that those running the states are elected by the people. I believe that most of the time, the people know what is best and can do it.  When someone is not doing well, most of the time, others step in and help, churches especially. I don't think US government NEEDs to be intrusive.
           Also four years ago, when two of our children were attending Virginia Commonwealth University, prior to their graduations, they were asked by other students who they planned to vote for.  They said that they did not discuss politics. One of them was told, "Anyone who doesn't vote for Obama deserves to be dead." and "If you don't vote for Obama, then you are dead".   Of course, this is absurd. No one has any way of verifying who you voted for, however the threat is there.

           Have we reached a tipping point in our country where the people who don't read, don't understand, and know nothing about socialism or history vote in such large numbers that we are powerless to fix the changes which the Obama regime has created in the past few years ?  We have shifted from a nation of innovators and creators in business and industry to a nation of those who cannot think for ourselves, and who depend on a media with equal intellectual impairments to do this for them.  Continued debt and a foray into sub standard health care will kill our country, if Iran, and other forces do not.  Will we head to the same destination as Greece is now ?  Will there BE a United States in another four years ?   I certainly hope so, because I have invested all of my life in it, as have my husband and all of my kids.
            It's certainly time to prep in anticipation of very difficult times ahead.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My New Preparedness Book is Out !

Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness is an eighty one page book of quick actions devoted to preparing families for natural or man-made disasters.

                   I knew or I had hoped that the book would be ready soon. You can imagine my surprise when this morning, right after voting, I came home and found that the book is ready for orders and that the website is now in place !
                   It was my intent in writing this book to provide families, even those who had no prior interest in preparedness, with a guide to not only prepare for sheltering-in-place situations but for evacuation situations as well.  This is a basic and comprehensive book designed to ready families, and their pets for situations in which they need to have both advance preparations and to take action.

 First, there was the Rational Preparedness radio program.  Then, this blog was born as a supplement to items I mentioned there. It provided a place to look up web addresses and phone numbers of products I had mentioned I had used, or to enlarge upon information that I had touched upon in the show.

                 Now, at long last I introduce the book Rational Preparedness.    This is designed to be a good overview of issues to consider in organizing and planning family preparedness.  Responding to listener's requests, it is a no nonsense carefully set out survey of prime considerations for those seeking to prepare families for both natural; disasters and man-made varieties as quickly as possible, and then to remain as a reference thereafter.

                    The book is available by order from Amazon, from Barnes and Noble online, or from the website:

 It is available in both hardcover and softcover versions and also in e-book.

Just in case you have any difficulties with the website, you can buy it at:

             Thanks to everyone who helped get this book ready for the public !

Thanks to Steven Ryan, PhD who tells me I need to include the Table of Contents

Contents:             Rational Preparedness:  A Primer to Preparedness

Chapter One          Accepting Our Own Role in Disaster Preparation
Chapter Two          Preventing Overreaction
Chapter Three        Starting Somewhere
Chapter Four          Evacuation versus Sheltering in Place
Chapter Five           Advance Planning for Family Evacuation
Chapter Six             Activating an Evacuation Plan
Chapter Seven        Sheltering in Place
Chapter Eight          Rehydration and Your Rehydration Kit
Chapter Nine          Stocking Supplies at Home
Chapter Ten            Considering Water
Chapter Eleven        Filtering Water
Chapter Twelve        Considering Home Defense
Chapter Thirteen       Mitigating Home Hazards
Chapter Fourteen      Special Pet Evacuation Challenges
Chapter Fifteen          Assessing the Need to Relocate in View of Safety and Preparedness Issues
Chapter Sixteen         The Human Response to Disasters: Mental Health Issues
Chapter Seventeen     Vehicle Readiness
Chapter Eighteen        Emergency Tool and Home Repair Kit
Chapter Nineteen        The Many Aspects of Education in Disaster Preparedness
Chapter Twenty           When in Rome
Chapter Twenty-One    Conclusions

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Why You Might Want to Think About Magnesium

This is Cadbury's Dark Chocolate and this bar also has raisins.

        Throughout my life whenever I have come to need medical care, I am almost always found to have a low magnesium level.  In the acute sense, a low magnesium level or hypomagnesemia, means that the person has an acute deficiency of magnesium, and that their blood level has fallen below the optimal which is 1.5-2.5 mg/dl.   Hypomagnesemia can be extremely dangerous.
            My first tangle with low magnesium levels was at the end of my first pregnancy when I developed pre-eclampsia toxemia, and it was corrected using intravenous magnesium.  As I indicated, it has come up a number of times since then also.
            Why should you care about your magnesium levels and what might you notice if you are deficient ?

People who are truly deficient in magnesium may have muscle jerking, depression, tics, disturbances in heart rhythm, (yes, can be a primary cause of atrial fibrillation), tremors, some neurologic manifestations, sometimes behavioral issues, hypertension and cramping.  There may be some odd neurological effects or sometimes even psychiatric ones. There can be  memory problems, insomnia, lethargy, or a simple failure to gets one's house work done. Even asthma can be exacerbated by a low magnesium level. Some people have higher blood sugars than would be expected.  A deficient patient may have ALL of these symptoms or none of them. Most patients have a few.

These are freeze dried chives.  They are excellent added to eggs in omelets, quiches, or scrambled eggs.

             How do magnesium deficiencies occur ? Don't you have to have a really horrible diet to get one ?

Some patients and some families simply don't absorb magnesium as they should.  Families who have ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease or who even have relatives who have malabsorption syndromes might not absorb magnesium well.  People who tend to run more toward the diarrhea end of the scale rather than constipation, may also be people with low magnesium.  Diarrhea tends to diminish the magnesium level of most patients.  Alcoholics may also have low magnesium levels, possibly because alcohol can displace food for them. Still others may have diminished magnesium levels because they take any number of drugs which may diminish magnesium levels or impede the ability to absorb it from dietary means.  Those who take diuretics can drop their magnesium levels also.  Some people who have a high sugar diet, like multiple sugared sodas each day will tend to have diarrhea, and directly this can also diminish magnesium levels.

           In the last few years in clinics and doctor's offices, we have seen a bumper crop of those with low magnesium levels.  It seems that PPIs, proton pump inhibitors, like Omeprazole   (aka brand name Prilosec),   Esomeprazole (aka brand name Nexium) and many other drugs of this class, both now available OTC, and prescription, gradually drop the magnesium levels of our patients.  A lot of patients really do require PPIs, and discontinuing them would be injurious to them, but many physicians, PAs, and Nurse Practitioners are not aware of the connection with a low magnesium level following treatment.   This incidentally, is why the package directions state that the patient should take these drugs for three weeks and then discontinue.  Of course, many patients are on these medications, with good reason, for many years without interruption.  Often, the only patients who are placed on magnesium supplements are the patients who ask to be.

           Then it should be simple to take a pill and replace it ?

No, not necessarily.   First, if you are symptomatic from low magnesium levels you should see your doctor and get this issue documented, so that it can be monitored in the future.  Secondly, there are some magnesium supplements available over the counter at your drug store.  Unfortunately, these may not contain enough magnesium for you, and Slo-Mag and some of the others can cause stomach upset and some diarrhea, which doesn't actually encourage compliance.   Fortunately, there is something else you can do.
You can buy something called Magnesium Alginate, a chelated formula, either on Amazon or from your trusted supplement peddlar by mail.  Follow the directions and you may well feel better.
        You should also evaluate what has caused you to have a lower magnesium than you should.
 In my case, I am a tea-totaller, so I am not displacing food with alcohol.   (At least not yet)   I do however, take some medications which drop magnesium. I drink a sugared soda on my birthday and at Christmas. But,  I take a diuretic, AND I have taken a PPI since long before the FDA even considered making some of them OTC.  My low magnesium levels manifest for me in episodic atrial fibrillation, but also slight dizziness and balance issues on stairs.
         You should also consider which foods boost magnesium. 

   Rice bran, wheat brain, or oat bran

  Dark chocolate       (then I really should have been fine !)

 Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews,  soybeans
 dry roasted soybeans (edamame), pumpkin seeds, molasses,

   Dry herbs like coriander, chives and sage.

           In total, I get a lot of these foods, and I am still deficient, and this is why a lot of bright physicians suggest that those who take diuretics or PPIs, also supplement magnesium in tablet.    We got very good in the medical profession about talking about potassium,  and then we got better about talking about calcium, but I think we may have been remiss in starting the discussions about magnesium.

            I hope this mention of magnesium has resonated with some of you.  Take good care.