Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Do Not Despair This Christmas





            A lot of people I know are deeply discouraged.  Whether they were Republicans or Democrats, the idea that this election saw rampant voter fraud and numerous manipulations has been disturbing to many people. They know that once leaders are selected and then elections are massaged in order to get that individual in, that this does not change. If this is allowed to stand, then free and fair elections may be gone for the United States for a long time. This election may result in the end of our American Republic as we have known it.   Then, the Supreme Court for which we as Americans pay a great deal in order to keep our learned attorneys on the bench for a lifetime failed us by refusing to hear a case and therefore refusing to uphold the U.S. Constitution. Most people realize that conventional media has been bought and paid for, and is no longer publishing truth.

                Others are challenged by, at least, the local management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of them have lost businesses, and others sit on the edge of losing homes.  Others sit by unable to pay their taxes in this unprecedented mess while the aid so badly needed does not seem forthcoming.


                 In my own life I know that the times of greatest darkness, have also been the times in which I have been shown miracles.  If I think back in this year despite the terrible examples of people who claim to or who have been our leaders, I saw a number of heroes this year.   I saw the owner of a commercial building waive several months rent completely for a charity organization that aids those with drug problems.  I saw the owners of a very large business sell their estate in order to have the money to continue to pay their employees for an extended period during the pandemic. They did so because they considered this their obligation to their employee's families and because God had granted them all their business successes, and they believed He would again. 


                With record dog and cat abandonment in California and animal shelters closed due to the pandemic, there were record numbers of euthanizations, but there were also people who regularly moved Heaven and Earth to rescue as many animals as possible, and to find the animals homes all over the country.  Lastly, I recall a young mother who rose to the occasion beautifully when her baby daughter was found to have a serious lifelong disorder.  I am honored to have seen the actions of all these people, under this year's duress.

                Please know that there are lots of courageous people working on the issues which presently plague our country.  Although the systems we have trusted in the past do not appear to be working for us, there are good people among us. God will not fail the good people of the United States, and they are there, often living right alongside those who have made the proverbial deals with Satan. 


                 As one of my Scandinavian friends said today, Merry Yule.  This may be a Christmas different from all the others we have known, but it will be no less miraculous.  May God bless you, your family, and may God bless America, and its legitimate and honest leaders.


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

It's Not Over Yet


                                            From the Dallas News




   Keep close watch on events and please call your Congressmen and Senators.  Widespread voter fraud must not be allowed to stand in the United States.



      And may God Bless Texas !













Monday, November 23, 2020

A Discussion of Aging Disaster Room Supplies




              I don't think that even a custom conventional canning storage system would have helped.


        I anticipated a number of the challenges we are experiencing as a nation now, and so, when we built our latest farm in about 2006, we took the time to design and have built a new disaster supply room in our newly constructed farm home.  We had the builder leave the large basement room sheetrocked, painted, but unfinished, so that we could take the time to plan, decorate, and stock the fairly large room, for its purpose, as we wanted.  Within a few weeks of having moved in, my husband placed lighting fixtures that better met our liking. He constructed solid wooden shelving systems around the room, built a locking closet for medications, placed a locking metal cabinet, etc.  This room was to be for medical supplies, long term food storage, emergency items such as sleeping bags, tents, go bags, medical evacuation kits, etcetera.   Weaponry would not be stored in this location.  For a time it had a safe which contained documents, also for evacuation.  We were well satisfied when the room was complete. Over six more months, I stocked it with all manner of emergency supplies including food. Most of it was conventional canned goods, although I did begin to stock some #10 cans of long term food supplies. The room was heated, cooled, and was an excellent quick way of locating anything from dressing materials for injuries to Apinol to steri-strips.  I maintained it with the occasional dusting, vacuuming, and we did use some of the food periodically, and then rotating such stock.  It also had a radio and communication and entertainment devices.

              In a sense, a disaster supply room is living working location. During periodic emergencies, such as hurricanes, I gave flat absorbent pads (chux), packages of gauze, gatorade and pedialyte packages to friends and neighbors, when needed. This working room did require both funding and maintenance. We realized that we were lucky to have a finished room in the house for this purpose.

              When the main barn here was built, a tack room went in, and most veterinary medications were moved to a shelving system in the tack room which was well insulated, finished, and heated in winter. This left space in the disaster supply room and it quickly filled with other supplies.  When the barn was complete, and the water was tied in from the house, my husband chose to plumb it to the house, rather than to hire a plumber.  One night, I heard the sound that is heard sometimes when someone is filling horse buckets in the barn, yet no one was. I got up to see what was going on. There were several inches of water in the finished basement of our home !   My husband had married a brass fixture with a plastic one, and at midnight, the connection in the basement had popped and fulled our tall basement with water.  Both of us and two of our sons spent the entire night, moving items from the water, sucking up water with two industrial vacuum cleaners that were wet/dry industrial vacs. We called Servpro, and asked for some guidance and they said they would be there in the morning. We lost about a thousand dollars worth of medical supplies that night. Once wet, sterile supplies must be thrown away. In the morning, Servpro arrived and removed the baseboards in the entire basement, poked holes in all the sheet rock below the baseboards, and then placed hoses that ran for hours drying the insides of walls in order to avoid mold.  Although we did speak with our homeowners carrier, we did not make a claim. Our homeowners insurance is high enough, and so we chose to pay the repairs ourselves rather than seeing a rise in our premiums.  A fifty pound bag of rice which had just been purchased to repack in buckets, had sucked up a lot of the water.  It took a considerable amount of time to repair this damage, although it was, and it was done so, immediately and attentively.  A plumber repaired the burst pipe issue.

           In 2011, our area endured a 5.8 earthquake.  We were very lucky. A neighboring county lost the high school and an elementary school. Our builder's home lost its foundation. A number of high end homes broke in half. Relatives of ours lost their home. Many area wells were destroyed. Many brick chimneys were destroyed and fell onto roofs damaging them also. There was damage to the University of Virginia, and to original buildings from Thomas Jefferson's time. There was damage to the National Cathedral and to the Lincoln Memorial in DC. Buildings were seen swaying as far away as Toronto, in Canada.  

    As I mentioned, we were lucky. An antique piece of cloisonne fell from the mantle to the hearth and was impressively dented on one side. A square plastic can of ketchup from Sam's Club, that I use to add sauce to meatloaf before cooking which had been sitting atop the frij, fell and ruptured, making the kitchen look like a crime scene. The water from the well was slightly muddy and so we had a well contractor out to survey the damage to it.  Within the kitchen pantry and the disaster supply room, it was as if cans had been thrown everywhere. Some glass containers of wine and sparkling cider had broken, and damaged other boxed food stored in the disaster supply room itself.  This time, we weren't so quick to clean it. We were busy and it was such a terrible mess. We cleaned up the wet messes, but did not reorganize as we had in the past.

      We also began to think that we needed to decentralize some of our emergency supplies. What would have happened had the house been damaged and we had not been able to gain entry for a time to our disaster supply room ?     Our focus then shifted to building another exterior building for emergency supplies that could be accessed after an emergency. We decided to have three abbreviated caches of supplies, rather than one very complete, but vulnerable, disaster supply room.  It took time, but we did this. Now, the time we have to spend, clean and rotate stock in the disaster supply room is fragmented.

       In the winter of 2015, I shrieked while in the disaster supply room. A mouse ran over my foot as I went to check for a six pack box of mandarin oranges from a shelf.  I hate mice !   My husband set traps immediately, and we believed we had averted a disaster.  Later that Spring, we found they had taken an entire package of cotton balls and used them for nesting. By 2016, the mice were gone, but we were about to find out why.......     I encountered a snake in the disaster supply room !   I ran from the room and didn't enter it for another month.  Cleaning and rotating supplies were left to my husband, as was the removal of the snake.

     By 2018, the small refrigerator we keep in the disaster supply room stopped working. We lost some prescription animal mediation,  and some insulin we were storing for emergencies for a family member.

We replaced it, and noticed that the floor in the room was curling as a probable result of our flood. 

      In 2019,  I went into the disaster supply room to get a shoulder splint for a friend, and I noticed that a couple of cans of pineapple had exploded !  What a terrible mess!  I generally don't buy Chinese canned goods, but these cans had seemed more solid than usual, and so I took the chance. About twelve cans squirted with juice, now black, had to be thrown away.  The wooden shelving was badly stained, and I was unsure as to how to completely clean it. Bleach and water did not clean it to its original condition.

    In 2020, it is time for a complete clean out and organization of the disaster supply room.  A great deal is expired, or hasn't aged as well as we'd hoped, even in a heated and cooled area.  It has been a terrible and protracted set of tasks.

      Here are some things I have learned that might help you.

1.    Unless you are regularly using them, limit the use of conventional canned foods. Although my parents used to keep many canned foods for ten years without any difficulties, the cans of today and much thinner, and are canned with less care. No less that seven to ten of our cans have leaked or exploded, making a terrible mess on the shelf or the cabinet in which they had been stored.  Keep canned foods in your regular pantry, and use them promptly.  For longer term storage, consider #10 freeze dried or some dehydrated cans. Store them in heated and cooled areas to ensure their lifespan.

2. I know that some faiths and families store seven years worth of food, and I think that inadvertently, I may have.  I am rethinking this amount.  I no longer have a large family living within our home. Half of our kids have left home, and two have their own homes and their own food storage. Be sure to adjust downward your stock as your family situation changes.

3. Make a schedule and maintain your disaster supply room.  It can't help you if you don't remember what is contained there.  It also might be wise to have mouse traps or devices to repel mice all the time, not just when you think there could be a problem.  Rotate your stock.

4. Consider rather than having one very large disaster supply room, placing medical supplies in one place, and long term food storage in another. Separating your stores might help to ensure that if one area is damaged or contaminated for some reason, that your other supplies remain pristine.

5. Emergencies will happen of one type or another as you move throughout life. Be flexible. Understand that some of your food may well be wasted due to one circumstance or another.

6. Interestingly, our medical supplies aged as expected.  Perhaps I was more attentive to rotation and discarding such supplies when needed.

#DisasterSupplyRoom    #DisasterSupplyRoomChallenges    #EmergencyFoodStores




Saturday, November 7, 2020

On Broad Failings and on Electoral Dysfunction

                I am declining from making any specific comments with regard to the recent and as yet incomplete attempts at a US election, and the egregious role the media has played in it.  Instead, I would like to direct your attention to the comments of my friend, an attorney, Michael Snyder.  I believe he can express most of my feelings in a reasoned manner.


May God help us all.

In addition, this is official information:


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The Value of Assessing Animal Feed and Nutrition Periodically


Walter, sheered and happy.



                 In 1999, after our young family moved to a rural area where we built a farm, we bought a starter herd of alpacas from the Pacific Northwest.  Our foundational herd had individuals who hailed from Bolivia and Chile. Since we were the first in our county to have alpacas, we had some challenges in terms of finding a farm vet who felt comfortable and qualified in their care.  Initially, we received some guidance from a farm vet who had a background in veterinary care at zoos.  Her initial recommendation for feed included using the Mazuri Zoo Line, which is formulated for many different types of animals. We purchased the Mazuri Zoo Feed formulated for alpacas and other camelids. We also supplemented zinc, particularly since ours were being bred.

               Twenty years have now passed. Alpacas in the wild may not live as long as fifteen years, but in captivity and with nutrition carefully considered, they may live longer. Many of ours lived to 24 or 25.  Most died of extreme old age. One died of astrocytoma. Over all, our animals had long and happy lives. A few still remain here, that are children of individuals of that original unrelated herd.  A couple of years ago, our animal feed purveyor went out of business, and we could no longer find anyone who would provide the few bags of alpaca Mazuri Zoo line that we used as a supplement to the grass they graze upon.  We still needed an alpaca specific pelleted supplement.  We found that another animal feed provider had an alpaca/llama supplement and that they were pleased to sell us as little as a bag a month. I noticed as I read the analysis, that some of the trace elements and some of the vitamin amounts per pound were less than the Mazuri product, but I also realized that since we were no longer breeding, that we likely didn't need amounts as high.

               Just recently, during the pandemic, we found we were unable to get quality hay for our horses, alpacas and sheep from our original supplier, and so we found another.  They mentioned that they also sold animal feed. When I asked about alpaca pelleted supplement, they were pleased to provide the small amount that we now use. She provided the Nutritional Analysis information so that I could compare her food with the feed we had been providing. This is also helpful so that I may decide how slowly to introduce the new feed to the old, and then gradually decrease the old feed in order to avoid gastrointestinal difficulties, which is a good idea when making changes the food of any animal.  I noticed immediately that there were significantly higher amounts of certain vitamins in the new food than the old. I also noticed that there were also some vitamins that weren't supplemented at all in our last feed.  Interestingly, in the past twenty years, a lot has been learned about alpacas, and one of the things that has changed are the recommendations for the amount of supplementation of certain vitamins and minerals. We actually had been very lucky to have our animals live so long without the up to date supplement.

               My point is that when you care for horses, sheep, goats, alpacas or anything else, once you find strategies that work well, you tend to stick with them. However, lots of veterinary research takes place all the time, and recommendation with regard to drugs, and also with regard to food does change. Each time you see a farm veterinarian, please tell them what variety of feed you are using, and show them the nutritional analysis.  Your providing this information could result in a change the vet makes, that they might  not have otherwise made had you not called the issue to their attention. Remember that a clean and loving environment, coupled with clean water and appropriate feed and forage is the most important thing you can do for your animals in terms of ensuring their optimal long term health.

              Weeks into the feed change, I cannot say that the alpacas look much different. I can say that they are calmer on the larger dose of Vitamin D3, Vitamin A, niacin and thiamine.

                Of course, the points I have raised here apply to all animals you might choose to raise.



Sunday, September 13, 2020

A Word About Chiggers


                          Chiggers are a family of mites who are a member of the Trombiculidae Family, which is part of the Arachnid or spider family. They can afflict human beings, and can afflict birds, rodents, dogs, and horses.  In the US, these are most often found in the Southeast, the South and sometimes in the Mid-West. Canada used not to have chiggers, but the latest literature says that Southern Ontario now does. One reference says that they can now be found worldwide.  Most often they are unseen, but occasionally they can be seen as extremely tiny black or red dots. 

                             Human beings don't generally feel their bites, but once a chigger larva bites and burrows, he extends a tiny tube or a stylostome in order to extract body fluids for nutrition. Often we are bitten by more than one at a time. They like folded and damp areas of skin like the groin, the ankles, the axillae, behind the knees, and under the belt region. The chigger's saliva causes a reaction for us, and even after the chigger has fallen off, we are troubled by significant and intense itching in the area. The itching can be so intense that we may not be able to sleep. Although the issue is ultimately self limiting, it can be very annoying.

This is a very typical appearance of chigger bites.

                                      This is a rather typical appearance of chigger bites.

                             A few years ago, a physician friend of ours got chiggers from her husband who had been golfing, and then even after a shower, brought the chiggers home to his wife where they both suffered for a few days.

                          There is a commercial preparation called Chigger-rid which is available in the American South. What I usually do for chiggers is take a 2x2 gauze pad and wet it with Hydrogen Peroxide 3% and then scrub the regions of obvious chigger damage. The centers will fizz and usually this will help the small wound to resolve more quickly. It also seems to help with the itching. Some lesions will need a second or a third cleansing.   Others find Calamine or ice to be helpful.

                           We used to believe that chiggers were simply a summer annoyance and that it was a sign that we hadn't been as careful as we should have been in very deep grass or woodland areas. However, since we had a mild winter here, it has been a banner year for chiggers for almost everyone. Chiggers can also afflict your horses and dogs, and they can lead to enough scratching that a local infection can occur. One of my horses was afflicted this year and this was such a discomfort to him that it adversely impacted his eating and required treatment.  The literature also discusses a dog who developed serious neurologic problems following a chigger infestation.  We also know that some types of chiggers can spread scrub typhus. (I have placed a link below on scrub typhus) The antibiotic doxycyline is sometimes used for humans or animals who have been infected by chiggers and ticks and who are now febrile.  It is possible that chiggers can spread other tick borne varieties of illness and that this is simply not yet known.  So it would be wise to see a physician if you have a bothersome cluster of chigger bites and then develop a fever.


                          Chiggers may also look like this. Some people have particularly sensitive skin in which the area of induration may be much broader than in the earlier pictures. (Picture courtesy of webmd.com)




Thursday, August 27, 2020

A Primer on Human Metapneumovirus or HMPV


                I do a huge amount of continuing medical education, in part to continue to be licensed as a registered nurse in a number of states, some of which have different educational requirements than others, for continued licensure, and in part because I have a personal interest. In the past couple of years, for the purpose of being able to compound medication for both humans and veterinary uses, I also obtained a credential as a pharmacy technician. I hold certification in every state, and a license to practice in my home state. Of course, there is a fair chunk of continuing education involved in that too.  This is why it is surprising that I had absolutely not completed any continuing education which mentioned this.

                HMPV or Human Metapneumovirus was first discovered in 2001. It is a leading cause of respiratory infection within the world.  It is a relative of RSV or respiratory syncytial virus, which is a virus that can leave a premature child or young child with asthma for a lifetime, if he or she is to contract it as a youngster.  Both of my youngest sons had RSV in the 1990s and were therefore afflicted, thankfully only with mild asthma.  Both RSV and HMPV are members of the paramyxovirus family.

                HMPV can afflict people of absolutely any age and can impact both the upper respiratory and lower respiratory tree. It's incubation period after exposure is between 3-6 days and degree of illness is variable. Although it is a significant respiratory infection, sufferers may also have conjunctivitis.   In the US, winter and spring are the times of year that are most likely times to contract it.   One can contract it from coughs, sneezes, shaking hands, or from objects one might touch that were also touched by infected persons. Prevention is therefore important.  As yet, we have no specific treatment or immunization for it.

                 Prevention is therefore focused on:

1. Diligent handwashing for at least 20 seconds with soap.

2. Avoiding those who are sick. Staying home if you are.

3. Avoiding kissing. Avoiding the use of utensils and cups which belong to others.

4. Covering your nose and mouth while sneezing.

5. Avoiding those who are sick and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, mouth or face.

6. Daily cleaning of your counters, sinks, doorknobs etc. can help to prevent spread throughout your home.

             We do have specific lab tests which can ascertain whether or not you have HMPV.      This is a common respiratory infection, and could easily be confused with COVID-19.   Although an infection with HMPV can produce a pneumonia and can conceivably kill infants, the elderly or those with a concurrent medical problem, most of the time, patients overcome this infection.  It's important to mention this because this infection can "muddy the waters" with COVID-19 concerns.  Those who reside in nursing homes, prisons etc., in close proximity may be at most risk for spread and for potential complications.

             Autumn and then winter are on their way. It is important to know that a persistent respiratory infection should be seen by your physician so that it can be differentiated between other infections. COVID-19 for example may require different treatment than the supportive care necessary in HMPV.

Authoritative information on HMPV



Tuesday, August 25, 2020

A Reminder About Comments That Contain Advertisements


          In the last few months I have received a number of comments for posting on this blog, which also advertise a product or a service.   Because I cannot appear to endorse a product or service that I know nothing about, I set a policy document regarding the posting of products or services in the form of a comment, back in 2014.  The link to our Advertising and Commentary Policy document appears within the black rectangle at the near top of the page, with other pages which concern my books and other blogs. These pages appear as links and the lettering is blue.  Since this particular page hasn't been noticed in the last several months, I have decided to post the page now as an actual post.

            Please contact me should you have any questions.  I do occasionally post and review a specific product or service, but a prior arrangement needs to be made. It took me time to research The Simple Pump, and some of the other products I have recommended.  Thank you for your understanding.

Advertising and Commentary Policy

        Effective May 1. 2014,  I will no longer be posting commentaries or responses to the posts here, when they includes or contain a link to a webpage for the purpose of advertising, unless there is a prior arrangement to do so. 

       Of late, a huge number of comments received do not relate at all to the post I have written.    Refrigerators on sale this weekend in India do not relate to a post on hand pumps for wells !    

        I am also being asked by others to remove comments or ads, and this is creating liability issues for me.  

     I  feel an obligation to provide information about products I actually use and can truly tell readers about, and not about products of which I know nothing.   

              My focus has always been to bring important preparedness information on varietal topics which only includes advertising when I personally know something about the product, and then I provide my own perspective and reactions.    My purpose has never been to log large numbers of followers, although we do have a fair number of unique users who although they have not signed up to become followers, but who do visit the site, and do participate.  We are a reference for reasonable family preparedness information and I do pay attention to issues of frugality here.

 I am also unable to allow posts here that have been placed anonymously or by "opaque users", due to issues of liability.   

I am also not available to the blogs on a daily basis, and so many comments, will simply not be reviewed or posted in a timely manner.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated understanding and cooperation.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

A Reprise of the Benefits of Raising Chickens

These are Silky chickens.

      I wrote this first post in June of 2013.   Since I have spent a big portion of this Summer raising and caring for new chickens, and many others have as well as a source of eggs during our COVID-19 lockdown, I thought I would repost it.  Enjoy.

     There is a trend in the United States permitting those in quasi urban and suburban neighborhoods to own chickens.  Most of them have restrictions sufficient to prevent all night cackling, and I have read that many cities outlaw roosters, but I see the change in zoning to allow at least some chickens,   as a good thing.  Chickens allow families to have eggs, often in abundance, and that alone, can make them very worthwhile. Chicken manure when composted can be some of the best fertilizer.
          Chickens can also be incredible pets.  We have raised several injured chicks by hand who were simply thrown away by the feedstore, and each of them grew to be intelligent, cooperative and loving creatures, and one of them was a congenial rooster.   At our maximum here we had one hundred chickens. We presently have about fifty and they are either Rhode Island Reds or Bantams.  Many mornings I eat a large hard boiled brown egg fresh from one of the hens.    Linda from the blog  Practical Parsimony can vouch for what fantastic companions chickens can be. 


I love this one.  It looks like it has a screen door.

This one has a greens tray for growing greens for them, or for you.

This coop can be moved around your yard, permitting your grass to recover, and allowing your hens weekly fresh grass.

              Many of the pictures above which have appeared on this particular blog post were taken by, and were constructed by

     Laughing Chickens.     

   They are custom built, but are available to be constructed and sent via UPS in modular fashion, so that they can be easily assembled all over the country.    They are also constructed of reclaimed wood.

You can e-mail the owner at:          duck@laughingchickens.com

 You can call Duck at     (415) 295-4696

You may see additional and larger pictures at the Williams-Sonoma catalog online.


         Or, you can use all of this as inspiration, and build your very own



    We have so many eggs at the moment , but they decrease in Winter.

This is what we do with them:

*Have eggs for breakfast.   (We all have low total cholesterol)

 * Make a variety of different quiches, and freeze them in the freezer as quick dinners or lunches.
    (We make Quiche Lorraine, Broccoli and Cheddar, Chive and Cheese, Veggie and Herb)

* We cook them and add them to dog, and sometimes cat food.  Our animals are long lived and have great coats.

* Eggnog when the season is right.

* Give or trade some to friends.

*Make your own egg custard.

Egg custard recipe
(Although we use white sugar instead of brown in this, and we use less.)

This allows you to walk inside and collect eggs without a lot of bending or squatting.

The original post is configured slightly differently and has some additional information. It appears at:

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

On Losing Friends in Political Discussions in 2020


Not everyone agrees that this might be a lovely place in which to spend the day, either.

     I don't think many would argue with me if I were to say that 2020 is one weird year. Not that I follow astrology, but the unusual features in 2020 have me at least noticing things like Pluto and Saturn aligning in Capricorn for the first time in five hundred years. What does all this mean ? Well it means that astrologically, at least, we can expect big changes on the beautiful blue ball we call home.

             In 2020, we have known media not to simply report news,  but to selectively and inaccurately report issues and happenings as part of an agenda. It is increasingly difficult to get factual and trustworthy data from most news outlets, even those which held the best reputations in our parent's day.  Next we were deluged with complete and repeated coverage of a virus which caused significant death and destruction in China and then quickly spread to almost all the parts of the world. Shortly after, much of the world has been barred from travel. Many businesses have been closed with the objective of prevention of the spread of the virus. Schools and universities closed. Economic life and family life have changed significantly. Bars and restaurants are closed, and since many of them cannot continue to exist on simple take out orders, many of them have closed forever, including some of my favorites. I would probably be preaching to the choir to tell you that many people, as a result of not working, are enduring the most challenging economic times they have ever known. In my own state there is presently a moratorium on evicting those who cannot pay their rent. However, I am not sure what happens to the landlords who can't pay the mortgages, the taxes or the insurance costs on the homes where they are not receiving rental payments.  Since more people are at home, and because "idle hands" are indeed the devil's workshop, all sorts of groups are using this time to complain, riot, destroy and tantrum in any and all ways possible.

             Generally, I don't need everyone in the world to agree with me. I have my own opinion, just like everyone else, and it's enough. It changes sometimes when conditions or consistent changes to my information does as well. Generally, I have lots of different friends from different countries, occupations, and interests, and it's natural for them to have different opinions than I do, on certain subjects. I have come to feel that decent people often do not agree on how they might make the world a better place, and that's okay too. If I ran the world, everyone would be likely to be well fed, and medical care would be top notch. Of course, I come to most things with as perspective of a registered nurse. However, you should not wish me to run the world, today or tomorrow, because if I did, the bridges would likely be collapsing around us, as not being a civil engineer like my grandfather, I simply wouldn't adequately prioritize them.   My friends who are social workers might think differently than those who are rocket scientists, engineers, or surgeons. It's actually good that each of us have different interests and priorities as working together we are more likely to make the world a better place in tandem with one another. I understand that we each try to make the world a better place within our abilities and within our backgrounds.

            When I was a student in college, there was tolerance for those with different views. We might think someone had strange ideas, but we knew they were entitled to them. We also knew that those raised in different families than our own might have divergent views, and that was okay.  Since that time, schools and some colleges have changed. There is "group think" and those who credit themselves with being "enlightened" express what their group believes is "correct thinking".  Of course, the rest of us know that we are in fact, the experts on choosing the elements in and choices in our own lives.

           I don't measure my words much. I give my perspectives and when appropriate, I share the data or the science which leads me to recommend what I am saying. Take it or leave it. Although I am pleased when something I have posted aids a person, a family or their animals, I also don't mind if someone chooses not to heed it, and they decide to go another way.  This year, a lot of people are overly sensitive. They seem to need to feel that their view is the one right way.

             Rarely throughout life I have lost a friend. Sometimes, someone who is a close friend thorough part of your life, isn't really interested in continuing with you when you choose another path.  Some of us lose some of our single friends when we marry or have children. Some of us lose some friends when we leave our old employer to start a new business.  It's probably not realistic to expect that friends we had in one life stage will remain with us through all the others.  However, it's only this year that I have lost a few friends just based on our political views alone.  One of my friends was actually a distant relative.  Where I believe that public school, private school, homeschooling and even online education are all viable alternatives for certain children, and that parents need to seek the right education for the right child, the right family, and in the right block of time, she does not. She believes that all children need to be given to the state to be properly educated and to have "the right attitudes".  I couldn't help but to politely indicate that many US children have very poor test scores, in reading and mathematics, and that many are not particularly productive as adults. Apparently, she no longer wishes to be a friend.   I also have a friend who is very much my favorite singer songwriter and arranger. She has very clear political views, and since I know several people who have worked with and are acquainted with the current president and his family, I don't share her views. And so, I have lost this friend also.

            I understand that a beloved friend from the sandbox might not be kept in high school.  I understand that the close friend you had might not remain so when she chooses to date the young man you dated before her.  However,  I don't really understand the need some others have to befriend only those who will mirror the political views they might have.

            I would like to suggest, for just a moment that we all clearly benefit from friendships with those who have different interests than we do. They are simply available for learning that we ourselves might not get in our own circles or careers. Think hard before you choose to cut out and therefore limit your inputs from others.  Having friends who agree with everything we say isolates us, and prevents us from growing.  It's perfectly okay to have friends of associates who see the world differently than we do. In fact, it's probably healthier than only having friends who drone the identical views to your own.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Blood Types and COVID-19

                     One of the challenges in COVID-19, is predicting who might require hospitalization or who might require intensive care level intervention as a consequence of complications of COVID-19. It is not as simple as whose who are elderly, and it isn't as simple as those who have an underlying or chronic medical issue.  Several months ago, I recall a couple of newspapers claiming that some physicians had indicated that some blood types had shown more of a proclivity to developing complications with COVID-19 than others, and I even remember being asked about this.  My answer at the time was that this is interesting, but that a couple of different research centers would need to confirm this, otherwise it changes nothing for us. It simply means that we all need to take the precautions as directed.

                   Today, I received an article from what should be an authoritative source on the matter, The American Journal of Nursing.  From the study described in the article, it does appear as if those with Type O blood appear to be capable of managing the illness in most cases, and that Type A individuals have had more complications.  It's an interesting article, and since a number of you asked me about it, I am simply going to provide you with the link to it here.

                 COVID-19 is not yet over. Please continue to be cautious.


Just after I posted this, the National Institute of Health's director, posted very similar findings.


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

A Word to the Wise is Sufficient


                 Why is the woman who has been writing posts on preparedness and survival here for the last twelve years, fairly silent, as the United States deteriorates into looting and insurrection?   Rational Preparedness is about situational and regional awareness and family and personal preparation. It's about knowing enough about your own health, diagnoses and the diagnoses of your family to care for them properly in between physician visits. It's about knowing enough about your animals to care for them properly and to take them with you, should you have to depart from your home.  In the last twelve years, we have discussed self defense, health management, growing food, homeschooling issues, purchasing supplies, emergency kits, tools, reasonable stockpiling, animal care, landscaping for safety and privacy, cabins and bug-out locations, and when we evaluate sheltering-in-place against a family evacuation.

                    We weren't planning for things that might happen. We were planning for issues that would eventually emerge in one manner or another.  It has been no secret that American public schools have been deteriorating sharply for years. History has been flattened and extracted, and alternate history has been taught to most young people. Consequently, many of them are gullible and don't have the measure of skepticism they should. Their education has not prepared them to be thinking individuals and so they can't ask the correct questions. Many have not been prepared to support themselves, and many hold huge amounts of debt for an education which in itself, has handicapped them.  In addition, we have a deterioration of morality all over the world.  A collapse of cultures is bound to occur, and many thought it would come sooner than this.

                    Without getting too deeply into politics here, we also have a problem. We have rotten apples in media who ignore happenings and stories that may be important, only to present stories which may or not not be true at all, simply because they advance the agenda they wish to push. We have decent American people doing their jobs, caring for their families, helping charities and perhaps churches and doing an excellent job, and we have the disenfranchised who simply want to tear down anything they wish. They claim that they have a purpose in doing so, but they don't. They are simply expressing rage.   In addition, the groups stoking insurrection would have us believe that we have racial problems in the US.  Although nothing is perfect, the members if different races who are working together, fare better than most people, US and foreign realize.  In the US, we have had a black president, black governors, lots of African American and black physicians of all specialties from other nations. We have lots of African American attorneys. People of all races have lots of opportunities to learn whatever they wish in the US. Many of them are quite wealthy now, and are CEOs of substantial businesses.  African Americans continue to make significant opportunities in sports, the arts, music, fashion and design.  Many journalists and editors in some of the largest newspapers and magazines are African Americans and many are high ranking police officials and high ranking military officers.  We mustn't forget this.  We are being asked to war between different factions of our society in order to collapse our government.  We must be better than that. We must reject what we know not to be true.

                 So, continue to find a source of reasonable news.  Listen and then turn it off. Take care of your family. Make plans that allow you to continue to do the job. Read the posts here.  Shelter in place when necessary, and evacuate if needed.  2020 is indeed a difficult year, for everyone. Do what you need to do to care for yourself, your family, your property and your animals. There are twelve years of posts to help you tackle some of the things you have not yet planned to do. Those who pay attention should survive this year's upheavals.

Friday, May 22, 2020

What Is a Rill ?

This rill comes to us from karlgercen.com

             What is a rill, and why should you care ?   A rill, or in German or Swedish a rille, is a narrow water stream. These occasionally occur naturally, but our mention today is of rills that are man-made. Man-made rills first became very popular when the Romans came to England, which incidentally is about fifty-five years before Jesus was born.  They were an efficient way to bring water from one place to another.  Persian gardens may also have had rills but they were wider than the ones I wish to discuss today.  A rill can help you take water from a place where water is plentiful, to a place some distance away, where it is needed, for plants or for animals. It also can be used as an exquisite water feature for a garden.
              Often, rills have concrete sides which keep them intact, straight and beautiful, but they may also be lined with bricks or rectangular stones. Some are lined with the same waterproof linings that we use in ponds.

This is a much less typical rill, because it curves, but it too has concrete walls.  Travis St Clair

                    Today, rills are most often seen in lovely British formal gardens. They are sometimes seen in Japanese gardens though often in tandem with other water features such as waterfalls of various sizes.  A rill can simply have still water which has movement during rain or when the water in the source is high, or it may have movement because the owner has installed a small circulating pump, just as we might use in a small pond we have installed in a garden. Keep in mind that water that is moving, always stays cleaner than water that is stagnant.

This is a modern rill. Austin Patterson Disston.

                       The rill above is straight, bit it can also we constructed on an incline, and occasionally in a sculpture.  You may consider having a rill installed in order to beautify a garden, or increase the value of a property before sale.  You might install a rill in order to provide water to plants or to animals, while beautifying a certain area of an otherwise uninspired garden.

These are directions as to how you might install a rill:


These are other links that apply to rills:







                  Since I am in the process of deciding where on my farm a rill would be most attractive and most useful, I may have a future post which provides additional insights.

Monday, May 11, 2020

On Dakin's Solution

This is a bottle of commercially prepared Dakin's Solution.

                Recently, I was in Wal-Mart buying supplies, and when I got to the check-out, the woman who was scanning my purchases, had a rather significant bandage on her arm.  All these years of being a nurse hasn't yet taught me to mind my own business, and so I asked what she had done.  She told me that she had cut the arm recently, and that due to the COVID-19, she was unable to buy either hydrogen peroxide or isopropyl alcohol, and so she had just washed the wound in soap and water.  It was reddened and slightly infected.  I asked her if she knew how to make Dakin's Solution. She responded that she had never heard of it.

                    I quickly explained in the empty Wal-Mart, that Dakin's is a solution used by doctors dating back to WW I, but that even in hospitals today, occasionally nurses will see an order for it for a particular use or a particular patient.  Although we generally buy a commercial Dakin's Solution, it can also be made at home

                     Below is the University of Virginia Medical Center recipe for it.  Please note that one should use an unthickened, plain bottled bleach without lemon, lavender or other additives. It would probably also be best to use the name brand Chlorox if you are buying some, simply because we have a better assurance of strength.

                      For many things, including the cleaning of a superficial wound when you have no other available antiseptic, 1/8 strength below should be adequate.  For special uses, please ask your physician.  

                 Store your fresh Dakin's solution in a glass lidded jar,  clean or even a sterile jar, like a canning jar.  Ideally, we throw away the solution 48 hours after we make it.  It must also be kept away from children.

                   I saw the woman in Wal-Mart again three weeks later.  They still have no peroxide or alcohol, but her wound has healed, and she did make the Dakin's solution as I had suggested.

                    Print this recipe out, next time you need it.   Don't forget that plain Chlorox can also be used a couple of tablespoons to a sink full of dishes when someone in your home is ill, or when your dishwasher is non-functional or non-existent. Make sure you rinse your dishes well afterward.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

What Happened to Nova Scotia's Gabriel Wortman ?

Constable Heidi Stevenson RCMP


           As those of you who have read my books know, Nova Scotia is a special place for me. Two of my novels, both Westward: The Novel and The Granite Rock have large sections that take place in various locations in Nova Scotia.  For many reasons, the province and many places within the province, are near and dear to my heart.

             Nova Scotia is presently enduring the same challenges the rest of us are in terms of COVID-19 lockdowns. Many of their businesses are closed, and there is as much concern and trepidation about the future there, just as we have here in the US.  Sadly, this week Nova Scotia was given something else about which to be concerned, and now, about which to grieve.

             This week, a fifty-one year old man, named Gabriel Wortman,  a talented denturist who owns two branches of his business in both Halifax and in Dartmouth became a wanted man. Wortman was described by those who knew him as an "odd bird". A friend says he "was not treated well in college".  On the surface, life seemed good for Gabriel Wortman. He was a respected denturist and a millionaire. He was affable and respected by the elderly who comprised many of his customers. He owned quite a luxurious home on the ocean , north of Halifax, on the Bay of Fundy.  He owned multiple properties he apparently rented to others in the area. When asked about him, people who knew him said that he enjoyed "doing things for others".  This certainly seems to be true. In 2014, he appeared on Canadian television, not only explaining the basics of state of the art dentures to the Canadian public, but as a consequence of providing a free pair of dentures to a woman who had recently lost all her teeth to cancer treatment. He also was an obsessive collector of Royal Canadian Mounted Police memorabilia. People in his high school thought the 6'3" man would likely become a member of the RCMP.  He also, in the present day, was a hobbyist who restored RCMP vehicles. The police say that he is believed to have been an alcoholic. When pressed, people who knew him alluded to a jealous streak he had with regard to his girlfriend, and to an altercation which occurred with friends years ago. They admitted that he had "a bit of an obsessive personality".

               For some inexplicable reason this week, Gabriel Wortman, dressed up as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and drove a car he had fashioned to look like a current day RCMP cruiser.  His exact movements are still being pieced together by police.  At the beginning of his crime spree, he had only a long gun. A pistol is extremely difficult to obtain in Nova Scotia, unless you are current and active law enforcement.  Wortman began a twelve hour spree in which he killed his ex and her new boyfriend, and then began to kill clusters of those at multiple crime scenes across Nova Scotia who were clearly unknown to him.  He killed Constable Heidi Stevenson, a 23 year veteran of the RCMP who was not only a highly respected officer, but a wife, a mother of a son and a daughter and who was a daughter herself, and who had answered the call which concerned gunfire. Without providing too much detail here, he intentionally executed her, and then took her service weapon. He went on to kill parents in front of children. He killed a pregnant woman and a seventeen year old girl. For twelve hours, he continued the pattern of going to doors in uniform, killing those who answered, and then torching their homes. He apparently continued, taking the car of the RCMP constable he had killed. Thus far, the RCMP have discovered sixteen crime scenes, and we do not yet know, since he chose primarily rural locations, if they have located all of the people he has killed. The killings continued until he stopped in a gas station well known to me, at the Stanfield Airport in Halifax, where he encountered police, and he fired at them. He was ultimately killed by police who could not let him proceed any further.

Gabriel Wortman

               Most everyone has lost an ex and had them find happiness with another person.  Most of us do endure a period of time in our lives where we weren't the most popular person on the block, often while we are growing up.  Some of us struggle with substance abuse, and for many it is alcoholism.  All of us are presently stressed by being locked down, unable to go anywhere, and by worries that we could become ill with COVID-19.  Most everyone, millionaires AND the rest of us endure a background worry that we could lose homes and businesses as a result of a protracted COVID-19 shutdown.   Yet, with all of that, we wouldn't dream of hurting another person, let alone twenty-three people who were remarkably consistent in their own desires to serve humanity. Wortman killed parents, a constable, nurses, teachers, firemen, and another denturist. Most of them were people who did not know him. All of them will be sorely missed by those who love them.

              What happened to Gabriel Wortman which caused him to morph from the affable odd man who reportedly spoke so gently to elderly people and who happily provided, repaired, and relined their dentures who became an efficient unmerciful killing machine over twelve long hours to people who were already afraid and locked in their homes ?

              Why is this important, you ask ?    Because in the face of lockdowns and the stresses endured by people worldwide just now, we need to be better at identifying those who could slide into a psychotic break that would allow them to commit such acts.   Justin Trudeau says he plans to further restrict firearms in Canada.  What good would that do ?  The weapon used to kill many of the people was the service weapon Wortman took from the constable after executing her. Wortman himself was already prohibited from owning a firearm of any kind due to charges from 2001, where he was ordered to have anger management counseling.  It's a shame Wortman didn't meet any armed opposition whatsoever. Perhaps the number killed could have been limited to three, or six, rather than twenty-three people. Perhaps tightening guns further in Nova Scotia takes things in the wrong direction.  After all, criminals don't observe gun restrictions, just as this man didn't.  Guns aren't the problem. Inadequate care and supervision of the mentally ill is the problem.

             My family and I send most sincere condolences to our family, friends, and the people of Nova Scotia who have been directly impacted by these shootings and these arsons.  May God bless each of you during this very difficult time.


Monday, April 13, 2020

When They Are Losing Their Minds During COVID-19 Confinement

Calm days will come again.

     Most of you know that I have been talking about emergencies, sheltering-in-place, and emergency food supplies for many years. On this blog alone, I have discussed various aspects of family disaster preparedness for ten years.  I have also discussed or alluded to mental health issues which occur as a result of disasters or emergencies, also for ten years. At the bottom of this article, I am going to list the prior posts which touch on mental health issues in emergencies, that I have written in the course of the existence of this particular blog.

                   Although this was inevitable, it's still disturbing to see. Since all of us went into seclusion at different times across the US, there is no way of calculating how long many of us have been locked up at home.  Many people are also enduring the stress of having a job you can't return to, and the resultant stress and fear that they will be unable to pay rent, a mortgage, electricity, car payments or buy food.  Some of us are insulated from some of this, but many of us are not. 

                   It is therefore not a surprise to see that on social media, a percentage of people are no longer rational.  Some are talking about forgetting all of it and going back to work and sending their kids outside to school, even though school has been cancelled for the rest of the year, and the doors to work are still locked. Restaurants and bars are still closed. They are not thinking clearly. Some cannot be reasoned with, and that makes them dangerous.

                   There is not much you can do for those determined to get back out there. All you can do is try to calmly keep those within your own family thinking normally, and being hopeful as we edge toward a gradual lifting of the necessary restrictions which presently encumber our nation and its economy.  It isn't just the United States that is restricted.   I speak daily with people in Italy, France and the UK, and they are enduring similar stresses, sorrows and fears.

                 Please know that as with every challenge that befalls us here on Earth, it IS temporary. It will eventually fall away.  Yes, there will be some negative fallout as a result of this one for some time, but we will weather it and overcome it also.


Prior posts that may be of value during this time: