Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Making Cheese from Powdered Milk

The end product is like a bit like a Queso blanco that is not salty

    I would like to welcome our newest members to Rational Preparedness: The Blog.   Please check out the link above which concerns, Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness, the book.  

 I will not mention names in order to preserve your privacy.  Thanks for joining and I hope this proves to be a useful site for you.

   When my husband and I sold the first farm we built up here, I was interested to hear what the new owner would do with the narrow disaster supply room we had built in the finished lower level there.  She proudly reported to me that it would be the "cheese storage room".  This was something I had not considered.  She planned to use our barn to house goats, milk them and make goat cheese. The Disaster Supply Room with shelves on three sides of the room would be an excellent cool dark place for her for cheese storage.
      I have never made cheese. In all honesty,  by the time I finish taking care of alpacas, horses, chickens, ducks, and dogs, including their immunizations, grooming and bathing, I am almost too tired to cook a meal, and this is with my husband helping.  As intrigued as I am by making cheese, I am stuck gently washing tons of brown eggs.
      I came across this recipe for making cheese using powdered milk in several places, and this has an appeal for many of us.  I now buy dry milk from Augason Farms in a freeze dried #10 can and so I don't have powdered milk to use up quite so often, but for those of us who do, this style of cheesemaking could help to constructively use up powdered dry milk before its expiration.
        This is not only a great way to recycle your aging powdered milk, but a great homeschooler activity for almost all ages, using adult supervision for the younger ones.

     You'll need

      Three cups of powdered milk

      Six cups of water

      One half cup plain white vinegar or one half cup lemon juice


       A collander with a large pot beneath it

      One pan with a lid

      A cooking thermometer

1.  Mix the powdered milk and the water in a saucepan on the stove until it dissolves.

2. Turn on the burner to a low to low medium heat.  It should be hot, but must not burn.  140F
    using your cooking thermometer is right.   (You can use a double-boiler if you fear scorching the mixture)

3. Then, when the mixture is good and hot. add EITHER Four tablespoons of lemon juice or pure white vinegar to the pot.  You will immediately see the curds separate from the whey.   (You can see I really enjoyed science experiments, more than cooking in my youth.)

4. Continue cooking as more curds will separate from the whey as you do.   Some references say that you can add a bit more lemon juice or vinegar as a catalyst to accelerate this process if you wish.  Cook until the curds are clearly defined from the whey liquid.   (Which might be another five minutes.)  Don't overcook or the curds will be tough.

5.  Then place your cheesecloth or a very clean cloth, if you don't have cheesecloth,  over your collander.   Place a large pot under your collander.  Pour the mixture into the collander, catching the curds in the cheesecloth, and the whey liquid below.

6. Use your sweet whey liquid in cooking a casserole tonight.  (I try not to waste anything.)  Great with egg noodles.  (The whey liquid can be used in cooking other things also.)

7. Then bring the ends of your cheesecloth up, twist the top of the cloth and press out all the liquid you can. Then remove the cheese, knead it and fashion it into a gentle round block.   At this point you can shake a little salt on it, or lite salt (if you need potassium but not sodium)   Others have also added finely chopped spinach or  herbs.

8. If you use lemon juice rather than vinegar, and double the lemon juice this recipe can be used in cannolis, or in cheesecake, or other delicacies which require cheese.

9.  Once you've done this a couple of times, it becomes quick, easy, and foolproof.  I had to do this a couple of times before it worked well.   This is called a paneer cheese.   It can be used plain in lasagna, one of my favorite foods.

  This IS a low fat cheese.  You can add a little fat, if you need to, by placing a teaspoon of olive oil in the mixture at the end while you are kneading and shaping your cheese.

If you would like to try your hand at ricotta:



An excellent website generally:


Ah, the power of cheese....

For those who are interested in a quick cottage cheese recipe, I haven't tried this yet, but it sounds interesting:


Quick Cottage Cheese

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2007

Prep Time:
10 min
Inactive Prep Time:
35 min
Cook Time:
5 min


about 2 cups


1 gallon pasteurized skim milk
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup half-and half-or heavy cream


Pour the skim milk into a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Heat to 120 degrees F. Remove from the heat and gently pour in the vinegar. Stir slowly for 1 to 2 minutes. The curd will separate from the whey. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Pour the mixture into a colander lined with a tea towel and allow to sit and drain for 5 minutes. Gather up the edges of the cloth and rinse under cold water for 3 to 5 minutes or until the curd is completely cooled, squeezing and moving the mixture the whole time. Once cooled, squeeze as dry as possible and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the salt and stir to combine, breaking up the curd into bite-size pieces as you go. If ready to serve immediately, stir in the half-and-half or heavy cream. If not, transfer to a sealable container and place in the refrigerator. Add the half and half or heavy cream just prior to serving.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/cda/recipe_print/0,1946,FOOD_9936_36973_RECIPE-PRINT-FULL-PAGE-FORMATTER,00.html?oc=linkback


If we keep this up, I might never need to go to the store again.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Flaws of Proposed Gun Control in the United States

The fifteen year old young woman in the video has a college scholarship because she is proficient in the use of this weapon.

The next time someone says that the young people in the United States are a waste of skin, I would like your to show them this video. This young woman is fifteen years old. She also has written and related a more sensible summation of the flaws of proposed gun control in the United States than I have heard anywhere. It is important, especially now, that we use the First Amendment in order to protect the Second.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Varietal Leafy Lettuces are Here

Lots of delicious organic lettuce
This is a different variety.  I bought red lettuce also.

  Yesterday, my daughter visited and we took a trip to a distant town, she to buy a Japanese Maple tree for her new house, and I went to get some varieties of lettuce in some flats.   Last year, I did the same thing.  I bought different varieties of lettuce and planted them in window boxes which I placed just inside the railing all the way around on our large front porch.  The lettuce got bright sun at some times, and filtered shade at others. I could not keep up with harvesting them by cutting off what I needed for salad, and also watering as much as they needed, especially in July.  This year I bought less, and I will be better about harvesting the organic lettuce more often.  I invested very little, and now I will have lots of leafy lettuce for salads and sandwiches through the summer.  Of course, you could grow these from seed also.
        It's well worth the work it takes to have fresh organic lettuces of different varieties for your lunches and dinners.  I think I will make a homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
        One of my few extravagances is buying dark Balsamic vinegar which comes from Modena, in Italy.
I buy it at Foods of All Nations, where I make some rare trips.  They also sell some of their products online. I highly recommend them, and they have an amazing chef.  There is no need to buy salad dressings. There is no reason you cannot make your own.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

  Jane's Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

   Combine the following.

  one quarter cup dark balsamic vinegar
  three tablespoons water
  one third of a cup extra virgin olive oil
  one teaspoon chopped garlic  (or pre-prepared from jar, if you have it)
  one small chopped wild onion  (or two tablespoons of a finely chopped onion you have)
  two tablespoons minced herbs  or if you don't have it, one tablespoon dried Italian herbs
  one teaspoon of sugar or one package of stevia (the sweet plant which grows naturally), or a
         teaspoon of honey
  salt and pepper to taste

  Pour into carafe and shake vigorously.  Keep closed and refrigerated.  You can use it at once, although it is best when it has marinaded for a week.

Is also a great marinade for chicken or for beef.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
        If you have medical issues which preclude eating lots of the green leafies, then get yourself a juicer.  A strawberry  juice or a strawberry smoothie can make blended lettuce leaves, or even cabbage leaves, disappear within a strawberry flavored drink.  You get the vitamins, but are spared the grief of all that roughage.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Thoughts on Lateral Workplace Violence


     I do a lot of continuing education in nursing firstly, because I would be an abyssmal college instructor if I didn't, and secondly because I hold RN licensure in multiple states including my state of original licensure.  This means that there are ongoing continuing education requirements prior to periodic licensure renewal.  Many times, these courses are a rehash of something I was taught, or read later. Sometimes, they are a useful update on the latest treatment techniques, drugs used, or keys to differentiating one disorder from another. This year, there was a mandatory course in better understanding of the management of organ donation and transplantation works in the US.   This week, one of the courses I needed to complete discussed different types of workplace violence, and behaviors in the workplace which could lead to violent acting out.
                    Of course, this is continuing education for nurses and so it examined the group dynamics which occur in nursing.  It has long been joked about within the profession that "Nurses eat their young".  Many times, new graduates fall prey to experienced nurses who play games, some of which include failing to orient them properly or completely. They may give them unreasonably heavy assignments, or criticize a sensitive new player in front of peers, physicians and rarely, even a patient.  The discussion goes on to talk about backbiting and manipulative behavior among nurses even when they work with those who have similar educational preparation and experience.
                     I came to nursing in a different way than most people. I graduated from high school at sixteen and became a biology major, with the intent to be a pre-med major and become a physician.  I did well academically, but I had to accept the fact that I did not wish to be completely consumed with education and the requisite debt that accompanied it, for the next fourteen years or so.  I thought I might like to be a registered nurse, but before I invested years in it, only to find I did not like that, I wanted to place my toe in the tepid water.  The way I chose to do this was to take a year long sabbatical from the college and attend a year plus intensive program in another area which resulted in a diploma in practical nursing.

This is the only cap I could find which has blue stripes.  My LPN cap had two blue stripes.

 Afterward, I could sit for the LPN boards.  Working as an LPN would give me the flexibility to work whatever hours I needed while either attaining an RN, or becoming a physician, or even something else entirely.  In either event, I would learn whether or not I could stand nursing.  The program was gruelling and had us in classrooms for long days, and then clinical at multiple hospitals with hour long or greater commutes.  The work was difficult and demanding, and at the time, I was only eighteen. It was an excellent program and gave the basis for many things I taught in college later.   Eventually, we spent a month in the Princeton area doing clinical at a few different psychiatric facilities. I did well, graduated and passed by boards with a high grade at  age nineteen.  My first job was at the Robert Woods Johnson University Hospital, which has a medical school,  where I made friends among nurses and physicians which I still have today. I was on staff there on a surgical unit for six months before I headed back to college to complete my RN.  After I got my RN, I worked while getting my Bachelor's degree, and I have continued learning ever since.
                   From my own perspective, I do recall some nurses who were unkind when I first began as an LPN and a few, when I was a new RN.  Some sociologists think that because nurses began in a profession that was exclusively women, in a period of time in which women were oppressed and could not own property or have money, that the profession began in a culture and atmosphere of oppression. They believe that those who are oppressed ultimately become the oppressors.  I don't believe this.  I believe that fundamentally nurses understand how important the job they do is.  I have long said that you may survive having a lousy physician, but you probably will not survive having a bad nurse.  I think that experienced nurses may give new nurses a tough time because they have a somewhat misguided wish to protect the public, and they wish newbies to have a full understanding of how pivotal the things they do each day as nurses really are.  I am pleased to say that I have not indulged in giving new graduates a difficult time.  Each of us deserves support, encouragement, and a proper orientation.  I believe that when backbiting, taking credit for the work of another, unceasing gossip, or singling out another for unending criticism occurs in a nursing unit or an intensive care unit, that this is time not being spent assessing patients and their response to treatment.
                 The course I completed this week considered a toxic work environment to be a type of lateral workplace violence which results in more sick days taken, potential PTSD, burnout, and ultimately a failure to retain talented nurses.
                I hope this issue is addressed now with a zero tolerance for this type of behavior. With Obamacare coming in, there are likely to be more stressors rather than fewer, and we don't need younger nurses departing to sell insurance or carpet.   After all, nurses are not just nurses, we are all ultimately patients, as are our families as well.

The Correct Use of an Israeli Dressing

        As someone asked, an Israeli dressing is not a salad dressing served on raw greens on Rosh Hashana.
  It is not a savory stuffing served with poultry.  It is however, and ingeniously designed bandage system designed to decrease excessive bleeding and help to prevent hemorrhage following a serious injury, until the patient can receive hospital level trauma care or emergency room with possibly operating room care.

This is an Israeli dressing, with its sterile outer packagings removed.

   You never really know when, particularly in the country or in a farm, a really serious injury will result in arterial blood loss.  Although we have emergency helicopters available with medical staff here, they may be busy, and rendering the proper first aid can make the difference between life and death.
     For this reason, I have always stocked what is called an Israeli Dressing.  This comes in a sterile packaging, and when used correctly, allows the user to wrap a pressure dressing and secure it in the field prior to transport to a hospital.  It can also be modified and used as a tourniquet.   Certainly, direct pressure and elevating the injured part should be done, but when blood is rhythmically spurting, this may be your best bet in a pressure dressing prior to immediate transport.  Theoretically, you might even be able to apply a dressing as simple as this, on yourself.
      Although I always kept these with an eye to severe extremity injuries, the excellent video below shows how it might be used as a pressure dressing for head injuries, and for injuries to the trunk as well.  Please watch it, and if you think this might be something useful for you to have in your first aid kits, then these can be purchased through

             Israeli Bandage Supplier

They are also the least expensive sellers of this device that I know.

 (They call it the "Emergency bandage", but I was taught Israeli bandage or Israeli dressing so I refer to it this way.)

This is an excellent video describing its best use.


   Spring is an excellent time in which to examine your first aid and medical kits and replace anything aging, or use anything, like aging band-aids, first.

Our prior posts on related subjects are:




Of course,

Complete information on general assemblage of first aid kits is found in my book:

Rational Preparedness:A Primer to Preparedness

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Consider Wright Farm Gates

This is a Morgan horse inside a red set of corral panels.   Fencing not only makes for good neighbors, but for good animals as well.

          It's Spring on the farm and consistent with my plan to live life to the fullest, a Shetland pony and a miniature pony have joined the farm.  They have long names, but their barn names are Cocoa and Chip. The two of them are adjusting, and so are we.  I am finding horses, even smaller ones, to be more time consuming that alpacas.  I have also found that small horses will try to climb conventional fencing, and this is a definite no-no for little and not-so-little hooves.  Our solution, was to order a set of the corral panels I had been researching and that I profiled on a recent post here.

           I went to all our farm supply stores and found that the corral panels in the amount I needed them, were sold out and on probable long term back order.  I was also particular about the color. I wanted these to match other items on the farm and not introduce and entirely new color.   After some research I located a particular supplier who not only buys directly from the manufacturer, but who could also deliver these for a fee, to the site where I need to assemble the corral.   I purchased them over e-mail, and was slated to pay for these today.  Mr. Wright was on a delivery trip today, and promised to call me when he was about an hour from our home.  I received a call at about ten am that said he expected to be here around eleven am.  At five to eleven, I went down and gingerly opened, and entered the code to keep the electronic farm gate open.  No one delivering anything has ever been anywhere approaching on time, I thought.  A 10:59 am, Mr. Wright came through the gate and proceeded to the pre-arranged spot on the farm and unloaded the corral panels. We spoke briefly, and I paid him, and then he was on to the next delivery a couple of hours away by 11:11.    Not only did I receive beautiful corral panels with gorgeous gates in the color I wanted, but they were scratch and dent free unlike the ones I had seen in local farm suppliers.
          As you know, I don't advertise any product or service here of which I have a financial interest.  (Except my books of course, and I have not yet received any royalties on those)  When I tell you about something, it's in order to save you money or time, or to help you get the right thing, rather than wasting time and money on something else.

          I cannot say enough about Wright Farm Gates.  They have excellent products, with an excellent selection.  They do have distributors who sell these gates in some places, but they will personally truck deliver for a fee, the item you need.  I was fortunate in that I could buy a color and a type that they had in abundance that was "off the shelf".  However, if you have a special farming or livestock need, they can help with this too.  They can provide customized gates and fencing for emu, deer, buffalo, ostriches and other animals.  They sell everything from farm equipment to rodeo supplies.  They have gates, fencing,hay feeders, products for cattle operations,  dog kennels and even materials you could use to make your own custom dog kennel.  They also sell garden and landscaping implements. They also have powder coated wire fencing and gates suitable for smaller animals, and much much more.
           They routinely supply North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia, and are North Carolina's largest livestock equipment distributor.

          If you are in these areas and have any interest whatsoever, please go to their website which is:


Their address and other contact information is:

150 Gateway Lane, Advance, North Carolina, 27006


Prior related Rational Preparedness posts can be found at:





Monday, April 22, 2013

A Safe and Clean Design for a Canine Castle Which Won't Drop Your Property Values


   In many places, there was a late Spring.  We are now either officially in Spring, or almost there for some of us.  It's time to turn our attention onto Spring cleaning, and assessing whether we should buy or breed new animals, or perhaps, keep the numbers stable, and assess their living arrangements.   Many people have expressed to me the desire to improve the living arrangements of their outdoor dogs, especially with all the unusual weather of the last couple of years.  In prior posts, I have discussed dog kennels and commercial kennels, and shown my own.  However, most people don't need all that. They might need something called a canine castle.  This design is better than a dog house, but not as pricey or as monumental a task as an actual kennel.
                These are actually designed for one dog, although I do know people who comfortably house two dogs in these, and then let their dogs run on their property when they are home.


Notice that this structure sits up off the dirt, and has a doggie door which allows the dog to go inside during rain and snow.

     The roof is pitched not only to match the owner's house, but to accomodate snowload, which can slide off the roof without collapsing it.  Even in the American South, we need to pay more attention to snowload than we did in the past.  We have had some very wet and heavy snow this past season.

   This is the back of one of these structures which accomodates an adult entrance.  This is especially helpful if your dog has new puppies inside or if your dog is ill.

   The inside of this one is not complete, and that's why there are some things which should normally not be stored within a dog structure, but you can see the conventional construction and the dog door from the inside. 

      In our area, these can be built on your property for about $1300. US .  However, you can certainly design and construct your own for much, much less.  You might try locating the kennel panels and gate for the front first and design your plan around their size.

Prior posts of  mine on the subjects of kennel construction can be found at:


My posts on dogs:




Saturday, April 20, 2013

We Need More Russian Speakers, and More Russian Speaking Intelligence Analysts

Russia, with superimposed Russian flag.

    Just after 9-11, there was a big push in American colleges, universities and even high schools, to make Arabic classes available to students.  Our country knew that we needed to better understand people who spoke Arabic.  We also knew that an entire generation of really fluent Arabic speakers would be needed in order to better pour over the huge amount of information available in Arabic in magazines, and on the internet, which might portend future attacks and concerns for homeland security.  The newest generation of intelligence analysts needed to be started today.  As intelligence analysts we need people who understand the true nuances of a particular language, not someone who received a crash course.  Ideally, those analysts should be trained in Arabic over a period of time.
               This was an excellent idea given what had happened, and some universities also gave money to beef up the programs in Farsi  (spoken in Iran, or the former Persia)
              The problem with this, is that in order to fund these programs, Russian was cut in the high schools in which it had been taught.  Less money was appropriated on the university level for the study of Russian language. Students who had planned trips to study in Russia found their funding cut, and fewer exchange professors from Russia were slated to come here.   This was a terrible mistake, and I said so at the time.
               Russia is the largest country in the world, as calculated by land mass.    According to the 2011 census, there are at least  141,930,000 who were in urban enough areas to be counted.  Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, they have taken to capitalism like the proverbial duck to water.  In fact, Moscow now has the largest number of millionaires of any city in the world.  There is an incredible potential for us to sell consumer goods to Russia.  This is why Coca-cola, Benetton, Burger King, and many other companies are already there now.  As their economy changes from state owned housing one rents according to income, to a primarily personally owned home economy, there are incredible opportunities economically for us.  Unfortunately, if none of us speak Russian, we are going to miss those opportunities.  This is without even considering the vast cultural and scientific opportunities that are possible if some of our finest minds speak Russian fluently enough to communicate well with Russia.
                 There are not a lot of Americans who speak Russian well.  You may remember Hilary Clinton's blunder during the first days of the Obama Regime when she wished to send a "Reset" button to the Russians to say that she would like to turn a new page with regard to the US relationship with them. The button said peregruzka which does not mean reset, it means overload.   Sergei Lavrov, the diplomat involved told Mrs. Clinton that they had gotten it wrong.  Perezagruzka, a different word,means reset.  Perhaps if we had a larger body of Russian speakers and translators we would be less prone to serious language errors, particularly on the highest levels of diplomacy, where it really matters.

                 When I was in Russia, I  learned that in Moscow, schoolchildren do have learning English as an option.  However, when we were in Vladivostok, Russia, 5000 miles East of Moscow, that schoolchildren have the option of learning to speak French, not English.  Consequently, when I ran out of Russian vocabulary there, I dropped into French, to be more precisely understood.  I could not expect to find those who spoke English, or Angliski as the Russians call it.
                  The bitter civil war in Chechnya, and the known connections which exist between Al Qaeda in the rest of the world, and their Muslim brothers in Chechnya mean that in the US, we need to be better monitoring the Russian and Chechen communications via phone and via internet.  Perhaps if we had more analysts who were Russian fluent, we would have had more of a heads up on the Tsarnaev brothers, the suspects in the Boston Marathon Bombings.  We might not have detected these radicalized individuals, or stopped this particular bombing, but it should serve as a wake up call that we are depending upon the Russians to do their own analyses of potential world terror, and to tell us about it, rather than having our own Russian speaking analysts on staff.

These are Muslim Chechen rebels.

                   Like it or not, Russia, and its outer regions figure prominently on the world stage, and deserve our attention, if not our concern.  In Moscow, Radical Chechen Muslims took over the Dubrovka Theatre  in October, 2002  One hundred and thirty hostages died, many of them children. Seven hundred people were injured.  Eventually, all forty terrorists died also. 

                 This is America's wake up call to pay attention to Russian Muslims as a potential source of US terrorism, as well as radicalized Muslims in North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Click on this:
Documentary on the Moscow Theatre Seige

                                       Bolshoe spasiba !

Friday, April 19, 2013

So it Wasn't a Right Wing, Bible Thumping, Gun Toter After All


This is Dzhokar Tsarnaev, who is considered a suspect still at large in the Boston Marathon Bombings.

   This week, I have listened as I drove here and there to unending speculation from what passes in the United States as media outlets.  There was broad speculation as to "What type of Right Wing nut job" perpetrated the Boston Marathon Bombings. I actually heard journalists calling for control and record keeping for pressure cookers.
                If we are to believe what we are being told now, then the Boston Marathon Bombing was allegedly perpetrated by two Chechen Brothers who were apparent Muslim extremists. Muslim extremists from Chechnya caused the substantial loss of life in a Moscow theatre a few years ago.   These  came here to the US as students and did well. In fact, Dzhokar (above) is said to be a second year pre-med  student at Dartmouth College, and spoke English, Russian, and Chechen fluently. According to his facebook, he came here to chase money.
               Muslim extremists seem to be little more than a dangerous cult which seeks to eliminate anyone who does not become a Muslim exactly in the manner in which they understand their own faith.
                Rather than regulating all those naughty nails, ball bearings, and pressure cookers, lets take a long hard look at US immigration policies.  Should we be allowing those individuals who come from a hotbed of Muslim terrorism to come to the US, use our scholarships, learn the layout of our cities and our customs, only to import the terrorism of their own lands ?
               In the US, we have enough of our own thought disordered malcontents.  We don't need to be importing them on "compassionate grounds".  Allowing the Tsarnaev brothers to come to Massachusetts certainly wasn't compassionate from the standpoint of the two brothers who watched the marathon and are lying in  Boston hospitals waiting to see whether either of them will live or die, or perhaps keep one of their four legs which were effectively blown off during the bombings.
              The two American brothers who were watching the Boston Marathon were high school graduates, and roofers who had been recently layed off, and were therefore available to watch the marathon.  I have an idea.  Instead of offering scholarships to Chechen Muslims from areas in the world which may pose a grave threat to Americans, why don't we offer scholarships to people like the brothers who were roofers, and likely couldn't afford college in pricey Massachusetts after high school ?

Hospitalized brothers:


More on the Tsarnaev Brothers:


UPDATE:   This evening, the young man above was apprehended by police.  He is in serious condition in a Boston area hospital, as he apparently sustained gunshot wounds in his neck and leg, most likely, twenty hours ago, during the firefight that killed his brother.   I hope he survives.  We need to know more about what converts a functional good student to a Muslim terrorist.  We need to know if Chechen terrorists who are Muslims,  have new ties to Al Qaeda in the Middle East.  We need to know how these men were recruited and trained, if in fact, they were.  We need to know why two young men who were welcomed to this country and did well here, would choose the ultimate insult to their new nation.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Features and Benefits of Corral Panel Systems


 I did a prior post which touched on this subject, but I will clarify and enlarge upon some details in this one.

    I do a lot of talking about our responsibility to care for our animals properly in all weathers and especially in disasters and emergencies.  Most of us with dogs and cats have a plan.  Of course, if you have livestock such as horses, alpacas, cattle, goats, sheep, emu, etc. you need to have a more detailed plan for evacuating them.   Once you buy, rent, or get a friend to aid you with evacuation from your own site, you still need to have arrangements for where they might stay until your place is ready for your animals return.   Once you've secured a safe piece of land with a friend or your vet, how do you prevent your animals from becoming lost in an unfamiliar location ?    One of the ways you can keep livestock together and somewhat protected is through the use of corral panels which link together to provide fairly sturdy fencing for them. These can actually be assembled up against a barn or garage so that your animals have access to an indoor area, and can freely walk around in the corral.
     One of my friends keeps her animals on her farm and has a friend with a farm west of here with whom she has an evacuation arrangement, should a wildfire for example, trigger an evacuation of her farm.  She considers her friend's farm their evacuation location, or beta site. She has chosen to store her corral panels at the beta site, so that in an evacuation, all she would need to do is move the animals in a horse trailer herself. Her friend has a similar arrangement with her farm.  If you don't have a similar arrangement with someone, now is the time to consult with your farm vet. Most farm vets know of people who have space and run ins, who would often be agreeable to such an arrangement if it were made in advance.  Do not wait for an emergency and then try to relocate your animals. Advance planning is always best.

     Corral panels are available from a variety of manufacturers.  They come in galvanized which is a silver variety, and may also come in dark blue, brick red, or what most call "farm green". Rarer colors include yellow or brown.  Panels come in 6', 12' and 16 foot sizes. They are generally 5 feet tall. There are modular sections which have 4 or 6 foot gates.   The panels weigh about 50 lbs. each and are easily hooked together using the pin assembly on each corner, by two people working together.  One person can assemble these, but it goes much faster with two.   Some people assemble these as circles, especially for horses as they can also be used as riding rings, but others configure them as squares or as rectangles, although a triangle is certainly possible.   Some people use these as permanent fencing, and if you do this, you should anchor the fencing additionally by securing the corners using wood posts buried in the ground, which the fencing could be strapped to in some fashion.


This is how one manufacturer links the panels together.  This is a galvanized panel.

This is an example of how livestock panels can be linked up to make a circular enclosure.  Note the gate at the far right of the picture.

This set of corral panels is being stored upside down. They will last longer if stored with a roof above them perhaps with other farm implements.

Such corrals can also be transported fairly easily.

This is a small temporary enclosure for animals  If you use a corral panel system for miniature horses, you may need to place something else below the lowest rail.  Really young miniatures horses can get stuck while trying to exit the enclosure..

A horse near corral panels.

                A number of companies manufacture these panels.  Some home improvement stores have them, depending upon your area, as a special order item.  Certainly, agricultural supply companies usually have a way of getting them.   They come up used occasionally in rural areas on Craigslist.    A few sellers of corral systems advertise new corrals on Craigslist.    It can be very difficult to buy all the portions you want with the gate sizes you want, and so it can take time to buy what you need.  In my area, these systems were stocked for Spring, and are now all sold out.   This is what I get for singing the praises of planning ahead and making sure you have provisions for your own animals.

               If you plan to use a run in structure for your animals, and permanently link a corral fencing system around it, you can set galvanized poles in concrete on both sides of the structure. (Please cap them, so rain doesn't become ice and shorten their lifespan)  then, you can link up, or secure your corral fencing to these. Remember also to secure your corners in the same way.

These horses are being pastured with red corral panels

                Depending upon the size of the corral you need, they can be purchased for anywhere from $695. US to $1500. US   If you have livestock, this is definitely something you might consider,  for your tax refund. Conventional animal fencing is often much more expensive, and generally more permanent.  It is also possible to buy corral fencing systems with wire bottoms for the purpose of fencing smaller animals, such as chickens, ducks, and smaller goats and sheep.   It is also possible to use some of the wired prefabricated fencing systems to fence around garden areas depending upon the size you wish to contain.

This particular gate can be specially ordered from Home Depot. This particular one is not designed to link up with a corral panel set up, but there are some that are.  In addition, with a little of extra work, these could be used to create a square or rectangular region designed to protect a particularly sensitive area of a vegetable garden.

               When you do decide to buy a corral fencing system, order it well in advance from the time you anticipate needing it, as there can be a significant backorder on these items at certain times of year and in areas where there has been a tornado, or other emergency, and emergency temporary fencing for a large number of animals has been needed.

GATE WARNING:   Many horses have great dexterity with their lips, not unlike fingers.  I have watched horses casually unlock a number of different types of gates and then go for a stroll.  Make sure that all of your gates are secure, and if you have any doubts, add an additional way of securing the gate.  I know of one horse who had his temporary pen tied with a scarf because he could defeat all the other locks.  Mr. Ed has abilities you haven't even contemplated !

Should you have an interest in other types of fencing, these are prior posts of ours on the subject:




This also applies to fencing installation:


These are simply a few of the manufacturers and sellers of these items in the US:  Most will also send to Canada.

Baird Gate Corral Panels

Tractor Supply Corral Panels

Home Depot Corral Panels

C Siron Corral Panels

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Boston Marathon and the New War on Pressure Cookers


  This week, as the Boston Marathon ended, two amateur bombs reportedly placed in pressure cookers with ball bearings and nails, were detonated near the finish line.  Three people were killed. At last report, 170 injured, eight critically. There are likely to be additional deaths among those presently critically injured.  The injuries were significant. Some of the survivors were missing limbs when the volunteers from the medical tent ran to them.  The last time I heard of this level of carnage, it followed a former Irish Republican Army bombing.  They too occasionally used shrapnel generating items of metal and nails to maximize the destructive capability of their bombs to devastate and maximize human damage.

                I would like to take this opportunity first, to send my prayers and sincerest condolences to anyone who was impacted by this tragic event, and to their families also.


                How long do you think it will be before the Obama Regime hunts down all the evil pressure cookers ?      No hard luck soul who gets his food stamps and his telephone from the regime has a use for a pressure cooker. Why, most Americans, by the regime's estimation, aren't educated enough to use one !   I wonder if we will see a ban of pressure cookers in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey ?   A federal group of eight can start working on a federal regulatory plan.  Perhaps those with a four year culinary arts degree can get a federal pressure cooker license which will enable them to own one, so long as it is double locked in their kitchen thus avoiding its falling into the wrong hands.  I think they will likely allow those licensed to use the four jar variety, rather than the larger models which could hold more fruit or vegetables.  Who knows ?  Maybe someone can go onto the internet and make their own nuke using a pressure cooker.  After all, this is the caliber and thinking of the Obama administration on other matters.  They will not be able to outlaw nails and ball bearings this time, but they will try next time they have a majority in both governing bodies.  After all, your freedom in their perspective is completely unimportant, whereas their illusion of collective safety, is.

               The poor pressure cooker and its industry.  The NRA is a longstanding and effective lobbying body for guns as tools.  The poor pressure cooker has no such advocacy.  Avid canners will start burying the devices with shielding for annual retrieval, just to can green beans.  Of course, this will make them outlaws.  I wonder how many of my dear friends will have FBI files as "potentially subversive canners".  Since I burn my fingers each time I can, I am not likely to join this mass of outlaws.  I will miss my blackberry and apple jam though.
               Mr. Obama's first televised speech on this, sounded like the Boston Marathon disaster had been a natural tragedy, just like an earthquake or a super storm.  At first, he did not say terrorism.  I have news for him.   We are at war with radical Muslim factions, and we have been for some time.  Prior to 2001, radical Muslims, including Osama Bin Laden spewed radical hate speech against the West, and the United States in particular, all over the internet.   The US tends to export the worst of its television, and this portrays our culture internationally as Earth slime.  Radicalized Muslims look at women driving cars and in clothing which exposes them, and they fear for their own cultures.   Al Qaida and the Taliban establish leadership and oppress their own people.
            When 9-11 happened, I knew immediately that it was very likely that Bin Laden had found people with disordered thinking who thought killing innocent people who were simply out on that day in order to support their families, would advance their cause.  Mr. Obama may have told Hosni Mubarak that "He (Obama) is also a Muslim", though he denies this now.  Mr. Obama grew up in Indonesia, a primarily Muslim country.  It pains him to stand up and recognize that the West is at war with radical Muslim factions in the world.  This war continues, despite the fact that US abyssmal  mainstream media is only really interested in spouting anti-gun rhetoric, and showing you Spring fashions.   In present day Egypt, some Muslims are killing coptic Christians.  Some Muslims are kidnapping Christian young women, forcing them to marry and have children with Muslims, before allowing them to see their families again.  Al Qaida is moving into high gear in Africa, particularly North Africa.  This is why so many CIA operatives are heading to North Africa.  We are at war, whether the president gets this or not.   Benghazi is a testimony to this.

              Why doesn't the Obama Regime speak of the ongoing potential for terrorism ?  Perhaps he thinks we are too stupid to understand that some factions of radicalized Muslims are dangerous to us, whereas others actually live peacefully here in our own country.  Too confusing for we mere Americans ?   So, he has the Muslim Brotherhood over for lunch to the White House. After all, if they are our buddies, they won't hurt us, right ?
              There is only so long that as a nation you can adopt the policy of chasing the guns, rather than the insane, or chasing the pressure cookers rather than the radicalized Muslim before it all unravels.
               If I were you, I'd get my pressure cooker and all its ammunition, er......... canning supplies and implements now, before canning in the US goes the way of magazines which hold more than seven rounds for guns in Connecticut !         


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Exploring the" Below the Grid" Lifestyle


One of the tunnels where homeless people have been living in a camp in Kansas City.

  This week, police in Kansas City, Missouri were investigating the thefts of sizeable amounts of copper and metal from area businesses. While they were investigating the area, they discovered several homeless persons camps, one of which had a network of tunnels.  The tunnels had supplies and diapers, indicating that babies and young children had likely stayed there recently.  Local agencies who work with the homeless came with the police officers in an attempt to aid in a peaceable relocation from the camp to an organization which could provide showers and clean clothes.
              Homelessness is a big problem worldwide.  In the US, the problem began when President Kennedy closed most of the mental hospitals in the US forcing people who might not be able to cook three meals, hold a job, or obtain a room or an apartment, into the streets.  The problem of homelessness, particularly in the US is extremely complex, and can't be solved with a politician's waving of a wand.
               As an intensive care unit nurse, I have had many homeless patients.  They come to us in serious trouble with either a hypothermic body temperature with pneumonia, or with an out of control chronic medical problem, like diabetes mellitus.   We get them well and we make sure they are aware of the services locally.  With their permission, I cut their hair, and the nurses buy them new shoes, socks, underwear, and some clothing.  We release them to a regular unit, and a day or so later, they are released to the outside world.  Generally, they are cooperative and grateful patients.  I talk to all my patients and I have often asked them what persuades them to live a life which is so difficult, when for most, there are alternatives.  My eldest son also spoke with homeless people while he was in a large urban university.  There is actually a Phd who lives as a homeless man, making enough money for food, or trades tutoring for an evening meal with a student.    There are many reasons that people become homeless, but most interesting, I believe, are the reasons they choose to remain this way.   In my discussions with homeless people there are often commonalities.   Many of them have a problem with a history of a mental illness, some type of drug addiction, or alcoholism.   Many of them have had serious problems with their families of origin, and do not trust them.  Some of them fear being sent to a mental hospital by their families, and so sustained homelessness is a way of dodging interaction and supervision of sorts by families that they consider controlling.  Some of them just don't want to be tied to an address.  "Once you are" some of them have said, "Everyone knows where to come and find you, and they bring the bad stuff right to your door".  Many of them equate homelessness with freedom, and in a strange sense, safety.   A few of them continue as homeless individuals because they actually like the challenge of living in essence, as a survivalist on a daily basis. Several of them have told me that they "feel alive" and free when living homeless, and that they just don't think paying all that money just to have an address is worth the trouble.  I must admit, paying a ton of money for an apartment when I was a new college graduate didn't feel good to me either.  It seemed to keep me poor.   They have also verbalized that they are most comfortable running from something, even though, they are not actually fugitives from the law. I was struck by how intelligent a great many of them are.
              Of course, a lot of people in the economy of the past few years are homeless without the homeless mindset I mentioned above.   Most people in the US are three paychecks from homelessness.  When a job is lost, a lot of people either move in with relatives, or into their car.   A few use an inexpensive recreational vehicle in an out of the way campground, where they try to live under the radar, especially if they have children and are seeking to avoid the prying eyes of local social services.
              About five years ago when I was teaching college, I had a student who lived in her car.  She had complex arrangements for showers.  She effectively lived from a suitcase. She knew where to eat cheaply and how to eat on holidays when everything is closed.  She had all her work in on time. 
               The police in Kansas City seemed amazed that people had created underground dwellings.  I have news for them. There are likely to be many more of such dwellings, and many more homeless people living in a subculture than anyone realizes.  Sadly, the present economy will likely generate more people whose lives become eating, finding a place to sleep safely, finding seasonable clothing, battling depression and low self esteem, and staying hidden from social services and police.

Some of the references to this post:




Notice the blankets set up on the left of this particular tunnel.

                    Given the economy, and the job outlook for many, this looks like simply the beginning of homeless family camps.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

New York is Rescinding Gun Licenses of Those with Anxiety


Feeling anxious ?  Then the New York State Police, the army of Andrew Cuomo, want your weapon. (In New York State, the NY State Police are a part of the Executive branch and fall under Mr. Cuomo)  Sounds like an episode of NBC's Revolution, TV series,  doesn't it ?


    Sung Hui Cho was a crazy person.  His professors knew it, and one of them had expressed grave concern about his attending Virginia Tech long before he killed people there using firearms. What failed there, was our ability as a culture and a nation, to identify people with serious psychiatric disorders and to a.) prevent them from buying firearms, and for that matter machetes too.  b.) To remove them from society until they can be properly treated for their psychosis.   Our society used to do this, and we can thank President Kennedy for closing almost all the asylums and releasing the chronically insane to become generations of the insane homeless.   (Before you blow a fuse, not all homeless people are insane, but a subgroup of them are, and they are great-grandparents of insane street dwellers by now.)
                 Now, large chunks of the United States are unsafe to wander, especially for women or women with children, without the equalizing force of a handgun.  New York and Connecticut and to some degree, New Jersey have passed laws which restrict firearms to such a degree, that many women and men also, will not be able to obtain weapons, and may die at the hands of others.
                   Let me be clear. A handgun is a tool. It is not unlike the hammer I use to repair the cedar siding on the garage, or the steak knife I use to chop my steak into small enough pieces that I don't choke to death. My shoelaces are dangerous too.  If I were insane, I might braid three of them, just for fun, and then hang myself with them. That might be tempting on the day in which I need to cut a check to the IRS for taxes, but as I said, I am simply not insane.    The fact is, a full bathtub is dangerous, yet I don't have to get police permission for a full tub, at least not yet.   My state already has a background check before guns can be purchased. This takes place now at any of the gun shows I have attended also.  In Virginia, to buy a weapon, I fill out about twenty minutes of paperwork in which I swear that I am not a fugitive from justice, an illegal alien, an insane person, or anyone else who should not have a weapon.I also swear under the penalty of imprisonment, that I am not purchasing a gun for anyone else.   The background check is generally completed through the state police rather quickly.  Other than the systems already in place in my home state, I oppose any other federal legislation which limits the sale and dissemination of firearms.  Guns save lives. If more people had access to and proficiency with firearms, then the young insane man in Connecticut would have been dropped like a rock, as he would have been in many places in this nation, which are thankfully not "Gun Free Zones",   A "Gun Free Zone" is simply a place where a criminal or insane person can hunt human beings with a fair assurance that none of them will be armed or able to return fire.

Gun confiscation in the United States, has begun.


                 I read today that New York is beginning the gun confiscation process we were told would not happen.  Apparently, the state is ignoring HIPAA, and is obtaining listings of those who are taking meds for anxiety.  Using these lists, they are suspending licenses for firearms and asking for guns.  Legislators swore this would not happen, and yet there it is.  This will do several things.  People who need medications for short term situational crises, like the loss of a spouse, will now not take them, fearing gun removal reprisals.  How long before ANY medication becomes grounds for removal of a firearm license ?  Criminals of course will do whatever they want regardless of the laws which are passed.
               Our government has emotionally overreacted. and the result will be a bloodbath when the normal people follow the laws, and the criminals, of which New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have in abundance, realize that ordinary people have become their prey, because they are likely defenseless. No wonder your people are anxious !  Look at their leaders !   Great job legislators.  Great job Mr. Obama. One more move toward the dissolution of the great nation of the United States of America.

            There is something you can do.  Effective today, I will not do business with any New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut companies at all.  Fortunately, the South has lots of good companies, and we can all spend our money there. You can make this choice too.

Worries for Vladivostok, Russia

Vladivostok is uniquely and clearly Russian, and yet is quite near North Korea, Japan, and China.

It is five thousand miles from Vladivostok to Moscow.  Vladivostok is an Asian Russian city, whereas Moscow is a European Russian city. This produces some striking differences.

 My husband and I had the very great honor of visiting Vladivostok, Russia and rural areas outside it, in the Winter which occurred just after 9-11.  We were there for a month, and spent time buying medicines and aiding specific orphanages there. Vladivostok, Russia is a remarkable place.  It is five thousand miles East of Moscow, and sits in Asian Russia.  It is the administrative city to Primorskiy Krai, which is a large maritime province which sits on the Sea of Japan. Very loosely translated from Russian, Vladivostok means, "Star of the East".
    Vladivostok was a closed Russian city for many years as it was a primary location for the Russian Navy and the submarine fleet. It was closed because no one from Russia or anywhere else was permitted there to see any of the manufacture of the submarines.    Vladivostok is a remarkable place and remains the home of the Pacific Russian Naval Fleet. . It is a large Russian city, where the forests on the outskirts show some of the most beautiful trees I have ever seen.  Siberian tigers still roam those woods, and the children from the orphanages are told to avoid woodsy areas or collections of trees.   It is an Asian city, and has the flora and fauna of Asia, which in itself, was very interesting to me. I could not identify a great many of the trees and bushes I saw. Vladivostok has a great and rich history which would fill a book, and is too detailed for a simple blog post. Yul Brynner's family were wealthy timberers there, and their large yellow home still exists there. This is a place of many cultural happenings and of great architecture.
       Being there is a great challenge to one's Russian as very few people there speak English.  Although Moscovites learn English in schools, citizens of Vladivostok learn French, not English.   Fortunately, in pharmacies when I ran out of technical Russian vocabulary, I was able to drop into French, and get the items needed for the orphanage.
        Despite the information we received prior to going there, I felt very safe in Vladivostok. Women are well respected there, and if you are an older woman (which I was not at the time) it is the place to be. Older women are highly respected there, and you will find them in key roles, such as prosecutors and judges, etc. Russia is also, in many ways, a matriarchal society, which I found quite different from the American South. The Russians expected me to be smart, whereas in the American South, they seem surprised by it.
       This was an experience I would not have missed for the world.  Although there are numerous orphanages, the partial product of the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, and the dissolution of the economy which went with that, it is a place of great culture and of hope. The Russian Orthodox church has branches which were allowed to exist there for hundreds of years, even through the Soviet era. It boasts, from a standpoint of interesting sea creatures, one of the best aquariums in the world. It also has a philharmonic hall.  It is an area of great fashion, and an area of excellent food.
       Reading too much about Vladivostok before going there can be anxiety provoking.  Four branches of the Russian mafia are centered there, and this alone can be daunting.  We did meet mafiosi there, and they bought us dinner a couple of nights.  One mob boss told us that they would prefer to do business legally and without the potential drawbacks of periodic prison, but that legal businesses were not possible or lucrative in prior years.  He spent time seeing if we had a legitimate business which could bolster his fledgling legitimate import export businesses.
      It is reputed to be a dangerous city, and for some of the time we were there, we had a bodyguard and driver. Other times, I dressed as a Russian woman, walked to a small grocers and bought my own freshly made bread, butter sold by the pat, and fruits and vegetables.
      Vladivostok also sits just below the Kamchatka peninsula with its frequent seismic activities and volcanic potential.  Although it is Siberian cold in Winter, in Summer, malaria and typhoid can be an issue. Frequent power outages occur, in part because the weather makes this a very difficult place to live.  Citizens of Vladivostok are made of tough stuff.

This is Dwight K. Morit's picture of the Vladivostok port terminal.

        My thoughts have turned to Vladivostok and its people this week as the newest ruler of North Korea seems to have lost his mind. It's one thing to tell the world you wish to be left alone, but quite another to threaten to send a bomb nuclear or not into American or Japanese territories.  I know with the close proximity of Vladivostok to North Korea, that this must be a concern for the 600,000 inhabitants of Vladivostok, some of whom I consider friends.  After a month in Vladivostok, my husband and I headed to Moscow.  He spent a couple of days and had to return to the US, and I remained for slightly longer completing some tasks at the Embassy there.


           To my friends and to the citizens of Vladivostok, I hope you will all remain safe and come through this challenging time, safely and happily.  I think of you all often.

Additional information on Vladivostok, Russia