Friday, December 30, 2016

Almost Over Folks

                         The Obama Presidency is almost over.  Perhaps he can avoid asking the Chinese diplomats to leave the US, or starting a war with the Russians. I certainly hope so.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Great Value of Steri-Strips

Steri strips come in a variety of sizes for different uses. Although there are a few generics, this is one time when I prefer the name brand when possible.

                    Steri strips are sterile, packaged light paper tape impregnated with stringy fibers. They are used by physicians and nurses when sutures are removed to give an abdominal wound, for example, a little more strength at the skin level until it heals completely.

                   Steri strips have a very important use for preppers, and yet they are very rarely mentioned.   Many, many, times, someone develops a wound, and because it is not a clean wound, or it cannot be completely cleaned, as in an animal bite, it should absolutely not be sutured closed.  When this type of wound occurs, rather than suturing or leaving completely open, a compromise would be to contain the bleeding, then soak the wound in betadine and water (or betadine and 0.9% saline you have mixed yourself) and then afterward, pat dried the wound, and let it completely dry, and then secured it as best you can with steri-strips.  Steri strips can be placed across the wound leaving untaped portions in between each steri strips which allow for serous or other wound drainage. When they eventually come off, they can either be redone or the wound can be allowed to continue healing.  In such wounds, a wound dressing over the steri-strips would probably be best.

This is an example of how they should be applied.

    I really like steri-strips because they help to avoid unnecessary suturing, and because they minimize scarring.  It is also possible to place neosporin or other topical medications when needed over top and to the sides of such a wound.

     I own several sizes of steri-strips.    It is possible to purchase some from Amazon or from many other sources.

There is one additional thing that nurses are taught.    To improve steri-strip adherance, one can take a sterile swab and place tincture of benzoin, not near the wound itself, but on the skin where the steri-strip should anchor. Often, this is not done, but I can remember a number of times in the hospital that this was necessary. It is also recommended by 3M, the manufacturer.   Do not get tincture of benzoin in the wound itself.

Please add this to your emergency kits.

Best wishes for a safe and prosperous New Year.

As always, I have no financial gain from the products I recommend here on Rational Preparedness, unless disclosed otherwise.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Buy Countdown to Preparedness

                   I vaguely remember Jim Cobb asking me if he could use some of the listings regarding first aid kits that I put in some articles I'd written.  In the interest of helping people, I said certainly yes, so long as I am credited with the original work.  He never did get back to me, so it came to be a surprise this week when I found that I am indeed credited and that my listings for a basic first aid kit are found starting on Page 83.

                   Jim has written quite a few books on the subject of disaster preparedness. This is an excellent step by step guide designed for someone new to the process.  You can buy one at:

This is Jim's author page:

Enjoy !

Saturday, December 17, 2016

2017 Brings New Antibiotic Laws

Tylan will no longer be OTC on January 1, 2017

 If you are a farmer or small producer, of almost any species of animal, then you are accustomed to judicious use of occasional antibiotics. Most of us have learned their appropriate use from our farm veterinarians, and we use them wisely.  This will change however, as 2017 rolls in.

              The FDA has changed the laws on which animal antibiotics will remain OTC (over-the-counter) and which will become VFD (they require what amounts to a prescription from your veterinarian.)

             Some of these drugs include varieties of penicillin, lincomycin, oxytetracyclines, tylosin, hygromycin B, and others.

             This change is felt to make life harder for small agricultural producers who might not be able to call a vet for a chicken, a rabbit or a duck, for example.  It is also suspected to be the thin end of the wedge. How long before you will no longer be able to get an antibiotic for your fishtank ?  Today it's antibiotics, tomorrow it could be that your calcium, magnesium and zinc supplements are also prescription drugs.

              It might be a good time to let your congressman know how you feel about this, if you are, in fact, a farmer or you raise species of animals.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

"Portsoy Woods" Now on Kindle

                                              Portsoy Woods is now available for Kindle !

It is also available on other electronic media formats at:

and these other fine booksellers:

Amazon Store URL -

BN Store URL -

Apple Store URL -

Kobo Store URL -


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Introducing Portsoy Woods

(The 90,000+ word book is actually in a 6x9 inch format)

                 I am pleased to announce the release of my third book, and first novel, Portsoy Woods. It is a novel which examines preparedness issues and a Virginia family.

 Portsoy Woods is the story of a young Northern Virginia intelligence analyst who convinces his wife that their young family and four small children, should relocate from the relative comforts of their suburban home to a large acreage tract in a very rural setting. This is a difficult decision for them to make  initially as it takes them from friends, family, and from good jobs with relatively negligible commutes. The decision to relocate is certainly, at first, counter-intuitive.

   They relocate and find that even within their own state a completely different rural culture, and to some degree different values exist in comparison to the suburban world they knew. Their journey and adaptation, new friends, and their learning is explored, as the economy and the culture of the country is in decline. They also ensure a continued deterioration of the United States, an economic collapse, some notable disasters including a national pandemic, personal losses and uncertainties. The family learns not only to provide help to family and friends, but when to graciously receive it themselves.

Although this book will probably attract those who are interested in preparedness, pre-emptive relocation and survivalism, this story of a family is about much more. Told from the perspective of the wife, a registered nurse, it also concerns the value of flexibility, resilience, hope, faith, loss and charity, for one's own family and for the community. It is a hopeful look at today's families and of rural life. Anyone who has ever tested the boundaries of their comfort zone in any venue will appreciate this book.

    For now, it can be purchased either on

 or at the following link

Ultimately, distribution will be worldwide.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Get Out There and Vote Tomorrow


       Several of my friend indicated this week that their employers were making plans should their be civil unrest in the immediate aftermath of the presidential election.  I accept that the United States is severely polarized, but I am hoping that people accept whatever the result is without perpetrating violence against one another or against property. Violence is simply not the answer.

              As many of you know, Donald Trump was not my all time first choice for president, but I will admit that against HilLIARy Clinton, he is a relatively easy pick. I simply don't want another Clinton in the White House. I don't want continuing sexual exploits during the work day in the Oval Office while HilLIARy is elsewhere in the building.  I don't want more diplomats and other assignees calling for help and then dying with no response, as was the case in Benghazi. I don't want Qatari or any other officials paying to have an audience with the then Secretary of State and now President. I don't like Mrs. Clinton's private e-mail server so she escapes not only governmental oversight, but Freedom of Information Act Requests. I believe her use of one was blatantly illegal and likely a felony. I am not quite sure what Mrs. Clinton did to Russia other than the reset button fiasco, but they cannot stand her and the Duma discussed recently the likelihood of nuclear war with the US, if someone as incompetent as she were elected. So much discussion of her corruption and the corruption of the Clinton Foundation is likely to be true.

               So, I will admit to voting tomorrow for Mr. Trump.  In his favor, he is a passionate father and grandfather and he has plenty of skin in the game. A toasted nation would not aid his children or his grandchildren. He truly loves America, and the president we currently have sneers at it and apologizes for it each chance he gets. I have wished that Mr. Trump would measure his words a bit more carefully, but in the past weeks, he has indeed been more cautious and more precise.

               Please make sure that you and anyone else you know who is currently alive and is otherwise eligible to vote does. The stakes are no less than the future configuration of the Supreme Court, whether or not we are able to lawfully carry weapons for use in self defense, and whether we have a lasting and full blown economic collapse. A myriad of other very important things will also be decided......One of them will be whether we replace Obamacare or not.  Pray about your vote, and then exercise it. Then, pray for the United States of America. Good luck.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Why I'm Going to Talk About Fitness Again

This looks like a workout room to me. Have you ever seen a heavy horsewoman ?       windyhillsheds


    Most of us cruise through life often in sedentary jobs. When we're home, many of us are couch potatoes. Some of us have gym memberships, but we get there once a week or so. When we find we can't do something physically that we might wish to, and that we had done before, we tell ourselves that it's simple aging. But that is not true. Here in the country I know a number of people in their eighties, primarily farmers, who, about four years ago could work me, a much younger woman, under the table !
              I had the same lack of appreciation for fitness that many of you do, until I got horses, about four years ago.  Having horses was a lifelong dream for me. My parents didn't want them during my girlhood, despite the fact that my great grandparents had been large acreage ranchers and practically lived on horses. As a young married, I lived in the suburbs where having horses would have been illegal. Then, as mother of a large family, I didn't have the time or the spare cash. As my children began to graduate college, I realized that if I didn't get horses on our rural property soon, that I would never have them. It took time to convince my husband that I should get one. One quickly became two, because the horse I wanted was bonded to a close friend stored in the same location he had been. Then, although I had heard a lot about how to care from horses from my father, I began the process of learning about their care from reading and from a team of equine veterinarians.  Although I am a registered nurse and I give injections as immunizations to alpacas, dogs, and other animals, giving injections safely to horses is another matter. Fortunately, I had great tutelage from the equine vets in "taking over the reigns" of their care and giving those essential immunizations via injection safely to them, but also safely to me.  There is a lot to horse care. They need their hooves worked on periodically, usually by a farrier, although a good horse owner should be able to keep them maintained between farrier visits, and certainly inspect them daily. They need to be consistently fed twice daily. They need to be kept clean, groomed, brushed, etc.  Their stalls and paddock must be kept clean. Horse dung must be collected and removed.  Worming, immunization, and annual dental must be done. Someone must collect the correct grade of hay and store it because at certain times of the year it disappears faster than you can imagine. Horses need to be turned out to graze, and then, in my neck of the woods where we have coyotes, they should be returned to their stalls before dark.  After a number of months of taking care of my initial two horses, I was offered two more. I absolutely couldn't envision my work doubling. Somehow, I agreed and added two more horses who needed some level of rehabilitation. Now I have four horses !
           I adapted to having four horses fairly well.  In all weathers, I rise each day at four am, and fully armed because of predatory animals who venture here to the farm, often in the dark. I head to the barn.  I empty and scrub out water buckets and then I refill them. I sweep out and muck all the stalls. I struggle with the wheelbarrow to the horse manure compost pile. I mop each stall, and then squeegee it, so no glorious horse slips.  When it dries, I place some pine shavings in one of each stall's corner. I look over each horse, talk to them a little, and sometimes check hooves inside the barn.  Then I am careful not to overfeed them as I measure out their pelleted rations.  Sometimes I tie two of the more dominant horses so that the thin horses get a chance to eat all their food, and the portly ones don't become ill from pilfering food from their friends.  While they eat, I take care of alpacas, dogs, poultry of a variety of types. and barn cats.
           Somehow, a year into all the animal care, I had a smaller waist and hips than I had at fifteen. I could unload forty (yes, forty) bails of hay with thin but more muscular arms than I had before. I can keep up with a two year old (grandson) better than I could with my own last two year old. Better nutrition is one of the reasons, and certainly regular challenging physical activity is the other.  I am also able to pass for much younger than I am.....Not that I care. When some of your children are in their late twenties, lying about your age makes you look as if you had them as a child yourself !
         The important message here is that bad days come for all of us. Sometimes, our general fitness allows us to save another or to save ourselves. In preparedness, sometimes, our lack of fitness impedes our ability to continue CPR or exit a car in a flood, or after a rollover accident in your SUV that wasn't even your fault ! Someday you may have to walk home from work in challenging circumstances.  I urge everyone to gradually make activity you love and healthy eating a regular health habit.  You will feel better, function better and even have a better mood.  Then, you will better meet those emergent challenges.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Reprise: Kennels and Other Types of Dog Housing as Winter Looms

(Photo: Copyright Rational Preparedness 2012)
This is our kennel when it was built. It is designed for seven dogs. Three large ones are housed on the right, and five small or medium are housed on the left. There are interior concrete areas inside and grassed areas within the fenced areas.  The center hall in concrete and provides electricity and a water faucet which can be attached to a hose.  There is also a room to the right, see front, where new metal trash cans keep dry dog food from mice.  The building is electrified and has overhead lighting.     For this climate, the entire structure is well ventilated, and in the back there are doors which could also be opened to allow cross ventilation.    This would be boring for a dog to remain in all the time, so they must be rotated to work stations in order to watch other animals and interact with our family.

I first wrote this post in 2012.  I frequently receive requests to repost it here, and so today I have. The care of our dogs and other animals particularly as winter looms is an important subject.

    On our farm, dogs are very important to us.  They keep foxes, coyotes, mountain lions, coy-dogs, dog packs, rabid animals and human beings away from our alpacas, from our ducks, our chickens, and from other dogs and cats. They let us know if someone is here, and if they shouldn't be. They would be the first line of defense in a break in situation, even before the security system went off, or the driveway alarm were to signal us. If the dogs were convinced that we were truly in danger, they would likely attack  Dogs are not only dear friends, family members and part of our farm police force.    Because they are so important, we have a considerable amount of money and effort expended in them, and in their care.
         In our area, rabies inoculations are not just the law. With rabid wild animals seen in the county with fair frequency, we are very diligent about this.   In addition, we use heartworm preventive monthly for each dog, calculated to the weight of each and veterinarian ordered.  We have annual distemper hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza and parvovirus shots done annually, usually by me, until the vet believes that they no longer need to be done annually.     (Our vet does them every three years once a dog has attained a certain age) We are considering Lyme immunizations which are now available for dogs.  We also had one dog treated a year ago for acute onset Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  The dog is fine now.
        We have a variety of different dogs for different purposes, large, small, with different skills, because they each do different work for us.  When they age beyond their jobs, they are cared for lovingly here for the rest of their lives.  They are also all licensed as a kennel as is the law in our region.
          Proper housing is essential for all dogs.   Since our dogs are working dogs, and we live in a hot climate, what works for us may not be ideal for a colder climate.  Each farm or rural home needs to evaluate what would work best.  Until a few years ago, we kept quality doghouses outside in a variety of "stations" around the farm, making sure there was always tree shade.  The dogs were assigned and often tied to those areas for a few days, and then they would rotate to another duty station.   Sometimes they would be assigned to a region where tying was unnecessary.   This is done not only to provide mental stimulation for each dog, but to rotate them in slightly different roles, as different dogs and different breeds have varying skills.
           About two years ago, we decided we needed a place which could be heated or air conditioned and managed for elderly or sick dogs, including a quarantine area.   This also serves as a great area for dogs to rest in extreme heat, or following neutering or spaying, or during icestorms or other severe weather.   We drew up a plan over a couple of months, and had our builder create a kennel.   It also has electricity and water.  This permits bathing, and also running a radio or music from time to time, which during storms can be quite calming to dogs or to other animals. The back left room has plexiglass walls over wood, so an animal can be quarantined and the area can be cleaned with veterinary germicides afterward. This way, an infection that afflicts one dog, need not impact others.

This might be where one of our dogs may be, when he is "out working"


This is an example of a kennel for one dog.  This allows a cool place with ventilation along with a secure warm and dry area also.  This would be suitable for one or two small dogs or for one larger dog.  Keep in mind, this is not enough stimulation for a dog, and they must have opportunities to exit, run, explore and spend time with you and your family as well.  In this model, you also need to be diligent about cleaning up stool and urine.  Some small dogs will actually use a litterbox.

These are other types of kennels which may provide some ideas for you:


This is a spacious kennel designed for many dogs.  Note the painted floor which makes the cleaning of urine and disinfecting much easier than with a plain concrete floor.


This is another kennel which would nicely accomodate four dogs or slightly more smaller dogs.

The interior of the kennel above.

This is another nicely constructed kennel made for someone's boarding operation.

This kennel accomodates three large dogs.

   We custom designed our kennels  and had them built by the same company that builds our barns and animal buildings.   We were seeking a building which closely resembled the look of our different types of animal structures. However, this is not necessary.  There are many companies which sell complete plans for kennels which you can buy and build yourself, or that you can provide to your own  builder.

These are a few of them:

Keep in mind, costs can be dramatically curbed by building these structures yourself, or by being creative.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Lessons Learned: Hurricane Matthew

           This appeared on James Wesley Rawles blog Survival Blog.    It is so important that I wanted to be sure to provide an important link here.   Please read it.
         It concerns important lessons learned during Hurricane Matthew.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Let's Use Some Sense With Storms


      This week, a family with whom I am acquainted mentioned that they are going to Florida on vacation. They had noticed that Hurricane Matthew was coming ashore in Northern Florida, but the wife said, "We set this up quite a while ago, and so we're going no matter what !"  Although it might be nice to think you lead such a charmed life that nothing can happen to you or your family, it is also the height of foolishness.  I have a friend whose entire party died during a trip to Florida during a hurricane. He was the only survivor, and lives with that every day.   Why would anyone choose to take their family in harms way deliberately ?   I know that we can't avoid every hazard and that we certainly can't stop driving, but we can decline the opportunity to take our families headlong into danger.

               As I write, a storm surge from Hurricane Matthew is occurring between St. Augustine and Jacksonville.  Twenty people including children are stuck in a St. Augustine bed and breakfast with rising waters and heavy winds. Pieces of hotels and railings are breaking off in winds clocked at as much as 91 mph.

               There will be plenty of disasters you and your family will be unable to avoid. Please don't deliberately travel to any !    My hopes are that everyone in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas in the path of this storm stay safe.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

An Eruption of the Colima Volcano


     Four hundred and thirty miles West of Mexico City is the Colima volcano.   Eruptions occurred today triggering the evacuation of several villages.  The hamlets of Juan Barragan, Yerbabuena, and La Becerra were all evacuated because of their close location in relation to the volcano itself. The inhabitants of those areas are living in nearby villages for the time being.  Known as the "Volcano of Fire", lava, gases and ash have been spewing from the volcano, burning faces, eyes, and making inhabitants cough. There have been eruptions of this volcano earlier in the year.

     There are far more volcanoes in the world than many us realize.  Most of us don't have a volcano plan.

The following is a video of today's eruption

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Factually Challenged Hillary Clinton

          In the event that you are a young person who wasn't yet alert enough or old enough to be watching television or reading newspapers during the Clinton presidency, there is some factual data of which you should be aware.  Please see this video:

For Survivalists: Maggot Infestation of Wounds: Myiasis


                 Most people who have an interest in survival and emergency nursing believe that maggot infestation of wounds is a problem only in the Third World.  Most correctly, maggot infestation of wounds can occur absolutely anywhere in the world.   There are a wide variety of flies including Old World and New World screw worms which can cause a fatal infestation in animals and also in people.   A soldier, a homeless person, a traveling migrant, or anyone else who frequents the out of doors or a tent living situation, can develop a wound and have flies lay larva in it.  The larvae then hatch and the insects feed on moist necrotic tissue.
                 The first time I ever saw this was the time I rescued a turtle with an compression fracture of its shell.  Flies had laid larva in the compression fracture area before I had encountered it. Once the infestation was established, not even the vet could not save the poor creature.    On a farm we see this occasionally with elderly dying animals. especially those who are no longer able to swat flies or in those who are in in multi-system failure. Even though curing the issue might not save them in the long term, it will promote their comfort. Make no mistake, some animals and some humans can die from such infestations, even when whomever is treating them finally gets a handle on the primary cause for their health problem.Infection with fly larvae can be an important cause of mortality for some.

                  Occasionally, nursing homes are fined when maggots are detected in bedsores. This is the reason that restaurants as well as nursing homes often use a blue wall device which electrocutes flies.

                    There are some harrowing accounts of soldiers from the first world war who were caught in no man's land for several days with open fractures. By the time the men were retrieved, their wounds were filled with maggots.  Such men had a 75% chance of mortality when discovered in this manner.  The Civil War also had its share of deaths from this issue.

                       In later years physicians used sterile maggots bred in labs to clean wounds with large amounts of necrotic tissue, however these are specially bred and fairly innocuous  types and the entire process is watched very carefully.

                    Myiasis is the medical term for such infestations. It is pronounced as if written my-eye-a-sis.

There are a variety of different classes of infections of this type:

1. The first one is a nosocomial myiasis.   Nosocomial always means hospital acquired or acquired during the course of receiving medical care.  (An example of this would be the bedsore with myiasis encountered by the nursing home patient as I mentioned earlier.)    Hospitals take great steps to avoid flies for this reason.

2.  A cutaneous myiasis is also possible.   This is an infection of this kind within the skin. This is far more common in tropical regions, but it can occur almost anywhere in the world.
3. Infections of the eye, or Opthalmomyiasis can also occur.
4. Such infections may also occur in other body orifices, such as nose, ears and occasionally mouths. The urinary tract and the intestine may also be infected, particularly when someone ingested larva in food or drink.
5. In animals, injections of Ivermectin and Dectomax can be used to kill the invading agent.  Although this is done in animals often, Ivermectin can cause liver enzyme increases and is rarely used in human beings, although it is known to work, particularly in Africa where it has often been used in those with helminthic eye infections.  In human beings, a 1% topical solution may be used, particularly when the wound is near the eye. Stromectol is one of the brand names of this drug when used in human beings.
6. Improved personal hygiene and better handling of trash can also improve the likelihood of not contracting such an infection.
7. Occasionally antibiotics of certain types may help with secondary bacterial infection, but will not help against the invasion of these larvae. 
8. It is possible simply to cover the wound with generous amounts of vaseline, choking off the larvae. They will slough off when dead by themselves in about 5-8 weeks.  Rarely, a physician will surgically remove them, but this is often not the best course, and leaving them to slough off may be the safest course after thick vaseline application.    Theoretically, vegetable oil or thick mayonnaise could be used, although I would be concerned that food substances may attract other flies.

How such an infection progresses depends largely upon the species of fly and worm that invades the wound.  There are some as mentioned in the cutaneous version above that afflict intact skin.
Infections of all these types may lead to septicemia and to death.

Of course, the most prudent course with regard to Myiasis is PREVENTION.

When someone in your party is injured, wounds should be bandaged when possible. They should stay indoors until the wound has almost healed.   Badly injured people in wilderness situations should be in the most solid and clean structure you have, away from food which might attract flies.  Building this patient a "net bubble" as is often done with children sleeping in parts of Africa in order to avoid malaria, may also be beneficial.
In the cutaneous versions of this disease, the insect often creates an air hole for itself.  You may be able to get the insect to come to the surface for removal by covering the open hole with a thick glob of vaseline, cutting off its air.

I am well aware that this is a difficult topic for many to read about and that the mental images of such are particularly unpleasant.  However, during a migration, a protracted disaster with or without injuries, this can be an issue. Proper management can make a difference in the survival of the infected.

    The pictures of such were so disturbing that I chose not to include them so that our readers were more likely to read and learn from this article.  They certainly can be googled.

 Preparedness Implications:
 In view of this, please purchase extra vaseline, extra gauze for application to wounds and extra amounts of clean roller gauze in order to secure the gauze to such wounds.   Consider buying mosquito netting for your emergency medical kits.   A bug zapper might be a good idea also.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Why the Hanjin Bankruptcy Matters

 The following is the exclusive work product of Emergency Essentials and can be found on their blog at:

Emergency Essentials Hanjin Article


 It is so important that I have reprinted it here with credit to them.

  Please also check out the Emergency Essential blog while you are there.


Hanjin Shipping Declares Bankruptcy: Stranded Cargo Prompts Financial Preparedness

Hanjin Shipping

On August 31, Hanjin Shipping declared bankruptcy. The South Korean company’s declaration left $14 billion worth of cargo and more than half a million containers stranded offshore, as ports fearful of going unpaid refused to allow the company’s ships to dock or unload.
So why should we care?
First, Hanjin Shipping transports 8 percent of manufactured goods that enter into the United States. Look around. Imagine if one item of every 12 you see suddenly became unavailable. It adds up fast, doesn’t it? Companies like Wal-Mart and Target are twiddling their thumbs while they wait for Hanjin to work out how it’s going to pay to get everything unloaded. Even if they don’t have anything on the ships in limbo, they still have to try to find other ways to ship their goods. Samsung, for example, is considering sending smartphones and devices in cargo planes to accommodate its U.S. market. That’s going to cost extra.
And this time of year, as retailers order more goods for holidays, there’s not a lot of extra shipping space to go around. Already, freight prices for Asia-U.S. cargo have jumped 40 percent, according to The Wall Street Journal. Honestly, what are the odds retailers won’t pass any of these costs on to consumers?
Second, for the moment, fewer manufactured goods are reaching the U.S. Though no one is predicting shortages, and every financial planner predicts the bankruptcy mess will be sorted out by the end of the year, it means supply could be temporarily reduced, again driving up prices right around the holidays.
“This is not impacting store shelves now,” Nate Herman, a senior vice president for the American Apparel & Footwear Association, told The Wall Street Journal. “It will impact store shelves if the situation isn’t resolved.”

pipeline-colonial-pipeline Hanjin Shipping 
Leaking oil pipe in Alabama - Image via Colonial Pipeline

The world is a global marketplace. A bankruptcy in Asia can cause the cost of goods to increase in Indianapolis. A leaking oil pipe in Alabama can cause fuel shortages and governors to declare states of emergency in six states.
“The key to keep in mind is that anything can happen,” said Kaylee Chen, a peer mentor at the University of Utah Personal Money Management Center, in an e-mail. Add, “anywhere.”
“Therefore, always prepare for any possible emergency,” she said.
Start by building long-term food storage. And don’t be afraid to use it when you need it.
Early in 2015, avian influenza affected more than 35 million egg-laying hens, or 12 percent of the domestic population, according to a June 22, 2015 blog from the American Egg Board.
The USDA’s Egg Market News Report said for the week of June 22, 2015 a dozen large eggs sold for a $2.35 national average. The average price over the previous three years, for the same week, was about 95 cents.
If you have powdered eggs when eggs prices are sky high, you can use them instead. This 2010 article in the Deseret News, a Utah newspaper, tells how to use powdered eggs in everyday cooking.
Second, have an emergency savings.
Kayleen Chen, a peer mentor at the University of Utah’s Personal Money Management Center, suggested the 50/30/20 rule. Fifty percent of a paycheck should go toward fixed expenses, like house payments and utilities. Discretionary expenses that can be adjusted, like grocery bills and fuel, should take up about 30 percent. Twenty percent should go toward short-term savings, an emergency fund and retirement.

Hanjin Shipping Containers

The short-term savings fund is for future expenses like holidays or a down payment. An emergency fund helps when things come up like car repairs or doctor bills, to avoid paying for them with high-interest debt like credit cards or short-term loans.
Women should put 12 percent of their salary toward retirement; men 10 percent, Chen said.
“The reality is that women live longer and make less income than men,” she said.
Third, get out of debt. Interest never stops, even when you’re struggling.
Consider learning additional skills that can translate into side jobs for additional income or to help get out of debt. Chen used the example of a piano teacher. She also encouraged a budget or lifestyle change. Peter Dunn, a financial columnist for USA Today, suggested decreasing spending by 10 to 15 percent over time.
Personal finance collapses like job loss, divorce, medical emergencies and retirement are far more common than a major shipping company’s collapse. Creating a long-term food storage, getting out of debt and saving can reduce their impact.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

August 24, 2016 Earthquake in Italy

Photos: Associated Press

  Yesterday, a devastating 6.2 earthquake occurred in Central Italy causing the deaths of at least 300 people.  Shops, churches and medieval structures were flattened.   A series of aftershocks also occurred in Umbria,  LeMarche, and Lazio. The village of Amatrice has been flattened and completely destroyed. There has been a high level of aftershocks, and with electricity out, it has been difficult to contact emergency responders.    Accumoli, and Pescara del Tronto are also all but destroyed. Forty three hundred people are searching for survivors underneath collapsed buildings.

Rendering: US Plate Geological Survey/NY Times  This is the location of the quake with damage.

      I will update this post as more information is available. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Oral Rehydration Solutions for Various Animal Species


(Picture from: )

   I used to buy a commercial apple flavored electrolyte powder which could be added to water for horses. I usually used a gallon sized orange or lemon gatorade for alpacas, dogs or even ailing poultry.  I have been very lucky with my interventions with animals and many of my animals, whatever the species, live far beyond their normal life expectancies.   Lately though I have been doing some research.  The commercial apple flavored electrolyte mix for horses has gone up to fifty dollars for a large container. It is sold out in my area, and the livestock supply house where I buy the heavy bucket size says they may not be buying it again.  In addition, I have read that horse electrolytes may not been formulated in the manner that is best for alpacas. Even though they are mammals, other species do not need electrolytes balanced exactly as humans do. Also, giving sugar to other animal species (other than hummingbirds, of course) without a specific veterinary direction to do so can be risky. We also need to establish for each species when the use of a rehydration solution or electrolytes is indicated. Although some farmers leave an electrolyte water solution out for horses or alpacas all the time, many vets think that this may be a bad practice. It may cause tooth decay. It may allow bacterial growth in sugared water that is sitting all day, and it may attract flies, even the more dangerous borer variety. So we should define the conditions for each species under which we would use such things. Since we are planning in advance for such emergencies, you have time to consult your equine vet or your farm vet either during a routine visit you have already scheduled, or by talking to them online.

                  Rather than spending fifty dollars for a large container of apple horse electrolyte, you could gather the ingredients for your own. Place the boxed ingredients and a copy of the recipe in a large transparent freezer style bag and then mark it for the animal species for which it is intended. Since I have alpacas, horses, dogs, guinea fowl, chickens, ducks, cats, and sheep, some could be used interchangeably but many formulations should not. 

 Then, after you have created a species specific  rehydration kit, place it in a location where you can gather it at a moment's notice.  

Some electrolytes are best delivered to the animal in water, where others might get more of it when given as a top dress to their dry food, with water given nearby.

        Since this was one of my tasks this week, I established an electrolyte and rehydration kit for each species here, and then I placed it in a durable large plastic bag. Then I marked each bag with the species for which it is intended to be used. Then I placed each prepared bag in a rectangular plastic bin with a lid which came from Wal-Mart. Then I placed a piece of masking tape on the lid and the side of the box and marked it "Varietal species rehydration kits" When kept in a cool dry place with the component parts in original packaging, they should last for a considerable period of time, perhaps many years.

The benefits are as follows:

1. By creating rehydration packages for each species and placing them in a large freezer bag, you are saving a great deal of money over purchasing the prepared varieties.
2. You will know how to make such solutions for each animal species you have and be enabled to hydrate your animals in a more customized  fashion.
3. You will reexamine your own practices of hydration and have a better plan for hydration when indicated, not simply when it's hot.
4. On finding an animal with heat stress or another issue during hot weather, by having these packs pre-gathered, you are not only saving the time by not needing to run out and gather these things under what could be worse conditions than now, but you are going to be able to provide appropriate rehydration much more quickly than if your animal had to wait for you to return from a quick emergency trip. You will have the species specific recipe and the materials right in the plastic package.
5. Remember that very hot conditions may trigger the need for rehydration solutions, but that diarrhea necessitates at least a phone call to a veterinarian. Diarrhea is not normal and although it can indicate a simple change in diet, it can also indicate gastrointestinal worms, or a serious infectious disorder of some kind, which could require additional intervention often in terms of a drug, in addition to rehydration.

This is the unsweetened flavoring. It doesn't take much of this to flavor for horses or alpacas.  Sometimes, plain lemon juice works best.  This is great to have as a backup in your rehydration kit to add to one of the recipes here.

Animals who are too hot, too cold, under stress, or found in Winter with frozen water should receive assistance with rehydration.  Animals with diarrhea need to be provided with rehydration solution as well as plain water immediately, and then you need to call your vet.


Some people believe that their horse automatically requires electrolytes in hot weather. Vets say this is not always true.  A horse should always have access to a clean bucket of plain water, and should have access to salt. For many horses, this may be all you need to do. Generally having a lot of plain salt blocks available and having them in a protected plastic bag is a good plan. I try to stock up when they are on sale.
For a horse with diarrhea,exhaustion or excessive perspiration, they lose salt and water.  Again, find out what your equine vet's objectives are if this happens.

This is one home recipe for equine replacement of electrolytes:


This particular one is sugar free and ideal for a horse with insulin resistance

26 ounces of NON-iodized salt
22 ounces of Lite Salt (potassium)
2 Tablespoons of Epsom Salt
OPTIONAL: One half packet of unsugared unsweetened lemon Kool-aid
        (Some horses benefit from the flavoring)

This can be used as either a top dress to feed or added to a separate bucket of water.  If the horse is one of the few who do not like the taste, you may add lemon juice, 6 Tablespoons.



Some equine vets believe that in Summer, especially active horses may benefit from a bucket of plain water, and then this solution placed next to it.  This is helpful for horses who aren't fans or frequent users of a salt block.

    5 ounces of non-iodized salt added to

    5 gallons of water



Mix equal amounts of non-iodized salt with
                            Morton's or similar Lite Salt (which is potassium chloride)
in five gallons of water.
  ( In this method, your horse should also eat because most horse feed contains adequate magnesium  and calcium.)




Take a clean five gallon bucket.
Add equal amounts of non-iodized salt, Morton lite salt (potassium) and baking soda.
You may flavor with lemon juice.
Do not add sugar unless vet has ordered it for a specific reason.

This is a great hot weather supplement in addition to having a salt block and plain water available.

Some farms keep this available in Winter also, in a heated bucket.


Notes on alpaca hydration:  Although many of us have gotten away with using four or five scoops of a lemon gatorade powder in a five gallon bucket for alpacas at risk, vets tell us that gatorade is low in electrolytes and high in sugar for alpacas, and so the recipe above is superior for them.
Resorb, can also be used in emergencies. Check with your vet and his/her objectives. 


You may use the alpaca recipe above.  Please read the links below on sheep dehydration also.


You may use Gatorade solution so long as you are also providing plain water.   Resorb as reconstituted for humans will also work. The alpaca recipe would also be helpful.  However, a goat who is dehydrated is very sick indeed and requires veterinary input in order to rectify the underlying cause of the dehydration whether it be infectious or otherwise.


 Chickens, Ducks, Guineas, Doves, Pigeons, 

These animals should generally have an abundant and clean supply of water, year round.
Last year, a Texas chicken farmer told me that when it becomes hotter than 100 degrees F, he slightly salts the chicken feed for his chickens once time each morning.  I have been doing this here in Virginia, and I have not had any sudden hen deaths since.

If you find one of your birds injured, stressed or ill, they should still have abundant water and food, but they should also have available.

Bird Rehydrator         Gather the materials and bag in advance, but mix only when needed

1. Place one gallon of water in a clean bucket 
2. Add one tablespoon powdered sugar   (or plain sugar if that's what you have)
3. Add one teaspoon non-iodized table salt.
4. Add one teaspoon baking soda
5. Add 1/2 tsp. Morton lite salt (which is potassium)

  Most of the time no additional flavorings will be needed.  Lemon juice, one tsp could be added. 

Recommended United Kingdom Recipe for bird rehydration  (Structured in measurements most familiar to them.)

7g sodium chloride
5g sodium bicarbonate
3g potassium chloride
40g glucose
2 litres water

  It is not necessary and could be harmful to provide the electrolyte solution to birds who are well so save this recipe for the sick or stressed animals.

 Rehydration Solution for Dogs:

A dog who is rescued and looks slightly dry and is hungry, can be given lots of plain water and food.  Lemon gatorade can be offered in addition.   A dog with a more complex issue will need veterinary attendance.

Rehydration Solution for Cats:

Cat Rehydration Recipe #1:

Plain lemon gatorade in addition to a separate dish of water nearby will work for most cats.

Cat Recipe #2
This recipe is designed for cats in kidney failure who are having trouble holding on to potassium.
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
    (Use spring or filtered water to avoid chlorine and flouride.)
  • 2 Tablespoons raw honey
    (Raw honey has natural antibiotic properties.)
  • 3/8 Teaspoon sea salt
    (Table salt from the supermarket has sugar in it – [what, you haven’t read the label recently and noticed this?] – and is missing all the trace minerals available in a good quality sea salt.)
  • 1/8 Teaspoon potassium salt (365 mg)
    (Sometimes called “potassium chloride” and available in health food stores in powder form.  I use the NOW brand Potassium Chloride Powder and that’s the basis for this measurement.)
  • 1 Teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    (For a bit of vitamin C and to cut the sweetness.)
  • Enough water to make 2 full cups (16 ounces).
  • A glass bottle that will hold 2 cups of electrolyte liquid for storage purposes.
  • A 1-ounce brown dropper bottle for easy dispensing.
  • An extra dropper for dosing your cat so the dropper in the bottle isn’t contaminated.
  1. Put the raw honey into the warm water and stir.  I use a small wire whisk, but a fork will do as well.  You want to break up the honey and spread it through the water.
  2. Add the sea salt, potassium salt, and lemon juice.
  3. Put the mixture into the glass bottle and add enough water to make 2 full cups.
  4. Shake well.  This distributes the ingredients evenly throughout the liquid.
  5. Pour about an ounce of this into the dropper bottle.
  6. Refrigerate both bottles.
 Offer four times a day.
 A sick cat should be seen by a veterinarian as quickly as possible.
This recipe was obtained at:


More detail from veterinarians in dehydration treatment and assessment:

Information on Lamb Dehydration from a Veterinarian

Information on Sheep Care: 

Data on Pigeon Rescue:

DISCLAIMER:   This post is designed to allow an owner or animal enthusiast hydrate an animal while the vet is either on his way or while you are making arrangements to have your animal seen by one.   Dehydration is often a symptom of an infectious illness or a serious disorder. Unless you are absolutely certain as to a cause of dehydration do not simply treat for dehydration without getting a vet's input after initiating rehydration.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Please See: " My Recollections of Tim Kaine"

Tim Kaine, his wife Ann Holton (far left) with Queen Elizabeth shaking the hand of a Mattaponi chief.   Photo was taken in 2007 when Kaine was governor of Virginia.   (Photo: yahoo)

  Politics so often spills over, or at times, vomits up over our plans that impact preparedness.  Some politicians have actually spurred families to prepare.

 Please read my post on another of my blogs:

My Recollections of Tim Kaine

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Why Happenings in Turkey Matter


(Photo: Tech. Sgt. William Gomez/Air Force)

   I know that many of you are wondering why I have not covered the tragedy in France, yet I am discussing the happenings in Turkey.  America is hearing plenty regarding the egregious attack on Nice which cost the lives of 84 people, 10 of them children, and injured 200. Many of these are still in critical condition. A lot of damage can be done with a nineteen ton refrigerator truck. Although my condolences go to France and the people of Nice, this is being covered by mainstream news. and the right information about Turkey may not be.

              Turkey is a member of NATO, and its Incirlik airbase is an important strategic location for us for operations which take place in the Middle East, especially against ISIS. It is a key staging area for attacks against the "so called Islamic State".  Instability in Turkey translates to fewer friends and less cooperation for us in the MIddle East. It also translates to more opportunities for ISIS.

               The coup yesterday was serious because it shakes stability of the region.  It's failure is also peculiar, despite the fact that Mr. Obama supports Erdogan.

              Today, one day after the failed coup attempt, news reports are indicating that Turkey has closed air space over its Incirlik Air Base effectively grounding US planes. All US military personnel are confined to the base.  Sadly, the stop in attacks against ISIS may allow the group to regroup.

             Furthermore, according to the Military Times, all US dependents currently in Turkey have been ordered to leave. This will impact at least seven hundred spouses and children.  I have also just heard that outside electricity to the Incirlik base has been cut.

              Please pray for stability for the region and safety for those embroiled in it. 

Update:  As of late July 17th, American operations at the Incirlik Air Base have resumed.

Turkey's Coup Has Failed

This is Friday night in Turkey.  This picture was taken by and is the property of REUTERS

       This is an update following yesterdays post concerning the coup in Turkey.  Both of the individuals I know in Turkey are safe.

                   According to BBC News, the coup in Turkey against Erdogan's government, has failed. More than 2800 soldiers including many high ranking have been arrested. One hundred and sixty one people have been killed and one thousand four hundred and forty have been injured. Erdogan is very likely to begin executing senior staff.   The official word is that the group that started the coup is unknown, however Erdogan rightly or wrongly believes a Muslim cleric Fethulah Gulen, a US based but powerful cleric is responsible. Others speculate that Russia thinks Erdogan has been in power too long.

                    Turkey is deeply divided and polarized over Erdogan's transformation of Turkey from a secular state to an Islamic one, and also over spillover from the Syrian war.  This is likely not to be the last coup in Turkey.