Thursday, August 29, 2013

Reflections on Sudden Passings

May the gardens of Heaven fulfill your every expectation.  May you be reunited with so many of those you cared for while on Earth.  Please know that you are loved and you will be missed on Earth even though the journey while we are here, can be a really difficult one. Earth is not for sissies !

                Does it ever feel to you that the world is turning too fast, and that loved ones and dear friends are leaving the Earth without adequate notice ?    Does it seem as if a percentage of the authority figures in the world have gone mad ?  Well lately it has seemed that way to me.

                I lost a dear friend this week, who was actually a human being, and not an equine, canine or feline.  (Yes, I do seem to prefer the animal kind sometimes.)  Fashioned to protect her privacy, here is my post from another blog:   (For some reason her family has decided not to publish an obituary or have a funeral.)

               I will miss my friend

              I know that we, as human beings fear the protracted "death in stages". It just seems to me that  someone you talk to one day, ought to be there the next.   I am grateful for the easy and quick passages of family and friends, for everyone but me.    I miss those of you who departed for the gardens without entropy without my suspecting that you would.

            Love to you all.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Legally Obtained Guns Being Confiscated in California


   I was born in California, but my native state has always done some strange things, this one being the latest. This is important because California's actions often herald the actions or the issues in other parts of our nation.  Thus far, California has confiscated ten thousand guns which were legal and registered when they were acquired.  I do understand confiscating of firearms for those who have been convicted of domestic violence, convicted of a robbery or violent crime, or have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness which results in a severe separation from reality.   The problem is that's not what California is doing.  Gov. Jerry Brown appropriated 24 million dollars to fund gun confiscation for not only new convicts but for others as well. (I think I liked him better when is claim to fame was having dated Linda Ronstadt.)  California passed a law which, in the wake of their near bankruptcy, allows them to collect the weapons from those who owe them state taxes, toll money, and for any type of mental health support (even those who come for bereavement services.)

           The problem is once the weapon has been confiscated, there is a $250. per item appeal fee, and I have not yet located anyone who has won such an appeal.  One of my contacts in another venue is friendly with a man whose relative has collected California legal weapons all of his life.  At 70, they have been confiscated. He could even begin to pay such a fee for an item by item appeal.

           This is how it starts.  First we take the guns away from the criminals.  Then from the relatives of criminals, just in case. Then we register the guns so we know where all of them are.  Then we limit the sizes of the magazines.  Then we pull all the weapons from anyone who is a postal worker.  Then the government buys up all the ammo, so only they have it. Then, we pull the weapons from anyone who has ever seen anyone from a psychiatrist to a licensed professional social worker for anything from work stress to bereavement.  Then, we pull the weapons of anyone who is late on property taxes, personal property taxes, child support, or the registration for a garaged car, etc.   Then, we pull the weapons of anyone overweight because they are showing bad judgement about what they eat, and that could extend to firearms. Then we pull the weapons from anyone who has ever joined what the government may consider "a militant organization", such as the NRA or the "Tea Party".  It won't take long before all the legally acquired weapons in California are gone.  Then, no one will be able to defend themselves against the criminals, the organized crime variety, the petty neighborhood variety, the state sanctioned kind either, or any invading force coming from the Far East.  California is disregarding the US Constitution and our Second Amendment rights.

          All I can do is vote with my money. I will not do business with anything California based because of it's hyperregulatory stance on everything from weapons to Berkey water filters.  I would urge you to consider the same.  Be vigilant in your own states for such proposals.

References for this post:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Use of D-Mannose in Dogs and Cats

A dear dog is a family member.   (Photo: )

   Some time ago, I wrote a post which discussed the use of a simple sugar D-Mannose in the treatment of urinary tract infections caused by Escherichia Coli (E-coli).    Since then, several people have written me privately asking whether d-Mannose could be used in their dogs.  I wrote them back giving them internet references which they likely could have searched themselves, but I declined to post on this with relation to dogs, thinking that veterinary sites probably made more sense for a post of this type.
               Since we are the caretakers of our animals, and our dogs in disasters and emergencies, I realize now that this might be an important subject I probably should place here.
               The science exists to tell us that d-mannose, which is sometimes marketed for humans as Clear Tract prevents the adherence of e-coli to the specialized cellular lining of the bladder and other urinary tract structures. This makes it difficult for an early urinary tract infection to establish and travel to all parts of the urinary tract. This can be a useful tool in early or milder urinary tract infections, or in ones that have been treated but don't feel resolved following completion of antibiotics.  Since e-coli is the most common organism in human beings, to cause urinary tract infection, this can be valuable information.  There is also a theory that even after an antibiotic, some e-coli strands can remain dormant in the urinary tract, and the patient can experience a recurrence.  D-mannose may either prevent that recurrence or work in tandem with the antibiotic to ensure a complete recovery.    However, no evidence exists which suggests that d-mannose has any effectiveness in treating urinary tract infections caused by any pathogenic organism. (This means it will not work for urinary tract infections caused by other urinary pathogens such as proteus mirabilis, klebsiella, enterobacter, staphylococcus saprophiticus, or citrobacter.)

The powder can also be a good way to administer this to animals in food or juice. 

              Since literature tells us that e-coli is also the most common pathogen to cause urinary tract infection in dogs, then it makes sense that there may be a use for it in dogs.  We need to be cautious here because although you and I know whether our urinary tract infection is improving, our dogs can't speak to us and tell us how our intervention has worked.  For this reason, I would urge people to have urinary tract infections treated by your vet and then ask the vet whether a maintenance dose of a small amount of d-mannose might be helpful in the prevention of recurrence.  This is also the best source of dosage instructions for your pet.  Remember that the urinary tract in many dogs is small, and that it's a short trip to the kidneys.  Infection of the kidneys themselves can be life threatening in our dogs, as it can be sometimes in human beings as well.  It's also important to include your vet in seeming urinary tract infections in dogs because sometimes these are not only urinary tract infections, but a sign of urinary tract stones as well.   
             Remember also that the above information applies to cats as well.  Cats can be especially challenging, and so make sure you speak with your vet to clear anything you want to give a cat. D-Mannose is also a treatment that you can only give to a cat who is still urinating.
             This said, there may be emergencies where you cannot reach your vet for a few hours.

    The following product is a d-mannose product which is chewable and especially designed for dogs and cats.  Please pay close attention to the dosage instructions by your pet's weight.

          Another very important point is that just as diabetic humans and animals may develop urinary tract infections a bit more readily than non-diabetic individuals, the particular simple sugar is not metabolized as sugar and therefore can be used in diabetic human beings, and in diabetic dogs and cats as an adjunct to prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections.  Again, speak to your vet about using this and any supplement, and for dose guidelines.   None of the references indicate that the practice of using d-mannose could be harmful for your pet, but the concern is missing a fulminant infection which is incompletely treated  which could later produce sepsis and later death, so staying in touch with your vet as soon as you can communicate would be the safest course of action.  Make sure your pets always have lots of clean and clear water available to them at all times.

  Entirely Pets D-Mannose

Important Background information to this post:

Of interest:

My prior blog post on the use of D-Mannose in human beings:

Tough Time for Families in Syria



   Yesterday, I learned that several copies of my book Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness have sold in Syria.  Syria ?  Who knew they were even distributed there ?   I thought back to the videos I have seen this week of children seizing and foaming at the mouth following a supposed Sarin attack by what appears to be factions of their own government.  I thought of the terrified children in the video who were resuscitated, but whose parents could not be, and I wondered what steps their parents took to protect them when they realized what was happening.  I felt great sorrow for them.  I can no more protect myself from the truly stupid and foolhardy things my own government does here, than they can.

Syrian refugees.  (Photo: )

                     It's not that the Syrian people don't deserve to be delivered from what evidence suggests is a regime which is losing a grip over its many military factions, and many different groups. It's not that they don't deserve to raise their families without being gassed like insects.  It's that the US has already become embroiled at great financial and personal costs in both the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan.  As we pull out, Taliban forces are growing and becoming fortified, and violent attacks still happen frequently.  Muslims all over the world resent the intervention of a Christian nation.  (Or we used to be a nation founded on Christian principles, prior to Mr. Obama's perversion of it.)   I worry that interventions in Syria would not only fail to be effective in the long term, due to the complexities of so many groups and factions in Syria, but that our enemies would be furthur emboldened by their perception of infidel invaders on Muslim lands.
                  My heart breaks for the three families who bought my book in Syria. I wish I could have offered you more.  The book was not written for the horrors of the depth and breadth you are facing, and I would not have wished to terrify you, or other readers.  I hope that it gave you enough of the survival mindset  to make some difference to you and your families. Please know that all of you are in my prayers.

Current news on this matter:

UPDATE:   August 28, 2013     There are activists in Syria who indicate that rebels, and possibly Al Qaeda who holds the city of Douma are responsible for the chemical weapons attacks, not the Assad Syrian government.

This is the link which discusses satellite imagery evidence of such:

Monday, August 26, 2013

Somewhere Between Staying Under the Wire and Shouting Over It


Edmund Burke, painted 1767-1769 by Joshua Reynolds.

    I have had two firearms instructors.  One trained me to use a handgun before I received my concealed weapons permit, and he reviewed proper rifle use with me. He also taught me the legalities of our state, and called my attention to some of the pitfalls in home defense law.   The next instructor taught home defense, refined some of my skills, and refined some of the legal aspects of carrying and actually using a concealed weapon, if it ever becomes necessary.  The first man is decidedly an "under the wire" kind of guy.  He believed that no one should know that I carry a concealed weapon.  He thought I should shoot only at his range so my neighbors wouldn't know I had firearms.   The second instructor is much more NRA.  He gives out the bumper stickers, the buttons, and had the largest area radio station do a remote broadcast with prizes from his training establishment.  He believes that people who are pro Second Amendment need to be loud and clear about it, and make sure that our politicians know it too.
               This leaves me in a difficult position.  I believe fully and completely in Second Amendment rights, not just because I think I ought to be able to kill a rabid wild animal on my farm when it's necessary, but because I don't believe that our system of government will last, without the people themselves being armed. Any invading force, the Chinese, the Russians or anyone else would have a hard time taking most of the United States with its citizenry armed as is presently.  However, the Obama regime with its penchant for keeping records on its opposition and for punishing them at their convenience makes some people who want to join the NRA express fear in doing so.  I can't tell any of you what to do.  I know only that in the words of Edmund Burke, the British author, statesman and orator,

 The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

            So, all I can do, is speak what I believe to be truth while I sit here somewhere between staying under the wire, and shouting over it.  Some days, it feels more like I am tripping over it.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Are We Joining the Syrian War ?

This is a US aircraft carrier.

    Yesterday, France 24, Deutche Welle, and Russia Today, all reported that three US aircraft carriers or warships have arrived in the waters off Syria. A fourth carrier of ours, is on its way to the region.   UN backed forces are also arriving in the form of aircraft carriers. The US is now within cruise missile striking distance of Syria. An attack at least appears imminent.   Of course, most American news is talking about President vacations, a new presidential dog, festivals and fashions for the upcoming school year.    This gathering of war machines  is supposedly in response to the shocking and upsetting videos of Syrian children seizing and foaming at the mouth, as doctors try to resuscitate them, and their parents. Sarin gas is suspected.    Of course, if the Assad Regime is gassing its own people then United Nations Peacekeepers should likely take action, but thus far, we have not been able to verify that the Assad Regime, and not rebel factions have gassed these neighborhoods.  There is even the possibility that rebel factions gassed fifteen hundred people, in order to pin it on the Assad Regime in order to draw the United States into their fight.   Apparently, our being on the verge of war doesn't rate high enough to be discussed by most of the drive-by media.

              Yes, I realize that we as human beings have an obligation to men, women and child civilians who are being gassed, tortured and murdered by a mad dog regime, but given world circumstances, I feel that other Muslims, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates would be taken more seriously by Syria.  If we start an undeclared war in Syria, then the Muslim world is going to have new fervor against the United States and this will fuel new terrorism, as we would once again be occupiers.  (And our departures from Iraq and Afghanistan have been met with an upswing of violence there, and so our country building has not gone well. We are also, quite frankly, out of cash for such an endeavor. You don't see China taking this on. Perhaps Russia can use friendly pressure against the Assad Regime.
             Maybe it's just me, but before I send a cruise missile into a nation destroying buildings,  killing bystanders, military officers, and turning hearts and minds against America, I make very sure that the regime I am targeting, is actually the regime that has committed the atrocities, and I would do so independently of the United Nations.  But that's just me.  It could be that the US agencies who could be verifying such information are too busy spying on conservative American citizens to have the time.

Read More About this at:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

While Time Quickly Passes By


  I remember clearly the day when Karen Carpenter died.  I was sad in 2007 when Dan Fogelberg passed at 56 of prostate cancer.   Voices of tunes that help us to set the backdrop for our lives were gone.  There would be no more music from them.
                  Now, Linda Ronstadt, 67, has announced that there will be no more music from her.  Ronstadt, has suffered for a number of years from Hashimoto's thyroiditis, an autoimmune thyroid condition.  However, in a percentage of patients with Hashimoto's, autoimmune processes move on, and some of them develop other disorders in addition. Linda announced in an interview with AARP that she has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and that as a result of this, is no longer able to "carry even one note".  She has had some unusual symptoms as early as eight years ago, but has attributed these to a tick borne illness for which she had been treated.
                  Ronstadt, who sang a song called "I Never Will Marry",  never did.  She adopted daughter Mary, and son Carlos as infants.  In later years she did a lot of charity work and has donated a lot of money to many charities close to her heart, but she does so quietly. She also has worked training other singers in a community college setting.
                  I realize that Linda will not be releasing a new album or touring again.  Oddly, before this news broke, I had been listening to her broad range of work which spans multiple genres. She not only has a remarkable voice, but incredible range and versatility, and she did not shun working hard to expand upon that range.  It is my hope for Linda, that her particular case of Parkinson's is controlled by a treatment which is presently available to us, and that she reaches a disease plateau. I also hope that control of her voice is returned to her, at least sufficiently that she may use her voice at home, with her family and with friends.
Best of luck, Linda.   Thank you for all the music.

This is one of my favorites: Blue Train Linda Ronstadt~~~ Vocal Harmony: Emmy Lou Harris

Thursday, August 22, 2013

An Increasingly Violent Nation in an Increasingly Violent World

This is true even if the caterpillar is figurative.

  In most of the world there is the potential for the innocent to be killed.  In some places in the Middle East, daughters who displease their family may be killed for doing something that has displeased their families.  In some nations on the continent of Africa, children have been kidnapped from their families, drugged, and taught to use automatic weapons in order to become child soldiers.  Violence and injustice aren't restricted to places in the throes of war, like Syria.  England, which prides itself of its being civilized, recently unearthed a ring of Muslim men who had been drugging and raping and turning young women from foster care into young prostitutes, to make money for them.  There is no nation on Earth immune from the abuse of the innocent, from torture of some type or even from murder.  In Mexico, cartels have beheaded those who were perceived to have crossed them, or who even look like someone who did.
               When I was a child, I remember reading the Bible and thinking how much wickedness existed upon the Earth two thousand years ago. Some of it was beyond my imagining. How could brothers sell a brother because they were jealous of him ?  How could they lie to their parents afterward about what happened to him ?    How could Pontius Pilate have Jesus killed in such a fashion when He was preaching non-violence ?   I realize now that as a child my parents worked very hard in order for me to grow up and meet my own human potential without being a witness to the dangers and violence which certainly existed beyond the safe bubble they created for me. I always thought that everything my father had told me about the world, and about violence was exaggerated, and of course, it wasn't.
               Of course, the United States has no magic in having avoided the violence of Earth.  There is plenty of violence going on in the US, and it is displayed nightly on local or national television. Very little is not announced here, and as a result, it sometimes looks as if the US is more violent than many places, when it, in fact, might not be.  There is also a phenomenon which I will call layering for the purposes of this post. This means that a family might live in a region known for drug or violent activity. However, all the shooting or drug activity takes place between midnight and four in the morning.  People who stay home within those hours might never see it, and may possibly never be impacted by it, at least to their own knowledge.  For years I have lived in a very rural area and have not had too many indications of crime here.  However, a friend of mine who works for the DEA tells me that my region is a hotbed of hidden rural drug activity.  So, one person can live in a lovely area and believe that all is well, whereas another person might see a violent dangerous place even within the same zipcode.
             Wherever we are, there is sadly more wickedness and more violence than ever before.  Our present regime makes a great deal of any crime against someone African American, at the hands of someone caucasian or perceived as such, but they are totally quiet about cases like Jett Higham, a biracial young man, who was murdered by African Americans in a robbery gone wrong, when he had moved from New York City to Richmond, and had lived there only six days.  I had not even heard of the cases of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom who Knoxville Tennessee teens were brutally tortured and murdered by a gang of African American young people.   Sadly, the media politicizes murders rather than makes the statement that the torture and killing of human beings is simply wrong.  It doesn't matter whether you are a wronged Muslim seeking to being attention to your cause.  It doesn't matter if you are an individual seeking to bomb large companies you believe have done environmental wrongs to the planet. It doesn't matter if you think the African American man you are beating looks like the fella who robbed your brother in Petersburg.  The only time in society that injuring or killing someone else is acceptable is in war, when you have no Earthly choice, or when you must shoot in self defense to save yourself, your family or an innocent in your group.
              Our time on Earth is indeed as desperate and as violent as many of the things which are described in the Bible.  In this sense, we certainly live in Biblical times.  Be sure that you teach situational awareness skills to your children and your loved ones. Most of the time you can recognize when something "is not right". You might not be able to identify that the man staring at you is a serial killer or a sexual sadist, but chances are, he will seem a little creepy, or something won't feel quite right to you. We need to teach those we love to trust those feelings we get sometimes, and not to talk themselves out of them. "Trust your gut" is the motto at our house, and probably should be everywhere.  Be careful out there.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I'm Too Square for Linked In


Did I link in or join the Borg collective ?

   I would first like to send a warm welcome to our new members.  Although I have never written the blog with the intention of simply gathering joiners, and I have been happy with people who read the posts and return as they can, it is encouraging to have people join. In fact, the people who have joined have been extremely bright and well informed people, and this is very heartening for me on days that I feel unusual, perhaps out of touch, and a bit like a dinosaur, especially in terms of my feelings of patriotism for this great nation, prior to its sacrificing itself for political correctness and all manner of peculiarity.

           Today I would like to talk about Linkedin.  For those of you who have been living in a subterranean bunker with only intermittent internet, Linkedin is a social media styled site which allows people to connect with those who are occupationally similar or at least occupationally interconnected.   It's basically career networking on the internet.   I don't do Facebook, Twitter, My Space, or any of the social media styled sites, basically because these are, as my kids say, TMI !   Anyone watching social media will have a great deal of information about you. Most of us reveal much more in simple chatter than we realize, and anyone collecting this data for nefarious purposes could do real damage..   Since my publisher has been phoning me about doing a better job in terms of being available to market both my books, Linkedin was a compromise for me.  It allows people to connect with me, and it allows me to connect with those I may have met once, and with whom I would like to stay in touch.  Some of them are publishers, and others are simply creative bright people with whom I would like to stay in touch.   Linkedin also asks for a heck of a lot of information, however there is a skip button.  I loaded information about myself and the books.  I loaded information about the projects I have worked on.  I did say what occupations I have held in the past, but I did not list all the colleges and universities I have attended. I did not list thirty years of employers.   Anyone with whom I would like to stay in touch from all those years, already has my contact information and I have theirs.   Stalking is a big problem in this country and around the world.  Social media inadvertently nurtures stalking, and to some degree voyeurism.  I went to one of the profiles of one of my friends from some years ago, and it reads like a storybook.  I know her life is not as idyllic as that, yet from her profile it sounds it.
            I needed to get some advice on what I should disclose on my Linkedin account, and so I spoke with my eldest son, who really is an expert on things internet.  My goal was to keep a business-like profile on internet designed to ultimately push the books.  He explained all the ways in which my privacy could be violated using Linkedin.  Not long after our discussion he decided to delete his own Linkedin account, leaving me wondering if I was leaving too much information floating around cyberspace myself. I'll let you know.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Couple of Thoughts on Tyrants

(Graphic obtained from : )

       I wanted to bring the following website to your attention.


 While we are mentioning tyrants and tyranny, I thought some of you might enjoy this song.  It seems timely.

Sarah Slean                                                                                  Napoleon

The words to this song, written, sung, arranged and accompanied by Sarah,( who also conducts when she has a hand free.)  This song was written in the last few years, and is just a shade apocalyptic.

These are the lyrics if you didn't catch them.

Under great golden statues
There is an ancient grave
The Emperor's foot is restless
There's something he wants to say
To the princes of lazy science
And the merchants of holy war
He had but one instruction
Be careful with metaphor

So every nation be warned
As soon as the last one is mourned
Another tyrant is born.

To the pirates that came to follow
Itching to wrench on the reins of force
Napoleon sent a message
Don't get high on your only horse.

So every nation be warned
As soon as the last one is mourned
Another tyrant is born.

Mother, I've fear of madness
'Cause I've heard him call my name.
I followed his ghostly finger.
And I saw the world in flames.

The British Larder

This is a cold room. My Nana's was smaller, though it was walk-in, and hers was lined with exotic wood which kept it cool.

  This blog post is the direct result of Kathy Felsted Usher's great comment on the last post.  She mentioned that she and her family were looking at the British wartime Ministry of Food regulations.  This is a wonderful idea.   I got to thinking that my Nana in England went through her entire life until 1971 without a refrigerator in their home.  Granted, London suburbs, with a few exceptions in the Summer, is cooler than many places in the United States.  Still, I remember my family ate very well, and that everyone was slim and healthy.  They walked everywhere even through their eighties. How did they function without a refrigerator when I am so clearly hamstrung without one ?
    Well, first of all, I shop every two weeks, and they shopped almost daily.  After work, they would take the train to the station closest to home, and stop in at the butcher, the vegetable stand and fruit stands. We tended to buy whatever was on sale, because it was simply intelligent.  Then, they would get home, cook the meat on the oven or the stove, prepare the vegetables, and often make a dessert.  A typical meal might be a small roast beef, baby new potatoes, fresh cooked green beans, and a crumble dessert with custard. They bought just enough to make and consume that day.  They also kept quick tinned meals which we had on occasion.  A quick dinner might be Heinz beans on toast, or grilled open face cheddar cheese sandwiches with British bacon on them.  In their suburban village home, they grew two kinds of apples from trees in their back garden, and they grew strawberries, greenbeans, potatoes of several types, and lettuces, cauliflower and cabbage. When we were there we almost never ate out, and fast food was non-existent to rare, although I do remember a restaurant called "The Wimpy Bar" where one could get a pretty good hamburger inspired by the Popeye series. Food in England, as late as the early seventies was simple, yet wholesome.
     Milk was delivered in the morning, and it came in bottles, with cream that rose to the top. Families bought less and they consumed it by the end of the day. If we bought ice cream then we bought it after church usually from the newspaper and general shop, where it was a hard solid block. He wrapped the ice cream package in newspaper and we hurried home.  After lunch, my Nana would cut the ice cream into slices. Most often they bought Cornish vanilla because the adults liked it best.  It needed to be consumed that afternoon because it couldn't be stored.
      How did they store cheddar cheese and other things that need to stay cool ?   In their kitchen was a walk in closet, which was lined with some type of exotic wood. (It looked a bit like cedar, but it wasn't)  This closet was specially lined in order to stay cool, and it was known as a larder.  Nana had all sorts of things stored there, including cheeses. There was rhubarb and cabbage wrapped in newspaper. There was lemon curd and different jams.  I often marvelled at how things, including my lemon bubbly water stayed cold in the larder. I have often wondered how it was built and what the magic of its staying cold really was.

I did find an interesting set of directions for building an oak larder on runescape:

Part of how larders stayed cool was the British construction of the 1900s through the 1930s which depended heavily upon stone and brick.

The writing between the two sets of undulating lines comes directly from

Open University's Discussion on types of construction.

(Please refer to the link to see the plates to which they have referred.)


Old Traditional
These had solid external walls of locally produced bricks, on
brick foundations, no damp courses, segmented or flat arches
to door and window openings, with much use of brick string
courses and cills and large areas of cement rendering etc.
Roofs were pitched, of timber, many with no underfelt, and
covered with slates or clay tiles, with mainly cast iron gutters
and fall pipes. Ground floors were often solid to kitchen and
storage areas, and of suspended timber construction to other
rooms and upper floors. Kitchen and store walls were
frequently unplastered, and ceilings were lath and plaster.
Windows were generally timber, vertical-sliding sash, and
external and internal doors either panelled or boarded.
Kitchens had very few cupboards, if any, and the free-standing
sink often had no drainer. The food storage consisted of a cold
slab and shelving in a separate larder. Most rooms had open
fireplaces and occasionally, an open cauldron-shaped water
boiler with lid, in the kitchen. Internal plumbing was in lead.
Some houses built in 1910 are illustrated in Plate 1.
Damp courses were gradually introduced in the 1920s and an
example from 1925 is shown in Plate 2.
Cavity external walls (still of local bricks) were gradually
introduced around the 1930s on concrete strip foundations
and dampcourses were in common use. The external
appearance was slightly less ornate and timber or steel
casement windows were introduced. Roofs now had underfelt,
but were still uninsulated, and cast iron or wooden gutters
were provided. There was some improvement in the provision
of kitchen fittings, and all walls were now plastered, but
many bathrooms were still positioned on the ground floor,
usually directly off the
kitchen. Open fires were still provided
to the main rooms, and lead internal plumbing was gradually
replaced by iron or galvanised steel.

       Although I will keep looking, there are no specific directions for the construction of a larder. I can only think that the concrete and brick construction of the first floor, and then different types of frame construction above it, resulted in a cooler first floor than we have in many homes today.  The enclosure of a "back of the kitchen and underneath the staircase area" was probably a cool place anyway.  The lining of it with wood probably enhanced this.  For the moment, it will remain a secret of the British construction guilds, which still very much exist today.
      Today, the term larder in Britain is synonymous with pantry.  A Food Larder there is a lot like a Food Pantry offered to those at churches, where food might be given out to those who are in need.  However, not that many years ago, when even small refrigerators were not common in the United Kingdom, the larder was an important part of British life, and there is plenty in these uncertain times that we can learn from this.

In my research for this post, I found this interesting website with British seasonal recipes:

This is an interesting historical reference for how stone was used in British homes to keep certain areas cool:

Friday, August 16, 2013

Building a Cold Cellar for the Suburbs

                 One of the most important things we can be doing during economic and political uncertainty is taking reasonable steps within the framework of our lives in order to be more self sufficient. Depending upon our situation and lifestage, it may not be realistic for us to become completely self sufficient, but most people can probably be more self sufficient than they are just now.  In some places in Russia, the cold cellar is far more a fixture than it is in American homes today. This is an idea that probably should be revisited.
                    The simplest design for a cold cellar works for those in townhomes, and even some rental houses. Purchase an American made metal trash can. (The American ones have a tighter fitting lid and this is important)  Dig out enough soil to bury it.  Then, put the can in the ground in a well drained site,  with about two inches of the top protruding from the ground.  Place a small amount of gravel in the bottom.

(Picture from:  )

               You can store a lot of potatoes in here, so long as you alternate bags of potatoes with straw.    Onions and apples could also be stored here, but different items are compatible with one another.  Potatoes are not as compatible with onions. You can ideally, in a four season climate, stock potatoes in November, and be finishing them up in April. Root vegetables store particularly well this way.

              Store with the lid on and with a piece of wood over the top secured with a rock or something else that's heavy enough to prevent animals from accessing your cold storage. You should check this at least every couple of weeks, use what you can, and compost anything shriveling or obviously rotting.

Note that the concrete block on all four sides here give you the space to allow a piece of plywood on top without the handle being too high.  (Photo: )

 These are some of the things that can be stored there:

  • Winter squashes
  • Pumpkins
  • Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
  • Apples (store separately, as they release ethylene gas that will spoil other vegetables)
  • Carrots
  • Turnips
  • Rutabagas
  • Cabbage  (all kinds, my favorite)
  • Beets
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Leeks
  • Pears
  • Dried beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Tomatillos
  • Winter radishes

                    If you own a more rural home and you plan to remain there for an extended period of time then you can invest more time and money in a larger set up.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

At Least Someone is Paying Attention

Isn't this a great picture ?  Here, he looks just like the evil alien god Apophis from the Stargate SG-1 series. Look out ! He's about to zap us with that hand !
  (Photo found on the Voice of Russia website)

Apophis from the Stargate SG1 TV series.


Yesterday, a broad number of sources stated that The National Black Republican Association (NBRA) filed articles of impeachment against Barack Obama. The organization calls on the United States Congress  to remove the president from office over NSA spying, prosecution of whistleblowers, wiretapping of journalists, the torture program as well as the Benghazi cover-up.

Read more:

These are the Articles of Impeachment.

We, black American citizens, in order to free ourselves and our fellow citizens from governmental tyranny, do herewith submit these Articles of Impeachment to Congress for the removal of President Barack H. Obama, aka, Barry Soetoro, from office for his attack on liberty and commission of egregious acts of despotism that constitute high crimes and misdemeanors.

On July 4, 1776, the founders of our nation declared their independence from governmental tyranny and reaffirmed their faith in independence with the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791. Asserting their right to break free from the tyranny of a nation that denied them the civil liberties that are our birthright, the founders declared:
“When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” – Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.
Article II, Section IV of the United States Constitution provides: “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Barack H. Obama, aka Barry Soetoro, personally and through his subordinates and agents, in violation or disregard of the constitutional rights of citizens and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice, in that:
He has covered up, delayed, impeded and obstructed the investigation of the Benghazi Battle.
Specific conduct includes: (1) failing to adequately secure the US Consulate and the CIA annex in Benghazi; (2) failing to send a response team to rescue embattled US citizens in Benghazi; (3) lying to the American people about why the US Consulate and the CIA annex were attacked in Benghazi; and (3) hiding from the media and congressional investigators the Central Intelligence Agency personnel and other wounded US citizens who were on the ground in Benghazi by scattering them throughout the United States, forcing them to adopt new identities and subjecting them to monthly polygraph tests.
Benghazi Battle elements that are under investigation:
On September 11, 2012, the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, the US Consulate and the CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya was targeted in a premeditated, preplanned attack launched without warning by Islamist militants.
Footage of the attack broadcast in real time showed armed men attacking the consulate with rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades, assault rifles, 14.5 mm anti-aircraft machine guns, truck mounted artillery, diesel canisters, and mortars. It was not an act of savage mob violence, nor a spontaneous protest in response to an anti-Islamic video on YouTube.
In that attack, four American citizens were killed: US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens; Information Officer Sean Smith; and two embassy security personnel, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, both former Navy SEALs. Ambassador Stevens is the first U.S. ambassador killed in an attack since Adolph Dubs was killed in 1979.
He has disclosed secret grand jury material by exposing the existence of a sealed indictment of one of the Benghazi attackers in violation of Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure that clearly states: “… no person may disclose the indictment’s existence except as necessary to issue or execute a warrant or summons.’’
He has authorized and permitted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a division of the Justice Department, to conduct Operation Fast and Furious, wherein guns were sold to Mexican drug trafficking organizations that were used to kill innocent Mexican civilians and two rifles sold to a smuggler in January 2010 ended up at the scene of the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010.
He has authorized and permitted confidential income tax returns information from the Internal Revenue Service to be provided to unauthorized individuals, organizations and agencies.
He has caused investigations and audits to be initiated or conducted by the Internal Revenue Service in a discriminatory manner, including harassment and intimidation of conservative, evangelical and Tea Party groups applying for non-profit status between 2010 and 2012.
Elements of this illegal conduct include the facts that: (1) the head of the Internal Revenue Service tax-exempt organization division, Lois Lerner, admitted during a telephonic press event that illegal targeting occurred, then invoked her Fifth Amendment right and refused to answer questions before Congress about the targeting out of fear of self-incrimination; (2) two other career Internal Revenue Service employees stated that they acted at the behest of superiors in Washington — Carter Hull, a retired Internal Revenue Service Attorney and Elizabeth Hofacre, an employee of the Cincinnati IRS office which oversaw tax-exempt applications; and (3) Carter Hull stated that he was directed to forward the targeted applications to, among others, one of only two political appointees in the Internal Revenue Service Chief Counsel William Wilkins.
He has (1) authorized and permitted the National Security Agency to conduct or continue electronic surveillance of over 300 million average Americans; (2) given access to National Security Agency surveillance data to other intelligence units within the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Secret Service, the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security in violation of the law; and (3) conducted the surveillance of average Americans unconstrained by Congress, the United Supreme Court or the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court which has, to this date, functioned as a rubber stamp, having approved every request made of it in 2012 and rejecting only two of the 8,591 requests submitted between 2008 and 2012.
He has authorized and permitted the Department of Justice to wiretap and secretly obtain two months of telephone and e-mail records of Fox News Reporter James Rosen and over one hundred Associated Press journalists.
He has thwarted Congress by (1) failing to enforce all or parts of laws duly enacted by Congress, including the Defense of Marriage Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, and the Affordable Care Act; and (2) after Congress refused to pass his Dream Act, unilaterally issuing an executive order directing immigration officers to no longer deport an entire class of illegal immigrants who came here as children, regardless of individual circumstances, and to give them work-authorization permits.
He has violated the Constitution when, on January 4, 2012, (1) he bypassed the U. S. Senate to appoint three members of the National Labor Relations Board, actions that were ruled unconstitutional by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit which affirmed previous decisions by the Court of Appeal for the D.C. Circuit and the Third Circuit; and (2) he bypassed the U. S. Senate to appoint Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
He has intimidated whistleblowers and brought twice as many prosecutions against whistleblowers as all prior presidents combined. Egregiously, while refusing to prosecute anyone for actual torture, he prosecuted former Central Intelligence Agency employee John Kiriakou for disclosing the torture program.
Wherefore Barack H. Obama, aka Barry Soetoro, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.
Read more

           Only a group of African-Americans could have done this without having racist shouted at them.
            In all honesty, the US now has a media who shows preferential treatment for this president. Most Americans who listen to mainstream media will likely never know about this because of the poor coverage of United States news.
            All we can do is pray for the United States, and hope that the forces which seek to continue to dilute its Constitution fail.
           Either way, whether you choose to continue prepping for natural or man-made disasters or for economic or political instability, you need to keep doing it, and keep learning about self sufficiency. Take care of your own business, and your own family.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Latest on Benghazi

Yes, the Obama administration failed to properly guard 400 of these genuine missiles.

        Yesterday, Breitbart released the following article:

         It was first Leon Pannetta who speculated that "perhaps the US had been involved in gun sales" in Benghazi, Libya.   Now, an attorney working for a Bengazi whistleblower claims that this administration has lost 400 missiles which were stolen by terrorists.  Several news agencies have said they are in the hands of Al Quaida.   Of course, this is very bad.  These missiles could be used against commercial or military aircraft, other embassies of ours throughout the world, on Israel, or for general terrorism and mayhem.
        If this is why they have not exactly been forthcoming about the goings on, and why they left Americans in service to us to die there, then this becomes slightly more understandable.
        If this is true, then impeachment should occur, because the store is being minded by the village idiot. Believe me, it would have, had it occurred on Mr. Reagan's watch.

Other references for this blog post:

Monday, August 12, 2013

Final Steps in Radon Remediation


This Fantech radon remediation fan has been created to have the fan parts shielded sufficiently to function out of doors, as many are installed that way. Still the fan will require replacement potentially every ten years as it works under continuous load conditions keeping your home's radon levels as low as possible.

  As the longer term readers of this blog know, we have a basement finished at living space with superior walls.  The superior walls are a concrete custom constructed panel designed to lock together at corners. It has the benefits of producing a stronger more disaster resistant product and lower energy costs over time.  Following construction and finishing, we had the radon levels measured there, which fell well 2 picacuries.  Then, just after the 5.8 Virginia earthquake in 2011, we decided to have the radon levels rechecked, and found them to be higher.  We then invested in a continuous radon monitoring device, and found that prior to additional earthquake aftershocks that the radon would spike, and decrease somewhat afterward.
                Radon higher than 2-5 picacuries intermittently is not dangerous.  However, experts think that anything beyond 5 should be remediated.  Even a house closed up, and revisited which is a ten is probably not a problem.   Higher than normal radon levels over years can increase the chances for lung cancer, especially in smokers.   Fortunately, a huge amount about radon remediation has been learned since in 1980s when this became much more of an obsession for homeowners, especially those living in parts of rural NJ, on subterranean uranium beds which leak radon daughters to the surface, which are held in, in particularly energy efficient homes.
               We have used the continuous radon monitoring device for the last couple of years, and as the aftershocks have waned, so has the radon.  We did plan, however, to have a radon venting system added to the house at a later date.  We did this because we have finished living space on the lower level including a full bathroom, and three additional bedrooms.  That later date was this weekend.  The very best book for learning about radon and remediation is

  Protecting Your Home from Radon: A Step By Step Manual for Radon Reduction
  by Douglas L. Kladder (Author) , James F. Burkhart (Author) , Steven R. Jelinek (Author)

        In many homes, relatively very easy actions can be taken by the homeowner which will drop the radon levels significantly, and this is why the book is such a good investment.
        Although our levels did not require us to remediate, we needed to look at how much time we do spent in our home, particularly time to time. The fact that people sleep in our lower level meant that any elevations whatsoever should be addressed if possible.  Also, in an emergency, we could all be living on our below ground level.  We had a more complex situation by virtue of the large size of the structure, and the slab being below the basement floor, rather than a crawl space.  In addition, the very thick custom superior walls made retrofits more challenging.  To consistently keep the radon levels below 2 picacuries under all seasons, window conditions, power outages, and pre-quake and after-quake conditions, we needed to have installed a different system than many.
      Sometimes, a specialized radon venting fan can be installed, with a vent piping, outside the building, but we did not want this outside the home.  For us it was necessary to have someone drill through a particular region of the basement concrete slab and to install a large PVC pipe which came up through the house through all the levels and then vent through the roof, where it would be capped.  In the attic, there is a specialized fan which was installed with the intent of changing the pressure gradient sufficiently to vent the radon out through the top of the house, and away.  This was a challenge only because the large pipe could not be visible in the house. It had to traverse through walls or regions that would not be seen, and this took planning.  The fan also needed to be wired in to a place in one of the attics where it could be accessed and maintained as needed.  Then, we had to have the money to do this, when it wasn't financial priority one.

You can buy replacement Fantech fans here

This is another type of radon venting fan made by the same company.

The above fan can be purchased here.

This is what many radon remediation systems look like.  We wanted ours hidden inside. (Picture by:

Here is a more hidden fan

                     In a week, we will have new measurements of radon from each room with the new system working.  Let's hope each room is below 2.0 picacuries, which is our target !

                 This is health information and risk assessment materials from an authoritative source concernign radon, and specific radon levels.

    Radon Health Information and Risk Assessment Data

    US Radon Map Zones 

 Radon can be an issue all over the world, as well as the US and Canada.

My prior posts on different aspects of radon:

UPDATE:    October 26, 2013      I am happy to report that all finished and unfinished basement rooms fell below 2.0 picacuries when measured two weeks following final installation.   The real test would come when Winter came and when windows would no longer be open, and the basement would be closed to retain heat.
In the last week an early cold came through, and we saw our first hard freeze.  Temperatures were 34 degrees F overnight.     The continuous radon monitor confirms that our radon levels are 1.8 in all measured areas.     In addition, the fan at the top of the page, which lives in the attic, and we cannot hear, has not made a palpable difference to our electricity bill, despite the fact that it runs continuously.