Sunday, June 30, 2013

Signs of Tyranny in My Own Area

Just a suggestion:  If you are an ATF or ABC employee then on your off time, take a look at the myriad of bottled waters and sodas available so that you don't inadvertently pull a gun and make a total ass of yourself attacking a student for purchasing sparkling water marked PURE.   (Above is an actual box of the sparkling water in question.)

     There are signs of tyranny in American government from the top all the way down now.   The case of Brandon Raub and Eilleen Hart are just two.   This is what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia on April 11, 2013.
                 Elizabeth Daly, a twenty year old University of Virginia student, and her two roommates made a brief trip by car to the Harris Teeter grocery store at Barracks Road in Charlottesville.  It's a nice neighborhood and it should be safe.  Daly brought bottled water and some cookie dough ice cream.  On the way to her car Daly and her friends were accosted by three people.  One pulled a gun and another jumped upon her car hood.  They mistakenly thought that her expensive bottled water was beer or liquor.   Elizabeth and her friends sped away and called police.    Unfortunately for them, the three were apparently inept ATF agents who had failed to identify themselves to the girls. Some newspapers quote that these were Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agents.   Was this a joint operation between both groups ?  Is this why so many of them went in plain clothes to harass twenty year olds ?    When Elizabeth pulled over she was arrested and charged with two counts of assaulting a law enforcement officer and one count of eluding police They also broke Ms. Daly's SUV windows.. She was jailed for a couple of days.  She and her friends were terrified. Some accounts indicated that there were seven men and that they all spoke at once and that the girls understood only that this was an attempted abduction or robbery.
                  First of all, if you are inept enough that you can't tell the difference between the lovely array of bottled waters and their packaging, and beer, and this is your full time job, then you need to be removed from your post.  Secondly, what happened to showing a badge and identifying yourself as a law enforcement officer ?   Third, the girls did exactly what they should have done.  This is only a block from where Morgan Harrington was abducted and then later found murdered.  This is also the same location in which a young woman entered the Harris Teeter only to find the serial rapist whose picture had been up everywhere in Central Virginia, spraying vegetables in the produce department.  (He has since been convicted and jailed.)
There are two men on the Richmond Charlottesville corridor who are pretending to be police, one in an attempt to abduct women, and one who robs people when he gets them to pull over.  These young women should get medals for successfully eluding law enforcement who did not correctly identify themselves !  These young women thought they were about to be abducted !  They are traumatized and terrified.
              Of course when the prosecutor found that the witnesses corroborated what the girls had said, the charges are said to have been dropped.   I want more than the charges against Miss Daly dropped.  They owe her more than a half gallon of melted ice cream and cookie dough !    In addition, I don't want to shop anywhere where ATF pulls weapons on people to check water.
              Once again, law enforcement does not understand that they are there as public servants.  You are there to keep the citizenry safe, not to harass and attack young girls who were buying things for a fundraiser.  You just attacked the best and the brightest of our region.  Don't be surprized when they become lawyers, physicians, and other professionals who don't have respect or time for the federal government or for local law enforcement.   I hope these agents lose their jobs, and I hope ATF takes a good long look at their policies and procedures. Who is going to pay Miss Daly's legal fees ?  What about the PTSD every time she sees a law enforcement officer ? What about her arrest record which could prevent her from holding some professional licenses or security clearances ?  Sounds like this young woman and her roommates are due quite a bit of money.
                 My anger does not apply to my friends who are both federal and state law enforcement. They are just as outraged about this as I am.   If this is what happened to three girls who bought sparkling water, imagine what would have happened had they bought Fresca !  It's even too horrible to imagine !

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Building a Generator Shelter

A generator house need not look dumpy. In fact, your generator is safer there if no one knows the true purpose of the building.

   If you live in a townhome, a condominium, or a fairly tight subdivision, then building a generator shelter is not an option for you.  But then, you likely live close enough to town or a city where power would be restored fairly quickly following a disaster or significant outage.   If you live on a larger lot in a subdivision, then you may have entertained a whole house generator which is installed just next to your home and, if installed correctly, will begin to deliver power to you the moment it senses an outage.  Some of these are natural gas powered, but the cheapest one can cost about $6500. installed.    They also come with pretty substantial exterior housing which makes a generator house unnecessary.

                If you are one of the few people or organizations who purchased a village styled generator from the federal government or the military when they recently parted with quite a few such diesel generators, then you don't need generator housing either. These units are mounted to trailers and can be towed to the specific region in which they are needed.  They also come with exterior housing to the trailer including baffles which not only protects the unit from weather, sandstorm or hot sun,  prevents it or its component parts from being stolen,  and muffles the noise the unit makes.

This is an automatic generator which can be installed outside your home.

                   However, if you live in a rural home or on a farm, then a whole house generator may be of questionable value to you. You may have missed the boat on buying some of the village generators I mentioned.  You may have bought a Honda, Onan or another brand.  You will discover very quickly that not only can you not keep your expensive generator in the house or basement, but you might not be able to keep it too near your home without succumbing to carbon monoxide poisoning depending upon the wind drift.  In addition,  during outages many people report having their generator go off and then going outside to find someone stealing it !    For the right family, in the right location, a tool shed separate from the one you normally have for flammables and other garden related items should be constructed as a "generator house".  You can not only paddlelock it to keep your gennie secure, but you can store the oil and oil filters you will need to keep it running.  You might also wish to attach a laminated set of directions for the operation of your particular generator, should someone in your family other than yourself ever have to start such a thing.

                In addition, before you can use a generator to temporarily run some things in your house, you must hire an electrician to help you estimate the size of the generator you will need to power the items you must in an emergency.  Your electrician will also need to install and explain to you the workings of a transfer switch.

This is a fairly inexpensive, yet workable generator house.   (By: )  Keep in mind such structures do get hot and need lots of ventilation.

This is a contractor's generator house.

A generator shed need not be any larger than this one, but keep in mind, they can get very very hot.  They need excellent ventilation, and should never be up against vinyl siding as this one appears to be.  Your vinyl siding could easily melt.   (

This generator house protects the generator from rain, and has vents which can be opened when in use. It also sits up on a modest foundation to prevent damage in heavy rain or flooding. (

This allows protection from rain and ventilation.   (By: )

This is a generator house in Hawaii, which apparently is oil powered.

These are a variety of ideas in terms of constructing a generator house should you need one to protect your generator investment.    




Thursday, June 27, 2013

Your Day Can't be Worse than Edward Snowden's

Shermeteyevo International Airport within some miles of Moscow.  It's been cleaned up since I last spent memorable hours theere.

     I don't know whether I believe the Russians on this.  They claim that Edward (Scissorhands) Snowden is hanging out at Moscow's Sheremeteyevo Airport.   I have spent time at that airport, eight hours in layovers twice, I recollect.   It's an interesting place if you are not exhausted.   The restaurants have an abundance of lots of different types of food, but the water had dark bits floating in it.   The ice cream sold by the vendor was very good.   There are an abundance of people who grab your luggage seeking to drive you into Moscow proper, whether you have made arrangements with others or not.   The official Moscow airports both domestic and international are quite a distance from Moscow proper because the authorities thought that having planes land with iced wings in a major metropolitan area was foolish.  I agree with that assessment.  I really hope someone is letting him leave the airport to sleep as there is nowhere in the airport safe to do so.

                   Meanwhile, Ecuador is madder than heck.  Edward Snowden has applied for asylum, and while Ecuador considers whether they could accept this person, the Obama administration is said to have bullied them.  While Snowden applies for asylum, Obama is still running the asylum here at home.  This prompted Ecuador to announce today that they are ending trade ties with the United States.  Ecuador says this is a matter of sovreignty and they won't be blackmailed into returning Mr. Snowden.  This is unfortunate as Ecuador will lose a great deal of money as a result of not trading with the US, and we will lose wonderful flowers and fruits from Ecuadorean farms.   This is also going to make life difficult for the droves of Americans who have moved to Ecuador recently as they smell a coming financial collapse, and an Obama regime confiscation of a portion of their assets for redistribution, or just for spite.  Chances are, their Ecuadorean neighbors aren't going to be too happy to see them.

                  Back at Shermeteyevo Airport, the dirt and lint is still falling from the metal textured ceiling there and Edward Snowden is having difficulty buying tickets or doing anything.  It seems that the Obama Regime has revoked his passport.   I remember some years ago listening to my mother as she explained why she would never relinquish her British subject status, and her British passport.  She told me that the US could cancel our passports but that England could not.   Hmmmm.   Interesting information given the present circumstances.

                 One thing is clear.  The Obama Regime is earning it's name.  It does not sell solutions to the American people.  It cajoles, coerces, intimidates, forces, and bullies other nations, and  its own citizens. It does this while providing Medicaid health dollars to people who are here illegally and often those who break our laws while they are here.  It's looking for a way to make eleven million illegals, legal here, all while so many people who are legal citizens here haven't had a job in literally,  years.  I hope someone in Congress has a spine sufficient to be drafting plans for impeachment for the disregard of the US Constitution.  Otherwise, things are going to get a lot worse.

                  Today Mr. Obama called Mr. Snowden, "a twenty-nine year old hacker" and tried to diminish his significance.  Well then, give him back his passport and let him move to the nation of his choice. It's one less person on Obamacare, and one fewer person for the NSA and the Mayonnaise Police to monitor.    It's a shame Snowden isn't Muslim.  Then Mr. Obama would have flown out to take him to dinner for lobster and discuss this little misunderstanding.  Perhaps Mr. Snowden could convert.  Then so far as Mr. Obama is concerned, all would be forgiven.

My prior posts on Edward Snowden:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Review on Housing Animals

A shed row barn can be less expensive to have built and can house horses, goats, alpacas, chickens or ducks, or dogs.  Consider your alternatives carefully.

   In difficult times, those of us who have the space may need to grow food or keep different types of animals for different reasons.   Chickens produce eggs, and can be used for meat.  Rabbits can be raised for meat.  Goats can provide milk, cheese, or meat, depending upon the variety.  Horses can be transportation either through being ridden themselves, or by pulling a cart.  Horses, donkeys, and other animals can also pull certain types of plows.   A horse or a donkey can also make it possible to patrol a property almost silently, which is something a vehicle simply cannot do.  A Shetland pony can be a great pack animal and can walk a great distance with you the operator holding a lead line.  Some alpacas and some llamas can also be sure footed pack animals depending upon what you need to carry.

For this reason I want to review some thing:

This is one of my earlier posts on fencing for animals and security:

A fencing alternative:

Corral panels as fencing, both for fencing post evacuations and if anchored, for regular use:

This is a post on different types of augers which can make the fence post setting part of the task of fencing, much easier:

My posts on gates:

On housing chickens:

Related issues:

  The very best security system to your home and for your property is a dog or dogs.  They also, when selected carefully and given some training, can be excellent guards for certain livestock.
These are posts on dogs and on dog housing:

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

Most of us will never know the loyalty a dog shows us, from another human being.

My posts on dogs:

                Animals not only can help us to feed our families and to keep us alive, but they can help provide security, and in some cases, they can rescue us.   They also can be remarkable family members who can help us to understand many of God's lessons concerning loyalty, unconditional love, and devotion which are so well modeled by them.

 Cats can be very helpful in terms of keeping vermin down, especially on farms.

Sweet kittens

       Don't wait too long before considering the role of animals in your life, and considering housing for them.

Make room for whatever animals have a place in your own life.   Thanks for reading !

Monday, June 24, 2013

Snowden for Congress ?


  I am deeply saddened by the Obama Administration, or the regime, if you listen to most of the people I know.  Most of all, I dislike them for how they have changed me.   I am law abiding to a fault.  Since childhood I have always done the right thing.  I tithe 10% and then I give a percentage of time to whatever the cause.  I have never had as much as a parking ticket.   I respect authority and have helped police sometimes when it actually endangered me.    However, somewhere between the multitude of Executive Orders designed to circumvent Congress, the encouragement of quantittative easing, continued bank bail-outs, the Solyndra mess,  Fast and Furious, Bengazi,  the pushing through of Obamacare which cannot possibly be Constitutional,  the NSA monitoring of America, the use of drones to monitor the domestic US, and the failure to control federal spending, and the IRS scandal, I lost my way.     The regime now intends to give citizenship to illegals, and will find some way to dodge a permanent fence on the US Southern border. They also are working to take guns away from Americans, Constitution be damned !
            When Edward Snowden, a thirty year old who probably doesn't even recollect the wonderful country I grew up in, tossed his livelihood, his family, his reputation, his freedom and quite possibly his life,  to speak out and tell the rest of mainstream America, what those of us paying attention, already knew, then I couldn't see him as a traitor.  No matter how many times the spineless members of Congress, and Jay Carney call him a traitor to the United States, most of us just don't see it.  If he were a traitor to America, then he would certainly have a lot of company.   Congress has failed to rein in an administration that routinely ignores the Constitution, as if it is a quaint historic document.  Many of them have folded like lawn chairs when pressured by the Obama regime.  And why not ?  The regime likely monitors all their phone calls and e-mails.  They probably know a lot of dirt.
             Edward Snowden is not a traitor.  A traitor sells secrets of his country for profit of some kind.  Snowden lost everything trying to bring evidence of a police state to the American people.  The regime has said that Snowden has committed espionage by bringing information  enemies of the United States.  He brought KNOWN information to the American people.   So, are the American people an enemy of the present regime ?    I can't say I would ever be so courageous.  I hope that Snowden finds a country that will give him asylum and that when this regime is out and gone, that Snowden can come back as a member of Congress !   That is, if the United States survives all the changes the Obama Regime has implemented.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

I Might Be a Craigslist Junkie



  The indications were there all of my early life. I was introduced to this way of life as a child when both my parents took me to auctions, rummage sales, estate sales, and garage sales.  I became quickly corrupted as I saw that we could not only but things much less expensively from these sources, but also afford items and brands of things that would not have been possible for us otherwise.  My corruption was completed as my mother took me to high end consignment shops, sometimes in New York City, and a few times, during trips to England we bought things at consignment shops to send home. I became a master at instantly calculating 20%, 30% and 70% off, and in seeking the items with the most deeply discounted colored tag first.
             After college, I married and had children and corrupted them in the same ways that I had been.   All my kids know sterling silver from rhodium, diamonds from cubic zirconia,  and sterling silver from silver plate. They can identify Russian silver and Wedgewood from the car as we drive up.  Strangely, we adopted a son in his teens who spent his allowances at garage sales, and consequently came with more stuff than any foster kid has ever had ! He fits in here pretty well.  From our consignment forays, my daughter owns a Bob Mackie beaded dress for art openings, and she has a couple of pairs of Jimmie Choo shoes and handbags.

              My home has all the things I actually need and so I have been contented to switch gears and focus on writing, on animals, and on gardening now, until recently.  About a  year ago my daughter bought a home and needed appliances and furnishings.  She was quite busy with a couple of different jobs and so I offered to pinch hit in looking for appliances and specific furniture pieces she needed.  She bought the bed and the mattress at Richmond's famous "The Dump", a deeply discounted new furniture and rug store.   Almost everything else I helped to locate through Craigslist.  The result was that my daughter now has a  nearly new refrigerator, washer dryer, and stove.  She has newer models than I do, and I built a new house just a few years ago.  We paid a couple of hundred dollars for each item and moved them ourselves.  People simply were moving or redecorating their kitchens and didn't want white.  She got some exquisite furniture too, including some bona fide antiques very cheaply.  I located some oriental rugs someone was selling because they were moving across country.  Last week I bought two Tiffany lamps.  I have no idea where they are going yet, but we enjoy furnishing our home and the homes of our adult kids when they want something, on a shoestring, and we have three more sons here who will need to set up households themselves.

Many consignment shops now look like lovely boutiques, and there are some incredible buys in some of them.

               You would think that I would not be settled into contented life now, but this is not true.  Each morning when the rest of you run for coffee, I run for Craigslist.  I look up items in the three closest cities to us, none of which are very close.   I check out the free items, and then the garage sales.   Then I look at the farm and garden section.   There you will find everything from antique iron lawn furniture which looks fantastic around my big old oaks, to quail. I have found corral panels for horses, livestock, new stall mats which no one had used, a broad landscaper's rake, and a chainsaw.
               If my internet is down, I could possibly begin to perspire or my heart to race......  I don't know what could become available in my "territory" while I am not aware.   Why it could be a zebra or miniature donkeys.  This week there are miniature Juliana pigs.  Last week Bengal cats, and the week before two monkeys who ate meals at the table with an almost normal American family.   It's not just the opportunity to acquire stuff cheaply which fascinates me.   It's the stories of the lives of the people who find themselves choosing to part with some of the more unusual items.    This week there is a man selling hardy banana trees. Its leaves can be used to wrap and serve food for unusual dishes.   (Who knew ?)    There is also someone selling full sized palm trees which can survive this region.  They will come and plant them for you.   There is no end to the unusual plants, bulbs and trees available.
               Yes, I think Craigslist could be dangerous, and this is why we never travel to any of these things alone. However, I have met some really interesting and great people on my Craigslist journeys.
             Now it's time to shift gears again.  I need to start to go through some of the things I salvaged from my parent's things, my aunts things, when each of them passed.  I also need to take a long hard look at all the things acquired since.  I need to place some things on Craigslist. Then I need to take some upscale stuff to a pricey consignment shop.  Then, I need to borrow my son's truck for a serious trip to donate some things to Goodwill.  Then, I need to list some things on Ebay, which I haven't done in quite some time, since the listing costs went up.  I really should put some homeschooling books up on   Finding good homes for the things I don't use much could take a long time.

Yes folks, that's a horse, with some special care needs and specialized care as his metabolism differs from a conventional horse.  He may however, outlive us !


             You know, I saw a restored Farmall A tractor on there this morning.   That would look great here, despite the fact that my husband is busy in his garage already restoring two of them.   A woman is selling a drinking fountain for dogs fashioned as a miniature ceramic toilet........that's almost art !  It would look great in our kennels as a supplemental water dish !  I couldn't help but notice that quite near here a woman is selling a miniature pony much smaller than my own. She is moving and it needs to be gone very quickly.    Oh no, I'm starting to perspire again !


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dreams of Rhubarb


( Photo:  )

    Preparedness is as much learning to use what is available to you as anything else. Too many times people look past the many resources they have to which we too easily become accustomed.  On this farm I have multiple types of pears including the Asian variety, which I love. We also have chives, mint,  kiwi, blackberries, strawberries, grapes, blueberries,and  lettuces of many kinds. We also have haskap. I also grow sprouts for sandwiches and salads, on occasion. We are waiting for apples, peaches, plums, and other fruits when the trees mature sufficiently to be able to bring the fruits to maturity.   Just now, all of these trees develop the fruit, but if we leave the fruit on the trees, the weight damages the young trees as the fruit grows and weighs down the trees.  We carefully remove the fruit early for the apples, peaches and plums, and compost the fruit.  It is our hope that next season the root systems and the branches of these trees will be strong enough to deliver some fruit to maturity.   We also have a wonderful herb garden, and we grow seasonally some vegetables each year.   There is one thing though, that I do not have here, and that I miss immensely.

This is what a mature rhubarb plant looks like. (Picture: )

               When I was a little girl, my parents bought a large rural home that was built at the time of the Civil War.  It took them almost twenty years to restore it, but the outside was always lovely and grew many things well and easily.  One of the things that was well established when my parents bought the house was a large rhubarb patch in a shady area of the well established fenced vegetable garden.    Initially unfamiliar with preparing rhubarb, my mother stewed it, and served it for breakfast.  I was five at the time, and I wasn't going to be eating any of that tart stuff !  She consulted with some of the rural neighbors and also took a book or two from the library, and slowly but surely developed a repetoire as to what to do with this large and constantly producing source of fresh food.  Eventually, she used it in an amazing rhubarb with strawberry pie.   She also made a rhubarb tart served with Bird's style custard she made herself, consistent with her British upbringing.   She also made an amazing rhubarb crumble.   Our well established rhubarb patch provided rhubarb not only for us for a very long stretch of time during the year, but for our friends and distant neighbors as well.

This is a rhubard custard tart.  (Photo:

                  I must admit I took rhubarb for granted.  When my husband and I bought our third home with a large garden for growing vegetables, I bought rhubarb and carefully planted the familiar plants as directed.  They died late that July despite the fact that I had planted them in partial shade and watered as directed.   I tried several other times in different homes we've had since, two of them farms, only to have the plants die during the hottest part of the year.  The difference is that the established rhubarb patch of my parent's home was in rural Northwestern New Jersey, and most of my homes, as an adult,  have been in suburban or rural areas of Virginia where for most of the year it is significantly hotter, dryer and more humid..  Many things are much tougher to start here than they were in New Jersey's cooler climate and much richer soil.  It took me time to establish blueberries here, and I eventually established kiwi as well.  Sadly, I have never been able to get rhubarb to establish here, nor do the grocery stores locally sell it.
                 Rhubarb is an herbaceaous perennial which grows from a rhizome.  The leaves are quite nephrotoxic and poisonous. The stalks,  however, are a bit like celery, and this is the part we salvage and use to eat.   The plant is actually considered a vegetable, but in the US in 1947, a court declared it a fruit for regulatory purposes, and so, we will here also. It is quite tart and although it can be sweetened with sugar, stevia and other sweeteners may be used.  The trick is to keep some of the tartness.  Rhubarb grows well in England, in parts of the US, in Turkey, Russia,  China and  Greece. It has become established in Scandinavia, and in parts of Canada.   It is used in Chinese medicine also.
                 If you are in a part of the country or the world in which rhubarb does well, then it is well worth selecting a place in the garden where children and animals will not ingest the leaves, and trying your hand at growing rhubarb. It can be used in a rhubarb cherry crisp and also in a chicken stir fry.  A rhubarb pork stir fry is said to be fantastic.


How to freeze rhubarb:

Dehydrating Rhubarb:

Rhubarb recipes for diabetics and dieters:  Sugar free rhubarb recipes

       Rhubarb is a healthy food which is said to naturally lower blood pressure and may have anti-cancer properties.  It is not as extremely easy to grow in US hot climates as some of its press indicates.  However, for 26 calories a full cup, it should certainly be explored.

 It's definitely worth a look:
Rhubarb Nutrition Facts
For 1 Cup of Diced, Raw Rhubarb:
Calories ....................26
Dietary Fibre ................2 grams
Protein ......................1 gram
Carbohydrates .................6 grams
Vitamin C ...................10 mg
Vitamin A ..................122 IU
Folic Acid .................8.7 mg
Calcium ....................105 mg
Potassium ..................351 mg
- See more at:
Rhubarb Nutrition Facts
For 1 Cup of Diced, Raw Rhubarb:
Calories ....................26
Dietary Fibre ................2 grams
Protein ......................1 gram
Carbohydrates .................6 grams
Vitamin C ...................10 mg
Vitamin A ..................122 IU
Folic Acid .................8.7 mg
Calcium ....................105 mg
Potassium ..................351 mg
- See more at:
Rhubarb Nutrition Facts
For 1 Cup of Diced, Raw Rhubarb:
Calories ....................26
Dietary Fibre ................2 grams
Protein ......................1 gram
Carbohydrates .................6 grams
Vitamin C ...................10 mg
Vitamin A ..................122 IU
Folic Acid .................8.7 mg
Calcium ....................105 mg
Potassium ..................351 mg
- See more at:

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mexico City Quake

Photo property of AFP/Getty Images.   Families early Sunday morning outside their homes.

     In the past few weeks there have been rather a lot of minor earthquakes everywhere from Crete in Greece to Alaska.  Some of my preparedness acquaintances have been worried about these being pre-shocks to more powerful quakes perhaps even in other areas.
              This morning,  initially a 6.0 earthquake, which was later downgraded to a 5.8 occurred in Mexico.
This occurred in the vicinity of Mexico City and presently there are no major damages or collapses reported other than widespread power outages.
                Without being too alarmist, this would be a good time to review your family earthquake plan, whether you think you have earthquakes in your area or not.  Place a couple of readied evacuation bags somewhere, or if you already have them, review them making sure that things are correctly packaged and not spoiled.
                Remember that in Fall, 2011, Central Virginia had a quake which destroyed a high school, broke nice homes in half, damaged the National Cathedral in DC, and damaged monuments there.  The University of Virginia's rotunda sustained in excess of a million dollars worth of damage. Most people here did not realize this was a possibility in this region.
                  Remember also that the magnitude of an earthquake can be misleading.  A shallow earthquake of 4, could do much more damage to your personal home, than a very deep earthquake of 6.  Also the motion of one earthquake may not be identical to another.  In one, glassware may be fine, in another, all the windows and glassware may be destroyed. 
                  Take this time to pro-actively assess your home, what might need anchoring, and what might need some "museum gum" to keep things more stable on shelves.   " A word to the wise is sufficient."

Our other blog posts on the topic of Earthquakes:

This one is very important to read just now.

and others related to earthquakes:

From another one of my blogs:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Obama Regime Has Made it Difficult for Most Americans to be Angry with Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden       For his sake, we better hope he doesn't look anything like this now.


   My heart breaks for Edward Snowden, and for his family.   Most Americans, when they hear the entire story, are synpathetic toward him, and not for the Obama Regime, which is seen by more and more Americans as dark and shadowy, much like the segment of the government who developed the Treadstone project in the Bourne Identity series.   Many people I know are calling Snowden a hero, a true patriot of the internet age, if in fact, all we are being told is true.
               As a mother of children in their twenties, my heart breaks for him.  Snowden is a twenty-nine year old man.  He was originally a high school drop out who parlayed his obvious intelligence and computer skills,  into a career in a time when those with advanced degrees can't find work, into a highly lucrative job as an infrastructure analyst for a US government contractor. . Some sources say he was making more than one hundred and twenty-two thousand dollars a year. He had a lovely girlfriend and a rented home in Hawaii.   He also had a rather high security clearance.  Much has been made by mainstream media of this man's lack of collegiate education, but as a college instructor I can tell you that to be as successful as this man was, you would need to be very intelligent indeed.  Research indicates that he took six years of computer classes at Ann Arundel Community College, and simply did not apply for graduation.  The value of many community colleges is obvious as illustrated in this matter, but of course now, the Obama Regime is likely to be monitoring all community colleges now as a hotbed of defiance, employing scores of NSA agents.
                Edward Snowden apparently became disillusioned with his high level government job and revealed that he is actually a true patriot.  He apparently listened and read the Constitution, and he knows not only what it says, but how it is being sidestepped.  He expressed his concerns to UK Guardian.   In explanation, these are the things he is alleged to have said:

#1 "The majority of people in developed countries spend at least some time interacting with the Internet, and Governments are abusing that necessity in secret to extend their powers beyond what is necessary and appropriate."

#2 "...I believe that at this point in history, the greatest danger to our freedom and way of life comes from the reasonable fear of omniscient State powers kept in check by nothing more than policy documents."

#3 "The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to."

#4 "...I can't in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building."

#5 "The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything."

#6 "With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your e-mails or your wife's phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your e-mails, passwords, phone records, credit cards."

#7 "Any analyst at any time can target anyone. Any selector, anywhere... I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President..."
#8 "To do that, the NSA specifically targets the communications of everyone. It ingests them by default. It collects them in its system and it filters them and it analyzes them and it measures them and it stores them for periods of time simply because that's the easiest, most efficient and most valuable way to achieve these ends. So while they may be intending to target someone associated with a foreign government, or someone that they suspect of terrorism, they are collecting YOUR communications to do so."

#9 "I believe that when [senator Ron] Wyden and [senator Mark] Udall asked about the scale of this, they [the NSA] said it did not have the tools to provide an answer. We do have the tools and I have maps showing where people have been scrutinized most. We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians."

#10 "...they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behavior in the world known to them."

#11 "Even if you're not doing anything wrong, you're being watched and recorded.'s getting to the point where you don't have to have done anything wrong, you simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a wrong call, and then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you've ever made, every friend you've ever discussed something with, and attack you on that basis, to sort of derive suspicion from an innocent life."

#12 "Allowing the U.S. government to intimidate its people with threats of retaliation for revealing wrongdoing is contrary to the public interest."

#13 "Everyone everywhere now understands how bad things have gotten — and they’re talking about it. They have the power to decide for themselves whether they are willing to sacrifice their privacy to the surveillance state."

#14 "I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under."

#15 "I don't want to live in a world where there's no privacy, and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity."

#16 "I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong."

#17 "I had been looking for leaders, but I realized that leadership is about being the first to act."

#18 "There are more important things than money. If I were motivated by money, I could have sold these documents to any number of countries and gotten very rich."

#19 "The great fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change. [People] won't be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things... And in the months ahead, the years ahead, it's only going to get worse. [The NSA will] say that... because of the crisis, the dangers that we face in the world, some new and unpredicted threat, we need more authority, we need more power, and there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it. And it will be turnkey tyranny."

#20 "I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant."

#21 "You can't come up against the world's most powerful intelligence agencies and not accept the risk."

#22 "I know the media likes to personalize political debates, and I know the government will demonize me."

#23 "We have got a CIA station just up the road – the consulate here in Hong Kong – and I am sure they are going to be busy for the next week. And that is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be."

#24 "I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions, and that the return of this information to the public marks my end."

#25 "There’s no saving me."

#26 "The only thing I fear is the harmful effects on my family, who I won't be able to help any more. That's what keeps me up at night."

#27 "I do not expect to see home again."   ***

                What breaks my heart is that this man was one of the best and the brightest who understood the concept of what America is supposed to be.  By sharing this information with the UK Guardian, he did begin a dialogue worldwide concerning whether we wish to live in a surveillance state for the purpose of avoiding a few terrorist acts.   However, he does expect, from his commentary, to be killed by our government for this, and he could be right, knowing more about its workings lately than the rest of us do.
                The saddest thing to me is that Edward Snowden's courage will not be used in the future as a future Steve Jobs, a future Congressman, a future Governor, or in another role while requires intestinal fortitude and great courage.  At a time in US history when we need patriots and men with both courage and vision, he will spend his remaining days running from our governmental officials, as they scramble to discredit what he says, his intellect, and his sanity.  He cannot contact his parents, because the same US machine who monitors all of our communications, is monitoring his parent's phones and e-mail addresses also.

               I cannot condone the leaks perpetrated by Julian Assange and I have not read them.  My concern is that he endangered those who were working for the US in other nations.    However, I can't say that I am completely unsympathetic to Edward Snowden.  To him, all he did was trade his life and his future to sound the gong in advance of the death knell for the United States as we knew it.
               The best thing the United States can do is completely dismantle the Prism system which monitors all US communications.  They need to admit that the Constitution grants us the right to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  It does not guarantee a safe world, or a completely safe nation.

*** These quotes were found at

Furthur information:

An Expansion of Practical Gift Giving

This gift was seen on   It uses tissue paper as a base and a newspaper comic as an accent covering and then lots of matching ribbon.  The wrap is inexpensive, but very smart and attractive.

  One of the things I like about blogging is that it never ceases to amaze me, that some of the blog posts I think are best, don't see a lot of traffic in the weeks and months following their posting.  However, some of the blog posts which I thought might be casually interesting consistently draw traffic from all over the world, sometimes for years afterward.  It isn't easy to predict which posts will become worldwide favorites, and which posts will simply get some traffic for a day or two after they were written.  A few "catch fire" some time after they were actually written and posted.   One of these subjects which has consistently drawn worldwide followers is my post on practical gift giving.  Each year, even in a tough economy people receive things that don't fit, aren't suitable, or are of too personal a nature to be useful to the intended victim, or shall I say, giftee.   It can be hard to select a gift within a week or a couple of days for someone you don't know well, or even sometimes for those you do.  Other factors can make gift giving even more difficult.  At Christmas time, for example, I like to give gifts people can eat, but several of those people are diabetic.  Giving a box of good chocolates, something I might very much like to receive myself, simply underscores something my friend or neighbor may not have at all !   My daughter have several friends from college who live in very small spaces. Giving them a gift that is not very space efficient is going to ensure that the gift is given away or donated.   Gift giving is quite a difficulty, for women, and especially for many men.   With this in mind, I am expanding upon some ideas I introduced in a prior post written some time ago regarding practical gift giving.

Inexpensive packaging as shown on

             One of the first things I would like to suggest, is gift wrap.  Rather than buying gift wrap each time you must give a gift, and paying three to four times the amount it should cost, go to a Dollar Store, or English Pound Shop, as you likely have one nearby.  Select some lovely generic gift wrap which will be suitable for many occasions. Sometimes the best is in rolls, and other times, there are packages of multicolored tissue papers which are folded flat.  Pick up a roll of cellophane tape,  and some inexpensive scissors and some ribbon which matches your one or two rolls of different all occasion gift wrap.  I place these in a large clear freezer bag that says "Generic Gift Wrap Kit".   This means that I can have a gift ready without leaving the house.    One of my sons uses a roll of brown paper wrapping for all the gifts he gives and uses nice yarns as the ribbon on them.  They look fantastic !   Many men would do quite well to do this too.  Check out the price of a roll of brown paper, and some lovely yarn at a Dollar Store, and this too is very inexpensive.
             For Christmas I do exactly the same thing, only with more rolls of paper, and I place them in a Christmas Wrap Gift box.  For added savings you might want to assemble a Christmas wrap kit after Christmas, when the items are 50-75% off.   This week I actually bought some Hannukah wrap and Hannukah cards for some of our Jewish friends. These were 90% off  at this time of year.

This yarn was glued to paper for a really innovative design.

             The next plan I have is that I keep a "gift box" in the attic at home.  When I see something at a really excellent price deeply discounted at a department store, and it's really nice, I pick it up for The Gift Box.
My gift box was cleaned out in the past year when my daughter bought a home, and also as her friends begin to buy homes, to marry or to have babies.   Some of the things that were in it were:   A lovely set of bone china English mugs, a gorgeous English teapot, an exquisite set of stainless steel measuring cups in a gorgeous box, a very nice set of measuring spoons and the accompanying rack,  copies of the books I have written,  a gift selection of different teas, a gift selection of different coffees,  a small but good Metric and SAE tool kit, a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife with attachments,  a good make of three saucepans nestled together, etc.
To find a place in my gift box of incidental gifts, the gift has to be something I would like to receive myself. It has to have been well priced or deeply discounted, and in a perfect box.   There need to be things that can be given to men, women, and to children.    Of course, depending upon where you live, or who your friends are, what is in your gift box could be different from mine.   My builder, for example, would probably enjoy a bottle of wine and a good measuring tape to help to compensate for the ones he occasionally leaves at job sites.  Giving him measuring cups might not be the right choice.  Most places around the world have something excellent and unusual that the rest of the world does not have. Spend a little time thinking about what your neck of the woods offers. I have a friend in Canada who gives maple syrup she buys in bottles to people.  It costs a fortune in the American South, and is a great gift.  Think about what types of things you have where you are.

          Rather than buying a card each time I need to send one, I bought a box of nice cards.  Some of them are blank for a personal message, others are birthday cards, condolence cards, get well cards etc.   A lovely card with a few kind words doesn't have to cost three or four dollars.   Remembering the person with a card is what counts.  My entire box of really exquisite cards cost five dollars on sale.  Many of the cards I bought as well as some of the gifts have come from an American discount store called Tuesday Morning, where department store items and particularly nice gifts, glassware, clothing, luggage, computer accessories, furniture, rugs, toys, bed linens, towels, storage, photo albums and frames, and excellent cards are sold.  You can explore the best values where you are.

          Sometimes, it may occur to you that a certain person would like a certain gift.  I keep a folder in which I have a sheet which lists names and a gift idea for someone.   I can't possibly recall all the times through the year when it occurs to me that someone in my family might like something.  I have to write it all down !
My folder might have a sheet in it which might look like this.

my daughter                           Six black towels and matching washcloths    (for her guest bathroom)

my husband                           Small portable Air Compressor from Home Depot

friend Sally                             Set of blue and white China, as she admired mine.

        My notebook also contains  a few small catalogs.   The Emergency Essentials catalog which you can get by going to has some wonderful and inexpensive things which can be terrific gifts.  I have given the sprout starter set with seeds several times.  It's an inexpensive, educational, and practical gift. Who wouldn't want to grow sprouts easily and quickly on the kitchen window in a jar for salads and sandwiches, especially if you are thinking about health and preparedness ?

         Since my business is preparedness, I am not afraid to give a gift which directly reflects this.  I certainly don't mind if you give a preparedness oriented gift !  I hold no copyright on the practice !   When you need to select a gift for a man, a set of nice LED flashlights can be a good one.   A person or couple setting up a house might need a NOAA radio.   A close friend or adult child might benefit from a starter sprout kit with a variety of seeds.  Keep another sheet in your folder with great and inexpensive gifts listed, so that when you do need one, you have some ideas in advance.

          One of my sons always makes his gifts for everyone.  Of course, the things he makes are quite wonderful, and I am not half that artistically talented.  However, many people are more talented than I.   I have a friend who graduated from the Cordon Bleu and everything she makes from her jams to her chicken salad are exquisite.  If you are a good cook, then make some extra jams, package them attractively, get some personalized labels and give those as gifts.   If you paint well, then make small paintings, well in advance to give as gifts.  My father-in-law was a fine woodcrafter.  He used to make wooden calendars with multiple pieces for the dates, holidays, etc.  His calendar is a prized possession for us along with a beautiful walnut paper towel holder he made for us.  Consider what your talents are, make something and then package them well, perhaps with a customized tag.   I do make wreaths for front doors, of many different types, and I have given a few of them as gifts in the past also.

            Books are almost always a wonderful gift. is a wonderful source of books at very reasonable prices.  A rare book or one that is out of print can be given as a gift even if used.  Inscribing the inside with kind words explaining why you selected such a book for them is also a lovely personalization.

          If you need to give a gift to a child, then consider the internet.  Some amazing toys can be found on many sites, very inexpensively, and it can be sent in very little time. I once bought one of my sons the entire set of a Lego pirate ship for much less money than it was in the stores.  There are some excellent internet buys on dolls, legos, building toys and lots of the components for the Thomas the Tank Engine Train Set.

Tuesday Morning has great merchandise which is deeply discounted from the original department store price. Then, they run specials on those prices also. This is a great place to get wedding presents.  Find out where the best places to buy reasonably priced gifts are, in your area.

Harbor Freight could probably best be described as a "toy store for men". No matter what your hobby, your interests, there will be something you need in this store. There are small tools, small electronic items, solar lighting, security systems, large tools, etc. You can check out

            Money is too hard earned for everyone, to simply grab a gift when you are hastily trying to get something for a birthday, a friend retiring, or a Christmas present.  Gifts should be attractive, but also utilitarian.  I hope this post has given you some ideas to contemplate.  Paying too much for the wrong gift is a waste of money in times when wasting money is foolish.  Lets see if in the next year we can give great gifts that we acquired economically.

This is my original post on practical giftgiving:

This is my cat Tosh, who eventually fell asleep as he waited for me to finish writing for this blog.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Researching Flood Detectors

This is an up close and personal visit with a flood detector.  Wet Switch is thirty five dollars and can be wired to turn on a sump pump automatically.

   One of the great things about doing a blog on preparedness, is that I am always having to learn something.  (It's either that or I am unfortunate enough that plenty goes wrong and that I'll have to learn it anyway) I knew that industrial buildings and computer rooms used flood detectors. When my husband designs a system for a computer room, he does have to consider the flood detectors.  I knew that for industrial purposes, these were expensive.   I did not know until I talked to our homeowner's insurance company, Nationwide, that flood detectors are available relatively inexpensively for home use, and could be very valuable in a circumstance like the one which occurred here last night.
                   When the Serv-Pro professionals arrived to help us strategize our water extraction and clean up, they reiterated what Nationwide had said.  Apparently, although it had never happened to us in twenty-five years, the leakage of pipes or a major appliance is a fairly common household problem.   Dishwashers can malfunction and leak. Hot water heaters can rust, or not rust and simply leak. Washing machines can leak or leak when one of their hoses dry rots or ages and then leaks lots of water in your home.  Pipes can also leak, as can a well tank or a water filtration system. Refrigerators with a cold water or ice feature can also occasionally leak.   Serv-Pro also thought a flood detector could be a good idea as some of the homes they provide service to, have called them for three or more flood situations from household appliances.  The worst damage occurs when no one is home or no one knows a leak has occurred and water continues to flow.
                   Where a flood detector should be placed would vary between the home you are considering.  In my house, locating one in the mechanical room could be a good idea, because there is a tank where the well pumps water, as well as a water filtration system, and the hot water heater. A leak there could be quite a mess.     A flood detector would also be a good idea at the plumbing junction area in the basement closet which was the site for this particular leak.
                   Most units work by detectiing water and then alarming in a manner which is similar yet a different sound compared to a smoke detector or a carbon monoxide detector.
                  These are some of the inexpensive units I have found:

This is a simple flood alarm for $12.96 plus postage from Amazon

This is a three detector flood alarm system on Amazon for twenty-five dollars with free postage.

This is a ten dollar Basement Watchdog flood detector also from Amazon
 This one detects as little as 1/32nd of an inch of water, and notifies you with a 110 decibel alarm.
Early warning is the best chance we have of avoiding what happened to us last night.

The First Alert Three-Pak.
Like most of these, this one is battery operated, so during a power outage your leak detector is still functional.

There are many other types, so take a look and select one that is best for you.     

After we pay for this flood fiasco this next week, along with the repairs to our refrigerator which is still waiting, I will have to get some flood detectors.  I'll let you know which one I try and how we like it in terms of ease of operation.

This post is a follow up to my prior post: